Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging: Cozy Sunday with Mom

Since Mom has started blogging again she is going to let me take over the writing duties every once in a while; which means we can participate in Weekend Cat Blogging this week!

And it is a special week for us to come back because our best cat friends, Kashim, Othello, and Salome are hosting and it is their Mom, Astrid's, birthday today!!

Now, that I'm a Southern cat I have gotten used to lazy Sundays around here. Typically, Mom gets up, goes to church and then either goes to the golf course to work on something her instructor wants her to get better at or she goes and plays a round of golf with friends. Then she comes home and makes a really nice Sunday dinner.

Today it is raining and cold and she said all she wanted to do today is cuddle with me! So, I'm very happily snuggled up next to her and we're watching the last round of the Northern Trust Open together.

LB watching golf

I'm rooting for Keegan Bradley but Mom is hoping Phil Mickelson wins back to back.

I think Mom is rooting for Phil because Grandma Hunt, Dad's Mom loved Phil and Mom still misses her so much. She is pretty sure last weekend that Grandma Hunt reached down from the 19th Hole in Heaven and pushed some of Phil's putts into the hole so he could beat Tiger at Grandpa Hunt's favorite course.

I hope everyone has a good rest of your weekend and go see what the other kitties are up to by visiting Othello, Kashim, and Salome!

Now, I need to curl up and flick Mom's hand with my tail while she tries to write a long email to her friend Kim.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bread Baking Babes: Biscotti Picanti

The Babes are back!

And not only are we back but this month we are celebrating four fabulous years of sharing a kitchen and yeasty classroom together. I can't believe I've been with this incredible group of women baking breads. Even more so, I can't believe that they've kept me around for four years.

To celebrate this milestone, we are making a really unique bread, courtesy of host kitchen, Lien of Notitie van Lien, Biscotti Picanti

I was fascinated by this bread. I had never heard of rusks and after the Babes that share the back bench of our little haven educated me, I was excited to give these try.

The dough was really easy to make and it makes so much, I divided it into two and made two different versions: Roasted Garlic with Sea Salt and Bacon Cheese.

Biscotti Picanti

I really like both but if I was to make these again, I'd just make a big batch of the roasted garlic and sea salt. They were perfect as the backdrop for cheese and cured meats but really good on their own.

To bake along with the Babes this month and be a Buddy, bake the Biscotti Picanti, blog about it or post it to your facebook page, or any other place you want to post it to and contact Lien via her email with a link to your post. She'll send you nice badge to put on your post.

Also, if you do blog or post somewhere else about this fantastic bread please place a link to incredibly gracious Anissa Halou's Blog. She was so sweet to let us blog about her recipe and re-post it verbatim (A refreshing attitude in the land of food blogs). While your at it, go visit her blog because it is full of fabulous photos and food.

Biscotti Picanti (Sicilian Spicy Rusks)
(makes about 36 rusks)

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 package = 7 grams)
60 ml warm water
1 ⅔ (± 225 g) cups AP-flour (+ extra for kneading and shaping)
1 ⅔ (240 g) cups semolina flour
¼ cups (25 g) aniseed
3 TBsp (28 g) white sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup + 2 TBsp (150 ml/130 g) extra-virgin olive oil (+ extra for greasing the bowl)
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
115 ml water

1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup/60 ml warm water and stir until creamy.

2. Combine flours, aniseed, sesame seeds, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the olive oil in the well and rub into the flour with your fingertips until well incorporated.

3. Add yeast, wine and ½ cup (115 ml) warm water en knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough. Knead this for another 3-5 minutes or so. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for another 3 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and let rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered with greased plastic, for 1 hour in a warm place (or until doubled).

4. Divide the dough in 3 equal pieces and shape each piece into a loaf about 12”( 30 cm) long.
Transfer the logs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and leaving at least 2 inches/5 cm between them so they can expand. Take a dough cutter (or sharp knife) and cut the loaves into 1 inch/2,5 cm thick slices (or if you prefer them thinner in 1"/1 cm slices). Cover with greased plastic and let the rise for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 500ºF/260ºC.

5. Bake the sliced loaves for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 175ºF/80ºC.
Separate the slices and turn so that they lie flat on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for about 1 hour more, or until golden brown and completely hardened (if not totally hardened, return to the turned off oven to let them dry more).Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve at room temperature, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.Link

(source: “Savory baking from the Mediterranean” - Anissa Helou)

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Bucket List of Golf Courses for the Next Ten Years

If you come here for food, I'm afraid today you are going to be a bit disappointed because today's post is all about my other passion, golf.

This past weekend was one of my favorite tournaments of the PGA tour season, the ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am, also known as the Crosby Clam Bake, after Bing Crosby who was instrumental in bringing high profile stars to Pebble Beach to play golf with the Pros in the 30s.

The scenery along Monterey Bay, where Pebble Beach, Spy Glass and the Monterery County Club, the three courses that are played during the ATT are located is legendary and even non-golfers enjoy walking these courses. For the serious golfer, getting a chance to tee it up on any of these courses is a treat but playing at Pebble Beach is like visiting the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo for the painter, baking alongside Julia Child for the baker, having a private driving lesson with Mario Andretti for the lead foot, and winning the lottery all rolled into one.

Watching one of my favorite players, Phil Mickelson, win this past weekend in that fabulous setting, got me to thinking about my bucket list of golf courses I want to play before I hang up the 5 iron for the last time. More importantly, it got me to thinking about the courses I want to play in the next five to ten years with my father before he is too old to travel and enjoy playing them.

So, here is my bucket list of the courses I want to share with my best partner on the course, my dad.
  1. Pebble Beach - Pebble Beach, CA
  2. Cypress Point Golf Club - Pebble Beach, CA (This was my father in law's favorite course of all time too)
  3. TPC Sawgrass: Players Stadium Course - Ponte Verde, FL (Most famous island green in golf)
  4. The Jewel - Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI
  5. Wawashkamo Club - Mackinac Island, MI (Gem of a little course, still use sand tees)
  6. Royal St. George's - Sandwich, Kent England
  7. Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, County Cork Ireland
  8. Carnoustie, Scotland
  9. Seaside Course, Sea Island, GA
  10. Retreat Course, Sea Island, GA
  11. Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, MI (Walter Hagen was the first head pro)
  12. Forest Dunes, Roscommon, MI
  13. Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island, SC
  14. Spyglass Hill - Pebble Beach, CA
  15. Links at Spanish Bay - Pebble Beach, CA
  16. Lakewood Shores Resort, Oscoda MI
  17. Elk Ridge Golf Course, Atlanta, MI
  18. Magnolia, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL
  19. Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, ID
  20. Black Lake Golf Club, Onaway, MI (15 minutes from my folk's home in N. MI)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Blog Party #44: Sweet Tooth

My good friend and fellow food blogger and once and future partner in a bakery/driving range project, Stephanie is back with the 44th edition of her Blog Party!

Blog Party Banner

It's been awhile since we all gathered in her front room to share a little food, drink and fun but it sure is good to see everyone again.

Since all these folks are friends and friends are golden AND the theme is sweet tooth, I couldn't think of anything better to bring than my Black Gold Brownies.

black gold brownies

These things are absolutely the most decedent brownie you will ever taste and best of all, they combine the best of both types of brownies: cake and fudgey. They are also STUPID SIMPLE. Seriously stupid simple They also only use two pans: a sauce pan to make the batter in and a square 8x8 pan to bake them in. AND if that wasn't enough, they have a secret ingredient, which is the gold part, butterscotch baking chips.

The toughest part of this recipe? Actually having any batter left to put in the pan,

black gold brownie batter

because once you start licking the spoon or spatula, you may not stop...

Black Gold Brownies

1 stick + 1 TBSP unsalted butter
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp espresso powder (or if you don't have espresso powder instant coffee or cocoa powder)
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 C flour
1/2 C butterscotch baking chips

In a sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir in cocoa and espresso powder, sugar, vanilla and butterscotch chips. Add 1/4 cup of flour and stir in the eggs. Add remaining flour.

Spoon batter into prepared 8x8 square pan.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 22-25 min until edges are firm and top has crinkle crust. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting.