Friday, December 9, 2011

In 2009, Jasper Mirabile and I held our first dinner, dedicated to pork of all kinds! We called it "Pig 101....from Snout to Tail".  After the big success and requests for more of the samr, last year we held "Pig 102". Well, time flies; It is time for "Pig 103"!
The photo was taken by Jasper as I was tying the last 3 hog jowls we are curing for Guanciale. We dry rubbed 30 pounds of them today! Don't I lead an exciting life? Actually I do! Cooking with Jasper is such a treat for me! It brings back my days as a chef at Milano at Crown Center.

Jasper and I discussed our menu for the dinner which will be held at the restaurant on January 30.  Every item on the menu will have pork as one of the ingredients....wait until you see what I am making for dessert!
Stay tuned for more news on the event....there will be some surprises!

This weekend is the Somerset Ridge Painter's annual painting exchange party! Each of the 9 of us paint a painting that represents our own art and style.  The only requirement is they must fit in a brown grocery sack! We arrive at the party with our painting stapled up in a sack, put them all together in a pile and then we draw numbers.  Starting with #1, we each choose a bag from the pile....It is so amazing to see all 9 paintings in one room! Everyone is HAPPY! Even the spouses and significant others have a great time....but of course, there is lots of food and wine involved!
Winnie and Tom Davis are hosting the event this year and she is cooking a couple of beautiful briskets, so I volunteered to bake homemade breads.  I was going to start today, but as luck would have it, painters showed up to paint 2 ceilings and 1 wall that had been damaged by water due to a hail storm wiping out my roof. One of the ceilings was my kitchen! So, maybe I will start the bread tonight! I'd better!
One of the recipes I am going to make is  for Brioche Slider Buns, They are small, beautifully shiny,tiny little buns with just a hint of sweetness and a glorious aroma. My whole house smells like heaven when I bake them, I can hardly wait!
I got the recipe from another food blog...Crepes of Wrath.  Check it out!
Here is the recipe.

Brioche Slider Buns

For the sponge:
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (this is usually the size of 1 packet)
1/3 cup milk, 110 degrees F
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1.5 to 2)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
For baking:
1 egg, beaten
sesame or poppy seeds, for garnish

1.Mix together 1 egg that has been lightly beaten, 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 cup all-purpose flour, and 1/3 cup of milk, heated to 110 degrees F. Over all of that, sprinkle another 1 cup of all-purpose flour - this is going to "sponge" the mixture (see photo above). Let it rest, uncovered, in a large bowl, for 30-40 minutes. When the sponge is ready to go, the flour will have cracked and it will truly look like a sponge.
2.Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 4 more lightly beaten eggs to the sponge. Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, mix on low for 2 minutes until the dough begins to come together. Add in another 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, and continue to mix on medium for 15 minutes (yes, it's a long time), stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.
3. The dough will be very, very sticky while you mix it, so if it looks too wet and soft, you can add up to 3-4 more tablespoons of flour to the dough. The dough should start to wrap itself around the dough hook and slap against the sides of the bowl.
4.After 15 minutes, continue to mix on medium speed while gradually adding in your 3/4 cup of butter to the dough, a few cubes at a time, allowing a minute or two between each addition so the butter has a chance to incorporate itself into the dough. Continue to mix the dough as you add in the butter - the dough will look strange, but just keep going. The dough should again start to cling to the dough hook and slap against the sides of the bowl.
5.Grease a very, very large mixing bowl with plenty of butter. Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to the greased bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours. We put our dough on our window sill (with the window shut, obviously) in the sunlight. After it has risen, deflate it gently with your hands. Using new plastic wrap, cover the dough again and chill it for at least 6 hours
or as long as overnight (I do ours overnight). After it has been refrigerated,
you are ready to bake your slider buns.
6. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into 25-30 balls by rolling them in your hands, but still working quickly because the dough is best when it is still cold. Place them on a lined or greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten them slightly with your palm, then cover the dough again with some towels and allow to rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
7.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Beat 1 egg, and brush the egg over the buns to give them a nice sheen. Sprinkle some sesame seeds or poppy seeds over them for a garnish, and brush them with a bit more egg to keep the seeds in place. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the sheets once through the baking time, until golden. The buns are ready when you tap them and they feel sort of hollow inside. Allow to cool, slice open, and fill with your favorite slider fare (meatballs, hamburgers, pulled pork, etc.). You can also freeze them after the cool and use them on another date.

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

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Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

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oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

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Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
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