Saturday, November 29, 2008

neighborhood walk

Just before it got dark, we went out on a walk, with Anders in his backpack. We walked up the block to Douglass Playground.


...and then we walked down to 24th Street, over to Diamond, and back home again.

As we approached home, the city views looked pretty good.



One of our neighbors has gotten Christmas lights up.

He likes to be tall

You'd think he'd be content with the crawling. It's not like he's been doing it that long.

But Anders has always liked being up high. Standing gets him just that much higher, so obviously it's a good thing.




Tools!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anders had a blast at Thanksgiving. To say thanks, he spent a lot of time cleaning the window by drooling on it and then wiping the slobber all over.

(I'm pretty sure my iPhone was focusing on the glass rather than on Anders.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

at the lectern

We have a little foot rest that Anders finds is an ideal height for his efforts to stand up. I think it makes him look like he's delivering a lecture.




Looking into the future?

Baby cellist?




Or baby cello?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Up, up and away!

Or at least up, up and almost standing.

Anders actually has managed to pull himself up into a standing position once or twice. Usually, though, he just comes close, as he does here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Helping with the laundry

Anders thinks folding laundry is great.

Here's how things started.


Here Anders is, mostly finished helping. You can see that he's putting a shirt in the basket.



Well, maybe I have these out of order. You'll have to ask Sigrid.

Bagels

We had some folks over today for brunch. The menu included homemade bagels.


Bagels in the Bay Area typically aren't actually bagels. They're bread cooked into a donut shape. My understanding is that this is due to a shortcut taken in the bagel-making process, whereby rather than boiling the dough before baking, the bagels are baked in an oven into which steam is injected.

This is, apparently, a really bad idea, because it results in bagels that aren't chewy. If you make your own bagels, you can avoid this travesty. Here's the recipe I use, which is based on Peter Reinhart's recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

For planning purposes, note that this is the sort of recipe you start in the evening (at, say, 6 p.m.), and finish in the morning. And you really need a stand mixer. And space in your fridge for two baking sheets. Note that the recipe calls for malt syrup (but apparently you can substitute honey, though I haven't tried that), and bread flour (though my twist is to use all purpose flour and vital gluten flour, both of which I measure by weight).

Ingredients

Sponge:
  • 1 t. instant yeast
  • 525 g. all purpose flour
  • 15 g. vital gluten flour; I use Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, which I believe is about 75% gluten by weight (you can use 4 c. bread flour in place of the AP and gluten)
  • 2½ c. lukewarm (110° F) water
Dough:
  • ½ t. instant yeast
  • 495 g. all purpose flour
  • 10 g. vital gluten flour (or 3¾ c. bread flour in place of the AP and gluten)
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. barley malt syrup (honey is apparently an acceptable substitute)
  • Cooking spray
Cooking:
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • Semolina flour (cornmeal is ok)
  • Toppings (I use sesame seeds and poppy seeds)

Instructions

Sponge:
  1. Combine the yeast and flour in your stand mixer's bowl.
  2. Add the water and mix together with a spoon (i.e. you don't need to use the stand mixer). You'll have a sticky batter.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until it nearly doubles in size and is bubbly. This will probably take two hours or more.
Dough:
  1. Using the dough hook attachment with your stand mixer on low, add the yeast, about ¾ of the flour, the salt, and the malt syrup. Mix until the dough forms a ball (this won't take long).
  2. Slowly add the remaining flour. The dough will be quite stiff, so you may need to up the power on the mixer a bit as things go along. You may also need to pause the mixer periodically to push the dough down if it rides up over the top of the dough hook.
  3. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 6 minutes. For my stand mixer, at least, this is quite a workout. You're aiming for a smooth, satiny dough. It shouldn't be tacky. Add a splash of water or a bit of flour as needed.
  4. Clean your counter, and wipe it with a damp cloth. Place the dough on the counter, and divide into 24 equal pieces (I use a scale for this to keep the pieces equal in weight; usually I end up with about 70 g. per bagel). This will result in slightly smaller than average bagels, but I find that this gives you a great surface-to-weight ratio, for an ideal chewiness. It's also a good size when the bagels are just part of the meal rather than the main event.
  5. Ball up the pieces, individually, and let them rest under a damp towel for 20 minutes. Don't skimp on the time here.
  6. While the dough rests, prepare two baking sheets by lining them each with parchment paper, and misting the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  7. Once the dough has rested, shape each piece by pushing one thumb through the center, working your other thumb in from the other side, and enlarging the hole by rotating around your two thumbs until the hole is 1 to 2 inches wide. Keep the bagel evenly shaped while you do this.
  8. Arrange the bagels on the baking sheets, mist the tops with cooking spray, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. The bagels should have an inch or two between them, as they will get larger when you boil them. Let rest for another 20 minutes. Again, don't cheat on the time here. If you don't let them rest long enough, your bagels will be dense and won't float when you boil them.
  9. After this second rest, store the bagels overnight in the fridge. (Apparently two days, or even three or four, is ok, but unless you have a lot more space in your fridge than I do, you'll stick with overnight).
Cooking:
  1. Set your oven racks toward the middle and preheat to 500° F. I use GE "TruTemp" convection bake, which means my oven is not really at 500° F, but some temperature that GE has decided is the convection-bake equivalent of 500° F when using conventional bake.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, with the baking soda. You want to use as wide a pot as you have.
  3. Remove the bagels from the fridge and place as many as you can comfortably fit in your pot (for me, this is 6 bagels; your mileage may vary). I stick them in upside down (so that they'll be right side up after I flip them). They should float immediately. If they don't, I'm guessing you cheated on one or both of the 20 minute resting times the night before.
  4. After 2 minutes, flip the bagels with a slotted spoon. Meanwhile, dust the empty part of the baking pan (i.e the space where the bagels that are now boiling used to be) with semolina flour. After the bagels have boiled for another 2 minutes, return them to the baking pan.
  5. Top the just-boiled bagels with your choice of toppings, and then continue on with your next batch of bagel boiling, until all the bagels have been boiled and topped.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. If you are not using convection baking, midway through rotate the pans 180 degrees and switch shelves. Your bagels should be a light golden brown at the end.
  7. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
I've taste tested this recipe on a variety of New Yorkers, and they all seem to agree that these bagels are far more authentic than the typical so-called bagels you find in the Bay Area.

Friday, November 21, 2008

No TV until your child is two years old

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no TV until age two.

I think the reason for that is pretty obvious.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

escape!

Anders really doesn't like getting his diaper changed. I find that it's sometimes easier just to let him continue on with what he's doing, and just to diaper him on the go.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Garden harvest

It wasn't until after we had been in the house for a while that we even noticed that we had a tomato plant in the garden. We were in escrow during the peak growing season, and nobody was paying much attention to the garden, apparently, during that time.

Here's our harvest:


And, no, I don't mean a selection from our harvest. That was the whole thing. They were tasty, though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He's mobile

We figured this day was coming soon. First came the push-ups, followed by the backwards scootch. And even some calisthenics.

And lately he's been restless at night, which we're told can happen when you're busy trying to practice crawling even in your dreams. Well, he finally figured it out. At about 11:45 am, on the day before he turns seven months old, in case you're keeping track.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Anders loves the stereo

Anders loves knobs. Anders loves electronics.

And electronics with knobs? Heaven.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Best toy ever

We finally got around to putting some art on the walls. The movers packed it up in nice, thick, protective paper. Anders doesn't seem to have noticed the art on the walls, but he sure did love playing with the paper.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

apples, apples, apples!

Our neighbor gave us a bunch of apples from the tree in his backyard. Sigrid turned them into applesauce, as part of Anders's transition to solid food. Anders thought the apples were the best toys ever.






election day

This outfit seemed somehow appropriate for Anders to wear to accompany his mom to the polls.