Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Washington Coast

Lake Quinault Camping/Picnic area.
This is lake Quinault with the Olympic Mountain range in the background.  It had a really nice camping area, and picnic sites that were right on the water.  We actually started this trip at my parents home, close to Bremerton.  Then traveled to Aberdeen, and drove up the coast a bit to get to this lake.  Such beautiful scenery!  My Aunt & Uncle, Cousin & her husband, came up from Texas for a cruise to Alaska.  They were joined by my cousins daughter, husband, and their two children when they came back.  If I am counting right, there were 11 people and 3 cars on this trip.  It was such fun, if a little tiring.  My Texas family, my mom and sister, all had a great time visiting.  It was a memorable trip, with lots of stories from my mom and her sister about their childhood. 

Kalaloch Beach taken from path.

This is Kalaloch beach.  It has a lot of sand and driftwood, and the ocean for as far as you can see!  The kids got their feet wet here, but the undertow was strong so there was no swimming. 

Looking back at path to beach.
The path to the beach, with the gazebo at the top.  This stop has a lodge, with a gift shop and small cabins we rented when I was young.  It's about the halfway point of the drive.

Texas family getting their feet wet in Pacific Ocean.
What fun to watch the kids stick their feet into the ocean.  Children are always so fun to have on a trip like this!

Standing by the Lodge at Kalaloch Beach, looking at a small inlet.

Path to Ruby Beach, with ocean in background.

We grow big trees in Washington State.

Path continues down to the beach.

View of ocean through the trees.

Ruby Beach with islands off the coast.

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The path to Ruby Beach was longer than the others, and a lot steeper.  The views were really awesome though! 

I must go for now, many things to catch up on.  I will have some pictures from the Hoh Rain Forest, and from Hurricane Ridge in my next post.  I wish we had time to stop at Crescent Lake, it's beautiful too!  We did drive by it, but it was getting dark and we all were ready for our hotel beds for the night!  This was a two day trip, but really should have been done in at the very least 3 days.  For more information about this area try the National Park Service website.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's JUNE! Summertime is here....

Or is it?  I woke up this morning and it just never occurred to me that when you live in the mountains you might wake up to this:

Yes, that is an apple tree with flowers finally starting to bloom, covered in slushy snow.

I sometimes forget about living in the mountains, but occasionally it is made clear to me that living at 3800 feet above sea level is different than where I grew up.

That is slushy snow falling in the background of the picture, the type that chills you right down to the bone.  There was so much of it that it made the picture look out of focus.

I think you can just ask the kitties what they think about this snow.  They have spent the morning trying to keep warm!

Or the Australian Shepherd who takes his job very seriously and has to monitor the outside kitties when they leave the yard...

That is one sad wet looking puppy dog!  He won't leave his post to come dry out on the porch, till all his kitties are back home on the front porch.

Note:  This is a blog post, if you want to see the rest of my posts click on this link:  http://journeywithbaking.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 30, 2011

BBA Lavash Crackers

This is my version of Lavash crackers, using the formula from Peter Reinhart's book.  I adapted it by using 100% white whole wheat, and adding a little extra liquid to get the right consistency.  Here is the dough, ready to put into the fridge overnight to give it more flavor. 

I pulled the dough from the fridge this morning, and put it into my dehydrator at 80* F temperature setting. Allowing it to warm for 90 minutes, before stretching it out and sprinkling flour on top preparing it to be rolled with a rolling pin.

If I make these again, I will split the dough in half and roll it even thinner than I did this time.  The edges were a lot thinner than the middle and when I baked this the edges were thin crispy and crunchy.  I liked them a lot better than the slightly thicker portions in the center.

I sprayed the dough with water, then added rosemary, garlic, and Kosher salt.  Then I used a pizza cutter to cut them into smallish squares.  I wanted crackers you could spread a little bit of cream cheese spread on, and take a couple bites of.  Then I gave it time to rise a little bit, about 1/2 an hour while the oven warmed to 350* F.

This is how thin the outer edges were, which was just about right for this cracker.

Here they are all baked and cracked apart into individual crackers.  The thicker ones are crunchy, and not hard, but still I think would have been better about half as thick.

This shows you how thick the center ones were.

Links to my fellow baker's in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, 2011!  Here are links to their versions of this cracker.  They are all very talented baker's, who have gotten together to share their results from baking the Bread's in Peter Reinhart's book Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Our host Chris at A Ku Indeed
Jim at OvenMinded
Coz at Scratchbaker

Some laps are awesome

They say a picture  is worth a thousand words...

Last summer I had a house filled with family, it seemed all summer long there were people around who spoiled this kitty.  He is my Mom-in-Laws kitten, but during the winter she goes to where it is warmer.  The older I get, the better that sounds!  Smoky though didn't understand when he was so used to having a ton of people around, plus a brother to play with, why suddenly there was only my husband to hang out with.  They spent about a month, just the two of them, alone.  He felt totally abandoned and really got attached to my husband, and when I came back he would hardly give me the time of day.  In fact to this day he follows my husband everywhere he goes.  Weird kitty....

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hamelman's Pissaladière Page 275

I was actually quite skeptical about this one. First I have never had pizza without sauce on it, and second putting fish on my favorite food, well it just sounded rather bad. I decided though that I would give it a try, and I am actually rather surprised that I thought it was pretty good. Anchovies are not my favorite topping, and I will not be in a rush to put this on any of my regular pizza's, but I would definitely eat a pizza that already had them on it.

Here I sliced my onions, soaked my thyme in extra virgin olive oil, and have my can of anchovies ready to slice into thin pieces.

I adapted this recipe to use 100% whole wheat white flour, which means the dough will have lots of flavor and probably won't rise very high.  I prefer the White Winter Wheat berries for this type of recipe, so that it gives me flavor but  doesn't overwhelm the other flavors of topping etc.

I saved half the dough for hamburger buns, and used a 1 lb chunk for this recipe.  While the dough was doing it's 2 hour first rise, I sauteed the onions and sliced the anchovies.  Sauteed onions are one of my favorite foods, although normally I just chop some sweet onions and put them on top of my pizza to bake while it bakes.  I chose not to use garlic in this recipe, although I do love fresh garlic most of the time.

I stretched the dough out to approximately 12" x 6" rectangle, since I think it helps the dough's crumb to not use a rolling pin.  I actually didn't have to flour the surface of this wonderful cooking mat, and didn't use any oil on it either. 

Next I moved the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, which I believe is one of the most awesome inventions of all time. I then placed the onions on the dough, you can see the olive oil and thyme coated the top.  I then chose to put both black olives and green olives onto the top. Just so you know, green olives are really good on pizza.  I have never thought of trying this, until I was reading how Lutz on Mellow baker's did hers. 

This is the dough after it has done it's last proof, which I actually chose to do a full hour rather than the 20 minutes that was suggested in the book.  I actually needed to give my baking stone a chance to heat for 45 minutes, or it wouldn't have worked well for that initial rise and crisp crust.

I love how thick and poofy the dough looks here, and this is where I figured out that this not only doesn't have sauce, but it doesn't have cheese on it either!  This is also the point I almost stopped, disregarded all instructions and put the cheese on.  I had a mental debate, inside my head, something like this:  Pizza has cheese. You should be willing to try new things. But pizza has cheese, and sauce. You can't decide you don't like something without trying it.  Bbbbbbbbut... !!!!!!

From HamelmansPissaladiere

If you look at the picture you will notice, it does NOT have cheese.  My DH and I each had two small pieces, and actually enjoyed them!!!  I then however, could not stop myself and put a mix of parmesan, mozzarella, monterey jack, and cheddar on the top and guess what!  We actually enjoyed our pizza.  I will say it is not our favorite, and we would both choose pepperoni over anchovies, but it was actually ok.

I am working with a group of baker's which call themselves Mellow Baker's and we are baking from a book called, Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  Come check the forum out, it's a pretty laid back group who bakes what they can when they can with no time pressure's on them.  There are a few recipes that are suggested for each month, and we simply bake the ones that we want to. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Death from above...

I think I need to find a new place for my bird feeder! I am thinking that the bird is going to lose in this situation.

What do indoor kitty's do all day?

 Well, first they eat and sleep a lot, but occasionally they find a pastime that is a lot more amusing for them.

Sylvester says something is happening outside!

Yes, there is definitely something going on.

See that faint shadow in the tree?

He's not sure exactly what that things is, but he knows he would like to play with it.

Black Headed Grosbeak Grosbeak info

This is going to be a long day for Sylvester, camping out just hoping it comes inside.

As I was taking these pictures, my daughter sent me this link to a cartoon.  I thought it really fit what Sylvester was going through, so I included it for you all to see!

Predatory Friend

Now wasn't that funny?