This past weekend was pretty low key – and one of the first weekends that Mister and I both had busy Saturdays planned separately. While Mister went skiing with my Dad, I met a few women for brunch in Manhattan.
It is nice being walking distance to a Metro North station in Westchester – within 35-40 ish minutes I can go from my front door to Grand Central. Thankfully, the women I met up with were kind enough to choose a place just a few blocks from Grand Central to make brunch even easier.
Salvation Taco was the perfect spot for a girl’s brunch ; there was a steady stream of spicy margaritas and sangria while we were able to lounge around a coffee table on couches. Thankfully one of us took command and ordered food for the table, which meant we were all able to share tacos, quesadillas, and wings. Everything had great flavor, and I personally loved the extra salty chips that came with an order of guacamole.
By Sunday morning, we were both excited for a lazy couch day – especially Mister after a very early and long day of skiing. We had mini bagels with the works [i.e. smoked salmon, tomato slices, and red onion] and coffee while on the couch.
While waiting for the coffee to brew, I spied the bread cookbook my Mom had gifted me last week and thought the rainy Sunday was a great time to give something a try.
Bread Illustrated is an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook – which means I was in love with it before even cracking the binding. For all beginners, scientists, curious cooks, or experimenters – try America’s Test Kitchen. What I love is they explain the why and the how to every single thing. For example, with my favorite meatloaf recipe of their’s – they showed the results from baking it in a glass loaf pan, a metal loaf pan, and free form on a sheetpan. They explain the merits of each situation, and ultimately recommend free form on a sheetpan for the ability to crisp up all the edges. I trust their recipes because they work, and they explain why.
Bread and rice seem to be my two nemesis in the kitchen. I can’t cook rice, and I struggle with bread.
While it didn’t rise as much as I would’ve liked, the Whole Wheat variation on the American Sandwich Bread was perfection. The taste, texture, and even crust was really impressive. Thanks to the cookbook, I think I was able to pinpoint why the rise wasn’t ideal [water wasn’t warm enough for the yeast in the first rise, and it might’ve been too cold/drafty in my kitchen for the second rise].
I can confidently say, however, that I used said bread for my lunchtime sandwich at work today. Feels pretty good to say, hey look I made this! [I didn’t actually do that, because I’m pretty sure that would just be strange. But like if someone asked…]
While all this baking was going on , I felt bad for the dogs. Yes I’m a crazy dog mom, but we keep the dog treats on the counter where I was baking and they kept running in exactingly. Since I had the oven going, and we weren’t doing anything other than laundry and watching tv most of the day, I decided to try a batch of dog biscuits as well.
I happened to have a set of dog related cookie cutters we had received as a wedding gift – so I was able to come up with a pretty sizeable batch of dog bone shaped treats. I purposely under baked them by a few minutes, to keep them soft per my dogs’ preference. These were a HUGE hit – so much so that I’m considering making them as regularly as I can.