Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daring Bakers Feb

Hello, For this month The Daring Baker's made Julia Child's French Bread. This was a time consuming recipe. I have to say as French breads go it was Ok. I prefer the recipe I go with my bread machine.

And now the pictures.

Before first rise.

Here they are just before the final rise, this took 3 hours.

It was fun getting both on one cookie sheet and into the oven.

It came out with a nice crust, the shape did not hold however. It tasted good though.

The crumb was not bad.

It went over well at the Potluck that I went to. Out of the 2 loaves this was what was left.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie, Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie it is Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits.

This was one of my better goes at a kneaded biscuit. I have a tendency to over knead. It came out as a good plain biscuit. I think that it would work great as a base. It would not take much to make them savory or sweet. These would be good for strawberry short cake or cheese and ham. Next time I make it I think that I will add some dried currents and vanilla. I did not add the pecans, right now I can not eat them. I do not have a biscuit cutter so I used a pentagon cookie cutter. The biscuits split in half fairly easy.

I froze half of them to see how that would work and it just took an extra 5 minutes to cook. This worked well for me because there is only 2 people in my house and well eating 12 in one night is just a little much. I was able to make them as needed. This was nice.

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
(Makes about 12 biscuits)

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold sour cream
1/4 cold whole milk
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bow. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between-- and that's just right.

Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading-- 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the pecans and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even-- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits ca be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months. Bake without defrosting-- just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)

Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I have been showing what I have been knitting because it was the socks for my sock pal. I just finished knitting them. I did this after waiting for my car's oil to be changed and in line to get a new membership for Costco. Yaa!!! Now I just need to pack the last box to go out in a few weeks.


Late last year I found out what was causes my TMJ. My lower jar is over 1/4 of an inch smaller than my upper jaw. Which meant that I was unhinging my jaw to eat and sometimes to talk. This has worn down the bones, one more than the other. To fix this I will need to have jaw surgery to lengthen my lower jaw. Before I get that I need to get the rest of my bite fixed. Which means braces. A few months from now I will also need to get my wisdom teeth taken out. At least I only have three.

Anyway I had spacers but in Thursday in preparation for the braces. I can not eat anything crunchy, or chewy. This will change what I eat most definitely. Right now is hurts to chew so I have been eating soups, shakes and the very soft parts of bread. Not fun. I am ordering a cookbook on foods that can be eaten while in braces. I imagine that after a few weeks that I will be able to eat more stuff, I have to relearn how to eat. I had to do this last year when I had a dental splint. So I was expecting it. It just hurts more than I thought.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie, Almost-Fudge Gâteau

Tuesdays with Dorie

This was not hard at all to make. To me it came out as a fudge like brownie. It did taste better the next day. The fun part to me was unwrapping the chocolate, the bars looked like the chocolate from Willy Wonka with the gold foil. I did not think that the Almost-Fudge Gâteau needed the extra chocolate that the Glaze would have given. That and a little piece goes a long way. I cut them up into 1 inch squares and they went fast.

Almost-Fudge Gâteau

5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Glaze (optional)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Getting Ready:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that's fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.

Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you'll think it's done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn't shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.

To Make the Optional Glaze:

First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you'll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.

Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.

Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.

Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake – it will just add to its charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you're impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Online cooking events

Thank you every one who gave advice on what to do next time I use a spring form pan. I will be trying that recipe again. The reason that I even tried to make cheese cake was that there was on online group that did it. This helps when something goes wrong and for me allows me to try something new.

There are online cooking events for all different kinds of food. Here are a few that I am in or have thought about, this is by no means a complete list.

The Presto Pasta Night round up every Friday

Every week something from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours


Weekend Cookbook Challenge

Monthly Mingle February 2008 - One-Dish Dinner

The Daring Bakers

No Croutons Required

Master Baker

Baking Bread Day

One time events

An apple a day - Blog Event 3rd March 2008

March 14, Pie Day

Monday, February 11, 2008

cooking when not on call

I can cook when I am not on call. After getting paged while making bread, pie, cake and once even a turkey dinner. At least for the last one I had family here and they took it out of the oven. I no longer cook a whole lot during the week that I am on call.

Last weekend I was not on call and made bread from scratch, split pea soup to go with the bread and brown sugar apple cheese cake. I went to a party Sunday and took it all with me. I have to say that a little cheese cake goes a long way.

For a first time making cheese cake it came out pretty tasty. I forgot to put foil over it half way though so it got a little brown and the springform pan leaked. Well leaked is not the right word. The recipe, from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. says to wrap the outside bottom part of the pan with foil. Later you pour hot water around the springform pan. The water leaked into the cheese cake. To get the water out I cooked it for an hour longer not in the water bath.

It went over very well and half was gone. I took the rest to work today and left it in respiratory. Browning the apples and then adding sugar gave it great flavor.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hugo Awards

I am going to Worldcon in Denver this year, it is called Denventon. So I get to vote on the Hugo awards. Right now there is the nominating phase, it is interesting. Some of the stuff I have no clue on, best semiprozine and best fanzine come to mind. Then I have to think of what I read last year. There was a lot of stuff. You saw what I read last month just multiply that by 12 and see what you get. The good part is that I have until March to figure this out.

Monday, February 04, 2008

books read in January

I know that I missed a few but is a close list.

The privilege of the sword Kushner, Ellen

The sword Johnson, Jean

Lords of the Were Bianca D’Arc

Sweeter Than Wine Bianca D’Arc

Kitty and the Silver Bullet Carrie Vaughn

Plan B Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Balance of Trade Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Mrs. Ballard's parrots Svenson, Arne

The devil you know Carey, Mike

Mollie Katzen's sunlight café Katzen, Mollie

Mollie Katzen's vegetable heaven Katzen, Mollie

Biscuits, pancakes & quick breads Cox, Beverly

Baking : from my home to yours Greenspan, Dorie

The Devil's possession Waters, Heather

Endless Blue Wen Spencer

Howl’s Moving Castle Jones, Diana Wynne

The Master Johnson, Jean

I’m Your Santa Lori Foster

The Devil Inside Jenna Black

Atlantis Awakening Alyssa Day

Scar Night Alan Campbell

The Secret Keeper Kate Coombs

Instead of Three Wishes Megan Whalen Turner

The Thief Megan Whalen Turner

When I fall in Love Lynn Kurland

Blood engines T. A. Pratt

Ain't myth-behaving Katie MacAlister

The unnatural inquirer Simon R. Green

Out Of the Dark Barbara Karmazin

The Morgue the Merrier Rosemary Laurey, Karen Kelley, Dianne Castell

The Way U Look Tonight Dianne Castell

I’ll Be Seeing U Dianne Castell

I Dare Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Raven’s Shadow Patricia Briggs

Raven’s Strike Patricia Briggs

Micah Laurell Hamilton

The Sorcerer’s Academy Anthology

Running Scared Elizabeth Lowell

Deep Waters Jayne Ann Krentz

Moving Target Elizabeth Lowell

Friday, February 01, 2008