Monday, April 14, 2014

Flowers to Fish....

My Calla Lilies, Trumpet Tulips, Bearded Iris',and my lemon tree are all making a come back. One of my white Amaryllis decided to bloom.  It may want to rethink that decision since we will go back into the 30's at night come Wednesday.  We have had tornado warnings, flash flooding and hail storms already so I can hardly wait to see what else April will bring.   

Now onto a more serious subject,  my mother could be turning into the crazy Betta fish lady of Walmart.  She now has 12 that she has rescued from the Blue Box Store hell (no she did not buy them all at once).  The cashiers ask her how to take care of them because they too feel sorry for the dying fish and a couple have been rescued by them as well.  

Here is the cat eyeing some of the line up:

Until they can reside in their new residence, there is no room at the Inn.  Going down the aisle another day one of them jumped in the cart to avoid the blank stare, belly up fate of it's companions. This one (and only one) is mine:

This is Panel C, killer fish.  He was rescued in order to celebrate my not having to go to Jury Duty because I was on Panel C.  So here he is, C for short, tuff guy with his pink and blue self.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Bread Also Rises

A long, cold winter is good for baking.  I did a lot of that.  Once upon a time I tried to turn into an artisan bread snob.   Which turned out worse than my even thinking about being a foodie.  I went from not being able to make a simple loaf of white bread to trying to grow mold...on raisins...under the full moon, etc.   Then there is feeding different starters.  It is a little like having a newborn in the house, the feedings are spaced out a little longer.  Baking bread, once enjoyable, became a chore.  Mold, which is easy to come by in the South, did not want to grow on raisins in my kitchen, and my starters were hit and miss and my bread was nothing to brag about for all the trouble.  I was on message boards with too many rules, the main one being no commercial yeast, and I needed chemistry lessons.  Not a bad thing, but I wanted to enjoy bread again.  It was with a homicidal heart that I ended the life of all but one of my starters.   It is all a matter of what works best, if I don't have yeast on hand, I use potato.  Most breads I make do not require starter.   I love to bake bread.

I joined a bread group and this book was all the rage:

After seeing pictures of breads made from the recipes of this Better Homes and Gardens 1973 edition book, I bought one (did you think anyone had to twist my arm on this?).   I shelled out $1 on Amazon used, plus shipping.   I love this book.

This is Pilgrims' Bread (pg. 61), made with white, wheat, rye, and cornmeal.  This double loaf recipe lasts quite a while.  

Best-Ever Muffins (pg. 87), were a hit as well and were made with the blueberries picked and frozen from last year. 

Hoagie rolls were not from the book, were from a shared recipe:

Amie's Sub/Hoagie Rolls

1 1/2 tsp. (about 1/4 oz) active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)

2 tsp. honey

2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

2 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups bread flour

2 cups all-purpose flour


In a small bowl, add honey to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast and let sit for 5 minutes, or until frothy/foamy. Add oil and stir to combine.

Combine salt and flours in a medium mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer, or by hand, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Beat until smooth on medium speed. If dough is too wet, add a little more flour to make the dough soft.

On a lightly floured surface (or in the mixer bowl with bread hook), knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes.

Lightly grease a large bowl with a bit of oil and place dough into bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with dish towel and let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven to 400 degrees.

Punch down dough and, on a lightly floured surface, divide into 8 balls. Shape each ball into a long oval, roughly the size of the hoagie roll you wish to make. Arrange long ovals on parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Cover again and let rise an additional 25 minutes. Brush on an egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Very good but because of the sodium content will not make very often.  

This was baked on the same day so since I had the oven going in went a lasagna:

I guess I should have made some Italian bread!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Has it Been That Long?

I guess so.  I would like to say all this exciting stuff has kept me from posting but it is just the day in and day out things.  It is nearing the end of the school year and there are so many things crammed into the end of the year and they are starting things up for next year also.  This winter has been something!  One day we are in the 70's and the next 36.  My son had gotten into the habit of wrapping the dog up in a blanket when he left for school.  I was able to take a picture of her on this occasion because the lazy thing slept like this for over two hours after he left, snoring the whole time:

Nothing like a crumpled pug picture.  I am already working on another post and will be back soon!