Balcony tomato on whole wheat Denver sourdough toast

A lot of photographs for something so simple but I watered these plants all summer, what there was of it. Actually, it was a very nice summer although off to an exceedingly late start and that did change everything. But now is the end and I am glad my waterboy duties and little garden-slave duties are almost done.

I learned a lot this year. Boy, did I ever learn. Because my aim was to combine vegetables and herbs that I use as if they are arrangements. So I started them inside from vegetables that I use. That was one of the things I learned not to bother with. I especially learned right at the end. And right at the end when I am taking in my own lessons from my own mistakes I read in Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers, Pamela Crawford write,
"Vegetable Trials: 1768 planted, 1376 failed. 
I love that. It makes me feel much better. I did much better than that. I have my losses, yes, and they are discouraging, but not anymore. But then, she would rate my successes as failures, at least "bloopers." Her bloopers are my successes. A blooper for her is when the basket shows or when the foliage of species blends or when a plant grows too tall or too long and I do not care so much about those things. I read all five of her books relating to this. They repeat. But now I have it internalized and I'm already formulating plans for next Spring. 

Shrimp and rice with vegetables

Vegetables are okra and peas.

Rice is steamed with ground popcorn because I was originally thinking shrimp and grits. The corn portion was almost masa harina. You can see it in there, the tiny bumps on the rice.

The sauce is chicken broth velouté with what amounts to an American curry and a spot of top grated hard cheese off the heat.

Sauces confound people but they shouldn't.

* butter and flour in equal portion, 1Tablespoon each per Cup of liquid, generally speaking.

Cook the flour and butter in a little pot until the butter turns brown and the flour is cooked through, a few minutes. This is a roux, a French technique that is fundamental to Cajun cooking. There are three general stages of butter/flour roux from blond to quite dark. We are going for medium. The spices are added at this point, the heat tends to activate the oils in the spices while overcooking will burn them, so, liquid to follow in rapid succession. The liquid heats up and everything whisks and thickens quickly.

And you can pretty much make it taste like anything.

It doesn't have to be just the pan drippings.

* pressed garlic
* cumin
* coriander powder
* oregano
* cayenne chile powder
* salt/pepper

Although pan drippings are the best place to start the cook is not beholden to the flavor of remnant bits. I could have included something like cherry or blueberry preserves just to have a sweet and a fruit element. Something like pineapple would be perfect. So would mangos. As it is, I settled for white box wine to initiate the liquid portion and stop the spices frying, it absorbs and evaporates quickly leaving behind a thick dark sludge, the chicken broth is tossed in and whisked. Boom, gravy. I showed this to a friend and he said,


Sausage soup, soggy roasted cheese sandwich

Broiled cheeseburger, 100% whole wheat Denver sourdough

The bread is dense sturdy and flavorful. The sausage is Kobe beef and lamb. It it is rubbed directly into the bread. A combination of cheese added on top and the whole plate broiled.

Avocado tomato and cheese on Denver sourdough

50% whole wheat / 50% all purpose flour. The whole wheat portion is fermented, the all-purpose portion is not.  

--- BONUS ---

100% whole wheat, the latest most fierce Denver sourdough culture. The only fermentation was the days building up starter to sponge incrementally over days. The final increment included baking soda to foam if it will and to alter the flour to make it more elastic and that seems to have worked. Previous 100% whole wheat loaves were unable to form a skin, much like baking sand.

Sausage roll, homemade sausages, puff pastry, tomato sauce

For my sausage these are the meats that I had on hand so these are the meats that I used. I also have bacon, bacon fat and duck fat. 

It is the end of the season and I am long on herbs. These are all from the terrace, mint, cilantro, basil and parsley. 

My own sourdough pieces baked to dryness like commercial panko.

Tin of San Marzano tomatoes
olive oil
Bay leaf
chile flakes
Heat olive oil, cook onion and garlic. When done and at risk of burning pour some tomato sauce or a single tomato into the pan and allow it to singe and spatter and burn onto areas of the pot even while it protects the garlic and onion from further burning as the mass turns to thick sludge. 
Clear it off with wine.
Dump in the tin of tomatoes without breaking them up.
Refrigerator or freezer is rearranged to accommodate a baking tray flatly.

The dough is yeast dough with baking soda to change the ph and salt but no butter this time. 

A sheet of butter 2/3 the size of the sheet pan is created by melting one stick of butter in the microwave to liquid. A sheet of plasticine wrap covers a baking tray for ease of butter-sheet removal and the tray is set inside the freezer or refrigerator.

Melted butter is poured over the frozen metal tray and plastic to 2/3 the size of the tray. The tray is so cold the butter begins to slow and thicken immediately. It needn't be poured all at once. The butter slab can be created in multiple pours much like dipping a candle. Finally a usable sheet of butter is created that is cold enough to be lifted from its tray by the plastic and set on cold yeast dough rolled flatly to the full size of its own tray. The edges of the plastic are used to lift the sheet of frozen butter and flip it onto the cold dough rolled out the full size of the baking tray, The frozen butter slab arranged on top of the rolled dough so that 1/3 of the dough is uncovered. The plastic pulled off. That naked third is folded over the center buttered third (and presenting an unbuttered top). Then the end butter third is folded over the whole thing. Boom. Three layers of flake with two lawyers of butter just like that.


Roll out to the size of the tray. Fold in thirds. 

Roll out to the size of the tray. Fold in thirds.

That déjà vu thing is happening again, really hard this time.


Roll out to the size of the tray. Fold in thirds.

I had a hard time deciding what type of dough to use. I prefer something easy, and I'm glad I decided on puff pastry. Puff pastry is the way to go. 

This form of puff is how croissants are made. Again, it is a plain yeast dough, not a short dough like regular puff. The plain yeast dough would have been fine by itself without all that extra butter for flake pastry and puff pastry, like a hotdog bun around a sausage. That is what the refrigerator dough is like. (I presume, I never ate one) A short dough like a flaky pie crust dough would work too just as well. Especially if folded in layers. All of them are used.

But, of the choices, puff pastry is quite incredible. It makes the whole thing fun to eat. Flakes all over the place.

Americans have their pigs in a blanket, usually a hotdog rolled into refrigerator dinner roll dough that comes in a tube that you hit firmly and resolutely on a table edge causing the unique packaging, weaker along a spiral, to explode open, as the whole thing is under pressure especially if the cylinder has been sitting around at room temperature.  It is the most fun thing about the refrigerator doughs that come in a tube, or one of the most terrifying things about them. It's all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. 

The hotdog rolled in refrigerator dough has an hor d'oeuvres version made of miniature franks that come in a jar or a tin and the same refrigerator dough. These are often the top item in a person's repertoire for hor d'oeuvres for entertaining or for satisfying a pot luck requirement, and that top position is reinforced when their family and friends and coworkers tell them how delicious they are. 

But see the carelessness in choice of ingredients there? 

The original idea was careless: sausage in dough. Hastily constructed from convenient ingredients and served in pubs.

The idea is hardly unique. Corn dog. Chinese sausage buns. Egg rolls. Pierogi. Ravioli.  

This is Gordon Ramsey on a panel of judges for Masterchefs remarking on this gentleman's sausage roll.

Buckwheat soba, shoyu-based sauce

Buckwheat is not real wheat, in fact, buckwheat is not even a grass. Its triangular seed is ground to powder. 

The noodles and sauce are cold. 


* soy sauce
* rice vinegar
* fish sauce (a few drops, or anchovy paste)
* sugar (or honey, or brown sugar)
* horseradish (tastes exactly like wasabi)
* sesame oil (a few drops)
* water

You can add a teaspoon cornstarch heat in a microwave and and the sauce will thicken right up, but I like it watery.

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