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Monday, January 30, 2017

Baking Bread: Ube (Purple Yam) Soft Rolls

The title of this series would have made more sense when Breaking Bad was still on the air. Although, I suppose there is relevance because there is Better Call Saul. But digression... I know thee well.

One of my mini goals for this year is to bake more. All things, but bread especially. So I figured, hey... why not a bread a week? One of my recent bread items have been these soft rolls. I had extra cooked purple yam that needed to be used, so why not incorporate it into bread? Ube is all the craze nowadays. 

I found a recipe that called for sweet potatoes and subbed in the yam. The resulting bread came out more dark pink than purple, but still quite delicious. I still have a little bit more yam left, so I will probably make this again.

(my changes and what I used in italics)

400g bread flour (KAF Sir Galahad aka APF)
250g Japanese sweet potato, peeled, sliced, steamed and mashed (I subbed the yam here)
40g caster sugar (granulated sugar instead)
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant active yeast
160ml fresh milk (half & half instead)
60g butter (very soft)
1 egg white and 1 Tbsp water
Sesame seeds (didn't use)

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add remaining ingredients, except for the last two. Use a mixer or knead by hand until the dough becomes elastic... 15ish minutes
2. Cover bowl and let rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size
3. Punch down dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Round them out and place onto lined baking sheets. You can also use a round baking pan as you can see from the picture above. Allow to rise again until the dough has doubled in size.
4. Brush with the egg white/water wash and sprinkle on sesame seeds. Or don't. I didn't.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven until you can smell baked bread and the tops are brown... about 30 minutes more or less.
6. Cool in the pan for about five minutes, then take them out and let them cool on a rack.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pressure Cooker Spare Ribs

So it's only taken me just about three weeks before I finally got a post up. I've been meaning to write more, but I keep putting it off... you know how that goes. 

I've been very much into my pressure cooker of late. A regular stovetop one, not one of those new dangled electric ones. I did get one for my sister, and she loves it. I say I'll get one, but the stovetop works just fine. Over the weekend I used it on a whole chicken, taking the bone and most of the meat off and leaving a decent portion in the pot for arroz caldo. Before that I made kalua pork, which I've been eating with my salads. Tonight I made ribs.

No real recipe here - cut up the rack of ribs so that they would fit in the pot. Seasoned with salt and pepper. I used beef broth for the liquid. I set a steam bracket inside to keep the ribs out of the broth. High pressure (I think) for about 30 minutes. When it was done, I placed them on a baking sheet lined with foil and slathered both sides with the whiskey sauce I got from O'Brien's. The first floor smells so good, even M the vegetarian mention it. 

Looking foward to lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016, It's Been Real...

2016 will be coming to a close in less than 2.5 hours. With the time remaining, I figured I talk about my goals for the new year. Not resolutions, but goals. Things that I'm pretty sure I will not scrap two weeks in to 2017. 

1. Save at least $10,000

Yes, my first goal is financial. I'm pretty good when it comes to money, and I already have quite a bit saved. But this year I really want to focus on saving on a more consistent basis. Right now I just put money aside every few weeks. For 2017 I'm going to try to put money away every week. Check on Pinterest and you'll find several "Save ____ in ____ weeks!" 

2. Improve diet

This isn't to say I'm going to do some fad dieting. I'm just going to eat smarter. More fruits and vegetables, less meat. Definitely cut back on sugar. Switch to whole grains (thank goodness for white whole wheat flour!) Drink more water. You get the idea. 

3. Exercise

Gym wise, it's more of the same - three times a week. Probably throw in more strength training. Sign up and complete a half marathon. Bike a century. Play a sport.

4. Travel

Out of the country. Away from home. Explore what the world has to offer. Will need to find pet sitters, again.

5. Read daily

Small sub-goal to this - ready a copy of the New York Times from cover to cover.

6. Help others

M and I have been itching to volunteer somewhere. I feel a bit of a disconnect from the community I live in. Should probably do something to improve it.

7. De-clutter

I read that book on the magical art of tidying up. A few days later I had filled three bags full of clothes that I didn't need. 2017 I'm going to tackle the entire house. Maybe even my mom's house too.

8. CNOR/Grad School

I've already taken the first step towards CNOR with a membersship with AORN. The certification is next. And after that, the exam for brewing. As for grad school, my application has been in limbo the last few years because I couldn't write my personal statement. About time I finally submit it.

9. Meditate

More for relazation purposes. Help quell the angry outburst I can be prone to.

That took me longer to write. Hour away from 2017. Which means one thing.

Good night. And happy new year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Get Up Early, Get Things Done

It's a snowy Monday morning here in the Capital Region. In anticipation of that, I woke up pretty early to get things done before I head out to work. So far I have done the following:

- kettlebell workout (my right shoulder finally feels good enough to do some weight work)
- eat and make breakfast (finished up the rest of the tinola I made on Saturday and whipped up some oatmeal for morning break)
- pack lunch (left over pasta, kimchi, and seaweed salad)
- read a couple of articles in the NYT

Along with my usual morning routine (listen to NPR, pinterest gawk, drink lots of coffee)

While I got these things done, I still don't feel that I've accomplished much with my time. Days like these are an anomoly - most mornings I hit the snooze button way more than I should, which has me rushing like mad to get things ready before I'm out the door.

Perhaps I should add this to the growing list of goals for 2017. Do more, but in a thoughful way. If that makes any sense.

Also, my writing skills are rusty. Feels more like word plop, drop and run.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thank You, Now I Must Be Going (Early Morning Turkey Day Musings)

Walking up just after four in the morning, I stumbled around the room using the dim light of my phone screen. The room I had just napped in - the guest room in my moms house was more crowded than usual, but I'm partly to blame for that. Should probably break the dog crate down before I leave. Which will be soon. I am technically working in two hours.

Coming downstate was a last minute decision. Part guilt, part missing home. I reasoned to myself if I couldn't be there for the celebration, I could do my part and help my mom out with the prep work. Mostly last minute shopping. I suggested she spatchcock the turkey this year. Less time and a better cooked turkey. But no poultry shears. Not sure her kitchen shears will cut it. Cleaver perhaps? Slightly scary thought. Score with a sharp knife and just hack? Or let her roast it the way we always have... and attempt the new method for Chistmas. 

While I've been mulling over the options while I wake for my mom to wake, I finished what was left of the Banh Mi I ordered last night. Still good. Surprised the ladies that work there still remember me. I must have ordered there a lot.

I think she's better off roasting the traditional way. I was planning on roasting a chicken for my turkey day back upstate. Inasal style. Spatchcocked. Need the practice. Should go straight to the market when I get to Albany. Or maybe a smaller bird... it is just me eating it after all.

Time to go. I may post again later. Check the Instagram.