Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Had To Do It

Just had to brag about how much better I felt, didn't I.

Mother Nature didn't like that, apparently. Thanksgiving is coming and my stomach is feeling positively oceanic.

Here, have some food photos:

Pork loin made with Mama J's 'Hoochie Mama' sauce... and a recent dinner.

Now that I've been sufficiently masochistic, time to crawl in bed... back soon. Lovely holiday to all who celebrate it.

More PostModern Jukebox:

Friday, November 20, 2015

This Is Why I'm So Ranty

And why I am enraged, brokenhearted, grieving and ashamed.

The children. Not just the children of Syria but, yes, they are on my mind and heart.

I am ashamed of my countrymen's response, although no longer surprised. image source

I'm calming down but I won't shut up... no surprise to anyone who knows me, I'm sure. How can I, when the governor of the state where I live has actually turned Syrian families away, because he can't be absolutely 100% sure they might not be a danger to someone... and thus, we create the next generation who grows up hating America.

In the face of such courage as this man possesses, how can we show anything less?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fiercely, Narkily Bampot + Recipe

In other words, a nutty grouch. In other, other words: I'm beginning to feel better, which sometimes results in all that pent-up energy and frustration going temporarily haywire.

Breathing is easier, my voice is losing that high-pitched squeak, the rales (ronchi) are gone and energy and stamina have returned, at least partly. Yay for me! Not so good for the poor folks at Facebook who have been subjected to several rants the last two days... all in the cant and cadence of the old-time fire and brimstone preachers of my childhood. What?? They were great speakers in the once revered oratorical tradition and made quite a lasting impression on my young mind. 

So anyway, I've been promising Cherdo, of Cherdo on the Flipside, to share my sourdough rye recipe for a couple of weeks now and today is the day. (Poor Cherdo has this bug now, I knew it was a computer virus!)

Mine is not a gluten-free recipe. This one is!

The first step seems a bit odd but trust me, this works. Make a loaf of yeast bread, any kind, and before baking cut off a 'knob' of dough about halfway between the size of a pingpong and tennis ball. ~Interesting historical note: In pioneer days, people often did the same thing but would stick it on the underside of the table for use the next day. Frankly, I prefer my method.~ Put approximately 1/3 c. of lukewarm water in a sealable container and plop your knob in it. Sprinkle slightly less than 1/4 c. of flour and 1/4 tsp. brown sugar on top. Leave, uncovered, on counter for 10-15 minutes; cover, shake well, and place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredients for first step:

1 c. rye flour
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
sea salt to taste (I used 1/2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. brown sugar

Ingredient for second step: 2 1/2 to 3 c. bread flour

Stir flour, salt and sugar together and form a well in centre. Why add sugar? This is going to have a loooong rise and the yeastie beasties need to be fed, especially with a heavier flour like rye.

Remove knob from refrigerator, and add to flour mixture; stir gently and slowly add lukewarm water. Then begin adding small amounts of bread flour, stirring gently to incorporate... it will eventually look something like this:

You want it to be slightly heavy and moist; if dough seems to dry then add lukewarm water a spoonful at a time, until it is somewhat moist.

Cover bowl and allow to rest somewhere warm until dough has expanded to slightly less than double in size. (Whole grains and grains like rye are too dense to rise as well as bread flour. If you can handle wheat and gluten products, adding 1 Tbsp. of vital wheat gluten per loaf will help.) Once your dough has risen, leave it in the bowl and grab a big spoon! I do as little kneading as possible... arthritis in hands and shoulders make it quite painful, so I find 'work-arounds'. So grab a big spoon, set that bowl on your lap (or anywhere else convenient) and start spoon-kneading.

Gently scoop the dough from the sides and bottoms of the bowl and fold inwards... you want to develop the strands of gluten, not sever them. I generally do this for 10-15 minutes; it's really quite relaxing and if my hand gets too ouchy I just pull on a clean glove to protect my joints and keep them warm, the glove can always be washed later. 

Now comes the hard part: cover the bowl, put it somewhere cool (even stick it in the refrigerator) and leave it alone. I mean it, don't touch it! This is when the wonderful sourdough flavour develops so let it rest for 8-10 hours; in fact, why don't you go get a good night's sleep too. In the morning, when you check it, you'll see it grew even whilst chilling. You can either choose to 'knead' again, or let it go to the proofing stage; dealer's choice. I like to have a second knead and rise, then let it get to this point:

When you press your fingers into the top of the dough it bounces back slowly, if at all.

Prepare your loaf pan (s), if making loaves (this will make two smallish loaves or one biggish loaf) and lightly flour your hands and work surface. ~ Don't forget to cut your knob for the next batch!~  Flop your dough out and gently press it to push out air bubbles; fold it lengthwise and press, then fold it across the way and press again. Shape slightly and place in prepared pan(s). Spritz with a bit of water and allow to proof. Since I start pre-heating and steaming my oven at this point, on top of the oven is the perfect spot.

To 'steam' my oven I place a small metal bowl of very hot water on the bottom of the oven - not touching any elements. Place rack slightly above the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 350 F. Because this contains rye it won't rise as high, so I place it in the oven when it is slightly below, or level with, the edge of the pan. For a biggish loaf, bake for 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow-ish when thumped on top.


Tomorrow, Mama J's 'Hoochie Mama' sauce, that led to this... (not as long, promise).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yeah This

The worst virus I've ever experienced; thought I was going to hospital this weekend. Slowly improving and will be back when I can.

Many thanks to my sweetheart for taking good care of me.

This video has the perfect title for the last few days:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

All The Pretty Pictures

With a few words here and there...

Or, well, maybe I'll start off with some not-so-pretty photos. A couple of 'before' photos of the dog room. There will be 'after' photos soon.

Another of the dog room... I can't wait to finally be rid of the awful mural that completely covered one wall. Just be glad the top picture doesn't show how very fluorescent the purple paint is in this room. A creamy vanilla on the walls with glossy white trim sounds just about perfect to me... and ripping up that hideous carpet! Black and dark grey swirls do nothing for me. Now you know why I call this the house of perpetual remodeling.

Went out to eat with Mom and the kidling last night...

Mom will be leaving for Florida soon. She and a friend are heading down to Mom and her sister's new home; Mom needs a new stove, etc... and they want to do some painting before heading to San Marco island for some much-needed R and R. 

Taken on a 'misty, moisty morning...' 

Believe it or not... I'm still getting hot peppers from the container garden!

And could I leave out food? I think not!

Bubble bread!

My first time making sourdough rye bread (with goat cheese). Sorry for all the bread photos; I've recently learned I'm lactose intolerant so am having to re-learn breadmaking, lol. Cheryl, the recipe for sourdough rye will be up this week. I hadn't forgotten!

Last, but certainly not least, the Great Scot's favourite new toy! Sorry for the blurry photo, it was hunting me down and I'm not so good at snap and dodge, lol.

And another from Postmodern Jukebox... their take on Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'. Is it bad that I prefer their version?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Notta Lotta

Notta lotta noteworthy stuff going on... cleaning out the dog room doesn't sound terribly exciting, does it? Still, it needs to be done so we can paint, etc... So I've been going through containers, getting books ready for Goodwill, sweeping away cobwebs and mopping walls. Mopping walls? The ceiling in the dog room is rather high, so a mop is the best way for my short self to reach all the way to the top. Need to have clean walls before painting, after all.

I've been baking more bread!

Doing a bit of sewing as well; staying busy and happy, but it's nothing terribly exciting to blog about. These peaceful days are good days as well.

Wonder how many of you will recognise/remember this? And here's Connelly, looking handsome and far more regal than is his usual wont:

Another view:

An odd thing did happen tonight: We live in a small city, far from any rural areas, but I went outside to see why all the dogs were kicking up a ruckus when I'd let them out to use the bathroom. Strolling down the street was a magnificent buck with a pretty fair-sized rack, rather like this one: (image source)

Last year I saw a much younger one running down the street... it was young enough it only had prongs, rather than a full rack. Very odd.

I'll be cutting back on my online time for the next wee while; there's a lot to get done whilst I have the energy and stamina for it, and I've been wasting too much time playing about. Not to say I'll vanish altogether, just time for some adulting.

Be well all!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Dog, A Roast, and the Walk of DOOM

I promised you a tale, and a tale you will get.

This is a story about Meg, a black border collie mix... (Picture is not Meg, but a reasonable facsimile thereof, or so the Great Scot assures me.)

Meg was a much-loved girl who was taken on long daily walks by my sweetheart and his younger brother, whom I will refer to as, hmmm, William, hereinafter.

This particular adventure happened on a Sunday as their Mum was preparing a lamb roast for dinner... I learned this much from my big ball of goof  would begin wheezing - and sometimes crying - with laughter. So much so that after almost 15 years of story-telling attempts I still hadn't gotten the full tale. I wised up finally and asked one of my dear one's sisters to fill me in, and this is what I gleaned after putting together what the Great Scot managed to get out between gales of laughter and what she shared:

The lamb roast had been tucked away in the oven and William decided to take Meg on her walk, but Meg wasn't having any of that, no indeedy! She balked, refused to stand up, dragged her heels and did all but cling to the door frame on the way out. William persevered, however, and with Meg securely on her leash headed for the cycle track; a mile or more and several busy streets away from home. I can picture her now: trudging along, sulking and moving as slowly as possible...

When they reached the cycle track William thought it would be safe to let wee Meg off her leash: Freedom! Off Meg went, like a flash! Poor William spent a good long time looking for her and when he finally reached home, leash still in hand and raging at unkind fate as well as, one would suppose, ungrateful dogs; there was Meg, parked in front of the cooker ~probably with a big doggie grin~ and savouring the scent of the lamb roast. The bone from the Sunday roast was always her special treat and she wasn't missing it for some silly walk by golly! 

Meg had safely crossed several busy streets in her mad dash for home and bone and they'd heard her scratching at the door to get back in. It is, so I've been told, their favourite of the Meg stories, of which I've heard many... and no wonder, she has the reputation of being a very sweet girl, who lived to the ripe old age of 17. 

The funniest part of this story? Watching my sweetheart try to tell it!

Curiously - more dimes have shown up, three of them lined up on the bathroom counter. I thought it was pennies from heaven, not dimes... must be inflation!

And a Happy Halloween and weekend to all!

Sunsets and moonrise:

A shy moon...

And sunsets...

Looking to the East

And to the West

And something a little unexpected from Miley Cyrus: