It’s Exactly What We’ve Always Wanted!

summary: Tagine; in praise of unglazed clay; seasoning an unglazed tagine; inaugurating a tagine;

Look what we just got!!

Tagine

It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted
A very extra special thing
For it’s useful and quite pleasant
And it’s just the sort of present that is
Fit for a king!
 
– Douglas Moore and Raymond Abrashkin, Puss In Boots, Children’s Record Guild

It is a tagine!

We’re so excited. Doubly! Because, yes. The tagine is unglazed! (continue reading )

Egg!?? Bagels (BBB November 2018)

go directly to the recipe

BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Egg-free “Egg Bagels”; flagrant disobedience; following instructions – or not; embracing the notion to be “innovative and playful at the same time”; internet substitutions are so handy; Eggs Benedict to the rescue; information about Bread Baking Babes;

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Egg Bagels

I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me.
 
– Alfred Hitchcock

BBB November 2018

When Karen (Bake My Day) announced that we would be making Egg Bagels this month, I seriously considered bowing out. Granted, I’m not quite as frightened of eggs as Alfred Hitchcock. But I’m not all that keen about eggs in any bread, and the idea of eggs in bagels is horrifying.

Wouldn’t that just produce horrible ersatz bagels that would essentially be cakey buns with holes in the middle?

But the recipe Karen presented to us also called for boiling a potato. I was really intrigued by this notion. And Beth Hensperger does claim that her bagels are chewy:

Another low fat bread, bagels are very popular. Identified by their center hole, they sport a chewy texture and come in a myriad of flavors from pumpernickel to raisin. I associate bagels with weekend breakfast, but they have become an everyday favorite in place of toast. Although hand-rolling bagels takes a little time, the results are worth it. Bagels are first boiled, then baked to end up with their unique chewy texture. Bagels freeze perfectly, so make a large batch.
 
– Beth Hensperger, The Bread Bible | The Roll Basket, p157)

So. I decided that, rather than bowing out, I would make bagels after all. But I would be disobedient: I would simply refuse to follow the recipe to the letter.

As if I have ever done that anyway….

(continue reading )

Say ‘no’ to plastic bags… really

summary: Say ‘No’ to plastic; tips for what to do with some of the plastics you have; make your own grocery and produce bags;

The ‘throw it away’ age has passed. There is no away anymore. Plastic rubbish builds up on roadsides, in hedgerows and on fences and trees near careless supermarkets. – Pip Richards, The Sustainable Trust (U.K.)

We’ve been bringing our own cloth grocery bags to the store for eons. The bags hang by on the kitchen door so that it’s easy to grab them just as we head out. We’ve been doing this for so long that it surprises us when people comment on the bags, saying, “I should do that.”

Yes, they should. :lalala:

grocery bags

However, aside from the 5 lovely little mesh bags (that are starting to fall apart) my sister gave to us some years ago, we have not made it a habit to bring our own small bags for vegetables.

We try to remember to wash the small plastic bags that the stores provide, and reuse (and re-reuse) them. But, until recently, we were not always remembering to put those bags in with the cloth grocery bags.

Shame on us! (continue reading )

Steaming Up the Kitchen (BBB October 2018)

go directly to the recipe

feed the hungrysummary: recipe for Steamed Bao Buns; remember about final colour when making substitutions; to go wild or not to go wild; following instructions; World Food Day; World Bread Day; information about Bread Baking Babes;

BBB: Let's Get BakingGet steamed up! Because it is possible to resolve things in order to satisfy everyone’s hunger….

Bread Baking Babes (BBB): Steamed Bao Buns

From a poisonously hot summer, including most of September and even the early part of October, the temperatures have plunged. Of course they have. It is October, after all. The leaves are turning red and gold; the insanely hot chilis (unwanted by anyone but us) in our wonderful neighbour’s garden have ripened beautifully; standing over the stove is a joy because it’s warm and toasty inside.

BBB Steamed Buns

For the BBBabes’ October project, Karen (Karen’s Kitchen Stories) chose Steamed Bao Buns. She told us the recipe she was using is Taiwanese. But steamed buns appear to be made all over Asia. And Karen’s photo looked very much like Banh Mi we’ve had.

As far as weaknesses go, this is a big one for me. Asian steamed buns. They are light, slightly sweet conveyors of all types of fillings. Also known as Bao, these buns are a blank canvas for whatever you’d like to fill them with… Preferably something savory, sweet and spicy all at the same time.
 
– Lisa, Garlic and Zest | Asian Steamed Buns

(continue reading )

What? No Pictures?? – Thanksgiving Fare

summary: nope, no pictures; bread for sandwiches; how to tell if your wild starter is ready; bubbles are NOT the key; float test is essential; substitutions in “punkin pie”; who says you can’t have pie for breakfast?

Before we had the camera, I didn’t let lack of images stop me from droning on. So, now that we have the camera, why should that change? So. Images or not, drone on, I will – me, blog from OUR kitchen, 15 December 2009

Late last night, I built up our Jane Mason whole wheat starter to mix Tartine bread today. Because tomorrow is Thanksgiving Dinner. Which means that the Monday is (yay my favourite!!) Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Sandwich Day.

J’adore Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner sandwiches (almost exactly the same as Leftover Christmas Dinner sandwiches), with their filling of roast chicken (not turkey – ew!), dressing, oven-roasted parsnips, cranberry sauce, and curly kale salad (if there’s any left over). Oh, yes, and don’t forget to add a little mustard mayonnaise on the buttered bread….

But, I’m losing track of why I’m at the keyboard. This morning, I pulled the leaven out of the oven with only the light turned on to see that it was bubbly. And a little bit concave on the surface.

I was pretty sure that it would NOT float.

I finally understood that I needed to do the Float Test. This was really brought home to me a couple of weeks ago when one of my sisters was visiting. I was showing off to her about how essential the Float Test is. After we admired the starter wildly bubbling, I filled a small bowl with water and proudly said, “watch!” as I dropped a bit from a fork into the water. Being the expert that I am, I was positive it was going to float. The starter immediately sank like a stone. I couldn’t have been more surprised! […]
All this time, because of relying on my eyes and looking for bubbles galore, it turns out that I was letting the starter overfeed.
 
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | Wild Bread Notes (or… KISS)
[It] might be the case that your starter is rising, but you’re not there to see it. If you feed at night, it might be rising up while you’re asleep, and by morning it has fallen again, so it looks the same.
 
– Donna Currie, Serious Eats | Sourdough Starter Frequently Asked Questions

This cannot be reiterated enough in our kitchen. (continue reading )