Tuesday
Nov072017

craving beignets

I was craving beignets last week.  I know part of that was the trip to Galveston.  It is the closest place for me to buy beignets out currently.  Unless I wish to drive to New Orleans.  I actually do not have a problem with that but I do not always have the time.  And I say drive because then I can take a tent, camp, wander, eat, drink, and be merry.  Yes.  It is how I do New Orleans at this point in my life.  

The lowly oddly beignet on the plate in the above picture was the last one.  Cold because I made it the day before but it was still a good beignet!  Which the day after, beignets are pretty bleah!  I do not know if I am making beignets next or croissants because I am craving them both but one will be made.  But I have to write down the beignet recipe.  I followed a recipe for New Orlean style beignets, changing them for sourdough and what was in the house.  This is where I get asked did I really follow the recipe or not.  My response is usually, hmmmm.

beignets

Note:  I started with the beignet recipe from Genius Kitchen.  I changed it for sourdough and what was in my kitchen.

1/4 cup sourdough starter (I have a large mason jar of starter just ready to go now.  I just dipped out a 1/4 cup)

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

3-3 3/4 cups whole wheat white flour

2 tablespoons butter

In a large bowl, put in the starter and water.  Mix well.  Stir in the sugar, egg, salt, milk, and butter.

Mix in the flour a cup a time.  I made my dough on the wet side so I held back on the flour.  But you want to get enough flour until you can knead the dough smooth.  I had to use my dough scraper to help me because the dough was so sticky.  I really wanted a dough that would rise well when fried.  I used about 3 1/2 cups flour.

Cover and let the dough rise until double in bulk.  This can be done at room temperature or it can be done in the refrigerator.  If you plan to put the dough in the refrigerator, cover the bowl with cling wrap.

When the dough has doubled, turn it out of the bowl onto a clean floured surface.  Pat or roll to about 1/2 inch thick and cut rectangles.  I went for smaller then purchased beignets.  But my dough was also soft enough by the time I transferred them to baking sheets covered with silpats to rise, the rectangles were not very rectangular. 

Cover and let rise until double again or very puffy.

In a deep pan, put in two or three inches of vegetable oil and bring to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  I use a cast iron chicken fryer.  Put a few beignets in at a time to fry.  First one side, then roll over.  An even brownness is wanted.  It will only take a few minutes a side.  They can go from golden to too dark very quickly.

I actually had paper towels in the house so I let them drain on paper towels.

Sift lots of powdered sugar over them.  Eat hot with coffee or tea.  Take some to the neighbors.  Which is what I did because I did not need to eat two dozen beignets even though I wanted too!

Like I said, beignets or croissants later this week.  The boyos would say both!

Saturday
Nov042017

quilt festival

I went to the International Quilt Festival earlier this week.  I always find something inspirational there.  Usually in the festival and not the trade show.  I feel like the trade show is very much a place of chaos.

In the festival, I realized that I was drawn to the quilts that were mostly neutrals on the whole.  I also want to play with digital printing on fabric at some point.  I have too many projects!  I will have to move something to work with other bits.  

There were other quilts I liked then the neutrals.  There were also a lot of quilts about social issues at this festival.  I was very impressed on how people chose to approach many different subjects.  Pictures do not do any of those justice.

Today I have been working on fiber.  I am working on washing another fleece.  It is about half done and I will let that dry before I was anymore.  It is so humid, it may take a week.

More camping this weekend!  Maybe I will heal from the convention center floor.

Thursday
Nov022017

beach camping

I did not get to SAFF like I hoped this year.  My back would not have sat for 20 hours.  It is less then that in the car but I am just adding stops and such.  I could have flown but then how would I have brought fleeces back?  It is all about the logistics.

The suggestion was made of a camping trip to the beach.  Since camping can occur on Sunday nights, camping was to be had!  The flexibility of not "working" Mondays is huge.  I put working in parenthesis because work always seems to happen but no specific location is needed.  Therefore, part of the run of the silvers we became.  Silvers are those who are retired and travel/camp on the shoulder seasons when kids are in school.

There was no surf but there were cooler temperatures and lots of beach to walk.  The insects were not even hovering due to the wind.  Even though camping items were forgotten, it was very comfortable and restful.

The grasses even looked a bit like autumn.  Though by the time we left the beach it did not feel like autumn.  It was a lovely break from everyday life and the city.  We have decided to do more of this type of quick camping this year.  I do believe part of it is to see if we would use a van conversion.  Converted for camping.  Of course we would but this is the test.

More this weekend!  I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday
Oct312017

sourdough oatmeal scottchies

When I travel, I know I like to bring my own food.  Whether that is snacks or dinners.  Antipasti.  Breakfast.  Tea.  Bread for toast.  Over the years there are some things that do not seem to travel well.  They either become stale or crumble.  A loaf of bread turns green in a warm car after about ten days.  Cookies become crumbs and the crumbs are usually stale.

I had made sourdough cookies with and for the boyos.  The comment was made that they stay much fresher longer.  Moister as well.  This last long travels I was asked to make sourdough oatmeal scottchies.  Can I say these were a hit?  These are not any harder to make then cookies without starter but I can say the keeping quality is much better.

Between bread, cake, and cookies, I have had to change how I do my sourdough starter.  It never gets a chance to rest and I have put it in a quart jar so I can replenish as I go.  I keep getting more old fashioned every time I turn around!

sourdough oatmeal scotchies

1/2 cup butter

6 tablespoons white sugar

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sourdough starter

1 egg

1 cup and two tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 cup quick oatmeal

up to 1 cup of butterscotch chips (go with your preference)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cover baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add egg and sourdough starter.  Mix well.

Mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in the oatmeal and butterscotch chips.

Drop by teaspoons (flatwear type) on the baking sheets.

Bake for ten minutes or until golden.  When my oven gets going, it is 8 minutes.

Just good traveling food.

 

Saturday
Oct282017

just a day in the life

I have been working on a quilt for my shop this week.  It is my Etsy shop which has more things.  Experiments.  But this quilt has been a nice slow process.  I need putter.  There is a cold front coming through, which is really not that cold, but the pressure changes have definitely aggravated new injuries.  It is how my body reacts.  I have just been puttering away and trying to make progress.  Also, trying to remember to stretch and rest.  It is not what I am best at!

Since the city did not like my front garden, I have been trying to decide what to do with that space.  A tree will be planted.  A burr oak was a recommendation for the health of the planet and the tree population.  But I want more then a tree.  I picked some sage branches on one of the many walks I take.  Into water they go and hopefully roots develop.  I miss having sage.

Also, grocery shopping for vegetables was a disappointment today.  I do not think of myself as a big vegetable eater.  Because I mostly like vegetables roasted, in soups, or raw.  I like roasted romesca.  It is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  It is the time of year it should be coming into grocery stores.  Not this year.  I can get bean to bar chocolate made in house but I cannot buy romesca.  I am thinking seeds will need to be started soon.

As I said before, I like roasted veg.  But roasting veg leaves a lot of very edible veg after cleaning.  I also found some wrinkly potatoes and moldy onions in the refrigerator.  Once I cut off the mold, into the soup pot everything went.  Browning happened.  Water was added.  A long slow simmer took place.  This vegetable broth was created.  It looks like it should be meat broth but it will cook beans well and it will thin soups well. 

The documentary Wasted got me going back down this path.  It is a good reminder that we all can do more to cut down food waste.  I highly recommend it.  Chickens are being also considered to eat more of the leftover food as well as producing eggs.  There is only so  much vegetable stock the freezer can hold.  Now that the apartment has a tenant, there is someone around most of the time to help care for livestock.  Rabbits are being considered as well but they are just more of a meat source not a way to limit waste.