Category Archives: Food

Delicious tea

I love drinking tea, I drink about a full pot of tea a day. And since I prefer loose leaf teas, this can get a liiiitttle expensive since the only place I know to get good loose leaf tea is Teavana and if you’ve ever been there, you know what their prices are like.
So I was excited to discover an online shop for teas on etsy.com (From 4chan no less). teaman’s prices are so much better, and he has an amazing selection of hand blended teas in loose leaf or tea bag form. He did not have my favorite genmaicha tea (sadness) but I did pick out a Rose hip Hibiscus tea that sounded yummy, and at only $5 for 4 ounces I bought it right away. I also picked out a sampler of five of his tea bagged teas. He has a special going on through the month of February where if you spend over $7 you got ten teabags of ceylon tea for free so I thought why not.
I think I annoyed my boyfriend a bit with my obsessed checking of the mailbox every day, a couple times a day, until my tea finally arrived.

The tea I ordered from teaman

I kinda look like a drug dealer.... of deliciousness!

It was late when I got the tea so I went right ahead and brewed me a cup of the sleepy time tea that I picked out for the sampler. I don’t know if it helped me sleep or not but it sure was tasty. The next day I brewed up a pot of the rose hip hibiscus. As soon as I opened up the Ziploc bag I was entranced, the smell was so strong and so deliciously amazing. I would love to have a candle of it so I could just continue smelling that tea.

my teapot with some rose hip hibiscus tea in it

Yes, that is my stove, the lighting in my apartment sucks.

I think this what heaven smells like.

The tea brewed up into a gorgeous deep pink color. The taste was delicious. Similar to Tazo’s passion fruit tea but less….in your face. I would love to brew this as iced tea sometime. Mmm….drink a cold glass of this on a hot summer day…ahhh.

I recommend anyone who likes tea, even a little bit, to check this guys teas out HERE. His selection is large and his prices are good.

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Adventures in Potato Bread!

So today I decided to use up some of the 10 lb bag of potatoes my boyfriend and I picked up from Costco and have yet to finish. So I pulled out another recipe from Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and made the potato cheddar torpedoes. It uses the some of my sourdough starter but it only took a day to make instead of two. It was fun making a flavored bread instead of the play breads I’d been making, and it was an awesome combination, sharp cheddar, red potatoes, and fresh chives. I knew the moment I saw it in the book, I’d be making it at some point. So here we go!

the ingredients to my potato bread
Here are my lovely ingredients. The murky liquid in the measuring cup is the water that I boiled the potatoes in for added potato flavor. The chives and the cheese will come later.
partially mixed potato bread
This is only half of the final amount of flour. I knew I’d be kneading it after it rested so I didn’t bother trying to mash up all of the potatoes.
final kneaded dough

Polka dots!

Trying to get all of the chives worked in there was kind of a pain in the butt. But the dough was sticky enough that at least they didn’t fall out. My hands still smell like flour and potatoes.
shaped potato bread loaves
The dough rose super fast so I punched it down once because it still had a 30 minutes left of fermentation. The cheese is finally rolled up  inside the dough, jelly roll style. Next time I will try to slice the cheese thinner. Based on how much cheese the recipe called for it didn’t cover all of the dough so I ended up cutting more.
baked potato bread
Finally came out of the oven and it smells AMAZING. I can really smell the sweetness of the red potato and the chives.  My scoring is a little bit better this time around but the loaf that was closest to the back of the oven still got much darker than the rest even though I turned them halfway through and made sure to pull them away from the backside of the oven. Hmmm…there must be a hot spot there or something. A little annoying but it should take away from the taste at all. I love how you can see all the chives sprinkled throughout the dough and the cheese that melted out of the top and crisped up. Mmmm…. only 30 minutes before I cut into them!
UPDATE:
I finally cut into the bread. It was super soft and fluffy inside. I didn’t cut in far enough to really get at any of the cheese but what I did get was tasty. Next time I’ll make sure to get a better distribution of the cheese. Sadly though I overcooked the loaves a little, the crust has a slight burnt taste to it 😦 I had a lot of things going on at the same time so I didn’t pay attention to the time as well as I should have. Next time will be better!
cut loaf of potato bread
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Adventures in Bread, Pt 2

The bread from yesterday was delicious. Nice and chewy, the crust had a good bite to it. I wish it was more sour but I’ll take what I can get. The crumb was good, it had a lot of larger air holes in it which made me happy. I don’t know if I did something different or if it was just the different dough.

I think next time I make bread with the starter I’m going to try my dad’s way of doing it. He uses a no knead recipe that you just mix and let ferment for 12 hours. Not kneading is such a strange concept to me that I’ve avoided doing it. But I’ve had the bread my dad made that way and it’s quite tasty.

Now I just wish I had a baking stone. Or even parchment paper and cornmeal. Ah, the things I would do with money.

my finished bread

OM NOM NOM

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Adventures In Bread!

I finally pulled that sourdough bread out of the even. It smells AMAZING. But I will do the right thing and wait 45 minutes for it to cool to perfection before cutting into it. I used Peter Reinhart’s basic sourdough recipe from his book “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” and my dad’s sourdough started that he started about a month ago.

Some of my process:

Starter from the fridge

My pre ferment pulled from the fridge to warm up a bit. As soon as I pulled it out and as I was kneading it I could smell the delicious sour flavor.

final dough fermenting

Raise my minion!

Dough before it ferments

shaped loaves

My shaping sucks =/

My batards after shaping. I still can’t get the skin tight enough so during the final proof they mostly ooze outwards instead up upwards.

loaves pulled from the oven

Mmmmm....

I had some problems with scoring the loaves before I put them in the oven. This dough is a lot denser than others I’ve done and my knife is cheap. That’s another thing to add to the list of things to buy when I finally have money. I don’t know why one got blistered on one side like that. I turned them halfway through. Unless when I turned them, they got pushed too far to the back wall. They smell amazing though. The crust seems nice and crunchy. Sigh… only 30 minutes before I can eat them.

 

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My New Sourdough Starter!

In his retirement, my dad has begun baking. Never has he been particularly interesting in any sort of cooking, much less baking. Not that I’m complaining, I love fresh bread, it’s why I make it myself. It’s just rather….strange.

But anyway! He’s been working on sourdough bread, something I haven’t had the time to explore, and when I went home for the weekend he gave me some of his starter 🙂 Later tonight I’ll get a loaf started and tomorrow I’ll bake it. I’ll post more of my process later.

sourdough starter

Mmmm... smell that yeasty goodness

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Teatime and daily rituals

 

I’m kind of a nerd in that every day I’m able at three o’clock I have tea time. (The Brits have their teatime at four but I just can’t wait that long.) I brew a pot of tea and assemble a plate of snacks that I will consume while sitting at my kitchen table and reading. It usually lasts for about an hour.
At first I started it because I would get hungry and bored since school isn’t in session. But As I continued, brewing the tea, cutting my apples, and picking out whatever would go with it, usually some baked good, cheese, and for awhile, walnuts from my mom’s coworkers tree, I realized how incredibly relaxing the whole process of it was.
It was time I took out of my day where I didn’t think about anything else but making my tea and food and possibly about which book to read. It was even more relaxing that the actual reading of the book and consuming of the food. A lull in the storm of adult responsibilities.
It started to make me think about other things I do that are rituals. When I drink coffee in the morning its more because I’m used to it than for any real kick from the coffee, the simple act of drinking that familiar warm drink in the morning is what wakes me up, not the caffeine. There are smaller rituals that you may not notice. The order in which I shower, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face. What music I listen to when I do certain things.
Now when I don’t do a ritual I feel strange, off balanced, like something’s missing. It’s interesting how these small rituals are such a part of our daily lives. How they make up who we are.
So, what are some of your daily rituals?


 

my delicious teatime meal

Today's teatime, a gala apple, walnuts, cheddar cheese, a slice of potica, and a pot of tea

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OM NOM NOM

PoticaThis delectable looking thing is potica (po-teet-sah) and my best friend made it for me. 🙂

It’s a Slovenian nut roll bread that her grandmother used to make and now she makes. It’s made by rolling dough extremely thin and layering it with chopped walnuts, vanilla, cream, and butter and then rolling it up tight before baking. It is so incredibly delicious, the filling is so nutty and sweet, it’s like kittens playing in your mouth.

I’m supposed to share it with my boyfriend when he gets home later. But lets face it, if there’s even any left when he gets home, he doesn’t get to touch it. Mine!

Now I just need to get her to teach me how to make it too. Which may or may not be a good thing.  Bah, who has time to count calories when you have potica! Mmmm….

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