Saturday, November 20, 2010

Look Who's Back!

After a two month hiatus to work on a few things out of the kitchen, I'm back for a little food blogging while I make some decisions about what the next stage of my life is going to be and where I'm going to be living for that stage.

A few things I've decided like where I want to be living: the Carolinas or southern Virginia. A few things I haven't but I'm working on those and hope to have that figured out by late winter or early spring. So, next year at this time, I'm hoping to be out of New England and happily living someplace where it doesn't snow that often and I can play golf year round.

For the past eight weeks I've been dedicating almost all my free time to improving my golf game. It has been break from blogging I needed and good way to re-center my life around an active and healthier lifestyle.

During my time away from blogging, I hired a fitness coach, swing coach and a nutritionist. I began a regime with a workout in the morning and evening while watching what I ate (cutting out white flour, sugar, etc. which made baking bread a very hard thing to do). I would go to work, go to the driving range and the golf course, and then come home and fall into bed exhausted. The work has paid off, not only am I almost thirty pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of September but I've got a pretty mean golf game these days.

So, now that the cold weather is setting in and besides doing drills on the golf simulator and working with my coaches inside, my time on the course is going to be very limited, I've decided it is time to see if I can find a way to slowly bring back into my life my love of bread making and not lose the good work I've done. The office and my neighbors is going to love me because nothing I'm baking is staying in the house. I'm giving it all away.

Now this doesn't mean that I'm going to be updating every week but what it does mean that I am back in a place in my life where finding a balance and being in the kitchen amongst the baking pans and flour is as much of a place of peace and comfort as standing on the tee box and smacking a 3 wood 180 yards down the center of a fairway.

It also means that I'm going to try and find a way to participate a bit more with my sisters, The Bread Baking Babes who this month made the most stunning bread I think we've made, cornucopias.

One of the bread baking items I did purchase while I was away was a Pullman Loaf Pan.

Pullman Loaf Pan

I have been wanting one of these forever because who can resist the perfectly square loaf of soft sandwich bread you bake in these.

Perfect Sandwich Bread

This bread went right into the office with the exception of two slices I used to make a turkey sandwich for lunch.

Right now, I'm working on some very zingy sourdough bread from my favorite starter, Groucho. Since I haven't been baking much Groucho was pretty dormant.

Groucho, My Best Sourdough Starter  Before Revive

To revive him, I started a few days ago by taking half of the dormant starter

Groucho Revive Step 1

Adding one half cup of luke warm (about 75 degrees)

Groucho Revive Step 2

and stirring in one half cup of flour

Groucho Revive Step 3

About forty minutes later, I had some bubbles.

Groucho Revive Step 4

I repeated this for three days and this morning, Groucho was bubbly and happy. Tomorrow, I'll be baking a boule for the office.

The office is really glad I'm back in the kitchen because they have been missing things like this Triple Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake on Gingersnap Crust I took in to work at the end of the week.

Triple Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

LB is pretty happy I'm spending more time at home too. So much so, when I'm sitting on the couch working on my laptop or watching some golf on TV, he immediately hops up and assumes his favorite napping position.

LBs Big Fat Feet

Have you ever seen such big feet on a cat?!

Triple Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake on Gingersnap Crust

1 2/3 C Gingersnaps, crushed
1/3 C Vanilla Wafer Cookies, crushed
1/2 C Confectioners Sugar
1/3 + 2 Tbsp Butter, melted

3 8oz packages Cream Cheese, softened
1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 C Dark Chocolate (66% or darker), broken into small pieces (or in chips)
2/3 C Milk Chocolate, broken into small pieces (or in chips)
2/3 C White Chocolate, broken into small pieces (or in chips)
4 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Semi Sweet Chocolate, broken into tiny pieces (or in mini chips)

To Make Crust:
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and moisten with melted butter. Press crust into prepared 9" spring form pan. Make bottom crust about 1/4" thick and press any excess crust evenly up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

To Make Cheesecake Batter:

Using 1/8 cup of cocoa powder coat semi sweet chips and set aside.

In large bowl using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add in sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until smooth.

Melt dark, milk, and white chocolate in a double boiler until completely smooth. Stir into cream cheese mixture. Add eggs in, one at time and combine until smooth. Stir in vanilla and semi sweet chocolate until combined.

Pour into spring form pan over the crust and gently shake pan to remove any bubbles.

Place spring form pan on a baking sheet with edges to prevent butter from the crust leaking out in the oven and bake cheesecake for 60 minutes at 300 degrees until firm in the center.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before gently loosening the outer ring of the spring form pan. If necessary, run a knife under hot water and run along side of outer ring to loosen cheesecake from outer ring.

Let cheesecake cool completely or overnight in the refrigerator.

To serve, shave dark, milk, and white chocolate over top.