Archive for November, 2011

I baked another bread! Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been on a roll lately (no pun intended). Ugh. For those of you who are still reading this post, let me also say that I diverted from the BBA Challenge list to ALSO make a batch of brioche rolls for Thanksgiving. I now have very few breads left (the dreaded fruitcake) before the remaining set of sourdough recipes. To recap, the wheat bread was very basic and simple to make. It called for a wet starter (whole wheat flour and water) and a poolish (a pre-ferment with flour, water, and yeast) that I had to make the night before. The next day, I combined the two of those with additional whole wheat flour, honey, 1 egg, salt, and some vegetable oil. It proofed twice and a few hours later, I was able to bake two loaves. They came out a little small, but I think that’s because my loaf pans are too big.

The bread tastes very wheaty and has a nice crust. I’ve been having it for breakfast, toasted with PB&J.

In other news, I am on my third attempt at making a sourdough starter. I’ve given up on the instructions in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and instead am following the steps set forth by the Yumarama Bread Blog. I am currently on Day 3 of the feeding schedule. Looking at it tonight should provide an indication of whether or not the seed culture is going to be viable. For the past two days, I have been creating a mixture of whole wheat flour and pineapple juice (to create a lower pH level). On Day 1, it looked like this. I have been very paranoid about keeping it as warm as possible (yeast won’t grow if it’s too cold), which sucks because our thermostat is set to 68 degrees. So, I tried to bundle it up as much as possible (it’s inside an oven mit, with a dish rag stuffed on top of it and another cloth wrapped around it), and have been keeping it on top of the refrigerator. It kind of reminds me of Randy from A Christmas Story. “I can’t put my arms down!”

Anyway, the next bread post will most likely be about whether or not this seed culture survived. If it fails yet again, I don’t really know what I’m going to do about these darn sourdough breads…


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Blog Comments

This is, by far, the most flattering spam comment I have gotten on my blog:

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Thank you, tubexxx from freeporn-tube.com! I’ll be sure to keep up the good work!

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I stole this from a blog that I just discovered, Something A Week. It’s so simple, yet how many times have I made a mess of the counter when using breads with crumbly toppings? The answer to that question is: every time…until now!

I love life’s enlightening moments.

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(Not So) Weak Sauce

The reason I don’t much like to cook is because I lack confidence in the kitchen. While I’m pretty good at following recipes to make baked goods, I’ve never been one to just “whip something up” for dinner. However, I have to admit: I make a pretty good spaghetti sauce. Here is a basic overview of my process.

6 sausages – I like a combo of hot and sweet.
Meatballs – my meatballs usually come out a little different every time, but the main ingredients are parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, chopped onion, garlic powder, dried parsley, and an egg. Oh, and ground beef.
Beef Neck Bones – a new addition that I’d never used before, but went for them this time to give the sauce a more meaty flavor.

Brown sausages and neck bones in a skillet and set aside.

Taken from the internets: “A holy trinity in cooking is simply a combination of three aromatic ingredients, whether they are vegetables, herbs or spices, that are gently sauteed together to provide a flavor base for other ingredients to build upon.” In the case of Italian cooking, the Trinity is made up of onions, carrots, and celery (also known as “soffritto” in Italian cooking or “mirepoix” in French cooking). Instead of chopping everything up like I normally do, I used a food processor this time, and it was much easier!

To make the actual sauce, I start by sautéing the vegetables, along with some minced garlic, until they start to soften. After about 10 minutes, I add one can of tomato paste. Once I stir that up, I add two 28 oz cans of Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes (this will make a lot of sauce!). I then proceed to add in “a dash of this and a dash of that”—which I rarely do in any other cooking situation. I use: garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, a couple bay leaves, salt, pepper, and sugar. Then, I add the browned sausages and bones. I let the sauce start to simmer a little while I fry the meatballs, and once they’re finished, I drop them into the sauce as well.

Once all the meat has been deposited, I turn the heat down low and let the sauce cook for as long as possible. When I made it last weekend, I left it on the stove for about four hours.

This is not the most beautiful photo of the finished product (I started eating before I remembered to take a picture), but this is my sauce in all its glory.

Is your sauce better than mine? Tell me why, so I can further improve mine!

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My Summer at Camp

My longtime friend and summer-coworker Emily filled out this progress report for me during the summer of 2004, while we were employed at ——- Day Camp. While it was filled out in jest, most of what she wrote was pretty accurate. I would also like to add that I worked as an Athletics Specialist and spent all day, every day on a combination of tennis courts and open fields. Emily was a Ropes Specialist and spent every day in the shady woods next to the way cool rock wall. Needless to say, she had a much better summer than I did.

**Due to a complaint regarding the negative internet publicity I have given to this camp, the name has been redacted.

Click for the full size version.

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New Tunes

My favorite thing to listen to as of late has been Broken Bells’ self-titled album, followed closely by Surfer Blood’s Astro Coast. I saw the latter open for The Pixies at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair a few weeks ago, where both bands put on a great show. Click the album art to hear my favorites.

Other albums I have recently downloaded:

Foo Fighters // Wasting Light (2011)
Red Hot Chili Peppers // I’m With You (2011)
The Roots // How I Got Over (2010)
The New Pornographers // Electric Version (2003)

I’ve enjoyed all of these except for the new Chili Peppers album which, unfortunately, I thought was so-so.

That is all.

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Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases, 11/3/2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

When I read this story, part of me told myself, “Okay, this is a setback, but everything’s going to be okay.” The other part of me wanted to drive home, get into bed, and hide under the covers for the rest of my life. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that this news does not bode well for the Earth.

Between the unprecedented weather phenomena, financial crises, and worldwide social unrest, I am becoming more and more concerned about the 2012 prophecy. However, I’ve pretty much always been afraid of it since I heard about the Web Bot that uses algorithms to predict major world events. In a nutshell, the Web Bot predicted 9/11, along with lots of other things, and it also predicts a disaster in 2012. Yes, maybe the Mayans also knew what they were talking about with their calendar, but I believe the computer. That said, this leaves me with one thought: I WILL NOT SURVIVE A MAJOR WORLD CATASTROPHE. And that worries me.

I’ve read The Road. I’ve played Fallout 3. If my future is going to involve wandering the wasteland and warding off cannibalistic factions while trying to scrounge for canned goods and clean water, it’s not going to be good.

It’s hard to even comprehend a true doomsday, where something happens that will actually affect my life enough that I will, say, not have to go to work anymore, not have to pay a mortgage, and either live in a tent or hole up in my house and simply work on the art of survival. But the more I think about it, the more I know that I ain’t dealing with that shit. I’ll check out early before I go head to head with a cannibal, or even a crazy, armed civilian trying to steal the rest of my canned Beefaroni.

In the meantime, let’s all try to stay positive, shall we?

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