Monthly Archives: December 2013

Look before you Brioche

This.  This is what happens when I get up, and try to create something in the kitchen prior to caffeine ingestion.  Yep.  Set out to make plain ol’ white bread from my Betty Crocker cookbook, and instead wound up with brioche dough.  (This is what happens when you set something on the book to keep it open while you add ingredients and somehow, after the yeast proofing step, you wind up making the brioche recipe on the right-hand page, not the basic bread recipe on the left-hand page.  Oops.) Perhaps the step calling for five eggs and one egg white should have been a warning.  Nevertheless, I now have a nice big batch of brioche dough, but no brioche pan.

Hence, a plead for help on the internets.  Never despair, I am usually not the only one experiencing any particular baking emergency, so help usually is readily forthcoming.  Along with a quick giggle result showing lovely brioche pans I could purchase from Williams-Sonoma or Amazon, is a helpful thread on finecooking.com that should save me: Brioche Pan Substitute Discussion

Now I need only decide whether to make loaves of bread using the “six balls technique,” or make tiny muffin-pan brioches.  Meh, I think I’ll go with the former.  I only have a half hour to decide, because I only have quick-rising yeast.  The suspense!  The drama!

All this because I was too lazy to drive to the store for bread.  That should teach me!

PS:  I neglected to add the butter specified by the recipe.  When you make mistakes, go big or go home!

Is it enough?

Ren & Stimpy get Superstitious

In studying my ACLS text for my upcoming class (dreading. . .dreading. . .anything remotely approaching a skills lab setting makes me shake with apprehension), I found myself thinking of how my perspective has changed since entering the health care field.

I used to just be-bop into the store with nary a thought of what I’d do if someone collapsed in front of me.  Sure, I’d taken the occasional first-aid course, but still, I hadn’t really internalized it.  Now, I walk into a large store or building, and find myself scanning the walls to locate the AED, avoiding anyone who looks like they might not feel well (I used to only avoid the actively sneezing and coughing, but now my immune system just shrugs and says “whatever” when confronted by someone else’s germies, for the most part), and just trying to get in and out with the least chance of a medical incident possible.

For you see, my friends, at work I am becoming what is gently known as a “magnet.”  If a patient will try to become unstable, have a cardiac event, de-sat into the 80’s, whatever, it will probably occur on my watch.  Doesn’t really matter that I’m new. . .it has only taken three weeks on my own for the patients to get the memo that they can feel free to have some sort of incident while I’m caring for them.  Already, I’m greeted on my floats with “hey, good to see you, I’m sure you won’t have a Rapid Response this time!”  I have tried everything to get off this streak, including a float to Psych (where I was nowhere near anyone even remotely medically unstable). Nothing has worked. It’s only a matter of time before this tendency follows me into my off-hours.

I’m hoping that by outing this possibility on my blog, I can somehow prevent it from occurring.  This is somewhat akin to the superstition that causes nurses to pull the code cart outside the room of a patient whose condition makes them nervous.  We’ll see!

Almond Biscotti – Slob Gourmet!

Are you uncoordinated in the kitchen?  Just as likely to wind up with the rolling pin up your nose as on the floured surface?  Don’t like structure?  This is the cookie for you , my friend!  These biscotti are crispy, sturdy and ideal for dunking in coffee.  There’s no need to worry about over-indulging in these cookies, because their sturdy nature makes that about as likely as a zwieback-speed-eating-contest (as in, not likely).

So, here you go:

Ingredients: 2 cups AP flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 large eggs, 2 T rum (I prefer the 7-year-old dusty bottle of Captain Morgan’s hidden away for just this occasion), 1 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup chopped, toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (275 if convection oven).  Line a baking sheet (or two, if you want smaller cookies) with parchment paper.  Combine dry ingredients (except almonds) and set aside.  Whisk eggs and liquid ingredients in mixer or food processor until well blended, then add dry ingredients (except almonds) and mix until combined.  Blend in almonds.  The dough will be quite sticky at this point – no worries as that’s what you want.  Really.

Scrape the dough out into parchment-paper-lined sheet pan.  Flour your hands (and the floor, and the dog, and your shirt, if you’re like me) and shape the dough into a long, flat loaf about 5″ x 10″ – no extra points will be awarded for neatness, so don’t bother.

Unbaked Biscotti DoughBake in preheated oven approximately 50 minutes, until dry and firm.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Your “loaf” will still look messy.  No worries.

Using a long, serrated knife (a bread knife is best.  Ignore suggestions from your spouse to go get the reciprocating saw from the garage.  Ha ha.), slice the loaf into 1/2″ wide diagonal slices.  Lay the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, then turn (the cookies, just in case this is unclear) and bake again for 20 minutes, or until the cookies are a golden light brown.  Cool completely before storing.

Finished Biscotti

Bust out the coffee and these biscotti with the good Denby ware and a yummy textbook for a deliciously dreary afternoon of studying.  Will I ever, ever be finished with studying?  Probably not. . .

Lack-o-posts = other priorities

Hello all.  Sorry for the lack of posts.  It seems my hospital is THE “in” place to be, so as a consequence, I’ve been picking up extra shifts to help my facility (and also my pocketbook) out.  Plus, Mr. DisorderlyCNA spent a stint in the hospital, but he’s much better now. Needless to say, it’s a holiday miracle that there are Christmas lights on outside the house.  (I’ve resorted to begging Son of DisorderlyCNA and one of his friends to procure a Christmas tree for me so I can decorate it on a day off.)

Things that have been accomplished?  Little steps for the cat to use to climb up into the loft above the living room (It’s not much of a loft, really just a horizontal, ceiling-height divider between the entry and the living room, but it’s a great place for a cat to snuggle into a bed and snooze the day away) have been installed.  I swapped out the showerheads for spray nozzles (if I had known it would only take about 5 minutes each, I would have done it 19 years ago!).  And the laundry is caught up!  Huzzah!

I’ll try to post a lovely photo of Christmas pork roast, because other than Sunday (which will be spent sleeping and attending “Anchorman 2”) there isn’t a day off until then.

All I can say is, thank goodness for Amazon, because between work and studying, there isn’t a lot of time for shopping in the traditional sense.

Feliz Navidad, y’all.