◊ Bag Lady Luxury

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Dear Mom,

I’m out of India and savoring the small luxuries of familiar territory.

IMG_1731During the bus ride from Copenhagen to Hamburg, I enjoyed a 45 minute ferry ride into a farm of windmills lit by the setting sun. And then Hamburg and Berlin… wow. The air was crisp and smelled like flowers and the sun shined until 10:30 PM. Cars stopped for pedestrians and the huge, green parks around every corner were packed with people eating ice cream and soaking up the sun. All week long, I walked around in my short shorts eating brown bread and feeling so free.

Beautiful breakfast in Berlin

Beautiful breakfast in Berlin… breadbasket full of korns!

Leider Frau Carolyn reminded me why I love spinning so much

Leider Frau Carolyn reminding me why I love spinning so much

Vegan currywurst.... So odd.

Vegan currywurst…. So odd.

I’m now in New Jersey with you and all my stuff. Tomorrow, I’ll be schlepping it back across the Atlantic to Israel.  It’s crazy how  time flies when we busy ourselves with important errands like pedicures and sandal shopping.

In India, ovens (our definition) are extremely rare. I’m not a baker per se, but during my last few days in India I daydreamt about the possibilities – fluffy breads, dense muffins, beautiful cakes. And when I got to Germany, the bread omg. Teresa introduced me to the typical German brown bread with volle korns (whole grains) when I got to Hamburg and I munched away non-stop. I want to grow a sourdough starter. Brown bread with so many grains… korn an korn an korn an korn – grain to grain to grain… inspiration.

Larry and his bread machine

So I prioritized baking (up there with a pedicure) during my short visit to America. Larry and I made delicious rolls together that were inspired the volle korns of Germany. Aside from challah, this was my first bread making experience! Luckily, Larry is an experienced bread master with a bread making machine to make it easy.

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Despite the simple luxuries (and delicious breads) of Europe and America, I remain a bag lady… or a stadtstreicherin as Carolyn would say. And though it’s been really really fun, no matter what part of the world I’m in (and how easy the livability seems), living out of bags is not easy. I adapt well to new spaces — as you see, I have no problem hijacking laundry rooms and taking over kitchens that are not my own — but I can’t wait for clothes hangers, cupboards stacked with my jars/experiments and my own pillow.

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I need to go re-stuff my bags for my trip to Israel in the morning.

Love,

Shaina

 

Chocolate Bundt Cake

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I’ve been wanting to make this cake from the 101cookbooks.com for a long time, and it turned out even better than I could have imagined. It is ridiculously moist, barely sweet, and deeply, darkly chocolately. The texture is almost like a bread pudding. I know it’s not as sweet as your gooey brownies, so it may not please a dessert hungry sweet tooth, but it would be great for a brunch and it’s even almost healthy…?

 
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  • 2 cups beer (the recipe calls for chocolate porter or stout beer, but I used Brooklyn Ale – just what I had on hand)
  • 
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 
1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup  dark brown sugar
  • 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 
3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 
3 large eggs
  • 
1 1/2 cups plain whole yogurt
  • 
3/4 cup maple syrup

 

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IMG_8554Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
photo 3(1)Simmer the beer to 1 cup in a saucepan and add butter until melted. Stir in the cocoa powder and set aside to cool.

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, yogurt and maple syrup. Whisk until smooth and then stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Add flour mixture and fold until blended.

 
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes (insert knife on sides to make sure cake can be pulled apart from pan without it falling apart). Let cool for 10 – 25 minutes and flip upside down onto a plate.

 

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photo 4(4)photo 3(5)There’s a beautiful buttermilk frosting recipe for this cake on 101cookbooks, but I didn’t want to mess with such a beautiful cake. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeds n Nuts n Whole Wheat Lemon Rolls

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…A tribute to Carolyn Kerchof and Teresa Kleinschmidt… Korn an korn an korn an korn I just can’t stop.

This recipe was a winner with the fam – densely packed with nutritious seeds and nuts and grains. And the kitchen smelled like lemon and yeast all morning. I started with a basic whole wheat honey bread recipe and added German inspired seeds and nuts for extra crunch and protein.  IMG_8573

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 
1/2 oz dry yeast
  • 
3 teaspoons salt
  • 
2 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 
grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 – 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 c poppy seeds
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 1/3 c pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 1/3 c crushed walnuts

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Thanks to Larry’s wondrous bread machine, this was a cinch. We just dumped the ingredients in the machine all together and waited two hours for the dough to be mixed and rise. Then, I separated the dough into rolls, stuck them into the fridge overnight, and baked them the next day at 400 degrees with ice on the bottom rack of the oven to create steam.

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The real instructions are a bit more complex:

First, add all purpose flour, yeast, salt, hot water, honey, butter and lemon peel into a food processor and pulse until a dough forms.  Then, add the whole wheat flour, seeds and nuts.Knead the dough for a minute until it is light (but still sticky) – cover your hands with all purpose flour as necessary. Kneed for 10 – 15 minutes.

Mold it into a mound and cover with wax paper for about 20 minutes. After it has risen, knead the dough for 30 seconds to release air bubbles. cut of pieces of dough the size of a golf ball and roll into balls. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Brush rolls with oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap (to allow the rolls to rise). Place in refridgerator overnight.

photo 5(1)Remove from fridge and allow for rolls to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrease.

Fill two pans with ice and uncover rolls. As soon as you put the rolls in the oven, put ice trays on the bottom shelf of the oven to form steam. Close the oven door and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until rolls are brown on top. Enjoy with butter or a thick slice of cheese and veggies.

In Germany, I ate so much brown bread densely packed with crunchy, chewy whole grains. Volle korn an korn (whole grain to grain) an korn an korn until my intestines exploded.

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