Eating on a Napkin

apocalypse now

by kalamckala

Zombies do not scare me. Zombies are not real. A zombie apocalypse does not seem to be in my future or of my concern at the moment, so they don’t inhabit my dreams, nightmares, or daily thoughts. Mobile rotting corpses don’t really tickle my fancy.

I do wonder though, in the case of a zombie-style post-apocalyptic lifestyle, what type of person I would be and how it would change me. Would I still sleep like a rock at night? How would I deal with not brushing my teeth? Is this a normal thing to be thinking about (with the world in front of me at the ripe-old age of 23)? I’d say not.

That’s what the Walking Dead will do to you. Not the show, the show is good, really good, in fact, but I’ve become engrossed in the comics. I love what the author Robert Kirkman says for his intention for the comic series: “good zombie movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society…and our society’s station in the world…there’s always an undercurrent of social commentary and thoughtfulness.”

It seems insignificant, but I notice things in the comic beyond the huge overarching theme of the morals involved with killing and protecting those you love and care for. I notice that these people survive, primarily, by scavenging for canned goods and relish the thought of said canned goods. This makes me (holy) want to start planting a garden, fence it off, and start growing and preserving food primarily to begin a new life where I can do nothing but be my own person. I imagine not having to go to work and not having grocery stores and supermarkets but instead living a simpler life and needing (for survival) to prepare my own food. Just this mere spark of a thought gives me another dimension of gratitude for the daily things that I am able to make for my household every day (okay, my “household” involves only two people and a dog, but that’s something).

Bread is one of the few things that I feel like I need to have on hand at all times in order to feel content with food. It is the staple of my diet and I take great pride in being a 20-something-year old who knows how to make bread. I’d like to say that in this completely hypothetical post-apocalyptic world, I would still make bread and be able to provide food for myself. It’s almost something I’d want to do anyways: move to a somewhat remote 10-acre property, build a house and a garden and an orchard, purchase livestock that could sustain my family, and just live. No worrying about credit scores and stock values or any other nonsense (which I honestly don’t completely understand). No worrying about the future, just living in the present, breathing in clean air, harvesting fresh food, and enjoying my time on this planet.

Think about this, let’s seriously think: most people who work full-time spend 40-hours per week away from home, away from their loved ones, away from the people who truly matter in life. When did this become okay? Why do I feel like I’m the only one questioning this lifestyle and that everyone else just marches on like (un)happy sheep? More time spent at work can’t possibly lead to a happy life. How can this be? Work can’t chit-chat with you, work can’t give you a hug and a kiss when you are having a bad day, work can’t have a beer with you in the hot summer sun, and work certainly can’t love you back. What’s the deal with this one-sided relationship then, huh?

I ask all these rhetorical questions not to be mean, not to belittle anyone, only to spark thoughts and more questioning-mentalities. These are the types of questions that I think to myself or ask my dog on the daily. “Why, Roxy, why are you such a happy dog?” Maybe it has to do with the fact that her life is simple: she eats, she drinks, she gets treats and frequent belly rubs, she occasionally humps the corner of her dog bed, she gets to run and move her body, and she gets to be in the company of people she loves. Sometimes I wish us humans were much more simple.

stout walnut slice

 

crumb

 

Stout walnut sourdough boule
yield 1 loaf

This recipe (purposefully) uses 1 entire 12-fl oz bottle of SN Narwhal Imperial Stout.

LEVAIN: 50g 100% hydration ripe sourdough starter
100g SN Narwhal Imperial Stout
100g organic BRM whole wheat bread flour

Mix together, cover w/ a lid, and ferment 10 hours (or until 1 tbsp floats in room-temp H2O)

DOUGH: 250g LEVAIN
254g SN Narwhal Imperial Stout
86g body-temp H2O
290g BRM whole wheat bread flour
210g organic unbleached white flour

Mix LEVAIN in H2O with hands until completely dispersed. Using hands again, mix in the flours until there are no dry clumps. Autolyse and cover w/ towel for 60 mins.

25g body-temp H2O
12g sea salt

Squish into dough thoroughly to incorporate salt.

140g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Add the walnuts and fold dough over itself (in the bowl from the bottom to the top) on all sides (5-10 times) until it is cohesive but sticky. Rest 30 mins.

BULK FERMENTATION: Fold dough over itself as before and let rest again for 30 mins. Do this 3 additional times. (Total time: 120 mins) Rest at cool room-temp for another 120 mins.

SHAPE: Turn dough onto a clean counter. Rest 15 mins. Pull four edges over to meet in one place at the top, turn over, and place into a linen-lined bowl dusted w/ brown rice flour. Cover w/ towel and rest at cool room-temp for 80 mins.

PROOF: Place in the fridge and ferment an additional ~15 hours.

SCORE & BAKE: 60 mins before baking, place (cast iron) dutch oven (lid ON) into the oven and preheat to 550. Let preheat for 60 full mins. Pull dough from fridge and flip onto a cutting board lined w/ parchment paper for transport to the hot dutch oven. Score dough deeply w/ a razor/ serrated knife. Slide it, parchment and all, down into the dutch oven. Cover, place in oven, reduce oven temp to 475, and steam for 30 mins. Remove lid, reduce oven temp further to 450 and bake 20-25 mins until chestnut brown.

the little things

by kalamckala

bite puppy

“I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire, which will fit your individual needs no better than it did mine or my father’s before me. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you may forget it for a moment now and then and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it.”

Sourdough brownies
recipe from Wild Yeast Blog
recipe yield: 9×13 pan

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with coconut oil or butter.

Over a double boiler (I often use a glass bowl and a medium-sized sauce pan), melt together 300g semisweet chocolate chips and 226g unsalted butter, cut into pieces. Stir constantly until everything is completely melted.

Whisk in 150g raw sugar, 6g (1 tsp) salt, and 8.4g (2 tsp) vanilla.

Add 3 whole eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.

Sift 40g cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

Stirring gently, add 220g mature 100%-hydration wild yeast sourdough starter until completely incorporated.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I like my brownies on the fudge, undercooked side, so I cooked mine for 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before cutting off a piece. I find it best to cool the brownies completely, refrigerate, and then cut into squares.

To store, cut brownies into squares and keep in a tupperware in the fridge.

Note: have milk ready and poured when you are ready to devour.

The feelings are mutual

by kalamckala

I have had a realization today. I make most of my realizations while inside my own head, in my own little universe. I think about everything: I think about myself, about the world, about my place in it, about my family, and about my future.

Today was one of the first days away from my boy friend in a good long while. You see, we pretty much live together but don’t: I have a house, he has an apartment. I have some sourdough starters, he has a dog. We divide our time between each place and sleep together every night. No matter what. And that’s the way we prefer it to be.

So today, I thought about myself. I thought about the way I feel when I am happy. I thought about myself as a person and myself as a couple. Never before have I felt tied to someone; I have always been the independent type, the type that doesn’t cry, but the joy and love that I feel in my heart brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. It makes me tingly and warm, endorphins rush through my veins and my heartbeat begins to quicken. Does everyone feel this way? Does this sort of feeling last?

Today I thought about the world and I thought about my place in it. My place is to be the kind individual who will hold the door open for you when you have your hands full, the person who asks you how your day was and is genuine, the person who makes you feel like an actual, appreciated human being. Will my endeavors one day change? The probability is high.

Today I thought about my family. There is no denying my love for my family but after being home for all of 8 hours, I have decided that I am not happy when I am home. On the surface, perhaps I am but I can’t say that I am truly and honestly happy. When half of me is gone, how can I be completely happy?

And lastly, today I thought about my future. I thought that I enjoy thinking about the future and the way my life will unfold itself and before I know it, I’ll be 47 and wonder where all those years went and how silly I was when I was 22 and sharing my every thought with the world on this internet page.

My realization of the day, what this entire thing started with, was that I am a happy person. I enjoy my life and my place in this world, I love my family, and I eagerly await my future. But what I really realized today was that I am really truly happy in the presence of my boy friend (Kyle). Without him, I feel like a sac of empty feelings. With him, my soul is warm and happy, liquid like dark and indulgent hot cocoa seeping into every nodule of my body. I also decided that it is quite a beautiful thing to share feelings and intentions with another person.

Case in point: Kyle and I both look at each other with this hopelessness in our eyes. I love that when I give such a longing look, it is reciprocated. Having such raw feelings thrown back at you is unbelievable. It is probably my favorite thing in the world, even besides sourdough baked goods and brussels sprouts. We both have an idea of the future and we know that the future involves both of us.

On the drive home for the holidays, we talked of heavy topics. We talked of future things, things of a serious matter. We made frequent restroom-breaks. We smiled and laughed and held hands. We have fun, the two of us do.

I have no idea why I am sharing this with the world. Somehow, I wonder if any good will come of it. This personal stuff probably isn’t even interesting.

So have some food. These are Kyle’s (and my) favorite!

Brussels sprout latkes w/ balsamic honey mustard
recipe from molly yeh
recipe yield: 14 latkes

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups very thinly sliced brussels sprouts (by use of a food processor or mandolin for easy work), 1 small chopped onion, salt, and pepper. Stir in the juice from 1/2 a lemon along with 4 beaten egg whites. Lastly, stir in 1/2 cup spelt flour until just combined.

In a large cast iron pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Spoon latkes by the spoonful into the hot pan. Cook until golden brown and flip, pressing gently, until the bottom side is just as golden. Remove and place onto a plate protected with paper towels.

Make the balsamic dijon dipping sauce by mixing together 1 cup plain greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons honey, and 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Serve each latke with a dollop of sauce.

What does it mean?

by kalamckala

I have come to a great time in my life: for the first time, the word “love” doesn’t do my feelings any justice.

The best way I can describe this feeling is love, but what I really mean is that my heart is bleeding warmness. I literally feel a warm, prickly, fluttering in my chest cavity, nearly constantly. It’s almost like the heart-racing excitement that came with sprinting in from my first half marathon.

All I have ever wanted is to feel this happy with another person. Wholeheartedly, in every aspect of the word, in love.

I look at this kid when he wakes up in the morning with crusty sleep in his eyes and I love him. We cuddle (and look forward to it) every night and I love him. The cuddle factor is huge, for never have I ever been a true cuddler. I feel like I glow with blissful happiness in his presence. I can feel a tenderness when I look into his eyes and know that it is real when I see the same look reflected in his eyes.  We laugh together more than ever and I know that I love him. He kisses my nose and swirls me around the kitchen in an attempt to silently dance and I know that he loves me too.

All this love-talk reminds me of this scene in Dan in Real Life:

Dan’s daughter claims to love a boy in her class that she is doing a project with. Her name is Mara and she is about 15 years old. Dan is driving the car, Mara is in the backseat, hovering over his shoulder. She is insistent that she loves this boy. Dan strongly disagrees, saying that she can’t possibly know what love is after only knowing this boy for 3 days. She persists to argue, covering her ears with her hands, and repeating “I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him”, each time more aggressively.

I do love him.

That boy of mine.

It’s crazy to think that we were once strangers. I guess everyone has to start somewhere.

The moment I think he fell in love with me was when I made him a cheesecake. His very own cheesecake.

Cannoli cheesecake w/ chocolate and orange zest
recipe from Always with Butter
yield: 1 9″ cheesecake, serves 8-12

Let me be the first to say that I do not like cheesecake. They are overly sweet, dense, and decadent for my tastebuds. However, with the addition of ricotta cheese, heaps of orange zest, and chocolate chips inside of a homemade graham cracker crust, I found this cheesecake to be quite delicious. I imagine that it would be quite wonderful with a cappuccino. 

This is a plan-ahead recipe. Nothing is too complicated or involving difficult ingredients, but do follow the recipe. It is sure to make someone very very happy.

Pull out from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature: 24-oz plain cream cheese and 4 large eggs.

Crush about 8-oz of homemade graham crackers in any way you can (food processor, giant plastic bag, by hand). There should be 2 cups of cookie crumbs. Preheat the oven to 375F and place a rack in the center position.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the cookie crumbs and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Mix in 7 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil until the crumbs are moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9″ springform pan and press it evenly into the bottom and 2″ up the sides of the pan. This is important, as it will prevent the liquid filling from overflowing and leaking through the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and golden brown, 9-12 minutes. Let the pan cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300F.

In a large bowl, aggressively whisk the cream cheese with 1 cup homemade ricotta cheese, 2 tbsp whole wheat or spelt flour, and a pinch of sea salt. Scrape down the bowl as needed and whisk until smooth and fluffy with no clumps (~5 minutes). Beat in 1 cup raw sugar, 1 tbsp vanilla, and 2 tbsp orange zest until smooth and well blended. Gently fold in 3/4 cup of roughly chopped 72% dark chocolate. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until blended. Take care not to over mix! Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top over with a rubber spatula.

Bake at 300F for 50-65 minutes. You will know it is ready when the center looks moist and jiggles like Jello-O, while the edges are slightly puffy. Set on a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. After sitting in the fridge for 8 hours, the cake may be unmolded and frozen for up to a month.

To freeze, place unmolded cake, uncovered, in the freezer until the top of cold and firm. Wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of tin foil. To unfreeze, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. 

To serve, unclasp the springform pan and run a knife under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the finished cake onto a flat serving plate or cutting board. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Everything is going to be super duper

by kalamckala

Sometimes things don’t always go your way.

Sometimes you let a big exam get the better of you.

Sometimes your bike gets stolen and there’s not much you can do about it.

Sometimes dinner is a complete and disastrous, inedible flop and you must turn to Plan B (peanut butter and honey sandwiches).

Although these times adequately SUCK, these times are the most important: these are the times that define you.

During these times, I like to remind myself that everything is going to be super duper!

I can get down pretty darned easily. I can also pull myself back up almost just as easily. How do I do it? I fill my day with the things that make me happy: I talk about food with my best friend while we run to the gym for an intense workout. I take deep breaths and reflect on the positive things, which are sometimes as minuscule as being all warm and snuggly in bed. I stand over the stove top and whip together milk and oats until they cook down into breakfast. I sip tea with my man and we laugh like crazy!

The My answer is always happiness.

So whatever makes you happy, do that.

Besides looking rather happy themselves, these pancakes sure do make me happy. And they for damn certain made my body happy after half marathoning last weekend.

OH YEAH, I ran my first half marathon! Ran that bad boy in 2:10:45. I’m pretty proud of myself for just running the whole thing. Never did I ever think that my body could do that. And there’s another thing I’m thankful for: my health and body capabilities (and my knees!).

{face}

Sourdough pancakes
recipe from Wild Yeast Blog
recipe yield about 14 cakes

Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl:

511 g rye sourdough starter
2 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon batter onto a greased hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip and cook another minute or two. Serve with fried eggs seasoned with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Leftovers are also delicious slathered with almond butter and eaten with a ripe Fuyu persimmon, hunk of 85% dark chocolate, and large glass of milk!