Friday, November 26, 2010

How to travel with deviled eggs

I inwardly cringed when asked to bring deviled eggs to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Visions of the last time Speed Racer (aka:best husband) and I traveled with deviled eggs popped into my head.

Thankfully, the Internet is full of wonderful ideas like this one. Save and wash Styrofoam egg cartons. Line them with lettuce, spinach or other greenery. When making your deviled eggs, cut them across the middle (instead of end to end) so they will sit back in the egg carton. Fill the eggs, close your container and you are ready to travel.

When we arrived on site, we cut the top and flap off the carton and put frilly tooth picks in each egg for easy serving. Now that's the way to travel with deviled eggs! Yay!!!

Other sites to check out:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

English Muffins - BBA Challenge #12

Week 12's Bread Baker's Apprentice challenge is English muffins.

I decided to join in the fun that some of my fellow bakers were having by doing a bake off / throw down between two recipes.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a BIG fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum and her Bibles. Not only does she write very detailed cookbooks but she's also very supportive & giving to those on her website. I used her English Muffin recipe out of the Bread Bible (BB) and I had no doubt that her recipe would beat Peter's Bread Bakers Apprentice (BBA). But did it?

Both recipes came together quickly. The Bread Bible used a sponge that you can leave overnight in the refrigerator should you choose. Then mixed and baked the next day. The BBA used a direct method that took 4 hours from beginning to end.

The BB dough is rolled out and cut with a large biscuit cutter

While the BBA is shaped like a dinner roll.

BB's rising on corn meal

BBA's after rise

Both are cooked on the griddle until dark brown on both side.


The BBA's is placed in the oven for 5-8 minutes to finish baking.
Final product: BB


Crumb shots:

So which one did we like best?
Much to my surprise, I liked BBA's. The BB had a slight sour dough taste which some may find appealing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A New Apron to go with the New Job

My husband's sister, Becky, is an amazing seamstress. She has been whipping out aprons quicker than I can bat an eye. This is the second apron she has made for me. (the first on is a gorgeous half apron) Becky made this design up herself... she doesn't even use a pattern!
Even though it doesn't show in this picture, this design is very flattering to the chest area. My husband loves this apron. ;-)

This is the lovely Becky. She rocks! Thank you Becky! I love my apron! And you were right, it launders very well. I came home covered in chocolate, washed it, and it looks brand new. (the picture above is after I washed it... I wished I would have thought to take a "before" picture. I will next time and update this post with it)
Becky sent me the apron to celebrate my new job. At a bakery!!!! EEEkkkk! (that's me jumping up and down and squealing) I've been there a week and I absolutely love it. Everyone who works there is amazingly sweet and kind. This has been my dream job and now my dream has come true. Thank you Father!
I originally applied for this job back in January. I felt God's leading and I felt very confident I'd get the job. When I didn't, I was quite shocked. So, I turned it back over to Him and prayed about it constantly. And guess what. They sent me an email on June 30th asking if I was still interested. EEEKKKK! I thanked God instantly! (and continuously).
I went through three interviews. The first one was answering a lot of questions geared more for assessing some one's morals, honesty & integrity, the other two were practicals where I frosted a very moist chocolate cake with light colored frosting, made a pie and mixed up some cookies. The second practical I frosted another chocolate cake with white frosting & made a pie. The whole time I was working we were all chatting like sisters having a good time in the kitchen. ...and that's what it's like to work there. I am so impressed with all of the young ladies that bake from scratch. I thought it was becoming a lost art but not so. There are two other ladies around my age but the rest are young, smart and very talented.
How do I know God was in this? I got hired to work in their new location which would be baking favorite. It won't be a retail shop. God knew what was coming up and which job would fit me best. I just had to wait for his timing. (I get a little impatient waiting sometime...okay most of the time... sorry God) The things we will bake at the new location will be transported to the original location where they are so busy they can't keep up with sales. What a wonderful problem to have, eh? (they'll still be baking at the original location also)

That's the latest news is my life. What's up with you?

P.S. If you want an apron, I'm sure Becky would love to sale you one. Here's a sample of her work:

Doesn't she pick out the most wonderful materials? I love them all!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread - BBA Challenge #11

If you like cranberries and walnuts, this week bread is for you.

This dough can be baked in a loaf pan, as freestanding boules or braided.
The braids stacked on top of each other:

Here, the top braid listing to the left. I tried to encourage it back to the right before popping it in the oven but it wouldn't budge.

The crumb shot. This bread had a lot of cranberries and walnuts. It tasted great plain or toasted.
Up next... English muffins.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Corn Bread - BBA Challenge #10

Being a true southern girl, I'm not allowed to make corn bread unless it's in a well seasoned iron skillet. I believe my grandmother would turn over in her grave if I even thought about it.

Although I was raised with cornbread at every meal, it was never my favorite.... until now. This corn bread is amazing. Moist, sweet, and with lots of bacon. It's almost a meal in itself.

We start this recipe by soaking the polenta overnight in buttermilk & leaving it covered on the counter. I was a little hesitant to leave it on the counter overnight but when I checked it the following day, it still smelled fine. hmmm. Interesting.

I mixed the baking powder, salt and baking soda with unbleached AP flour.
Added the white and brown sugar.

My mess-in-place....

I mixed all the liquid ingredients in well then added the corn. (note to self, defrost the corn first! duh!)

The directions state that the corn bread cooks in 30 minutes.... After 55 minutes, with an internal temp of 160, I grab it out of the oven, wrapped in in heavy foil, and put it in a short, thick box and drove off with it. I was five minutes late to Bible study... and I was the one with all the food. Boy were people glad to see me! :-D (I believe the frozen corn is why it took so long to cook. What was I thinking?)

The corn bread was still moist inside but not raw. (whew!) Everyone loved it. I had to hide a piece to take home so I could have a crumb shot.

How good was it? Rick requested it for breakfast! (is that man after my heart or what?)
(Yes, we ate more than just corn bread for Bible study...but that's another post...)

Coming up next.... Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread.
What are you waiting for? Buy a copy of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and join us. We're a friendly group.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread- BBA Challenge #9

I decided to play with this recipe a bit to see if I could develop a deeper flavor. I created a sponge using part of the ingredients. (1/2 cup buttermilk, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cup bread flour, 1 tsp yeast, 4 tsp sugar) I whisked it for 1 minute than covered the sponge with the rest of the dry ingredients minus the salt. (2 1/4 c flour, 1 tsp yeast, 1 1/4 t cinnamon) Typically, I'd let this sit at room temperature for one hour than put it in the fridge over night but I ran out of time so I let this sit at room temperature for four hours before mixing. Below you see the sponge breaking through the flour mixture.

After four hours, I added the egg and shortening and mix with the dough hook for 1 minute to for a rough dough. I covered the bowl and let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes.

After 20 minute autolyse:

I added the 1 1/4 t salt and mixed on KA #4 for 6 minutes

I added the raisins and walnuts in the last minute than finished the kneading by hand.

The dough doubled in 1 hour

I didn't have an 8x4 pan, so I shaped 2/3 of the dough and placed it in my 9x5 pan
Here's the dough after 90 minutes, ready for the oven. To reduce gaps in the cinnamon spiral, I let the dough overproof so I wouldn't have much of an oven spring.

Final bread cut in half

With the extra dough, I made small cinnamon rolls.

Finished rolls.

Rick has been on pins and needles waiting for this week. He loves raisins. He really enjoyed this bread. Rick said the bread was light, chewy and soft with a slight molasses taste.