Friday, October 30, 2009

I Finally Get to Eat My Suntan Lotion

Got your attention didn't I.

Once upon a time, before we were all warned about the dangers of slathering ourselves with baby oil, cooking oil, and all other sorts of oil in the search for the St. Tropaz bronze and brown tan, I couldn't wait for April and May to come around so I could trot down to the corner drug store and purchase my summer supply of Coppertone, Bain de Soleil, and Hawaiian Tropic.

Even in snowy Northern Michigan, there was nothing like opening a bottle a of sun tan lotion to make you believe it was the middle of July again and you weren't being blinded by the sun on the snow but the sun on the sand and lake. I especially loved Hawaiian Tropic because it smelled so fantastic, with its blend of coconut and pineapple smells. It was like taking a pina colada and smearing it all over yourself. It smelled so good, it made you hungry.

Now, every time I smell a pina colada or the combination of coconut and pineapple, I am instantly transported back to the summer of 1978, with the music from the soundtrack from Grease playing over the transistor radio at the end of the dock, and my first serious boyfriend Billy sitting next to me rubbing sun tan oil on my back. He had a powder blue 1975 Chevelle and it still amazes me to this day that my parents even let him date me let alone sit alone on the dock with me. But I digress...

Today at lunch, while I caught up on the past three weeks of "unimportant" email I had been ignoring, I opened a container of Dannon Light & Fit Pineapple Coconut yogurt. Instantly, I was not trapped in my office, a slave to my computer and my job but rather I was a carefree fifteen again and the only thing I was responsible for was making sure my room was clean and my homework was done. For just a few minutes, the weight of adulthood wasn't on my shoulders any more.

Who says you can't be fifteen again.

What food smells bring back childhood/teenage memories for you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bread Baking Babes: Taunted by Tanta Wawa

Guess what? I'm not a bad babe this month!

Well, let me rephrase that, I'm not a bad, bad Babe this month.

You see, I did make the dough for our wonderfully fun and creative bread of the month, Tanta Wawa (Peruvian Bread Babies),

BBB logo october 2009

that the fantastic Gretchen of Canela and Comino, our host kitchen, brought back from her beloved Peru. But, apparently, not only are the golf gods not smiling on me but the yeast queen has deserted me as well.

Earlier this month, Sara, Stephanie, and I got together on Skype on the only night for the past several weeks that I have had time to bake for a marathon night baking session. Because of my crazy 60+ hour weeks of the past month and a half, I had not only a cherry tart/turnover to mess up (more on that in the future) but I also totally screwed up a remake of twelve grain bread and Gretchen's lovely Tanta Wawa.

I'm sure it wasn't the recipe, even though Gretchen and others did report that dough was very dry. I'm absolutely positive it wasn't the flour or even the fact that I was desperately skyping back and forth with my girls about the failure of my turnover dough. Nope, it was none of these things. I'm sure I'll never know but for some strange reason, my dough never relaxed enough for me to do anything with it.

It just lay there in it's little round, tight shape taunting me.

Taunted By Tanta Wawa Dough

Daring me to try and stretch it out into a fat, happy baby.

Twelve hours later, I decided that it was never going to relax and I had to send the dough off that place where bad dough goes.

Unfortunately, I haven't had time since to give the Tanta Wawa another go. But, hopefully, this week, I may find a bit of time one evening to see if I can get a lovely baby or two. Thanks Gretchen for a really different take on our bread of the month.

To check out some more successful and adorable Tanta Wawa, go check out the other Babes in the sidebar. If you want to be a Bread Baking Buddy, check out what you have to do to make Tanta Wawa yourself at Gretchen's!

Tanta Wawa (Peruvian Bread Babies)
from Gretchen at Canela and Comino
(Note about this recipe: After several of us reported how hard the dough was to work with, our lovely Gretchen went back to the kitchen and adapted the recipe to make an easier dough to work with. That reworked recipe is what is posted here, not the recipe that resulted in the stiff dough ball above)

Makes 4 small

1 egg
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of yeast

1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 cups of bread flour
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of dry yeast
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 cup of lowfat milk
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of butter
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg yolk (for painting)

1. In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of flour, 1 egg, 2 T water, pinch of yeast and 1 T of sugar. Let that sit for a few hours. In a bowl, mix the flours, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle over the sponge.

2. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture. Measure the milk, water and butter in a measuring cup. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, pour into the flour mixture. Mix well then turn out and knead for 10-15 minutes, using additional flour if necessary. Divide dough into 4 portions of 250g each. Form them into ovals. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

3. Stretch each dough ball into the form of a "fat baby". (*note: This is where things are really vague...use the linked photos for ideas). Place them on baking sheets which have been greased and floured. Cover with plastic and let the dough babies grow to three times their size. (*note: no indication of how long! Sorry!)

4. Preheat the oven to 180C.

5. Brush the egg yolks over the dough babies. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging: Mom's Whizzing Around the Kitchen

Can you believe it? There is a second post this week here.

Of course, Mom isn't writing it because she is too busy in the kitchen playing around with puff pastry dough for some cherry turnovers she's taking to some friend's tonight and the golf course tomorrow, prepping for a marathon night baking session with Sara and Stephanie, and carving up the corned beef she got up at 3am this morning


so she could make some corned beef hash for brunch tomorrow.

Then there were the maple scones she made for a client.


All that running around made Mom really thirsty and she said something about it didn't matter that it was only 39 degrees outside, she was going to have gin and tonic. Then I heard lots of "adult" words coming from the kitchen. It seems Mom had to get the tools out from under the sink to get the bottle of gin open.


Maybe that was telling her something...


I've been laying around the house trying to be a speed bump between the kitchen and the front room.


I figure the way Mom's scurrying around back and forth, this may the only way I get any attention today!

Our good friend, Kashim is hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend. It's pretty lonely around there so go over and even you don't have a cat who can type and blog like me, you can still say "hi"!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Celebrating Gourmet Magazine

When it was announced last week that Gourmet Magazine would be ceasing publication, I was devastated along with half the food blogging world. I had been a subscriber for ten years and had just gotten my notice for renewal the day before.

What made it even worse for me was that a few weeks ago, in the quest to downsize my life a bit, I had taken the two boxes of Gourmet and gone through them; removing the recipes I wanted to keep and recycling the rest of the magazine. There was only about 25 complete magazines, including the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas issues when I was done. To say I was sick to my stomach over what I had done would be an understatement.

This culling of my magazines made participating in Julie of A Mingling of Tastes event to Celebrate Gourmet, both more difficult and a little easier. Hard because I thought of all the recipes I had flipped through and the lovely covers that were now somewhere in a recycling facility somewhere in Fairfield County. Easy because I didn't have to flip through one hundred and twenty issues of Gourmet to find what I was going to make.

In the end, I settled on two recipes I had been eyeing:

Meatballs from the January 2009 issue

Meatballs from Jan 09 Gourmet

and Spanish Rice Pudding from the Last Touch section of the February 2009 issue.

Spanish Rich Pudding from Feb 09 Gourmet

My love of meatballs is well documented here at The Sour Dough. Not to mention, that given my schedule of late, they are quick and easy to make. I made these with full intention of following up with the ragu recipe they were paired with in Gourmet but I ended up eating them straight off the paper towel I set them on to cool.

What you probably didn't know is my absolute love and devotion to rice pudding. If I had to name the ultimate comfort food for me it would be rice pudding.

I have often made the original baked rice pudding recipe that Gourmet has updated several times over the years. I also fell in love with a stove top recipe from a few years ago that they ran in a "Best Of" issue. Nothing though prepared me for the incredible mingling of flavors in the Spanish Rice Pudding.

There is lemon and cinnamon and vanilla. The lemon was the surprise for me. Why hadn't I ever thought to lemon in rice pudding? It makes total sense now that I think about it. Lemon would really bring out the zip and zing in cinnamon and heighten the sweetness in the vanilla.

There is only one thing I would change the next time I make this pudding, which given how cold, rainy, and damp it is suppose to be this weekend, will probably be on Friday night, is I would use a bit less milk. I like my pudding a bit thicker.

It is these types of "Ah HA's" that I will miss every bit as much as I will miss the fantastic photographs, the interesting stories on place and how food can define place, the "Last Touch", the book and movie reviews, and most of all the recipes of Gourmet.

Or maybe, some way, or some how there will be a last minute reprieve from the governor...

Spanish Rice Pudding
from the February 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine (1940 - 2009)

1 cup water
1/2 cup long grain white rice
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 (4 inch) strips lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick (3 - 4 inches)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Bring water to boil with 1/4 tsp of salt in large heavy saucepan. Stir in rice and return to a boil. Cook, covered over low heat until water is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Stir in milk, sugar, zest and cinnamon stick and simmer, uncovered stirring often until thickened and rice is tender, 40 minutes to an hour. Stir in vanilla. cool to luke warm in a large shallow bowl. Cover with buttered wax paper to prevent skin from forming. Garnish with cinnamon.

Personal Notes:
- Trust me, 1/2 a cup of rice is enough. Don't be tempted to add more. Reports from the web of people who added more seem to resulted in industrial strength bricks. I was skeptical but when the rice cooked up and the pudding thickened, each bite was chock full of rice

- 3 cups of milk seems to be the reported magic amount for thicker pudding

- I used my microplane to zest my lemon. I'm glad I did because I think it ready spread the lemon through the pudding

- I didn't cover the pudding. I love "pudding skins" and next to eating this for dinner last night right from the pan, I kept getting up from my stool at the breakfast bar where I was working to peel off the pudding skins as they formed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend Cat Blogging: Where in the World Is Mom This Week?!

I'm hosting Weekend Cat Blogging this weekend. I use the word "I" because I've given up on including Mom in this whole venture of Weekend Cat Blogging.

Not only does she ignore her normal blogging duties lately because of that stupid game of golf but now she is off galavanting around the countryside for her job. And when she isn't off at some exotic location like Minot, ND or Lincoln, NB she is working until Eight or Nine O'Clock at night and coming home in time to feed me, clean out the litter box and the crash in bed.

Well, I'm mad and I'm not going to take it anymore.

Pissed LB

I've decided I'm taking over this blog. I'm pretty handy in the kitchen too!

Like when Mom made homemade turkey Italian sausage late last month with her new meat stuffer attachment for Isabelle, I helped by making sure any little drops of meat didn't dirty the floor. And I batted at this long piece of sausage that missed the pan on the floor Mom was using to catch the filled sausage skins. Mom cooked that little piece up for me and then made her self this dish of oven roasted summer squash, onions and sausage over rice.

Homemade Turkey Italian Sausage and Squash

Then there was the Smith Island Cake disaster. Mom got it in her head to get rid of the huge boxes of magazines and only keep the recipes that interested her. I sat next to Mom while she ripped out pages of cooking magazines like Gourmet (Mom is sick about that now that Gourmet is closing), Bon Appetit, and Sauver before taking the parts of the magazines she didn't want to the recycling bins.

One of the recipes that caught Mom's eye was the recipe for Smith Island Cake from Savuer. Mom wanted to make something fun and chocolatey to take to her friends at Bogeys Grille and Tap Room, where Mom has become a regular. I told Mom that the recipe for the frosting didn't sound right and that if she wasn't careful, she would be channeling her good friend Lisa from La Mia Cucina's Chocolate Cake Disaster. But she didn't listen to me and look at what that got her.

Smith Island Cake from Sauver Disaster

She said her friends still loved the cake but I can't believe I let her take it out of the house and into a public place. Not that I could or would want to eat chocolate but really, I have a reputation here to protect.

Well, look at what Mom dragged out from under the bed last night.

LB in my Suitcase Again!

Yup, that would be the suitcase. She said something about a trip to Charlotte, NC she has to go on and then muttered something about having to get the golf clubs ready to go with her because if she was going to have to go work on a project for a few days, then by golly she was going to get a few holes of golf in.

I think I'll just pack myself in with the golf shirts. I'll bet she won't even notice the cat hair.

If you want to join us in this installment of Weekend Cat Blogging, leave a comment with a link to your post and check back later on in the weekend to see how all the other kitties of the blogosphere are doing with their staff.

Now, where did I put my zip lock baggie with my catnip flavored toothpaste in it...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Hat Trick of Appies to Open "The Season"

Now that Fall is here and the sun is setting by 6pm, I'm not spending that much time out on the golf course. Which means, you probably will seeing a lot more typing and food here. Fall also means the start of the season of my other sport passion, hockey.

I've been a hockey fan since I was six months old. Seriously. When I was a baby, my dad would give my mom a break in the evening by feeding me my last bottle of the day, burping me, and rocking me to sleep while listening to the Detroit Red Wings take on all comers on the radio. My first two dolls where named Crissy and Hockey. Really. I named my Chatty Cathy "Hockey".

Since I grew up in the UP of Michigan, we picked up the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario TV stations. Saturday night would find my dad and I perched in front of the black and white TV watching Hockey Night in Canada. A lot of times, my dad would turn down the volume on the TV so we could listen to the Red Wings on the radio but regardless, we were watching hockey!

Besides the Red Wings (yes, Peabody, I'm a Wings fan), I have always had a soft spot for the Calgary Flames. I also became a rabid Bruins fan while I was living in Boston and I'm trying really hard to like the Rangers but I suspect the Islanders will probably end up my NYC team owing to the fact the Rangers are the arch rivals of the Bruins.

Hockey has played an important role in my career. My job as designer of sound systems for stadiums and arenas has allowed me to watch games from the best seats in the house, the catwalks, in the arenas in Calgary (GO FLAMES!!), Toronto, Vancouver, Detroit, LA, and Boston

Nice curves baby!

A few weeks ago, my bud Ivonne, contacted me and the biggest hockey nut in the food blogging world, Peabody, about putting together a virtual meal in honor the first installment of Hockey Night in Canada of the 2009 -2010 NHL Season.

Faster than a good defenseman can walk a puck across the blue line, I found myself doing appetizers; which is perfect for me as I often can't decide when I'm at a restaurant whether I want to have an entree or just a bunch of appetizers for my dinner.

I decided to make three different appetizers that are perfect for using your fingers to eat and can double as menacing objects when you want to throw something at the TV because your goalie let one slip between the knees: Piggies in a Blanket, Potato and Onion Pierogies, and Spanakopita.

A Hat Trick of Appies: Piggies in a Blanket, Pierogi, and Spanakopita

Piggies in a Blanket are no brainers and stupid easy to make. Get yourself a can of crescent rolls and a package of little cocktail weenies (I like Lil' Smokies). Divide of the roll dough and cut each triangle of dough into 4 parts. Wrap the cocktail weenies in the dough bits, bake at 375 for about 8-10 minutes, and you got yourself addicting little morsels of meat and bread. I don't use a dipping sauce but a mixture of grape jelly, chili sauce, and ketchup makes a pretty good condiment.

I don't have a set recipe for the spanakopita other than chopped spinach, some feta cheese, garlic, dill, and a little salt and pepper. I then take six sheets of phyllo dough, cut the sheets into long strips, cut the strips into five smaller rectangles and just like folding the flag, wrap about a tablespoon of filling into the rectangle of phyllo. I then brush each pocket of filling with some garlic infused melted butter and bake them at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. These freeze wonderfully too. So make a huge batch and you have instant appies for last minute guests arrive to cheer on the Canucks, the Pens, or who ever.

I do have a family recipe for the pierogies. It's my Aunt Peggy's family recipe actually. I could share it with you but then I would have to find you and full body check you into the boards because I promised her I would never share it with anyone who wasn't family.

But, if want to try your hand at making these little dough pillows from heaven of potatoes and onions, you can find a really fantasitc recipe that I have used when I didn't feel like slaving for half a day and night in the kitchen making the family version at smittenkitchen! Careful going there though, you will find it three days later after you start wending your way through Deb's lovely site.

Well, there you have it, not only a real, honest goodness post on The Sour Dough but your first course of a "She Shoots, She SCORES the Hat Trick" of appetizers.

If you are done scarfing those down, head over Ivonne's for the main course and make sure you save room because the Mistress of the Stick and Sweets, Peabody has dessert (of course).

And to get you in the mood for the game, take a listen to one of the funniest voices behind the play by play radio calls in the NHL, Mike Lange, who calls the Penguins games.