Friday, January 10, 2014

Mixed Results In The Kitchen

Yay for Friday! My big plans for today are to go to an Asian grocery store with Jan and to dismantle the Christmas trees so Kevin can put them up in the attic this weekend. For dinner on Saturday night, I am going to try and make the Pomelo Salad that PeePorn used to make for us in Thailand - hence the trip to the Asian grocery store. I hope I can find everything I need (mainly the pomelos) and, while it won't be anything like shopping at the wet markets in Bangkok, it should be an experience!

Right before we moved to Thailand and after 15 years of much use, my bread-machine died. I didn't even think about replacing it then because I wasn't planning on bringing it to Thailand with us as the voltage transformation would possibly ruin the kneading mechanism and the heating element. However, once we moved back to Virginia and I got settled, I began to think about making bread and put a new bread-machine on my Christmas list. 

Ask and you shall receive! Christmas morning, I found this bread-machine (Panasonic SD-YD250 Automatic Bread Maker with Yeast Dispenser) under the Christmas tree.

My previous bread machine - which I absolutely loved - was a ToastMaster but I couldn't find a new one anywhere (although there were several used machines offered on so maybe they are no longer in production. Anyway, the Panasonic is what I ended up getting and, although I need to adjust to a few differences between this machine and my old one, the end products have been great. In fact, I think the appearance of the finished loaves of bread is much nicer with this machine - they don't look so "bread-machine" made.

My two bread machine "bibles" are "The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever" and "The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever - Ethnic Breads", both written by Madge Rosenberg, the owner of the recently closed Bakery Soutine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My books were published in 1992 and 1994 but there might be more recent versions available on

I have made so many loaves of bread as well as dough for pizza, baguettes, focaccia, etc. following the recipes in these books and have never been disappointed. Yesterday afternoon, I made a loaf of the Soutine's Rosemary Whole Wheat bread to serve with a salad and the Loaded Baked Potato Soup for our dinner.  

Fresh from the machine. Epic fail.
I made this bread at least 50 times with my old bread machine and never had any problems so I am not sure what happened this time. I think it had to do something with using whole wheat flour and the time/temperature option (too long and too high) that I chose for baking. I am going to read the manual tonight (novel idea) and see if I can figure out exactly what I did incorrectly. Other than being a little dense, the bread tasted fine. 

The Loaded Baked Potato Soup was The Bomb.
Very easy to make, very flavorful (really just like a loaded baked potato!) and very delicious. I revised the recipe as I posted yesterday but, instead of substituting turkey bacon for pork bacon, I did use the pork bacon for more flavor. In addition, before adding the cream mixture to the soup "base", I removed about 1/2 of the potatoes from the base and lightly mashed them to make the soup a bit creamier. I couldn't stop eating it and will be running a couple of extra miles today to make up for my overindulgence. 

I did get out for a 5 mile run yesterday morning. After I published my post, the dogs began looking at me with *those* eyes and I realized they hadn't been out for a run in a few days so off we went. I ran 3 miles with them and then 2 miles on my own. It was still pretty cold - 25 degrees - and my feet froze again. I think that is something I might just have to get used to.

Have a great Friday!

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