This weekends bread

Saturdays have turned into my bread making day. When we are around and don't have anywhere to be by noon, I make bread. This week, it was a "transitional" multi-grain and also a high fiber bread with oat bran and flax. Both are again from Peter Reinhart's excellent book on whole grain bread.

This book has turned me into a bit of a "bread nerd". I have invested in a bunch of loaf pans (more than we really needed) and several large mixing bowls. There is now about 5 different types of bread flour in our pantry and last weekend I spent the better part of 20 minutes considering the properties of a mixing spoon at William Sonoma. I even went to the point of ordering 1000 plastic bags from ULine and 2000 twist ties.

So far, my hobby has mostly eliminated the need for store bought bread around the house. I don't think it saves any money, especially when King Arther bread flour at almost $6.00 a bag. However, as a hobby, it provides the right combination of art and science to keep me out of trouble.

Asian Style Slaw

The other night, with the goal of coming up with something that didn't have many Weight Watchers points, I put this together. Lou liked it and given that she isn't a big fan of slaw in any form, I decided that was enough to make it a keeper. The next time I make it though I want to try rice wine vinegar instead of the apple cider.


4 cups green cabbage (shredded)
1 cup carrot (grated)
1 1/2 cup grated Japanese radish (diakon) (grated)
1/2 cup white onion (finely sliced)


1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs brown mustard
1 tbs peanut butter
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp garlic chili sauce (Sriracha)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until they emulsify. Pour dressing over slaw and combine to coat. Let stand in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 8 servings and for those counting WW points, each serving is 1 point.

Lou's Awesome Muffins (My Version)

This is my interpretation of my wife's high fiber muffins. Her recipe uses whole wheat flour but I make them with rye, I like the texture the rye brings to the muffin and also because I am a big fan of the use of rye in this wheat dominated world.

Dry Works

1 1/2 cup course rye flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milled flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
2 tsp Penzeys Baking Spice

Wet Works

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup non-fat yogurt
3 tbl vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla


1 cup grated carrot
1 cup craisins

Combine the dry works in a small bowl and mix throughly. In a large bowl, combine wet works and beat until mixed throughly. Add grated carrot and craisins and mix. Using a large spatula, mix the dry works into the wet works using as little mixing as needed to bring everything together.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Makes 2 dozen small muffins. They are better the next day after a night in the refrigerator.


The Blender decision...

Well, after much deliberation by Lou and I, we are going with a white Waring when we can fund it. After looking at the Oster's they seemed kinda cheap and loud. We see the Kitchen Aid a lot on the cooking shows but in the end it boiled down to the fact that the Waring is smaller and slightly cheaper.


What I do on my day off...

Today I had the day off and, as often I will do, I baked bread. Today it was a transitional (50%) whole wheat challah and a marble rye. The marble rye is from Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and the challah is from his "Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads". Both are excellent books by the way.


The Blender "Short List"

The short list of blenders

Oster BPST02-B Professional
  • Pros - Glass carafe with removable blades and high ranking on Amazon
  • Cons - No pulse and the reviews say it is loud, wasn't rated by Consumer Reports
Oster 4093 Classic Beehive
  • Pros - Glass carafe with removable blades, pulse and inexpensive
  • Cons - Not dishwasher safe
Waring PBB201 Professional Bar Blender
  • Pros - Glass carafe with good warranty, Alton Brown's old favorite, available in white
  • Cons - Blades are not removable
Viking VBLG01SG Professional Blender
  • Pros - Glass carafe with 3 speeds and pulse , Alton Brown's new favorite
  • Cons - Poor reviews by Amazon saying the parts don't hold up
Breville BBL600XL Ikon
  • Pros - Glass carafe with 5 speeds, pulse and ice crush , Consumer Reports favorite
  • Cons - Expensive, Amazon's reviews say doesn't hold up and poor support
KitchenAid KSB580NK 5 Speed Blender
  • Pros - 5 speeds, pulse and ice crush with big carafe
  • Cons - Carafe is plastic and blades are not removable, Amazon's reviews say doesn't hold up



Looking for a good blender. Currently the Oster looks to be the leading one but Consumer Reports likes the Breville. The Oster professional wasn't rated by CR but got lots of Amazon reviews.

Update: Alton Brown likes the Waring but I don't know about the non-removable blades. Alton also liked the Viking but Amazon and CR gave it bad reviews and it broke a lot. Nobody really liked the Kitchen Aid and it has a plastic carafe which is also a down side. Lou says the integrated blades aren't a deal breaker for her but I don't know. Guess I need to touch one first.


The "Why am I blogging" post...

Every blog I read has this type of post so I figured I should also. Besides after a while, it will be good to go back and review my original reasons.

Well, there are really two reasons, both experiments of sorts. Firstly, I increasingly find I need a place to store thoughts, comments, links and sniglets of information in some common, always accessible manner. Never being much of a "journaler", I would save things in bookmarks, short cuts, and so on. This leads to the second reason. I recently read (listened really) to special report in the April 12th, 2008 issue of the Economist on new media and digital nomads. This got me thinking about new media. Since part of my job role where I work is to support the local portal framework and listening to people complain about how it doesn't meet peoples needs. I figured blogging might be a good way to get me "in tune" with new media and solve my information storage issue at the same time.

Which reminds me... Also had a conversation with the unit director and he pointed out the myVOCS project which is an exercise in federated virtual collaboration. That just added more prompting to get me thinking about new media.

What's with the title

1:4:9 is ratio of the obelisk in the book/movie 2001 and is also the square of the first 3 prime numbers. Yeah, I know 1 isn't general considered a prime number but you get the idea.