Monday, October 19, 2009

The Anti-Friendship Bread

Do you remember Amish Friendship bread growing up? I remember nursing and caring for those Ziploc baggies filled with fermented batter a couple times during my youth. I never fully understood the process, but the final product was delicious. Recently, my roommate came into possession of 4 Friendship bread starters. So, we tenderly cared for the batter for ten days, "mushing" it everyday, adding more ingredients and even toting the baggies to Kansas City for a weekend lest it be alone. Needless to say, after our dedicated commitment to assuring the dough reached its total potential we were more than excited to bake the final loaves. If only we knew how this Friendship bread would torture us.

We began by taking 2 bags and emptying them into a large bowl. To the starter we added more flour, sugar and milk. We then separated 1 cup of the batter to be saved and passed on to others. We proceeded to use the remaining batter to mix the dough. That's where we went very wrong. We should have portioned out 4 cups into individual bags and saved only 1 cup to create the dough from. We failed to properly read the directions. Yes, we are both seniors in college.

Because our dough was so disproportionately wet, we panned 6 loaves instead of 4. We didn't fully recognize our mistake until the pans were already in the oven. Fail. After a brief period of mourning and feeling of defeat we decided to allow them to bake regardless. The failed loaves actually ended up tasty, but slightly burnt on top. Between three of us, we didn't have much difficulty eating the good parts though.

Fail bread

After a brief grieving period for the loaves we lost, we regrouped, remixed and re-baked. Our final product was three loaves. Now, we originally began with 4 bags of starter batter. From those 4 bags we should have portioned out 5 new batters equaling 20 starters. Each starter makes 2 loaves. All totalled we would have made 40 loaves of friendship bread. Ultimately, it was for the best that we didn't bake 40 loaves of bread. We didn't have the ingredients nor need for 40 loaves of friendship bread.

After this experience, friendship bread and I are no longer on speaking terms.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birthday Bouquets and Paper Trail

My birthday was a couple days ago and look at the beautiful bouquets I received!

My new sister-in-law must already know me too well. She & my brother sent me this fantastic fruit bouquet. It's edible! And fruit! I love fruit. I was ecstatic when this came through the door and as soon as I finished taking 121 pictures of its beauty I comsumed approximately half of it on the spot. So wonderful! Thank you Tejal & Evan!

The next beautiful bouquet came from one of my very good friends. We went out for breakfast at a cute cafe and afterwards she bought me these lovely fall flowers. She said I got fall colors because I'm a "fall person". Thanks Carolyn!

My Mom and family sent me loads of cards too. Some of them sang!

Birthday card parade:

Birthdays are great :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Korean Connection

This evening I had the privilege of dining on a home-cooked Korean meal. I've never eaten Korean food and was excited to taste a meal prepared by one of my good friends who is studying at K-State from Korea. She said the meal she prepared was very similiar to food her mother would make as an everyday meal.

Right from the get-go I knew I was going to love this meal. Check out this incredible jar of Kimchi. Nearly 8 lbs of spicy cabbage. The label said it contained Chinese cabbage, radishes, water, salt, onion, red pepper, garlic, spices, fish sauce and salted shrimp. What's fish sauce? I think I need to eat more Kimchi in order to fully apreciate the flavors and texture.

Next we had a soup made with fermented red bean paste, zucchini, red pepper, tofu and oysters. The oysters were soft and lovely. After eating this soup I feel that everything should be fermented.

Black paper! Actually, it's seaweed paper. It's cut into squares and we ate it by using the chopsticks to fold it around rice to resemble a rice/seaweed roll-thing. Probably my favorite part about the meal. Between the seaweed paper and rice there was this great crunchy/chewy texture.

She made an onion and egg roll/omlete. The tofu was pan seared and covered in a sauce. I'm not certain exactly what was in the sauce, but I know it contained onions...

For dessert she made chia tea. Now, I realize chia tea isn't exactly Korean, but it's still international so it qualifies for this meal.

For our next meal, I'm responsible for cooking something "American". We actually spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what that meant. So far I haven't decided on anything. Ideas?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I am taking a break from my mammoth BioChem study session to post some food pictures. I have a test in BioChemistry and Engineering Graphics tomorrow, so I will be feeling much less anxious after 6:30 tomorrow evening. Right now, however, I'm trying to cram as much information about aldehydes, ketones, esters, amides and carbohydrates into my brain as possible.

Last weekend I traveled home for the long weekend. K-State had fall break so I had Monday off and was able to go home for my little brother's homecoming parade and football game. Many wonderful foods were eaten.

Vegetable Salad

Cheesy Potatoes & BBQ Pulled Pork

It's a fall (and winter & spring & summer) tradition in our household to make caramel popcorn. As a family we've been making the sweet crunchy kernels for many years and have virtually perfected the recipe now. When I lived in Chicago a couple summers ago, I had access to Garrett's caramel popcorn. Garrett's takes caramel popcorn extremely seriously and once you've tasted their buttery rich version of the treat, it's hard to submit your taste buds to any other version. So we experimented with a variety of different caramel popcorn recipes and have finally found one that compares the Garrett's caliber. Normally, my Dad is in charge of popping the popcorn and I stir up the caramel sauce. Then we pour the syrup over the kernels and stir up the popcorn together. This is very addicting stuff.

My Mom made apple pie. But not just you're run-of-the-mill apple pie. She made a Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Apple pie. Instead of another crust on top, it's covered in struesel. Very delicious with vanilla ice cream.

For the non-pie eaters of the family, my Mom also made an ice cream cake roll. It's a chocolate sponge cake rolled with vanilla ice cream. Ice cream cake roll is another family tradition. It's my grandmother's recipe and she's famous for always having it in her freezer.

Week 6 of marathon training got devoured by studying for 3 exams, writing a paper, homework and working in a bakery. Running should resume to semi-normal this week. Hopefully sleeping will resume to semi-normal this week too. Okay, back to studying!