31 March 2010

tunes-day. {steve poltz}

Rarely in our lives are we lucky enough come across a live performer who - within the span of an evening - actually makes you laugh, cry, swear, sweat, dance and then collapse from exhaustion. For me, this performer is Steve Poltz.  I was lucky enough to meet Steve while working at this bar/restaurant/music venue/all-around-good-time space in '08 and '09. After my first Poltz experience, if I wasn't scheduled to work during one of his shows, you would damn well find me perched at the bar, or peering around the corner from the lobby.

Not only is the man a laugh-riot-tear-jerker, guitar-star and master story-teller; he is a kind and gracious customer and always tips his waitress (after taking her for a spin around the dance floor, of course!)

The man straight up blows my mind. If you ever {EVER!} have the chance to see him live; DO IT! But, for now, enjoy the following... I guarantee you'll be YouTubing his songs all night.

"Light In Your Eyes"
{Steve Poltz - Live at The Carleton: July 2008}

 "Impala" (featuring Coco Love Alcorn)
{Steve Poltz - Live at The Carleton: March 2009}

'Til next Tunes-day!
x. {B}

25 March 2010

currently coveting: on my feet

To be honest, its a rare occasion when I venture out in heels. After running around delivering draft and burgers all day, my swollen tootsies cry out for slippers and flats. But, with any of these puppies strapped to my feet, I'd be easily persuaded to add a few inches.

Let's go dancing!
x. {B}

24 March 2010

bagel bagel bagel bagel.

It's hard to recall when my love affair with bagels began. As far as I'm concerned I entered the world with a bagel in my hand. {Mom, perhaps you can clear up any confusion here?} But, in the past few years when scanning my grocery store shelves, I've found only gigantic buns with holes in them staring back at me. Even the bagel shops in my city featured bread-like, cookie-cuttered impostors, chock full of add-ins like raisins, cheddar, jalapenos and everything else under the sun.

People. I just want a bagel! A palm-sized, slightly misshapen, chewy little gem ready to be sliced open, toasted and slathered with butter (or, maybe cream cheese with tomato and cuke slices perched on top *drool*).

So, when my friend and baking mentor announced she would be producing homemade bagels (!) from her paradise of a kitchen, I nearly stroked out. The only thing that excited me more was sampling
one of her perfect, sesame topped wonders with my morning coffee. "I want more!" was all my stomach could squeak out; so with borrowed recipe in hand, I tied on my apron and set to work.

bagels, baby!

 {recipe borrowed - with love - from A at kempt kitchen}

{the stuff}

For the sponge:
1 tsp instant yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour (or high gluten flour)
2 1/2 cups water

For the dough:
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 cups bread flour (or high gluten flour) 
(up to 3/4 cup more, if needed)
2 3/4 tsp salt

To top it all off:
Sesame seeds
Poppy seeds
Rock salt
Egg wash, if you choose to swing that way

{how to do it}

Day One:

For the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a large bowl. Add the water and whisk until you've formed a smooth, sticky batter (just a bit thicker than pancake batter). Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for around 2 hours.  The mixture should become quite foamy and bubbly and swell to nearly double it's size.

Once the sponge is ready, add the additional yeast and stir well. Then add 3 cups of the flour and the salt. Other recipes instruct you to now stir with a dough hook, but A and I both found our hands to work just fine. As you stir, add as much of the extra 3/4 cup flour as needed. I bailed after 1/4 cup; my dough was perfect at that point.

Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes, until it is firm (and your arms are aching!). Other recipes suggest the dough is ready when "firm, stiffer than French bread dough" *blank stare*, or "pliable and smooth" and "satiny, but not tacky." If your dough is ready, there should be no dry flour and everything should be blended to perfection. Add more water or flour if the dough is too dry or moist. When your dough passes the windowpane test, you're ready to go.

Divide the dough into balls. I highly recommend weighing your dough balls.  I do not own a scale (a situation which will soon be remedied,) so I decided going with my gut was ok.  Not. Ok. I
ended up with monster bagels! These guys rise! A suggests 65 grams as an appropriate per bagel weight, and I defer to her. Place the dough balls on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover with a warm, damp tea towel. Let them rest for approximately 20 minutes before uncovering. 

It's time to roll. Take each ball and roll it into a sluggy worm shape, about 2/3 the thickness as your bagels will eventually be, and a bit longer than the width of your hand. Wrap the worm around your hand, joining the two ends in your palm, and roll your hand back and forth on the countertop to seal them. Return your shaped dough to the baking sheet, lightly oiling the parchment.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for another 20 minutes at room temperature.

It is now time for the "float test". Drop each bagel into a bowl of room temperature water and wait for it to float. If the bagel surfaces within 10 seconds, you're ready to go. If your bagels are reluctant to come up for air, let them rest another 10 minutes, and try again. When they're ready, dry the bagels off and park the trays in the fridge overnight.

Day Two:

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. In small batches drop the bagels into the water and boil for one minute on each side. The longer you boil them, the chewier your bagels will be. I think I will extend the boiling time a bit on my next batch... as I like a super chewy bagel.

Once the bagels are boiled, put them back on the oiled parchment on your baking sheets. Bake for 5 minutes then rotate the pans 180 degrees and back for an additional 5 minutes or until golden - mine took about 11-13 minutes in total.

If you like, brush the tops wish egg wash at the halfway point and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds (or my favorite, rock salt) before rotating and returning to the oven. When the bagels are golden, take them out of the oven and let cool for as long as you can keep your hands off them.

Then butter those babies up, and take a bite!

Happy bagel-ing!!
x. {B}

23 March 2010

tunes-day. {claire denamur}

I haven't understood French since the ninth grade. But, for some reason I understand Claire Denamur just fine.  The video portrays the classic Prince Charming story, updated for the present:

Boy meets girl, and they move into perfect apartment together. Life is grand. 
Boy and girl grow farther and farther apart, until a shocking discovery is made.  
Boy moves out of perfect apartment, and life goes on for girl.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that when you can understand the lyrics, the story is much more complex. But, to be honest, I'm pretty content to watch the super cool camera tricks, and bop about with Claire Denamur's voice in my head all day!

Happy listening!

I'm off to the iTunes store to get the whole album... 
x. {B}

ps: More from Claire {here} and {here}.

21 March 2010

currently coveting: on my wall

What a way to start the day!

One of these prints was featured on a favorite blog of mine this morning. Despite knowing I should be in the shower getting ready to bring you your eggs benedict and spicy caesars; I am, in fact, sprawled on my couch obsessing over NayArts' etsy shop, and the abundance of color and good advice found within.

Here are a few favorites...

Okay, I'm hitting the shower. But, after work I have a feeling I'll be back to browsing!

x. {B}

10 March 2010

home is where your bed is.

If I had an endless supply of money, I'm confident that a huge percentage of it would be spent on bed linens and pillows. There is nothing better than crawling into bed at the the end of a long day of slinging draft and and hot wings. {Oh, my aching feet!} Snuggling into a cocoon of weighty blankets and fluffy pillows is almost comforting enough to scrape the dried ketchup from under my nails, and scrub the sour cream from my apron.

Wouldn't you love to curl up with one {or all!} of these?





 Cuddle up!
x. {B}

09 March 2010

compost cookies. not for the green bin.

I put Reese's Pieces in my popcorn at the movies. When I put honey on a bagel, salted butter goes on first. Not to mention my long standing love affair with the Max-5 chocolate bar until the day it was unceremoniously ripped from the candy store shelves.  So, dear reader, I ask you, if I wear two different colored socks because I just can't choose which one I'm in the mood to wear, how can I possibly be expected to exert decisive power over the age old question: Salty? Or sweet?

When I came across the recipe for Momofuku Milk Bar's Compost Cookie, I knew I had hit the motherload. A chewy, buttery cookie with and abundance of contradictory add-ins. Its where leftover snack foods find their final resting place. Those chips at the bottom of the bag? Toss 'em in! Half eaten bar discovered in the depths of your purse? In she goes!

The recipe was developed by Christina Tosi and the other chef's at NYC's Momofuku Milk Bar, as a way to use up all the leftovers lying around the kitchen. It's like when your mom took all the week's leftovers and created a 'magic casserole' for dinner on Saturday (well, not my mom, thank goodness!) - but, in a cookie. Mmmm... cookie....

So here it is - the dream-come-true dessert for those of us who refuse to choose.

Happy Composting!

The Compost Cookie
{adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar's famous recipe}

{the stuff}

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sweet bits 
{I used milk chocolate chips, chopped up Skor bar, 
and next time definitely Glossette Raisins and maybe French Toast Crunch... (!)}
1 1/2 cups salty stuff 
{I used crushed pretzels, plain potato chips, and I hear Goldfish and Ritz crackers are great too!}

*for my next batch I will be adding oats, and perhaps the original recipe's used coffee grounds...

{how to do it}

First, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar.  The original recipe instructs you to use a stand mixer (which I may never afford!) so I used my food processor's dough blade. When the butter and sugars are fluffy and pale yellow, add the 2 eggs and vanilla and continue mixing for ten minutes. (Yeah, I thought this was excessive too. But, the mixture becomes super light and creamy and takes on a totally different consistency than after just 2 minutes, so I'm sticking to my instructions.)

While the mixer does its thing, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Next, add your sweet bits and salty stuff. When the butter-sugar mixture is ready fold it into the snack food mixture just until all the dry bits are incorporated.

Scoop the dough onto a parchement lined baking sheet, placing balls about 1 1/2 inches apart - these babies spread!

Bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them - once the edges look crispy they are done.

Take a bite.
x. {b}

07 March 2010


The gift of a jewel can carry with it many messages: 'I love you,'  'I'm sorry,'  'your grandmother wanted you to have this,'  'I totally forgot it was your birthday and I saw this in a shop window just in the nick of time...'

So tonight, as I wade through the boxes and dishes and hangers holding the jewels passed to me for one reason or another, I realize I don't own anything that says, 'I am my own person and I bestowed this upon myself in celebration of this." A situation which, I daresay, must be remedied!

It's not that I don't treasure the meaning and memory behind each piece given to me; it's that I long to look at my collarbone, earlobe or finger and think, not of the giver, but of myself.

Therefore, I give you...


I hope to wear one of these soon!

x. {B}

06 March 2010


{dancing makes you brave}



x. {B}

05 March 2010


As much as I love cauliflower tarts, and homemade bagels, sometimes a bowl of good ol' noodle soup and a glass of red form the ultimate hug on a cold and
kind of lonely March night.

x. {B}

03 March 2010

looking forward...

As the days get longer, 
and we are teased by the occasional day where the temperature stays above zero, 
I find myself longing for the following...

Come on Spring!!
x. {B}

02 March 2010

peace out, February.

 {background by Deanne Cheuk.}

It's time to welcome March - and bid February adieu; with thanks for dark beer on tap, homemade bagels, time spent with Cole Porter, cauliflower tarts, true friends, and a new found Etsy addiction.

x. {B}