Food for thought
I worked on a new bread recipe Sunday — buttermilk sandwich bread .
About 3 1/4 cups of white flour, 1/4 of cornmeal, 1 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 cup warm water, teaspoon or so of salt and three tablespoons of butter.
Proof a package of rapid rise yeast in the water.
I do the mixing in a food processor, then knead by hand with two rises in a bowl and one in the loaf pan.
To make it like sandwich bread I put a baking pan on top of the loaf pan with a heavy bottom pan of water inside it. After about 30 minutes or so I take off the pan and let the top brown. I want an internal temperature of 200 degrees.
I don’t get to eat bread because it tastes too good. My doctor has a special blood test to check if I have had any fun or enjoyment between visits.
My son said it was great.
Always good to live through others.
Buttermilk sandwich bread – I think I’ve become my grandmother.
Made sticky buns today for my son Chris.
So good and so bad, but I must find some way to live my life through my children. He said the buns were great.
I spent two days making the buns, and I changed the process this time.
First I made brioche dough, around 3 to 4 cups of flour, couple sticks of butter and yeast. This time I used brown sugar for the molasses content and buttermilk for the complexity of flavor. I added a small amount of cinnamon and nutmeg.
After a couple of rises, I refrigerated overnight.
In the morning I rolled it out, put sugar and cinnamon with a small amount of all spice, rolled it up and cut into buns. I spread a butter and brown sugar caramel sauce on the bottom of the pan, placed the buns closely together. One more rise and cooked for 20 minutes.
Nuts, raisin and all sorts of things can be added.
A terrible beauty was born.
April 24, 1916 marks the date of the Irish rebellion. The day inspired W.B. Yeats’ poem “Easter 1916″ - and the line, “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”
I love to make sauces.
My wife Ginny used to get after me for my sauces. I would come up with reasons to pour hollandaise, Béarnaise and velouté over almost anything. That was before I met up with Dr. Killyasoon.
Now I eat peas and tofu — and I hear voices –
I put together a quick casserole yesterday for my son. He finished it because I had to drive to the office and cover the McDonald’s crash story.
Alton Brown made a version of this and I lifted it from him.
I crisped fried about a pound of bacon and steamed a couple of chicken thighs — I cooked a quick tomato sauce with garlic, red peppers, whole canned tomatoes and other tomato sauce stuff and reduced it with red wine.
At this point I got the call and had my son finish the dish.
He put sauce in a casserole pan and layered flour and corn tortillas, cheese, bacon, chicken and more tomato sauce. I wanted him to put cottage cheese and tortilla chips on top then a final layer of cheese, but I was in a hurry and forgot to tell him.
He built it without the chips and said it was good.
I ate green olives and yoghurt — I need a doctor who skipped about two or three years of that pesky medical school.
Put together my breakfast version of Croque Madam for my son this morning, since he gets to eat food. I have the joy of watching him eat my concoctions and later he describes the experience. Food with sauce and cheese and everything ruled wrong to eat by my good Dr. Killyasoon. The memory of this experience is slowly fading from my feeble brain, but I still remember how to make it.
My version of Croque Madam was to first caramelize an onion with a red pepper in olive oil, butter and white wine.
Next I took two slices of bread, buttered them and grilled them enough to get the grill marks.
Instead of ham I cooked bacon. I loaded the bacon and onion mixture on the bread and topped with cheddar cheese, which is all I had in the refrigerator.
I broiled that to get the cheese bubbly, then put the other piece of bread on top and some more cheese and broiled until bubbly.
I topped it with an egg fried in butter. I made hollandaise sauces and poured it over the top. Béarnaise is more traditional, but hollandaise sounded right to me this morning for some reason.
I have stumbled upon the perfect solution for a problem that has plagued fathers since God mistakenly created daughters. The problem is boyfriends.
I’m not sure why God decided know-it-all daughters were such a dandy idea in the first place, but I didn’t get to vote on this one.
For the record, this entire boyfriend arrangement was not well planned by God. He must have been tired that day. I think there should have been a public hearing for dads only.
I have, however, devised the magic solution – arranged boyfriends. Not only will it solve the stupid boyfriend thing, I am convinced it will bring peace on earth. Such a deal.
Let me describe how this brilliant idea came to me.
Katy, my 23-year-old daughter who believes I have become dumber every day since she was born, called me a while back. During the conversation Katy happened to say she was “hanging out” with someone.
That’s how girls say it now. Hanging out.
Well I’m a quick one, despite what little-miss-run-my-life thinks.
“What’s his name?” I said quick as can be.
“I not telling you.”
“Because your nuts. You’ll try to investigate him or something stupid like that.”
“I would never do anything like that,” I said in a high-pitched whiny voice. “But do you think you could write down his social security number or driver’s license number? Just for my record keeping.”
“Not a chance,” she said.
OK, I will admit there may be a little, tiny bit of history for her comments, but that was a long time ago and I have reformed.
I have become a new dad and I now want to solve the boyfriend problem instead of crush it. Let’s remember this conundrum was not created by me, it was God’s fault, but I am willing to fix it.
Arranged boyfriends makes everything so slick. It is a simple and an easy-pleasy solution. It’s even Constitutional. All we have to do is skip certain sections in the middle that don’t really count anyway.
I rolled things around in my vacant head for a couple of days before I presented the exquisite harmony of my plan to Katy.
“I found you the perfect boyfriend that I know I will like. We’ll get along dandy. Maybe go fishing or bowling or play Yahtzee and do all sorts of zippy activities.”
She wouldn’t even consider it, not for a second. I couldn’t believe it.
The world I set up had such symmetry and balance – like living in a Nirvana with all the Twinkies and Ho Hos I could ever desire.
But no, let’s not listen to dad the dumb guy.
I patiently told her I could set this up with one phone call and a couple of boxes of chocolate dipped Twinkies. I told her I had only my best interests at heart, and I was thinking about her, too.
She threatened to have me sent to a home for crazy dads. Must be a long waiting list.
So much for peace on earth.
I hope you’re happy, God.
Sometimes I like to remember Christmas from years past. Oh for the days when I could eat real food and not worry about my evil doctor telling me I will be dead before New Year’s Day.
When I was a kid, I was skinny…very skinny. I was so skinny my mom and grandma decided I should be taken to the a doctor.
I’m not sure what the doctor said or what internal organ they hacked out of me, but I do know my relationship with doctors have been shaky ever since.
However, the good part of my trip to the doctor was I was allowed to eat candy until I had a near-death experience.
My favorite was divinity.
My grandmother made divinity of different colors and she always stacked them on this three tier, silver serving tray.
Peanut brittle was also on the tray, which I hated. For some reason peanut brittle was a big hit for my grandma and her friends. I just remember my mouth was cemented shut for five minutes after eating it, so I couldn’t figure out the draw. Maybe dentures were the secret.
But grandma’s divinity was food from another world. For some reason I liked the pale green ones the best. I think they were probably all the same, except for food coloring, but I was easily swayed by my stomach and twisted imagination.
Nothing could match my grandma’s divinity.
That is until my wife, Ginny, made her plum pudding a few years after we were married.
Ginny said it was a tradition in her family. When Ginny described it to me I had been married to her long enough to have learned to nod and smile even though I though it sounded like fermented barf.
Believe me I had reason to think my life was in danger. This was like no plum pudding recipe I had heard of or have read about since.
Ginny started making the stuff the day after Thanksgiving. She would whip up this secret concoction from suet and a slurry of secret mumbo jumbo glop of something, something, something. It was frightening.
After mushing this goo together she pounded it into a 3-pound coffee can and it sat on the back porch rotting until Christmas.
Now I ask you, what was I to think?
On Christmas Eve I ran to the liquor store and bought the strongest hooch I could find, hoping I could kill it with booze and fire before it killed me.
Our two children were seated around the table when Ginny unveiled her mystery.
My daughter Katy took one look and said politely, “I’m not eating that stuff unless you kill me.”
My son was younger, more trusting and willing to eat nearly anything that appeared dead enough not to run away.
My job was to light the booze and not burn the house down. I considered that multitasking.
I lit the match and the little mountain of brown burst into flames. Katy dove under the table. Fortunately the flame didn’t quite reach the ceiling.
I thought I’d killed it for sure, but the flame died and my date with destiny had arrived.
I had no choice. I told Ginny how wonderful it looked and she gave me the biggest portion. Katy waited patiently for me to croak.
Ginny poured hard sauce over it, which was made of white sugar, butter and rum, and set it in front of me.
I will never know how she did it, but Ginny had made the best dessert ever eaten. Even better than grandma’s divinity.
The flavor was sweet, complex and satisfying. It was incredible. It was truly food from heaven.
I think about it every year, every Christmas. The recipe is lost, but the memory of that plum pudding and Christmas Eve dinner will never leave me.
In the spirit of Halloween I have come up with a solution to the No. 1 problem in the world, how to find a girlfriend.
Every pathetic male on earth has faced this riddle, and a good answer has never been discovered.
The general pattern is how I finally stumbled upon a girlfriend and wife, which was Ginny had a moment of blind weakness. Even I get lucky once in while.
My moment of enlightenment on solving the world’s darkest secret came a few weeks back while I was covering a Black Diamond City Council meeting.
Unlike some meetings I cover, this one was very quiet and polite, until a woman approached the microphone to address the Council and mayor.
She requested permission for her group to search for ghosts in the Black Diamond cemetery. Suddenly the sleepy City Council chambers broke into a clamor with nearly everyone offering their ghost encounters past and present. We were all having a pile more fun than five minutes earlier.
This started me thinking and a light went on, which is never good, but I couldn’t help myself.
I recalled an advertisement I saw on TV where pathetic guys find girlfriends by entering a bunch of lies about themselves on the Internet, which is a very good business plan.
But it occurred to me a new path was needed. How about ghost girlfriends? That seemed the perfect fit.
I have a friend who does fine with his imaginary girlfriends, but the ones who use real words and can move their arms and legs at the same time are nothing but trouble for him.
I immediately called him with my brilliant brainstorm.
“What would you think of a ghost girlfriend?”
“I don’t know. How do I find one?” he asked.
“I’ve heard you can rent a machine to find them. How great is that? It’s a lot easier than the usual methods that never work.”
“Where do I rent one? Can we get it tonight?”
I told him there may be a few details to work out, but he was very excited about the concept.
Think of the advantages. Lots of transparency in the relationship and no expensive dinners to worry about.
If you forget to open the car door for your girlfriend it’s no problem. She goes right through it, and you never get in trouble for making the wrong comment about her hair or makeup…. I don’t think.
Admittedly there are a few kinks to work out.
If the boyfriend does get in trouble, which has always been an issue with me, the downside could be troubling. A mad ghost girlfriend might be a little scary, and she could be somewhat hard to hide from, which is another small problem.
But think about it. If your girlfriend or wife is mad there is no hiding.
How much worse can it be with a ghost girlfriend?
I may have stumbled upon the answer to the most vexing riddle facing mankind – ghost girlfriends.
Have a happy Halloween.