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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All last month and all next month, my answer to the polite How are you? has been and will be – BAGELY.
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.
I planned Bagel Tasting Day to coincide with the anniversary of Ashlie's death. That may seem odd, but surrounding myself with the people I love and setting us all to a task is the best medicine on this worst of days. The pandemonium of children and dogs and guests popping by to fill take-away bags, it was the kind of day I love best. The kind Ash loved too.
By day's end we had a total of 18 flavors – some familiar like the Lemon Poppy and the Inside Out Everything, and some super creative WAY WAY WAY OUT OF THE BOX ones – and we're one step closer to our goal. A goal, by the way, that I realize I haven't really explained yet. I promise though, to do so soon.
I found the recipe for this Rosemary Edamame Salad on Food52 (no big shock) and tucked it into the big book of untested recipes stuffed into a kitchen drawer. This weekend, I dug through the book, searching for a Thai Taco recipe I wanted to cook for my Baby Brother In-Law's birthday. I didn't find the tacos, but a handfull of other pages jumped out at me and this seemed like a perfect protein-packed vegetarian lunch. On the first try, I burned the rosemary and garlic (as it turns out, gently saute and sizzling are two different things), but second time around everything worked perfectly. It's the kind of dish that makes staying IN for lunch worthwhile. And oh, the arugula is a must.
This Green Goddess Chicken recipe should be in every Recipes for Dummies kind of cookbook, but I found it in the NYT Cooking section. Their version includes a from-scratch Green Goddess dressing, which is all well and good for a lazy Saturday afternoon. But Tuesday night, after a long day or a grueling commute? No way. This recipe has minimal prep time, but the chicken will need 5-7 hours to marinate, so bag it up before work or the night before.
For the Green Goddess Chicken