On Saturday, Chris, Dan Boxer and I rode out to Bothell (25 – 30 miles or so) for a “35 mile” ride around the hills in the area. The cue snakes everyone through an evil series of loops, up and down, but mostly up. Somehow there ends up being something like 4000 feet of climbing. It wasn’t until I flipped my cue sheet over that I realized that the course was actually 45 miles, with plenty of hills still coming.
I figured that I had enough food on me, but I was dead wrong. I forgot my bananas out the door, and some of my Shot Blocks in my bag were hard as rocks. I need to make sure to squeeze them before assuming they’ll work for me. I had a baggie full of awesome homemade energy bars, but they mostly just got me through the first half of the day.
By the time I was on the last hill, my legs were burning and I was seriously undernourished. I was completely bonking by the time we got back to park. I laid out on the ground and soaked in a little bit of sun. I tried to eat a little bit of a (different) protein bar that I had in my bag. It was way too sweet and sent my stomach reeling. Sometimes you have to learn the nutritional stuff the hard way.
Dan and Chris basically had to nurse me back home. I spent at least 15 minutes on the side of the Burke Gilman Trail laying in the grass letting my stomach settle. Thankfully, it was an amazingly beautiful day for it.
I was anxious to get home though. I had planned to make dinner for my “little” cousin Thomas. He is shipping off to Kyrgyzstan (not to sound like a jerky American, but I had to google that again) with the military. Someone gave him a license to operate a 2 million dollar cargo loader…
We got him pizza’d up with some friends and drank some beers. It was a generally pleasant night, despite my aching body and throbbing muscles.
On the cooking forefront, I’ve had a pretty good streak of Sunday baking going. Three weeks ago I made a homemade pita bread from a couple of random online recipe sites. They came out great so I made a double batch of hummus that I’m still working on. I’ve been meaning to cook up some eggs and stuff them into breakfast pockets. Soon!
Two weeks ago, I had another successful run with making bagels. This time I was able to use a proper stand mixer since Norman was able to find his dough hook attachment. It was so much easier this time around. I still made sure to get in and hand knead a bit though. I’m starting to actually enjoy that process. I played around with some poppy seeds and onions for toppings. I burnt the onions a bit, but the poppy seeds worked great.
Last night I made some English muffins (with Jane’s help) out of Norman’s “The Bread Bible” (Beth Hensperger’s) book. I am constantly surprised at how easy these staples are to make. They take a little bit of time, but it is totally worth it. I’m getting to the point where I can handle multiple projects at the same time, so it cuts down on overall cooking time. I was able to cook us dinner while multitasking the bagel cooking.
Makes 16 or so
- 4-4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (can sub out a cup or two with whole wheat if you want)
- 1 tbsp of salt
- A pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp of active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup of room temperature milk
- 2 tbsp of melted butter
- Combine the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl with a whisk and sit until foamy (10 minutes).
- Combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in egg, milk, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix with a paddle attachment (or wooden spoon) until creamy (2 minutes).
- Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until you have a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl.
- Switch to a dough hook attachment and turn on medium for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternatively, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. If you use a dough hook, you can still hand knead for a few minutes to ensure that the dough is smooth.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (1 1/2 hours). If it takes longer, be patient.
- Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface and roll out to a roughly 1/2″ thick rectangle. Use a 3″ cookie cutter (or large glass) to cut out muffin shaped pieces of the dough. Combine the scraps and roll them out to make more muffins.
- Heat a large griddle over medium heat. Cook muffins for up to 10 minutes per side. Keep an eye on them though, they can burn fairly easily. Mine all needed about 7-8 minutes per side. It takes a while for the middle of the muffin to cook properly.
- Cool on a wire rack. Be patient!
- Spread muffins open with a fork.