Cooking & Eating

Fred vs. Amelia: A Sourdough Story

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Fred and his bread

A few months ago, I made a sourdough starter. I named him Fred.

Fred was a late bloomer. He was sufficiently fed and watered, kept warm and cozy in his infancy, but he failed to absorb much of the yeast he’d need to make a good bread, and his sour was never particularly strong. I refreshed him regularly, let him warm his dough in the summer sun, tried nourishing him with sugar and milk and even beer. Like the parent of any slow-developing child, I sought answers in books. Some made sourdough starting sound easy; if I couldn’t do it, I must be a fool. Others proclaimed it a daunting task, virtually impossible and best left to professionals.

Well. Continue reading “Fred vs. Amelia: A Sourdough Story”

Cooking & Eating

Baking, Sewing, and the Constant Need to Create

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For a while now, I’ve been baking like a maniac. It started because I was auditioning to be a contestant on a competitive baking show. I’m still not supposed to tell you which one or any details (reality TV is über secretive) but I will tell you that while I made it through several levels of casting, I was not selected. Continue reading “Baking, Sewing, and the Constant Need to Create”

Cooking & Eating

Muttereeickle

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I love it so much, I make crazy faces.

When I was a kid, I had a trademark sandwich. I called it the muttereese because its filling was comprised of:

  1. Mustard
  2. Butter
  3. Cheese

As I got older and my palate got more sophisticated, I added pickles. Thus it became the muttereeickle.

The other day I was poking around my kitchen looking for lunch and it hit me: a huge craving for muttereeickle. Except, instead of store-bought bread (usually buttermilk white or potato), I cut a couple slices from my loaf of homemade sourdough. Instead of Velveeta or Kraft processed cheese food, I used medium cheddar. Instead of dill pickles, I used bread and butter. (Funny, since I forgot about the actual butter, which really wasn’t necessary anyway). I thought about classing up the mustard, too, but in the end I went for good old French’s yellow.

Oh. my. god. Oh my god, you guys! (Ten points if you get that reference.) It was so good. To use a vocab word I hadn’t learned when I created the original, it was sublime. And maybe it sounds weird to you. And maybe you think I’m hormonal. Maybe it sounds like a pregnancy craving (hallelujah, it is not–one kid on each arm is enough for me, thanks.) But if you like sharp, tangy flavors like I do (hail the glory of the salt and vinegar potato chip!) you will love it. Because I love it. If I hadn’t just had lunch, I’d go make one right now.

Cooking & Eating

Pepper, Olive, and Swiss Bagels

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I’ve been trying to come up with some savory and festive recipes–I love to bake but there’s only so much sugar one can take, you know?–and I thought I’d make some bagels that looked like wreaths. Easy, right? I mean, they’ve already got the shape. The rest is a matter of flavor and decoration.

So… what’s green? Sage, I thought. Herbs. Make an herbed bagel. We had those at the bagel shop where I worked as a teenager and they were delicious. But they weren’t exactly green. Then I thought–green olives. As a topping. And to compliment the flavor, some paprika and chili powder in the dough. Red and green.

Sort of. Continue reading “Pepper, Olive, and Swiss Bagels”