Saturday, October 30, 2010


Way back in the early 1980's, I got into some serious bread baking.  I was totally enamored at that time with the Williams-Sonoma catalog.  It would be years later when I would finally enter a Williams-Sonoma store.  It was love!!

Back in 1981, The Trout and I belonged to a "Wine Group".   We were 5 couples who became friends through the local Newcomers Club.  We started out so 'good,' meaning, we would blind taste 5 or 6 wines and only eat a slice of bread to cleanse the palate.  We would try to meet once a month at someone's home.  Just let me say, very quickly, the slice of bread to cleanse the palate made way to some really nice gourmet dinners.  We also took the brown paper bags off of the wine bottles, and simply enjoyed the evening.

During these years - we stayed together in our group for 12 years - I kind of started 'my specialty' which was my recipe for Williams-Sonoma recipe for baguettes. 

Above you see the double metal pans that I purchased so many years ago.  You simply formed your loaves and baked them in them grooved pans.  They held the dough nicely, made a very crisp crust and kept the loaves at a small, petite baguette size.

Well, today was one of those days and I felt I had to revisit the old days, so I baked the baguettes.  I only wish our dear friends were here this evening to enjoy with us a glass of wine and a slice of bread.  We have scattered, as it happens.  So for Gene and Peg, Jim and Laurie, Mark and Kathy and John and Melva....a toast to the good old days.

Williams-Sonoma French Bread (Baguettes)

In a large bowl dissolve 1 envelope dry yeast, 1 Tbs. sugar and 2 tsps. salt in 2 cups warm water.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Stir in about 4 cups all-purpose flour, and turn out onto a floured surface.  Using a pastry scraper, lift and turn the dough, which will be very soft, until it coheres enough to knead.  Add more flour if necessary and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Put in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.

Dislodge dough from sides of bowl with a rubber spatula and turn out.  Gently pat flat, dust with a little flour, and fold in half to form a half circle, and then again to form a quarter circle.  Return to bowl and let rise for another 30 minutes (the rising develops the full flavor and ultimate lightness.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, pat flat and fold in half.  Cut into four equal pieces, form into balls and let rest for 5 minutes.  Flatten each ball into an oval and roll up like a jelly roll.  Form into a loaf almost the length of the pan by rolling back and forth.

Line baguette pan with a pastry cloth or coarsely woven cloth and place formed dough in the furrows.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise again until almost double.  Pull the pans out from under the cloth and gently flip the loaves onto the pans which have been brushed with butter.  Use the cloth to help you, pulling the loaf towards the pan.  Brush the loaves with well-beaten egg mixed with a little water, and slash each loaf diagonally with a bakers' blade or razor blade.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  (I have always reduced this to 425 degrees because my ovens have always seemed very hot)

I have not checked if these pans are still available, but I suppose you could free-form these loaves as well.  Enjoy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Salmon on the Grill

It was a good day!  I just opened the windows...the air is cooling, our hot spell has passed, and now we can get down to enjoying a great late fall and winter in Florida.

Bon Appetit arrived this week as it has for the last 30+ years.  We have always promised ourselves that we would prepare at least 2-3 recipes out of each issue.  Usually, this has worked out just fine.  Tonight's meal was "Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce." 

It was very good, especially the sauce, but the fennel and coriander seeds crusted on the salmon were not that well received.  We both decided that dill would have been a better choice.  The salmon was beautifully grilled, instead of pan cooked, and the roasted asparagus always are a hit.

Spice-Crusted Salmon with Ginger-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 6 -ounce salmon fillets with skin

Mix yogurt, cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon oil, ginger and garlic in small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Crush fennel and and coriander seeds and press into the salmon filets.

Grill on each side until done.  Serve with the yogurt sauce.

We served this with a 2008 Smythe-Renfield Pinot Nois from New Zealand which turned out to be a very delightful wine and a perfect companion to the salmon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rose Liquor

I really like odd and unique shaped bottles.  Always have and don't know why.  This past spring when we were in Germany, the Trout and I came across a little distillery where you could sample just about anything your little heart desired.  Always thinking with a practical vice around my heart, I knew we had little room for anything breakable.  But, can you imagine?  Of all the flavors of liquors in this tiny place, the one that struck both of us was Rose Liquor?

It hits your tongue with a perfume that is very strong and then it lingers on the tongue for a long time.  WOW!  This was very DIFFERENT.  We bought this small bottle (I also liked the shape) and last evening, we had our first opening and taste.

Just a little taste..I have to make it last.  And then we started imagining where we could use it.  Like in a flavoring for a white frosting on a cake, a vanilla pudding, frosting on a sweet roll.   Or, just another sip after a good dinner. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's planting time

We went to the downtown farmer's market today and found beautiful replacements for the hibiscus plants we lost this past January in a hard frost.  We have bought from this gentleman before and his plants are very reasonable and hardy.

This is a beautiful yellow hibiscus, while the photo above shows a brilliant orange. 

Though this is white, it is as beautiful white with a double flower.  What is amazing about these gorgeous plants is that they are in 12 inch pots, almost 3 feet tall, profusely blooming and they cost....$10 each. 

And then we stopped at our favorite hyponic lettuce grower's stand.  He has many different types of lettuce and these were harvested this morning.  The long-leaved lettuce on the bottom, middle, he called deer tongue.  New to me, but we are willing to try them all.  They are so crisp and fresh and because the roots are attached, they can stay in the refrigerator for quite a long time. In this photo we have 4 different kinds including a red romaine.  We can get at least 3 or 4 good sized salads out of this collection and a total of $5.  Another bargain in my eyes. 

Now to get the tomato plant, cucumbers, radishes and pepper planted.  Very, very small garden, but it is nice to just run outside to harvest during our winter season.

Friday, October 22, 2010

We are home

My passion flower is still blooming   

I guess I have taken enough time from my blog.  It really is time to enjoy writing again.  First of all, I want to thank everyone for their wonderful thoughts after our sadness came on so suddenly when our beloved four-legged furry friend, Kippy, went to the Rainbow Bridge.  Two friends, first Bonnie and then Becky, told me about the Rainbow Bridge.  It was new to me and it certainly expressed all of my feelings.  Thank you to both of you.  And to the other 24 comments, expressing your sadness, I was touched.  I even made a new friend, Kary, Diane sent a beautiful poem, and I actually felt the many hugs.

Arriving back in Florida with a little tough.  Our neighbor's Yorkie came running immediately looking for Kippy.  He still doesn't understand that Kippy did not come home with us and keeps looking for her.  On my Facebook page, I received many other notes of encouragement.  I am happy to see that there are so many pet lovers out there that truly understand.

But now, it is time to plant our winter garden, get our home back in order and very soon we will be doing our volunteering at the Children's Miracle Network golf classic at Disney.  And cooking...really need to start cooking again.  Making a spelt salad tonight that I have made before.  Also picked up a new slow cooker along the way home, and anxious to try some recipes in that.  I'll be back.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye little baby Kippy


Born 12-31-95, Winona, Minnesota
Died 10-11-10, Anaconda, Montana

Kippy was the most loyal, loving and best little friend in the world.  She will be missed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It is just about time

We are now into October and that means the bags are coming out and we are starting to slowly pack up for the long ride home.  There is just one little exception.

Tomorrow I leave on a flight for Arizona.  A friend from Kindergarten through high school graduation is celebrating a special birthday, and I will be there!!

When I get back next week, we start the 3000 mile journey back to Florida.  The weather down there is getting beautiful.  Low 80's and much, much lower humidity.  It's been a real good summer, but the time is right to get back to our routine.

I will be taking a little blogging break until I am back in Florida.  We will be visiting grandchildren along the way home and we are definitely looking forward to that. 

So, "Happy Trails" to you, until we meet again!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Colors of Autumn

Montana has beautiful colors of fall, even though red is very rare.  This is one very pretty example of red.

And beautiful examples of golds.

Some beautiful rainbow colors.....

And the browns are spectacular as well.