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    Entries in epic fail (6)


    On Sabbatical

    It's barely August and already my brain has shifted back into calculus and lab report mode.

    Fortunately, I've only got 3 semesters of this shit left. Until then, I plan to (quietly lose my mind and) keep all the cookies to myself. Well, maybe not all to myself. I'll stop by every once in a while if I come up with something particularly interesting. Likely at a time when I've decided that the 3% impact that week's lab report is going to have on my final grade just isn't worth the impact on my mental health. Deciding to not do work offers a wonderfully freeing feeling.

    But don't worry! Taneasha is more than happy to feed you all in my absence. Hell, the woman even invites door to door religion salesmen in for dinner.

    Starting next week, Taneasha takes Tuesday for tips, tricks, and treats! Brought to you by the letter Tau and the number 2.71828.



    Poppy Seed Mayhem!!

    When we started May-hem two years ago, we just assumed it was a one off thing.  I think we might have cursed ourselves, though, because when May rolls around, madness ensues.  Now, I don’t often have kitchen failures, but when you make up your own recipes, things are bound to go wrong occasionally.  This poppy seed bread, however, has been a complete kitchen calamity.

    Attempt #1:  Wow… just wow. 

    Attempt #2:  Seriously?

    So, after all that, I made even more adjustments, and finally created the perfect batter. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:    

    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¼ cups sugar
    • Zest of a lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
    • ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
    • ¼ cup oil
    • ¾ cup buttermilk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1-2 teaspoons almond extract
    • 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar  

    The first thing you need to do is pull out all your ingredients so they can come to room temperature.  Measure out your buttermilk and add the poppy seeds. 

    Stir them in, and allow them to soak while everything warms up. 

    The other thing you can do while you’re waiting is make the lemon sugar.  Remove the zest of a lemon, making sure to get only the yellow part.

    You should end up with about 1 Tablespoon. In a container with a tight fitting lid, put the sugar and zest. 

    Pop the lid on and shake like crazy.  Not only does this distribute the zest throughout the sugar, but the friction releases the lemon oil.  (and OMG does it smell good!)

    When all of your ingredients are room temperature, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°.  Also, butter and flour a large loaf pan. (2 quarts)  Then, into your mixing bowl go the butter, lemon sugar, and oil.

    Mix those until they’re nice and creamy. 

    Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.  Yes, I know poppy seed bread is usually lemon OR almond, not both.  But why?  Lemon and almond make a great combination. 

    Mix until the eggs are completely incorporated.  And you see what gives this bread the lovely yellow color?  It isn’t the lemon, it’s the egg yolks.  But don’t tell your brain.  To it, lemon = yellow.  Seriously, have you ever tried to figure out the flavor of something clear?

    Pour in the buttermilk and poppy seeds. 

    When that’s incorporated, sift in the flour, soda, powder, and salt. 

    Gently fold that in until it’s just combined.

    Scrape the batter into your prepared bread pan.  See?  I told you it was the perfect batter. 

    Even it out on top.  Hmm… that looks a bit full for a loaf pan.  Oh well, I’ll bake it on a sheet pan just in case, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.  Third time’s the charm, right? 

    Into the preheated oven for about 1 hour.  When you pull it out… Son of a beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.  May-hem!!! 

    Ok, so in doing a little research, most 9x5 loaf pans are 2 quarts.  Although mine measures 9x5, it has thick walls and is quite tapered, so it is only 1.5 quarts.  Check the volume of your loaf pan.  If it is more than 6 cups, you’re good to go.  If mine hadn’t overflowed, it would have been beautiful, but alas, it has a slightly fallen center.  Oh well, perhaps in a month other than May, I’ll make yet another attempt at perfection.  For now, this will have to do.   

    It’s not yet complete, though.  It needs to be glazed.  Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack.  Sift ¼ cup powdered sugar into 1 ½ Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

    Stir until you have a nice, smooth glaze.

    Brush the glaze over the top of the bread. 

    Continue until you run out of glaze.  It’ll probably be at least 2 coats.  It will give the top of the bread a beautiful, shiny finish. 

    Allow it to cool completely before slicing.  To store it, wrap it tightly in plastic.  You can even wrap individual slices and freeze them if you’re not going to eat it all in 2 or 3 days.  But I doubt that will be necessary, because it's the best poppy seed bread you've ever had.   

    What recipe has been your undoing in the kitchen?