Basil

So I’ve been growing basil on my desk at the office. It’s growth has been stalled lately so I decided it needed some pinching. So I pinched off the tops of the plants and made pesto.
I found a recipe for pesto here, which, uncharacteristically, I followed. I even measured most of the ingredients. 🙂
I boiled some penne pasta and cut up some asparagus. When the penne was almost cooked I threw in the asparagus and let it finish cooking. Tossed the whole thing with a blop of pesto.
Blop is a technical term, it’s about 2 or 3 tablespoons.
Deeelicious!

Whole Wheat Rolls

I make these regularly. They are quick, easy and delicious.
The original recipe is from Company’s Coming Bread, here’s my take on it;
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one 1/4 oz pkg)
1 tsp salt
1 egg (or 2 eggs)
2 Tbsp butter, softened (canola or olive oil works too)
3 Tbsp honey (molasses works too)
1 1/2 cups warm water (milk works too)
1 1/2 to 2 cups white flour

Put the whole wheat flour, yeast and salt in your stand up mixer and fire it up. Mix the egg(s), butter, honey and about half a cup of the warm water in a measuring cup and slowly pour it in while the mixer is mixing. Slowly add the rest of the water (1 cup).
Slowly add enough white flour to make a soft dough and knead by hand or let your machine do it. 8 or 10 minutes of kneading is ideal.
I encourage you to get your hands in there and feel the dough, but some people don’t like how it feels and sometimes you just don’t have time to do that.
Oil a mixing bowl, oil your lump of dough, cover the bowl with a tea towel and put it in your oven with the oven light on. Let it rise until it’s doubled-about an hour and a quarter.
Gently deflate the dough, roll it out into a rectangle and cut into 12 pieces, then roll into buns and place on a baking sheet. Feel free to make bigger buns or smaller buns or a loaf.
Let them rise about 45 minutes. Just until they’re puffy again.
Bake at 400F for about 12 minutes.

Pudding Cake

I was invited to a barbeque this weekend, the milk in my fridge turned and I came upon this post all in the same day. It seemed providential. You’ll see that the original recipe called for buttermilk. In baking it’s the same thing as sour milk. In fact, when milk or cream turn sour I throw it in the freezer if I don’t bake something right away. You’ll also notice that Mark’s recipe called for fresh blueberries and lemon zest, which I didn’t have, so I threw in the last of the frozen wildberries from my from my freezer and a splash of vanilla.

I/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)

3 /4 cup sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 /3 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

1 1/2 cup wildberries

1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with butter.

2. Put the butter, sour milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the berries and vanilla and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks; fold them into the batter gently but thoroughly.

4. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

Mistakes

It might be more satisfying to successfully recover from a mistake than to do it right in the first place.
I made a batch of buns for a gift this afternoon. I used my usual recipe, one that I make all the time so I make it with some confidence. I mixed the ingredients in my mixer, put it in the oven under a tea towel to rise, set the timer for an hour and a quarter and went about my other business.
I lifted the tea towel and to my surprise the dough hadn’t changed shape nor size.
“What? My yeast is still good.” as I leaned in for a sniff. Then I realized that I hadn’t put any yeast in. My heart sunk. Fortunately I still had time.
Instead of scrapping the dough and starting fresh, I decided to put the dough back in the mixer and put the yeast in. I mixed it for a little while and it didn’t seem to be mixing well so I threw in a tablespoon each of flour and water. It doesn’t seem like much and really I have no idea what I was doing so I didn’t even know if it would work.
Anyhow, I let it rise for an hour and a quarter. The dough had risen, doubled even but it looked oddly speckled. I wondered if that was granules of yeast that hadn’t quite dissolved. I deflated the dough, shaped my buns and left them for the second rise. Well, third.
I baked them and even though they were speckly, they looked good. I cut one open and the texture inside is a little off-the size of the holes are uneven and the texture is a little chewy.
One bite reminded me that I had forgotten the salt. But they are good. I hope the recipient likes them.

I’ve made these buns enough times that making them no longer gives me a feeling of accomplishment. But making a major mistake and successfully fixing it does. Maybe there is a life lesson in there.