Mother’s Day Weekend 2009

Operation Mother’s Day turned out really well, as did actual Mother’s Day.

Saturday Mom’s Day started around 7 pm on Friday night, when I mixed together the ingredients for no-knead bread, swapping a ¾ C pumpernickel flour for some of the white flour. Goodness, I must have been hungover, because the next morning when I woke up around 6 am to turn and let rest for 2 hours I did something and it turned out flatter than normal. Oy. But it still tasted good, so bonus! Phew!

Well, maybe it technically started on Thursday night when I made white chocolate bark for my 2 Mammas. This was really simple: Melt white chocolate. Spread over parchment paper, sprinkle toppings on and press down. Let cool. Break into pieces. You can really and should really load them up with toppings to give them a good chance of standing out/not being drowned out by the white chocolate. I picked dried pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts since I’d seen another blogger make the same bark on Serious Eats’ Photograzing.

Zee coconut. You don’t need to chop it up.

It was very hard to keep Albany John away from the macadamias. We even have some left over!

Slab of melted white chocolatey goodness, with pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts pressed into it.

The look pretty similar after sitting in the freezer to chill and firm for a few minutes.

Break it up! Pow Pow Pow!

After making the bread, a few hours later I made blueberry scones. I used the Cook’s Illustrated recipe that Papa Amherst uses. Except our milk had gone sour. And we had no sour cream. Luckily I had some yogurt in the fridge and subbed that. I figured it would have been a similar texture (I made my own yogurt and it was more on the watery side) so I just used a cup of that.
I sprinkled some rainbow sugar on top and popped them in the freezer for the morning. Glad I did, since it was easy to pop them in the oven while my brain was barely functioning and put the timer on. They came out beautifully. I was afraid I’d over-kneaded the batter, but they were flaky and good. The yogurt gave it a nice tang, and it kind of tasted like shortbread. Yummy.

One of the better looking ones, after spending the night in the freezer. For great picture-filled directions on how to make these, go here. Just phenomenal instructions from another blog!

A bit sloppier coming out of the oven, but very tasty. Seems like the larger ones hold their shape very well. Skip the teeny scones

Delicious flaky layers of sconey goodness. Mmm. And rainbow sprinkles!

While the big pan for no-knead bread was heating up, I cooked bacon. BACON! Unfortunately I bought a cheap package of bacon and 1 lb yielded approx 5 oz cooked. Whoopsie! Thankfully, this still fed 6 bacon-eaters. Although next time I’d cook double since it shrank so much.

Also, that bacon came like that. It was hard as hell to untangle. There were about 5 strips of bacon set up like you normally get in a package (i.e., laid atop each other so you can peel them off), and then the rest were seemingly thrown in there.

I’d like to imagine it was someone’s first day at a crazy bacon plant:

“Roy! What are you doing, man?!”

“Hunh? I just thought you laid bacon out in strips on top of each other like this…”

“No, no, no! That’s not the way to do it at all. Here, you just grab a handful and chuck the bacon in there like this. *chuck*. Do that until you get a pound.”

I thought this was hilarous on the use/sell by date. I know it means June 24, 2009. But it sure looks like it’s good until June 2409. I mean, bacon is pretty well preserved…
Or maybe I was just half crazed from little sleep at this point?

The silver lining to this shrinking-bacon cloud is that I have just about doubled my bacon fat can. What? Like I’m gonna throw that stuff away? Psshhhhh.

I only minimally burned some, woot woot.

2nd batch was much better looking.

Once everything was cooked up and ready to go, we headed over to my brother’s place and drove over to my mom’s. My sister (home from college) let us in quietly, and as a bonus my mom was still asleep/not out of bed. We set some things up and she came out, really shocked that there were all these people in her living room! She loved it, and we had a nice time.

Sweet success! I’m sure half of it was the shock that all three of her children managed to pull this off, and the other half that we actually were able to keep it a secret from her.

(that’s the no-knead bread up top. WTF did I do to it?)

Albany John, my brother, and I went off to Tulip Fest for some of the early afternoon. We got there pretty early, and I enjoyed the people watching while sitting on a blanket near the main stage. Somehow I feel like the atmosphere was a little different than usual. We got there when music was just setting up, and there were people who had brought their own personal tents. Most of them were off to the side, but some people set up right in the middle of the field. There were also people playing beer pong nearer to the front of the field. I don’t really remember seeing stuff like that before, or maybe as much as was present this year. Or am I just not remembering as much from last year? However, I didn’t see the shirtless guy with a fur jacket like I did last year! Also different, I feel like people were friendlier? Maybe? We didn’t stay very long though, something we were thankful of after it started pouring when we got home! Sounds like we left before things got dirty though (scroll down for tons of other perspectives from T-fest as well, in the comments).

And I love Daily Grind for A) providing us with much needed caffeine after being drained from too much noon-time sun. $4.50 for 2 large iced coffees. I like them because they’re fairly mellow and easy to drink.

And B) for letting us use their “Out of Order” bathroom since we had to pee really badly. (And I’d also like to think because we said “please” and “ohmigoshyourock”)

The next day we met up with Mama and Papa Amherst in Hudson, NY to visit an old manor and walk around Warren St, where there are a lot of antique shops. It was fairly relaxing, but also quite chilly! Like a fool, I figured it would warm up and didn’t bring a jacket. But that’s okay since I am now the owner of a rather gaudy and tacky winter themed sweater.
I found a Shop Rite nearby and OMG! They had gigantic bags of chicharrones for $2.99! I was in heaven. We also got some foods for a little picnic for the fam and ate them as well. I ate about ¾ of the chicharrones in the car on the way back. Yummy! (this morning I looked at the bag and it said “not a reliable source of protein”. Darn!)

We picniced at the Olana House manor/grounds. Just some deli meat noshies, olives, and some really awesome Mexican corn chip stick things that were spicy and addictive. Oh shoot. We still have some of that leftover somewhere in the house. Corn sticks for dinner!

  1. i hate white chocolate but yr bark looks waaaaaay too tempting to hate.

    you are a fantastic writer. lolz forever on the crazy bacon factory dialogue.

    i have to go to hudson tomorrow. maybe i’ll swing by the shop rite before i head back to the albany office.

    fyi, Schenectady is having a garage sale in the Woodlawn neighborhood. come check us out! right near the Sch’dy Target

  2. Grace said:

    white chocolate with coconut and macadamias? awesome. scones chock-full of blueberries? terrific. anything involving bacon fat? TREMENDOUS. 🙂

  3. phairhead – Sweet! Garage sale. I am on the hunt for a small freezer, and a big sale sounds awesome!

    Grace – OMG, can you imagine our baking/sweets powers combined? I am thinking something along the lines of Captain Planet. I think we need rings.

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