I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


One of my favorite memories of the last decade was when I helped Easy E move to New York. We started in Iowa City and took a cross country trip to NYC. Easy and I were in his Dodge Diplomat pulling a U-Haul trailer. We were following his folks who were driving a big assed motorhome. At the time they were really into country music so I made a CD for them on my computer called "Big Assed Belt Buckles." It had old school country music like Mickey Gille, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and my favorite guitarist - Jerry Reed.
You may recognize him from a certain movie starring this car:
I had the MOST fun on that trip. I was the passenger most of the time so I hung my right arm out the window and got an abominable sun burn on that arm. At night we stayed in campgrounds. One of my favorite activities in life is camping in State parks. You can stay for $7 a night almost anywhere in the country. I've travelled all over the country staying in State parks. Anyway astute readers may remember Eric's Mom's Beans. I had those for the first time on that trip.

Please allow me a few quick stories from that trip. When we finally got to NYC we parked the motorhome in a trailer park in New Jersey. You could see the World Trade Center from where were parked. Then we took the drove the Diplomat with trailer into the city and moved in E's stuff. He was on the 3rd floor. E's mom and dad got overheated and almost died I think. If it weren't for this miracle device which was some sort of a magic cooling bandanna I would have died for sure. After moving in we left E in the apartment to unpack and we set about the task of driving the Diplomat and Trailer back to New Jersey. When we got out to the curb we all sort of stopped and looked at each other. I looked at E's mom and dad and said "if you want to survive the trip back to New Jersey, let me drive." There was no argument. At the time I was living in Chicago and was used to driving in traffic. I took us down a highway on the east side of the island. I heard curse words in every language and I am sure E's parents were shocked when I responded in kind. When we got back to the trailer there was a tremendous sense of relief.

Now for the other story and the reason for the post. In the mornings while we were in NYC I took the train up about mid Central Park. Because E was in orientation I had some time to kill. I would stop at a bagel shop and get a bagel with cream cheese. I would take a copy of the New York Times and the bagel with some coffee to Central Park and enjoy the morning. Ever since then I have loved good bagels and there is no other newspaper than the New York Times. The problem is it is very difficult to get good bagels outside of NYC. Good bagels are about 10 minutes out of the oven and have a semi crispy and chewy crust with a chewy bready dough. If you haven't had a bagel in NYC then you don't know what I am talking about.

I got this recipe from my favorite bread book the Bread Baker's Apprentice. It pretty much nails the whole bagel thing.


Makes 6 bagels


1/2 t instant yeast
2 cups (9 oz) bread flour
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) water

Combine pre-dough ingredients in a mixer and mix real well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a few hours, until it is bubbly.


1/2 t instant yeast
1 1/3 cups flour (8.5 ounces)
1 1/3 t salt
1/2 T barley malt syrup or honey

To make the dough add the dough ingredients to the pre-dough ingredients and kneed using the dough hook for 6-7 minutes. Dough should not be tacky or sticky. If it sticks to your hands add a little more flour.

Divide the dough into 6 equal sized balls - about 4.5 ounces each. Place the dough balls onto a piece of parchment paper lining a baking sheet. Let rest 20 minutes. Form into a bagel by poking a hole in the center of the dough ball and working it into a bagel shape. Place back onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Mist the bagels with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place into the fridge overnight.

In the morning preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the rack in the middle. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 T baking soda to the water. Drop in the bagels and cook for one minute. Turn the bagels over and bake for a minute more.

Place back onto the parchment lined baking sheet and slide into the oven. After 5 minutes of baking rotate the pan 180 degrees. Lower the temp to 450 and bake 5 more minutes or until they are of the desired brown-ness. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.
Oh yeah, thats what I'm talking about!