Thursday, February 23, 2017

Two Loaves of White

 We were grocery shopping yesterday when Mom suggested we buy bread. "Let me just make a couple of loaves this afternoon," I told her. I far prefer homemade bread for toast at breakfast (though I'll admit commercial bread is better for sandwiches).

 So when we got home, I put together a couple of loaves of basic white bread. I've already posted the recipe on this blog. Click here to have a look.

 Late in the afternoon after the loaves were finished, we cut off an end of one and Mom and I each had samples. Delicious! It's best with lots of butter ... and you can see we didn't skimp there.

 Here's the dough after the first rise. It seemed a little dry to me and I think I should have added extra milk (or water). But the dough clearly doubled in size in the hour and fifteen minutes I let it rise in a warmed oven.

 The risen dough is knocked down, divided in two and placed into bread pans. Here's the second loaf as I got ready to remove it from the warm oven. Because our kitchen is cold, I always use the oven as a warm spot for rising. I just turn the oven on for a minute and then turn it back off. I further regulate the temperature by opening the oven door as needed. Then, when I get ready to bake, I remove the risen loaves and set them aside while the oven heats.

 Here's the two loaves, still steaming hot. They popped out of the greased pans easily.

 This morning I had two slices. I toasted them fairly dark, lathered on butter and ate them with blackberry jam. Now that's the way to start the day.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Nose Turns Red?

 Tom and I showed up yesterday at the Cincinnati Art Museum - because it was free - just in time to see kids staging a "My Nose Turns Red" demonstration. Their motto: "Let your child runaway and join the circus ... without leaving home."

 The organization operates "circus camps" for kids 4 to 16 in Clifton, Evandale and Terrace Park.

 The youngest kids tried out hula hoops. The older kids attempted balance exercises.

For information on the organization, click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Orange Olive Oil Cake

 Last weekend, Tom gave me the most recent copy of Kroger's "Private Selections" booklet ("Warming Winter Flavors"). Both of us were intrigued by this recipe.

As usual, I didn't quite follow the directions. I always opt for the easy way and it seldom - though not always - matters.

Orange Olive Oil Cake

1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-grated orange zest
1/2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I combined the oil, eggs, vanilla, yogurt, salt, sugar, baking powder and orange zest.
Once thoroughly combined I added the flour.

Pour this into a 9" round (greased) cake pan and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes. Use a toothpick in the center to test for done (it should come out clean). The cake should be browned on top.

Kroger's suggests using Private Selection California Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I did use their olive oil but it was one I already had on hand. To cut the cost, I used a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil.

They also suggested rubbing the orange zest and sugar together with your fingers before adding it to the mix. I didn't bother.

Here's how the mixture looked before I added the flour ...

 And here's the cake just out of the oven ...

 This would be great served with ice cream, as Kroger's suggests, but we plan on adding only a dollop of whipped cream instead. A simple icing, made with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla would be wonderful drizzled lightly across the top, too.

 In any case, this is a light dessert, easy to make and the taste is absolutely wonderful.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Kennedy's Air Force One

 Nearly 54 years ago I sat in a study hall at Miamisburg High School when the teacher announced that President Kennedy had been shot. It was surreal, hardly a normal day for a high school kid. We were all sent home.

 Later Air Force One landed back in Washington DC carrying the casket of our assassinated president.

 I've wanted to see that plane for years - Special Air Mission 26000 (SAM) - which is housed nearby at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In past years, the plane wasn't part of the regular exhibit but required an early visit to the museum and a shuttle ride to where it was housed.
 Now the plane is in the main museum, in a new hanger which houses various "Presidential" planes. Here's a similar shot to the black & white one posted above.

 Tom and I visited the museum yesterday (02/11/17) with the express purpose of touring the plane. I haven't been to the museum for four years and Tom remembers a distant visit when he was just a kid.

 Everything is behind Plexiglas. The corridor is narrow and you must pass through an area which makes sure you can manage to squeeze through the plane. The shot above is of the cockpit.

 I expected the decor to be even more upscale. But then the plane was manufactured in 1962 and shows its age in that regard.

 The above shot is the general area where Jackie Kennedy stood nearby and Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office.

 I took a shot of myself at about this point in the walk-through.

 Tom exits the plane.

 A shot of myself at the rear exit.

 Near the left entrance to the plane is this sign explaining the Kennedy connection.

 Tom reads one of the signs.
 The plane remained in service until 1998. Read more about the plane by clicking here.

 Though we walked through a few of the other exhibits, it was the Kennedy plane that commanded my attention. It was an unbelievable day for the short trip to Fairborn. We topped out at 64° and had to have the air conditioning turned on in the car for the drive home.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Apple Dumplings

 Every now and then I get hungry for homemade apple dumplings. They were a regular treat when Bob and I were kids. I loved the homemade dough, the tart apples, the cinnamon and nutmeg, the bright red sauce.

I've made them myself but I found I had forgotten how to place the sliced apples inside and how to fold the dough around them, how to crimp the edges.

 The dough is rolled out into a 12 x 18" piece and then cut into six rectangular pieces.

 Mom places five or six slices of apple on one section of dough and then we add sugar and cinnamon and fold the dough over, crimping the edges.

 They're a little oddly-shaped but that is the meaning of homemade, isn't it?. There's nothing perfect about them, other than  the taste.

 Here's the pan coming out of the oven. I'll have one for supper but Mom's already had hers. She said they were just right.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shaker-style Noodles

 I love working with dough but I've never made noodles before. A couple of days ago I decided to give it a shot and asked Mom a few basic questions. She's an old pro. I remember homemade noodles when I was a kid and they were always one of my favorite meals.

 This is the finished product ... not quite a soup because we both prefer the dish to be quite thick. And certainly without chicken because we're vegetarian. I'll post the basic recipe below but Mom adds potatoes, celery, carrots and onions to it,

 She seasons with parsley and garlic (both home grown), salt and pepper. She also adds two vegetable bouillon cubes (Knorr Vegetarian) and Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning Blend (salt-free).

As with any soup, the amount of water is determined by taste and how thick you want the finished product to be. Maybe 1.5 quarts? Mom also adds a small amount of vegetable oil.

 She cooks the veggies in water first and only adds the noodles when the veggies are tender.

Shaker Noodles *

1 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soft butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons water

 I made the dough in a bowl then poured it onto a flowered pastry cloth and kneaded it slightly. I then rolled it out into a thin layer and let it dry for many hours.

 Here's how the dough looked after I had rolled it into a thin layer. It's a little irregular but I've never done this before. Doesn't seem to matter.

 After drying for much of the day, Mom began cutting thin strips of noodles from the dough.

 After she cut a while, I cut the rest. The noodles were then dried further (hours) and eventually placed in a plastic bag and frozen for use today.

We cannot have noodles without thinking of our beloved schnauzer, Ginger. Homemade noodles were her favorite and we'd often tell her we were making "noodlers". She seemed to look forward to her bowl as much as the rest of us. After she ate, she knew to stand at her bowl and await a beard washing. It was funny to watch her wait. She knew that this was a requirement and she never spoiled it by walking away until she had been cleaned.

Bottom Line: How was it? Delicious!

* Credit: The Shaker Cookbook by Caroline B. Piercy
Crown Publishers, Inc. 1953

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Day in Cincinnati

 It was a warm mid-winter day when Tom and I spent some time walking about downtown Cincinnati. Most January days this would have been impossible - to go out on foot wearing no more than a light hoodie - but we enjoyed 61° temperatures yesterday.

 We parked in the Garfield Garage (11 W 9th Street) which is operated by the city and is "cheap" - just a dollar an hour. Most places we drove by wanted $5 to even $10, though I suppose that was for the whole day. But it meant we had to walk.

 Fountain Square was our first stop as it was the site of the Cincinnati Women's March on Washington - Sister March. Though we offered no more than moral support - and two extra bodies for the count - we were at least present, though late.

 How the city maintains the ice at the rink on Fountain Square is a mystery to me. The sun wasn't shining but it was a Spring-like when we were there. I can't imagine these conditions on a usual late-January day in Cincinnati.

 Another view of Fountain Square.

 We have walked through "Ruth Lyons Way" before but this time I took a picture for Mom. The roadway is no more than an alley but at least Ruth's name is still above downtown streets.

 We next toured the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. I can't say it's my cup of tea but admission was free so what the heck. We walked through only a gallery or two.

 I told my brother, Bob, that I found one artwork that he must have posed for. Or, as he suggested, maybe it was me?

 Across the street from the CAC is a building that's brightly painted (on at least the two sides I saw). I love this depiction of Neil Armstrong on the moon. The mural is by Art Works and is on Walnut Street between 5th and 6th Street

Note: Tom says the main rally/demonstration was at Washington Park and Fountain Square was more of a kickoff point. Our hearts were in the right place anyway.