Sunday, May 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Baguettes

I hate whole wheat. I think it's gross, I really do, and it's probably because we never had white bread in the house. But in a house where everyone's trying to eat healthier, whole wheat is the way to go.
So over at Not Without Salt, I found this delicious bread recipe for baguettes. And honestly, it's probably one of the easiest bread recipes I've ever made (or seen for that matter). I don't have a stand mixer, and I was still able to make this in less than twenty minutes. I substituted all-purpose whole wheat flour for the bread flour, and the texture of my bread turned out less baguette-y than I would have liked it, but it's still delicious. And that's saying something, coming from someone who hates whole wheat.


5 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (I’ve used all-purpose with great results)

1 tbsp coarse kosher salt

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 cups warm water


Prep Day: Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer, set with paddle attachment, and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute until well blended and smooth. Dough should form a coarse, shaggy ball. Let rest, uncovered for 5 minutes. Switch to dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Dough should be smooth, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Knead dough by hand on lightly floured work surface for 1 minute, then transfer to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and immediately refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

Dough can also be made without the use of a stand mixer. Combine all the ingredients – start with a wooden spoon then switch to your hands when the flour is incorporated. Lightly knead until all the ingredients are well blended. Let rest for 5 minutes then knead for about 5 more minutes until dough is smooth and slightly tacky.

Baking Day: Remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours prior to baking. Gently transfer to lightly floured work surface, taking care to release as little gas as possible. Divide dough into four equal portions. You can also do as I have by removing just enough dough to make one baguette and have a fresh baguette everyday for the next four days from one single batch of dough.

Form Baguettes: Pat each piece of divided dough into a thick rectangle.

Fold the bottom half to the center and seal the seam. Fold the top half to the center and once again seal the seam.

Roll the top half of the dough over the seam to create a new seam on the bottom of the loaf.

(Go look at Not Without Salt's pictures to better understand this, if you need.)

With seam side underneath, gently rock loaf back and forth, with hands moving out toward and increasing pressure at the ends, to slightly taper the loaf until baguette is the length of baguette pan (or baking sheet). Place the formed baguettes on a baguette pan or a baking sheet that has been oiled or covered with parchment. Mist top of dough with oil, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and proof at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, or until increased to 1 1/2 times its original size.

Baking: About 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a sheet pan, which will serve as steam pan, with a 1-inch rim on shelf under which baguettes will be baked. Remove plastic wrap from the dough 15 minutes prior to baking. Just prior to baking, score the dough 1/2 inch deep with a serrated knife or razor. Transfer dough to the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into the steam pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the crust is rich golden brown, the loaves sound hollow when thumped, and the internal temperature is about 200 degrees in the center. Cool on wire rack before slicing or serving. Best eaten the same day, or heated briefly in the oven the next day if crust loses its crispness.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweaters and cameras

I'm currently knitting a sweater.
Yeah, I realize that it's nearly summer and all, but despite the fact that it's 80-something degrees outside here, my room is absolutely freezing. And hey, the sweater has short sleeves.
A long while back, I saw this sweater at Ann Taylor Loft, and I loved it. It's cute and comfortable... and seventy dollars. And while looking at it, I realized that I could make it. And while this was months ago that I saw the sweater and bought the yarn for it, it's taken me a while. First, I was knitting ten million other things. And I have stuff to do, like go to class and study. And then I began knitting it, and got most of the back done and realized that I was knitting stockinette when I should have been doing garter. So I restarted it.
Currently, I am almost done with the back (again), and will then move on to the front. But because I don't have a camera, I can't post pictures.
Which brings me to the camera thing. I had a Canon PowerShot SD800 IS, which I have had for forever and then some. It's been around the world with me, on top of the Empire State Building and the Colosseum, in German airplanes and my high school. Seriously, I loved it. It's scratched and dirty and a boring grey, but it was mine. I had won photography contests with it, and taken hundreds of silly photos of friends with it, too.
Yes, I realize how ridiculous it is for me to be so attached to a camera, for goodness sake, but it's very high on the list of things I would grab if my house was burning down. Phone, wallet, laptop, camera.
And because I will be (finally) getting a paycheck in a few weeks, and I usually put my first summer paycheck to something big for myself, I'm going to get a new camera. Because I seriously can't live without one. (And I do need a new phone, but those are hundreds of dollars cheaper).
I'm currently looking at:
Nikon Coolpix S8000 and S6000
Canon PowerShot S90
And my favorite, the Nikon Coolpix L110.
I've always been a huge fan of DSLRs, as I used them frequently in high school, but they're extremely expensive, and not all that easy to carry around. Which is why I like the L110. It's compact (for a SLR), and really cheap. Or, well, not that expensive.
I miss my camera.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I'm clumsy. Really really clumsy. So while hiking in the mountains this morning, I fell. In a river/stream/waterfall thing. And my beloved camera, a Canon PowerShot, decided that being submerged in freezing mountain water would be better than... not. So no camera.
I did manage to save the memory card. But not my dignity.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Friday, April 16, 2010


Maybe one day I'll post something that isn't macro.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


{If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I'll stay there forever.}
{Winnie the Pooh}

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


{May you always do for others,
And let others do for you.}
{Bob Dylan}

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


{The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of dreams.}
{Eleanor Roosevelt}

Monday, April 12, 2010


{I'm the bloody Queen, mate. Basically, I rule.}
{Doctor Who, S5E2}

Sunday, April 11, 2010


{This ain't a scene. It's just a generation caught in-between.}
{The Henry Clay People}

Saturday, April 10, 2010


{Sanity is a cozy lie.}
{Susan Sontag}

Friday, April 9, 2010


I have a thing for macro. A big thing. Like, I might just be in love. And I would greatly recommend anyone else who is in love with macro to do The Pioneer Woman's photography contest, on MACRO. Because a macro lens is a camera's gift to humankind.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


{Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.}

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


{I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book.}

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


{Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.}
{Eleanor Roosevelt}

Monday, April 5, 2010


{You can't deny you want the happy ending.}

Sunday, April 4, 2010


{The only person you are destined to be is the person you decide to be.}
{Ralph Waldo Emerson}

Baci di Dama

This is not my kitchen. This bothers me more than you can possibly imagine. Despite how much I might dislike the one I have (share?) at home, especially when there are literally four cooks in the kitchen.
But at least at home, I have reliable cooking things, like food processors, and I know where all the measuring cups and spoons and such are. Let's just say that without a food processor, I had to make an archaic-like mortar and pestle with a mixing bowl and metal ice cream scoop. Like MacGyver. Or Jack Bauer. Except with cooking.

So, the actual recipe. Bci di Dama. It's an Italian cookie, made in the 1800s. It translates to "lady's kisses," because, supposedly, it's like kissing a lady, or, when bitten into, has the appearance of a lady's lips.
These were really good. And pretty easy to make, if you're not attempting (well, being forced to attempt) to be the Jack Bauer of cooking. But I love almonds, and chocolate, and cookies. All good.

(Please ignore my chocolatey hands.)

Baci di Dama
(Taken from Pandas and Cupcakes)
Makes about 20 assembled cookies

For the cookies:
3/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted and peeled (I used almonds, which were probably just as good, and cheaper) 1 cup powdered sugar 9 tablespoons butter, softened 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup flour For the ganache: 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped 6 oz heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind hazelnuts (or almonds) and powdered sugar together in a food processor.
  2. Beat butter, vanilla, and hazelnut/sugar mixture in a bowl until fluffy. Add flour and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Shape dough into half teaspoon balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake one at a time for 12-15 minutes until golden.
  4. While the cookies are baking, make the ganache. Heat the cream to just boiling, pour over chocolate.
  5. Let sit until thickens. When both cookies and ganache are at room temperature, put about half a teaspoon in between two cookies, sandwiching them together.

After step five, I dipped an entire cookie back into the ganache, just because I had a lot of extra.
But they were all really good, with or without the extra chocolate. Also, be aware that these cookies are fairly small. I doubled this recipe and made about fifty total, and most people ate two to three each.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rusty the Owl

I love him. Used up some of the maroon and silver grey I had left over, and felt I've had for forever and a day. Though I didn't have enough stuffing as I'd have liked, so he's not as fat as I wanted. He did take a really long time to make, but well worth it. The front is, well, above, and the back is the exact same shape and such, but in plain grey. No, he's not perfect. I'm not so great at the attaching-some-other-material-to-knit-things process.
Taken from the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor, the mouse I made came from the book, too. I did adapt them both a bit, but I definitely recommend this book.

Sunday Confessional

  1. I hate when people hide healthy food in dessert. Like zucchini-chocolate cupcakes. It's shameful.

  2. I love love love coffee. I'm a two-cup-minimum kind of girl. The amount I drink is pretty much enough to kill a horse.

  3. There are a few books that will never fail to make me cry. Any of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. And The Time Traveler's Wife. Like, gut-wrenching sobs. It's not a good sight.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dinner party

The Menu
Stuffed mushrooms
Oven-roasted asparagus
Soft garlic knots
Roast beef
Mashed potatoes

Stuffed mushrooms
Yum. Yum yum yum. I don't like mushrooms. Or most cheese (crazy, I know). But these were delicious.
(Taken from Annie's Eats.)

(These are them uncooked, sitting in the fridge. Once done, they were all oozy and delicious.)

24 whole fresh button mushrooms
3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Bread crumbs and minced fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully remove the stems from the mushroom caps, setting the caps aside for later. Add the stems to the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic to the food processor as well, and pulse in brief bursts until them mushroom stems and garlic are finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems and garlic and cook until all the moisture has disappeared, about 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Stir in the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and spices. Stir together until the mixture is smooth and creamy; remove from the heat. Using a small spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of filling. Arrange the mushroom caps on the prepared baking sheet. Top with bread crumbs, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are hot and liquid starts to form under the caps. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with fresh herbs if using and serve immediately.

Roasted asparagus

I love asparagus. A lot. Which is surprising, because I hate most vegetables. But these were delicious, and super easy to make.

(Thanks, Pioneer Woman)

1 bunch Asparagus
  • 4 Tablespoons (up To 5 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

After you wash the asparagus thoroughly, stack a bunch together and lop off the tough/thick bottom an inch or so.

Spread out the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pat it as dry as you can, as you don’t want any water to “steam” the asparagus in the oven.

Begin by generously drizzling olive oil all over the asparagus and then sprinkle the asparagus generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast the asparagus for about ten minutes.

Soft garlic knots
I LOVE bread. So so so much. And these were so good. Like Ippolito's. (Thanks again, Annie's Eats.)

(These are the knots after they've risen, just before they go in the oven.)

For the dough:

6 cups bread flour
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cups + 4 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:

4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. Italian seasoning


To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch long rope and tie into a knot. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Roast beef
I love roast beef (too, I guess. Seeing as I made the menu for this dinner, of course I love everything). But I've never made one before. The Pioneer Woman has this recipe for roasted beef tenderloin, but the tenderloin was ridiculously expensive, so we opted for eye of round. And it was still really really good. If you like roast beef, MAKE THIS.

(I realize this isn't the most attractive picture, but just so you get the drift of what it looks like.)
  • 2.5 lb-eye of round roast (this fed six, many of whom took multiple slices)
  • 1 stick Butter, or more to taste
  • Whole peppercorns, or cracked peppercorns (you're cracking them anyways, so if there is cracked, get them)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Olive Oil
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

The eye of round meat should be very lean, but if there's lots of fat, cut some of it off. Sprinkle meat generously with the seasoned salt. You'll want to use a lot, because you're not getting a lot of the edges when you actually serve it. Rub it in with your fingers. Sprinkle both sides generously with lemon & pepper seasoning. (There are no measurements because it depends on your taste, but be sure to season liberally.)

Place the peppercorns in a Ziploc bag, and with a mallet or a hammer or a large, heavy can, begin smashing the peppercorns to break them up a bit. Set aside. (Or just buy them already cracked, and you're set.)

Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is to the smoking point, place the beef in the very hot pan to sear it. Throw a couple of tablespoons of butter into the skillet to give it a nice little butter injection before going in the oven. A minute or two later, when one side is starting to turn nice and brown, flip and repeat.

Place the tenderloin on an oven pan with a rack. Sprinkle the pummeled peppercorns all over the meat. Press the pepper onto the surface of the meat. Put several tablespoons of butter all over the meat. Stick the long needle of the thermometer lengthwise into the meat. Place it in a 325-degree oven until the temperature reaches just under 140 degrees. This will take multiple hours, but by cooking it slowly, it stays nice and tender.

Let meat stand ten minutes or so before slicing, so the meat will have a chance to relax a bit.


I have never had a snickerdoodle before this. Never. And as much as I believe most desserts should be chocolate, something non-chocolate was needed after such a rich meal. And these were good.

I took this recipe from Betty Crocker. Thanks, Betty. This makes 4-5 dozen.

1 1/2cups sugar
1/2cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2cup shortening (as much as I hate using shortening, you need it for this recipe because it keeps them from spreading too much)
2 3/4cups self-rising flour
1/4teaspoon salt
1/4cup sugar
2teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.Heat oven to 400ºF.
2.Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour.
3.Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4.Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. They'll be super-soft, so do this carefully.