What would you call a sea gull if it were on the bay?

Posted on April 5, 2016. Filed under: Breads, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

A bagul, get it? Haha..no? Shut up I’m hilarious.

I wasn’t sure until last night if I was going to have today off or not. After my training last night, I found out I indeed had today off. It was great, I stayed in bed  as long as I wanted, did my yoga. I had no plans. While laying in bed, I thought “hm, bagels” and looked up a few recipes. I settled on a plain ole bagel, started the dough, then took a shower. While taking my shower I decided to go ahead and do whole wheat instead, cause, why not. I halved the regular bagel recipe, but not the whole wheat. The whole wheat didn’t rise as much in the oven, but it still cooked through.

Both of these recipes take time and a bit of skill, but, honestly, not too much. If you have any baking knowledge you’ll do fine.

Whole Wheat and Regular Bagels

Here’s what to get from the store (if you don’t have it)

White Flour
Whole Wheat Flour
Brown Sugar


Whole Wheat Bagel
(From Peter Reinhart)

510 grams / about 4 1/4 cups sprouted whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 ⅔ cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons / 408 milliliters lukewarm water
1 tablespoon barley malt, agave syrup, or honey
2 tablespoons baking soda, malt syrup or honey for boiling water bath
Cornmeal or semolina flour for baking sheets

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or in a large bowl combine flour, salt and yeast. Stir together or mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon barley malt, honey or agave syrup and whisk together.
  2. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix on low speed or stir for 1 minute. Mixture will be shaggy and sticky. Remove paddle and let dough stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Switch to dough hook or turn dough onto lightly oiled work surface and mix on low speed or knead for 2 minutes, until smooth and slightly tacky. Add more flour if necessary (a few tablespoons) if dough is very sticky or wet, and mix or knead for another minute. Finished dough should be firm but supple and smooth to the touch. If it is tacky wait 5 minutes, then add a little more flour as necessary and beat or knead until incorporated.
  3. Shape dough into a ball. Clean and oil bowl. Place dough in bowl rounded side down first (to oil the dough), then rounded side up. Cover bowl tightly with plastic and allow dough to proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has swelled and increased in size by about 1 1/2 times.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly oil parchment. Turn out the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by placing on an unfloured work surface under a cupped hand and rolling it around and around. Lightly oil work surface if dough sticks. To shape bagels, using both hands roll each ball into an 8-inch long rope, tapering from the middle of the dough to the ends. Moisten the last inch of each end, place one end on the palm of your hand and wrap the rope around your hand, bringing the other end between your thumb and forefinger. Overlap the ends by about 2 inches and stick the ends together. Press onto the work surface and roll back and forth to seal, then lay the ring down and even out the thickness with your fingers. The hole should be about 2 inches in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheets. (Another way to shape the bagels is to press your thumbs through the center of the balls, then gradually pull apart and shape the bagel with your hands by rotating the dough around your thumbs, until the hole is 2 inches in diameter; I find that, although this method is a bit quicker, the bagels tend to close up, so I prefer the rope method). Place on prepared baking sheet(s), at least 1 inch apart. Lightly oil tops and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  5. Allow bagels to proof for 30 to 60 minutes, until just beginning to swell and rise. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees with a rack positioned in the middle.
  6. Carefully remove parchment paper with bagels from baking sheet and replace parchment with clean sheets. Lightly oil parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina (if you have lots of baking sheets, just line two more baking sheets). To see if bagels are ready, drop one into a bowl of water. It should float to the surface within 15 seconds. If it does not, wait 20 minutes and do another float test.
  7. Bring 4 to 6 inches water to a boil in a large saucepan and add baking soda, malt syrup or honey. Adjust heat so water is at a gentle boil. Two at a time, drop bagels into water. After 30 seconds flip over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, remove from water and place on prepared baking sheet, rounded side up. Sprinkle topping over bagel right away. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and bake another 8 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. If bottoms are getting too brown slide a second baking pan underneath the first one for insulation after first 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

(From King Arthur Flour)

1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 Quarts Water

2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar or barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients and knead vigorously for 10 minutes (if you’re using an electric mixer) or up to 15 minutes (if you’re kneading by hand). Since we’re using a high-protein bread flour here, it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten. The dough will be quite stiff; if you’re using a mixer it will “thwap” the sides of the bowl, and hold its shape (without spreading at all) when you stop the mixer.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set it aside to rise until it’s noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment and grease the parchment. Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into eight pieces (for large bagels), or 12 pieces (for standard-size bagels).
  4. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on one of the prepared baking sheets. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.
  5. While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  6. Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it’s about 1 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter. Place six bagels on each of the baking sheets.
  7. Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
  8. Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (this will help them remain tall and round). Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a rack.

Training at the new place is going great. The awesome part about bartending for a while is that once you’ve been behind one bar, you’ve been behind them all. It’s just learning the new systems and their specific drinks. I’m enjoying myself so far though.



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Squash the soup!

Posted on October 30, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Ok, that one wasn’t to great, but it’s hard with squash soup?

So, as I said yesterday, I got the day off. I literally laid around and did a bunch of nothing, added to some cooking. It was great. I left the apartment once, and that was because my Cartwheel app had 40% off boots and…well I had to get new snow boots.

I had been wanting to make a butternut squash soup ever since I had a version at work. It was good, but too thin and WAY to sweet. Yes, I know butternut squash is sweet, but this was almost dessert soup. I started my plan to just to regular soup, then I decided to add cauliflower and sweet potato, because, why not? And good soup needs good bread, so I found a recipe for a no knead bread online. And then I decided I wanted to make some bread pudding out of the banana bread I had in my freezer. This is what happens when I have time to cook. I invited Shawn over because I know she likes a lot of the same flavors I do..and I still have a lot. I’ll be bringing some in to trade for some chili with some of my regulars.

The bread recipe is beyond easy (I actually woke up in the middle of the night wondering what the yeast would eat because there’s no sugar), the soup is just slightly time consuming, and the bread pudding is also super easy.

Butternut Squash Soup with No Knead Bread Banana Bread Pudding

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato
Vegetable Stock
Banana Bread (Homemade is the best though)

No Knead Crusty Bread
(From Jo Cooks)

3 cups all purpose flour
1¾ tsp salt
½ tsp active dry yeast
1½ cups water (room temperature)

  1. In a big bowl mix flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula mix it until it’s all incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Add your cast iron pot to the oven and heat it as well until it’s at 450 F degrees.
  3. Remove pot from oven and remove the lid from it.
  4. Flour your work surface really well and make sure you flour your hands really well. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cauliflower

1 Butternut squash, halved
1 sweet potato, cubed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp chopped onion
Salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon
Red Curry Paste
Olive Oil
1 quart Vegetable Broth

  1. Coat the potato, garlic and squash in olive oil and spices. Roast in a 350 degree oven until soft. Pull from the oven and scoop out the squash from the skin. Separate the garlic cloves.
  2. In a large pot, saute the onions until fragrant. Add the garlic and smash a little.
  3. Add the squash and potato mixture with the vegetable broth. Use an immersion blender to blend smooth. Add spices and simmer.
  4. While the soup is simmering, roast the cauliflower in a 350 degree oven covered in olive oil and the same spices as the other. Add to the soup.
  5. Taste the soup, and add more seasonings if needed. Serve with some crusty bread.

Banana Bread Pudding

1 loaf banana bread, cubbed
2 cups milk
4 eggs
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  1. Whisk the eggs, milk and seasonings together. Add the cubbed bread and walnuts and mix to coat. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
  2. Spoon into large, greased cupcake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm.

Not taking time for myself for the past few months made me go a little crazy. Sure, I had a few hours here and there for myself, but they weren’t enough. I was always doing work, or helping other people, or talking about work; I couldn’t get a break. It’s ok to be selfish every once in a while, in fact, it’s healthy. Don’t get too caught up in the other things to forget about yourself. Be sure to work on yourself before you start giving it away to other people.

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Random Salmon

Posted on April 23, 2015. Filed under: Main Course | Tags: , , , , |

I was working at Tommy B’s on Monday, and one of my Bdub’s bar regulars came in, saw me and said “You work here to?” And I told him I did. After a few long islands, he kept exclaiming “Rachel! You’re interesting!” I wasn’t even talking to him..so…thanks? He came up to me on his way to the bathroom and said “Working two jobs, probably a single mom taking care of stuff” I told him no. I don’t really NEED two jobs; my bills are minimal and the cats are a lot cheaper than children. I work because I like to be busy. My whole life up until I graduated college was always busy; I felt that I never had time to myself but I kind of liked it. Once I got out of school and was only working and picking up shows here and there; I suddenly had a ton of time. Once they started cutting hours down at Bdubs, I had WAY to much time. (Really the problem is that I had off days that my friends didn’t) so I picked up the second job. That being said, we’re getting into the slow time at Bdubs and the busy time at Tommy Bs. That means one thing: I’ll be working more at both jobs. Why? I guess two people are leaving Tommy Bs so their schedule is opening up, and EVERYONE calls/asks off at Bdubs once it starts getting warm. (Ok, not this week, but you get the idea) This week I went from having 2 shifts at Tommy Bs and 4 at Bdubs to 1 at Tommy Bs and 7 at Bdubs. My day off went from today to yesterday and I’m about to have two doubles in a row.

That’s not that big of a deal; I love it, but now since I’ve been avoiding processed foods eating there 2 days in a row is a terrible idea. I’ve been bringing fruit and my smoothies to work on those days, but that doesn’t really fill me up for long anymore. I wish it does, but my metabolism is crazy fast now so that doesn’t fill me up for more than half an hour.

My original plan for today was to make salmon burgers for dinner with ciabatta rolls and take it easy. I ended up being part of a focus group that was catered, so my original plan was out. HOWEVER I bought the salmon fresh yesterday and I had started the biga (ciabatta starter) last night so I need to cook it before everything went bad. (Last thing you want is to waste $10 on good fish). So I decided to prep everything so I could just come home and eat a quick dinner, or even bring small parts to work with me that would warm up quickly.

Now, I have never made any of these things until today. I used black olives, I can barely stand any olives except for black olives. That being said, the inital products turned out very well and I’m excited to eat them for dinner for the next few days!

Salmon Burger on Homemade Chibatta with Mediterranean Pico de Gallo

Here’s what to get from the store:

Fresh Dill
Dijon mustard
Black olives
Roma Tomatoes
Feta Cheese
Fresh basil

Ciabatta Rolls
(From The Kitchn)


4 ounce (1/2 cup) water
1/2 teaspoon active-dry yeast
5 ounce (1 cup) all-purpose flour

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour and stir to form a thick, gloppy paste. Give it a good fifty or so brisk stirs to build up the gluten. Cover and let sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.
  2. By the next day, the biga will look soupy with many big bubbles dotting the surface.


17 ounces (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) water
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
20 ounces (4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Scrape the biga into the water and break it up with your spatula or squeeze it between your hands. You don’t need to completely dissolve the biga; just loosen it up and break it into stringy blobs.
  2. Add all of the flour and the salt. Stir to form a thick, very wet dough. Let this rest for 10-20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the water.
  3. Fit your standing mixer with a dough hook and knead at medium speed for 15-18 minutes (Level 5 or 6 on a KitchnAid). Keep a close eye on your mixer as it has a tendency to “walk” on the counter at this speed.
  4. The dough will start off sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl. Around the 7-minute mark, it will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl, collect around the dough hook, and regularly slap the sides of the bowl. If it doesn’t, nudge your mixer speed up a notch. Also, if the dough starts climbing the dough hook, stop the mixer and scrape it down again. By the end of kneading, the dough will look smooth and creamy with a glossy shine. It will puddle back into the bowl once you turn off the mixer, and this is fine.
  5. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at 70° – 75° for 2-3 hours, until tripled in bulk.
  6. Dust your work surface heavily with flour. Set two sheets of parchment near your work surface. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the flour, taking care not to deflate it too much. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Using a pastry scraper or pizza wheel, cut the dough in two pieces for loaves or into 16 pieces for rolls.
  7. Brush your hands with flour. Working gently but swiftly, scoop the the loaves (or the rolls) one at a time from the work surface to the parchment. Press your fingertips about halfway into the dough to dimple the surface and slightly flatten the loaves (or rolls). Let the loaves (or rolls) rise, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes. When ready to bake, they should look pillowy with many big bubbles just beneath the surface.
  8. Preheat the oven to 475°F while the loaves are rising. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven now.
  9. When ready to bake, slide the loaves, still on the parchment, onto a pizza peel or baking sheet. Transfer them to the oven to cook, either on the baking stone or directly on the baking sheet if you don’t have a stone. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Slip the parchment out from under the loaves and cool completely before eating.

Salmon Burgers

1 1/4 pound salmon, skinned and deboned
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayo
1 clove garlic
2 scallions, diced
Fresh Dill
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, pepper, cayenne

  1. Take some of the salmon and cut into chunks, about 1/4 pound or so. Take the rest of it and put it in the food processor with the mustard, mayo, garlic, scallions, lemons and seasonings. Blend until it is a thick paste and mix into the chunked salmon. Set in the fridge for at least a half an hour.
  2. Pre heat your cast iron skillet (or regular skillet if you don’t have cast iron) with some olive oil. For the salmon mixture into patties and cook a few at a time, browning on both sides. If you are eating right away, cook a little longer, but not too long so you don’t dry them out.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up the grease. Serve on ciabatta with Greek pico and whipped lemon feta (recipes below)

Greek “Pico”

2 1/2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small can diced black olives
1 small block feta (I got a .67 pound container of feta, and used 1 block)
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

  1. Mix all together in a bowl and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve with pita chips or on top of a Greek style burger.

Lemon Whipped Feta

1/2 pound Feta
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Splash of heavy cream

  1. Put feta and lemon in a mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until the feta is in small chunks. Add enough heavy cream do moisten the cheese then add the dill. Whip until creamy, add salt and pepper to taste.

I tend to stay towards more of an Italian style of flavoring, so I’m not sure why I decided to go Greek this time around, but it is a refreshing flavor profile.

It’s funny to me how many people think I’m vegetarian still, but I guess it makes sense considering I almost never eat meat. I like meat, I just don’t like the price tag. This shopping trip was the most expensive I’ve had in a while, and it was because of the salmon (and the beer) that I bought. Everything else was pretty cheap. Granted, I’m not going to need to go shopping for a while (but, I have a gift certificate I need to use in a week so…I’ll be going soon. )

Do something random, who knows, you make like it!

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Knead it up!

Posted on July 12, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

For a while when I was little, mom had a bread machine. She stopped using it when dad started having health problems, so I took it. Granted, it has been sitting on a table for a few months, but today I decided to try it out. I asked mom and dad for a few different flours for my birthday and decided to make something with them. The recipe I’m using didn’t come with the bread machine, so I hope it comes out. I am using a Toastmaster and most of the recipes call for dried milk powder and that’s not something I keep around my apartment. This recipe is from King Aurthur Flour, enjoy!

Multi-Grain Brown Bread
(From King Aurthur Flour)

1 1/2-pound Loaf
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 1/4 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup medium rye flour
1 1/2 teaspoons medium sea salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast

In a blender, blend the milk, water, oil, honey, raisins and brown sugar. Put this mixture, along with the remaining ingredients, into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for basic white bread, light crust, and press Start. Check the dough with about 10 minutes remaining in the final kneading cycle, and adjust the texture by adding flour or water as needed; the dough should be smooth and supple.


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