Orchids Against The Fence

The thing is that here in South Florida, natural beauty is all around us.

Remember the place is named after Flowers after all .

Given the right conditions, a seed dropped on the ground will grow, flourish, and eventually bloom and bare fruit.   It’s fairly easy here to grow plants that people in London need to build a whole infrastructure around.

That Greenhouse is a bit of a trial to maintain, isn’t it?

Here, my orchids grow in a mundane spot.  They please me from my window in the kitchen.  They flower against the fence or the shed in the back.  I don’t do anything more than give them water every day.  I suppose I should fertilize them but I forget.

Every day at 7:30 in the Morning, I am outside inspecting my plants.  Inspecting them, fussing over them, tweaking their irrigation, getting myself soaked when I pull a sprinkler head, and generally enjoying the experience.

I was that “weird kid” that had set up tables in his pre-teen bedroom so that I could grow plants.  From the mundane to the exotic, simply because they pleased me.  I once had a thimble sized terracotta pot once that I managed to grow a Marigold that bloomed a little flower about the size of your thumbnail.

Now that I am in Florida, I can simply put a box with a little bit of mulch tied to my fence, drip feed watered daily for fifteen minutes, and wait for beauty to occur in different spots in different times of the year.

It is now June.  We are all here waiting for Hurricane Season to get started.  Doing our Hurricane Shopping for Hurricane Food and Hurricane Water (beer).  This season means that while I can enjoy those flowers, I will be looking over my shoulder and seeing if things are quite right to survive a tropical storm force wind.

Once in place, these plants and the others, do not like to be moved.  They grow their roots between the fence boards and become happy in their place.

They bloom where they are planted.  Hopefully we all can say that of ourselves.

May you bloom where you are planted.  After all, you can grow into the sunshine as well.  Now check your place and make sure it will survive a storm.  May as well, you just might find some beauty in a forgotten corner.

The inventor of sliced bread is likely the one that cut the cheese.

Here in South Florida, we take Hurricane Season very seriously.  It starts tomorrow, so we will all be trying to shop, hopefully with our masks, to make sure that we have enough Room Temperature Stable Food and Water in the house in case of a disaster for two weeks.

Every year I go shopping, and treat myself to a case of Special Hurricane Water.  Last year it was a case of Corona Extra. I wonder what that will be this year?

 

Two Nuns

While shopping in a food store, two nuns happened to pass by the beer, wine, and liquor section.  One asked the other if she would like a beer.

The second nun answered that, indeed, it would be very nice to have one, but that she would feel uncomfortable about purchasing it.

The first nun replied that she would handle that without a problem.  She picked up a six-pack and took it to the cashier.

The cashier had a surprised look, so the nun said,

‘This is for washing our hair.’  Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter and put a package of pretzel sticks in the bag with the beer.

‘The curlers are on me.’

Sometimes You Just Need a Hoagie Roll Recipe

I have been baking bread for years, and the whole variability of this process is what tweaks my interest.

If you make a dough batch and split it, rise one half at room temperature it won’t taste the same as the other half that was risen in the refrigerator over night.  The longer rise will give you a more complex flavor which is great if that is what you want.

Brush the roll with egg wash and it will be shiny.  Leave it unbrushed and you get what I have here.

And if you’re making them at home and want the same results every time, you may want to just let that go to the professionals.  Part of the art of baking is the understanding that next time most likely will be different.

For example, in Philadelphia there is a company that makes The Definitive Hoagie Roll.  Amoroso’s Baking Company has made them for decades, and we all say it’s what makes the cheesesteak.  However it has a limited distribution.  And while you can get that same taste of an Authentic Philadelphia Italian Hoagie at Wawa, trust me,  it gets difficult to find those same rolls “in the wild”.

Now that I am in South Florida, I’m truly in The Wild.

I am not saying that this recipe is identical, I will say that it does have approximately the same texture and taste, but on a quick rise in the oven, the flavor is good but can be “muted”.

So if you want an Amoroso’s Roll your best bet is to go find them.

However these are a good start.    It is a really good base recipe to explore your own talents.

The next time I make this recipe, I will do a long, overnight rise in my 37F/2C refrigerator and see where I am at.  That would strengthen the flavor which is what you want in a Pizza Dough.

After all being a baker means a constant feedback and refinement of your process and your recipies.

And some people just want a commercial white bread that tastes just like it did when it came out of the white plastic bag with primary colored blobs on it in the 1950s and ever since.

Ick.

This recipe may not be a sainted clone from the old sod, but it is a damn good recipe and I will be using it for a while.   It is a Challenge.

Some notes:

This recipe as written has a vigorous rise if risen at room temperature.   It requires you to look after it, and if you blink it goes from “doubled in size” to this weird giant blob that deflates when the cookie sheet gets tapped.  After one hour rising at room temp, I watched over this batch and checked in on it every 15 minutes.  On a rainy day it took 1 hour 40 minutes to rise to what you see on the results.

This recipe was made as dough in the bread machine, through first rise.  It had a slow first rise.  Be patient, they will rise.

When making this recipe, add the oil to the bucket of the bread machine once the dough has come together to allow more gluten to form.  It improves the texture and unless you are one of the punishingly small number of people with celiac disease, it will be worth the effort.

Finally, place a metal oven safe bowl in the bottom of the oven when cooking these rolls.  It provides humidity that will make the crust a bit more soft.

If that is your thing, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp Yeast
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water at 80-105F 30-40C
  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil – to be added separately from above

Process:

  1. To your bucket of the bread machine or the mixer add Yeast, Sugar, Salt. and Water.
  2. Mix your wet ingredients and then allow it to rest until it has begun to foam, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the flour to the bucket of the bread machine and start on Dough Cycle.
  4. When the dough has taken up the majority of the flour, add the two tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Allow the dough to come together and knead.
  6. The bread machine will run through its cycle and do first rise for you.
  7. If not using a bread machine, allow your dough to double in size for first rise.
  8. Form your rolls on a lined cookie sheet.  Mine were 90 Grams each.
  9. Place the dough in a room temperature oven with the light on to rise.
  10. Check the dough every 20 minutes, however my experience is that the dough doubles in 1 hour and 40 minutes in an oven with the light on on a room temperature rise.
  11. When Ready, remove the dough from the oven, and Preheat oven to 400F.
  12. Bake Rolls for 10 minutes and check for Golden Brown color.
  13. Mine were finished in 14 minutes.

Variation:

  • Use an egg wash or olive oil wash to the outside of the rolls for a more polished appearance.
  • Dust some rolls with Sesame Seeds, Parmesan, or spices.
  • For a cold rise, the rise time will be longer when they are formed and out of the refrigerator but the taste will be more complex.  Put the dough into the refrigerator overnight, and then bring it out to shape and rise in the morning.
  • Don’t forget to watch over your bread.  Every 20 minutes of rise time or so.

Yo mama is so old that when I told her to act her age…she died.

Just because I am feeling generous, here is a two-fer for a Sunday Morning.

 

Even robots need a day off.

When I was a young man in in Army Cadets, we had big ornamental robot that we called ‘old-iron-sides’ with a big brass bugle that would play all the calls to the troops.

In the morning it would play ‘reveille’ to wake, ‘mess call’ for meals, ‘drill call’ to assemble in the square, etc.

We all got so used to these queues that we relied to them to know what to do at each time of the day.

Until one day iron robot was silent and everyone was disoriented, not knowing when to get up, go eat or start a drill.

Finally, I went to ask my commanding officer why there were no calls. He said “He’s taking a vacation day”.

So I guess it was the Ferrous Bugler’s day off.

 

And if you don’t share my love for that movie in the punch line above, here’s another one for a Sunday Morning.

 

The last time I heard one like this it was about a fish, but …

A guy is golfing by himself and shanks a ball hard.

He yells, “Goddamn it all to hell!”

St. Peter hears him and asks God, “Aren’t you going to do anything about that?”

God says, “Yep.”

Next hole is a long par five over water ending in a dog leg. The guy tees up and crushes the ball. It hits the water but just as it does, a turtle surfaces. The ball bounces off the turtle’s shell and gets another hundred yards. Just as its about to stop rolling, a squirrel runs over and grabs the ball before being immediately snatched by a gorgeous red tail hawk. The hawk flies him off and just over the green the squirrel drops the ball. The ball hits the green, rolls and falls in the hole.

Most amazing par five hole-in-one in history.

St. Peter, astonished says, “You call that punishment?”

God replies, “Yep. There was nobody around to see it.”

You know the great thing about someone snoring like a chainsaw? Chainsaws have a choke button.

One of my rules of life is don’t get bored, get creative.

Many years ago, there was a sculptor.

He was a true master at his craft, and he worked hard every day to provide the finest replicas, busts, and statues to the rich and noble. He was held in very high regard, and his name spread across land and oceans and many sought to acquire one of his rare sculptures.

However, even with the fame and regard and constant hard work he was subject too, he still had a dream of his own. He wanted a self portrait, one that showed him at his finest, one that truly captured who he was. It had to be unlike anything that had ever been made. But every time he tried to begin, he could not decide how he wanted to go about it.

Many years went by, and his reputation continued to grow. He had made sculptures for royalty as well as the noble and was becoming quite wealthy. But there was still that unfinished block of marble that he could not start on, his lifelong dream of a self portrait. It was there in the back of his shop to witness his sculptures grow more and more intricate, but the marble itself remained untouched.

More years went by and the sculptor was now quite old. One day, he announced that he would be no longer making sculptures for the public. He closed his doors forever. This came as a huge shock to everyone, and they could only wonder why the great sculptor stopped working on what he did best.

The sculptor knew. He wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to this self portrait. After all these years of waiting, he finally picked up the chisel and began. He poured his soul into the project over the next years, and it was physically and emotionally draining. But still he worked, from dawn to dusk, to achieve his goal. And the day came. The last bit of polishing was done. The sculptor stepped back to admire his handiwork, and his breath was taken away. It was unlike anything he had ever seen, and it captured all of the things he wanted it to, and then some. It almost had a glow about it, and it was the first of its kind.

The sculptor was beside himself.

Dinner Rolls, Burger Buns, Or Hot Dog Buns, This Is Your Recipe

Yes, I’m back on the whole bread baking thing.  I needed Hot Dog rolls for some Sweet Italian Sausage I had grilled the night before, so I decided to make my own.  They look a bit dark here, but they were pretty much perfect when I had them for lunch.

Relax, the recipe is a bit time consuming since you want to give this time to rise.  All the liquids together needed time to allow the yeast to activate before joining it with the flour, so you may mix them when you begin to see the bubbles.  They call this a Poolish, but you can call it whatever you wish.

The recipe below was 993 Grams, about 2 1/4 pounds.  The pictures made 11 rolls, 90g each.  Hey, I needed Hot Dog Rolls, and three round rolls per request.

Once separated, I allowed them to rise in an oven with the light on for an extra Two Hours before baking.

I made the recipe on the dough cycle in the bread machine and it turned out amazingly well.

The Process was simple:

  1. Mix Milk, Sugar, Beaten Egg, Butter, and Salt in a Microwave safe bowl.
  2. Warm the liquids until they are at the right temperature for yeast to process, 80-105F, 30-40C in the MIcrowave.
  3. Add the Yeast and stir until all of those ingredients are blended.
  4. Allow the Liquids to sit long enough for your yeast to begin to work 5-15 minutes.
  5. Add the Bread Flour to the bucket of a bread machine or your stand mixer.
  6. Add the Liquids to the Flour and mix well.
  7. Select Dough Cycle on the bread machine to get a silky smooth dough.
  8. When Dough is finished being mixed, place in bowl and allow to rise until double in size.
  9. Divide and Shape Dough into 10 parts in order to make Burger or Hot Dog Buns or smaller for dinner rolls, as needed.
  10. Place on Baking Sheet with Foil or Parchment and brush with egg wash or butter.
  11. Bake at 450F or 230C for 8 minutes and check every two minutes for golden brown.

The Ingredients are:

  • 3 3/4 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups (280mL) Milk (I actually used Powdered or Non Fat Dry)
  • 1/4 Cup (56g) White Sugar
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) Butter
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons (16g) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 Teaspoon (14g) Salt

If you like one liners, today is your day!

Here’s a long list of puns I’ve been collecting:

How do you throw a space party? You planet.

How was Rome split in two? With a pair of Ceasars.

Nope. Unintended.

The shovel was a ground breaking invention, but everyone was blow away by the leaf blower.

A scarecrow says, “This job isn’t for everyone, but hay, it’s in my jeans.”

A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog stand and says “Make me one with everything.”

Did you hear about the guy who lost the left side of his body? He’s alright now.

What do you call a girl with one leg that’s shorter than the other? Ilene.

The broom swept the nation away.

I did a theatrical performance on puns. It was a play on words.

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back for seconds.

What do you do with a dead chemist? You barium.

I bet the person who created the door knocker won a Nobel prize.

Towels can’t tell jokes. They have a dry sense of humor.

Two birds are sitting on a perch and one says “Do you smell fish?”

Did you hear about the cheese factory that exploded in france? There was nothing but des brie.

Do you know sign language? You should learn it, it’s pretty handy.

What do you call a beautiful pumpkin? GOURDgeous.

Why did one banana spy on the other? Because she was appealing.

What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef.

What do you call a cow with two legs? Lean beef.

What do you call a cow with all of its legs? High steaks.

A cross eyed teacher couldn’t control his pupils.

After the accident, the juggler didn’t have the balls to do it.

I used to be afraid of hurdles, but I got over it.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

I read a book on anti-gravity. I couldn’t put it down.

I couldn’t remember how to throw a boomerang but it came back to me.

What did the buffalo say to his son? Bison.

What should you do if you’re cold? Stand in the corner. It’s 90 degrees.

How does Moses make coffee? Hebrews it.

The energizer bunny went to jail. He was charged with battery.

What did the alien say to the pitcher of water? Take me to your liter.

What happens when you eat too many spaghettiOs? You have a vowel movement.

The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray was a seasoned veteran.

Sausage puns are the wurst.

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear.

How did Darth Vader know what luke was getting him for his birthday? He could sense his presence.

Why shouldn’t you trust atoms? They make up everything.

What’s the difference between a bench, a fish, and a bucket of glue? You can’t tune a bench but you can tuna fish. I bet you got stuck on the bucket of glue part.

What’s it called when you have too many aliens? Extraterrestrials.

Want to hear a pizza joke? Nevermind, it’s too cheesy.

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta.

What do cows tell each other at bedtime? Dairy tales.

Why can’t you take inventory in Afghanistan? Because of the tally ban.

Why didn’t the lion win the race? Because he was racing a cheetah.

Why did the man dig a hole in his neighbor’s backyard and fill it with water? Because he meant well.

What happens to nitrogen when the sun comes up? It becomes daytrogen.

What’s it called when you put a cow in an elevator? Raising the steaks.

What’s america’s favorite soda? Mini soda.

Why did the tomato turn red? Because it saw the salad dressing.

What kind of car does a sheep drive? A lamborghini, but if that breaks down they drive their SuBAHHru.

What do you call a spanish pig? Porque.

What do you call a line of rabbits marching backwards? A receding hairline.

Why don’t vampires go to barbecues? They don’t like steak.

A cabbage and celery walk into a bar and the cabbage gets served first because he was a head.

How do trees access the internet? They log on.

Why should you never trust a train? They have loco motives.