Monday, February 28, 2011

Go Back to Your Oppice!

Little One is attempting the art of bossiness.  How do I know?

When told nap time had arrived, she bellowed at me (yes, preschoolers can bellow):

"Mama!  Go back to your oppice!"  (Uh, that was "office.")

She has issues with her "f" sound.  "F" does not come out properly when one is missing three front teeth.

Despite her utterly cute and endearing "oppice," she was quickly informed that taking that tone and using those words with her mother results in undesirable consequences.

I do not care for being ordered around by my children.

There are other things I do not care to see in/from my children.  One of those things is whining.

Do not get me started on whining.  I loathe whining.  Whining hits a nerve in me that instantaneously makes me want to snatch the whiner bald-headed.  But that requires a whole 'nother blog post.

Yes, I am a Southern Mama.  Why do you ask?

~ G

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brioche French Toast with Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll Maple Frosting

Remember me telling you about the bread book that revolutionized how my mom bakes bread?  She sent me a copy of it.  Well, that is not true.  She attempted to send me a copy of the book by ordering it online.  What she actually sent me was this: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Before you think I am disparaging my mother, please note that  I am most definitely my mother's daughter and have, on occasion, managed to not finish the online act of purchasing books or say, a wedding present.  I have managed to order the wrong book or the wrong gloves or the wrong ... well, you understand.

There.  Now don't you feel satisfied, deep in your heart, to know that despite my perfect appearance, I am woefully imperfect?  Thought you would.

Back to the bread.  I wanted to make something yummy and bakey-goodness to take to a friend who just had a baby.  Cinnamon rolls sounded lovely.  They sound lovely, yes?  The recipe in the book called for one of several master recipes to create the rolls.  Alas, every recipe in the book called for way more vital gluten and honey than I had on hand.  What's a girl to do?  Adjust!

This is what I came up with for the brioche dough:

Master No-Knead Brioche Dough

1 1/2 Cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
8 eggs
1/2 Cup honey
1 1/2 butter (3 sticks), melted
6 Cups All-Purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat flour

Toss it all in the stand mixer (or in the food processor).  Mix with the paddle attachment until combined, maybe another minute more.  The dough will be super-uber sticky.  That's okay.  Remove the hook from the mixer, cover the dough - but not airtight.  Set it aside for 2+ hours for the dough to rise.  When the dough has risen and then fallen flat on top, place it in a large, loosely covered container for at least 2 hours in the fridge (this makes it firm enough to use), than bake off some dough or store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.  To remove some dough, dust the top of the dough ball with flour, then cut out the amount you want.  Loosely cover the remaining dough and put it back in the fridge.

Brioche dough done, I decided to go with the best cinnamon roll recipe I have ever tasted and used the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll innards for the innards of my cinnamon rolls.  Unbelievable.  The truth is I did not think to use her recipe from the beginning and I wanted to use the book my mom gave me.  Surely you understand.  Mom gives you a cookbook - you gotta honor your mom.  Just sayin' that Ree's (uh, the Pioneer Woman) Maple Frosting and recipe for cinnamon roll innards (yes, I call them innards - what do you call them?) made me want to hoard cinnamon rolls.  I want to eat them by myself in my room with the door locked and ignore the heathens, I mean children, who bang on the door and beg me to share.  They are that good.

Ree's recipe calls for a ton of dough and 7 pans.  I had the dough, but not enough pans.  And, if I were not willing to leave the warm, loving sanctuary of my home for vital wheat gluten and honey, I was most surely not venturing out for foil cake pans.  Decision: Halve the recipe.  And it was done.

So, with half a recipe of Brioche Dough left in the fridge, what was I to do?

Call Mom.

I called mom and she recommended that I freeze a tester bit of dough to see how it would work to make more cinnamon rolls and freeze them.  The plan was to buy cake pans at the store on my weekly grocery run. Eh.  Sounded good, but not the amount of work I want right now.  I know, I know.  I should have listened to my mother.  But I did not.  I baked the remaining Brioche dough into a round loaf.

To Make Brioche:

Dust the dough in the fridge with flour and cut out a cantaloupe-sized ball (or, in my case, the rest of the dough).  Dust the ball with flour and form it into a mushroom top by pulling the dough down at the corners.  Place the dough on a lightly floured pan, cover loosely for about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Brush dough with egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, lightly beaten).  Bake round for 40-45 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked.

Hmmm... So what should I do with a slightly sweet loaf of bread?  Ah!  Make French Toast.  Most excellent.    The only downside was we were out of syrup.  (I really need to go to the store, don't I?)  What to do?  How do I top the French Toast so the kids will eat it?  AHA!  Pioneer Woman to the rescue.  Make the Maple Frosting from her cinnamon rolls again and top the French Toast with it.  G.E.N.I.U.S.  Yes, I am.  Sometimes.

To Make Brioche French Toast:

Brioche loaf, thickly sliced - cut slices in half so they are around 4" x 6"
5 eggs
3/4 Cup Milk

Pioneer Woman's Maple Frosting (scroll way down to the recipe at the bottom)

The night before, slice the Brioche into thick 1 1/2" slices.  Let the bread stale overnight.  In the morning, beat the eggs and milk together in a large bowl.  Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet with sides (like a trust jelly roll pan) with non-stick spray.  Dunk one Brioche slice in the egg mixture, flip it over.  Let the slice sit and soak up the egg mixture while you grab another slice and drop it in the mixture.  Pick up the first slice and lay it on the pan.  Pick up a new slice and drop it in the mixture.  Then, pick up the soaking slice and lay it 1" from the other slice on the pan.  Repeat until the pan is full.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While the toast is baking, make the maple frosting.  When the toast comes out of the oven it will look like this:

In the words of Alton Brown, "golden brown and delicious."  Mmmm...

I am not Ree Drummond.  I'm sure you notice the distinct lack of Marlboro Man pictures - well gorgeous pictures, in general.  Turns out I don't really have a knack or deep desire to take/edit/post pictures.  That would explain why I do not publish many recipes any more.  Sorry about that.  I took these pictures this morning with my phone as I was serving the kids.  Thought you might like to see how delectable the frosting is over crispy Brioche French Toast.  Pretend this picture is in focus.  Please.

And... this would be a kid plate.  Again, please imagine a lovely picture with coloring that is not reminiscent of a bad 1950's food commercial.  But you can see the crisp edges of the French Toast, though, and the open texture just perfect for making French Toast and how amazing the Maple Frosting looks on it.  It tastes even. better.  

Mmmmmm.... Someone please try out the recipes and tell me how they work for you.

~ G

Friday, February 25, 2011

Musings on Bread

My mom bakes bread.  She started baking bread sometime in my early teens.  She got really good at baking bread and by watching/participating with her in the kitchen, I learned that baking bread is not really all that complicated.  There are life lessons in baking bread:

Take your time and figure out what you want to accomplish.  (Read the recipe.)

Do not give in to fear.  (This is not scary.  Do not make it scary by deciding it is scary.)

Remember to feed what feeds you - but temper it a little with some saltiness. (When you forget to add salt, the yeast takes over and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop expanding the dough. Just a guess.  I would never forget to add the salt and end up with a growing glob of dough that threatened to overtake my house. Ever.)

Hard work is cathartic and offers amazing results.  (Kneading dough is not the most fun activity, but it works out some tensions in the baker while creating gluten in the dough and gluten makes for a light and fluffy texture.)

Good things take time. (Gotta let it rise.)

Sometimes you just gotta get baked.  (Ahem, it is just dough unless you bake it.  Ha - you thought I was talking about imbibing, didn't you?  As if I were talking about getting schnockered.  Not. Me.)

Mom has chilled out over the years and decided that slaving over kneading bread might not be all that necessary.  She found this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It has revolutionized how I make bread.  

Now, instead of standing and kneading dough, all I have to do is mix up a few ingredients, set the bowl aside to rise, then rip off some dough to bake and put the rest in the fridge to bake off another day.  Fresh dough in the fridge, waiting to be baked has allowed me to decide at a late hour that a fresh loaf of bread would work well with dinner.  It has shaved hours off my bread prep time.  Truly, this innovation has rocked my world.

It has also rocked my pants size.  

But really, I would rather have a warm slice of bread dripping with butter than fit into teeny tiny jeans.  That's lucky for me, too, because I do not fit into teeny tiny jeans.  

I feel hungry.

~ G

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Riddle Me This

Riddle me this:

Air America, the leftist version of talk radio, cannot seem to avoid bankruptcy, ever.

NPR leans to the left and receives a great deal of support from the Left.

Does this mean that Air America's potential audience already has a broadcast to meet their needs in NPR and therefore loses its audience to NPR or does it mean that if it were not for federal funding, NPR would indeed fall the way Air America - off the air?  

~ G

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marshmallows as Junk

Again, I'm sitting here writing and Little One comes in here and asks for "marshmallows as junk."

"Mama, I want marshmallows as junk," she pleads as she holds out her IKEA kid bowl.

Be impressed that I did not laugh.

On one hand, I'm thankful she's heard me that marshmallows are junk food.  On the other hand, I am not sure she's understood the lesson.

~ G


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