Monday, September 26, 2016

Time to Make the Donuts

I own a deep fryer.  And I like donuts. From CakeWhiz via BuzzFeed.

Homemade Jelly Donuts

  • 2 1/2 cups flour + additional flour for kneading 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (100-110 degrees) 
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar 
  • 3 large egg yolks 
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 2 tbsp salted butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 1/2 cups oil for frying 
  • 3 cups homemade strawberry jam or store-bought strawberry jam 
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (for rolling the doughnuts)
  •  2 cups coconut cream chocolate frosting 
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries (blotted dry)
Step 1: In a small bowl, add 1 tsp sugar, yeast and milk. Keep this mixture aside for about 15 minutes until it becomes foamy.

Step 2: In a deep mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, egg yolks, butter, vanilla extract and yeast mixture. Mix everything with a thick plastic spoon until you have a sticky mixture.

Step 3: Dump this mixture onto your floured countertop and start kneading until you form a dough ball that’s not sticky any more (takes about 10-15 minutes). I had to add some additional flour at this point to help with all that kneading. The dough should eventually bounce back when poked with a finger.

Step 4: Oil a bowl and place this dough ball in it. Cover it with saran wrap and keep it in a warm area and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours. (I keep the bowl inside my oven- Don’t turn it on though!)

Step 5: Now, flour your countertop again and roll out the dough at a thickness of 1/4 inches.

Step 6: Use a round cutter to cut out circular pieces.

Step 7: Cover these circles with saran wrap and allow them to rise for about 15 minutes.

Step 8: Heat oil in a saucepan until the temperature reaches 370 degrees.

Step 9: Add 3-4 the circle pieces into the oil very carefully and fry them on both sides until they are golden (about 40 seconds on each side).

Step 10: Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the oil and place them on a tray lined with paper towels.

Step 11: Then quickly roll the doughnuts in sugar while they are still warm.

Step 12: Then, attach the round tip to a piping bag and fill it with strawberry jam.

Step 13: On the side of the doughnut, make 2 holes with a wooden skewer about 1 inch apart. Push your piping bag into the holes and fill the inside of the doughnut with jam. Do this for all the doughnuts.

Step 14: When the doughnuts have cooled down, spread fudgy coconut cream chocolate frosting on top of them and place a few sliced strawberries on top.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

I like the hash brown.  But they're never crispy enough.  These might work.  From Serious Eats via BuzzFeed.

Waffle Iron Hash Browns

  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes, about 10 ounces each, peeled and shredded 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  1. Preheat waffle iron. If it has temperature controls, set it to medium.
  2. Squeeze shredded potato with a towel until it’s as dry as possible.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded potato, salt, and pepper.
  4. Using a silicone brush or paper towel, carefully grease both sides of waffle iron with butter.
  5. Pile shredded potatoes into waffle iron, over-stuffing it a bit, and close lid. (The pressure of the lid will compress the potatoes and help them emerge as a cohesive, waffled unit.) Cook for 2 minutes, then press down on lid to further compress potatoes (be careful: lid may be hot). 
  6. Continue cooking potatoes for 5 minutes longer, then begin checking them: the are ready when potatoes are golden brown all over, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve hot with eggs or any other breakfast foods.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years Later

At this point in time fifteen years ago, I had finally made it home to Long Island from my job in Westchester County.  As I have written about before, the day had started with me dropping my car off for service and upon getting to work, I learned that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I was able to find a TV and my colleagues and I crowded around the TV to watch.  I went off to find a computer to get more information and then learned that a second plane had hit the other tower.

I was able to get to the roof of the Archive Center and could see the smoke rising from the city skyline some thirty five miles to the south.  I was finally able to reach my girlfriend (now Mrs. BA) who had a dentist appointment (which I hadn't remembered, I only knew that she worked across the street from the White House).  I left for home about 2:00pm and as I traveled south, fighter jets crisscrossed the sky above me - I crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge as policeman waived me through the toll barriers.  As I looked over to the city, the smoke hanging over lower Manhattan was immense.  I drove east on the Long Island Expressway as trucks and emergency equipment passed me heading west into the city.

Upon getting home I was able to talk with my parents, who had been flying that day - they were in Texas - but they were taken off the plane, shortly after the planes struck their targets and the decision was made to close the airspace over the United States. (If you're in the DC area, I highly recommend that you go to Ford's Theatre to see "Come From Away" about the planes from Europe that were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland.)

I went to church that evening as many Americans did.  As the scope of the tragedy unfolded and the tremendous loss of life became evident - I stayed home the next day - there wasn't anyway for me to get to work anyway - and I was able to reflect on how much had changed for each and everyone of us.

I traveled to Ground Zero not long after - when the debris still burned and participated in a candlelight vigil.  Just last year, I finally made it to the Memorial in the plaza and was deeply moved - much as I knew I would be.  Today, I spent most of the day reflecting on what happened fifteen years ago - I watched some of the coverage of the events in New York City today - I watched some of the documentaries that have been produced about that dark day.  We went to church, as we do almost every Sunday and we closed with the hymn, Let There Be Peace on Earth.  Yes, please, let's try that.