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“Nuts” Good Paratha

IParatha 9 (1 of 1)

I borrowed Mr. Fitz’s idea to make a type of “nuts good” flatbread, adding sourdough to my dough, letting it sit overnight, then stuffing it with Spinach, Preserved Lemon and Zaatar.  Let’s head over here (yikes) and check it out!

Robin’s Egg Blue; Super Cheesy Rye Bread

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.

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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.

Happy Easter!

 

 

Mulberry Pancakes Mike-style

IMG_0259

Mike-style is kind of hard to describe with one word so I’ll give a little illustration. My chosen adjectives carry a somewhat negative connotation (heavy-handed, overdone, excessive) and I’m trying to change my perception. After all, we all have our unique style, right? Aren’t we all, after all, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights including the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness??  Aren’t the most unusual of our eccentrics often endearing???  Perhaps you can contribute your ideas for a proper descriptor for Mike-style.
Here’s the illustration:  Okay, so let’s say you prepare a homemade strawberry galette, with homemade dough and using the berries you grow in your back yard. It needs no embellishment because the individual elements are so pure and flavorful.
So you bring it to the table and he takes a bite and says, “Oh my gosh this is SOOOO good! WOW!”
Quietly he gets up from the table and says “I’ll be right back.”
And then he comes back with some sliced strawberries on top and some strawberry jam. It’s Smuckers from a couple years ago, but, well, there it is.
Then shyly he says, “You don’t mind if I run a quick errand, do you . . . I’ll be right back!!!”
And he returns with some strawberry ice cream. Now the galette’s got fresh strawberries on top, some jam, and ice cream. Now his galette is Mike-style.
Since it’s Mike’s Birthday I’m trying to cover all my bases with this pancake creation.  The mulberries are fresh and uber-seasonal.  They are a unique and delicious berry delicious as is.  However, if you add them into the batter, they warm up a bit and “bleed,” along with their flavor, ever so subtly into the pancake.  Then, if you throw a few in a pan with some water & cornstarch, you can create a “quick jam.”  You might even puree a few berries with some softened butter to melt over the pancakes.  See what I mean?
Since you may not wish to venture into Mike-style, I offer only the recipe for the pancakes.  I use a mix of homemade buttermilk (but of course store bought is very good), eggs, baking soda, rye flour, polenta, ricotta and lemon zest.
Here’s the Recipe:
Ingredients:
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup cornmeal or polenta
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese, drained for at least 1/2 hr
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sale
3 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle
1 cup fresh mulberries
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together LIGHTLY, except 1/2 cup mulberries and the lemon zest.  I like to also add a couple of tablespoons of my sourdough starter to the batter, so if you keep a starter, add a little bit into the batter.  Let sit in a bowl overnight.
Bubbling Up Pancake Mix
Bubbling Up Pancake Mix
Adding the Little Mulberries
Adding the Little Mulberries
Heat griddle to 375 degrees.  Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Of course if you don’t have a griddle, just proceed as you normally do with a non-stick or cast iron or other pan when making pancakes.  Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter onto griddle (or pan). Wipe off excess.
Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
Cooking Up
Cooking Up
Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in a 175 degree oven. Serve warm with maple syrup, butter, and fresh mulberries.
Tall Stack, Mike-style
Tall Stack, Mike-style
Bacon Makes a Nice Addition to a Birthday Meal!
Bacon Makes a Nice Addition to a Birthday Meal!
The Pursuit of Happiness -- Complete!
The Pursuit of Happiness — Complete!

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