Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Seattle with the Curly Haired Boy and his Chick

So I am in Seattle this week for work.  I came down two days early to spend some time with the curly haired boy and his chick.  We eat out, go to movies, get ice cream and just hang out at the kid's house. I'll also meet my niece for dinner.   It is a lot of fun for me, but Dave has to stay home and take care of the dogs.
And then I will work like crazy the rest of the week.
So, enjoy your week.  I am having fun with the kids.

March 26, 2014   Daylight 12 hrs. 57 min. 18 sec.  Temp. H 37/ L -2°F

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon pudding cake fresh from the oven, don't worry when they fall a little.
Coffee with Donna this weekend was fun, as usual.  We talked about my recent trip and my visit with Michelle.  Donna reminded me of the time she, Michelle and Linda got caught hiding in Donna's office during a fire wonder I drank so much when I was a principal.

So, we had to have 9 planned fire drills during the school year.  We notified the fire department, the fire men came, set off the alarm, all the classes filed out, we took attendance to make sure we had account of everyone, and the firemen checked the building.  They gave the all clear call and we marched back into our classrooms and proceeded with our day.

One colder, winter day we had a fire drill.  We were in the midst of taking attendance and came across 4 teachers that were missing.  I went inside to tell the firemen we were missing some teachers (sometimes the firemen pulled someone out of line to "test" us as see how fast we were at locating missing people).  I walked into the building and there was a fireman with three of the four missing people, Donna, Michelle, and Linda.  They were laughing and looking a little embarrassed.  Turns out, they were hiding in Donna's office, but were talking and laughing so loud, the fireman heard them through the door and opened the door.  Funnest fact is that this particular fireman was a 4th grade student of Donna's when she was teaching!  Nothing like having a former student catch you hiding from the state required fire drill...thanks ladies.   The fourth missing person was also a teacher, hiding in her classroom...really.

So that evening, when Donna called, my husband asked her if she was going to pick up part of the alcohol bill.

Well, I've moved from martinis to dessert when I'm stressed.  It is a good thing I retired from the school district and have a job that is much less stressful or I would weigh 400 pounds.

I made these lemon pudding cakes for dessert for family dinner.  They are light, tart, and the perfect spring dessert.  I made some blueberry compote with frozen Alaskan blueberries from last fall.  It was a delicious end to our meal.
In the oven in their water bath.

Golden brown and delicious.

Lemon pudding cake with blueberry compote.

Lemon Pudding Cake
from Cook's Illustrated, March-April 2014 

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup juice (3 lemons)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position and het oven to 325°F.  Bring milk and cream to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Remove pan from heat, whisk in lemon zest, cover pan, and let stand for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, fold dish towel in half and place in bottom of large roasting pan.  Place six 6-oz. ramekins on top of towel and set aside pan.

Strain milk mixture through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, pressing on lemon zest to extract liquid; discard lemon zest.  Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and slat in second bowl until combined.  Add egg yolks, vanilla, lemon juice, and milk mixture and whisk until combined.  (Batter will have the consistency of milk.)

Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minutes.  Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whip until glossy, soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes.

Whisk one quarter of whites into batter to lighten.  With rubber spatula, gently fold in remaining whites until no clumps or streaks remain.  Ladle batter into ramekins (ramekins should be nearly full).  Pour enough cold water into pan to come one-third of the way up side of ramekins.  Bake until cake is set and pale golden brown and pudding layer registers 172 to 175 degrees at center, 50-55 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and let ramekins stand in water bath for 10 minutes.  Transfer ramekins to wire rack and let cool completely.  Serves 6 (or 4 if your oldest son eats 3 of them himself!

Easy Blueberry Compote
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp. sugar plus more for taste (I used my Alaskan blueberries so I added a little more sugar)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Using a small saucepan, put blueberries and sugar over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy.  Remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Season with extra sugar if needed.

This is great over the lemon pudding cakes, ice cream, toast, pancakes, or pork loin (with a little less sugar).

1 year ago:   Beer Braised Pork and a wedding anniversary
2 years ago:  Tiger Bread

March 24, 2014   Daylight 12 hrs. 43 min. 49 secs.  Temp H 37/ L 9°F

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lesson from the Road #2, No sad books on the airplane

One of the things I love about my job is I travel to different places in our county and I get to visit with friends who have moved away from Alaska.  On my most recent trip I got to stop on my way from Logan, Utah to Provo, Utah to visit with my friend Michelle.

Michelle and I used to work together at an elementary school.  I was the principal and she was the behavior specialist.  She worked with the toughest kids in our school.  They loved her.  She had a way of holding kids accountable for their actions in a kind, loving way that helped them want to make changes in their behavior.  It was a tough, demanding job and she did it with grace, style, and love.  It was a very sad day when she left us.

I stopped for an afternoon visit and dinner with her on my way to Provo, had a wonderful visit, delicious dinner and headed back on the road.  I can't wait until next year when I get to see her again.

This trip was a lot easier than the last.  My luggage made it, I didn't have to use the extra shirt and undies I packed in my carry-on.  They are ready for next week.  I got to read, read, read.  Sitting on a plane is a little like heaven to me.  No one talks to you except to ask you what you want to eat and/or drink, and I have hours of uninterrupted reading time.  I read several books, The Alchemist (I like juvenile fiction so I can discuss books with my niece), The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman (wonderful!), Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (one of my favorite authors), The invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and The Fault of our Stars by John Greene, amazing book but "Spoiler Alert" gut-wrenchingly sad...and , um, I'm a cryer...and not quiet about it.

So there I sat in the window seat, with some poor guy to my left, I'm reading, tears dripping off my chin, I'm trying not to sob (not successfully), and this guy next to me is SO uncomfortable, he askes the stewardess if he can change seats! Awesome book, if you are home alone and can cry in peace, not so much for a sold out airplane.

So only happy books for the rest of my Spring travels.  I'm headed out again next week, I'm headed to the book store for something funny.  Any suggestions?

1 year ago:   Bistro Steak with Red Wine Sauce and the 12 year old Dentist
2 years ago:  Cherry Danish and Racing Mr. J

March 21, 2014  Daylight 12 hrs, 23 min. 37 secs.  Temp.  H 28/ L 0°F

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fried Chicken and complaining

Sunday dinner is always at our house.  any of the kids in town know they are expected, yes Joe every week, my MIL and BIL come and other assorted family and friends.  My BIL has gotten into the habit of bringing a salad.  I appreciate that and have started to count on it.  Salad and wine, I count on the wine too.

So I was planning Sunday dinner and talking about this new fried chicken recipe I was going to try and my BIL said he would bring a salad, but I was really putting the pressure on him.  I just let the comment pass, not really knowing what he was talking about.  Later at dinner he started to complain....
He had to pull the strings off the sugar snap peas, he had to peel the celery (I hate celery strings and I always peel mine), he had to peel and grate the carrots...on and on he complained about all the things he had to do to the salad.
"It used to be I would open a bag of pre-made salad and call it good." he stated, "Now I have all this prep work to do because you would do that, Toni."

Well, at least he is learning something.

So, on to the chicken.  This is baked low and slow first, and then fried so you get juicy, tender chicken, perfectly cooked.  It does take some planning and a little extra time, but it is mostly hands-off and you can do other things while the chicken is pull the strings off sugar snap peas.  I did make some adjustments to make it dairy free for the Bboy and the chick, next time I do this I'll do half with buttermilk coating and half without for the kids.

Fried Chicken
adapted from Food and Wine, March 2014

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced thyme
5 minced bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 three-pound chickens

Oil for frying
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 200°F.  In a bowl, whisk 3 Tbsp. kosher salt with 2 Tbsp. pepper, the olive oil, thyme, sage, bay leaves and garlic.  Rub the mixture all over the chickens and set them in a roasting pan.  Roast for about 2 hours 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted int he inner thighs registers 150°F.  Let the chickens cool, then cut each into 10 pieces. (4 drumsticks, 4 thighs, 4 wings, and 8 breast quarters.)

**I did not do this, but I'm adding it for my milk friendly friends and I'll try it with half next time...
Whisk 1 quart buttermilk, 1 Tbsp. Tabasco and 1 tsp. sugar in a large bowl, add the chicken pieces.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Remove chicken from buttermilk and proceed with the rest of the directions.***

In a large bowl, whisk the all purpose flour, rice flour, garlic and onion powders, 3 Tbsp. salt and 2 Tbsp. pepper.

Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, patting lightly so the flour adheres.  Fry the chicken with oil at 350°F, turning occasionally, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each piece registers 160°F, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer chicken to platter lined with paper towels, sprinkle with kosher salt.

1 year ago:   Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
2 years ago:  Adult Hot Chocolate and the Open North American Dog Race

March 19 , 2014   Daylight 12 hrs. 10 min. 10 sec.  Temp H 23/ L -6°F

Monday, March 17, 2014

Asparagus Soup with Bacon

I was tired, it had been a long day.  I flew to Wyoming, shopped at Wallmart for essentials, gone to the reception, handed out about 200 flyers and talked non-stop about Alaska (O.K. that wasn't hard) and now it was 7:00 and I was hungry and tired.

I went to the hotel's restaurant and ordered dinner; a shrimp cocktail and s bacon salad.  Yes, I said bacon salad...that was not what was on the menu, that is what I said.

The menu had a spinach salad with bacon, I obviously was just interested in the bacon, so I ordered the bacon salad and didn't even realize what I said.

"Bacon salad?" the waiter asked and then started to laugh.

I was a little put-off by this rude waiter who laughed at people's orders until I realized what he said.  I started to laugh to and said, "I'll take some spinach with that bacon, and you better bring me a glass of wine."

So, any recipe I make with bacon is just an excuse to eat more bacon.  So here is another one.   Plus it is green, a good color for dinner on St. Patrick's Day!

Spring is asparagus season and we do love asparagus.  This soup is easy and fresh.  It is another good excuse to eat bacon your veggies!

Asparagus Soup
adapted from Ellie Krieger, Weeknight Wonders

2 med. leeks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 med. (about 5 oz.) white potato
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 lbs. asparagus
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 tsp. greek yogurt - optional
2 strips bacon, fried and chopped - optional, but is it really?
won ton strips - optional

Slice the dark green tops off the leeks and discard.  Slice the remaining white and light green parts in half lengthwise and rinse well between each layer to remove any trapped dirt.  Chop coarsely.

heat the oil in a large soup opt over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium, ad the leeks, and cook until tender but not brown.  about 4 minutes.  While the leeks are cooking, peel an dice the potato.
Stir the dried thyme, salt, and pepper into the post.  Add the potato and broth and bring to a boil over high heat.  Then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the potato is nearly tender, about 5 minutes.  While the potato cooks, trim off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus, and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Add the asparagus to the pot, return to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, covered until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then puree in a blender in 3 batches, or go for it with your immersion blender (like I do).  Transfer (if blending) back to the pot and stir the lemon juice into the puree.  Serve garnished with yogurt, bacon and won ton strips, if desired.

Seves 4

1 year ago:   Carrot Cake Roulade and a good try
2 years ago:  Crab and Goat Cheese Ravioli

March 17, 2014    Daylight 11 hrs. 56 min. 42 sec.  Temp H 37/ L 3°F

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lessons from the Road

New hair stuff for the carry-on...and mascara

This time of year I do a lot of traveling for work.  This week I am in Wyoming.  Pretty easy connections - Fairbanks-Seattle-Denver-Laramie.  I made it just fine, my luggage did not.

So I am at a job fair with 1) No Materials, 2) No Giant work Signage, 3) jeans, the gray t-shirt, and gray sweater I ALWAYS wear on the airplane 4) No mascara, 5) No phone charger...

I know packing the phone charger in my suitcase was a rookie mistake, it usually always goes in my carry-on, but I was packing in a hurry and the case of gum I give away at the job fair wouldn't fit in my carry-on so as I transferred things, the chargers got transferred too.  I wonder if that is why my suitcase didn't make it.  Can you imagine what that x-ray looks like?  A whole bunch of bricks of gum and some wires all tangled around...hmmmm.

Well, I got here, my luggage did not, I went to Wallmart.  Clean undies, mascara, black jeans, and $77.13 later, I had the essentials to make it through the weekend.  That didn't include the $44.00 I had to pay for an iPhone charger.  But, if that is as bad as it gets, I guess it is a good trip.

So, things I learned...
1) Mascara goes in my purse (I keep my toothbrush there).
2) Cases of gum and my brochures get packed in a cardboard box, not my suitcase.
3) Keep a few brochures in my carry on, just in case.
4) Always keep one pair of clean undies and one clean shirt in my carry on.
5) Chargers always go in my carry on.
6) A good attitude is necessary, short that, wine will work.

Do you have any good tips for traveling?

1 year ago:  Pasties
2 years ago:  Crab and Goat Cheese Ravioli

March 14, 2014   Daylight 11 hrs. 36 min. 31 sec.  Temp. H 30/ L 3°F

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Every day an Adventure

One of our many Alaskan adventures...berry picking

My friend, Donna, asked me this question...

I you could sum you life up in one word, what would it be?

I had to think for about 3 seconds and said "Adventure."

She said her word was "Work-in-progress."

"NO, that is three words," I informed her.

"No," she said, "if you have a hyphen between each word is counts as one."


I chose adventure because I do like to say, "Everyday is an adventure!" and I do believe it is true.  Having been a teacher and principal, you never knew what was coming your way and you just had to roll with it.  At my current position, again, lots of new and exciting experiences every day.  And that is just for me.  Think about my poor family that lives with me (yes, feel sorry for my husband).  Everyday is an adventure for them!
Caribbean adventure
Swimming with Manta Rays in Grand Cayman
Adventures in the cold..frozen bubbles at -30
Abandoned copper mine at Kennecott, Alaska
The many adventures of being a parent
Our zip line adventure in Jamica
Dave's adventure of being married to me!

So while I continue of my adventurous life, I want to ask you a question.

If you could use one word to describe your life(with or without the hyphens), what word would you choose?
Our latest adventure in Costa Rica, on the canopy bridges.
Dave at a coffee tasting demo
A day at the beach
Some of the wildlife

1 year ago:    Tequila Sorbet
2 years ago:  Wedding Bells

March 12, 2014   Daylight 11 hrs. 23 min. 13 sec.   Temp. H 28/ L 14°F

Monday, March 10, 2014

Banh Mi

Week nights are a little hectic, we have more sun in the evening, outside chores are accumulating and work really gets in the way of all the things I want to do. (Don't even ask me if I've started the mosaic that is supposed to go outside this spring!)

I get home late from work, it is our busy season, and I'm tired.  Then to get dinner on the table...ugh.  My idea of dinner is 6:00 sharp, but we find ourselves eating around 7:00 or 7:30.  That is pretty late when my bedtime is 9:00.

I'm working on quick, delicious meals for the week.  I haven't resorted to once-a-month cooking like I used to do when the kids were younger and we were going in 7 different ways every night, but I'm getting there.

This dinner was quick, delicious, and a hit with everyone! I did plan ahead in that I made the rolls on Sunday for these.  Next time I'll double the meat and stick half in the freezer for another meal.  The meat would be a great addition to a Salad for Dinner night.

Pork Banh Mi Sandwiches
adapted from Weeknight Wonders, Ellie Krieger

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 large carrot
5 oz. radishes, I used a big handful
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. sriracha sauce
1 lb. pork tenderloin
1/2 English cucumber
fresh cilantro
potato sourdough rolls, or sandwich rolls of your choice
1/4 cup mayonnaise, the recipes calls for 2 Tbsp. greek yogurt mixed with 2 Tbsp. mayo, but I can't do yogurt for the Bboy and the chick.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 2 tsp. of the fish sauce.  Grate the carrot and radish in a food processor or on a box grater.  Add to the bowl with the sauce and toss to combine.

Mince the garlic and add to another medium bowl.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. honey, remaining 1 tsp. fish sauce, and 1 tsp. of the sriracha sauce and stir to combine.  Slice the pork into  1/4 inch medallions.  Add the pork to the bowl with the garlic-honey sauce and toss to coat.

Spray a large nonstick skillet or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side

While the pork is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to cut the cucumber into thin ribbons.  Rinse the cilantro and pick leaves from the stalks.

Slice each roll length-wise, scoop out and discard the soft insides, and toast lightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, yogurt (if using), and sriracha sauce.  Spread 1 Tbsp. on each bun.  Layer 1/4 of the carrot-radish slaw and the cucumber ribbons on each bun and top with 1/4 of the cooked pork.  Top with cilantro leaves.

Serves 4.

1 year ago:   Parmesan Tilapia
2 years ago:  Protein Balls and Fairbanks Fit Body Bootcamp

March 10, 2014   Daylight 11 hrs. 9 min. 35 secs.  Temp. H 12/ L 5°F

Friday, March 7, 2014

Birthday Cake

Cakes can be a scary commitment.  You don't get to taste it before you cut and serve it, it is huge so if it isn't the tastiest you have a lot of waste, or a lot of unhappy eaters, and even if it tastes good, cakes can look bad.  They can be lop-sided, the frosting can slide, there just is so much pressure with a cake.

So why did I volunteer to make a cake for a co-workers birthday?  I must have had a short mental laps, but volunteer I did and there I was standing in my kitchen hoping the cake would taste good and look good.  This group I work with takes their baked good seriously, remember the cookie contest our office had?

I used a recipe that was for 20 cupcakes, so I made two batches into three layers and a couple cupcakes for the neighbor boys.  It was a rich chocolate cake with finely chopped dark chocolate pieces, it was very good.  Then I topped it with the Hershey's cocoa frosting (one of my favorites).  Just to make sure it wasn't lopsided, I pressed Kit Kats around the side and filled the top with fresh raspberries.

I do believe it was a hit.

Chocolate Cake
from Fine Cooking, April/May 2014
This is for a single batch

5 1/2 oz (1 1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 Tbsp. molasses
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 oz. (10 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 batches Hershey's Cocoa frosting, below
6 king size Kit Kat Bars, cut into single bars

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour (I use cocoa powder for a chocolate cake) two 8" round pans.  Line bottoms with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In another medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, water, and molasses until smooth.  Let the mixture cool until just warm, and then whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.

Alternately mix in the flour and cocoa mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour in three additions.  By hand, stir in the chopped chocolate.

Divide batter between the two prepared pans.  Bake about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Hershey's Cocoa Frosting
from the can

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.

Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Stir in vanilla.

Frost cake.  While frosting is soft, press single Kit Kat bar pieces on sides, circling cake.  Tie ribbon around candy.  Refrigerate.  Add raspberries to top just before serving.

1 year ago:  Quinoa Blondies
2 yeas ago:  Microwave Popcorn

March 7, 2014   Daylight 10 hrs. 49 min. 21 sec.   Temp. H 16/ L -13°F

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dog Tired and Pumpkin Custard

We've gotten into the habit of playing a couple hands of cards after dinner.  The dogs (all 7 of them) have been fed, we've been fed, the fire is warm, we are full and content to sit a few more minutes and visit before we have to get to the dishes, vacuum, homework or what ever is on the agenda for the evening.

We finished dinner and cleared the plates, the kids had been home most of the day and apparently the dogs didn't get their naps in.  The Bboy's dog, Jack, usually sits on the boy's lap during cards.  Every once in a while his chin or a paw will sneak onto the table.  But tonight was a different story.  There obviously wasn't enough room on the boys lap for him and he was tired.  He stretched out and fell asleep while Dave was dealing the cards.

We let him sleep a couple of minutes so I could take a picture, but I didn't want him to start drooling on the tablecloth...although that is the boy's spot so really, does it matter?

The Bboy put him on the rug in front of the fire while we played our cards and he snored through our game...ah, the life of a dog.

When you are dog tired, these come together so easily!  They make the house smell warm and wonderful.  A real treat before you turn in for your nap.

Pumpkin Custards
adapted from Clean Eating, March 2014

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree, 
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Using a large bowl, break eggs and beat lightly.  Add all the other ingredients and whisk until well mixed.  Pour 1/2 cup of mixture into each ramekin.  Place on cookie sheet and place into oven.  Pour hot water in bottom of cookie sheet to about 1/2 up the ramekin.  Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into center of custard comes out clean.  Serve warm with whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings.

1 year ago:   Maple Mustard Chicken
2 years ago:  Moose Parmesan

March 5, 2014   Daylight 10 hrs. 35 min. 50 sec.  Temp. H 15/ L -7°F

Monday, March 3, 2014

Potato Sourdough Sandwich Rolls

I get up before anyone else in the house.  On Sunday I got up, made the fire, made the coffee, and looked at the sourdough starter I fed last night.

On Saturday night just before bed, I take the starter out of the fridge, pour it into a glass bowl, add 1.5 cup of warm water and 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour, mix it up and cover it with a lid that sits a little sideways.  The yeasts eat all night long and burps and farts, and in the morning, I have a bowl full of full yeast in a bubbling mess.  I pull out 1.5 cups of starter, pour it into the cleaned jar, cover it and stuff it back into the fridge for another week.
If you remember, I was not being a good yeast mom and my yeast got a little weak.  But I have mended my ways and the yeast is fat and happy again...which brings me to another problem...I am fat and happy too, with all this fresh bread in the house.  Oh well, the sacrifices we make to protect the ones we love...

So this Sunday morning, while everyone else slept in their warm beds, I made bread.  We had some giant baked potatoes for dinner the night before and had several left over so I shredded one and threw it into the mix.  This makes for a soft crumb and perfect for sandwich rolls.  So later this week we will have sandwiches for dinner on these soft, delicious rolls.

Potato Sourdough bread

1.5 cups sourdough starter, after it has been fed
1/4 cup water, very warm but not hot
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 scant Tbsp. salt
1.5 cups grated baked potato
3 cups flour plus more for kneading

Add yeast and sugar to warm water, mix well and set aside to proof, about 10-15 min.

In large, non-reactive bowl, add sourdough starter, yeast-sugar water, grated potato, and salt.  Mix well.  Add about 3 cups of flour and mix (I do this with my Kitchen Aide).  Turn dough out onto a well floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed, this takes me about 5-10 minutes.

Oil a large bowl, form dough into a ball and place in bowl, turning so the top gets oiled.  Cover with a towel or saran wrap and let rise, in a warm place, until double in size.  Punch down, knead lightly and shape into desired loaf or roll shapes.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and cover with towel again.  Let rise the second time until double in size. Just before baking slash tops of bread with a very sharp knife to allow for rising in the oven. Bake at 400°F for 20-30 (depending on shapes) minutes until golden brown.

I made 6 3-oz. rolls (yes, I weigh the dough) and one loaf with this recipe.  The rolls needed about 20 minutes to bake and the loaf needed about 35 minutes to bake in my oven.

1 year ago:   Prime Rib
2 years ago: Manhattan - Drink of the Week

March 3, 2014   Daylight 10 hrs. 22 min. 18 sec.   Temp. H 19 / L 0 °F