pasta in chicken broth

pasta in chicken broth
As long as you're going to all the trouble of melting those chicken broth ice cubes you might as well fry up some bacon in the pan first because there's hardly any oil at all in the broth, nor any salt. And since you've already messed up a knife on dicing the bacon you might as well chop up a bell pepper and half an onion and smash a garlic clove or two. And then there's the chicken bits just sitting there in the freezer from the same chicken the broth was made. It all takes so dreadfully long -- the time it takes to bring a pot of water to boil and cook spaghetti noodles. I had chipotle in adobo from a tiny tin opened previously. Hate to waste that stuff, so I added one. Made the whole thing hot. No, wait, wait, wait. I meant to say, I planned this. I'm imitating Japanese soba except it's not buckwheat noodles and I'm putting a lot more stuff in it.

aglio e olio

Pasta in olive oil with garlic -- roasted tomato powder tossed with dry Italian herbs and finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


aglioeoioetomao.jpg

flounder with mango coulis

broiled flounder and shrimp
flounder, shrimp, mango coulis plated
* Mangos. I used frozen. Fresh fruit is preferred, but the cellular structure of frozen fruit is damaged by having been frozen which makes processing easier on the machine.
* lime
* Grand Marnier, purely as an extravagance.

I have a lot left. I think I'll just eat it like a smoothie.


My original intention was to broil sole filets but that effort floundered.

Wut?

The thing is, these filets are so small you have to eat a dozen of them to get the minimum nutritional requirement of an infant Aye aye ... born prematurely ... to a family of genetically midget Aye ayes ... who have become inactive in captivity.

beef sausages

Beef sausages? Sounds weird

These were pressure cooked for speed. I put enough water in the pressure pot to drown a narwhal, if that narwhal had breathing problems to begin with and was small enough to fit into an eight quart pressure cooker -- and where are you going to find one of those? -- but the water evaporated which isn't supposed to happen in a pressure pot, or possibly absorbed, so fat from the sausages formed the crustiest, burniest, most repugnant smelling fond on the bottom of the pot. Shirley, they're ruined! I removed the sausages and added more water and boldly turned the burner to high 'cause that's the way I roll in my lab kitchen. The fond lifted off nearly instantly and dissolved immediately into the water, diffusing the whole stench and forming what appeared to be a salvagable liquid. I was a mildly disappointed, actually, for a minute there I thought I was in for a Brillo® pad scrapy-scrape afternoon.

I used that burned-sausage-bits pot-cleaning water to cook chickpeas. Is that daring or what? The chickkpeas were only partially hydrated. I relied upon the pressure cooker to shove that flavored water into the beans fully hydrating them as they cooked. That was the idea, anyway. It's all pure guesswork. Who knows, they might be awful. Then again, they might be fantastic. Dried chickpeas are fun. I love watching them swell. Did I ever mention I'm rather easily amused?

Dun'nit ↓ make you want to eat 'em right out of the package? They're already cooked, ya know.


beef sausages

Pressure cooked ↓

beef sausages pressure cooked
See? They got plumpier. How they managed not to explode open is beyond me. I've been eating these chunks throughout the afternoon like dog treats. In fact, if I had a dog, I'd give 'em some because I'm nice that way when it comes to dogs.

beef sausages pressure cooked
* beef sausages pressure cooked on a steam table over too little water. That is all.

* chickpeas cooked in the water used to lift off the burnt oil and residue from steaming the sausages. + yellow bell pepper, onion, garlic with a trace of vindaloo curry in olive oil / butter

* carrots and tiny mixed fingerling potatoes also pressure cooked together in orange juice, buttter, maple syrup, and cinnamon with mango added at the end, and dayumn are they ever delicious.

roasted chicken salad

roasted chicken salad plated
* chicken previously roasted and frozen
* hand made mayonnaise
* Romaine lettuce
* red bell pepper
* English cucumber
* avocado

roasted turkey with Denver sourdough

orange bell and poblano pepper for roasted turkey sandwich on Denver sourdough

The bread for this sandwich, pictured in the post below, was made by capturing and cultivating airborne organisms and then using them as leaven for ordinary dough made from flour, water, and salt. That is all. The capturing was done a few years ago via a slurry also made from flour and water but no salt and the cultivating has been done repeatedly since. I usually let the starter languish between feeding which is not recommended so I rejuvenate it with warmth to help it revitalize faster. This would not be necessary if I fed the starter more frequently. After reviving the starter and building up the sponge at room temperature in increments that double with each feeding and then stopping when I feel I have enough, and this is always pure guesswork, I arrest the yeast portion of the sponge by putting it into cold storage, the refrigerator or outside on the balcony if it's cold enough, allowing the sponge to ferment for a few days, at least two sometimes more, while the bacterial portion of the culture within the sponge continues to impart its unique characteristics. The longer it ferments, the tangier and stronger the flavor becomes. Days later it is removed from cold storage, divided into loaves, and encouraged again with warmth. It always explodes into rapid expansion much faster than if left at room temperature, although room temperature works perfectly fine. Then the loaves are baked in a process that resembles a commercial bakery as closely as possible, as high as the oven will go either between pizza stones or within a closed vessel, a stoneware cloche or a cast iron or anodized aluminum pot with a close-fitting lid.

This is kick-ass bread, of the sort that has been made all through the history from the beginning of wheat cultivation to about fifty years ago, and although so simple even an early Egyptian could do it, and they did, you can see it takes a small bit of planning, that is, one's gratification is delayed by three or so days. It has ruined me. I am now a hopeless bread snob, and have been for years, and I sniff at anything less than purely authentic.

The mayonnaise was whipped up just for this sandwich with a surplus pint from one large egg. I used olive oil and vegetable oil mixed, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, honey, S/P. It's unspeakably delicious, therefore, I shall extol its virtues; it is better than any mayonnaise you have ever tasted. It is properly an aioli, given its enhancements. It is smooth, tangy, and sweet without being overbearing, unctuous or saccharine. Its uses are many, limited only by imagination. It lasts easily a good week refrigerated, longer if carefully heated.

Commercially roasted turkey breast.

Orange bell and poblano pepper sautéed in bacon fat.

Swiss mountain cheese.

Denver sourdough

Denver sourdough loaves
Denver sourdough sliced

Baked using the Jim Lahey's no-knead method developed at his Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC popularized by NYT.

Of course extended fermentation is itself a form of kneading as is stretching which redistributes yeast and puts it in contact with refreshed partners, but we will not quibble here. What is meant is that there's not prolonged exertion of the dough in the usual way to develop gluten in the dough. This method relies on an exceedingly wet sticky dough and an enclosed baking vessel, a tight oven, as it were, within an exceedingly hot oven, allowing the wet dough to retain its moisture and stretch to maximum extension before setting. The lid is removed to finish. All this in a fierce rocket-hot oven. Aim fans on your fire alarms because there's going to be some smoke.

Venezuelan chocolate part 2

chocolate hieroglyphs
chocolates being wrapped
chocolates  wrapped
chocolate boxes
chocolate boxeed

Venezuelan chocolate part 1

This is a multi-part process because I must make sure the tempering hardens properly. It takes a while for the chocolate to cool and harden and a little longer to bloom if they do which I hope they don't. I believe the failures from blooming result from the silicone molds themselves not being properly tempered, that is, brought to temperature before the chocolate is added, but frankly, I'm too lazy for that and I can't be arsked. Besides, I'm not even sure about that being the cause.

Blooming is an accident of circumstance whereby the butter within the chocolate transpires to the surface and settles in patches, usually the result of faulty tempering or extreme temperature changes. It does not ruin the chocolate, but it does ruin the pleasantness of the candy.

The whole point of tempering is to line up and organize the various composite molecules like sturdy little soldiers by stroking through steady controlled temperature changes so that the chocolate snaps appealingly when broken and the candy possesses an attractive shine. Tempered chocolate tends to hold its shape better than untempered chocolate. The thing is, although the chocolate crystal formation is seeded with a bit of pre-hardened chocolate tossed into the molten mass to get it started, to suggest the chocolate's organization, so to speak, because chocolate is a complex amalgamation of molecules varying in size and shape and type and not a single molecule, it does not form into a mathematically perfect crystalline structure, like, say, quartz, so stretching the analogy, the little soldiers organize thus; tall, short, fat, skinny, sharp, fuzzy, kneeling, standing, tall, short, fat, skinny, sharp, fuzzy, kneeling, standing, tall, short, fat, skinny, sharp, fuzzy, kneeling, standing, tall, short, fat, skinny, sharp, fuzzy, kneeling, standing, etc.

My other chocolate tempering analogy is stacking chairs, but that presumes all the chairs are the same and that is not an apt analogy because it is not the case that all the chocolate molecules are the same. Now, having used these two analogies, soldiers and chairs, to convey the idea of tempering chocolate, please crumple these analogies in your mind and discard them now that they've been used for chocolate is not a regiment of soldiers and chocolate is not a closet of stacked chairs

I made the molds for the chocolates a few years ago and they're holding up very well through heavy use. I never mentioned this before but in case you're interested -- and who wouldn't be? -- to make them I carved coin-sized hieroglyphs into plaster with dental tools in the usual way I carve all my bas reliefs. Since they're carved into plaster they do not have smooth surfaces, therefore the chocolate produced from them isn't smooth either. There was a bit of back and forth between pouring silicone and pouring plaster to get them into coin shapes and to get the coins enumerated onto plates and into sets of silicone molds. Visualize the original carvings of one hieroglyph each into a sheet of plaster chipping my little heart out and kicking up a nice white cloud of chips and dust. Oven craft clay was pressed into those random carvings and repeated eight times for each hieroglyph then glued onto plaster coins made from pouring plaster into regular chocolate mint molds, rather like slug coins, both square and round. Eight of each design were then arranged eight per plate. So each plate repeats the same hieroglyph-coin eight times instead of the other option of each plate with eight different hieroglyphs. Finally, I fashioned a frame for the plates, this being the only clever bit, and poured food grade silicone over each plate for each set of eight coins. I did not know what I was doing and made quite an impressive mess of things, leakages, thin areas, uneven surfaces, etc. My first attempt worked but it worked poorly. I continue to use those silicone molds of the plates, shown below, they're flawed but I don't care. I still love them. My second attempt was better and used a different faster drying silicone, because by then I had become quite the awesome mad expert mold maker. Those molds are my favorite, although there are less of them because they used a lot more silicone so they're less useful to me. I still have the original matrices which formed the plates from which the molds were poured, but frankly, the thrill of it is gone. I keep telling myself to pick up where I left off but I never do because what I have still works fine. Although that one little piece of yellow mold pisses me off because the edge of one of the indentations is missing which means it must be treated with special care when pouring chocolate and that is a constant reminder of my ineptitude.

This is the 100% Venezuelan chocolate couverture discs, 73.5% Cacao Apamate Carenero Superior, made from the less productive type Venezuelan trees. In enological terms, it is single estate and its terrior is well known. Although adored by chocolate lovers, it is not universally loved. Supply is uncertain due to the country being presently run into the ground by a straight up maniac * looks warily over both shoulders * and it costs double the more accessible type.

I developed a rapid tempering technique that is brilliant, if I do say so myself. I have a machine but I don't much care for it because it's too slow and it's not a hands-on process and it pushes chocolate out of the bowl and for a machine it's an unnecessary mess. Plus I know what I'm doing without one. I have a marble slab too but I do not use it. The slab method is too messy, and I'm not interested in the show. I use a contrived double boiler devised from a metal bowl and a pot along with a cold bath which is chilled water in the sink. The chocolate bowl goes back and forth between them speeding up the process considerably. Smart, eh? It's convenient to realize the target temperatures are within 15° above and below body temperature, in Fahrenheit, for dark chocolate, heat the chocolate to ---> 125°, chill to ---> 83°, heat to ---> 89°. Ta daaaaaaa.

* Bows deeply, backs out of room obsequiously and servilely, salaaming elaborately *

As it turns out, each little space takes exactly one teaspoon chocolate. I managed this batch without dripping one single drop which says something about ... something.

Tomorrow, wrapping and boxing.


chocolate mold
chocolate tempering

canned tuna

Canned tuna. Can you imagine that? Every now and then I get an unmanageable craving for something utterly déclassé and familiar only to dark recesses and abandoned fragments and filaments of fading memory as if originating in another lifetime, and I don't even know where this comes from, day school cafeterias or what. It's pathetic really. The original idea that propelled me was to open a can of tuna and mix in some finely diced onion and eat it straight from the can like a self-consciousless alley cat. I'm just that awful sometimes. But then I noticed pickle relish in the refrigerator door, homemade mayonnaise that was heated so the egg was still passable, a perfectly ripened avocado on a lower shelf, and a couple English cucumbers along with fresh ginger. Wadayano. In the end, the only cause for scorn would be abject absence of fresh herbs. Well, that and tuna from a can. The stupid thing is, I've got all kinds of real seafood just waiting to go. Tuna even. Which goes grey when you cook it from lovely luscious voluptuous lustrous opaque red, so it's raw or it's nothing. Or this. Thank you commercial fisherman for this here canned tuna, sorry there, Dolphins who didn't have the good sense to keep a cautious distance, it's all about Darwin, you know. Whatzit, you're supposed to be smart, in'nit?

I tell ya, I can't get enough of this crap. I could start right over and make another batch.

roasted chicken

roasted chicken with dressing plated
roasted chicken with dressing
roasted chickens
This is my favorite thing. Lord, thank you for these little birds for how I do love to bake them. The dressing doesn't look like much but, Boy, is it ever delicious. I believe it's the most deliciousest dressing I ever tasted and that's no brag, just fact. Want some? Fine! I got plenty. The thing that makes it so great is the inclusion of dried cherries and cranberries -- BANG! -- right there in the dressing. Makes it tart and sweet.

The dressing was placed in two bowls fashioned from aluminum foil formed inside a shallow bowl. The chickens were butterflied and spread on top of the two bowls of dressing so the juice would drip down and through it. It darkened considerably and a little bit unattractively but I don't care, it tastes fantastic.

Dressing

* ends of two sourdough loaves plus the the remnant end of another loaf languishing with no further useful purpose made with quite a lot of hummus. All of that homemade and now salvaged into the best purpose possible if you were to discount bread pudding.
* two white onions
* one whole entire thing of celery whatever that thing is called that holds all the stalks together, including the leaves.
* two apples
* generous handful of whole pecans
* dried cherries
* dried cranberries
* raisins
* generous heaps of sage
* churlish parsimonious pinch of fresh rosemary ground to dust.
* mingy stingy nips of dried thyme.
* S/P which stands for salt and pepper, inferring kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Two inexpensive battery birds rinsed, daubed dry, slit down the back, butterflied, oiled and salted. It's fun. Sharpen the chef's knife and exercise your inner Jeffrey Dahmer. You know what pisses me off, though? I hate it when they don't come with all the little extra bits in the little bag stuffed inside the cavity. That's such a rip off. I especially love cooking the liver separately for an extra little treat so it naturally bums me out when it's not there.

scrambled eggs

scrambled eggs, sourdough toast,fingerling potatoes * Two eggs lightly, just barely scrambled, nearly not cooked through. Then loaded with enough crushed -- Achoo! -- black pepper to turn back a stampede of enraged bison. <--- possible exaggeration.

* Slice of sourdough bread toasted in the same pan the eggs were cooked, which produced a single whiff of smoke sufficient to set off the fire alarm screaming. And that is sooooo obnoxious. Hurts my sensitive furry Ferengi ears.

* Fingerling potatoes, cut, boiled, fried in butter. Fingerling, that's Marketspeak™ for pewny genetic miniatures grown at short-season latitude in nutrient-deficient soil. Whatev. They're très chic.

roasted turkey French dip

Roasted turkey French dip
The earlier Arby's French dip today, down there VVV, with its jus non naturels compelled me to try my hand with my own version using roasted turkey, homemade chicken broth and handmade sourdough bread. +White onion.

Broth seasoned with garlic, bay, sage, rosemary, S/P

French dip, curly fries


I didn't make this. Every now and then I like to remind myself how stupid I used to be, or possibly still am.

Nom nom nom, smack, nom nom nom

And also because sometimes I'm just flat inexcusably lazy, what with scrounging around, heating things, wiping plates, and all.

Nom nom, swallow, nom nom nom

So today after a haircut I dropped in to Arby's.

Nom nom, wipe lips, nom nom nom

My timing was impeccable, quite by accident. There was nobody there so I walked right up and placed my order. Before my order was complete there was a crowd of some fifty customers in line.

Nom nom, dribble on chin, nom nom nom

OK FINE! Fifteen customers in line, but that's still a lot of customers to come piling in, and I missed that by no more than one minute. Can you imagine actually waiting for this?

Nom nom, slurp, nom nom nom

Deena caught me on the way back in and asked if I was slumming it.

Nom nom, burp, nom nom nom

I said, "I guess so, yes."

Belch.

The whole time I was eating this I was also thinking how much better it would be if it were just on my own sourdough bread.

Nom nom nom, smack, nom nom nom

And if it were just real au jus and not this commercial bouillon from a giant #10 restaurant tin, which incidentally means "its own juice," and believe me, this is hardly juice of its own.

Nom nom nom, lick lips, nom nom nom

And if it were just real deli roast beef.

Nom nom nom, gulp, nom nom nom

and possibly even real French fries and not these odd curly cardboard shavings things.

Nom nom nom, erp, nom nom nom

I mustn't complain, though, after all I did get two paper bags with special printing on them, a styrofoam container with its own little lid, a couple of napkins, a straw in its own little wrapper, a tall paper cup with a fitted lid, a soak-free sandwich wrapper also with special printing, plus ice, and all that counts for something dun'nit?

I hate myself.

Burp.

banana chocolate malted milkshake

No ice cream was harmed in the production of this milkshake. It's just banana and milk mixed with Nestle Nesquik® mixed with malt extract picked up from Stomp Them Grapes, the new brewery store that's closer than the old brewery store both of which are fantastic places to visit because the shops are stuffed with interesting things. If you ever have the chance to drop in on a home brewery shop I recommend doing so, they have everything known to home brewery of beer and wine, kits, basic elements, equipment, scales, tubing, stoppers, valves, grain, fermentation starters and such, plus what I'm interested in, different types of malt extracts in varying degrees of depth and various forms. It all gets so very scientific, so they're like science shops.

banana, milk, chocolate withi malt extract
banana chocolate malt milkshake
I usually add fiber to this but when you do that then you have to drink it quickly or else it coagulates. As it turns out, I drank this quickly anyway so I might as well have put it in.

fettuccine with pork sauce and glazed carrots

How to make carrots taste good.

a) Leave them alone and eat them raw like Bugs Bunny does.
b) Glaze them with orange juice and brown sugar, candied that is, suitable for children.
c) There are plenty of other things you can do with them too but what I object to is their overuse in multiple dishes at the same meal as if the cook wondered what to do for want of orange specks and so shredded them in a tossed green salad, incorporated them into the stew, associated them with peas for a side, then finished with dessert of carrot cake. That actually happened once on an airplane. Put me off carrots for a decade.

Handmade fettuccine pasta because I love making noodles and because it's been awhile and because those bouncy little things are just so fun. What's not fun -- the pot boiling over and making a mess of the stove.

Sauce using braised pork chops prepared previously refreshed with onion, garlic, and bell pepper.


Squeezed navel orange
braised pork chops, onion, yellow bell pepper
plated fettuccine with pork chop sauce with glazed carrots
The carrots were steamed in a shallow pan with scant 1/2 cup water. Once half way tender, they were lightly salted. + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, + juice of one navel orange, + 1 tablespoon butter.

Pasta made with one large egg, 1/2 egg shell water, 1/2 cup semolina, 1/2 cup A/P flour.
This blended into an exceedingly dry mixture. Dough rested for 1/2 hour was much more pliable. Run through Atlas to #5 setting, then fettuccine cutter.

Sauce in the same pan the carrots were steamed and glazed, rinsed out of course. Tablespoon of butter, 1/2 white onion, 1 yellow pepper, one sliced garlic clove, Italian seasoning, S/P.

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano. I used the little knobs of rind left over from previous wedges. Man, you can really grate those puppies down.

Romaine salad


* 1/2 head of Romaine lettuce
* 1 Roma tomato
* hand-whipped mayonnaise
* flecks of Parmigiano Reggiano
* S/P

I totally goofed on this batch of mayonnaise. I heated the eggs over steam in a double boiler while whisking and over did the whole thing until it separated. That's bad. To fix it, I started over with a fresh bowl and a fresh egg and a new drizzle of oil, then slowly added the separated batch into the new whipped egg. Voila! Fixed. To see the separated mixture, which closely resembles baby vomit, whip back into smooth aioli is a marvel of science and wonder to behold. I imagined interns surrounding a surgery table in a medical school theater suddenly stand and enthusiastically applaud. The advantage of heating is it can be stored longer. No need to worry about raw eggs cracked open in the refrigerator. Plus, I like playing with a hand whip for a change from the immersion blender.

pork chops, tossed green salad

Pork chops

* brined
* browned
* cooked under pressure for one hour. This turned out to be perhaps a little bit too long. These pork chops were so tender they broke apart lifting them out of the pressure cooker. Even the bones became delicate, they can easily be bitten right through. If you choose not to use a pressure cooker, they can be braised on low heat with a little water for a few hours.

Tossed Salad

* Romaine lettuce
* Roma tomatoes
* Avocado
* Artichoke hearts

Dressing

* Raspberry vinegar
* Raspberry jam
* Dijon style mustard
* Olive oil
* Smashed ginger
* Crushed garlic
* S/P

roasted turkey with bacon sandwich




With Emmenthal cheese and handmade mayonnaise on sourdough bread.

puff pastry with bacon and cheese and chipotle in adobo

puff pastry biscuits with cheese and bacon and chipotle in adobo

How I love this because it combines my favorite things. It takes my cheese crackers and elevates them to a whole 'nuther level of elegance. If you decide to make these for a party, then go ahead and make them but put them away least there be nothing left for guests.

Seen on Lucy's Kitchen Notebook. Lucy is an American ex-pat living in Lyon, France. She's actually a bit more of a foodie than the French themselves generally and that's saying a lot. She tells a story of when commercial puff pastry was first introduced but not yet readily available. She quickly learned to distinguish and appreciate the difference between commercial and hand-made puff pastry and yearned for something better. She learned from a friend that she could buy a better product from the local bakery ready to use in her home creations and left commercial feuiletée behind. At a family gathering through some mistranslation it was passed around the party that she prepared the pastry herself from scratch for an apero she brought to the party. She says the guilt was so horrible she wanted to gather everybody to the center of the room and announce she did not fold the puff herself. She's hilarious. Then she lived with the tremendous burden of fraud for years following. Ha ha ha. That kills me. The years have taught her to forgive herself. But she resolved to master puff pastry without making a big deal about chilling the ingredients after pounding butter between each layer after tedious layer. This method takes advantage of one of several available shortcuts, and I must say the result is positively addictive. It's totally diet-worthy too, if your diet is for an underweight teenager still growing in search of calorie-dense meals in an attempt to add bulk.

Lucy emphasizes the reason this tastes better than anything you can buy is simple -- the butter. Commercial enterprises, even bakeries naturally seek ways to control costs. Use the best butter you have available and that will translate to extraordinary taste. Much better than anything you could possibly buy, and when it comes to providing hospitality to the polite people of California, Colorado, Arizona, and North Carolina and Ohio, and Lyon, the food cognoscenti will know.

Lucy calls this Feuilletage, Cheese and Bacon Biscuits. Feuillet = leaf.

Here's Lucy's recipe:

a) Keep everything cold, but do not bother to chill between layers.
b) Select butter with some care. Any butter will be better than the strange combination of non-butter chemicals used in commercial puff pastry, but you're in for a real treat by choosing an excellent unsalted butter.
c) Start to finish 10 minutes.
d) Good with Champagne or beer
e) Combine:

1) 125 g. A/P flour
2) 140 g. butter
3) large pinch of salt
4) large chipotle pepper in adobo (Comes in tiny cans. Use just one large chile or a few small ones. Not the whole can.)
5) few slices of thick bacon
6) 30 g. sharp cheese like cheddar
7) 30 g. Swiss cheese like Emmenthal
8) 60 g. VERY COLD water by weight.

You know what? This makes a decent batch but hardly enough. Let's go ahead and double it. In Avoirdupois this time. Avoirdupois, man, that irony sure can be ironic.

1) 9 oz. flour. This is a little over two cups by volume. More flour is used for the work surface that gets incorporated between the layers, it's part of what adds to the flake, flake, flakiness.
2) 10 oz. butter. This is a little over one cup by volume. You'll notice, by weight slightly more butter than flour.
3) 1/2 teaspoon salt. This assumes you're using unsalted butter.
4) 2 large chipotle chiles in adobe or up to six small ones, finely diced.
5) 5 or 6 thick slices of bacon, fried crisp and finely chopped.
6) 2-3 oz. sharp cheddar
7) 2-3 oz. Swiss cheese
8) 1/2 cup near-freezing cold water


As usual, rapidly rub cold butter into salted flour. Use a machine if you want, but why bother? It's fun to just smash the butter with your fingertips and coat each smashed particle with flour. Keep doing that until the butter is thoroughly combined into the butter and the flour is totally butterfied. Shred the cheese and add that too. Combine completely. Add most of the water, reserving about 1/4. Combine without kneading the flour until the water is evenly distributed. Keep adding the water until the mass comes together but not beyond. Use your dough-making judgment here along with a little common sense.

Roll out the dough mass on a generously floured work surface into a rectangle to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness. Fold in thirds and roll flat again. Fold in thirds and roll flat again. That's twice. Do that twice again. Just for fun. Do it again. Finally, roll into a rectangle again. Spread the bacon and the chipotle evenly across the surface. Roll up one edge traveling across the flattened mass into a log shape. Cut the log into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart (I use parchment paper or Silpat). Bake at 400°F until brown.

fruit salad

raw fruit for salad
fruit salad
I am amazed at the cost of fruit salad at the grocery deli. I could buy a giant sack of apples or more navel oranges then I could eat in two months for the cost of 1 LB of deli fruit salad. <-- possible exaggeration. And you have to buy 18 LBS because it's mostly water. <-- might have made that up. Does it really cost that much to chop up a bunch of random fruit? Also, it's a little bit weird that you can buy a pineapple in Denver for 1/3 the cost of a pineapple on Maui, unless you accidentally lift one from the field like we did and unexpectedly incidentally circumstantially perchance wantonly toss it in the car trunk like we did. And even then you have to factor in the cost of getting yourself to Maui, find a place to stay, rent a car, etc. I still feel a little bit guilty about that. Yes, I feel about this much guilt, -->·<-- , that dot worth of guilt.

Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough bread

bread dough flattened and divided after three days cool fermentation
bread dough stretched stacked and salted
bread dough stretched in proofing basket
bread dough final proof
finished and cut sourdough with Happy Cow cheese and fresh tomato
The uninteresting parts are not shown. They're covered repeatedly elsewhere on this blog. Search [sourdough] and hundreds of photographs will come up -- OK, fine! -- dozens of photographs.

This bread was not properly kneaded. Here's the thing; long fermentation period is itself a form of kneading. Besides, the dough is sadistically, albeit kindly but insistently stretched in four directions which redistributes the yeast providing each little cellular yeastie with a new dancing partner, and by dancing partner I mean sexual procreation partner, which is only one of the two ways yeast has to procreate which is one of the reasons why they're such marvelous little survivors. I contrived a lovely animation that demonstrates these two methods yeast use to procreate, sexually and asexually. Quite nice it is, complete with music. The animation is on another blog here. The text I used was in Spanish which I liked so I left it that way, more interesting than English. It's actually nine little animations all shoved together and timed so one picks up where another leaves off while all the rest wait. It goes round and round and you can lose yourself in it.

Not shown:

* the revivification of the yeast culture from deep slumber -- two days.
* the mixing and building up of the dough by doubling each feeding of flour and water in twelve hour increments. -- two days.
* cool fermentation period covered in the refrigerator where the yeast activity arrests but the bacteria portion of the culture continues apace imparting its own special magic upon the dough -- three days.
* the transfer to covered Magnalite pots preheated to the vulcanized torridity of the surface of a red giant star of the first magnitude, say the one in the arm of Orion, Betelgeuse -- OK, fine! -- 500°F, and baking covered then uncovered -- forty-five minutes.

This produced two loaves. I wrapped and gave one to my neighbors who said, "Awesome!"

bouillabaisse with mango and pineapple on brown rice


Bouillabaisse held over from yesterday, reheated with mango and pineapple served with steamed brown rice.

Brown rice is a little bit weird. It's chewier than white rice. Here's what I learned; steam a little longer, use less water, holds up well under pressure.

35 minutes steam under pressure, up to 45 minutes without. Leave covered throughout while cooling before releasing pressure, or for 10 minutes off heat without pressure

bouillabaisse


Bouillabaisse, at least that's what I'm calling it, made from what I have on hand. It lacks seafood items ordinarily seen in traditional bouillabaisse like clams, lobster, mussels, partial corn on the cob sections and such and instead has only frozen shrimp, scallops and flounder. But I don't care. I added saffron and that fakes me out into believing it tastes just like Bouillabaisse -- and it does! Although I didn't bother with toasted French bread and aioli. Also my base is a little bit off, the canned tomatoes and homemade chicken broth, and I don't care about that either. The canned Mexican style diced tomatoes have jalapenos, onions and garlic. The cans were languishing in the pantry for months. I dropped in some tahini just to see what would happen, and that's not traditional either. I would be satisfied to serve this at a dinner party and sniff that I knew what I was doing all along.

catfish with broccoli and pecans


Catfish drenched and dredged, with steamed broccoli and pecans. Topped with a simple roux velouté sauce made with frozen chicken broth cubes and the drench milk used for the fish, along with more of the same seasoning added to the dredge. Wouldn't do to waste now, would it? Plus some kind of little knob of cheese, I have no idea what it was, the label is gone, whatever it was, it's good. The seasoning was some kind of brown powder in a circular tin from Spice Boys marked simply HOT. It's not. Those Spice Boys, their patronage is all Norteamericanos, they don't know the meaning of hot. The pecans were toasted separately because that's what you do to get their internal oil going or else they'd be raw NTTAWWT.




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