The next logical step after Twinkies ... corn dogs.

mini corn dogs
Frankie's BFFF from her daycare days came over Saturday for a super play date and dinner. They both were chanting "corn dogs" and Frankie had been leading the chant for several days already. These kids were going to tear up the house worse than they already had if there were no corn dogs.

Never made them before. I winged it. Bought some mini beef dogs (yum, a snack for me during prep time) and a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. I mixed the corn muffin mix using a bit more milk than the box called for to make the batter a bit more wet, dipped the dogs in and tossed them in soy oil (ca. 365°F) and fried them about 40 seconds each. They were devoured quickly.

They didn't look like the golden and thickly breaded corn dogs found at the State Fair, but they sufficed. The kids made these delicacies into a meal with Kraft Mac 'n Cheese and steamed broccoli. Yeah, haute cuisine in our home.


Twinkies, a masterful assembly of carbohydrates (and soy)

Twinkie label
Admit it, you want one
I am not a food snob. I love good food. Good food that's good for you and good food that's toxic, like McD's (any of it) and ... the oh so delectable spongy, creme-filled squishy wonder that is the Twinkie.

Twinkie, Deconstructed is a book by food science writer Steve Ettlinger. I wanted to read this for a variety of reasons:
1. I have an unusual relationship with carbohydrates; it's too odd to describe, a professional interest.
2. The soft squishy texture ubiquitous in classic American baked goodies has always intriqued me. I bake lots of bread and was looking for a trade-secret type of hint to give my breads better shelf life without sacrificing taste (haven't found it yet).
3. Food labels are overwhelming mysterious lists, e.g., on the Twinkie label is listed dextrose and glucose - these are identical molecular entities, but, because of labeling regulations, these synonyms are both required.

I've never been able to give a good book report, but I will say, after reading about half of the book, I've learned tons. The book's not a fast read and it's not funny as the title might indicate; it's serious food science, but it has enabled me to read and understand most of that label. I don't often finish books, but if I finish this, I'm rewarding myself with a couple soft squishy yummy nuggets of goodness.

I just hope they don't turn stale before I get to them; the expiry is 29-Jan-09 (ha, ha, ha - yeah right).


My new bbq tool

I use a chimney to ignite fuel for my kettle. But, living in a heavily wooded area, I don't like using paper to light it. Too many drifting embers from the lit paper.

So, I opted for this. Now I can caramelize crème brulée and then weld the ramekin to my grill.

My pork shoulder and turkey thighs have been smoking since 7 a.m. today. It's for the babysitter while we go to the Studio 35 beer tasting tonight!



ick, originally uploaded by Seligmans Dog.

It's cold and, aside from a pork shoulder I'm starting tomorrow morning, I'm just making pedestrian fare these cold, dark days. Not all boring though. Got a couple bagels this morning. All ready to cheese 'em and checked the state of the cream cheese in the back of the fridge. Wow!

I think I'll call Merck and see if they want to send out some basic research folk to get a sample of this to see if there's any promising drug candidates lurking in this rich pot of biodiversity.

Thankfully, we had more cream cheese. This was cool though.


Baguette Prep Video, Part 2 of 3, Loaf Formation

In which I embarrass my wife.
My baguette prep is very similar to Julia Child's. Consult that for a great sequence of still images. However, my prep is profoundly different when it comes to the recipe. That will be disclosed in Part 1. I don't know why I did this backwards, but it'll be complete eventually. I'll also be doing variations of each of the 3 parts (1. dough prep, ferment 2. round, rest, loaf formation, proof 3. dock and bake). Stay tuned for more - and be brave, give it a shot.

Final product after baking.