So I have been meaning to post this for a while. Since Easter exactly. But everything just seems to always be happening all at once. Work got extremely busy, the commute is starting to wear me out and I keep having trouble focusing, on anything. But now thats all about to change. Everything is going to change. This past week has been eventful. So last Saturday morning, while I was staying up at my Grandma's to help her out while my Grandpa was in the hospital, I got a phone call. Fairly early in the morning. It was about a job that I applied for two week ago. After a bit of a chat, a date and time was set and up to St. Helena I would go. About an hours drive from where I live.
So I went up, interviewed with the Chef and by the end of the meeting, a date and time was set for me to come back and bake them a fair number of things.
The next day and a half was spent frantically practicing all that I would need to bake for them that day. Many variations of the same thing, trying to find what was the most delicious.
So the day came, the drive up there was spent me furiously yelling at every other car in the massive pile up of traffic, thinking that would help to not make me late. Luckily I made it on time. And away I went, baking for them for the next 6 hours.
'Well at least I got the experience' I thought (the thing you say to yourself when you really want the job but immediately rethink everything you did once you left)
But a phone call the next day put my heart at ease, I got the job!! Good bye San Francisco, hello St Helena! I couldn't be happier. This new job will be a lot of hard work but I couldn't be more excited to start. A challenge is always good.
So one more week of cupcakes and then on to something new!
So hopefully I'll be able to find a little studio apt in the St Helena/Napa area so I don't have to commute. Recommendations always welcome ;)
Homemade butter. I never realized how simple it was and how amazing the results can be. The deep yellow color, the creamy smooth taste, my normal butter will never taste as good. I used a cultured butter recipe, letting the cream sit with a bit of yogurt for a few hours to ferment. The flavor is intensified, especially when you knead in a bit of fleur de sel at the end of the process. Smeared on a piece of homemade herbed bread, it was possibly the best thing.
I loved the color of how the butter turned out. So yellow, deep and rich, not the anemic white butter that I buy in bulk from certain warehouse store. While that butter is all well and good for baking, it need brings much flavor to a piece of bread. After making a few batch of butter, the most obvious is true to getting an amazing color and flavor in it. Use really high quality cream! Well of course, it's the only things its really made of. But I just kind of thought, whatever cream is cream and cheaped out on my first batch. I used he grocery store brand cheap cream. The butter was good but looked kinda like the butter I buy.
But them I remember seeing Strauss cream in those amazing little glass bottles at whole foods. Everything Strauss has always served me well, so I thought ill make on expensive batch of butter. Completely and totally different from using the other cream. This butter came out so yellow and so flavorful, you have to go get he good stuff if your going to make butter. It's a world of difference.
from Not Without Salt
1 pint high quality heavy cream
2 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 tsp fleur de sel
Pour cream into bowl of a stand mixer. Add in yogurt then stir gently until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for a few hours. (I let mine sit for 4 hours)
Remove plastic, place in stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment until the buttermilk separates from the fat. Continually pour of the liquid (save it for other baking needs, its buttermilk) and keep beating, getting out as much liquid as you can.
When you think you have gotten all that you can out, pour in 1/2 cup cold water and mix on low. Pour off liquid and repeat until it's nearly clear.
Take out of stand mixer, but leave butter in the bowl. Preferably with gloves, knead butter by hand as you would dough. Pour off any liquid that comes out. Knead in the salt. Add more salt if you are like me.
You now should have amazing butter.
I also chopped up some thyme and just mashed it in with the butter!
Do you remember the Dutch Oven Bread recipe I posted a bit ago?
I had wrote about how I longed for a Le Creuset big dutch oven but never seemed to be able to pull together the funds to buy one. Or at least be able to justify all that gas/bridge toll money on a dutch oven.
So the next day after I post, I got a phone call. I didn't recognize the number, and I normally don't answer if I don't, but this time I did for some reason. And I am sure glad I did. It was a gentleman from Marketing at Sur La Table, telling me how they saw the post and wanted to send me a Le Creuset, so could they have my address? My mind went blank. 'Umm are you serious?!? Of course you can have my address' I was totally shocked. I always just have those 'Blah no one really reads my blog' thoughts. But I guess all us bloggers get that way sometime. Anyways, it was seriously the best phone call that I had gotten in a long time. A few days later, a big box showed up at my doorstep and this wonderful thing of beauty was in it and a lovely handwritten note from the kind people of Sur La Table.
I am forever grateful they sent this to me, I completely love it and can't wait to use it once my life gets a bit less hectic.
I want my first recipe for it to be epic.