Gas station without pumps

2022 September 17

Focaccia 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:51
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Our block had a potluck block party today (first in 3 years), so I decided to bake focaccia. I threw away my sourdough starter a few months ago, so I’m trying the focaccia recipe starting from new yeast (see sourdough focaccia and Sourdough focaccia 2 for the recipes I used with the sourdough starter).

Day 1: I started with a light sponge to rise and sour overnight. Mix

1 cup bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water

together in large bowl.  Cover and let rise overnight.

Day 2 (morning): Mix into the sponge

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
2 cups bread flour
½ cup water

and let rise for all day.  Meanwhile, mix

1 cup olive oil
7 cloves garlic, pressed through coarse garlic press
11 g fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt

and let it steep all day to make a garlicky oil.

Day 2 (evening): Mix into the sponge

½ cup of the garlicky olive oil (getting as much of the solids as possible)
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

with bread hook. Knead in an additional

½ cup bread flour

by hand, to get a smooth dough. Place the ball of dough in a bowl with the garlicky oil (turning to coat the ball with oil), cover, and let rise overnight until tripled.

Day 3 (the day of baking):  Stretch dough into a sheet about 12″ by 18″ by ⅜” in a greased cookie sheet with raised sides (use the garlicky oil from the bowl to grease the sheet). If the dough springs back, let it rest a couple of minutes and stretch it out again.  Make dimples in the top surface and pour the remaining garlicky oil on top.

Let rise (covered) for an hour or two. I was limited by the time between when I got up and when the bread had to be ready for the 12–3 potluck—a longer rise would have been better here.

Preheat oven to 400°F (which means setting 450°F on my oven) and bake 30 minutes, until golden brown.

I cut the resulting sheet into 24 3″×3″ pieces.  It was fairly popular at the potluck, as we ended up with only 3 pieces at the end.

The focaccia made a nice display in the basket, though it would have been better if the bread had risen just a bit more.

2022 September 3

Secret Walks: Kalkar Quarry

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:44
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On Thursday 1 Sept 2022, a friend of mine and I took a short (3.2 miles) but slightly hilly walk to Kalkar Quarry, which is where the spring is that gives Spring Street its name. This is a somewhat easier walk than the one described in Secret Walks: Harvey West-Quarry loop, but still has a couple of steep uphill segments (on Laurent and on Limestone Lane).

(Click map for higher resolution) The route was a fairly simple loop—up Laurent to Major, around Westlake, up Spring to High, then up Kalkar and Limestone Lane to the stairs at the end leading down into the quarry. We went around as much of the quarry as possible, then exited through Rockridge And Spring Street, taking the pedestrian walkway at the end of Quarry Court back to Limestone Lane. From High Street, we headed down Moore Street, and back down the Laurent Street hill.

The pond in the quarry is still choked with tule.

But there is a little open water by the houses, here seen from the east end of the quarry.

2022 September 1

Pear muffins

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:00
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Our Seckel pear tree has started producing fruit for this year, and there is far more than I could ever eat.  Most end up getting eaten by various insect pests (we refer to those as “friendly fruit”) and a lot get bruised falling from the tree, ending up in the compost.  I think that gophers eat the ones in the compost, as they seem to disappear within a day and there are large tunnels through the compost now.

Tonight, to use up some of the bounty, I decided to make pear muffins.  The recipe is based on the buttermilk muffin recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, somewhat modified as I have no buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 2 muffin tins (for a dozen muffins).

Mix dry ingredients:

2½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl:

2 eggs lightly beaten
⅔ cup yogurt
⅔ cup milk
⅓ cup melted butter
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup finely diced pears (the Seckel pears are somewhat mushy, so this may not really be feasible)

Stir the wet and dry ingredients together to get a somewhat lumpy batter with no pockets of flour.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to the top. Bake until browned and well-risen (about 25 minutes).

They came out looking and tasting good, but we really didn’t use up many pears to make a whole lot of muffins.

The dozen muffins cooling on the racks.

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