Happy New Year! I’ve been a slacker…..and oh yeah, Monday Lieblings
I’m on vacation- well, to be precise, I was on vacation, now I’m in the tormented laziness fueled limbo between vacation and “what the what, I’ve got to have a chapter done WHEN?” haziness (basically I read for an hour a day and then sleep and jog and sleep and bake bread and watch bad tv, and then my fiancee says “shouldn’t you be reading? (as he reads, he is always reading, it’s something I love about him, but now it makes me feel guilty and lazy- because I should feel that way, because I have much less than a month to finish my first dissertation chapter and I’m watching “Salon Takeover” marathons) ) Anyway, I WAS on vacation and that’s why there were no lieblings last week or the week before that. sorry. Also, to warn you, this week is going to be sort of lame. BUT I got a camera for Christmas (two, actually- thank you Mom and Dad and Mr. and Mrs. Bollmer!) and so this blog should be vastly improved- I may even get up the ambition for a photo-a-day type thing. Ok, Lieblings:
1) The Budweiser Brewery
Grant and I went on a tour of the Budweiser brewery while he was visiting St. Louis- and it was a lot of fun (a lot, lot more than I thought it would be) – and that’s taking into account the fact that we were rear-ended hard on the highway while driving to the brewery. First, we attended beer school- yes, beer school. It was great- we learned about how the beer is made, and then went through several beer tastings – learned what glasses to serve what beer in, and what food to pair it with, and most surprisingly of all, learned that Bud Lime is actually pretty tasty. I highly suggest shelling out the ten bucks to do the beer school (you know, if you find yourself at the brewery someday) After that we went on the regular tour of the brewery- here are some photos:
2) Baking Bread
The invention of the bread machine was a wonderful thing, but for me, it’s been a little too wonderful; I’ve never actually made bread all on my own. So a few nights ago, now that I once again get to cook for two, I decided to try making some bread from scratch- my mom swears that the bread machine way is just as good, but I had my doubts. Lo and behold, the baked-from-scratch version was much, much better than bread machine- and not that much harder. The picture above is not the bread I made, because I didn’t realize that it takes over three hours to bake bread, and when I finally got to eat at 10pm I tore into it, not bothering with documentation. The best part of the recipe was getting to spray the bread with water (I used the bottle Grant uses to spray the cats when they’re bad) here is the recipe I used:
- 2 cups water, lukewarm
- 1 3/4 ounces cake yeast (1/3 cup)
- 5 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Place the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes. Using a dough hook attachment, add the flour and sugar to the water and mix on low speed until a dough starts to form. Drizzle the oil and salt into the dough and beat on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a smooth, firm, elastic dough is formed.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and spray the dough with a thin coating of cooking spray. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to proof in a warm, draft-free place for 11/2 hours or until doubled in size. Remove the plastic wrap, punch down and flatten the rounded dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the dough up tightly, sealing the seam well after each roll. The dough should be elongated and oval-shaped, with tapered and rounded (not pointed) ends.
Preheat the oven lined with a pizza stone to 425 degrees F. Alternately, an inverted baking sheet may be used in place of a pizza stone.
Place the dough on a baker’s peel heavily dusted with semolina flour, or cornmeal, or alternately on an inverted baking sheet. Allow the dough to proof, loosely covered with a damp towel, for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size. Brush the dough with the egg white and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, score 3 (1/4-inch deep) slashes across the top of the dough at a 45 degree angle.
Spray the dough generously with water from a water bottle and place in the oven on the baking stone. Immediately close the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Open the oven door and spray the dough again with the water bottle. Close the oven door and bake for an additional 3 minutes before spraying the dough for a third time (the spraying of the dough will ensure a crisp golden brown crust). Bake the dough for 45 minutes, or until a hollow thud is heard when the bread is whacked with the bowl of a wooden spoon. Allow the bread to cool slightly before serving.
3) The Onion’s AV Club Hatecast
If you know me, you know I have an affinity for all things pop-culture-podcast – and the Hatecast is my current favorite. It’s basically a very, very snarky, hate-filled podcast about weekly events in the world of pop culture. Thats it, and I love it.
4) Bruce Mozertom’s Underwater Photography
It has been Winter for too long, and I am dying to go swimming. I love swimming- I love water, I love the ocean more than I could ever begin to describe (although technically THAT description was a beginning, but shut up- I love it a whole bunch). These photos from the late 1930s make me happy while I wait for warmer weather to come around again.
5) Japanese Zoo Drills
This is a video of a rhino-escape drill in a Japanese zoo. That’s it. It also seems like the Japanese are taking a worst-case scenario view on this, there is quite a bit of trampling and killing.