NYC

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Heyo everybody – some changes in the works for a bit. I’ve been a bit radio silent lately and I hope that changes because I miss blogging. I really do. So I went to NYC recently. It was my first trip there and honestly, it was a lot different than I thought it would be. Being a smalltown Midwestern girl, my ideas about NYC were largely formed by movies like Ghostbusters, Ghost, Trading Places, etc. I thought it would be dirty and crowded and scary and gross and that I wouldn’t like it. Isn’t it great to be wrong sometimes? Admittedly I’m sure I could find places in the city where it would be all of those things but everywhere I went was pretty great. Also, I found the people to be just as nice as anywhere else, which was refreshing.

IMG_3001First New York bagel – it didn’t occur to me to take a photo before I ate part of it so it’s not the best pic, but trust me when I tell you that it was an amazing bagel. A-MAZING. Toasted whole wheat with bacon-scallion cream cheese is the way to go when you visit Bagel Pub in Park Slope. And you should. Because they have great bagels. And chai lattes…

IMG_3087Due to the previously mentioned stomach bug plus some other stuff I haven’t really had much of an appetite lately but there was no way I was going to let that stop me for this trip. We basically ate our way through Brooklyn and it was really, really fun. There was a music & food festival in Prospect Park called the Great Googa Mooga Fest and even though it was a little chilly, we really had a blast. I’ll try to limit myself but the food was so delicious and fun that you’ll have to cut me a little slack.

IMG_3041First booth in the place was Milk and I just couldn’t pass up a real Compost cookie. I have their cookbook and have made a few things but I find it a bit daunting so I was super excited to see these guys there. We also ate a Blueberries & Cream cookie later in the night that was stellar, but I love the crispy, crunchy, chewy, sweet/salty thing that the Compost cookies bring to the table. Yum. The Milk booth was right next to the Baked booth so obviously I bought a Brookster brownie as well. First course of the evening = cookies and brownies. That’s normal right?

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Moving onto a little something I like to call the best sandwich in the world…

IMG_3043I’m ashamed to say I don’t even remember which booth we bought this from, but I know it was right next to the duck sausage corn dog booth which we scarfed down too quickly for me to properly photograph. By the time I remembered, it was nothing more than a nub and that’s just not something you need a pic of. The lobster roll was the most expensive thing we ate ($16) but it was soooooooo worth it.

IMG_3053Look how happy we are post-lobster roll! There is actual photographic evidence that great sandwiches make the world a better place. After this it got too dark to take proper pics but the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs put on a good show and I ate some real Beecher’s Mac & Cheese, so all in all it was a great evening. More on NYC in the next post because yeah, I ate a lot of things worth remembering.

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Baking with Julia – Bagels

Things I Learned While Making These Bagels (Pros & Cons):

Pro = I love making bagels! It’s really fun and they taste AMAZING! Like so amazing that I can’t believe I ate those refrigerator bagels my entire life amazing!

Con = they were kind of time-consuming and made my morning at work feel a little hectic.

Pro = watching the video of Julia making these with Lauren Groveman was really fun and helpful and I felt like I understood the directions in the book much better for having watched them in action (especially the shaping part).

Con = My bagels are nowhere near as pretty as Lauren’s. I mean they’re crusty and awesome but they are certainly not going to win any beauty contests. I mean, look at this one!

My first sesame bagel was the definition of YIKES! When I slid them all off of the peel onto the quarry stones they kind of stuck so I had to be….shall we say forceful?? and this guy slid off the back of the tiles onto the rack of the oven. Whoops!

Con = It is not a good idea to stop at Menard’s to buy quarry tiles when you have to be at work in 20 minutes. Even if you called the night before to make sure they have them and you feel like it’s going to be a quick trip.

Pro = I gave the bagels out to our mailman Dave, our UPS guy Byron, my boss and her husband and her mother, two of my co-workers, and the owner of the shop next door. Plus I took two home for Tristan and I. This recipe is like the gift that keeps on giving! And I really liked how I could make so many different flavors from one batch without changing the dough at all. I did sesame seed, poppy seed, and cinnamon-sugar and they were all super-delicious!

Okay that’s enough of this list business. It feels too constrictive. I mixed up the dough yesterday on a rainy Sunday at work and I was really impressed with the consistency. I used the stand mixer but I think next time I will do it by hand like Lauren and Julia. It looked really fun.

The dough was really pliable and elastic and I feel like I could have made it at home in my smaller Artisan mixer without tasking the motor too much. After I let it rise for about 2 hours it looked like this:

I tried to imitate Julia and punch it down just like she did in the video but I know I did not get the same pow that she did. She was a powerful lady! This morning I took the dough out and set my tiles up in the oven to preheat. I had to buy six 6×6 tiles to get the surface area I was looking for. I suppose I could have just bought myself a pizza stone but I paid $2.75 for my baking surface vs over $30 for a baking stone (and that takes into account my discount!) so I think it’s fine. I used a cast-iron skillet on the bottom rack of our oven for the steam bath because I didn’t feel like it was smart to throw ice water directly on the heating element. Just a hunch..

Here’s my little bagel baby pre-boil:

And here are a few just bubbling away together in their little hot tub:

I would definitely say that the first batch was more photogenic than the second. I don’t really know why. Maybe I was just in a rush to get done by the time I got around the the second ones. Who knows? What I do know is that I will definitely make these again.

And you should definitely try it.

I mean it.

No joke.

Not kidding around here. If you got the message (and I do hope you did, I mean seriously, I took A LOT of pictures of these bagels!), visit Heather over at Heather’s Bytes for the recipe – you won’t be sorry!