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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Challah French Toast

One perk of this shift change is that I get a day off during the week. They usually give me Wednesday off, but it changed to Tuesday this week. With this day off, I get to do all the things I can't because I'm stuck at work, and by the time I get out most things are closed. For example, I get to go to the post office to send back this calendar I never ordered; I can go to Tuesday Morning and buy all the Wilton closeout items; and I can make meals I am normally too tired to make when I get home.

Although today's breakfast was all M's doing. This baking class has turned me into a bread making machine and all he asks is that I make a decent sandwich bread. I've tinkered with a few recipes, but I am sticking with the one that is in the textbook (sorry Bread Bible, yours no matter how many times I tried, never came out right). I am also sticking to the challah recipe in my textbook, but the way they explain how to braid the dough is not clear... at least to me. It took a couple of tries, but we figured it out, and I managed a decent looking four braided loaf.

could have just eaten it toasted with butter and jam, but French toast is really the way to go with this bread. I don't know what M's egg and cream ratio was, but it was heavy on the cinnamon and delicious. The bread slices were on the thick side, which I prefer so that it doesn't sop up too much of the egg/cream mixture (it's my egg aversion... I can't help it)

Why use a spatula when you have hands?

The only one who didn't get to nosh on the toast was Stella. Poor girl. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

When the Mind Wanders at 3AM

I got one... maybe two hours of sleep.

And it could be that second hour that ruined my bread.

But then again, I really should stop making bread so late into the evening. It's my second attempt at the sandwich bread from the Bread Bible cookbook. So far it is looking better than what I made the first time. But regardless I have a feeling this will go into the "never bake again" pile. Or maybe I was fooling myself into thinking I had a handle on this bread baking thing.

Along with baking bread I've been doing the food prep I should have done days ago. The leeks I grew in my garden this year will go into some potato leek soup this week. I'll have to remember to make some bread bowls for it.

We're covering cakes in lab this week. I'll be making a chocolate cake with swiss buttercream. And being he overachiever that I am with this class, I'll be making it before class. So today or tomorrow. Not to mention I need to make something from the quick cakes lab that I'll be missing. I've narrowed it down to biscuits or scones. Sweet or savory. Maybe both.

I was contemplating a nap before I'm fully awake, but it's already after 4. Might as well stay up and just get the day going. I've seen it go from steady rain to wet snow. Looks like it's slowing down now.

I don't know where my snow brush is.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

How I Make Bloody Mary's (For Now)

What's there not to love about a good Bloody Mary? Unlike a Cosmopolitan, they will never go out of style. It's what I expect to see as a drink option when I go to brunch. And I have been trying them at bars in the area to see who makes the tastiest one. Right now, I'm really liking the Bloody Mary's from O'Briens - nice and spicy. Here is my version of it:

Old Bay Seasoning
Spanish Olives
Tomato juice or vegetable juice

I have to admit, I don't really like V8's Spicy Hot style. It is spicy as advertised, but the taste is off. And the Ninja Squirrel siracha is from Whole Foods and is better than I thought it would be. I am using it on everything nowadays.

Monday, November 03, 2014

A Lazy Dinner

I have all these crazy ideas of meal prepping. To prevent what happened tonight - our meal consisted of a blue and a goat with saltines and ak mak crackers. Dpn't get me wrong, it was delicious... but I need to get away from this. And to make matters worse, there was no wine.

Tonight's workout really sucked all the energy away from me, so I'm going to call it a night.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sur la Table Haul

This is still a thing, right? Posting about purchases at shops? If not, call it a revival.

I wouldn't call myself a die-hard, but I really do like this store. I walk in an ooh and ahh just about everything in there. I easily lose track of time when I visit (I was in there today for over an hour!) and my restraint is always tested. Today I did alright... I went in for one thing, possibly two. I walked out with only three. 

Next lab we're covering cookies. Brownies are also thrown in there. The recipes we had to choose from were not all that appealing. I was thinkng shortbread, but I figured that would be more work. Spritz seemed easy enough, plus I get to use a pastry bag. But here's the kicker - they don't suply the pastry bag, or the star tip the recipe calls for. Considering how much I've spent for this class, they could have those on hand. But no...

And let me stop complaining. The pastry bag by itself goes for $17.95. This kit has the bag plus plastic tips for $24.95. I don't know about you, but I think it's a good deal. I'll let you know how well it works on cookie dough. Will be perfect for piping whipped cream or meringues. And because it's a silicone bag, I can use it over and over again.

This is the reason why I stopped into the store today. I flipped through the mailer and saw this beaut, along with a milk frother and pressure cooker oven. Never going to get the frother or oven (unless gifted or given to review hinthinthinthinthint) but the guide is more than reasonable. They are selling it for $9.95. And as the packaging states, it can also be used for fondant, tortillas, and parchment paper. If only I had seen this a couple of weeks ago. But it's the holiday season and pies will be made. Many many pies will be made. You could have pie if you want. I really like the whole process of making them... not really eating them. Maybe a bite or two, but not necessarily a slice anymore. My apptite is weird, I know.

A bowl scraper, $3.00. Nothing fancy here, but it will be a workhorse. I've bought some before at the dollar store, but they always ended up being used for home repair. I follow some bakeries on Youtube and I've noticed some use the scraper when mixing dough by hand. I think I'll try that technique on my next batch of bread. 

I really hope Sur la Table thinks about opening a place in the Capital Region. I <3 them. Really do.


Random Thoughts:

I harvested more of what remains of my garden and brought it down to my parents. They took all of the  kale, chard, and a big chunk of celery. My sister is digging through the sweet potatoes and onions, hopefully she can use it. Definitely use the sweet potatoes and celery for juicing.

We don't have cable so I get my tv fix whenever I visit. Let me tell you, I really like the new shows on CBS. Stalker, Scorpion, NCIS New Orleans, Madam Secretary. Good stuff. 

AC Moore is having their Moonlight Madness sale tonight. 25% off total regular and sale purchases. But you need the coupon. Ends at 9pm.

I bought a book at Costco, Against All Grain. Pretty excited about it. Not excited that they only accept American Express. But as my dad has explained, their credit card is connected to American Express. I never have cash and I only use my debit card when absolutely necessary. Boo, Costco.

There is leftover Halloween candy. At first I resisted, but Nestle Crunch. I'm a sucker for them.