Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For January 12: Happy Birthday, John!

By age seven, you already loved to cook. Your Aunt Mary gave you a chef's hat and apron for Christmas that year.

As soon as you were old enough, you eagerly took your first job. Here you are at age twelve, returning from your paper route. That's our pup Rencor in your newspaper bag. You both grew a lot bigger very quickly.
 And now you are about to open your second restaurant in Bend, Oregon.
I think this was in the cards all along.

Happy Birthday to my oldest son, John: a good cook, a hard worker, and a great dad.

We couldn't be prouder of you and your beautiful family.

With lots of love from Mom and Bob


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For January 11: Happy Birthday, Franny!

Meet Miss Francine Ginger, birthday girl.
She is pictured above, seated on her sister Margie's lap.

Not so long ago, Franny was just a little sprout.
But just like the little ginger plant I started in her honor, she's been busy growing.
On January 11, 2012, Francine Ginger will be one year old.

Happy first birthday, Franny!

With lots of love from Grandma Bee and Grandpa Bob.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back to Bread

One of the things I plan to do in my retirement (which starts in fourteen more school days, but who's counting?) is to get back to baking homemade bread more often.  Used to bake it a lot; not so much in recent years.

It's hard for a home baker to produce bread with a good crunchy crust. It requires steam, you see, to form a good crust.

But thanks to the Internet and cooking blogs, I recently discovered Dutch oven bread baking. Although this article describes a no-knead bread that is allowed to rise slowly, I thought I'd try the baking method with a conventional kneaded bread recipe.

Today, I experimented with a version of Mill Hollow bread, tweaked a tad to my own taste and ingredients on hand. After mixing and kneading and allowing it to rise once, I baked one loaf in a preheated cast iron Dutch oven, as described in the NY Times article. This is the bread pictured on the left in the photo above.  

The second loaf, pictured on the right, I let rise and then baked it in the usual way. Exact same dough, just different baking methods.

The Dutch oven bread was a hit. Crusty and nicely grained. Really good. I see many more loaves baked this way in my future. Maybe I even need to buy a second cast iron Dutch oven, to bake two loaves at once.

If you like to bake and are fond of crusty bread, give this method a try. It's really good. Happy baking!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Homes and Hairdos

 Apparently, I'm not the only one fascinated by Callista Gingrich's hairdo. The Huffington Post had a recent article featuring twenty-eight (!) photos of her "beauty evolution".
But today, I saw this New York Times photo of the Gingrich's Virginia home and now it all makes sense to me. I think the same person who prunes their shrubbery must also do Callista's hair.

You can see the New York Times slide show of all the Republican candidates' homes here.  No surprise that there's not a single fixer-upper among them. Guess the economy is still working for them!