Posted on December 21, 2015
Category: Bread, Breakfast, By Ingredient, Cashews, Grains, Miscellaneous, Restaurant Reviews, Rye Tagged: ancient grains, baking, best brunch in los angeles, best food blogs, best pizza in los angeles, bread, brunch, daily sourdough, Lodge Bread Co., los angeles bread, los angeles restaurants, naturally leavened, pizza, restaurant review, toast
Posted on February 10, 2015
It’s been a while since I inventoried what was In My Kitchen, but my recent awesome success with the progeny of Celia@figjamandlimecordial’s sourdough starter Priscilla (Celia is the wonderwoman with a blog that’s a trove of cooking information, recipes and fun and who hosts In My Kitchen monthly), reminded me to pitch in. Read More
Posted on November 14, 2014
Did you know that rye is so easy to grow that in Washington it is classified as a Class C noxious weed? That’s because it pops up in fields where it hasn’t been planted. Not surprisingly, its virtue lies in its ability to grow in marginal soil. Think of some place like, well, Iceland. Read More
Posted on May 25, 2014
Posted on April 20, 2014
Birgerbird’s going blue today. The background of my blog I mean. I am forever playing around with color in my cooking, dressing and blogging. Last night as I was enjoying a scoop of basil ice cream at our neighborhood creamery I spied the espresso & coffee cups at the java station and they were the most beautiful shade of blue. And their shirts are blue.
The proprietors of this fine ice cream shop also run 3, soon to be 5, restaurants — Milo and Olive, Huckleberry and Rustic Canyon. The love children of Zoe Nathan Loeb and Josh Loeb, they each have their distinct personality, but all serve fresh, seasonal, creative, soulful food, Milo and Olive and Huckleberry with an emphasis on Zoe’s now-highly-pedigreed, uber-delicious and personal baked goods. Their team is dedicated to good food, good people, and good vibes, good sustainable practices, and they’ve nailed all 4. Since all of the restaurants are within 2 miles of our house and my office, I cannot complain about living in Los Angeles. It just wouldn’t be right.
When Milo and Olive first opened they offered “Super Cheesy Rye Biscuits” and I’ve been pining for them ever since . . . . they don’t appear much any more, if ever. But Zoe has assured me that the recipe is in her forthcoming book.
So these little blue espresso cups and the TShirt reminded me of when I was a little girl hanging the ornaments on the tree while my parents’ records played in the background, specifically Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Cat Stevens. And we had a little ornament that was a little bird’s nest, with a robin and her little blue eggs inside. And the Joan Baez song “Diamonds and Rust” describing, apparently, Bob Dylan’s eyes as being “bluer than Robin’s Eggs” would play over and over.
In the song, Baez recounts a surprise call from an old lover, which sends her 10 years back in time, to a “crummy” hotel in Greenwich Village; she remembers giving him a pair of cuff-links, and summarizes that memories bring “diamonds and rust.” Baez is on record stating that the lyrics refer to her relationship with Bob Dylan.
Well I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I’d known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall
As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin’s eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust
Ah, music. So I put a little Joan Baez radio on iTunes while I put together my experimental cheesy rye bread loaf. It turned out pretty good, I must say, even if a little wet and dense.
I basically used a gougere dough recipe because my sourdough starter wasn’t fully ready, and figured the eggs would help with leavening. No recipe today, guys, gotta work on perfecting this one.
Category: Bread, Miscellaneous Tagged: artisan food, baking, bread, cooking, daily post, farm to table, freshly pressed, homemade bread, Huckleberry Cafe, ice cream, Joan Baez, josh loeb, memories, Milo and Olive, music, postaday, rustic canyon restaurant and wine bar, rye, sourdough, sustainable cooking, sweet rose creamery, Zoe Nathan Loeb
Posted on April 18, 2014
Do you remember your grade school history?
George Washington and his cherry tree, the Mayflower, making construction paper hats, that kind of thing . . . but did anybody tell you that John Adams began each day with a tankard of hard cider, that the Mayflower was loaded with barrels of beer, or that after the war, Washington traded his sword for a whiskey still?
That’s because traditional histories don’t usually mention that our colonial forefathers (and mothers) swam in a sea of booze from breakfast till bedtime. Whether they were working, fighting, traveling, writing . . early Americans were often tipsy—perhaps rationalized by the belief that fermented drinks were safer than water. Back in the day, the day didn’t begin until after a “dram” of bitters or “stiffener” of beer.
Due to this boozelust, early Americans came up with an amusing variety of pseudo-cocktails from their pantry of ale, cider, rum, milk, cream, sugar, molasses, eggs, spices and citrus. You may have noticed that some of these drinks —such a “shrubs” and meads are making a comeback in bars and restaurants.
Let’s talk about the posset, because I recently bought one at one of my favorite neighborhood eateries.
You may know it as a custard or pudding type dessert as pictured above but . . . .
A posset was originally a British hot drink of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was popular from medieval times to the 19th century. In the Middle Ages, it was used as a cold and flu remedy and was more of a drink than a mousse. Lady Macbeth used a poisoned posset to knock out the guards outside Duncan’s quarters. These days a posset is a cold set dessert loosely based on the drink, containing cream and lemon.
As I was researching the posset I came upon a version called a “Fig Sue” which, given that it is Good Friday, and given the other facts/terms/wordplay as described below, is the indisputable choice for birgerbird’s Fiesta Friday #12 dish.
Fig Sue was a bread posset once served on Good Friday in some parts of the English Lake District. It was made with ale, bread, figs, treacle and nutmeg. I love bread, love figs, love treacle (molasses); used to but don’t anymore love ale. The figs were meant to represent the Crucifix, which was traditionally thought to have been made with the wood of a fig tree. Fig Sue was traditionally served from a ‘piggin’ or ‘bicker.’ I love that word ‘piggin’ and Lord knows I can love to ‘bicker.’
To make the drink, milk was heated to a boil, then mixed with wine or ale which curdled it, and the mixture was usually spiced.
A well made posset was said to have three different layers. The uppermost, known as ‘the grace’ was a snowy foam or aereated crust. In the middle was a smooth spicy custard and at the bottom a pungent alcoholic liquid. The grace and the custard were enthusiastically consumed as ‘spoonmeat’ and the sack-rich liquid below drunk through the ‘pipe’ or spout of the posset pot.
I decided to make a traditional Fig Sue recipe that I found on the internet on some godforsaken ancient parish township newsletter column, which included a library of recipes. It tastes like . . . Christmas pudding smoothie? Yes, Christmas pudding smoothie.
This mixture of sourdough bread, ale (I used a belgian “sour ale”), sweet cream, figs, molasses, rum and nutmeg . . . served hot . . . truly surprised me with its deliciousness. It’s a tummy full, but if you’ve fasted for Good Friday, you can drink it as your dinner and it will satisfy . . . and probably transition you to dreamland.
Here’s the Recipe:
1/2 pint strong ale
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbps butter
3 slices bread
6 dried figs
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp rum
Cook bread gently in ale with figs, molasses, brown sugar, nutmeg and rum for about 10 minutes. Transfer to blender with butter and blend until smooth, thinning out with water if necessary.
Category: By Category, Drinks, Figs, Miscellaneous Tagged: alcohol, ale, bread, british food, colonial food, cooking, daily post, Easter, Fiesta Friday, figs, freshly pressed, Good Friday, holiday drinks, home brewing, home cooking, homemade, meads, medieval recipes, molasses, nutmeg, postaday, Recipes, restorative drinks, shrubs, traditional drinks, traditional foods