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Archive for October, 2009

Waffles for breakfast

We did it.  We had sourdough waffles for breakfast.  It’s not the first time, not even with this batch of sourdough starter, but these waffles turned out particularly well.

waffledone

I am sure you could tell from my last post that these are not really spur-of-the-moment waffles.  First you need a healthy sourdough starter, and even then you need to start making the batter for these babies the night before.  They are two-day waffles.

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The night before you want to have waffles for breakfast you prepare the batter by melting butter in heated milk and mixing that, flour, salt and brown sugar into your starter. When you wake up you’ll have a batter that looks like this:

fermentedbatter

Now it’s time to add two eggs

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and some baking soda.  This is the final waffle batter.

wafflebatter

Once your waffle iron is heated, you lightly brush it with oil,

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scoop the batter in and wait. Our waffle iron makes a funny little coo when the waffles are ready.

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waffleandsyrup

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They don’t last long.

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Just wanted to give you a quick update on my sourdough starter (though it seems a little mundane on a day when Barack Obama was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize).

The other day S commented that we should make waffles this weekend.  Since our favorite waffles are made from the recipe found in Nancy Silverton’s book Breads from the La Brea Bakery,

wafflerecipe

I was prompted to get my sourdough starter from the refrigerator where it has been hibernating for the last month.  For those of you who haven’t cared for a starter over the long term, once you get your starter happily bubbling away it gets a little tiring feeding it twice a day (and pouring good sourdough starter down the sink so that you don’t end up with bathtubs full of the stuff).  Luckily, you can stash it in the refrigerator for long periods of time without any bad effects.

After a few feedings my starter is  refreshed and bubbly and waiting to become a part of some delicious Sunday morning waffles.  I’ll let you know how they come out.

Ah, but I am not finished yet!  One of my Portland downtown Farmer’s Market obsessions are the panini from the Pearl Bakery.  These are not the kind of panini that you are probably thinking of right now (grilled sandwiches with savory or sweet fillings) but small, round chewy rolls flavored with figs and anise, chocolate, or hazelnuts.

Luckily for me there is a recipe for the Pearl Bakery’s fig-anise panini in Maggie Glezer’s book Artisan Baking across America. Even though the recipe is identified as “advanced” I am going to give it a try.

The first step is to transform my “batter-type” starter into a firm starter. This is a little tricky — the instructions on page 93 of Glezer’s book tell you to take 1 tablesppon each of liquid sourdough starter and lukewarm water, mix them together and knead this together with 1/3 cup unbleached bread flour to make a very firm dough.  This lump of dough is to ferment for 8-12 hours, rising to about 1 1/3 cup within the first 8 hours.

firm starter

firm starter2

My first attempt, which I made right after refreshing my batter-type starter, didn’t work, probably because my starter wasn’t at full strength right after being fed.  I am trying it again with a tablespoon of very bubbly, first-thing-in-the-morning, starter.

I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

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If you know me at all you know that I am a fanatical baseball fan.  To be more precise, I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan.

06penant

My appreciation for the Cardinals leads me to do things that are pretty much totally out of character for me — yesterday I walked up to a perfect stranger wearing a Cardinals baseball hat and introduced myself.  Today I sadly asked the guy behind the counter at the food co-op if he really was a Red Sox fan (he was wearing a Red Sox cap).

Growing up in St. Louis it was hard to avoid becoming a die-hard Cardinals baseball fan.  I remember watching the 1967 Cardinals win the World Series behind Bob Gibson, my all time favorite pitcher; they brought televisions into the school gym so that we could all watch the final game.

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I have attended one World Series game in person.  In 1987, the year the Cardinals lost the Series to the Minnesota Twins* (after winning all three home games they just couldn’t make it work in the Metro dome), I won a pair of tickets in a raffle at work and took my father to see Game 4 at Busch Stadium on his birthday.

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And, of course, while living in New England in 2004 I endured the jeers of Red Sox fans when the Cardinals lost the Series in four straight games.

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After a wonderful 2006 World Series win, the Cardinals had a couple of “rebuilding” seasons and are back at the top of their division this year.  The team is lucky to have “el hombre,” the man most likely to be referred to as the “best player in baseball,” Albert Pujols,

albert

as well as a remarkably talented pitching staff led by Chris (or Cris) Carpenter who, in his last regular season outing this year, hit his first-ever big league home run, a grand slam, and ended the game with a win — the score was 13-0 — and a total of six RBIs.

baseballcards

The Cardinals’ ’09 post-season starts on Wednesday, October 7 with a game in LA against the formidable LA Dodgers. It’s a long way from there to the final game of the World Series but here’s hoping there’s another World Championship in the Cardinals’ near future.

*who just now clinched a spot in the American League playoffs with a 12th inning win over the Detroit Tigers.

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Knitting in the car

Our recent trip to Seattle gave me a chance to spend a few uninterrupted hours knitting.  Except for the brief moments when I needed to navigate, I was able to knit to my heart’s content on both legs of the trip.  My recent knitting posts have resulted in a few requests for knitted items, so having time to work on them was nice.

The first two pieces on my list are hats for N’s two kids.  The first hat, for her daughter, S, is done.  I had fun inserting a few purled rows into the knitting of this hat, as well as with creating the slightly ruffled brim.  Although some of these pictures make it look very blue, the real hat is a lovely purple with touches of lavender.

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purplehat

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The second hat is for N’s son B.  This one isn’t done yet.  I was fortunate to find a yarn at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival the other week that included all of the colors he reportedly likes:  black, orange, red and blue.

hatinprogress

I am using a stitch I really like called the brioche stitch.  It makes a nice stretchy ribbing that will be perfect for a hat and it is fun to knit — interesting enough to keep my attention, but easy to do even when I am a little bit distracted.

unfinishedhat2

unfinishedhat3

I have what I hope is a good idea for the top of this hat, too.  I’ll post a picture when it is finished.

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Seattle for a day

A spur of the moment decision found us in the car and heading for Seattle for the weekend.  No plans except a little exploration and, ideally, some good food.  And of course we found it all.

For breakfast we started at Lola

lolasign

one of Tom Douglas’s many Seattle restaurants.  The food was great (I had the basic breakfast and S had the pancakes) and the coffee was plentiful, hot and strong.

After eating we set out to walk around.  We made a few stops (all of which were hard on my pocketbook but good for my wardrobe) and I documented our excursion with sidewalk photos like this

sidewalkand this

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and this.

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Of course we had to visit Pike Place Market (here’s proof) even if only for a few minutes.

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We also stopped at Byrnie Utz’s hats, and even though I tried to get S to buy something, we left empty-handed.

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hats

hat1

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After the hat store we headed over to the Elliott Bay Book Company the only book store I like as much as Powells in Portland.

We ended the day at with a memorable meal at Spring Hill (sorry, no pictures).  The meal was superb and we got great advice on menu choices and wine from Andy, our waiter.  We started with a selection of 4 varieties of raw oysters (each with a specific,  delectable and perfectly selected garnish).  We followed that with the raw kampachi with salmon roe, kauai sea salt, coriander and lime and the citrus cured king clam with lemon peel relish.  Our third course included the duck egg yolk raviolo and the roasted chanterelles and our final course was the roasted pekin duck breast with cranberry beans, confit, maple chestnuts and baby leeks.  I am still reeling with delight at the perfection of each course.  I can only say that we  plan to return as soon as we are back in Seattle.

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