For hot dog buns on a whole 'nuther level, start the night before. Add room temperature water and yeast to a bowl. Allow to proof. Just for the heck of it, let it proof. And what does that prove exactly? It proves the yeast is alive and kicking and it gets the yeast off to a good comfortable start on a wild night of partying. Add an unbelievably small amount of yeast, say 1/4 teaspoon, because you're going to let this go at its own good time, probably even over twelve hours, and when you're not looking, the yeast is in there having wild sex with each other and multipling like mad, then having sex with their offspring and with their offspring's offspring and with their brothers and sisters and cousins, and multiplying without any sex partners at all, in the insane orgiastic undisciplined way that yeast get carried away with themsleves, so there's no point in starting out with a lot of it. Add salt, which has the effect of knocking back on some of that yeast sex, and sufficient flour to work into a loose dough ball. This is all the kneading the dough is going to get. None of that knead for ten minutes stuff is necessary, unless you think it's fun like I do, it doesn't hurt. Cover and fugetaboudit.
Because of the long proofing period, the dough ages to an old-world texture and flavor that is utterly absent from breads made quickly. And by quickly I mean breads risen within just a few hours, which is the whole point of modern single-species yeast marketed for home baking. See? We're bucking the system here by purposefully going slowly instead of ripping them off quickly. I tell you, you'll never buy another package of hot dog buns again, and every time you have the misfortune of being presented with an ordinary white-bread bun by someone who simply doesn't care for your well-being, you'll be thinking, "gee, this would be so much better if it was only on one of my own home-made buns." And when that day comes, congratulations, you are now officially arrogant when it comes to hot dog buns.
On Maui sourdough bread. With stone ground mustard, ground so poorly that most of the seeds aren't ground at all. And with horseradish made from grated horseradish root and vinegar. And with aged cheddar cheese with blue cheese center. So what you see here is half a sandwich that goes BAM ! in your mouth.
* Sauteed in 1 teaspoon of oil, finished with white wine steam, covered with home-made mayonnaise warmed in microwave in seven second pulses.
* hash browns from fries previously frozen
* egg poached in ramekin sprayed with Pam™ and watched like a hawk. A chicken hawk. A chicken egg hawk. A chicken egg hawk that poaches chicken an egg and stands there watching it cook until the white turns opaque and removes the ramekin from the water before the yolk hardens, which is a very alert hawk indeed.
A breakfast so totally in the Zone it's not even funny. Vegetables rapidly sauteed in olive oil then covered and finished with a steam of raspberry vinegar with a few teaspoons of raspberry preserves. Sandwich ham, tomato, and pecans placed in pan at the end to warm. Egg cooked in a pan sprayed with Pam™ and finished with a tablespoon of water.
Culture collected on condominium patio in Maui within a few hours one windy afternoon. Cultivated using flour purchased on Maui and transported stateside in dried powdered form. This was not long after the Washington Anthrax scare of 2005. Credit to my brother for his forbearance through all this collecting and cultivating. Two collections were made actually, the first one on the balcony of another condominium. The first collection sat on the balcony over night and the cultivation process of both stank up the kitchens unbelievably. In that early stage, you'd never imagine something addictively delicious could ever result from something so horrid. It turned the flour brown.
These loaves were made in succession in a medium sized Magnalite pot with metal handle and lid using Jim Layton's no-knead method Search [+NYT +bread] for video.
Yesterday somebody said, "My grandma used to make us shirred eggs." That caused me to look up the word shirred. Looked at pictures. Learned that apparently anything at all can go under the eggs. I'd prefer spinach and some kind of ham but I don't have any spinach. I do have Walla Walla onion and I'm long on sweet peppers, so I used that. Caramelized half an onion with mirepoix including garlic. Elaborated a veloute sauce from home-made broth and threw in frozen chicken bits.
But Bo, how did you manage to avoid the yolk from becoming cooked firm, a problem many people note on the photos you essayed in researching the word shirred? Easy. I separated them, and watched them like a hawk in the convection oven -- a hawk intent on perfect eggs. Bwaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
I took a fine set of photos of the final dish, all set up real purdy and well lit. Then, when I'm done and began eating my shirred eggs, my camera goes, "Memory card needs to be formatted." The pictures gone. Bastard! Eww, that makes me so mad I could pull out somebody else's hair.
So I blithly persisted and took a photo of the shirred eggs in progress of being consumed, which has the advantage of showing off the inside of the egg and the chicken and vegetable stew underneath, although it looks something of a mess. Hey! Old Dutch masters painted still life pictures like this. Well, not exactly like this, but they painted still life pictures of meals abandoned in progress. <--- 100% of historical fact. Sourdough from yesterday, oh my God that stuff is good, with olive oil and parmigiano cheese.
Mark Bittman in Sullivan's Street Bakery, Manhattan, Hell's Kitchen, N.Y. introduces owner and head baker Jim Layton's no-knead method. Claiming, so easy a six year old could make better bread than any bakery. Challenged, Jim says, "Four year old!"
Well, there ya go. Video on YouTube and NYT website.
Here's the thing. Long proofing periods (time dough rises) is itself a form of kneading. After proofing, the dough is unceremoniously dumped onto a work surface. Gently patted. I do not know why, but Jim says pat, so pat I do. Considering the dough wad to possess four sides, although it's just a blob, pull outward one side gently but firmly, and ever so skillfully to stretch the entire wad, then flip it back onto itself, effectively halving the stretched wad in length but doubling it in height. Do the same thing to the opposite side. That leaves two directions not stretched. Stretch and flip those over too. So you've stretched and flipped four times, in so doing produced a stack of stretched flips, the stretching running this way and that, and all this stretching and flipping is all the kneading the dough gets. Cool, eh?
The pile of stretched and flipped dough is dropped into a rocket hot oven pot and covered with a hot lid, then baked on high for thirty minutes, then continued uncovered for another 15 minutes in an oven as high as it will go. Which, for a klutz like myself, is scary high 500℉. Jim burned himself in the demonstration.
The open secret behind this method is exceedingly wet dough. That allows large holes to form. The covered pot retains the moisture keeping the dough wet long enough for it to expand magnificently. Were the dough dry, this would not be possible. Uncovering for the final baking period allows the moisture to migrate to the surface and out.
The idea is to pan sear chicken parts so that the skin doesn't shrink, to steam them in liquid for speed and even cooking, then return them to to the pan to re-sear for crispy skin for great presentation. This makes more sense when fewer parts are all done at once, it makes less sense when two whole chickens are done in batches and when the purpose of the whole thing is for for chicken bits to freeze and to make quality broth. It was an experiment. It failed. Simply roasting them is better.
The first time I cut up a chicken I didn't know what I was doing. I also didn't know the difference between a fryer and a roaster so I bought both to find out. The roaster turned out to be a lot tougher to cut up, so I learned. The difference is really that roaster are a few weeks older than fryers. I thought the idea was to hack up the bird into segments whacking brutally through the bone. Surely, I thought, that's what cleavers are for. Didn't know about locating and skillfully slicing through joints. I had a great deal of difficulty and possibly ruined a knife. I kept thinking about Jeffrey Dahmer and the word "dismember" kept running through my troubled mind. I nearly passed out. Had to sit down and recover, then get back to hacking. Later I'd see Julia Child on television explain how to do all this with some intelligence. I watched her with rapt attention. She cheerfully recommended cutting up whole chickens instead of buying parts, she said, "Plus, it's fun!" I thought, "You're one crazy bitch, you are." But that changed my attitude toward the whole thing and now I think of Julia fondly whenever I do this, which is often. I love Julia Child. I owe her everything.
Produced from potatoes prepared previously and frozen
Gravy is a veloute sauce prepared rapidly with roux and chicken broth also prepared previously. Garlic added to roux. Oh, and some Happy Cow™ cheese broken on top.
* Garbanzo beans substituted for avocado
* Olive oil heated with garlic added
* Chips made with masa herena and warm water, formed into small balls, smashed in tortilla flattener, fried for a few seconds, cut in stacks into wedge shapes, deep fried while turning until dehydrated.
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- pasta, balcony tomatoes
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