• 101 in 1001
  • Superfast Swedish Bread

    When I started the 101 in 1001 I had a grand intention of baking a new bread every month.  I’ve done a fairly mediocre job of it over the last year.  I may not have baked a new bread every single month, but I have done quite a few.  The ones that I’ve done include a fantastic Sweet Potato Loaf and a failed attempt at Pugliese. There are others, but I can’t remember what they are.  I tend to stick to my tried and true breads.  I make a Focaccia that is to die for and I’m rather partial to my banana bread.

    I’m not really supposed to eat bread, but I find that my system can tolerate breads that I make rather than the store bought varieties.  I also dislike the taste of most store bought breads so it is a win win for me.

    Last night I was planning on making a chicken and root veg stew for dinner, but my father-in-law beat me to it in the dinner department.  He made beef stew instead.  I had also planned to make a bread that comes from my girlfriend, Lena.  I didn’t make the stew (that’s on for tonight), but I did make the bread.

    Lena brought this bread to girlfriend’s weekend back in January and it looked so simply easy that I couldn’t believe it.  Most bread I make takes a minimum of 2 days.  This one can go from ingredients to the table in about 40 minutes.  I asked Lena for the recipe and she gladly shared it with me.  I’m going to share it with you (I didn’t ask permission, sorry Lena).  Lena is from Sweden so all the recipes she gives me are in metric and need to be converted.  She often does it, but this time I said I’d do it.  Good thing I’m an experienced bread maker since my translations weren’t 100% spot on.

    Superfast Swedish Bread

    4 dl* warm water (13.53 oz)
    4 T oil (I completely forgot about this last night, but it didn’t effect the taste… I don’t think) (I would use grapeseed oil if I had remembered to put it in)
    1 tsp salt (I upped it to about 1 1/2 tsp because I felt the bread from girlfriend’s weekend needed an additional touch of salt… again, sorry Lena)
    1 strip dry yeast (all 3 packets) or 50 g yeast
    8-9 dl flour (I wasn’t sure if this was by volume or weight so I went with volume which comes out to about 3.382 cups)

    Preheat the oven to 480 degrees

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Remember I forgot the oil and I went with 3 1/3 cups of flour. The dough has a high water content so it is rather sticky. I continued adding flour until it was at least manageable. 9 dl is almost 4 cups (which I probably ended up with).

    Form the dough into 4 “rounds.” They tend to be a bit more like puddles and will spread a bit when they sit, that’s ok. You’ll want to have well floured hands to do this.

    Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes (according to Lena this is totally optional). Bake for about 10 minutes (a little more for more golden brown) until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. Mine baked for almost 15 because I like a little more of a brown crust.

    This bread stays smokin’ hot so let it cool a bit before cutting and eating. It has a bit of a tangy taste and a wonderful crust and crumb. I don’t have photos since we ate it before I could take a picture, but it is so easy to make that I’ll snap a pic the next time I make it.



    Don’t be surprised if this blog becomes rather bread focused.  Hey, if Rhonda can blog about cakes and cookies I can certainly blog about bread.

  • 101 in 1001
  • 2 more down

    Over the weekend we went to Portland for the annual “Fancy Dinner.”  It was nice to get away with Derek.  I was able to toodle around Powell’s books for a little while.  I picked up 2 new garden books (1 vinatage).  While there I visited the Rare Book Room.  In all of the times I’ve been to Powell’s I’ve never been into the Rare Book Room.  Probably because I’m always there on Sundays and they aren’t typically open on Sundays.  I found a book of complete animal husbandry from 1675 that was selling for $500.  While I don’t have a use for such a book, the thought of looking at and holding a book from 1675 was pretty amazing.  What I did find that I must figure out how to purchase is this.  The illustrations are amazing.  This happens to be a 2010 reprint of the original, but the historical significance of this set is so valuable.

    The items on my list that I did accomplish are eating at Pazzo and visiting the Japanese Garden.

    Pazzo is a sustainable Italian restaurant in downtown Portland.  They have amazing food and I didn’t walk away hungry.

    The Japanese Garden has been on my list of Portland places for a very long time.  While the admission cost is somewhat high for a garden ($9.50) it was worth every penny.  It gave me a huge amount of inspiration and reminded me of why I went into horticulture in the first place.  It is difficult to imagine how a garden can be so beautiful without a single blooming flower, but visit the garden in January and you will see what I’m talking about.

  • 101 in 1001
  • 101 update

    It has been almost a year since I came up with my list of 101 in 1001.  In the year since I’ve completed 11 things on the list.  That doesn’t seem like very many does it?  It really isn’t.  I’m rather disappointed in myself, but I do want to be more diligent about some of the things on the list.  After all, I only have 657 more days to finish the list.

    In the next month I’ll be able to (hopefully) tick 4 things off the list.  In the mean time, here is what I have finished*.

    1. Learn how to crochet.  This originally was re-learn how to knit, but for some reason my brain cannot grasp the concept of knitting.  I decided to learn how to crochet instead.  Our babysitter taught me how to crochet on a train ride from Xi’an to Nanchang, China.  I haven’t gotten very far, but I have a whole weekend in a very not busy nursery coming up to practice.

    21. eliminate 1/2 of the turfgrass in my yard.  I completed this in the Spring of 2010.  You can follow the progress of our ever-growing vegetable garden at Sprouting Off.

    22. successfully grow corn.  I’m not exactly sure what the definition of successful corn is, but if it means ears of corn with actual kernels that you can cook and eat then I did that.  It was a truly exciting day.  I’m not growing that particular variety of corn again next year, but I grew corn.

    29. Travel outside of N. America.  I traveled to China in July 2010.

    37. take family camping.  We took a camping trip to the ocean in August 2010.

    38. walk on the Great Wall.  I did that July 16, 2010.  It was one of the single greatest accomplishments of my life.

    43. eat something outside of my comfort zone.  I ate crickets in China.

    63. establish Sweet Hope board of directors.  The slate of directors was voted on at our October 2010 meeting.

    70. land a large freelance gig.  I’m starting work on the largest graphic arts project I’ve ever been paid for.  It is going to be a crazy few months and I’m ready for the ride.

    74. Take my son to OMSI.  OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.  We visited it on Father’s Day last year.  Much to my chagrin they had an exhibit about human birth.  We had to listen all about birth and c-sections for the next 6 months.

    100. clean out the pantry.  This was the first thing on the list that I did.  I’ve done it about 3 times since.  I’m sure I’ll do it about 40 more.

    I don’t think it’s too bad for me.  There are a few on-going things that I’m still working on and the every month and every week plans have flown out the window.  I have also elected not to complete #59 (earn my master gardener certificate).  I realized that it would be a waste of time and money.  I have a degree in horticulture and graduated with honors.  The master gardener’s program isn’t going to teach me anything I don’t already know.


    *I have changed a few things out of realism or that I changed my mind on a few things.

  • 101 in 1001
  • Chicksicles

    I committed to finishing the 101 in 1001 project and well… I’m failing miserably at a few of my goals. ?The whole walk 5 miles a week thing isn’t going so well and I didn’t have the opportunity to make a new bread in March.

    I did get the chance to try a few new recipes and so far that is going good. ?Of course ask me again when I get to the “A Man, A Can, A Plan” cookbook (don’t ask, it’s better that way).

    This week, despite spending the past two days on the couch I was able to (with assistance) make Chicksicles out of Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here For the Food.” ?This isn’t so much a cookbook as it is a manual on how to cook. ?It just happens to have recipes in it.

    Chicksicles are like a combination of kebabs and satay. ?They were fairly simple to make except I broke the cardinal rule of cooking and didn’t read the whole recipe prior to starting. ?I missed the part where it said refrigerate overnight. ?I skipped that part. ?I also skipped the part where it said sesame oil since evidently I was out and didn’t know it.

    Overall, I like the dish. ?Next time I would have the trusty husband grill it on a lower heat. ?The marinade did not like the high heat and blackened. ?The boy ate some of it, but I think he just wasn’t that into meat tonight, or food for that matter. ?I would give it a 3 out of 5 on the cook again scale.

  • 101 in 1001
  • Pretzel Bread

    I made a commitment to bake a new bread every month for the 101 in 1001 project. ?I started in February with one I thought would be a huge hit for a Super Bowl party. ?Pretzel bread. ?Supposedly, this is a bread that was developed by the head bread baker for Daniel Boulud. ?The description of this bread toted it as little football shaped breads. ?Footballs? ?Ah ha! ?I go to a Super Bowl party every year. ?Not sure why I go since I really don’t like football, but I do like my friends and there is wine there so it’s all good.

    I usually take a fat and cholesterol laden bean dip. ?It is yummy and people like it, but this time I thought I’d change it up a bit. ?I was going to make pretzel breads and gouda cheese fondue. ?It was all lackluster at best.

    The breads were nice… the day I made them. ?However, I made them the day before the part (in essence of time) and by the second day they were already stale.

    Would I make them again? ?Probably not. ?It was worth a try and I’m glad I gave it a shot.

  • 101 in 1001
  • #100 Clean out the Pantry

    The first weekend of my 101 in 1001 project I got to work. ?I resisted the urge to do 90% of it in one weekend. ?I would totally do that you know. ?That’s why I came up with stuff that would draw out the project the whole time frame.

    The first major project I did probably wasn’t the smartest one to start with, but it was one of those things that if I didn’t do it soon I might go crazy and you would find me buried under a pile of juice boxes, old cookies and miscellaneous gluten free flours. ?That project would be clean my pantry.

    My pantry isn’t the typical pantry. ?It is home to not only food, but linens, small appliances and random junk that I need to find a home for. ?In short it is the only storage spot I have for well… anything.

    Last Thursday I set out to to clean the pantry in the name of taking an inventory of the food contents therein. ?I wanted to do so because of one of my Living Cookbook features. ?As I cleaned I quickly learned that the contents of my pantry are no where close to the list from Living Cookbook.

    Needless to say I have a whole written page of pantry items that I have to enter into the computer, but I DO have a clean pantry. ?Now where the hell did I put the cookies? ?Question is… can it stay clean for the next 2.75 years?

  • 101 in 1001
  • Weekly Update

    This week’s update is brought to you by the letter Q and the number OU812.

    Long time readers haven’t heard and intro like that in a while.

    I couldn’t think of a better title and frankly this is a weekly wrap-up.

    Monday we celebrated a household holiday. ?February 1st. ?We don’t do anything special. ?Mostly we acknowledge that January is now over and we can go about our “normal” lives.

    Tuesday was fairly uneventful. ?I considered going grocery shopping, but later thought against it. ?I also contemplated the meaning of clean laundry and not turning my underpants inside out. ?That motion failed since I had to take the dog to the vet and had a meeting at work at 6:30. ?In other news, the dog now weighs 32 pounds and (except for the spay surgery) we don’t have to take her back until next year. ?That will save us some money.

    Wednesday life pretty much fell apart. ?I found out that I will potentially lose the office I so painstakingly painted and did so with my own money. ?I loved my little office. ?I will now have to move to a bigger office that I will share with someone who might actually be there at the same time as me as opposed to my lovely little pretty office that I would have to share, but my co-worker wouldn’t be there at the same time. ?I’m very sad about it. ?I painted it with my own money. ?I had photos ordered for the walls. ?I had a beautiful chair for visitors. ?It was mine and I’ve waited 5 years for it. ?Now I will have to move to an office that is ugly green and yellow, I might have a desk that isn’t made for someone working on a laptop and a chair made out of naugahyde. ?Yes, it’s bigger, but I don’t want to move.

    Wednesday also brought some other challenges, but I don’t want to go into that, I’m just trying to fix it. ?Let’s just say that it makes my losing my office problem very trivial.

    Thursday the trusty husband and I spent the day fixing aforementioned problem. ?We also spent the afternoon constantly checking facebook for an update on our friend Jenny who went into labor at 2:00 a.m. ?You know me, I don’t get overly excited about babies (that whole I can’t have one thing), but I am quite excited about this one. ?Mainly because I know Jenny is so ready to be not pregnant anymore.

    Today is all about candy. ?I have 5 slabs of caramels to make and 180 truffles to coat. ?I thought I was done with candy right about Christmas, but our China mission group at church did Sweet Hope for a fundraiser. ?I’ve whipped out about 600 truffles in 4 days (sans chocolate fridge).

    Now did I meet my 5 mile walking goal as part of my 101 in 1001? ?Um yeah, no. ?I’ve been so tired from chocolate making that it didn’t work. ?I still have 2 days though…