apple, Gorgonzola, pecans


I saw you standing there and knew I had to have you.

You with your crew. You are larger than most, in fact, you are huge.

I approached



and as I drew near I looked deep into your core


and began to notice your dirt and your flaws as I do


and you simply fell apart


so I ate you.



baked potato, hamburger, cannellini beans


I live in a world where things just stop. I am learning to live with these stoppages and take them in stride. For example the microwave stopped twice doing this little potato. It does that. Overheats or something. It has been doing that from the very beginning. 

Photoshop stopped seven times previously this evening over the course of a single post, albeit an involved one, but still that slows a guy down. 

Also a row of high output lights stopped. I thought it was the ballast like last time but it turned out to be the timer stopped working, much easier to fix, it needed new batteries even though it is plugged in. 

lemon ice cream













The zest of two lemons along with the juice, and soaking for twenty-four hours really did the trick. This ice cream has excellent flavor.

The chocolate sauce made from the Barry's couverture, cream, and almond liqueur. I held back on the liqueur, I wasn't sure it would mix, there is less than a tablespoon and it could have taken more.

It might be early to judge but this seems very light and almost foamy. It might freeze more solidly and become more hard but I sense it is not going to.

It's 50% heavy cream and 50% milk. The milk is powdered milk with the water included to turn the powder into liquid milk, with the milk solids but apparently without the milk fats. I'm not sure about this. I'll have to check into that more but the box says no fat. That's disappointing but it would help explain its fluffy texture.

Two additional utterly superfluous animated GIFs below:
1) swirly ganache with almond liqueur
2) dripping ganache coating an ice cream ball

poached egg on polenta with pecans





What to do with pecans, say, you happen have a big tree of them.

They do excellent things with extravagant flavors and I cannot keep off of those things so I tried my hand at turning something like that into a sauce. The mixture I came up with kept trying to turn into candy and I kept watering it down to sauce. I added cayenne because it seemed like they were asking for it. 

* honey, globs of honey, the sauce is mostly honey. 
* brown sugar, a tad, for its molasses, or maybe just use molasses.
* butter
* cayenne
* rice vinegar
* sea salt
* black pepper
* water

There is a sweet and sour thing going on. The aggressive sweetness of honey and brown sugar combined comes on like an attack and it is parried with salt and reposted with vinegar, the tricky cayenne is a froissement. Take that! You saccharine sauce, and calm down or I shall counterattack you a second time. 

Can you imagine having such a thing in a restaurant?  

carrot soup with ginger



* five little carrots, shredded
* butter
* chicken broth, this was my preference over water
* white pepper
* ginger
* sea salt

Blended with stick blender. No straining. Tasted. The pepper seemed to be throwing it off. It wasn't bad but it needed something. Added 
*sour cream for creaminess and for tang, and added 
*brown sugar for sweetness.

Those two things, a little bit of sour cream and a tiny amount of brown sugar made this soup perfect. I should probably add that I did not have any sour cream so I made it by adding acid (drops of lemon and rice vinegar) to a small amount of heavy cream.

processed chicken breast




The seeds grew inside the hothouse tomato so I ate it. 

A chicken breast is processed with olive oil, blanched garlic, onion, sage, chile flakes, black pepper and sea salt. Gently simmered as a patty in dry Sherry.

The bread is one of the loaves shown earlier cut the length fairly thickly. The top and bottom were removed. The sandwich is delicious, mostly because the bread is excellent. The chicken is not so impressive. The moisture and the flavor of the tomato combined with the homemade mayonnaise dressing and thick bread is attractive. I kept munching away even though I was already satisfied because I wanted more of that combination of tomato with mayonnaise and awesome sourdough style bread powered by commercial yeast and flavored by levain grown from organisms on the same flour.  

bread from levain




The pet levain is knocked back to being a Chihuahua but it keeps wanting to be a Saint Bernard, presently it is about a Springer Spaniel, I would say. 

It is an active pet that way but slow because I am slow. It has managed to survive on my schedule of one feeding a day that does not double its bulk. I think it manages that by dying a little bit each day then coming back to life a little bigger. I could feed it once a day or I could feed it twice a day. I could even feed it three times a day and overall it would adjust to become a fast acting culture. Fast meaning a cycle of eight hours. 

This is 
* one cup of levain that is heated in a cup within a bowl of hot water, a hot water bath, to bring it up from room temperature to proofing temperature rapidly that is mixed into a new sponge that is started in the food processor. The sponge is
* one cup of hot water and one teaspoon of active dry yeast along with some food, a trace of sugar for rapid MRE deployment, and a teaspoon of powdered milk as a treat for the yeast, and flour to bulk up the sponge. To get a quick start, dessert, salad, meal from the yeast's pov. It is a near dough. Once it foams, then the levain and the rest of the 
* flour sufficient to stiffen it all to bread dough is added in increments, but a wet bread dough. Sticky wet dough, that's the way to go here. It should form a blob that flattens. Then of course
* salt to suit your own salt preferences, but it will need salt. This sticky dough picked up
* olive oil from the work surface that became part of the bread. The blob is spread out and covered to proof for an hour. This went too far again. I do that sometimes. It's a problem. This overproofed. Nevertheless, it was borderline overproofed, so the dough was divided as usual, shaped into loaves, and proofed again as loaves. These would not do so well on the second proof because the dough was overproofed before the loaves were formed. That is evident in the last photo, the skin that would become the crust is not stretched, it is the underside brought to the surface and pinched with no actual shaping involved because the sponge was overproofed and ready to completely deflate. With 50% levain in it the dough would not be able to recover if it were completely compressed. Another way to say that is the sourdough portion is a one-shot deal so this is 50% of a one-shot deal and the 50% that is not one-shot was blown by letting it overproof by an hour. One hour does make a difference with the commercial yeast this time because now 50% of it is levain. Dough from 100% levain is not elastic at all and the one-shot aspect it has to it is not at all forgiving. 


This seems like a lot of bread from the train of bread emanating from the crock of levain but I'm not eating it all. Two of those last round were taken again. Last night my last loaf was taken so were it not for this I'd be breadless. 

cheese from powdered milk


The question is, can cheese be made from powdered milk? And the answer is, yes.

Being witty cheese makers all around you are probably better at this than I am. So my hat's off to you. Frankly, I haven't a clue what I'm doing. 

All I know is I bought a box of this powdered milk and it is totally ace. A lot better than I had imagined. I'm mixing it with sugared cocoa powder and not knowing the difference between this and regular milk directly out of a cow. It's awesome. 22 quarts is like, what?, 5 + 1/2 gallons? I'm going through it fast, I need another box. I bought if for bread because the bread people talk about it and at Sam's everything is huge, but it's about the same price as a little box at a reasonable store. 


Whoever invented this was brillo pads. Or demented.

carrot and napa cabbage






When the Pennsylvania Dutch emigrated to the United States from China they brought with them the secret of sweet and sour cabbage but left behind the wide variety of bok choy, white vegetables, that were available to them and concentrated instead on the green, the Savoy, and red varieties of cabbage, which is actually an attractive purple, along with the apple cider vinegar, ingredients that were more successfully replicated for them in the New World. 

Oh, about the book, a history book I think, I was on my bike peddling real hard and it flew out of my pack and my dog snagged it thinking it was a game but he was tired from running so much and slobbering all over the place and it turned into this big tug of war thing and some pages got out of order and some are ripped. Sorry.  

dinner rolls


The levain produces a sourdough loaf that is flavorful, very flavorful with fermentation, but not attractive. I do no like what the culture does to flour when it is done with it so a trick would be to never let it be done. That is, never let the culture be done with the flour or come close to exhausting it.

This technique does that. It uses the flavor of the levain without any emphasis at all on the yeast elements of the culture, that portion is taken over by a fast and reliable commercial single cell yeast. The two are combined with the aim of attaining the benefits of both approaches, natural leaven and commercial yeast.    




It's what people do who are not purists. But what of the weight, the crumb, crust, and taste?

The bread is excellent. It is both oddly aged and new, it has qualities of both, seriously, it is hard to pin down. Open crumb but not wide open, it toasts similarly to how the faster to rise white bread does but it comes out heavier and more substantial. Its flavor is nicely developed without being actually sour. I like the taste and the weight.

The dough is a lot easier to handle than stiffened and refreshed levain and more cooperative and forgiving. The finished loaf altogether easier to deal with. The crust is thin and delicate. I can see why people do this hybrid method, I always viewed it as cheating but now I am changing my opinion. It can salvage this otherwise difficult culture. 

These are large for dinner rolls, they are mini loaves, actually, and substantial enough that one could be a whole meal. But why would you want that, so you load it with things and then cannot finish it. With simple olive oil they are impressively flavorful rolls. 

Baked on highest heat possible with heavy steam the first half. That is what causes the blister shown on the surface.

oatmeal cookies

oatmeal cookie animated GIF

Click below for recipe and for the jpg version of above four photographs.

chicken with chiles


It is a chicken breast marinated in powerful chile powders, garlic, a little brown sugar, dry Sherry, which is actually wet. 

Odd the powders do not declare their dryness but the Sherry does, which makes Sherry a big fat liar, that or it exists in a reality so distorted that it's hardly worth the effort to bridge. 


Four kinds of chiles when you add them all up, two powders, one fresh, and one pickled. A tablespoon of the vinegary hot pickle juice is included in the sauce.


Vegetables and chicken seared in the same pan separately. Pan deglazed with the fortified wine. 

Sauce:

* butter
* dry sherry
* things stuck to the pan including spices that fell off and singed
* chicken stock
* heavy cream, probably two tablespoons. 

Conclusion: delicious but a challenge.

I would not offer this to you or to anybody. You would have to be a special proven non-complaining type. I know a few of those and they are my favorite people. This is what I made for myself and ate, but you have not proven yourself, so just forget it. 

bread



la levain, le train de pain

spaghetti


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