Leftovers/a novel bread baking experience/pictures of food

As the title suggests this will be a stream of consciousness blog about food …

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Leftovers from dinner

First: I miss having the kids around to eat all this food. Sometimes I like to set a table with a well-rounded meal: meat, veggie, bread, dessert, etc. My step-daughters are good eaters. They always seemed to rave about my cooking and baking. I miss having them around the dinner table. My son became a foodie and likes good tasting food of good quality. There came a time when he stopped eating packaged bread so I had to make bread or have bakery bread on hand, along with plain yogurt, fruit, carrots and the like. Hummus was very popular with him. My daughter eats well of the basic foods minus cheese and milk products. Now these family dinner tables are reserved for an occasional weekend visit or holiday meals. The wee ones are growing up and going out on their own, establishing families and lives of their own, as it should be. But I miss them.

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Leftovers are not always a problem. Sometimes leftover bread becomes a problem. Especially should I get the notion to make a new loaf or muffins when the first batch has not been completely consumed. Like this evening. I was reading the KAF 200th Anniversary Cookbook again and looking at batter breads. I have half a loaf of pumpkin bread and a few pieces of Artisan bread left here!

Second: I decided to make a yeast pumpkin bread off the KAF website. It was a cool fall day and we were hanging around the living room parallel playing on our computers in between the hubby sleeping off and on due to having come down with a cold. You must understand that there are members of my family that think I am a fabulous baker. I am mediocre at best but I do bake which makes me unlike other people who do not bake or obsessively think about baking. Actually I must correct this thought. I am not mediocre; I am pretty darn good, just not always creative, or that knowledgeable about the science of baking. Mind you I have several books in my repertoire/collection that could teach me about the science but I have not memorized the information. I can tell you bits and pieces only.

That said, the bread dough is stiff and I set it out to rise. The recipe said this would take 45 minutes. So after an hour and a half I “call up” the KAF baker for a live chat about this issue. I have never called a baking or recipe hotline! I was not sure what to expect. It turns out that trying to rise bread dough in a 65 degree kitchen is going to take quite some time especially since I used the scoop and sweep method of measuring the flour instead of the proper method: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/measuring-flour.html

So the KAF on-line baker told me to boil water in the microwave, remove the boiling water, and put the dough in there to rise. This creates a warm moist environment that the yeast will like. It worked!

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So after the second rise I baked the bread in the oven and voila! pumpkin bread 004

This was fabulous.

Tastes good too!

Third: Since blogging about food I have been taking pictures of dinners and what I have made. I have not always written about a specific dinner but have enjoyed looking at the photos. Here are some in no particular order:

West point weekend 032spaghetti meal

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Cole slaw made in my food processor when I just realized that it had a shredder attachment. Served with ribs.

Coffee Cake for a Holiday Monday

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I had a little helper earlier this weekend. My granddaughter “helped” roll out pie dough and punch down sourdough bread dough. Some of the first “toys” I gave her were a set of colorful measuring spoons and plastic measuring cups.

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I think I tried to have my own two kids help out in baking but I do not remember. Raising them was full of the chaos of frantically wanting to raise them in a perfect manner to avoid all the ills of racism, sexism, and stereotypes in our world. I was not a “go with the flow” parent; I second guessed myself and over thought almost everything. But that doesn’t mean these weren’t enjoyable and meaningful years. I would just do some things differently if I were a parent now. But isn’t that the way it is for a lot of things in our pasts once we have life experience under our belt?

I decided to make the Cheddar Apple Coffee Cake for this lazy Monday morning. In afterthought I should have gotten up at 5:00 AM when I first awoke to start this but too late now. So it is after 10:00 when we are eating freshly baked coffee cake with our leftover coffee.

columbusdayweekend 034Mis en place. All except the flour which I had to pull out of the cupboard while mixing was in process.

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So here I am in my kitchen peeling and chopping apples. I am thinking about the Vietnamese family that lived with my family in the 1970s following the fall of Saigon. Hoa (wife and mother) could peel apples and potatoes so thin; Mom and I were impressed. I’ve never been able to replicate that but try from time to time. I dice up the cheddar cheese block and wonder if there will be some left for my husband to have with chips or crackers later.

King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook, Page 104: Topping is 1 Cup Flour, 1 Cup Brown Sugar, 2 teas cinnamon, 1/2 Cup Butter. Mix together until looks like fine crumbs. I added sliced almonds to this.

I could not find this recipe on the KAF website. So I will write it here. It is a basic coffeecake made with buttermilk. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: 2 Cups flour, 1 Cup whole wheat flour, 1 Tab baking powder, 1/2 teas baking soda, 1 teas salt.

In mixer bowl beat 3 eggs, 1/4 Cup oil, and 1 1/2 Cups sugar for 3 minutes. I added about 1/2 teas almond extract here. Mix in the buttermilk, 1 Cup, alternately with the flour mixture in two parts. Now stir in apples and cheddar cheese, diced and chopped 1 1/2 Cups each.

Pour into pan that has been greased and floured. Add 1/2 batter, cover with topping, repeat. Bake 350 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes. My oven required 60 minutes. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto plate.

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The KAF cookbook section on coffee cakes teaches about the basics of coffee cakes and the options one has regarding pan sizes and additions. This is good because I added a bit of almond extract to the batter and forgot to save a third of the topping to sprinkle on the cake after turning onto the plate. This plate is one my mother gave me. She had it in the gift box it came in and I am not sure if it was ever used or not. She wanted me to have it. That is what matters. And this is her signature topping: sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Be sure to clean up aftewards.

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