Friday, December 20, 2013

Sourdough Surprises December: Sugar & Spice Popovers

I had a great post planned in my head (you know, the usual). I wanted to talk about how in the days following the 20th of each month I stalk the Sourdough Surprises Twitter, Facebook and blog pages to ensure that I see the challenge the moment it's revealed. I wanted to talk about how in the hours following seeing the challenge, I plan and plot in my head and most times know exactly what I want. And then suddenly, it's the 19th of the month and I am wondering if I have eggs much less flour.

I wanted to talk about how much I love being a part of this sourdough baking community. I wanted to talk about how much I love doing the blog hop each month. Oh! And I definitely wanted to tell you about my amazing birthday cake.  But then suddenly, it is the night of the 19th, I am sitting down to write with episodes of Chopped streaming from Amazon Prime in the background and BAM - I get sick.



Say what?

It's been three hours and I'm not sure what exactly is (was?) wrong. Did my body not like the cake and cookies I fed it today? Was it the coffee? It might have been the coffee. I don't like coffee (the drink, i.e. - love coffee desserts). I'm not sure why I grabbed some tonight. Whatever it was, it certainly threw a damper on my plans. So I am just going to post these pics and the simple recipe, implore everyone to make popovers - sourdough or not, curl up in  bed and watch Chopped while praying that whatever it is passes and that I can keep the French's Fried Onions that I am currently snacking on down. Whew, that was a long sentence.





Sugar & Spice Sourdough Popovers 

For the popovers: 

2 tablespoons of butter (for pan)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup 166% hydration sourdough starter
2 tablespoon melted butter, divided
3/4 cup all purpose flour


For the sugar and spice mix:

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground  cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Note: I used a muffin pan for this.

Divide the 2 tablespoons of butter among wells of a muffin pan or popover pan. I used 9 wells of my muffin pan. Place muffin pan in oven and turn oven to 450 F.

Blend the eggs, milk, starter, 1 tablespoon of melted butter and flour together in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds.

Remove muffin pan from oven and carefully pour batter into each well - about 3/4ths full. Return pan to oven.

After 15 minutes, reduce oven to 350 and bake for another 12-15 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. As soon as possible, pierce the underside of each popover, brush with melted butter and roll in sugar mixture.

Serve immediately.











Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sourdough Surprises November: Black Cherry Kolaches

I remember one Spring Break that I got it into my head that I'd make a Trinidadian dish called doubles. I had never seen nor tasted doubles before. But based on the description (fried yeast dough that's then filled with curried chickpeas), I absolutely had to have it. I got some yeast (my first time working with yeast), followed the recipe given by an acquaintance, fried my dough, cooked my curried chickpea filling and produced one of the most delicious lunches that I'd ever made. Some time later, I went to a Trinidadian restaurant with a friend and ordered doubles. It looked NOTHING like what I had made. The fried dough was amazingly soft and, the curried chickpeas melted in my mouth. Bliss.

When Sourdough Surprises announced kolaches as this month's challenge, I figured that my kolache - experiment would be similar to that doubles-experience. But I wouldn't let that deter me. So here you have one Jamaican girl's sourdough(!) interpretation of a Czech treat.  I must admit that this one was particularly challenging. Every picture of kolaches that I saw looked different. I read different opinions on how to handle the dough and what left me puzzled most of all was the VERY high hydration that I saw. And no one seemed to comment on it. Instead I saw comments about the "beautiful dough".

I figured that America's Test Kitchen would not lead me astray and nervously converted their recipe to sourdough. Yeah. It was sticky. Actually, this was more than sticky. This was bordering dangerously on batter-land. But I didn't want to add too much flour so I pressed on.  Even though the ATK recipe does not call for a cold nap, I knew that I had to refrigerate mine if I wanted to do anything with it.

On Sunday morning when I was ready to form the kolaches, I knew that I had to remake them. There was no forming these into the nice round shapes that I saw. I grabbed a loaf tin to simply make a loaf with the dough but then I changed my mind and gingerly pinched balls off and placed them on my baking sheet. I let them rise for a bit, filled them with black cherry preserves and put them in the oven.

Sorry about the extra yellow lighting. Yuck


I can't say that these tasted just like kolaches. Because I've never had them before. They look like some of the pics I've seen. Kinda. But they were definitely delicious. I do love an enriched dough and the sour cream ensured that the dough stayed nice and soft.

I really wanted to make these again - play around with the ingredients. Decrease the butter and eggs. Something. But when I had time on Monday to try again, I realised that I was dangerously low on all purpose flour. This was certainly not the time to experiment with rye and whole wheat. And I opted for extra sleep on Tuesday morning instead of an early morning trip to the supermarket. Ah well. I guess the lemon and cheese version will just have to wait. It's probably for the best though. I have been eating these at an ALARMING rate. Add that to the oatmeal and raisin spice cake and onion rolls that I also made over the weekend and my body is having a happiness carb overload.

I can't wait to read about everyone's experiences with kolaches this month. I posted on Facebook about the very wet dough and was glad that I was not alone. I am sure we all have delicious takes on kolache though. You really can't go wrong with  enriched dough.

Serious lighting issues



Black Cherry Sourdough Kolache

240 grams 166% Sourdough Starter
350 grams All Purpose Flour
56 grams sugar
1 egg
2 yolks
113 grams melted butter
30 grams sour cream
10 grams salt
6 tablespoons black cherry preserves.


Combine all ingredients except salt and preserves in a mixer for 2 minutes. Dough will be very wet. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Add salt and knead for 10 - 12 minutes.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
Dough should be less wet after overnight cold rest. Divide dough into 12 even pieces and shape into a ball. If dough is still very sticky, just do the best that you can.
Allow to rest for 1 hour then use a floured cup (small) or end of a rolling pin to make indentations in the middle of each ball and fill with half a tablespoon of preserve.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Allow kolaches to rest for another hour then  place in oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.










Sunday, October 20, 2013

Conquering Lateness



In true Kelster-fashion, I was almost late posting a blog post about conquering lateness. I originally started this on September 30 but then I don't know what happened. I know it was a crazy week due to the events of September 30th but still...



Yesterday I looked at my to-do list and sighed. There were five major items on the list and all five needed to be completed by 11:59 pm today. Also, each item would take a significant amount of time. I often tell myself that I work best under pressure. Do I really? Or is it that I always wait until the last minute to do things so I only ever experience working under pressure? I think it is the latter. In fact, I am sure. Leaving things to the last minute means that I run the risk of being late and additionally, other items get pushed to the back burner while I hurriedly try to put out the current fire(s).

This is where I paused this post and ran out to donate blood. I planned to give blood then head home to work on my list. What instead happened was a lesson in not procrastinating and trying to actively stop being late to start on projects. I should note that I am never late to an event or meeting. I am the girl who shows up 10 - 15 minutes before. But when it comes to other things? Sigh. But let's continue with the story of this Monday that changed my blog post a bit. 

 I actively try to be extra hydrated on days that I know that I will donate blood. I've been dehydrated before and that just makes the process longer and the phlebotomist must spend a great deal of time trying to coax my blood out. When I got to the blood mobile, there were three persons ahead of me. It occurred to me that I should probably use the bathroom before I donated but I figured that I could wait since there were only three persons ahead of me. One girl's iron was too low so we were down to two persons. I could wait.

Source: Oneblood.org
'

For some reason, everything seemed to be moving much slower. The screenings were taking longer. And while I thought there was only one person actively donating, that process seemed to be taking much longer than normal. It occurred to me again that I should probably go to the bathroom. Nah, I can wait.

Finally, after 40 minutes, it was my turn to be screened. That went quickly and I was ushered to a bed. But again, I had to wait. Finally, an hour after arriving at the mobile, I was finally hooked up and my donation had started.  Luckily, that extra hydration had paid off so the donation was going quickly. But unluckily, now I really needed to use the bathroom. This would not be good. After my donation was complete, it seemed that the phlebotomist took a very long time to attend to me. Granted, I am supposed to lie there for a few minutes anyway but I really needed to go. I felt fine, no dizziness, so I left the bloodmobile as quickly as I could and found the nearest bathroom. I still felt OK.

A few minutes after leaving the bathroom, I felt slightly dizzy. Hmm. I ate one of the cookies I had grabbed on my way out of the bloodmobile and sat down. I didn't feel that slight dizziness anymore so I headed on my way. All was well as I walked towards the crosswalk for a busy road and pushed the button. And then things started to go black.

Shoot.

 I stepped away from the crosswalk and started to head back. I made it a few feet to a palm tree and realised that I could not go any further. I leaned against the palm tree and implored my body not to faint. It didn't listen and I slid to the ground as everything went black around me. I don't think I was out for very long.  And I apparently didn't look distressed since people walked by me and no one seemed concerned. (Remind me one day to talk about the psychological effect called the bystander effect. Classic bystander effect here.)
The sky as I walked home last Sunday evening. Beautiful.

As I sat there, I thought about the to-do list. I cursed myself for procrastinating. I wondered if I would be able to get things done. By now, I estimated that it was around 5:30 leaving me with 6 hours and 29 minutes to do five major things while feeling like crap.

I sat there in the grass by that palm tree for an hour and a half unable to move. I thought of calling someone to come get me but there were two things working against me: 1) I honestly could not move. If I lifted my head up, things would immediately start going black again so there was no way I would risk standing up even if someone was going to support me. And 2) my cell phone was now dead. Because, of course.

I finally made it home around 6:30, crawled into bed with my laptop and tried to get as much done without lifting my head too high. It was a rough night. I was too weak to go downstairs to make dinner or even get anything so I relied on the snacks that I had gotten from the bloodmobile. And this is why at 6 am on the first day of October Unprocessed, I ate packaged cookies. I was starving and afraid to get out of bed so cookies had to suffice until I felt OK to get out of bed.

I got all the items on my to-do list done but that incident really set the tone for my week as I had to take it easy until I felt like myself again. I vowed to make some changes to help me stay on track, avoid procrastinating and hence avoid being late. That way, in case of another emergency like this, I wouldn't be completely thrown off.

I LOVE the remind function on Google Now. For this task, I simply told it to remind me to get yogurt when I got to Publix using the voice function. It automatically pulled up the address of the Publix closest to me. When I eventually went to Publix days later, I was pleasantly surprised with a reminder. 


One major change is to use apps more. It's so easy to use Google Now to set reminders. Additionally, I use Any.do to schedule daily tasks. Sometimes I add the simplest tasks - Wash Dishes - just to try to keep myself on track. Additionally, Any.do will automatically ask after a missed call if you want to set a reminder to call that person back. LOVE it. That has been truly invaluable.

This is a screenshot of my current list on Any.do. As I complete tasks, I can cross them off. I can also set the individual time-specific reminders for each task and snooze etc, if necessary. There are also tasks that recur everyday. I need to go do dishes. Ha.


I've still been late with things (see: this blog post, almost) but I'm getting there. Slowly. How do you conquer lateness? How do do you stay on track?

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post in exchange for an entry into the Conquering Lateness Sweepstakes. BlogHer through Citibank is sponsoring this. Citi has a great card called Citi Simplicty that has no late fees, no annual fees and no penalty fees.   I would have told that fainting story and mentioned my love for Google Now and Any.do regardless of this Sweepstakes. Eventually. 




Sourdough Surprises October: Coconut Rum & Raisin Loaf

For the first three years of high school in Jamaica  (equivalent to grades 6 - 8), we are required to take a Food & Nutrition class. You can imagine the mishaps and hilarity that ensued with approximately several 10 to 13 year-olds in a kitchen. Honestly, I don't remember any major mistakes on my part (memory loss?), I left that to the kitchen at home (burnt candy and melted spoons anyone?) One memory that stands out is my friend using salt instead of sugar to make a drink. Yeah, that was as delicious as you might expect.

 I also remember making a quiche - that was interesting since at the time, I didn't like eggs. But I think I ate my quiche with the knowledge that quiche would never pass my lips ever again. I've gone back on that a few times now. Ha. There was the time our teacher instructed us to create a menu that was high in iron. I made liver and onions. I do not like liver. Do you see a pattern here? Always making something that I don't like?

Coconut Rock Buns. Source

There was one item that I did like though. No. LOVE. Rock buns. Rock buns are a small cake so named because the scraggly top looks similar to a rock. They are filled with raisins and often coconut. My mind has been on home a lot lately so when I saw that the challenge for this month's Sourdough Surprises was quick bread/muffins, I knew that I would make something that reminded me of home. Rock buns in loaf form was an easy decision. Soaking my raisins in rum was just the next logical step.

I think that perhaps I was channeling a bit too much of F&N classes as for some reason, I just kept accidentally adding too much butter to a ginger coconut streusel that I had intended to top my loaf with. So essentially, it became a (delicious) paste rather than a streusel. After batch after batch of failed streusel, I decided that I would make the loaf without it and then add a ginger glaze. Then I'd take a breath, get the streusel right and then make a second loaf with a streusel.



Right as I was about to put the loaf in the oven, I thought I'd top the loaf with a batch of non-streusel streusel anyway. Couldn't hurt and I didn't want to waste ingredients. Let me just say - BEST DECISION EVER! Brown Sugar + Coconut + Ginger + Heat = Caramelized Happiness. (Pretty much any equation that includes food equals happiness.) It tasted like I had topped my loaf with little bits of one of my most favourite Jamaican treats -  drops (I'll share that some day).


I wanted to make a second loaf IMMEDIATELY. But alas, I was out of eggs and soaked raisins.  If I didn't know the calorie count of this loaf, I honestly would make it every week. The morning that I made it, I blew through my daily calorie goal long before lunchtime. I loved it that much. I hope you do! Note, I'm not including the non-streusel streusel ingredients, but if you want that additional bliss or the perfected streusel, just leave a comment.



Coconut Rum & Raisin Loaf

Ingredients

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeng
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (coconut milk would be extra delicious; I even made a batch with eggnog!)
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup 166% sourdough starter, unfed
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Directions

Soak the raisins in the rum overnight. Shake the container from time to time to ensure that all the raisins get their share of rum.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease and flour the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9"
In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk eggs, milk, oil, starter, brown sugar and vanilla.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then gently stir in the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Count to ten then stop. It will be lumpy and there may be streaks of flour.

Gently fold in coconut and raisins. Count to 3 and then stop. Note, you can drain the raisins before folding them in or add them along with that very delicious rum.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is clean.

Allow to cool completely before slicing.












Friday, September 20, 2013

Sourdough Surprises September: Carrot Cake Waffle Sundae

I laughed out loud when I read the Sourdough Surprises post revealing the dish for this month.
This month we are going to go really super easy on you! This month we are going to make pancakes and/or waffles! 
Ha! I find waffles and pancakes to be anything but easy. I'll admit that I do not have a lot of waffle and pancake experience (neither eating nor making). My mother never made either while I was growing up and I can't remember eating either before undergrad. I don't even have a memory of specifically eating them then but I am just going to assume that I probably tried pancakes at least once. I know I definitely did not go anywhere near the waffle maker in the dining hall.

I remember some years ago reaching for the waffle iron that an old roommate left and armed with a recipe from Good Eats, I was expecting some, well, good eats. Uhm. How does one even use a waffle maker? How do you know when they're finished? Yeah. I had to Google that. And it still was a disaster. Waffles stuck. Batter oozed. Things burned.

Two years ago I visited a friend and she made waffles for breakfast. They were great as the "bread" for my eggs  (I cannot fathom pouring syrup over waffles or pancakes*) so I came home with the waffle bug again. This was right when I was first growing my starter. One weekend I made the most delicious and buttery sourdough waffles. I loved them so much that I invited a friend over for breakfast just so that I could make them again.




BUT. There is always a but. My waffles weren't crispy. They were delicious but soft. How on earth do you keep your waffles crispy? I read about keeping them warm in the oven but that did not work for me. I swear they were soft within seconds of taking them off the waffle iron. I read about using egg whites and cornstarch. Nope and nope.

Seriously, how do you do it? Give me your best waffle tips. Please.



I'm sure it's me though. It could even be partly waffle iron. I decided to brave waffles again for this challenge because I am little bit more afraid of pancakes.. I thought I'd go with a carrot cake waffle (lots of flavour!) and probably turn them into ice cream sandwiches dipped (or not) in chocolate.



That didn't quite work out. I would get into the mess that was the first six waffles but I am sure you can guess.  But eventually I had tasty waffles, pineapple ice cream, a delicious buttermilk syrup and maraschino cherries that have been soaking in rum since October. And all of that equals waffle sundaes and/or happiness.



*(Side note: I posted on Facebook  a couple weeks ago that though I loved sweet things (chocolate, ice cream, cake, cookies, ice cream, chocolate...), I could not pour syrup on waffles or pancakes. I was immediately ostracized. Only one person agreed with me (no surprise that he's one of my best friends). Once you start pouring syrup over things, it's dessert. I am not opposed to dessert for breakfast (I have had ice cream for breakfast A LOT) but I am opposed to dessert for breakfast and pretending that it's not dessert. Anyone else out there on the no syrup train?)




Sourdough Carrot Cake Waffle Sundaes

Carrot Cake Waffles (adapted from King Arthur's Classic Sourdough Waffles)

Ingredients

Overnight Sponge

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup 166% sourdough starter, unfed
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar

Batter

All of overnight sponge
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots


Directions

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the overnight sponge, cover and leave at room temperature overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Plug in and heat waffle iron.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, oil and vanilla then add to overnight sponge. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and stir until combined. Stir in baking soda, mixture will bubble. Quickly fold in carrots.

Cook according to manufacturer's directions on your waffle iron


Pineapple Ice Cream

I don't own an ice cream maker. I consider it the ultimate unitasker and my kitchen is too small to justify the purchase. I used a shortcut for this ice cream and I loved it!

Ingredients

8 oz whipped topping (e.g. Cool Whip)
14 oz condensed milk
20 oz crushed pineapples

Directions

Gently combine the whipped topping and condensed milk. Don't mix too much but try to make it as evenly mixed as possible. Freeze for 2 hours.
Stir in drained pineapples. Freeze until hardened or about 4 hours.


Buttermilk Syrup

I found the recipe here on Tasty Kitchen and it's the first time that syrup has really worked for me. The only thing I did differently was to cook it for a few minutes after adding the baking soda so that I could get that beautiful colour. Really loved this!


Finally, assemble your sundae as you desire, sprinkle on some nuts (or even add them to your waffle batter. Maybe you like raisins in your carrot cake? Go for it!). Top with a rum soaked cherry. Devour.






Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Random Tidbits


    In keeping with my yo-yo exercising, I started a new exercise challenge - 30 Day Yoga Challenge from Erin Motz. What was that? Do I not hate yoga? Yup. Sure do. But I am actively trying to be a bit more flexible and none of the current routines in my rotation include much of anything that targets flexibility. I am also hoping that this challenge does not include a lot of Sun Salutations. I have realised that this really what I dislike. That plus all warrior poses and.. well, why list them all?




    I have had this link saved on my phone for months, waiting to share here. But since I compose more posts in my head than I actually put here, it has just been languishing.  But forget that! Isn't this cool? Each morning Nina Levy's sons are sent off to school with a superpowered napkin that she draws just for them. As I said, I have had this for months, April to be exact, so with the new school year, I am sure that there are some amazing napkins over on her blog to ooh and aah at. How would you feel to be the kid in her sons' class who just has a plain white napkin? Or none at all if you were my child?


    Speaking of school lunches, were you obsessed with character lunch boxes growing up? I can't remember all of my lunch boxes but I most certainly remember a purple Flintstones one. Check out these cool lunch boxes throughout history.


    And since we're talking about food, perhaps I should mention a few of the things that I have made lately. There's always a loaf of bread, but lately I have been making bread in my slow cooker. As if I could love my slow cooker any more. I am never turning my oven on again.




    OK. Let's not be hasty. Because I would certainly turn my oven on for these Cappucino Brownies. Had I known these brownies were going to be so delicious, I would have carefully snapped pictures. But I was in a hurry. I made them late one night for a friend and everything started to go wrong in the kitchen. This was the only one that I rescued and quickly took a pic of. I also made some mint brownies that night. Those were DELICIOUS. I will have to remake those just so that I can blog about them. I may have a pic or two but it just won't do them justice. 


    Now this entire last paragraph, I must have rewritten in my head a thousand times. But right now at 3 am, I have forgotten what the perfect spiel was. Anyway, I also made this Avocado & Caramel daiquiri. Sounds weird and crazy, right? Well yeah, I made it for a Crazy Ingredients Challenge and posted about it over on my new blog.



    At this point, it is hard to say why there's a new blog. After all, I completely suck at this one. Let's just say it made perfect sense in my head at 3 am. I do a lot of things at 3 am. This blog isn't going anywhere and as I continue to mull over what my presence on the internet should be, things will undoubtedly change. Perhaps, I will merge the two. Or perhaps I will become more focused and find the separate voices for each. We'll see. For now, it exists.




    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    Sourdough Surprises August: Sweet Potato Sourdough Crackers

    I'd been on a crackers kick when Sourdough Surprises announced that we'd be making crackers this month. Perfect! I already knew what I wanted to make - rye crackers! You see, I had been having a problem tasting rye. I had used it in two loaves of bread and just could not taste the difference. I thought crackers with not much else going on would be perfect.

    And then I promptly talked myself out of that.

    Because that's just how my brain works. I did make the rye crackers but I opted to leave out the sourdough starter to ensure that I just tasted rye even though my starter is far from sour. Just in case you're curious, I tasted something but I don't know if that was really "rye". Mission Taste Rye continues.

    You would think I would have then immediately dove into my sourdough cracker challenge since I had crackers on the brain but nope! Life got in the way and suddenly it was the 14th of August and I still had not made my crackers. Honestly, nothing seemed perfect. I could have done wheat thin like crackers. I made them without sourdough before and loved them. I could have done the Ritz-style ones. I could have, I could have, I could have.

    So there I was, cutting up sweet potatoes for a corn and sweet potato chowder when it hit me - SWEET POTATO crackers! Let's do this!


    These crackers need to be rolled EXTREMELY thin or you just won't get "crackers". Trust me,.I speak from experience. When I bit into one that was rolled perfectly thin, it tasted almost like a Cheez-It cracker. Odd. I need to read the ingredients on Cheez-Its one of these days.

    I wasn't very happy with these crackers. I didn't roll them thin enough. I may have also over-kneaded in an attempt to add more flour. Ugh. I always underestimate just how much liquid sweet potato will add to a dough. If I were to do this again, I'd use a firm starter, roll very very very thinly and ensure not to overwork my dough.




    Sweet Sourdough Potato Crackers

    250 g Whole Wheat Flour (I used a mix of red and white whole wheat)
    125 g All Purpose Flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon paprika
    3 tablespoon butter
    150 g  Sourdough Starter, unfed (166%)
    250 g Sweet Potato, cooked, mashed


    Pulse flours and butter in a food processor then add sweet potato and starter. Pulse until it forms a dough. Let rest for 4 hours (this may be optional?).
    Preheat oven to 350 F. Divide dough into two pieces and roll each as thinly as possible. Cut into desired shape. Bake for 10 minutes. Check. You will probably need an additional 3-4 minutes.













    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    I'm a yo-yo exerciser

    (Side track - Does anyone else compose blog posts in their heads? Then forget to actually type them up? Just me? OK. Moving on)

    Right, I am a yo-yo exerciser. Is there such a term? I exercise consistently for a month or two then something happens to make me miss a day and then suddenly it's three weeks since my last workout and I am looking at my large tummy on my 5' 3" 117 lb frame (yes, I am small; no, my tummy did not get the memo) and wondering why the hell I look six months pregnant.

    I don't even remember what I last said that I was doing. Brazil Butt Lift? Oh, that's right, I posted about Beginner's 5K training. I completed that 8 week program. It challenged every inch of me. I hated it. But I never achieved my goal. I wanted to be able to do the 5K in 30-33 minutes. I would have to look at Runkeeper but I don't think I managed it and if I did, I barely did it.

    I really didn't like running that much but I did it almost every other day so that was a huge plus for me. It was quick and then I could go back to watching TV. The problem with running (for me) was that it really did nothing for that tummy problem. In fact, I got a bit flabbier during those eight weeks. I clearly need to pair all that cardio with strength training and core exercises. And well, if I am going to have to do other exercises, why bother to run at all? Do you see how I just talked myself out of running?

    I decided to do the Beginner's 5K plan again. Get better times, I told myself. Do you know what happened? My times were progressively worse than before and here we are and I haven't done anything in over a week. I had even started to pair running with Shaun T's latest videos - Focus T25. But it may be about two weeks since I've done that.

    So where am I now? Sitting on my butt, thinking about cake and wondering if I can ever get to the point where I am exercising consistently again and seeing results? Or perhaps there is a way to get that toned tummy without leaving my bed? Scientists? Are you working on that? Please say that you are.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Sourdough Surprises July: Mango & Strawberry Rolls with Rum Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

    I tend not to repeat recipes. I like moving on to try one of the hundreds that I have saved. However, I have made this recipe for sourdough cinnamon rolls SEVERAL times. I love it that much. When I saw that cinnamon rolls were chosen for July's Sourdough Surprises, I was definitely excited. But what would I fill it with? I definitely was not going to do cinnamon. I tossed around a few fruits in my head before I settled on a strawberry mango curd filling.



    But sourdough baking can be tricky and I, of course, had some mishaps. You see, it's been extremely hot and I have been busy and my a/c broke. Do you see where I am going here? I think I may have killed my starter or at least made it really sluggish.. I was running out of time to properly revive it and just decided to hope for the best.


    My rolls aren't as "billowy" as they have been in the past but they are still unbelievably delicious. I also added whole wheat flour to my dough because I am currently on a traditional whole wheat kick. (I have been baking bread for over two years and two weeks ago was my first time purchasing traditional whole wheat. I have always bought white whole wheat.)


    Typically, I don't use a lot of glaze or frosting on cinnamon rolls. I like to let the filling shine. However, I added rum and chopped strawberries to a cream cheese frosting  and it was either eat it with a spoon or pile it high on my rolls. I went with the latter.





    I modified Smitten Kitchen's Mango Curd recipe - I used mango pulp instead of fresh mangoes and whole eggs.

    I can't wait to see what other people made this month.





    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Making my way through Patricia Cornwell novels

    I mentioned before that I love audiobooks. At this point, I have listened to more than I can count. Lately, I have been making my way through Patricia Cornwell's bibliography. I remember reading a Patricia Cornwell novel while in undergrad but I can't seem to remember which nor have any of the ones that I have listened to sound familiar. Odd. She has a few different series and I have been listening to the Kay Scarpetta series. At the beginning of the series, Dr. Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner in Virginia. We follow her, her niece, and a police officer, Pete Marino, as they investigate cases.

    The novels for the most part are well written. I am fascinated with forensic science and it has been interesting following this series as real-life progress is made in forensic techniques and that is reflected in the novels. In the first novel, DNA was a new-comer. Now, it doesn't take a lifetime to get DNA results. I looked forward to my walks when I'd pick up on wherever I left off in a novel. Sometimes I'd keep listening once I got to my destination.

    However, starting with The Last Precinct, I have not been very happy with the story. From time to time, there are references to characters and cases from previous novels. The Last Precinct was basically a sequel to the novel before it, Black Notice. And that's fine. But something else was different. I just read that the tense of the novel changed but that's not what bugged me. The story felt convoluted. They threw in twists that seemed too convenient to be plausible. The dialogue was overwhelming. It didn't seem that much happened. I was glad to be finished with that case and then I started Blow Fly a few days ago and it's the same case.

    Set me free, Ms. Cornwell! Set me free!

    I don't think I will be free from that case for a long, long time. When I finished it last night, there were still several lose ends and a new twist that would certainly change everything from that point onward. There was also a very contrived explanation of for that plot twist - quite the disappointment. I'll keep reading..er..listening though. Maybe Trace won't concentrate solely on that case and bring me something thrilling. Honestly, I think it may be best for me to take a Scarpetta-break. Maybe the distance will make whatever happens next a little better. One can only hope.

    All links are Amazon affiliate links.


    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Sourdough Surprises June: Crepes Suzette with Cinnamon Ice Cream

    When I saw that the challenge for this month's Sourdough Surprises was crepes, I almost opted out. I can barely make pancakes; how was I going to make crepes? I have always wanted to try but didn't crepes involve using a fancy wooden tool to spread the batter in the pan? It was definitely beyond my skill level.

    But then I thought about it, what was the point of making things month after month that didn't challenge me in some way? Doing this is supposed to be a way to push me outside my current sourdough comfort zone (the same kind of bread almost every single week!). So I looked at a few recipes and then did what I usually do for most new recipes - I asked Alton Brown. I absolutely love Good Eats! I love the tips and the explanations and they have really helped me to understand my ingredients better over the years.

    Alton Brown made it look simple enough. He blended his ingredients, let them rest, didn't use a special pan or a special spreading stick. He did swirl the batter in the pan but I knew that I wasn't at that level yet. I decided to adapt his recipe and use a half batch (why waste ingredients?) for my sourdough crepes.

    Next, what would I fill them with? Something sweet? Something savoury? As I was scrolling through crepe pictures, I saw a picture of Crepes Suzette and remembered that I also wanted to make whipped milk ice cream. This would be perfect.




    And it was! I really enjoyed this. I wished that I had added more sugar to my crepes but I figured that the sauce plus ice cream would have been enough sugar for me. Just a little more sugar definitely would not have hurt. 

    As I mentioned, I adapted Alton Brown's crepes and swapped out some of the flour and water for a quarter cup of my 166% starter. I let it rest in the fridge for an hour then heated my pan and hoped for the best. 

    For the sauce, I kinda winged it. I saw that some recipes did a mixture of butter, sugar and liqueur while others used orange juice, sugar and liqueur. I just melted an arbitrary amount of butter and sugar in pan, added some orange juice and after it reduced, I let it cool for a bit then poured it over my crepes. I forgot to add liqueur! But not to worry, I have some left, I can still add it.



    The whipped milk ice cream was also pretty easy. I whipped one chilled can of evaporated milk with a cup of powdered sugar and cinnamon then chilled it for an hour then whipped some more and chilled three more times then let it freeze for several hours before using. It's soft and melts quickly but tastes amazing!

    I can't wait to see what others did this month. Check them out!


    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    To Share or not to Share and Garlicky Kale Alfredo Pizza

    I struggle daily.. OK.. weekly with what to share in this space. Do I write about the daily happenings in  my life? Do I write about the things I am currently struggling with? I want to. I really do. But I tend to be a fiercely private person. I worry about some persons in my life finding this space, reading something here, taking offense or misinterpreting something. I also worry about other persons learning things about me that I didn't want them to know.

    This was not a problem when I first had a blog on the now defunct JournalSpace. However, eventually some friends did discover my blog there and I found myself editing and being less comfortable just being, talking, writing, expressing. I still don't know how to balance my need to write and my desire to keep some things private. So for now, I share random bits about my attempts to be fit and my attempts in the kitchen.


    Today is a kitchen day. I've been craving pizza for a while . It's not something I eat very often. I make approximately 99% of my meals so unless I am in a pizza making mood, and that has only happened once, pizza is never on the menu. I decided to make a kale afredo pizza this time and my oh my, that was an excellent decision. This pizza attempt was a million times more successful than the last.


    Garlicky Kale Alfredo Pizza 

    Crust

    For the crust, I used a sourdough (shocker!) crust that I found on Sourdough Home. It was simple and seemed to work better than the one I used before. I used techniques that I saw on Alton Brown's Good Eats to handle it. This made the process longer but I was not in a hurry.

    1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
    1 TBSP olive oil

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt



    Mix all ingredients except salt for 2 minutes then autolyse for 20 minutes. Add salt and knead dough to fully develop gluten. This takes approximately 10 minutes in a stand mixer. After developing gluten, cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 - 24 hours.

    Garlicky Alfredo Sauce

    I can't find the site that I adapted this from but as soon as I do, I will link it.

    1 1/2 tablespoons butter
    2 garlic cloves, minced (more if you want it super garlicky!)
    1 1/2 tablespoons flour
    3/4 cups milk
    1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (you could use less)
    Salt and pepper to taste


    Melt butter in pan and saute garlic until fragrant.  Add flour and stir for a minute until thickened. Slowly add milk  Stir carefully as it thickens. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and seasonings. Allow to cool. I made this the day before.

    Topping

    3 ounces of kale, chopped, destemmed, blanched and drained
    4 ounces of mozarella, shredded (I added pepper jack also)


    To blanch kale, heat a pot of water to boiling, add chopped kale and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Drain and then immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water. Allow to drain completely so that the pizza isn't soggy. You may need to squeeze it a few times.

    Assembly

    Preheat oven to 475 F. While kale is draining,  remove dough from the refrigerator, flatten gently with hands then form into a ball and allow to rest for half an hour. Dust counter and roll out dough with a rolling pin or with fingers into an approximately 12 inch circle.  Allow to rest for another 1/2 hour if you want a chewy crust or use right away for a crispy crust.

    Brush crust with olive oil, then add sauce, kale and cheese. Use more or less cheese and sauce as suits your taste. Bake in pre-heated oven for 9-10 minutes.

    Allow to cool for 3 minutes then enjoy!


    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    Does spam beget spam?

    You know the Broken Windows theory? If a building has a broken window and it's not repaired people will come along and break more windows and then everything will be in disrepair? Well, that was happening to my blog. I turned off Blogger's captcha because it was pretty annoying. It would take me several tries sometimes to figure out the captcha when leaving a comment on someone's blog. So when a reader asked me to turn it off, it was a no-brainer.

    But then the spam started. I'd get a notification that Anonymous left me a comment - usually something about a loan or my great writing. I'd delete the email and move along. This went on for months! I was deleting the emails but you know what I wasn't doing? I wasn't deleting the spam comment. Two particular posts had HUNDREDS on spam comments between them. It's like the spam-bots found a haven and sent out a bat signal to ask others to join them. Or, broken windows theory.

    I just took a few minutes and deleted all the spam comments. I hoping that this will slow down the onslaught of comments in the future. I'm fixing my windows! Cleaning up my house! Leave me alone, spam-bots!

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Sourdough Surprises May: Coffee Cheesecake Brownies

    I didn't make pasta with Sourdough Surprises last month because I was in a funk and also, I am not the biggest user of pasta. When the announcement for this month was posted, I may or may not have done a little dance. Make brownies? Oh twist my arm, won't you? I actually had a brownie recipe bookmarked that I wanted to make the next time that I felt like making brownies but as I sat down to plan one night, that brownie just seemed plain boring. Suddenly, I had three new possibilities and had no idea which to choose - salted caramel brownies, cheesecake brownies or Oreo truffle brownies. I know myself well enough to know that I would have spent a whole week trying to decide and then probably choose a fourth so I emailed my friends and asked them to vote.

    Cheesecake brownies won.



     As I type this, I am experiencing a chocolate high. They were so unbelievably good. I once described Starbucks' Java Chip ice cream as orgasmic and these are almost at that level. This simply means that I need to make ice cream this week and crumble some brownies into it. 

     You can't taste the sourdough. There may be a hint of it but I used dark chocolate so it's really hard to tell. I wanted these to look more like Joy of Baking's with a distinctive cheesecake layer but my pan is 20% larger than the 8" x 8" she used and  I didn't feel like adjusting the recipe. Despite that, I am so so happy with the way they turned out and am grudgingly sharing these brownies. Seriously. Why did someone else have to be in the kitchen while I baked? I could have squirreled these away and ate my brownies all myself. 

    The recipe is below and be sure to scroll down for the linky for others who baked yummy brownies this month!

    Sourdough Coffee Cheesecake Brownies


    Sourdough Coffee Cheesecake Brownies 

    Ingredients
    Brownie Layer
    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    10 tablespoons dark cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla 
    1/2 cup fed 100% sourdough starter
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Cheesecake Layer
    8 oz cream cheese
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
    1 teaspoon vanilla 
    1 egg

    Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare an 8" x 8" pan by lining it with parchment or foil overhanging so that you can lift the brownies easily out of the pan. I used a perfect brownie pan and didn't need to do that. 

    Add butter (or margarine), sugar and cocoa to a heat proof bowl and place over simmering pot of water. Alternatively, you could add them all to a large pot and turn down the heat - that's what I did. Stir as butter melts. After butter is melted and mixture is combined, leave to cool.

    Beat cream cheese until fluffy then add sugar and mix thoroughly. Next add coffee, vanilla and egg and mixed until combined. 

    Once chocolate mixture is cool enough to not curdle eggs, stir in one egg at a time until thoroughly combined then stir in vanilla. Add starter, flour and salt and fold carefully until just combined. Do not over-mix. Joy of Baking suggests 40 strokes. My batter was combined in less than that. 

    Pour brownie batter into the prepared 8" x 8" pan. Reserve scant half cup of the batter. Carefully pour the cheesecake batter over the top of the brownie layer. Smooth over with a spatula. If it's not perfect, don't stress it. Dollop the reserved brownie batter over the cheesecake layer and use a skewer or knife to swirl the brownie dollops through the cheesecake layer. 

    Bake for 25 to 30 mins.  Cool for an hour then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Slice. Eat. Enjoy!







    Friday, May 17, 2013

    To the Runners

    Dear Friends who are Runners,

    At least once over the past 3 years you have probably heard me say, "Oh how I wish I could run a marathon [half marathon/10K/5K/3K] and each time you have said, "Oh, Kelster! You can definitely do it!" I always scoffed. I knew better. 

    I heard you talk about your "runner's high". The euphoria! The sense of accomplishment! Oh how I wanted that! I suspected that you were lying to me and there was at least some cognitive dissonance at work. After all, that's the same song and dance I heard the P90Xer's with too. I did 90 days of that and there was no extra serotonin pumping through my brain. In fact, I was always just glad it was over so that I could move on to the next thing on my to-do list. 

    Finally, two and a half weeks ago, I took the plunge. I found a Beginner 5K training plan on Runkeeper and set out running. It hurt. My throat hurt. I complained. But I tried again. It became less painful. I celebrated going faster each day. I learned to run while dancing to Flo-Rida and T-Pain's Low. I even did a booty smack! There was no runner's high but I wasn't calling any of you names.

    Until....

    UNTIL I WOKE UP THIS MORNING WITH BLISTERS!!!!! 

    Why didn't you ever tell me about the blisters?!!!!

    I thought we were friends. 

    I feel betrayed. 

    I don't know if this friendship can be repaired. 

    I will have to rethink everything we ever had. 

    I just.. I just don't even know what to say to you anymore. 

    Just tell me, what do I do about the blisters?

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Do you watch Scandal?




    Do you watch Scandal? If not, I'm sure you have that one friend who insists on live tweeting the show every Thursday night at 10. Or maybe that friend does it on Facebook. If you're still clueless, Scandal is a drama series created by Shonda Rhimes that is in its second season on ABC. Shonda also writes the widely successful Grey's Anatomy. Scandal is about a DC crisis management firm headed by Olivia Pope. Pope is also having an affair with the president of the United States. Yup, scandalous.

    The stories are good. The writing is great. But I think I'm getting tired of Scandal. There are little things that annoy me. Harrison Wright is always pushing the "We're gladiators" mantra. It was fine in the first episode. Now? I'm tired it. But what's really getting to me right now is Olivia's relationship with Ftiz, the president. The president is human. He cheats in his wife. OK. But the writers of Scandal seem to want me to cheer for this relationship and frankly, that makes me uncomfortable. I am far from prudish but since when did we give a thumbs up to extra-marital affairs?



    Last Thursday, good ol' Fitz seemed to think that his Commander in Chief title also gives him control over Olivia's love life. "I command you to love me." Ugh. What's even worse is that Olivia seems to be falling for this. Say what? What happened to my strong Olivia Pope? I expect this kind of behaviour from Sharon in the Young & the Restless* - not from Olivia.

    Sigh. I'll keep watching for now, because frankly, I'm addicted to television, but something has to change here. Fine, they're in love. Fine, he's only keeping up his charade of a marriage to avoid public scrutiny. I get all of that. But can we cut down on the commanding and demanding? Thanks.


    * Yes, I follow the Young & the Restless. Judge away. :-)

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Beginner's 5 K - Day 2 - 8 x 1

    Well, I went out yesterday and did Day 2 of this 5K training. 8 x 1 is a misnomer, really. It's 8 intervals of 1 minute running and 1:30 walking.  That 1:30 is important. It went a little something like this: 


    • Run 1 - Yaay. I can do this! I don't want to die like on Sunday! Woohoo let's go! Let's get this party started in here!
      • 15 seconds later. Wow. One minute is a long time. 
    • Walk 1 - Pssh. Walking. I can do this in my sleep. 
    • Run 2 - C'mon baby. Let's go faster! Yeah. We can do this. Look! Your throat isn't burning like on Sunday. Progress baby! 
      • 30 seconds later. No really. Is Runkeeper working? Because surely I've been running for five minutes. 
    • Walk 2 - This isn't horrific. I'm being a crybaby. 
    • Run 3 - You are the wiiiiiiiiiiiiind beneath my wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings. FLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYY
    • Walk 3 - I may be losing my mind. Wait. How fast is this walk supposed to be? Brisk? Or slow enough to recover/reduce my heart rate? .
    • Run 4 - Kill me. My knee hates this. They were not meant for this kind of work. Isn't this why we gave up on Insanity?
    • Walk 4 - Why am I doing this again?  
    • Run 5 - There's someone talking in my ear. Who is that? Is that the trainer on Runkeeper? God? How do I pause my music? I forgot. Crap. 
    • Walk 5 - How did my music switch from Electronic to Dancehall. What the hell? 
    • Run 6 - Screw it. Let's do this without music. 
    • Walk 6 - I lost count. Are we close to 8 yet? 
    • Run 7 - Is this the last run?: I want to go all out on the last run. Give it a Rocky! 
    • Walk 7 - lalalalalalalala. 
    • Run 8 -  Brain is off. 
    • Walk 8 - Brain is off 
    • Workout Complete - Yeah. I'm actually a bit dizzy. That's normal-ish though. I think.

    I didn't die but it was certainly a challenge. In two weeks I am supposed to be able to run for 2 miles. I am not entirely sure how that will be possible. 

    Back in high school, I promised myself that I would run in the cross-country event one year. I have no idea how long that cross-country trek is. A few miles? Who knows? In any event, there I was the last year of high school, the cross-country run was the next day and I had not prepared. Sure, I took long walks into the town center every evening with my friends. I think those were two mile walks.But slowly walking and chatting with friends does not prepare one for any sporting event.  But I made a promise so I brought my clothes the next day and attempted the run. 

    Ha. Not surprisingly, my friend and I were the last ones to cross that finish line. We weren't official competitors since we had signed up too late. However, one of my teachers knew which house * I was in and listed my placement for that house. So basically, I helped my house lose that year. I tried to protest - to indicate that I was not an official runner - but I was half dead and just wanted to suck on glucose. 

    Remember that 2 mile walk that I mentioned above? That Friday afternoon would have been a great day NOT to do that walk. The only reason we did it was to hang out longer after school. I could have easily gotten onto a bus right outside my school's gate and head home. But smart, I am not. So I struggled along on that walk. It hurt so so so so much. 

    Saturday afternoon I needed to go back to school for quiz club practice. I surely had a good reason to skip it - the inability to walk faster than a snail without saying "ouch" "ouch" would have surely gotten me out of practice. But I loved quiz practice so I went. And yup, I did that two mile walk after practice into the town center with my friends again. 

    I am doing things better this time. I don't have an actual 5 K scheduled but I will be ready if one comes up in June or just after. Knowing me, I will fall off training and still sign up to do a 5K. That's what happens every year for the turkey trot. I walk for that but I am usually active before and a month or so before the trot, barely walking to my car. 

    * All students were divided into one of four houses. These houses competed against each other in various events including an eisteddford and the big event - Sports Day. It was great that you did not need to be athletic to do something for your house. You'd be right if you guessed that my contribution came from - eisteddford. If I wasn't feeling particularly rebellious, I'd enter the poetry competition (reciting, not writing). 

    All of this is taking me down memory lane. I'm off to reminisce. 

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    I'm alive

    I've been meaning to write something in this space for weeks but I just have not been sure what to say. Do I talk about my off again and on again attempts at fitness? Do I talk about random kitchen adventures? Random life happenings? All of the above?

    Well let's see. I started doing Brazil Butt Lift in February and that was not unpleasant and I think I could feel a difference but I fell off that wagon quickly. I started just doing random exercises from all the videos that I have. I did that for two weeks and then I lost interest. Well, I shouldn't say that I lost interest. I just found excuses not to do it. For example, if I was planning an 8 mile walk that day or the next morning, I didn't want to also do something too strenuous and be too sore for the workout. Things like that.

    I have wanted to run a 5K for the longest time. Unfortunately, I hate running. I usually get about 20 seconds in before I want to die. My friend is an avid runner and after talking with him after each of his 5Ks this year, the bug has bitten harder and I have decided to try. I am following a Beginner 5K training plan on Runkeeper. Sunday was my first day. Ha!

    It was supposed to be a 1.5 mile run/walk. I know that I can walk that easily so my focus was mainly on running. Hahaha. I wanted to die. I am sure that I walked more than I ran and it hurt so much. My throat hurt. I couldn't breathe. And no, I wasn't running that quickly. My pace for that 1.5 mile run/walk was 11:46 minutes per mile. Now let's compare that to an hour later when I decided to head home and walked a brisk 12:47 minutes per mile without breaking a sweat or feeling winded. Perhaps I should stick to walking?

    I am heading out for Day 2 of training in a few minutes. It involves 8 intervals of running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. I hope to be able to breathe at the end. I'll post again about how that went maybe later tonight or tomorrow.

    Kitchenwise, I have been bored. I didn't do anything for this past month's Sourdough Surprises. They made pasta. Meh. I'm not a huge pasta person so I will admit that I wasn't very intrigued. I also couldn't think of a dish that I would make with that pasta had I made it. Pasta sits in my house for years before getting used. It's usually a last resort thing for me. That being said, I saw a slow cooker alfredo lasagna on Pillsbury today and it looked good. I want to try it.

    I also made a pina colada cake my third "brainiversary", Pineapple. Coconut. Rum. Cake. It was delicious!! I can't wait to remake it and possibly share it with others. Oh yes, I had half a cake all by myself. I wasn't in the mood to share cake with friends who would give me the "O woe is my diet" speech. My diet and figure will be just fine with half a cake. That reminds me, I should do an official weight check before I get deep into this 5K training. I should still be 117 lbs but who knows. I don't want to start burning more calories than I am consuming.

    Life? Hmm. Let me get back to you on that one. The cop out for that is that I have no life to speak of. But maybe that isn't so true.

    Time to go run and not die.

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Leaked Steubenville Rape Video

    A group of guys sitting around and making jokes about how "dead" the girl is and  about her rape. Sickening.


    The Sourdough Cake that Wouldn't

    As I mentioned in my last post, I gave up cake for Lent which was a bit inconvenient considering that this month's Sourdough Surprises challenge is cake. I decided to make mini bundts so as not to add to the growing collection of cakes that I can't eat in my freezer.

    I really wanted to experiment but decided to keep it simple and make a chocolate beer cake. I used this chocolate cake recipe from King Arthur but since I only made a quarter of the recipe, I didn't use eggs but added a little vinegar and a extra liquid. I also swapped half of the milk for Red Stripe beer.



    The recipe called for making somewhat of a poolish and this is where I made a huge mistake. As I mentioned, I was using half milk and half beer. The polish called for mixing the milk, starter and flour together. I wanted to add the beer later so I didn't add it. Apparently I forgot that I was making cake and not bread. With less liquid, this was perfect kneading consistency and I got a little mix-happy. And that meant GLUTEN!

    There was really no way to "dissolve" all those gluten strands and there were specks of gluten strands in my cake. I could have tossed the batter and started over but really, that's a waste. I knew it wouldn't taste bad. It would just have a lump or two in it. Yeah.. that didn't sound appealing to me either but hey. I baked it anyway.

    It smelled great. I could smell the beer. And since the batter tasted good, I assume the cake itself might be good too. Who knows? On March 31 I will be able to tell you. The recipe used a really yummy look frosting that I really wanted to make. But since this was only heading into my freezer and not to a friend as I had originally planned, I decided to just skip it. Yeah, the pics would have been really great with the frosting but I can't be too concerned about it.



    After Lent, I will try this again. I'm sure there are great cakes elsewhere for you to drool over so hop on over to the other blogs and have a look.