What’s Happening Today 16 July 2013

Hi All,

Most of my previous posts have been about cooking or my 1900 house rehab. But today I just want to catch you all up and tell you why I haven’t posted any more on those topics. And I just feel like talking. Yes, I went to work today and talked alot – about business and a bit about how co-workers backstab, management stinks and – you know – normal office stuff. Although I did find out one of my coworkers had been a aviation navigator – I thought there was something ultra cool about him – besides him being pretty hot. Hey – I’m a grandma, not dead LOL. Sat beside another cutie on a recent air plane ride. I’ll remember those blue eyes for a while. We had a nice conversation over a couple of Jim and Cokes.

Annywhoo  – I haven’t posted any more cooking articles because 1) I went out of town for July 4th and didn’t cook (cocktails don’t count) 2) I’ve had a bad cold (finally going to doctor tomorrow) 3) My kitchen is now super hot.

I did try another variation on the Onion Dill Rye bread using 2 cups rye flour and 1 cup white flour. It was horrible. I’m not sure what caused the trouble — but I threw it away. I also made my famous potato, onion and chicken sausage dish. It was great as usual but I forgot to take the pics for the blog post. I’m blaming both failures on my cold.

My kitchen — whole house really — is super hot. I currently rent a huge pile of bricks that was built in 1954. The air conditioner doesn’t cut it in the middle of the summer – and with it being 95ish out now, well, the kitchen is a torture chamber. I may not cook much at all until September. We’ll see.

My 1900 rehab house – the drywall is done, the front porch foundation is patched but the boys left a hole in the basement foundation. Argh. So some rain got in the basement — not terrible but with the drywall done, I certainly am worried about my investment being ruined due to mold. I’m not pleased about that. They want to put in a sump pump because the basement is wet. Hmmm. And there is still a cat in there somewhere — I saw its paw prints in the drywall dust. Not pleased with that either. The boys say they’ll take a trap over to try to catch it (humanely of course!).

I just received a new assignment at work (after being passed over for a promotion – but I’m not bitter). I actually get to do both jobs for a while until a new person can take over my current duties. So – the new job will be much better I think. I’ve also applied for another job that just might (fingers crossed) move me closer to my 1900 house. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I just keep saying to myself – sometimes you don’t get what you want, you get what you need.

Humph right – why is it that what I need is never what I want? Weird.

One last thing – I’ve been waiting seven months for my divorce to be final — will it never end? Lawyers Argh

My first divorce took 6 weeks – this one — seven months  — seriously? Both no-fault, different states. Ridiculous

Thanks for listening!

The Onion Dill Rye Quest

How can I make an authentic rye bread with those onion and dill undertones? That is what I asked myself after sampling a loaf made by a local commercial bakery. It was caramel colored, soft crusted, denser than white but just a touch sweet – and the onion and dill flavor of course. So far I’ve made two attempts — the second coming close. Here are the steps I took:

Loaf One – Hearty German Rye

I bought my bag of rye flour and on the back was a recipe for a hearty German style loaf. I thought, OK I’ll try it and add my modifications. The original recipe is here.  I halved it, didn’t have any gluten or caraway and added 1 tsp. dill and 1/2 cut of onions.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients.

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Hearty German Rye Ingredients

In the right side of the photo, you’ll notice a container. I keep all my baking products in containers and zip lock bags. This keeps things organized and deters bugs. In the left side of the photo, notice the bread machine container. I always pull the container out of the machine to add the ingredients; it helps keep the machine clean.

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Baking storage

Step 2: Fill the container and bake. I put the dry ingredients into the container – making a hill in the center with the flour. Next, put the wet ingredients (except the yeast and water) around the sides of the flour hill. Dissolve the yeast in the very warm water in a measuring cup and let it stand for a minute. Make a well in the flour hill and pour the yeast water into the well. Let it set for a minute; this lets the yeast start working. Carefully carry the container over to the machine and snap it into place.

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Bread Machine

Set the machine to a light crust and start the machine. Three hours later – your bread is done.

Step 3: Remove and cool the bread. Take the container out of the machine and invert over a wire rack. Let cool.

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Bread on cooling rack

The machine’s kneading arm remains in the bottom of the loaf. I’m not sure if all bread machines do this — this is an old machine and I haven’t explored newer models. Removing it unfortunately leaves a hole in the loaf at that location. I usually rub some butter on the top crust.

Step 4: Cut and bag. Using a bread knife, cut the bread into slices. You may want to just tear it apart – that’s up to you. I like to use mine for sandwiches. If you have too much, bread freezes well. TIP: I slice, then freeze so I can take out just as many as I need at a time.

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Cut bread with butter

So, how was it you ask. Hmm, not so good. The color and denseness ware excellent. However, it had (to me) a strange taste – I couldn’t taste any dill and where was that rye flavor? I’m sorry to say I threw this loaf away.

Loaf Two – Basic Rye with Onion and Dill

After the failure described above, I did some research – seems that the actual flavor for which I searched was produced by caraway seeds. Who knew? So, off to the store I went and bought some caraway seeds. I’m not a fan of seeds in bread – that’s just me. The store didn’t have any ground caraway. So, then I go to my local department store and look for a spice grinder. (You’d think I’d have one huh?) They didn’t have one — but they did have a mortar and pestle.

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Mortar and Pestle

Ok, I thought, I can grind them myself the old fashioned way. Big mistake! I got a blister and didn’t get much grind. So I decided to use the seeds as is and see if it results in the proper flavor. I’ll get a real spice grinder next time I’m at a larger department or kitchen store.

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients. I used my trust Joy of Cooking cookbook and found the Dill Bread recipe in the Yeast breads section. Cottage cheese – in bread – who knew? I changed the bread ratio to 2 cups white and 1 cup rye. I also added 4 tsp of gluten.

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Basic rye bread ingredients 1

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Basic rye bread ingredients 2

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Dissolving yeast in warm water

Step 2: Assemble and bake. This step is exactly the same as Step 2 above.

Step 3: Remove and Cool. Again, same steps as above.

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Remove rye bread from machine

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Slice basic rye bread

This time the flavor came very close to my ideal and it wasn’t quite dense enough. Unfortunately the hole from the bread machine arm cost me some slices in the middle. The dill isn’t as sharp as I’d like and I’m not a fan of the seeds. So, I’ll be looking for a spice grinder and perhaps I’ll be able to find some fresh dill.  I’ll increase the ratio of rye to white flour as well. That will be my next attempt.

I’ve decided to make croutons with the slices that weren’t whole due to the machine arm. I’ll write about that in another post.

Happy baking!