Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Baker Project #10 - Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream - I'm still working on it

Romans 12:10 
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. 
Honour one another above yourselves."

So I'm still working on this cake. Too many other things have gotten in the way this month. Today I got the kitchen all cleaned and started seriously in on the cake. Emily was a "great help" in her own way. She could tell that something serious was afoot and insisted that I put her apron on her. But though she was trouble, the really really big problem was trying to skin those darn filberts. I don't mind working away at a project, but I'm not too fond of futility. After a great deal of effort I've only got about 1/2 cup of of skinned filberts. I read that Oregon filberts are particularly hard to skin, much harder than hazelnuts. So I think the only solution for any measure of success with this recipe is to top up my nuts with almonds, which is a nut I love, unlike filberts.

Well I finally decided that I'd had enough of trying to get the skins off the filberts by scraping them with my thumb nail. I finished off the nuts with some toasted almonds. In the end there were 4 ounces of filberts and 3 ounces of almonds. I then moved on to finishing the cake. The eggs had been separated hours earlier, so they were good and ready. Emily had helped me get two 7 inch pans ready. I decided to cook them in the Lacanche electric oven.

I whipped the egg yolks and had them standing by. The nuts and flour were in a fine powder. Then I went to whip the egg whites and clarify the butter. The fact that the whites were at room temperature made them whip faster than I expected, so they were almost to the brittle stage when I stopped the beater. So I simply folded in the bakers sugar, and then dumped the whites into the egg yolks bowl and vigorously folded them in, instead of beating in the egg yolks for a minute. It all went well enough. Folding in the nuts, 2 tablespoons at a time, was certainly tedious, but I hung in there. As soon as the butter was folded in along with the last of the nuts I immediately put the batter into the pans, not taking my usual time to ensure exact evenness, and popped them straight into the oven, putting the one I thought had the most batter to the back. The one in front did in fact cook more quickly.

Because I had papered the bottoms of the pans, and for the most part did not grease the sides very much, there was no pulling away from the sides as the book described. But no matter, that's what I wanted. I know that a genoise wants to have good support to keep it up. As soon as I took each cake from the oven I turned the pan upside down. They turned out beautifully. When they were cool I removed then and covered them with plastic wrap. It was around 8 o'clock and the thought of making buttercream was too much. So I made dinner instead, then we watched Jeopardy, followed by the final episode of Foyle's War, then I tidy up the kitchen and went to bed.

"Too often people use statistics like drunken men use lamp posts, 
for support rather than illuminiation." 
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWD - I'm working on it, the new baby HAS slowed me down - summer fruit galette

"Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

[Jesus] called a little child and had him stand among them.   And He said: 

"I tell you the truth, unless you change
and become like little children, 
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Therefore, whoever humbles himself 
like this child is the greatest
in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:1-4

I'm really looking forward to getting my galettes made.  Emily and I made the pastry, and it's in the refrigerator chilling.  Now making pastry with Emily is a challenge. Her key phrase is "Try?!" I'm making it with rhubarb and cherries, and they are cut up and in bowls.  The rhubarb is from my garden, and I hope it's good. The cherries were $2.33 per pound, and as I love cherries and they are usually $6 per pound, that seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. I even have the oven warming up.  But I'm tired and slow.


So here it finally is done. It's small because I made two of them from the ingredients for one. I'm going to give the other one to Sarah. I simply took the recipe and divided it all up. I didn't measure the size of the pastry when rolled out, I just rolled it out. One of the galettes has my home made strawberry jam on the bottom, and the other has a low sugar apricot jam, because that's what was in the refrigerator.

Well we finally ate the galette and the family's reaction was amazing. Riley thought that the galette was epic, Corey said that if she never has another piece of my galette again she will have no joy in her life, and Annie said that I had just taken my pie making abilities up a notch. As for me I thought it was fantastic ... and so easy to make.

So just incase any one is interested it what exactly did I make, here's my version of the summer galette.

Cherry Rhubarb Galette

Dorie's pastry, which was in fact just about the same as mine, divided in two pieces and chilled

Ingredients per galette

1 heaping tablespoon of my strawberry jam
1 graham cracker square, crushed with the rolling pin
4 1/2 ounces of rhubarb, diced rather small
1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces of sweet juicy cherries, pitted and left as whole as possible

ingredients for the custard

3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut two pieces of parchment in a square.
Flour up a disc of pastry, place on a square of parchment, and roll out as big as is reasonable.
Place the pastry, which is on the parchment, onto a very flat pie plate or on a baking sheet.
I used a flat pie plate because I didn't want a mess in the oven.
Using the back of a spoon, spread the jam on the center half of the pastry.
Sprinkle on the crushed graham cracker, and then spread on the rhubarb.
Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the rhubarb.
Pile on the cherries, then fold up the edges of the dough.
Bake for 22 minutes.
While the galette is baking mix up the custard.
When the time is up, take out of the oven and carefully spoon on 1/2 the custard for each galette.
Put back into the oven for about 15 minutes.
Cool just a bit, and eat!

My youngest daughter, Sarah, who will be 28 next month, and her first child, Joshua Caleb, who's not yet one day old.

"There are two ways to live your life
 - one is as though nothing is a miracle, 
the other is as though everything is a miracle." 
Albert Einstein

Monday, July 28, 2008

A New Grandchild - Caleb

"But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit 
and follows Me wholeheartedly, 
I will bring him into the land he went to, 
and his descendants will inherit it."
Numbers 14:24

Today I have the day off. Tom is taking Annie and the kids to the beach. This worries me, but what can I do? So I was going to take my time getting up today, but Sarah called last night and asked if I would take her to her doctors' appointments. She didn't want to be driving just incase she was having contractions. "No problem. So what times the appointment." "You'll need to leave at 7:15." Just my luck. So I made an effort to get to bed at a reasonable time.

So today is in fact her due date. How like Sarah to have her first one right on time. Heidi had said the other day that what Sarah needed to do was to have a steak dinner the night before. Well it so happens that we had invited Sarah and Zac (and everyone else) over for barbecued steak last night. We had a wonderful time, though I didn't take any pictures - that was a mistake. It wasn't a fancy piece of meat, but it was tasty. Christian showed up without his Mom, because she was tired and Emily was stressing her. He didn't want to miss out on a steak dinner.

Riley barbecued the steak, Annie made roasted potatoes with garlic and lemon, I made a Greek salad, fresh green beans, and biscuits (at Sarah's request). I was going to make a summer fruit galette, but Sarah went off to the store to find marinated roasted garlic (for Zac) and they came back without the fruit because they said it was much too expensive. That is certainly the case of late. Here it is summer and you still can't afford to buy fruit!!! Unfortunately I can still remember watermelon at 2 1/2 cents per pound.

So at 6 o'clock I'm up, thinking I'd better take a shower, when the phone rings. As I immediately suspected, it was Zac telling us that I didn't need to take Sarah to the doctor, as she was already at the hospital having the baby. So as of this point in time (6:30) she's 6 centimeters dialated and doing fine.  It seems they left for the hospital at about 2:30.  So my guess is that our new grandchild will be born before 4:30 this afternoon.  I'm making that estimate on how things went for me.  

Yesterday Sarah looked like she was going to pop.  I asked if she was done and she said she most certainly was done.  She could hardly move.  So I'll write more when I know more.  They didn't want anyone to show up at the hospital until after the baby was born. Thou waiting around at home is not so easy.

So now it's 2:30 and still no word. This is enough to make a mother anxious. That makes 17 hours in labor and still counting. I always thought that Sarah would have an easy time of it, as her hips, though not fat, are wider than mine. But this is her first. It's so frustrating when there is nothing you can do but wait.

As an aside, Riley managed to get Christian into boy scout camp, which is next Sunday, when the family picnic at Dee is. The camp is on Mount Jefferson and the picnic is on Mount Hood. It will be a long day for us. I'm really hoping we can find someone for him to ride over there with. We will certainly go to pick him up at the end. But if we have to take him, that's okay.

Well it turns out that he doesn't want to go to camp. This is very worrisome. It seems to me that with the divorce of his parents he has sort of shut down from normal kid activity. He rarely wants to go play with a friend. So far we are going to be sending him to camp, but Riley's going to find out more about the activities. Christian is going to be going with his own troop, though I don't think he's comfortable with the older kids. But he is going to be in junior high, where there are a great many older kids.

I think maybe we will cancel his space at camp and not send him.  I feel very troubled about this, but then I remember that I did not like going to camp when I was 11.  I was very lonely and wanted to go home.  And as it turned out my whole family had spent the time at our cabin in the woods while I was at camp and I didn't get to go to the cabin that summer.  I loved being at the cabin.  It was a log cabin with only a light bulb and sometime a spigot with cold running water sometimes which I think drained into a bucket.  The cabin was completely washed away b a huge flood when I was 18.  The river now runs through its spot.  My Dad had sold it only a few months before the flood.

We waited on pins and needles all day to hear what was up. As a mom I was very concerned because the labor was taking so long. Finally at some point Riley actually called the hospital, since calling on Zac's cell phone didn't elicit any response. Of all things Sarah answered the phone. She had become very tired so they gave her an epideral so that she could sleep for a while. It turns out that both Zac and Sarah slept for about 4 hours. Then finally, at about 4 o'clock Zac called to say that they were finally coming to the end of things. So we promptly got into the car and headed for the hospital, which was about 12 miles away. We figured that surely the baby would have arrived by then.

We worked our way to the labor and delivery area (the hospital is HUGE), and were told "not yet". As we headed back to the waiting area Heidi was coming down the hall with a beautiful bouquet of roses for Sarah. We weren't in the waiting area long when the Enochs arrived - Laura and Ken and Chase and Arie and Jude.

We waited and waited and waited. Occasionally someone would go check (usually that would be me), but no one knew anything. Around 6:30 Annie and Christian and Emily arrived. And to everyones great relief shortly there after Zac comes on the scene looking ever so proud. Finally .... Caleb had arrived. And Sarah was fine and Zac was fine and Caleb was fine.

Laura and I had thought that the small children couldn't go in to see Sarah and the baby, but that was not the case. They just needed to be supervised. Well that was a no-brainer. But for starters all the adults save Riley and Chase went to see Caleb and Sarah. Then soon after Riley and Emily came in, then Chase and Arie. The only person who never came in was Jude, but he's only just over a year old.

Emily was rather confuse by it all, but eventually she caught on and declared "Baby!"

"Now the thing about having a baby 
- and I can't be the first person to have noticed this 
- is that thereafter you have it."
Jean Kerr

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD - Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, 
patience, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law." 
Galatians 5:22-23

I was pretty excited to see that for Tuesdays with Dorie we were going to make something with cherries and rhubarb, two of my favorite fruits. But I wasn't too sure about all the whole wheat flour and brown sugar. So in the end I decided that I would adjust the recipe. Of course the first thing to do was to pit and split the cherries, and then to cut up the rhubarb. It was such a luscious looking pile of fruit that all kinds of thoughts went through my head as to what I could do with it. My first thought was that maybe I could make a cloufouti. And then I had serious thoughts of making a custardy cherry and rhubarb pie. My family thought that was a great idea. But I was feeling bad about not making my Dorie recipe. So the next idea was to make the cobbler with a custardy filling. But in the end I decided that I would be as true to the recipe as seemed fitting for my tastes.

Molly's Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler à la Dorie

1 pound dark sweet cherries, pitted and halved
12 ounces rhubarb, diced fairly small

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 tablespoon cornflour

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 stick of butter, finely diced
2/3 cup milk, any kind you like

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Select the baking dish you want. In area an 8 inch square dish equals a 9 inch round dish.
Put the fruit into the dish.
Combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour.
Spread over the fruit and stir in gently.
Put the fruit into the oven to start cooking while you make the topping.

In a fairly large sturdy bowl combine the toppings dry ingredients.
Cut in the diced butter to a rough cornmeal consistency.
Using a fork, stir in the milk.
Get the fruit out of the oven and using two soupspoons put dollops of the topping all over the fruit.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes.
Cool a bit and enjoy!

Evaluation: Although admittedly I tweaked the recipe, I thought it was a wonderful dessert, and I'll certainly make it again if I don't decided to make something different in the end, like a pie or something. I'm glad I cut back on the whole wheat. No need to get all sensible when cooking with cherries and rhubarb. And I liked not having the topping be too stiff.  I could see adding vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or pouring custard to this dessert.

So I have to add a little story about something that happened today.  My mother called up and said that she and Dad wanted to stop by to visit.  Now that sounds normal enough, but my mother never does that.  I said sure, come on over.  But as soon as I got off the phone I ran down stairs to tell everyone that Gramma was coming over, and could they help straighten things up.  They were great about it, and even Emily (22 months old) helped by picking up two decks of cards that she had strewn all over the place.  When they arrived my Mom handed me a present, calling it a belated Christmas present.  She should have said birthday present, because she always forgets my birthday.  But anyway.  I opened it up and it was a CD by a certain Jazz pianist that I have always admired.  My Mom quickly told me to open it up.  Inside it was signed by the artist, addressed to me, and it said (among other things) "Best wishes (I remember you!)"  It so happens that he and I grew up in the same neighborhood, though I did not know this, and he told my Mom, whom he met just recently, that he had had a bit of a crush on me.  Now to keep this in perspective, it has to have been at least 40 years since he last saw me!  When you get to be my age it's nice to think that someone still nicely remembers you as you once were.

"If we knew what it was we were doing, 
it would not be called research, would it?" 
Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Going to see the Mariners

When times are good, be happy; 

but when times are bad, consider: 

God has made the one as well as the other. 

Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future.
Ecclesiastes 7:14

Now I know that the Mariners are having a really bad year, but I'm still a loyal fan, and I know that they are a bunch of really good ball players, and the fact that they aren't doing well points to some unseen problem going on with the organization.

But I am a bit mad at them for getting rid of Richie Sexson  However, on the other hand, I am so happy for Richie that he is with the other team I root for, the New York Yankees.  In my estimation the absolute ultimativo team to play with the the Yankees.  I have no idea how I came to this idea, but I'm fine with it.

After a pretty good nights sleep we got up, got dressed, packed up, and tidy up our room, had a cup of coffee and headed into town for a latish breakfast before going to the game. Chuck and Lynn highly recommended a place called "14 Carrots". The felt that it was a pretty good Seattle representation of a Portland type restaurant. We didn't get too lost on the way, and it wasn't long before we were on the right street going in the right direction.

There was much about the restaurant that seemed like it could be in Portland, but there were things that weren't. For example the people were too tan, and too tidily dressed. But the menu was very nice. We ordered a breakfast quesadilla, a cinnamon roll, and a half of grapefruit, which was way more than half. It made me wonder what they were doing with the other little bit. The cinnamon roll was made with whole wheat, and was a bit healthier than you usually find in Portland.

After breakfast we headed right for the parking near the stadium. To my shock the very nice area around the parking, which is called Pioneer Square, was filled with hostile looking street people. We parked our car right by the little hut in the parking lot, hoping for the best. I took my camera bag and all its stuff with me, thus leaving not much that a self-respecting thief would want. Though I must admit I've always found your common thief to be extremely dumb.

But we quickly left that scene and headed towards the stadium with coffee in mind. We found the perfect place, Cafe Umbria. We got our coffee, mine was awesome, and we sat at a quiet table and finished our crossword puzzle. At about 12:40 Riley began to get worried that we'd be late for the game. So we gathered things up and head towards the stadium.

We had pretty good seats, but we were surrounded by a pretty odd assemblage of people. Our row had quite a lot of empty seats, so whenever it seemed a good idea we changed seats. The group in front of us was a club of old men who had blue baseball hats on that had names on the back of them like "squidgy" and "Bro-co-lee". The group in back was a fellowship of people probably in their 50's who were really rather rowdy. At one point we moved way down the row because is struck me that I could get French fries down my back as they were being very rambunctious with them right behind me.

The Mariners are a bunch of good baseball players who have come upon hard times. They still have it in them to be a great team, as long as the management stands behind them.

the line up

Ichiro - RF

Bloomquist - CF

Ibanez - LF

Beltre - 3B

Lopez - 2S

J J Putz - Closer

Betancourt - SS

Johiima - Catcher

So these were all pictures that I took of the team members with my camera right where I was sitting.  Unfortunately they didn't win, but it was a good game, and most of the fans stayed till the finish, which is an indication that there was a hope they could win.  That's what baseball is all about.  Rarely are you without hope.

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces
because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."
Yogi Berra