Sunday, March 22, 2009

Superdawg Lounges Inside

It was sunny spring day on Lake Michigan today.
The photo speaks for itself: There were lots of people out buying the Chicago favorite; the hot dog. (Yes those are giant hot dogs on top of the building.)
Some of the purchased dogs were Superdawgs, "comfortably lounging in Superfries." And all of them had NO KETCHUP.
Hot dogs - or red hots - are not served with ketchup in Chicago. Instead the traditional dog is served on a warm poppy seed bun, with sweet pickle relish, chopped tomatoes, pickeled green tomoato, chopped onions, a dill pickle spear, "sport peppers" (they're hot!) and mustard.
We were lucky enough to visit the friendly car hops at Superdawg. The dogs and the hand-cut fries (that still included some 'tato skin) were delicious. All those flavors of sweet, sour, spicey and meaty umami were delicious. And of course, the sunshine made them taste even better.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homemade Bread with Honey

A few days ago, on a snowy afternoon, I decided we should bake some bread to help warm up the house (yes, in March!) My 3 1/2 year old daughter and I had also been reading a book about baking bread and she asked how bread rises. So the two of us set out to make homemade whole wheat bread.

Since we do quite a bit of baking, I knew my daughter would be able to do many of the steps required to make the dough: leveling the cups of measured flour, dumping in the package of yeast, stirring the sludgy mixture of yeast and warm water. But when it came time to do the kneading, I was amazed. It only took a few (like three) demonstrative turns of the dough before I gave in to her pleading to give kneading a try.

I told her to lay her thumb on top of the dough, fold the top over her thumb and turn. She couldn't quite get her thumb to lay at the right angle at first. But it didn't take long and my little girl (who still needs a large stool to stand at the cupboard) was kneading bread!

She loved the step in which she got to punch down the dough.

And then the light in the oven went on and off many, many times while it was baking.

The conclusion was the best: a thick slice of crusty warm bread, with a smooth and soft interior all slathered with butter and honey. The aroma and taste took me back to my own mother's kitchen where she made homemade bread every week! I won't be making bread every week, but I do pledge to bake even more with my daughter. It is so rewarding for everyone - (ok, I'm going to be really cheesy now) it warmed my heart and my kitchen.