Sourdough bread … heavenly

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When my parents were married 45 years ago, they honeymooned in San Francisco and until recently, not quite sure but within the last six years, some of the best sourdough bread on the planet came from San Francisco.  On one of their yearly trips back to the city they love, they returned home to report that our beloved source of sourdough bread was no longer to be found anywhere.  I was deeply disappointed but began the search of decent sourdough. 

None was to be found however.  It was either to dry, barely sour, or just a poorly conceived excuse to charge slightly more for “artisan” bread.  Fed up, I tried a couple of starters of my own over the next several years and they were reasonably good attempts.  Still not what I was searching for however.  So I let one starter after another dwindle as my interest died. 

Then two weeks ago I was inspired.  I through out the pre-existing recipes for starter and set about on creating my own sourdough starter.  Energized, inspired, and salivating I set out to create the perfect sourdough starter and bread.  So, I grabbed that huge empty pickle jar and lid, the bread flour, yeast, sugar, and liquid and began my science experiment.  After dumping all the ingredients in the jar and stirring, I set it aside, uncovered, for a week.  When I remembered, I stirred it and the lovely sour smell and bursting bubbles were my reward.  A week later, the starter was ready. 

I dumped a cup of starter in the mixer, tossed in the ingredients for bread and started the mixer.  After letting it rise, I popped the bread into the oven.  Soon, hubby was wandering around the kitchen asking what that wonderful smell was and how soon could he have a piece.  The whole house smelled amazing.

The bread was perfect.  It was so sour it had an almost cheese like flavor to it but not so sour that it was inedible.  The next morning the smell of sourdough bread smothered in butter and freshly brewed coffee was the perfect start to a busy week of vacation.  The loaf didn’t last long, but then again homemade loaves of bread are meant to be eaten and enjoyed within a few days.

While the bread was baking, I replenished the starter and put it in the refrigerator for the first time.  I ran out of milk in the process and had to use water, I’m not hopeful it will brew the same magic but hey, sometimes a cook makes do with what there is versus what she wants.  This morning, I used the starter again and the results are pictured above.  This loaf was not nearly as tangy but still sour.  I know what to attribute that too and so this morning only milk went into the starter when I replenished it, hopefully resulting in a much more sour loaf next time. 

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Smoked turkey

Is there anything quite as mouth watering as the smell of turkey smoking on the grill?  Late this morning I had hubby light the grill so I could smoke a turkey.  I stuffed the bird with a couple of onions, lemons, oranges, and jalapenos.  The bird came out perfectly, smoky and sweet.  I don’t know why people find turkey so complicated or difficult, it is literally season it, stuff it, and forget it.  A couple of hours later, sweet, juicy, tender turkey awaits.

I’m going to go make a loaf of sourdough bread before we turn in for the evening.  I am totally looking forward to the bread, turkey, and mayo at lunch.

 

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Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in all of it’s wonderful, glutinous traditions.  I didn’t cook this year, let’s be honest Mum still does the cooking and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.  I’m perfectly fine with that to be honest.  If we are all honest, nothing beats a homemade meal from Mum no matter how old we grow.

It was a small Thanksgiving table this year, just four of us (my parents and hubby and I) and for the first time it was casual.  I always request casual holiday events and Mum never listens to me.  She always wants to pull out the china and expensive stemware, even when there are a whopping four people sitting down to dinner.  This year she cook a small bird and a small number of sides.  There were hardly any leftovers which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  What leftovers there were, came home with us since they are on their way out of town to visit the Texas grandchildren.

Our holiday meal included the ever present stuffing and turkey but with a twist.  She no longer stuffs the turkey bird with stuffing but rather puts it in the crockpot.  First time she told me she was cooking stuffing in the crockpot I was convinced she was going senile early.  I was wrong.  Stuffing turns out moist and perfectly down.  It’s even possible to get crispy sides if you take off the lid about thirty minutes prior to serving.  I did have a hand in cooking dinner, minor in the extreme however.

A couple of years ago I discovered the secret to an always moist and juicy turkey no matter what the time of year … citrus.

Seriously, not kidding here, it’s citrus.  I know, sounds crazy but it works and no the bird doesn’t come out overly sweet or tangy from the fruit.  I usually stuff whatever citrus is in the refrigerator whenever I pop a turkey, or for that matter a whole chicken, in the oven.  Blood oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, doesn’t matter to me they all work.  I also usually add an onion and depending on the time of the year a jalapeno or an apple or two.  I just half or quarter, depending on the cavity size, and shove the fruit and spices inside, cover with foil and stick in the oven for a couple of hours.  Foolproof, never fail delicious turkey is always the result.

It probably won’t be until sometime next week that I make turkey for just the two of us but when I do I will remember to take a couple of pictures to share.  I will be honest, I am looking forward to that meal since there were so few leftovers yesterday.

Revitalized for Cooking & Writing

Last several months life has been busy and writing a cookbook was the last thing I had any interest in doing.  I’ve come to learn that writing a book is a much different animal than writing a blog posting on a snippet regarding gaming news.  However, I am once again in the mood to work on the book and am really quite pleased with what has been written so far.

I of course, pick the beginning of the holiday season to start writing a book again.  Apparently my timing this year is just always slightly off, but that’s ok just means I’m one of those interesting characters you meet in life.  What energized me to start writing about food again, my amazing Oatmeal Cookies from last weekend and the terrific sourdough starter I made last week.   The first loaf from that starter is phenomenal, tangy and sour.  The toast I had this evening was grand and I am looking forward to breakfast in the morning.  Unfortunately, it didn’t dawn on me to take photos but I am moving the camera to the kitchen immediately.