As the weather cools and I can turn on the oven without heat blasting myself out of my kitchen, I get the urge to bake bread. The feel of the soft, silky dough between my hands, the long slow relaxing rises, the heady aroma that overtakes my apartment are delightful sensations that serve as a reminder to slow down. I love baking bread. I’ve made many wonderful loaves in my tiny kitchen but today I wanted something different, one particular memory that I’ve been pushing about for some time. Finnish Pulla.
What do you do with miso? It seems like every recipe uses a teaspoon and you’re left with this big container to languish in your fridge for months. Years. I am in a unique position in that I have 3 kinds of miso languishing in my fridge right now. Three kinds! White, red and brown, in fat stubby containers that get pushed here and there, slowly accumulating a questionable amount of refrigerator debris (aka “crud”) on the lids. It’s a wonder I don’t have yellow miso too. Not sure how I missed out on that one. These containers are always in the way yet I hesitate to throw them out. Why? I think that someday I’ll find a use for them. It’s a curse.
So I’m slow off the line on this one. We’re nearly a third of the way through the month and I’m just getting around to reminding you about Unprocessed October, something I’ve been doing for the last 5 years. To be fair, I’ve been a bit buried, both literally and figuratively. My house is a maze of laundry; dirty, clean, folded and unfolded. My kitchen and dining room are piles upon piles of ingredients from consulting projects I need to organize in some way. There is a half open suitcase in my entryway that’s been there for two days and rather than unpack it, I’ve been stepping over it. I just can’t deal with that right now. I’m a traveling whirlwind and the Cubs are in the playoffs leading to extra innings and 3am bedtimes. But even with all that, I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my Unprocessed vows. With one notable exception. I was in Palm Springs last weekend and driving back to LA to catch a flight, we had to stop at In & Out Burger. We had to. We were tired, hungry and c’mon. It was In & Out. I console myself with the fact that the fries start in the restaurant as actual potatoes and the burger patties are hand formed right there. Can I make that burger at home? Kenji says I can so I’m saying it’s ok. A stretch but whatever, I’ll take the pass.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of recipe development work lately which is great but there is always the same end result: piles of random, leftover ingredients. The bags and boxes are open so I can’t donate them to the food pantry and it’s often too much for me to work through, knowing the next assignment is coming down the pike with even more stuff. In fact today, the FedEx guy delivered a 15 pound box of even more stuff from a client. Of the 9 things in the box, I really only need 2 of them and I’m not really sure why their light brown sugar is better or different than the brown sugar I have. But it is not for me to decide these things; I’ll use it at some point. The 5 pounds of lecithin, I’m not so sure. I’ve joked with my friends that when this round is over I’m going to have a pop-up grocery store in my dining room. Half filled bags of stuff for cheap! Kathy’s Store of Cheap Random Crap. C’mon down!
Posted in breakfast items, cakes, fruit desserts, pastry, pies | Tagged german apple cheesecake torte, german apple pie, german apple torte, german pastry recipes, german quark torte, quark apple cheesecake, quark recipes, teahouse recipes | 2 Comments »
I’ve been up to my eyeballs in ingredients for a big project; packages of stuff are heaped on my dining room table and every time I open the refrigerator I stand back, just a bit, to avoid things that inevitably fly out. I’m packed to the gills – again – and with an inordinate amount of cheese this time. Earlier in the week while I was developing this round of recipes, I somehow overbought and ended up with too much goat cheese. First world problems, I know. But I had an idea; I hadn’t made focaccia in a while. It was time.
Posted in breads | Tagged fig & goat cheese focaccia, fig and goat cheese bread, fig bread, goat cheese bread, homemade bread, homemade focaccia, homemade italian breads, italian breads | 2 Comments »
This is the time of year, over here anyway, when the shelling beans start appearing at the farmers markets. Brightly colored, striped and speckled pods filled with fat beans ready for the cooking pot. This weekend, a favorite vendor had big piles of deep purple crowder peas and the ones I really wait for, red and white striped borlotti beans. Sometimes called tongues of fire or cranberry beans, they cook up nice and creamy yet slightly firm. I love them but for some reason, my work schedule always kicks into high gear in September, just as they make an appearance on market tables. If there’s one thing I have a problem with it’s buying too much food at the exact moment when I have zero time to cook it. This has happened more times than I care to admit with these beans.
The start of September means one thing to me: football. Back in the day, friends and I used to play on a flag football team in the park on Saturday mornings. This is hilarious for so many reasons. First, I watch football, I don’t play it yet somehow I was talked into joining the team. Second, I’m fairly certain we were universally hated in the league as we spent the majority of the game laughing and making fun of each other. Third, we were terrible but damn, it was fun and it made for some very long Saturdays. By 10am we were typically comfortably ensconced in the local bar for our post game fiesta. Pitchers of beer flowed freely and platters of chicken wings came out by the dozens. We would routinely go through at least one waitress shift change and more than once, departed to discover it was dark out. Oops. To this day, it’s hard for me to watch a college football game without hankering for some wings.