Sunday, July 28, 2013

Honey cornmeal buttermilk bread

1 1/8 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
6 tablespoons honey
2 2/3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Basic cycle, 1 1/2 pound loaf, dark crust

We added 1/4 cup wheat germ, so you will almost certainly need to add another tablespoon, perhaps a bit more, of buttermilk. Watch the doughball which should be smooth and sticky near the end of the first knead cycle.

Remove immediately when done, and let cool to room temp before slicing. This one is very light, and slices very easily, but it's also very squashable.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ribs of Moses

We have just set another exceptionally high standard of culinary excellence ... a rack of pork ribs, rubbed with an eclectic mix of South African smoked herbs and a Grecian blend; drizzled generously with honey, and sealed tightly whilst slow cooking on the grill for several hours.

The recipe for this has been handed down for a few millennium, having first been acquired - according to certain biblical scholars - by Moses, by way of Olduvai Gorge, from a Source that we will leave to your fevered imaginations.

The recipe was recovered along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, but has been heretofore known only to a Chosen Few.

The ribs are nicely accented with a loaf of real homemade (as opposed to machine-baked) buttermilk whole wheat French bread, another exceptionally outstanding bit of bakery by Mama Cita, if she does say so herself.

Now, the small-minded among us may see this as blatant braggery, but the fact of the matter is, it is merely Truth, and the Truth, though it may be no defense, is always Just. That's our story and we're a-stickin' to it.

You will no doubt notice that one end of the rack of ribs has been nibbled upon. SteveO could not be restrained ...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Retreat ceremony at Fort Carson 07.19.2013

While we were at Fort Carson today, Ethan and I took a few moments to go over to the retreat ceremony. The ceremony is held each evening at 5 PM, at Founders' Field, in front of Headquarters 4th Infantry Division.

Here is an article on the history of the retreat ceremony, taken from the Fort Hood Sentinel.

When we arrived, a color detail was waiting in the covered stands near the flagpole. Founders' Field also serves as a parade ground; these are the reviewing stands.

The detail formed up and marched to the flagpole, and stood waiting. At precisely 5 PM, the Retreat bugle call sounded, followed by a shot from a cannon on the edge of the field. To the Colors then sounded, and the detail lowered the flag.

These photos show the detail folding the flag.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Snuffy the baby seal

... is released back into the ocean amidst much fanfare and hoopla:

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center

Here is a gallery from our visit to eastern North Carolina last month, from one of our stops at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum:

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum

Behind the museum, you'll find Willow Pond. We have a gallery up here:

Willow Pond and Soundside Trail

Soundside Trail loops around behind the museum and the Cape Lookout visitors' center on the eastern end of Harkers Island. It's a short trail offering great views of a typical maritime forest and Core Sound at its confluence with Eastmouth Bay behind Harkers Island. We hiked the trail between rain showers as Tropical Storm Andrea passed over Raleigh, to the west.

Here are some galleries from previous visits:

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum 06.15.2012  This one has some good flower and foliage shots, and Leece took some photos of the quilts hanging in the museum.

Willow Pond June 2011  which has some good shots of Willow Pond, and a little blue heron as well as the ubiquitous white ibis.

Willow Pond June 2010

Shackleford Banks

Back on June 5, we visited Shackleford Banks. Here's a gallery of photos from that visit:

Shackleford Banks 06.05.2013

Shackleford is part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. It is most famous for its herd of wild horses, which you can read about here:

Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks

and here, at the National Parks Service site:

Horses of Shackleford Banks

We got some good shots of a couple of tankers, one going out from the Port of Morehead City; the other coming in, and the pilot boat that was taking the harbor pilot to the incoming ship.

Leece found a whole sand dollar in the suds, which is unusual. Sand dollars are fragile, and break easily, and are  usually broken up even by relatively gentle surf action.

We trekked inland toward the maritime forest, hoping to get some shots of the horses. Sometimes they can be elusive; sometimes they are wandering all over the place. This day, as soon as we crested the outer dunes on the ocean side, we saw several grazing. You can see our photos of them in the gallery linked above.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Patriot Bread

American patriot Thomas Paine, who authored "Common Sense," reportedly was enamored of this bread. There was a barmaid who worked in a pub down the street from where Paine lived, who, being from Switzerland originally, was adept at making this bread. It is 'Zopf,' a traditional Swiss egg bread:

1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, as the colonials knew nothing of 2%; 1%, or non-fat products)
1/3 cup water

put both of these in a cup and warm in the microwave. It needs to be warm but not hot. The warming helps the yeast. (the colonials didn't have microwaves either, but let's not get crazy over authenticity. Leece says we ain't puttin' a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen)

1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into smaller chunks
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Set the bread machine to the Basic cycle, medium crust, 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Now ... what most people don't know, is that Paine was often constipated, which put him in a contentious state of mind. That was when he did his best writing. You can see from this why Paine was considered such a tight-ass by his contemparies - he really was, in a manner of speaking. So the barmaid, who, it is said, had a real crush on Paine, tried to help him out with his issue ('issue' in this matter being, also in a manner of speaking, quite literal).

So she added a quarter cup of wheat germ, a quarter cup of sunflower seeds, and a quarter cup of rolled oats. I'm sure you can see where this is going, or rather, where Paine often ended up.

A caution, however. If you add the augmenting ingredients, you will have to watch the doughball during the kneading process. The extra ingredients will absorb the milk/water and you will get a chunky dough. You will have to add some more milk, or water (we use milk) to the doughball to keep it from being too dry.  Add extra liquid a tablespoon at a time, waiting a minute or so between additions during the kneading process. Usually a couple or three extra tablespoons will bring the dough to a nice elastic consistency.

And that's your American Patriot story for this Fourth of July!

Footnote: the regularity that Paine experienced as a result of consuming this bread tended to mellow him out a bit. If his compatriots had not realized this, and had not therefore kidnapped the barmaid to keep her from feeding the bread to Paine until "Common Sense" was complete ... think of the damage that could have been done to our budding young nation. "Common Sense" was a crucial document in firing up the population, and without it ... I hate to think of the consequences.

Further footnote: If this isn't true, it oughta be.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Crags, Teller County, 06.29.2013

So we went up to Green Mountain Falls Friday afternoon, and stayed at the Rocky Top Campground and Motel again. While Leece was napping I took the lads, Ethan and SteveO, to that 'Dinosaur Resource Center' in Woodland Park, where a good time was had by all.

 Then we went back to the motel, where we broiled some hot dogs, and gobbled 'em with macaroni salad, beans, and chips. Leece made some S'Mores.

Saturday we got up fairly early, packed up, and made our way to the trailhead for The Crags, a few miles south of Divide. This hike is about 4.5 miles, out and back. Altitude ranges between 10,100 feet MSL and 10,900 feet MSL. The first quarter mile is a fairly stiff climb up with a couple of switchbacks, followed by a nice stroll through a meadow with a babbling brook on the right. The last quarter mile can be a challenge for flatlanders but the view from the top is well worth the gasping and the effort.

We have a gallery up here:

The Crags

which includes some good scenery and floral shots.