Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rubbing it in, just a little

Oh right, I forgot to mention why the renewed interest in flogging. To be honest I have been meaning to get back to this flog for some time. I no longer have any excuses.
That's right. That's me right there. I love birthdays.
So, as a result, lots of bread baking has been goin' down.
A very basic sandwich bread recipe follows:
2 cups flour (AP is fine, BF is cool too)
into which is mixed about a Tablespoon of salt (maybe a bit less, I never measure such things)
1/2 cup warm water
into which goes about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Yeast
1/2 cup milk, warmed (and yes I mean whole milk, what kind of a site do you think this is?)into which is melted 1 Tablespoon of butter (unsalted always!)
Let yeast bloom in warm water for about 10 minutes,
mix with flour until a shaggy dough forms, wait 5 to 35 minutes (could let it rest like this for hours, but it is unnecessary.)
Mix in the milk let it rest again for 20 - 30 minutes. Then knead until it is done.
No, I am not going to tell you how long to knead it, just do it until it is done.
Let is rise until doubled then split into two loaves. Press down and fold, I usually do all four corners in, then those four corners and pull it tight. I know this is not very discriptive but I am feeling lazy right now. Maybe I will edit it later but at least I am posting something, right? You're just wasting time at work reading food blogs!
Anyway, let these loaves rise again then shape, proof and bake.
400 degrees (on your baking stone of course!) for 12 minutes or so, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake until done, probably around 35 minutes more.

Here is it served with some of the beans left over from a cassoulet made yesterday. Breakfast of champions.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A really weird day in Seattle

No joke. Today was really weird. Sunny all day and almost 80 degrees. Why is that so weird? Well, it is Seattle and it is April. Two weeks ago it snowed. Today it was beautiful so we decided to go hiking up Tiger mountain. It was fun but we spent the entire time planning for our feast tomorrow.

Needless to say by the time we got done we were starving. As the weather was nice, we decided on burgers, something we haven’t done in a long while. So we stopped and got some beef and charcoal and headed home to fire up the Q.

After a lengthy search through the basement and storage I found the old smokey joe and set about preparations. These are beef burgers, noted only because we quite often do lamb. Seasoned with a bit of worcestershire sauce and soy, garlic, shallots and S&P.

On top; grilled onions, bacon, avocado, gruyere (on mine) and basil. BBQ sauce of course doesn’t really need mentioning.

Paired with an unfiltered amber wheat beer from the Trader Joe’s this was a perfect late lunch on such a beautiful day. Damn, why don’t we do burgers more often?

Oh, right. Seattle.

Damn, three posts in as many days. I had better slow down.

Grand Re-opening

OK, so there has been a rather obvious lack of activity on this flog for the past several months. I wish I could claim a great abduction story or something reasonable to explain my absence. A daring escape from the clutches of evil fast food purveyors and thugs employed by the mayonnaise industry.
Alas there is no such tale.
No matter. The flog is back.
The format will be tweaked slightly. Over the next several months WhyMayo? will explore and experiment with all of the food items that most home chefs are too intimidated or lazy to attempt. It seems to me more and more that people know about food, they can't stop talking about the latest episode of Top Chef, but still no one cooks at home. (And none of the floggers in Seattle curse. It is fucking creepy.)

I will try whenever reasonable to include some of the science going on in the foods prepared. Mostly because it is of great interest to me. Who doesn't love AB, right? Mostly though it is my belief that once one understands the basics and all of the things that are happening behinds the scenes, food preparation becomes that much easier. Then, experimentation and elaboration becomes much more fun and feasible. Besides, a basic grasp of chemistry seems almost a prerequisite for cooking these days.

One of the first items to be attempted will be bread. Completely complex in its utter simplicity, just four basic ingredients and endless variations. Great bread is one of those things that typically baffles many home chefs. So much so that it seems rarely attempted anymore.
Perhaps it is a matter of convenience and practicality. Bread is available in most places at reasonable quality and price. Home baked bread certainly must come out of some passion. Perhaps though this is more on point with what this flog will be all about. The seemingly endless march toward convenience. Pre-sliced apples, for fuck's sake!
What should I really expect though from a culture that has a prescription for everything. Why take the time, put forth effort to create something, why search for something about which you are passionate when there is a pill that can make you feel that way about a sofa cushion. I still make happiness from scratch, the old fashioned way (read, liquor).
OK, this post is becoming rather rant like. I should probably stop before I scare off anyone who might actually read this thing in the future. Google ad-sense, Ka-ching!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Told you so!

Ha! I knew I could do it. I have broken the silence. I think the problem has been trying to create some sort of great, re-opening post to reintroduce WhyMayo? to the blogosphere. But I have given up on that, mostly because I have discovered something that upsets me greatly. The US has banned imports of curry leaves! Motherfuckers!
I found this out after looking for them yesterday at the local Asian food store first and then at the Indian food store, nothin'!
Only half jokingly I googled the shortage of curry leaves in the Seattle area to discover that the USDA had actually banned imports of curry leaves from Hawaii due to a bacteria that affects citrus crops, as the plant on which curry leaves grow is a relative of these crops.
I have been unable to find any updates as to when the ban may be lifted.
WTF And I just bought a bunch of chana dal.
(Cheaper at the Whole Foods than at the Indian food store, Nice!)

I guess since this is a food blog I should at least include some shots of the food which was supposed to contain these delicious, deep green little leaves.
This is a very simple dish. Just chana dal cooked in chicken stock, although I am sure that water would work just as well. Half a medium, yellow onion and several cloves of garlic sauteed in butter and olive oil with the typical seasonings. Cumin seed, red chili flakes, coriander and turmeric. Finish with some cilantro and some rice. Breakfast of champions.

Sure would be better with some mutha fuckin' CURRY LEAVES!!! though!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

OK, seriously this time

Wow, almost a year since I posted the coming soon notice. Ha! OK, seriously though, within a week.

Posts to look forward to:
Some great, authentic Chinese food
Bread posts (I just got a Kitchen Aid. What!)
Pizza Root Beer Fridays!
XLBs, you know what I'm talkin' about Dylan!

Many more.

Stay tuned....

I promise