Friday
Sep232016

more lamination practice

Food poisoning.  That has been what my week has been about.  I thought lunch Tuesday was just not settling but it did not settle for two days.  I am slowly doing better.  My energy was low due to stress but it got even lower.  I am not quite right but I am better.

I tried a new kouign amann recipe this last weekend.  Levee Baking Company posted a recipe that looked like it was getting very good results.  The recipes do not change that much but the technique does and her technique was spot on for me.  She is also the first person who I have seen post that they used any whole wheat flour at all in their kouign amann so that was of interest.  

I figured why not, and of course using sourdough, made it.  It turned out quite well.  There were a few more tweaks on my part due to a very warm kitchen, sourdough, and my oven but I was pleased.   The last of the kouign amann were turned into a bread pudding for breakfast.  That was fabulous!

kouign amann

Note:  Adapted from Levee Baking Company to use sourdough.

sourdough starter

100 grams flour

100 grams water

135 grams flour (total flour can be up to half whole wheat.  I used white whole wheat flour)

6 grams salt

75 grams water

14 grams butter

168 grams butter  (I am going to make it easy if you are cutting from a measured block, 12 tablespoons)

1/4 to 3/4 cup sugar (VERY much an estimate, I just sprinkle)

Four to eight hours before it is needed, mix 100 grams flour, 100 grams water, and the sourdough starter together in a large bowl.  Cover and let get bubbly.  When it is bubbly, it is ready for use.  Save some of the starter back for next time.

To the starter sponge, mix in the rest of the flour, salt, water, and butter.  Start kneading in the bowl and when the dough has come together, turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.  No more then ten minutes.  

Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover or into a large ziploc.  Let rise until double.  When the dough has doubled, gently shape into a rectangle.  Put in a plastic bag and place in the refigerator (a couple hours) or the freezer (20 minutes) until the dough has cooled.

While the dough is cooling, shape the 168 grams of butter into a 6 inch by 6 inch rectangle.  It is easiest to do this between two pieces of parchment paper and using a rolling pin.  Refrigerate until the dough has cooled.

Once the dough has cooled, place the rectangle on a floured surface.  Roll out into a rectange that is about 12 inches by 12 inches.  Place the butter in the middle.  Bring the corners of the dough into the center and seal the dough.  

Roll the dough/butter out into a large rectangle.  Make a letter fold:  left to middle, right over left.  My kitchen was so warm at this point, I needed to refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll the dough out into another rectangle, and do one more letter fold.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare pan.  This can be a cake pan if it is a family style kouign amann you are going for or muffin tins that are butterd and sugared.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator.  Roll out onto a floured surface into another large rectangle.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Most recipes I have seen use too much sugar for me.  I usually use about four soup spoons of sugar.  Make a letter fold.  Roll out into another large rectangle.   

Cut the rectangle into 3 inch by 3 inch rectangles if you are making individual portions.  Place the rectangle into a muffin cup and bring the corners to the center.  Try to get them to stick.  Cover and let rise while the oven preheats to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake in the center of the oven.  I started checking at 20 minutes and it took about 35, 40 minutes to get this colour.  I checked every five.  I actually had one tin on a bottom shelf and that tin of pastry had the bottom catch a bit.  The center shelf tin just had a dark carmel.

I cut these when they were still too warm.  Nice laminations and nice flavour.

I keep learning when it comes to sourdough and laminations.  It is fun!

Tuesday
Sep202016

long seams

Long seams.  I only seem to have time for long seams.  I bought some Halloween panels while I was in the Pacific Northwest and I am trying to get them put together.  One for me and one for the Tall Short Person.  She has decided she wants hers to be a quilt.

This one is going to be mine.  I have not decided if it is going to be for the bed or the wall but I do think I am going to change the original design.  Again.  I have already chosen different fabrics then the original design.  I think I am going to change the lettering for Halloween.  Something that is integral so I do not lose it.  Then I could use it as a quilt or a wall hanging if I put a sleeve for a pole in the back. 

That is the thought.  I have been spending time at my machine this week after work.  I am trying to stay sane for the last eight days because it is becoming more toxic.  The industry may not be in the best place but I have noticed more and more people are looking for different opportunities. 

Not my worry eight days from now.  It is just a relief at this point.

 

Monday
Sep192016

chocolate chocolate chip cookies

When I was off to the mountain, I saw my parents at both ends of the trip.  Koda Bear asked every time the car stopped or he woke up if we were going there.  Of course!  He is my Dad's favourite grandchild even if he is a great.  It has been mentioned.

On the way up, we went with my Mom to one of our favourite bookstores.  I always walk out with books.  Not a place I will be able to go shortly.  The small bear always asks how many he may have and gets just that number.  They are usually pretty good too.  Knowing this, knowing that I usually get cookbooks from the library before I decide to buy them, I bought a cookbook just because.  Eating with the Chefs.  I have already made three things from it and have plans for a few more.  It also means I will be getting more cookbooks from the library because I need to make Massimo's ragu!

This cookbook is all about dishes that are served at family meal.  What chefs and crew feed themselves.  It talks about their philosophies.  Food.  It is good.  And along those lines, we have been cooking all our own meals as we travel.  I have also tried to make all the snack food.  Sometimes that means apple and cheese or veggies and dip.  Usually there are some cookies.  It cuts down on how much ice cream is purchased.  For our way back to work, I chose a cookie recipe from this new find to be one of those.

The chefs at NOMA make a chocolate chocolate chip cookie which appealed.  I usually try to do one chocolate type cooke and one other for traveling but I have admit that on the way back, there were two chocolate.  These and toll house chocolate chip cookies.  I do get teased about how small I make my cookies but I would rather have two then have a cookie that is actually four and I cannot finish it.  I am odd.

The cookie is excellent.  When it comes out of the oven, it is a bit crisp.  It softens over time.  And we had a tin get misplaced.  Those cookies were soft but still quite good.  I did tweak the recipe.  I used salted butter and a splash of vanilla.  (Okay, I tweaked technique more then I remembered.  Oh well.)  Things my palate are used too.  But I would not change them much after that.

Now.  All the pictures were taken with my phone, which was what I had.  And some did not come out as well as I would have hoped.  But that is life.

chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Note:  I adapted this from the recipe in Eating with the Chefs.  I also used the smallest portions because that is what I like.  Small batches.

7 tablespoons salted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Mix in the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa (I did not have my fabulous sifter with me so I did not sift).  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoons on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and then remove to a rack or a granite counter top to cool.  Use what you have.

My traveling snacks.  Makes me smile.

Thursday
Sep152016

overboard!

I went a bit overboard fabric shopping while I was traveling.  I went to two quilt stores I liked and Ragfinery.  I bought enough flannel for two Christmases!  I can say it was for a non-profit and by the pound so I got a good deal.  I spent more on thrifted fabric then new!  But that is life.

I do admit that for the last bit of the trip I surely wished that I had packed sewing machine.  My "portable' sewing machine is not very portable.  If I am tired, I need help carrying it.

But the first day home, I did get a chance to sew.  I am making myself a Halloween wall hanging quilt with new and old fabric.  I am enjoying myself.

I am exhausted.  There has been no time at work for anything.  I do not even feel like I am caring for myself for in ten hours of the day it has been so busy.  People are freaking out that I will not be there soon.  Nothing I can do about it.  But it is making me tired.  And the stress is such I think I am not eating enough.  It wil get better.

My brain is starting to turn in crazy directions.  Who knows where it will turn up!

Tuesday
Sep132016

modification or mending?

I seem to be doing a lot of modifications lately.  Long sleeve shirts to short sleeve.  It is not really mending but it feels like it.  And when there are ten shirts to be modified it is hard to get anything else done.

Life is full of things I am not enjoying currently.  People at work that did not make the decision of me leaving are panicing.  There is much work and many meetings.  Many early meetings.  So early that I do not have a chance to sew as much as I would wish.  I am very tired by the time I get a quiet bit so it is hard to stay awake at the sewing machine.  It is not as dangerous as other activities but still not good.

The next bit is going to be interesting as well.  The Tall Short Person is back from Oregon for a few weeks.  She will take Koda Bear with her.  What I am going to do without my small helper?  Yes, Chef!  

I am hoping to get a bit of time on my machine on this weekend.  Maybe?  I have lots of work to do.