Nothing to say today, so here's a picture of my lunch.
IN BAGEL NEWS: Yesterday was another baking marathon, producing 40+ bagels, half of which went to the office for noshing while the rest headed to the freezer after the prettiest ones were subjected to bright lights and the scrutiny of the camera. I'm looking forward to the end of this project and getting back to real work, but I worry that my incessant recipe tinkering might turn this into the Winchester Mystery House of cookbooks.
For instance, here's a late entry to the table – the Roasted Gilroy Garlic bagel, which celebrates Central Valley agriculture and Gilroy, California, the "Garlic Capital of the World". Two full heads of garlic go into these babies and the result is a seriously garlicky but super mellow roasted flavor.
I'd been working on a ginger-flavored bagel for months. The sixth (and best) version was meh – decidedly underwhelming – but I was committed. Meanwhile, there were whispers and grumbles among the tast-testers at the lack of garlicky bagels in the warm paper bags before them.
Anybody can make a garlic bagel, I told them, but ginger, now there's something interesting. Intellectually, perhaps. But the tastebuds were crying out for more. And oh, how we found it.
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In Bagel Book News, I was up at 5:30 am, making two dozen bagels for the March of Dimes bake sale at our office today. Yeah, apparently I'm that lady now. But I think I finally got the cover image I wanted fror the book, so – totally worth it.
For eight years I made bagels for myself and my family (also Susanne). In the last month and a half, I've shoved 400-some-odd bagels into the mouths of 50, maybe 60 people, and the thing is, I liked it.
As the recepies are perfected, one by one, the testing phase is winding down, and shortly I'll be back to making the usual dozen per week to satisfy my own bagel cravings. Somehow that feels kind of sad, so every once in a while, I'll probably drag my sleepy ass out of bed at 5:30 am to boil and bake and bag up the glorified roll with a hole in my attempt to feed the world.
The savory, spicy Bloody Mary bagel is in high demand 'round here, and not just because it is served with a shot of vodka. Cracked open, it smells just the best morning-after breakfast drink you've ever had. For me, that's the Twisted Pig's Bloody Mary, garnished with peperoncini, chichorones, house-made pickles, pickled okra, and oh, a thick slice of bacon tucked right into the glass.
I can't take credit for the Bloody Mary Bagel. It's all Steven Worrel's doing, and one of three kickass recipes that he and Susanne Crichton brought on Bagel Tasting Day. I can, however, take credit for talking him into sharing the recipe with me and eventually, with you.
I baked half of the 42 bagels in my freezer over the weekend (thanks Jill for the skinny on freezing raw dough) and sent them off in cute little bags to be enjoyed by family and friends. But oh, I should have kept a couple for myself, because all morning I've been craving a toasted Bloody Mary Bagel slathered in whipped cream cheese.
OMG I'm hungry. Can we go to lunch NOW?
What began as a distraction for my February Sadness, has become a mission for the perfect bagel, not just in my kitchen, but yours. With the help of taste-testing friends and an evil genius or two, we've perfected 15 unique bagel recipes, built off a Buck Naked Plain Bagel of epic proportions. By hand or kneaded in a bread machine, these babies are nearly foolproof and conform to the golden rule of bagely things – – –
Real Bagels Are Boiled
which happens to be the name of the book we're putting together to pass along everything I know about the only thing I ever bothered to learn to bake.