You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

My Photo
Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bialy Recipe and Pictures

Oops! Meant to post the pictures on Monday night. Better late than never!
The bialy's turned out great. Light and airy with just a touch of chewiness to them. We couldn't resist ourselves and split one while it was still warm, slathered on some butter and devoured it.

The remaining ones will be breakfast the rest of the week. It's gonna be a good week.
These are the bialy's before they were baked.

These are the bialy's just after I took them out of the oven. Don't they look good enough to eat?

I did make two changes to the original recipe. First, I reduced the quantity from 2 dozen to 1 dozen. This produced a nice sized bialy. Making 2 dozen made ones that were too small for me. Second, even though it's still listed in the ingredients, I omitted the salt from the topping. I simply didn't care for it as I'm used to just having the onion and poppy seed taste.

The only other thing I would add is that during the step where you make the indentation in the center, be sure you press down firmly. I gave it a nice push but as you can see in the pictures, it puffed back up. You want a nice flat center so the poppy seeds and onion have a little nest to sit in when they are baked.

Now, go make yourself some bialy's.

Bialy recipe - Makes one dozen

2 tablespoons onion flakes
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

4½ cups bread or all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
1¾ cups hot water (about 110 degrees F)
1 baking sheet, sprinkled with cornmeal or covered with parchment paper

To make the filling, soak the onion flakes in water for about 2 hours. Drain and press out the water with a paper towel. If the onion flakes are coarse, mince fine in a food processor or blender. Combine in a bowl with the poppy seeds, oil, and salt, and set aside.

To make the dough, measure 3 cups flour into the mixing or mixer bowl and add the dry ingredients. Stir to blend. Form a well in the flour and pour in the hot water. With a wooden spoon pull the flour from the sides into the middle and beat until a medium batter. If using a mixer, attach the flat beater and, with the machine running, pour in the hot water. Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the batter becomes a rough but elastic dough. Attach the dough hook, if using the mixer.

Turn the dough from the mixing bowl and knead with strong push turn-fold strokes; crash the dough down against the work surface occasionally to help develop the gluten. If the dough is sticky, dust with sprinkles of flour. If under the dough hook, the dough will clean the sides of the mixer bowl and form a ball around the hook. If it persists in sticking to the sides, add small portions of flour while the mixer is running. Knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic when stretched.

FIRST RISING: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to double in volume at room temperature, about 1 hour.

SECOND RISING: With your fingers or fist punch down the dough, re-cover, and let double in volume again, about 45 minutes.

SHAPING: Take the dough from the bowl and divide into 4 equal parts. Divide each part into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a tight ball under a cupped palm. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes under a length of wax paper or a cloth.

With hard blows of your palm or under a rolling pin, shape each ball into a 4 inch circle, about ½ inch thick. Place on the prepared pan.

THIRD RISING: Cover the circles with wax or parchment paper and put aside to rise to slightly less than double, 30 minutes. A baker would say "three-quarter proof."

FILLING: With care not to deflate the outer part of the bialy, push a deep depression in the center with the thumbs. Stretch the dough uniformly outward until the well is at least 1½ inches across, and thin on the bottom. Place about ½ teaspoon of the onion filling in the well.

FOURTH RISING: Cover the bialys with wax paper and allow them to rise until almost doubled, about 25 minutes.

While the bialy’s are rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F 20 minutes before baking.

BAKING: Place the bialys on the middle shelf of the hot oven and bake until a light brown, about 15 minutes. Place the baked bialys on a metal rack to cool.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 28, 2007


Sorry for the long delay in posting since we returned from vacation. Between work and visiting family, I just haven't had the time. I plan to do better now that things are settling back to a normal pace.

Today I am trying my hand at a bialy recipe I first made two weekends ago. I found the recipe in a cookbook that was on our shelves in the library. I picked the book off the shelf, opened it up and there in front of me was a recipe for bialy's. Now there's a sign if I ever saw one. I love bialy's but trying to find a good one in these parts isn't as easy as you would think. They're not as popular as their cousins, the bagel and few places carry them (or if they do, have ones that even come close to the ones I used to get in NY).

I scanned the recipe and it looked promising so while my mom was here we tried our hands at making a batch. They turned out ok but were way too small. The recipe said to divide the dough into 24 pieces. But other than that, the taste and texture was dead on. The only changes I would make is to reduce the number it makes to 12 and to cut back on the cooking time.

I've got a batch in their final rising right now and they look perfect. Once the oven heats up, I'll pop them in for about 15 minutes or until they look done, Then let them cool before we eat them (which is so hard to do with fresh baked bread).

I'll up date the post this evening with some pictures of the finished bialy's.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vacation Wrap up - Part Two - The adventures

In addition to some great seafood, we had lots of fun in Florida. It started out on a somewhat scary note though. My in-laws were going to stay with us for the first week. They got to the condo mid afternoon and noticed some commotion on the beach. They saw a guy coming out of the water holding his hand. Someone on the beach wrapped it in a towel and it looked like he'd cut himself. Turns out it was a shark bite! Meep! Thankfully it wasn't too serious. And the very next morning, there were surfers right out where he was just the day before.

The next morning we got to watch a church service on the beach that included a full dunk baptism in the ocean.
It took Sophie a few days to adjust to the condo and she liked to hide under the bed whenever we were in the bedroom. Here she is peeking out at us.Most days while I sat on the balcony and looked out over the ocean while reading, Jim took his kayak out to the Mosquito Lagoon. He was determined to catch a redfish but alas, only a catfish and some ladyfish seemed interested in his bait. He also took Sophie out with him one afternoon. It was her first venture in the kayak and we didn't know how she'd react. But from the looks of these pictures, she seemed to enjoy it as did everyone on the dock who said she was adorable in her little yellow life jacket. I thought she'd go after a dophin or manatee as they surfaced in the lagoon but they must have been too far away to get her attention. Although when she saw me on the dock, she wanted to come to me. I had to step back out of her sight so she wouldn't try to jump into the water.

Jim and I went out fishing one morning and I caught my very first fish! And inexperienced as I was, I never knew the little buggers can crap on you! The little 6 inch fish I caught left a memento on my shirt as I held it up to have Jim take my picture. So not only can they poop, they have good aim.

Jim spent one afternoon in Gainesville visiting a friend from college. They went to a place called Payne's Prairie Preserve. It a wildlife area that's completely open, no fences between you and the critters.

And what kind of critters would that be? Oh, there were white pelicans,
wood storks, snapping turtles, wild horses and alligators........lots and lots of alligators. And did I mention there were NO fences! Eek! I think this sign says it all.
He also took a tour of the Univ. of Florida campus and stood in the Swamp.
Now being Univeristy of Tennessee fans, this could almost be considered a traitorous act, but I let it slide.

The next day we stopped by a new place called the Key Vista Tiki Bar. It's one of two new places in town that we discovered and really liked. One of the bar tenders told us that Sunday afternoons were the best time to be there because there was live music out on the beach area. You could watch the dolphin and manatees in the water and look at the pelicans as they sunned on the pier
while you listened to some good music. This little guy is doing his favorite scene from Titanic, "I'm King of the world!"

And it was just like bartender said. We even tossed in some food and a bucket of Kaliks to boot.

On Thursday, the last day of our trip, Sophie got to take a stroll with Jim on the Dog Beach and chase crabs. They kept running into their little holes on the beach and she'd shove her nose right in there after them. More surprisingly, she never got snipped by one.

And while they were on the beach, I was getting a hot stone massage at the Advance Beauty Care Center on Flagler Ave. OMG....It was so good. They put these hot stones along your back and let them sit for a while then take them off and massage your back. The stones from your back are moved to your legs where they sit for a while then your legs and arms are massaged. I even had flat little stones put between my toes. I was like a limp noodle by the time it was over.

But our last day was only going to get better. How's that? Glad you asked. We had dinner at one of our favorite places, Spanish River Grille. If for no other reason, go there for the Chocolate bread pudding. It's 'smack your mama' good.

After dinner (and a bottle of wine) we went to this cool little bar that recently opened. It's called the OM Bar and Chill Lounge. We'd stopped by one evening the week before and liked it so much we wanted to go back. It's a wine/cigar bar with a very laid back attitude. A walk-in humidor offers some nice choices in smokes and the wine menu is pretty lengthy. And on Thursday Sangria for the ladies and free Salsa lessons! Woo Hoo, I loves me some sangria and this stuff was mighty tasty.
Jim ordered a beer and bought a cigar from the humidor while we watched the dance instructor teach some folks the basic steps to salsa dancing. He even convinced me to give the cigar a try. And no, I didn't inhale. (This is the "what happens in New Smyrna Beach, stays in New Smyrna Beach" part)I tried several times to get Jim to get up there with me and learn but he was not hearing any of it. But my persistance paid off and I finally convinced him to join the second group of wannabe salsa dancers. There were five couples in this group, including us. One couple was taking it kinda seriously. Not us, we were just doing it for fun and to live up our last night in town.

Halfway through the lessons, the instructor tells us that later we'll all be competing for a bottle of champagne. My first thought was, "well, at least we're having fun, 'cuz there ain't no way we're gonna win this thing."
We had a brief rest before all five couples were back on the dance floor showing off our newly learned moves.....or at least trying not step on each others toes. Jim and I were sweatin' but having fun and not even thinking that the bottle of champagne would be ours.

After we all danced together, each couple danced by themselves. We were the last couple up. After we finished, everyone gathered back on the dance floor and the instructor said that the couple who got the loudest applause would win the champagne. He held the bottle over couple #1 (the serious ones)....big applause. Not surprising. Couples 2, 3 and 4 got a smattering of cheers.

Then it was our turn. The only thought going through my mind was that as long as we didn't get boo'd off the floor, I'd be happy. So I closed my eyes as the instructor raised the bottle of champagne high above our heads and would you believe the place went crazy! What!!! Applause, lots and lots of applause.....Holy SH*T!

To make sure the crowd was sure, the bottle was raised over couple #1. Big applause..... When raised over ours again, BOOM, yells, cheers, clapping and a very shocked us. I, of course being the modest person that I am, bowed and did my best beauty queen wave and air kissed to the crowd. Jim took possession of the bubbly.

A very nice couple sitting next to us at the bar took this celebratory picture for us.
We stayed there about 30 minutes longer then had to head home as Sophie needed to be walked and we had a 13 hour drive ahead of us the next day. So bottle in hand, we got into the car and headed back to the condo.

On the way, I called my parents to tell them about it and my dad's first words were, "And just how much had you to drink?" Yep, the old man knows me pretty well. A few glasses of wine with dinner and two big glasses of sangria and this girl will shake her booty like the best of them, not as good as the best of them mind you, but just as much. Because truth is, we were far.......very far, from the best ones out there that night but we were probably the ones having the most fun. And for that, you win a bottle of champagne and end your vacation on a high note.

We even managed to wear out the dog. Here she is on the drive home.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Vacation Wrap up - Part One - The Food

How can two weeks go by so fast? But at least we had fun, relaxed, tried new things and ate some great fresh seafood. This first post will cover the food. Come back later this week to hear about Sophie's first outing in the kayak, a Tiki Bar and our first venture with Salsa dancing at the OM Bar and Chill Lounge (the phrase What happens there, stays there should be enough to peak your interest in that story).

The condo we rented was right on the beach. We were serenaded all day and lulled to sleep with it at night with the sound of the ocean. And the weather couldn't have been better. Sunny, low 80's during the day and mid 60's at night.

We only cooked dinner twice in the condo. Jim bought some Cobia fillets and a pound of shrimp from Ocean's Seafood. He sauteed the shrimp in a bunch of garlic and served it as an appetizer. While we happily munched in that, he took the shrimp shells and boiled them down to make a shrimp stock for the Cobia. He added some garlic and saffron for additional flavor. It was all wonderful and the shrimp had to be the freshest I've eaten in ages. It was so good that we went back to Ocean's Seafood a few days later and bought 2 pounds for another home cooked dinner. Before dinner I made a spinach artichoke dip for us to munch on while Jim cooked. The shrimp was served with rosemary baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts and fresh rosemary focaccia.

We wanted to cook in more but there were too may good places we also wanted to eat at while we were in town. One of the first places we went to was JB's Fish Camp and was I a happy camper when I discovered they had rock shrimp! I loves me some rock shrimp steamed with some drawn butter. They taste just like lobster. We went back one night midway through the trip and shared a pound of them and a salad for dinner. Yum, yum!

Other restaurants of note that we went to were Romesco's. We took Jim's parents there and shared appetizers of artichoke hearts, peppers stuffed with prosciutto and cheese, and garlic shrimp. For our entree's, Jim chose a rosemary ham paninni while the rest of us ordered little pizzas. It was all very good. If we'd remembered the camera, you'd see for yourself.

Another must go to place is Scott's Bluewater Grille.Each month they feature a country or region for their specials. The May region was Indonesia. Jim ordered a squid dish from the specials menu which was "very, very hot" according to our server. But we're used to eating very hot food so Jim wasn't too concerned about the heat. The squid was served in 1/4 inch thick, 2 inch long planks onto top of a saffron coconut rice and topped with a spicy red sauce that looked like it had a lot of Sambal Oelek in it. Yes it was spicy but nothing we couldn't handle. I ordered scallops served over coconut rice. They were so fresh, so tender and sweet and cooked to perfection.

On our last night in town we went to Spanish River Grille, another favorite place. From the neon bull on the wall over the bar to the warm cozy colors on the wall to the tasty tasty food, it's a must go-to place each time we're down there. And of all the places we go to in New Smyrna Beach, it's the one place that I have to have dessert. Their Chocolate bread pudding (with caramel ice cream) is decadently delicious. But before I get ahead of myself, we shared a Caesar salad and ordered the whole Hogfish Snapper served over saffron rice (for Jim) and a bowl of steamed mussels and a side of fried yucca (for me). When they brought out Jim's dish, the server said, "Meet Bob" as she set the plate in front of Jim. Haha! Bob, meet Jim......Jim, eat Bob. The hogfish was tender flaky and moist. My mussels were plump and tasty. And because I only had the appetizer order of mussels, I had room for dessert. I looked at them menu knowing what I wanted but I just had to be sure they didn't sneak something even better on the menu. Nope. Bread Pudding was still the best thing there. I let Jim have a few bites and he kept me from picking up the plate and licking it clean.

Then there is Blackbeard's. Raw oysters are what draws Jim here. I enjoy their salad bar and fish dishes. We had dinner one night and lunch one afternoon. The bar is DARK, cool and the kind of place you could sit in all day and drink beer. For dinner there, Jim started out with a dozen raw oysters. I won't touch them with a ten foot pole so I sat patiently and sipped on some wine while he devoured them. I ordered the Grouper Scampi with a baked potato . Jim got the Oysters Rockefeller (yes, more oysters). The grouper was about the best I'd had while down there. And I even tried one of the Oysters Rockefeller. It was ok but I happy to stick with my fish.

A favorite place for the in-laws is Norwood's. It's been around forever and Jim remembers going there before they got air conditioning. The old place used to have big screened windows and ceiling fans. Now it's more upscale, with quite the wine collection. We shared fried calamari as an appetizer and it was perfectly cooked, not a single chewy piece in the batch. For our entree's, Jim's mom got the grilled mahi mahi, his dad got the broiled seafood platter.Jim ordered the grilled Wahoo which was delicious. And I got crab stuffed red snapper. It wasn't as good as the other entrees, a big section of dark bloodline was left in the snapper giving a good bit of it an unpleasant taste. But there was plenty that was good so I didn't go hungry.
Other places of note were The Breaker's. A restaurant right on the beach off Flagler Ave. You can grab a seat inside and look out past the bar to the ocean or get a seat along the windows that look right out onto the beach. Among the best things on the menu are the hamburgers, the buffalo chicken sandwich, the buffalo wings, a Key Lime Mahi Mahi sandwich. Plenty of cold beers on tap or by the bottle help wash it all down.
Then there was Clancy's Cantina. We heard they did a good job with fresh seafood which they did. But the cheesy piano player wasn't my style. I think he only knew the first two lines of songs because that's about all he ever sang. I'd go back and sit at the bar for a drink but we have other places we prefer for dinner.

Next up: The OM Bar and Chill Lounge (where the salsa lessons took place and some other things that I can't deny since Jim took pictures), the Key Harvest Tiki Bar, Sophie sporting her new doggie life jacket and more.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Home again

We reluctantly returned from Florida late last night. The picture above is the sunrise on our first morning.

As vacations go, it was great, even Sophie seemed to have a good time.

There's lots to write about and I hope to get that done tomorrow. For now here are a few hints about what to expect, doggy lifejackets, salsa dancing, chasing crabs and of course great seafood.

Labels: , ,