Friday, October 24, 2014

The Butcher, The Baker ...

Dear Reader,

We have been having some chilly and rainy fall days over here in Brooklyn, NY, but fall days in NYC are almost never wasted in my book and I love them all the same, just because they are part of the very few days that make up my favorite season. With that said, those grey days seem to be made for curling, cozying and cuddling into a favorite throw blanket and binge watching tv show after tv show, or book after book. Days like these call for something homemade and warm, like tea and a nice big piece of fluffy buttered toast. Toast! Aha! Says the brain. We shall make toast, and we shall make it chewy and soft just like the big loaves you can get at almost any Asian bakery. Have you tried them? If not, please do yourself this one great favor and go to your closest Asian bakery and buy a loaf. You can toast them, eat them plain, pull them apart - they are just pillowy and magnificent and so perfect. A statement toast, really. French pastry, I'm sorry, but you ain't got nothin' on Asian bread, a.k.a. Milk Bread, a.k.a. Hokkaido bread.
Fresh made Milk Bread for Saturday morning toast.

Here are two recipes. I have tried the NY Times version and may try the Food52 version next. I won't even attempt to write out the instructions since baking bread is quite a sensitive topic and instructions should be followed very closely.

Japanese Milk Bread Recipe - from the NY Times
Hokkaido Milk Bread Recipe - from Food52

My first batch (pictured above) came out fabulously. I baked into the night and it was well worth it. My second batch...not so much. I doubled the batch in order to get 2 loaves but something must have gone wrong. Lesson learned. If you are a fan of good bread, please make this. And make frequently.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Dear Reader,

There are some days spent in Brooklyn where everything seems to just make sense. Work. All is well. Like putting that last piece of a puzzle together and looking with sudden clarity at the “big picture” – ohhh, so that’s what I spent hours upon hours sifting through cardboard cutouts for! All the good and bad had and to be had makes sense on this very day. 

I’m so very thankful for such days because it’s when I feel most grateful for my life and I certainly do count my blessings. This week, E and I went for a long walk through our neighborhood, hobbling through cobblestone streets and maneuvering through tourists admiring the NYC skyline (a picture never does it justice, does it?) and our conversations tend to always center around the same vibe. We are so blessed. Even when facing the worst of circumstances, I am so thankful to E for keeping my mind in a high spirited place filled with gratitude instead of resentment or disturbances of my peace. It’s in these moments where we are often overwhelmed with joy and with a real need to celebrate life.
And I have a tendency of celebrating such said life by throwing dinner parties.