Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat, and a picture.    

"[Sentayehu Teshale] can do things with his legs that we can't do with our hands." Indeed.

"Literature doesn't just make us smarter, however; it makes us us, shaping our consciences and our identities." A Slow-Books Manifesto: Read books. As often as you can. Mostly classics. (via Mike Dell'Aquila)

Wegmans is great! But I still buy groceries at Wal-mart too. I'm an equal opportunity shopper (and on a budget).

Aaron's Wish: VCU's bioengineering and physical therapy students worked together to grant his wish of riding a bike in spite of a congenital condition that severely limits his joint movement. Amazing.

A Growing Generation: Crops of young farmers are redefining the Central Virginia landscape and changing the way we think about food. Passion put to work by brave, industrious souls.

Recipes Bookmarked
Chocolate-Apricot Nut Bars at Vital Juice
Grapefruit and Rosemary Cocktails at Eat Make Read
Sesame Almond Brown Rice Balls at 101 Cookbooks

Cherry Blossoms at Maymont, March 2012, Richmond, VA 

I'm glad Miike Snow has a new album that sounds just as upbeat as their last one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dutch Crunch Rolls

Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread! You can read the full challenge here.

I wasn't entirely successful I fear. The Dutch Crunch adhered to the rolls and browned, but it seems to have granules present that others don't appear to have in theirs. Perhaps I didn't beat it vigorously enough? Or I didn't grind the homemade brown rice flour enough? Either way the topping still contributed an interesting texture to the rolls and its flavor was reminiscent of beer bread.

Sadly, I didn't heed the storage instructions and, by the time I remembered I needed a photo of a sandwich,  mold struck rendering the remaining rolls inedible. Heed the storage advice, y'all, and refrigerate the bread if you don't devour it all within a day or two.

I ate my rolls with tuna salad prepared with tuna, mayo, hard boiled eggs, finely chopped celery and Arby's Horsey Sauce; it wasn't photogenic but it tasted good. For my second sandwich, I inverted the buns so the dutch crunch faced the tuna salad. The crunch disappeared but so did the tiny crumbles that made me fret making this change worthwhile. 

While I doubt I'll make Dutch Crunch Rolls or Bread again at home I'll definitely seek out the real thing whenever I make it to San Francisco. I need to experience an expert version to form a real opinion on it.

Soft White Rolls
Yields: approximately 6 rolls

1 tablespoon (1 packet) Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Warm Water (105-110º F)
1 cup Warm Milk (105-110º F) (I used skim.)
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil (plus additional oil for greasing bowl)
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
Up to 4 cups All Purpose Flour

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl, combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let sit for about 5 minutes to ensure the yeast proofs (the mixture should bubble or foam and smell yeasty).
2. Add the vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Using the dough hook attachment or a wooden spoon, mix at medium speed until the dough comes together.
3. Add remaining flour a quarter cup at time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. (I let the dough hook knead it for another 2 minutes.)
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl, flip once and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until it has at least doubled in size.
6. Then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 equal portions to make rolls. Shape each portion, handling it as little as possible, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 15 minutes while you prepare the topping. (or much longer if you're slow like me!) Turn on the oven to preheat to 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Coat the top of each roll with the topping as described above.
9. Place the rolls in the oven on the middle rack for for 25-30 minutes, until well browned. Cool completely on a wire rack, then eat.

Dutch Crunch Topping 
Yield: sufficient for 6-8 rolls

1 tablespoons (2 packets) Active Dry Yeast
.5 cup Warm Water (105-115º F)
1 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoons Canola Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Rice Flour (I used brown rice flour made my whirring up brown rice in the Vitamix. Since my flour was home-made I actually used approximately 1 1/2 cups of Rice Flour)

1. Once your bread has almost finished rising, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat vigorously with a whisk to combine. The consistency should be like stiff and spreadable, not runny. Add more water or rice flour as needed. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. Coat the top of each loaf or roll with a thick layer of topping. (I patted it out in my hand then placed it on the buns. It was that thick and rumor has it that this is necessary or you won't get the cracked effect.)
3. Let stand, uncovered, for any additional time your recipe recommends. With the Soft White Roll I chose to use we were advised that the rolls could go directly into the oven after applying the topping.
4. When baking, place pans on a rack in the center of the oven and bake your bread as you ordinarily would. The topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat, and a picture.    

"In his first assignment, another writer I know had to produce a book on Japanese cuisine based on two interviews with a chef who spoke no English. 'That,' he said, 'was the moment that I realized cookbooks were not authoritative.' " from I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter

Where the Wild Things Are as read by Christopher Walken

Saturday can't come soon enough for me! Go Rams, Go! "From the outset, many tabbed this Virginia Commonwealth-Wichita State contest as an underdog handoff, with last year’s least likely national semifinalist (VCU) matched against the team voted most likely to succeed it. Funny how that worked out." from VCU Defeats Wichita State to Continue Tournament Success

Seven Lessons for Becoming a Happier Runner that are worth considering...especially if you are like me and have a 10k looming that you didn't actually train for because you just don't like running.

I had no idea what differentiated Halal Meat from other meat and I'd rather not have known. See In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue if you'd like to know too.

Recipes Bookmarked
Paleo Diet Carrot Cupcakes at The Cupcake Project
Chipotle's Beef Barbacoa Slow Cooker Recipe at Elite FTS

Sending off the VCU Rams to Portland, March 13, 2012, Richmond, VA
Monster Energy had this sign up at the Mechanicsville Wal-mart before yesterday's win.

Also exciting this week was discovering that Miike Snow has a new album releasing at the end of March. I like the single so...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat, and a picture.       

The Myth of Eight Hour Sleep... I've often wondered about the eight hour recommendation as the number doesn't make sense given our 90 minute sleep cycles, but this article's proposal really puts a twist on things.

International Slutty Women's Day: A Story in GIFs (via Courtney)

Share your sorrows and they're halved. Share your joys and they double. Illustrated and so true.

Photography of Food Under a Microscope is much prettier than the MRIs of food I posted a few months ago and just as neat.

"The lesson from this is a simple one, the researchers concluded: Don't set up rigid rules that require food to be bought in any particular place. Buy food wherever it makes most sense."  When Food Aid Goes Local, Some Say It Works Better

Recipes Bookmarked
Ginger Grapefruit Curd at 101 Cookbooks
Homemade Butterfingers at Serious Eats from Bravetart
Slow Cooker Recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime at Kayln's Kitchen

Daffodil in Snow, (a very confusing) March 2012, Mechanicsville, VA

Can Justin Timberlake focus briefly on music again? I miss this.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Distractions -- Random Links & Recipes Bookmarked

Ready for the weekend? To help you pass your Friday here are the highlights of what distracted me this week online, what I bookmarked that I hope to one day eat, and a picture.      

This Is My Home enchanted me. I wish I had stumbled across this man's space while I lived in NYC.

As someone who took daily outfit pictures for a few years I found  Log On, Coordinate, PoseVirtual-Closet Web Sites Revise Online Fashion Shopping interesting. Things have come a long way since StyleDiary and yet they are still much the same.

A list of flirting rules from DC's Anti-Flirt Club circa the early 1920s.

"The result of this setup, as Zizek explains most succinctly, is that on a big-picture level, TOMS (and other buy-my-product-and-donate companies) are busy building the exploitative global structure that produces economic inequality, while on the other hand pretending that supporting them actually does something to fix it. It doesn’t. It just gives people shoes." from 7 worst international aid ideas, an article that provides food for thought about international aid efforts. (via Emily)

The Anti-Diet - so wise!

Recipes Bookmarked
Bacon Maple Marshmallows at Blondie and Brownie
Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies at My New Roots
Coconut Milk Tonic at The Nourishing Gourmet
Twisted Cookies at Cook and Be Merry

Pointe Shoes from My Adolescence

Kiss Me
Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer has stood the test of time much better than She's All That, which featured it. I probably haven't watched that movie since 2000, but I'm still psyched when I hear this song.