Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fun With Protein

Thank you everyone for your kind and encouraging words as I lay upon my bed of sickness and pain. You will be spared the wrath of Kali for seven lifetimes. XX!
This one goes out in particular to Ziggy.


Yesterday about 3:pm
Decide to make a loaf of bread

I've been cooking all day by this point, so the decision to bake some bread isn't necessarily a bolt from the blue. So far I've:
- Clamped raw beef bones in the bench vise and sawed them into pieces with a hacksaw
...just the cook

-Browned same
-cracked beer 1
-Prepped and put 5 gallons of brown stock on the fire, to go all day and night
-Made a Greek salad
-cracked beer 2
-Harvested mint, sage, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme IN THE RAIN, snuffling and shivering like Little Dorrit
-Made ground lamb with shallot and mint using a handcrank grinder
-Broken down and sterilized handcrank grinder parts in oven
-Made spiced rice
-cracked beer 3
...because a robot told me to. thats my story and i'm sticking to it.

-Set same aside to dry a bit
-Mixed rice with lamb to make dolmathes filling and put up in fridge to get good
-cracked another beer
-Put beans to soak for refries
-warmed yogurt, egg and evaporated milk for bread
-cracked beer 4 or 5 (counts empties)

Lets recap, shall we? So then...I am lit, I have a cold, the weather sucks and I am having one of those 'idle hands=devils workshop' type afternoons...hey, sure, why not bake a loaf of bread? Whats a little more fermentation going to hurt?

-Crack beer 4 (recounts empties)
-Make dough
-Grease the bowls
-Warm the oven
-Pop the dough in the warm oven and set the timer for an hour.
-Crack a beer (#4)

-Hit the sinus spray.
-Watch a couple of episodes of Crossing Jordan.
-Look up plants online.
-Crack another beer. Or no wait, still working on beer #4 at this point. Or something.
-Look up fabled recipe for Tuscan elderberry blossom bread (I just bought a sambucus nigra.) -Fail to find.
-Find instead recipe for deep-fried elderberry blossoms. Consider making it.
-Bookmark site.

The timer goes off.

Why in fuck have I set the timer?

-Check oven.

Oh yeah, dough!

-I look at the dough. It is flat.

I forgot to add yeast.

-The obvious solution to which seems to be to put the dough to one side and make fajitas.

10:00 next morning.
-Cook 1 gallon of refried beans in the crockpot. ...delicious beanal goodness; the heart and soul of the burrito: natures most perfect food

Periodically it blurps over. Go through five dishtowels wiping up bean blurp.
-Find cold dough. On a whim decide to make a couple of tortillas.
They aren't bad at all. I mean, they're lousy tortillas; what I end up with are hot frisbees of death that weigh about a pound each, right?
...whirling doohickie of doom! twirling surfboard of death! circular pancake, fuck it.

- but they taste awesome.

Hmm. What would Opie do?

-Instead of eating cat crap, I decide to try and make it back into bread dough. Making it up as I go along Calling into play the hard-won fruits of scientific research, I put the remaining dough in a bowl and tear it into a few pieces, add a scant cup of warm water and sprinkle some yeast and flour over the top. Then I start mushing it all around with my fingers....he wants me. oh yeah.

I mush and mush and mush until the dough is...not a batter, quite...but just kind of uniformly mushy. As I'm mushing I'm also casting on flour in random handfulls. I fold in flour until I have a regular bread dough again, and I knead that in kind of a gingerly fashion for awhile until it feels like it's done. Now I am letting it rise again.

Somewhat later
-Check dough. It actually seems to be rising.
-Celebrate by making 2 gallons of marinara. know you need to rub this all over your whole body. and your car.

-Take brown stock off fire and strain. (Yeah, it's been going all this whole time.)
-Dump the strainings out by the driveway for the neighbors cats to choke on eat....heeeeeeeeeeeeere kitty kitty kitty...

-Reduce brown stock by 1/2 and set on washing machine.
...what? the utility room is nice and chilly so the fat can rise up to the top. them i skim it off in floes and huck it to the girldog! it's brown underneath. the stock, not the girldog. stay with me.

-Do four sinkloads of dishes
-Put the dough in to bake at 400.
-Forget to set timer; remember a couple of minutes (?) later and set it. So, 400 for....about....15 minutes or so; then I'll check and see what it looks like and then maybe I'll let it go another 15 minutes or so. I might spray it with water to make the crust thick. I haven't decided yet. If it cracks I definitely won't spray it.
I bet it cracks.
This is how science operates. Really. It is.

I'll be DAMNED.
Look at this sapsucker:

Here's the other side:
...UM.....YEAH....ok. yeah.

Yeah, we had a blowout. Some of the protein strands gave way under force of the steam. But look! It's all foofy! IT ROSE!
I can hardly wait for it to cool off so I can see how the inside turned out. HURRY UP AND COOL OFF HURRY HURRY HURRY.

-Refries finished
-Refries blended and set aside in little containers to cool.
-Marinara finished and set aside to cool
-I got tired of waiting for everything to cool off and so I have put to use my SUPER SECRET KITCHEN HELPER: you think you could buy a little fan today that would last over 60 years??

...a nice big trivet grille and a little office fan from about 1945-50 or so. Seriously, this little fan was a stroke of genius on my part . I've been using it for over 20 years now. You just plug it in and it goes. This is how I dry my dishes; I just put the drainer in front of it and turn the little fan on them. But at the mo it's busy fooing refreshing breezes upon on my bread and the marinara. MULTITASKING: THATS JUST HOW I ROLL.
-Marinara is cooled off and put into containers
-The bread is all cooled off! And here's the inside! ...terminally cool, hot rocking santoku knife by HENCKELS which is one million times of the earth and sun and moon AND the whole universe AND eternity better than your lame old buttwipey knife so HA.

Incidentally, this is exactly the type of knife NOT to use when you slice bread; it tears the fluff. Like this did.

How does the bread taste? It tastes pretty damn good, Paco.

Victory from the jaws of defeat!!!


Monday, May 12, 2008

you know I love you

...all, deeply and unreasonably.

But I have a cold ib by doze. I feel like shit.