Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers October Challenge-- Doughnuts!

I'm baaack!

I wasn't taking part in the Daring Bakers Challenges for a while. There were lots of reasons, mostly centering on my expanding waistline, and the hot, hot summer. But now that it is cooling down, I'm back in the mood to bake. (The waistline will just have to fend for itself!)

The October Challenge was Doughnuts! The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

The doughnuts could be cake style or yeast raised, but they had to be deep fried. I did the yeast-raised ones, of course. Check out the recipe here. (A word of warning... the recipe makes 24 doughnuts and as many doughnut holes, so, unless you have an army of company coming or a family of teenage boys, cut the recipe in half!)

The instructions said to wait until the doughnuts were completely cool before glazing. Hello! Like I was going to miss out on warm doughnuts with oozy-goozy glaze dripping between my fingers! Not in this girl's kitchen! And it was a good thing I didn't listen, because, while the warm doughnuts were to die for, the cool ones were merely OK. I took some warm ones to work and the rest are getting fed to the chickens, who love them!

I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar and heavy cream, flavored with a little vanilla.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Celery?

A produce farm in Oviedo, Florida, has successfully developed a red celery-- well, red at the base anyway. They plan to test market it beginning in December in the west, northwest and southwest-- not in our area, in other words-- but we'll get it eventually. Will the red color get you to eat more celery? How about your kids?

Duda Farm Fresh Foods says the celery has the same great flavor and crunch, with a more interesting color. We eat with our eyes first, of course, but will our eyes tell us that this color just doesn't belong to celery? What happened to purple carrots? That was a development recently, but the carrots in my market (and on my table) are still orange.

Is the Ohio Valley ready for red celery? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cooking as Community

"...once upon a time, before every home had its own kitchen in which Mom labored more or less alone, cooking was itself a social activity, one that fostered community and conversation around the chopping board or cook fire long before the meal was served." Michael Pollan, in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

A few months ago a few friends, my husband, and I got together and cooked a meal, intending to do it on a more or less regular basis. Predictably, most of the cooking was done by the women, with most of the men deciding the high road was to stay out of the way. The menu was ambitious for a group who were not accustomed to chopping, simmering and working in cooperation with one another. But the results were delicious and everyone enjoyed the meal and the experience.

When we tried to schedule another one, it never worked out. Life just got in the way.

Kitchens these days are being designed with huge islands where guests and family could, if they chose to, have a glass of wine and help with (or at least watch) the food preparation. In many cases, they remain empty as we call out for pizza or eat fast food more evenings than not.

What would it take to bring back that community, that shared food experience that used to be so common? And would life be more fulfilling if we did?

Why not plan to gather some friends and some ingredients and make and share a meal? And let me know if you like it. It's a beginning...