Archive for January, 2013

UC Davis Arboretum

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

We're back ...

Yesterday was a lovely day for a walk on the UC Davis Arboretum.

This is one of the best perks of working on campus!



... and sweeter than ever!

So fragrant ...

... so cheery ...

... so serene ...

Come take a little walk on the wild side with me!




Beautiful Moonset This Morning

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

It was a lovely morning in Davis. Pretty soon I'll be able to ride before work again!

Lemon Curd … Check!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Low Fat Lemon Curd

For the recipe, see:

Coming Soon … Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Tonight we’re making Wild Mushroom Lasagna with organic shiitake, oyster, Royal Trumpet, and maitake mushrooms from Solano Mushroom Farm; that recipe will have to be posted by a guest blogger. I can tell you, though, that it will have smoked mozzarella and fresh thyme.

I’m in charge of appetizers, salad, and dessert. For appetizers, a little cheese and bread … I made a goat cheese with fresh lemon and thyme spread. For salad, some lovely fresh greens lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, maybe some fresh tomatoes, whatever looks good. Yesterday at the Davis Farmers’ Market I picked up 3 absolutely stunning baskets of berries (strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) and restocked on fresh lemons, so for dessert, I’m making a low fat lemom curd tart with fresh berries.

Well, I’d better run! Got lots to do to get ready for company tonight! Gotta’ shop! Gotta’ clean! Gotta’ ride! Gotta’ cook and bake and play with some fabulous food!



Great Training Ride … Brutal Wind!

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The wind is an excellent training tool.
The wind is an excellent training tool.
The wind is an excellent training tool.

I felt like I needed to click together ruby cycling shoes as I repeated this to myself …

We rode from Davis towards Dixon, then towards Vacaville. English Hills. Steiger Road. Gibson Canyon. Into town, lunch at Nugget, then wound our way back from Vacaville to Dixon to Davis. The entire way out we were pounded mercilessly with wind.

OK. So maybe I’m a little melodramatic about the wind, but it was a lot stronger than it was supposed to be today and I really did not like it. Not one bit at all!

Honestly, I did not much enjoy the ride out, but I kept myself going thinking about the potential tailwind we would have on the way back. It took a really long time to get from Davis to Vacaville today; much longer than normal. Some days the wind really zaps me and today was one of those days. We weren’t sure we would make it back home to Davis before dark, but the tailwind was in our favor and we got home just in time.We rode just over 65 miles today.

Photo: 100 days until Napa Valley Tour de Cure! Register today!

This is the BEST ride and for a great cause!

I’ve got just about three months to get ready for the 2013 Napa Valley Tour de Cure. I’ve had a few setbacks in the past few months, and I’ve really got to get moving on my training.

If you want to join me at the Tour de Cure, you can register here:

If you want to donate to my ride, you can here:

Friday … what took you so long?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Ah, my good friend Friday … finally you are here again! And with you, my friend, you bring the promise of beautiful cycling weather this weekend.

With just over 4 months left to train for the 2013 Napa Valley Tour de Cure, it’s time to do some serious cycling! Come ride with me!

Tour de Cure 2013 Kickoff Is Tomorrow – 1/24!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Take the ride of your life!


Alas, back to work …

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I got to ride and play in the kitchen every day this long weekend. Now, I must return to work and leftovers for dinner. I think a walk on the UC Davis Arboretum at lunch is definitely in order today!

Tour de Cure Kickoff – January 24

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

You’re Invited to the San Francisco
Thursday, January 24; 4:30—7:30 p.m.
UCSF-Mission Bay Conference Center, 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco

For full details, please see:  kick-off flyer.San Francisco

Multi-Grain Bread

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Fresh from the oven ...

This bread is being shipped to a very special someone in Ohio.

Multi-Grain Bread

For the sponge:
3 cups filtered or bottled water, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 cup non-fat dried milk
1/2 cup pumpernickel flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup polenta
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add water and sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow to soften a bit. Add the honey, milk, oat bran, polenta, and flours. Using the paddle attachment, mix until well blended. Don’t overmix at this point, you don’t want to develop a lot of gluten yet.

Allow to proof about 20-30 minutes.

For the dough

4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 to 1 cup unbleached white bread flour

Change to the hook attachment. Sprinkle the salt on the sponge, add the melted butter. Begin mixing on low speed and add the whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time. Mix on low until the flour is well incorporated and the dough is a soft, slightly sticky texture. Use the unbleached bread flour, adding as needed, to achieve the texture you want. I tend to like wetter doughs, but for this batch, I did use the entire cup of unbleached white bread flour an it felt perfect.

Mix on low for about 7 to 10 minutes, then turn on high speed and knead for 3 minutes. The 7 to 10 minutes will vary, depending on the flours you use. Making bread is not always a science, it’s a tactile art. You have to develop a “hand memory” for what feels right in a dough.

Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into one large round. Place in a large bowl that’s lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and then a towel. Allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it’s about doubled in size. At this stage, if you are in a hurry, you can shape the dough. It will have better flavor and texture, though, if you do a second rise. “Punch down” the dough – gently press down on the dough, then lift it up and tuck the sides under the top. Recover with plastic wrap and a towel, then allow to double in size again. This will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the the room temperature, dough temperature, and wetness of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking stone or inverted heavy duty sheet pan in the oven when you begin to reheat. You’ll want it hot when you put the dough in the oven.

Miches, in make-shift couches.

Shape the dough. For this batch, I made four miches – a basic loaf – and let them rise in a flour and polenta dusted make-shift couche of flour sack cloth towels. Again, the rise time will vary on the same factors. Since I can only bake two loaves at a time in this oven, I shaped two loaves tighter so they would take longer to rise.

I let the first two rise about 20 minutes (these were the more loosely shaped loaves). Score the loaves, and just before transferring them to the preheated stone in the oven, drop 3 or 4 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven and close the door quickly. This will mimic the effect of a professional steam-injected oven that professional bakeries use. Working quickly, transfer the scored loaves to the preheated stone and close the oven door. You don’t want to lose that heat and/or steam.

Bake about 8 to 10 minutes, then rotate the loaves for even baking. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes. The loaves are done when a gentle tap on the bottom makes a sort of hollow sounding thump.

By now, the more tightly shaped loaves were perfect. Allow the oven to reheat a bit, and follow the same process as above.

It is admittedly difficult to resist, but allow the loaves to cool completely (or at least almost) before cutting.

To preserve the crust, avoid wrapping directly in plastic. I’ll wrap these loaves in parchment paper, then in plastic, for shipping.