Amaryllis is Awake! And Some Updates. And goofy videos.

Good morning! The sun is shining, the birds are at the feeder, the amaryllis is in bloom!

wpid-20140307_071409.jpgif you don’t think that is beautiful, go see a doctor

So far two of the six rumored flowers are up! I’m tickled! Also my goofy christmas cactus is producing buds AGAIN, even though it has literally flowered three times this year. It flowers, drops the flowers, goes quiet for a day or two and then WHOOP back to making buds. I don’t ask questions. Better than the misbehavior plants, the aloe vera and the seedlings.

love like yours will surely come my way…do you like Buddy Holly? PRIZE AT THE END!

Speaking of the seedlings, a few brave tomatoes have decided to stop being turds:

wpid-20140307_074555.jpgwhatever. i sow when i want! choo don’t know me!

wpid-20140307_074549.jpgjerks.

I don’t even want to talk about what a bunch of butts the bamboo is being. Not like I really even wanted to keep them, but they are just being brats! Ok, I guess I did traumatize them, but come on. Grow some roots!

On another topic, I am about to get some kefir grains. IĀ  would much rather have Kiefer Sutherland, but ya know. As Mick says:

are you a rolling stones fan? I HAVE A SURPRISE AT THE END FOR YOU!! šŸ˜€

On another topic, Aspiring Tranqulista, as she is known on Facebook; I am not going to hand out her real name like candy, is sending me home tomorrow with kefir grains. I did ask her if she had a link for me to link to, but just search for her on the FBooks, she’s there. She doesn’t blog, which is kind of a shame to be honest. She’s very clever.

Regardless, I have a bit of mixed feelings about my new children (kefir is alive) and I hope they get along with Francine. I’ll probably name them, because I am a dork. But they really do best with milk* and I don’t really like milk. For two reasons. One, I don’t like the taste. Honestly. Two, I don’t like how it’s produced. I don’t want to get on a soap box here, but I do really try to avoid eating meat and meat products as much as I can because of factory farming. I’m not going to get into it now, but ugh. But she swears by the stuff, so I am going to at least try it. Worst case scenario, I will give them to someone else. Best case, I can find some relatively inexpensive milk that is not made with tears and beatings. Ok, this got dark. Let’s brain bleach with some cute animals!

*yes, i’ve looked in to water kefir and how to change milk based to water, but as a newbie i’m going to stick with milk until i get the ball rolling…then we’ll see.

BRAIN BLEACH

the best part is how excited he gets! šŸ˜€

I am excited to try the kefir, but like I said, we’ll see how it goes. I am always willing to try new things and disregard them if I don’t like them.

Such as my regrow romaine project, I am pulling the plug on that because all the romaine did was bolt:

wpid-20140228_110734.jpgwe’re leaving!

wpid-20140228_110718.jpgi know it’s hard to see, but they went to seed.

I am going to release them to the worms. They will enjoy, I am sure! It was fun while it lasted, but I have enough house plants. I am going to hang on to the celery for a bit.

Ok, fun videos time!

Buddy Holly first, this video cracks me up every time. Listen to the woman introduce the “rock and roll specialists” it kills me every time. “If you haven’t heard of these young men, then you must be the wrong age.” Keep a nice open mind, people! LMFAO!

WARNING, NSFW AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next we have an under appreciated Rolling Stones song. NOT SAFE FOR WORK. DO NOT PLAY THIS WHEN CHILDREN ARE AROUND. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Alright, I’m off to the crochet sweatshop! Have a good day!

Fun With Francine – Baguettes!

Francine and I had another play date! Whoo hoo!

wpid-20140210_073632.jpgit’s a yeast party

I decided to try again with baguettes, as I tried in this post, only correcting some of my mistakes. Less whole wheat flour, more room temperature time. Again, this is loosely based on Pain a l’Ancienne from Peter Reinhart. This time, even looserly based.

wpid-20140222_080348.jpg“looserly based” – phrase made up by BMary to describe adventures in making a mess and ignoring better judgement of others

As this was a real fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants adventure, I feel that it would be okay for me to post the recipe. It’s not even close to the original.

wpid-20140223_105858.jpgcertainly worked though. yeah, baby, you eat that bowl, ya bad yeasty beasties.

Obviously, you would need a mother starter for this. If you don’t have one, well, you should make one. It’s not difficult, promise!

Francine is a whole wheat mother starter. There are as many varieties as there are types of flour. But they are basically wild yeast that you collect from where ever you choose to leave the flour/water mixture at. Don’t me intimidated. It works pretty flawlessly. Just be patient.

wpid-20140223_110034.jpgon the counter! this is like the best lazy person’s bread ever.

wpid-20140223_110347.jpguse a bench knife to cut it into strips. no shaping required!

wpid-20140223_120105.jpgbaked up decent, probably could still tweak it a bit.

wpid-20140223_134454.jpgwhat’s on the inside is what’s important.

Ok, so here we go:

2 and 1/4 C Water

3 and 1/2 C Bread Flour (or AP, whatever)

2 C Whole Wheat Flour

2 tsp Salt

1/2 C Mother Starter (that has been left at room temperature overnight)

Put water in bowl. Put starter in water in said bowl. Mix flours in gradually in said bowl. Add salt somewhere in between. Mix until consistent. Set on counter until the bread dough attempts to eat the bowl. Might be a long time. If it’s too late to bake, just chuck it in the fridge. Let it warm up an hour before you bake. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Like really, preheat that baby. Pull out dough onto well floured workspace. Stretch dough (try not to degass it!) into a rectangle shape. Cut with bench knife into long strips. Put onto a greased pan and allow to rest while oven preheats. Put bread in oven. (NO WAY!) After two minutes, turn down the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for another 7ish. Check to make sure bread is baking evenly and has not turned into a calculadora. Rotate if it is not baking evenly and bake another 7 minutes, or until bread is at 205 degrees and brown and delicious looking. If it turns into a calculadora, call the oven repair person or your local priest. Try to wait ten minutes before consuming all loaves. Don’t burn yourself.

This version is much less bitter than the last one, due to the reduction in whole wheat. I think my next attempt will be a boule which is fancy French speak for shaping dough into a ball. If I do attempt that, I am probably going to have to modify the proofing times. We’ll see what happens!

Results from Francine a l’Ancienne!

Finally Francine got to work for me!

wpid-20140218_095833.jpgi’m awake!

If you recall yesterday morning we were here:

wpid-20140217_072927.jpg

WIP

So I was pretty thrilled that we got Francine a l’Ancienne to wake up. Next time, I will probably feed her and leave her out overnight before I mix up another batch.

wpid-20140218_100040.jpghappy mess

wpid-20140218_100443.jpgnot my prettiest work, but this dough is wet.

wpid-20140218_100739.jpgit’s okay, i’ll eat the ugly pieces.

wpid-20140218_110444.jpgbaked up, my new gigantic cooling rack.

wpid-20140218_111102.jpgholy moly!

Well, I definitely scored on the crumb! I gave it a taste test and unfortunately, we do need some improvements. Too much whole wheat made the bread a little more bitter than I would like. It will be great with soup or to scoop up sauces in, but it could be better. I had planned on using more bread flour in my ratio (I think I ended up with 70% whole wheat and 30% bread flour) but the dough firmed up before I got to the ratio I was planning on, which was six cups of flour, not four and a half or so. So lesson learned for next time, however I don’t think there’s going to be a problem getting this bread eaten!

While Francine was baking I went out and fed the wild birds and scooped a poop zone aka turdundra for the greyhound. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to poop up to my elbows in snow. I took a few snaps so you could see how snowy it is here!

wpid-20140218_102455.jpgdoesn’t do it justice

wpid-20140218_102642.jpgsad flamingo

wpid-20140218_102600.jpgi almost had to borrow some huskies to get over to the tree

wpid-20140218_102631.jpglast years hops

It needs to warm up here before I go crazy!!!

Francine a l’Ancienne

Good morning everyone!

wpid-20140210_073632.jpgpet yeast. it’s weird around here.

Francine and I had a play date last night. I decided to try using her as a starter for a delayed fermentation bread. I loosely based it on Peter Reinhart’s Pain a l’Ancienne from his book, just to get the proportions right. Ok, not even. I can’t even pretend that I used the book. Let me rephrase, I used experience from making the former described recipe and threw my hands in the air like I just don’t care and I might have farted at caution.

wpid-1392214955324.jpghave you met me? i do that a lot. my motto is “f*ck it, send”

Basically, I started with about two cups of water, a half cup of Francine, enough whole wheat flour to thicken, a couple teaspoons of salt and enough bread flour to make sure we have some structure. I used about a cup or a half a cup less than I would normally use, because I intend for this to be a very wet dough and hopefully (!) it will make a beautiful crumb. I wanna see more holes than Ron Jeremy. Ok, that was awful, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t come up with a better analogy.

So, I am sure you’re all dying to know, WHAT HAPPENED?

wpid-20140216_190849.jpgwater, salt, Francine and stuff

wpid-20140216_191040.jpgi figured i would mix Francine in first

wpid-20140216_191221.jpgbefore the bread flour

wpid-20140216_191748.jpgafter the bread flour…

Then I put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. This morning we have:

wpid-20140217_072927.jpgstuff…just sit tight…

Ok, my bowl doth not overflow. I am going to leave her out until I have to go to work and see what happens, if she rises a bit more. I mean, it obviously rose a bit, but not as much as I was hoping for. So I am going to give her some time. Francine likes to take her time, that is for certain and I don’t mind. If I have to bake her tomorrow, tomorrow I shall! I’ve got plenty of shenanigans to keep me busy.

Today I have to FINALLY make some calls for the whole wedding thing I am going to go through with on June 28th, of this year. God help me. I hate wedding planning with a severe passion. Everything is lined up, but I haven’t made arrangements. We’re going to have it in the back yard, so we need chairs and a portajohn or two. Also I need someone to officially make it so. And I need to call and order a pig for the pig roast. All the other food we are going to make, just salads and sides. It’s a picnic wedding! Ice cream and cookies for dessert. Screw cake, I don’t like cake. And I have never baked a cake, but I can bake cookies! Plus I have to get some of my grandmother’s jewelry fixed up, get to making my dress (groan) and probably 20 other things I have written down somewhere on the Great To Do List. Ugh, I am so glad I am not having a “real” wedding with a banquet hall, crappy catering and a fondant cake that tastes like cardboard. Do you know how much that costs? A lot. A whole disgusting lot. For what? Chair clothing? Can you see it? “Ma’am, I see you’ve refused to spend $5000 on coverings for these banquet chairs and therefore I am leaving.” Ha! One of these days I’ll post the Great To Do List, when I get some done!

all dressed in red, always the bride, off with her head, all dressed in white, off with her head

courtney sings the blues