Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where's Fred When We Need Him?

Sadly, Fred Rogers left us fifteen years ago next month. Like my mother (and last year, my father) I sometimes think, how would they react to what's going on right now? Mr. Rogers would know what to do.
  • Last April, kottke.org posted a link to Twitch.TV that was streaming all 886 episodes of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. (I don't think the link is active anymore - but you can also watch episodes on Amazon Prime) I would be fine killing some time over there (if I wasn't living in the alternate reality of the West Wing when I can).
  • One month later, kottke again posted about Mr. Rogers, this time about the sweaters that he wore throughout the years.
  • Then in November it was announced there was to be a documentary film about Mr. Rogers, titled, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" The first trailer dropped this week.

"Love is at the root of everything
All learning, all parenting, all relationships
Love or the lack of it.
And what we see and hear on the screen is part of who we become."
- Fred Rogers

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chicken in Milk

I know what you're thinking.  How can that be good?  Roast Chicken is a popular Sunday dinner at the Launchpad.  I'm always looking for gravy with my chicken, this might do the trick.  From Jamie Oliver via BuzzFeed.

Chicken with Milk

Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg free-range chicken
  • olive oil
  • ½ a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 good handful of fresh sage
  • 2 lemons
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 565 ml milk

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Season the chicken generously all over with sea salt and black pepper, then fry in a snug-fitting pot with a little oil until golden, turning the chicken to get an even color all over.
  3. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. You'll be left with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavor later on. 
  4. Put your chicken back in the pot with the cinnamon, sage leaves, lemon zest, unpeeled garlic cloves and milk.
  5. Cook in the hot oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until cooked through, basting with the cooking juices when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.
  6. Pull the meat off the bones and divide it onto your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato, if you like.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018 New Year's Resolutions

It's been a while since I've made resolutions, possibly because I'm bad at keeping them.  But you, dear reader, can hold me to these.  I'm resolved to do these things this year.

  1. I resolve to play golf at least once a month, when conditions allow.  (To that end, Mrs. BA did give me a gift certificate to play at least one round, once the ground is no longer frozen solid.)
  2. I resolve to go to the movies at least once a month.  We do go to the movies as a family fairly often, but I would like to go to the movies (and maybe dinner) with Mrs. BA a little more regularly.  LBA has reached an age where he can be trusted to watch over SoBA and they can be left for a period of time, provided we are not all that far away.  I also gave Mrs. BA a movie gift card so that we can get started on this right away.  We have already seen "The Last Jedi" in January, but that is not to say that we couldn't go see something else (or even see "Last Jedi" a third time).
  3. I resolve to not run around like a crazy person every morning as we try to get ourselves out of the house to school and work.  Part of that is getting out of bed before 7:00am, part of it is going to bed at a reasonable hour (which I have been doing of late), and maybe some of it is one of these wonder products that I need to help me.
  4. I would like to lose some weight this year.  Yes, yes, I know we all say that, but I really should do it.  I'm 50 now, with a variety of ailments and aches that would be alleviated by dropping some pounds.  I bought a bicycle last year that has not seen a great deal of action and it should.  My FitBit tells me that I get between 6,000 and 7,000 steps a day - but I would like that number to be the 10,000 daily goal that is recommended.  My goal is 20 pounds.
  5. I would like to be a better father to LBA and SoBA.  I don't think that I'm doing an awful job - but having lost my father last year, I am reminded that it would be nice if my boys have more good memories than bad ones of me.  I need to be more patient (especially with SoBA, who seems to know exactly where my buttons are that cause me to lose my mind), yell less, and be more aware of what's going on with their lives (LBA is officially a teenager now and that brings a whole host of other issues with it).

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gateau au Yaourt (French Yogurt Cake)

LBA and SoBA enjoy yogurt almost every morning.  They, like their father, also appreciate the sweeter things - so perhaps this cake might make an appearance.  Mrs. BA is the baker at the launchpad, so she would have to be on it. From Food52 via BuzzFeed.

Gateau au Yaourt
Makes one 10-inch cake

Ingredients
  • 250 milliliters (1 cup) whole milk plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 160 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 scant tablespoon) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 milliliters vegetable oil (slightly less than 4oz.)
  • 250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt 

Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F and line a round 10-inch cake pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, mixing only until all traces of flour disappear. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden and a tester comes out clean.
  6. Let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Slow Cooker Pizza Dip

Growing up, when my mother would make spaghetti, once the sauce was done and simmering on the stove, I would often take a piece of white bread and put some sauce on it as a little "amuse-bouche" before dinner.  This recipe would make me feel a lot like I did back then.  Recipe from One Sweet Mess via BuzzFeed.

Happy New Year to all!  If you're in the vicinity of the Launchpad, you should stop by for our New Year's Day Open House!

Slow Cooker Pizza Dip
Yield: 8 servings
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients
Pizza Dip
  • 1 pound sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pizza sauce
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Garlic Bread Dippers
  • 1 French baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4-1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions
Pizza Dip
  1. In the insert of your slow-cooker, add green peppers, onions, garlic, pizza sauce, and parmesan cheese. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Brown the sausage until it’s cooked through, breaking it up with your spatula or wooden spoon as you go.
  3. Add the cooked sausage to the slow-cooker with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in mozzarella cheese right before serving.

Garlic Bread Dippers
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with the French baguette slices.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, add the butter and garlic cloves. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Once the butter is melted, add the salt and Italian seasoning. Cook on low for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Using a pastry brush, coat the slices with the butter mixture. Top with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.