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Bread recipe (bread machine)

I (metaphorically) dusted off the bread machine a few days ago. I am once again riffing off of this recipe.

The result is better this time than the last couple; from the resuts I've been getting I'm not sure whether I've been over or under yeasting the bread. This time I used a little more AP flour (proportionally), newer yeast which is also not the regular kind, and I put in the honey (I think I've been leaving it out, but I'm not sure if I added in more sugar to compensate). Not sure which of these factors is the key one, it's probably all of them together.

This time I used (as transcribed from the whiteboard):


  • 1.5 c AP flour

  • 1 c WW flour

  • 0.5 c barley flour

  • 0.5 c steel-cut oats (they mostly stayed crunchy)

  • 1 tbs dark brown sugar

  • [I wrote "2 Tb Flour" here, but that can't be right]

  • pinch of sea salt


  • 2 tbs butter (cold, because I forgot to get it out of the fridge ahead of time)

  • 2 tbs honey (probably a bit more because the the second tablespoon overflowed)

  • 1.25 c water


  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast

Medium loaf, medium crust, basic cycle.

The bread has reasonable air pockets (crumb), and doesn't look like it's risen and then fallen again. And it's tasty, so I'm fairly happy with it.

Chicken Piccata

wispfox asked me recently how I make chicken piccata. Which prompted this long-winded thing. I thought I'd post it in case anyone else wanted it (or I go long enough to forget what I'm doing).

The short answer is... there are multiple versions of the recipe depending on how lazy I'm feeling.

All the versions have pretty much the same ingredients:

~1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
oil (olive or something neutral)
All Purpose Flour (or cornstarch for the last version)
1-2 lemons (one for juice and zest, one for garnish)

I almost never actually use the original recipe I have from matildalucet because there's a lot of steps, including pounding the chicken (yes, it becomes more tender, but it's a pain in the butt).

The middling amount of work version:

Slice the boneless chicken breasts horizontally to create thin cutlets. Dredge in AP flour with black pepper (optional salt), and shake off excess.

In hot skillet with a mixture of oil and butter, brown the chicken, but don't cook completely. Set chicken aside. (you'll probably have to do this in batches)

Add a spoonful of flour to the pan and stir so it browns evenly (just to take away the raw taste). You may have to add more butter at this point. You're making a roux.

Use hot water or broth to deglaze the pan, whisking the roux and fond into the the liquid and breaking up any lumps. (this is easier with hot liquid, cold liquid makes more lumps to begin with)

Add lemon juice (preferably fresh), lemon zest if you like, and then salt and pepper to taste.

Add 1 spoonful of capers; crush and/or chop 1 large spoonful of capers to release more flavor and add that too. Give it a stir and see if it looks like enough.

When the sauce looks good, add the chicken back to the pan, nestling it down into the sauce. Simmer on low until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with fresh lemon (I like thin slices, but wedges also work).

I'm used to having this over rice, but pasta also works.

What I've been doing lately is another remove from the original recipe:

Chicken (boneless breast), diced or sliced thin as for stir-fry. Skip the flour, toss in the pan with oil and/or butter, grind some pepper over it.

When the chicken is mostly cooked, add lemon juice and as much water as is needed to achieve the amount of sauce you want. Add the capers and lemon zest as above.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a small dish or cup, mix a smallish spoonful of cornstarch with an approximately equal amount of cold water. Add the slurry to your pan and mix in thoroughly. Let the sauce bubble and stir until it thickens. Add more water or cornstarch mix to adjust the sauce to your desired consistency.

Serve as above.

Despite the way I've written this, you probably want to prep your lemons and capers before you turn on the stove.
I occasionally add in some sliced or minced garlic (fresh, not jarred), but this dish is really about the lemons and capers.


Repetative I'm Sure

It's election day. Please go vote.
I was researching steampunk costuming, and ran across this page which has a few pictures of some interestingly dressed cheerleaders at the top, in addition to some related steampunk costumes further down.


The washingtonian sandwich just isn't the same with swiss cheese.

For those of you who did not experience the Smith College dining halls, a washingtonian is ham, cheddar and tart apple with mustard on a croissant warm enough that the cheese is melty.

At home I usually use wheat bread because croissants, while tasty, just aren't that good for you. About half the time I skip the mustard. I almost always use granny smiths, but macintosh is an exceptable substitute. This is the first time I've tried using another cheese, and I don't think I'll be doing it again.


quiz: patronus



I may have asked this in previous years, I can't remember.

Does anyone know if there is someplace in the Boston area that carries sour/tart cherries? I'd prefer fresh, but I'll take frozen.

Secondary option, someplace semi-local that grows them? I'm perfectly willing to do the pick-it-yourself thing to get the right fruit.

Pies really must be made with the sour variety....

free stuff

Having someone move out prompts a bit of cleaning of the stuff that accumulates over the years (and housemates). Because I can't quite bring myself to throw them away without asking first, does anyone want:

1) 1.5 punchneedle embroidery starter kits (one of them appears to be missing the actual tools)

2) 4 partial skeins of worsted weight acrylic yarn

2a) several crocheted strips (acrylic), possibly the beginning of a baby blanket.

Looking for a housemate

metahacker, hfcougar and I are looking for a housemate to share the house we rent in Waltham. We're fairly social, and tend to have dinner together several times a week. We tend to be fairly quiet (no wild parties), and are non-smokers.

We're looking for someone to move into a room in a single family home, with a partially finished basement. We have front and back yards. We have a washer and dryer in the basement.

We're about 60 feet from the 70A bus and 10 minutes by foot from the Waltham commuter rail station and several other bus lines. We have a driveway with space for another car, and there's legal street parking a block away as well (not to mention illegal parking in front of the house, but they don't seem to ticket very much).

Rent + utils is around $650 (more in the winter, generally around $700), including cable and internet access. The lease starts on July 15th; it's a 1-year lease and there's a security deposit equal to 1 month's rent due up front.