A Girl's Gotta Eat

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Southern Belle

Happy Sunday, humans!

I begin this dreary morning with an apology for my silence - twenty days without a bark.  What's up with that?  I'll tell you - Mommy and Daddy went away and left me to my own devices.  Well, not really.  Aunt Jenny came and stayed with me.  Truth be told, I had so much fun I barely noticed they were gone.  But then I remembered the tantalizing odor of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen and I missed them so much.

Where were they, you ask?  Charleston, South Carolina.  Mommy taught me a new word this week - relocation.  I think that means we might be moving to South Carolina.  But that's a red state, you say.  Yes, but the golf is good, says Daddy.  Don't discuss politics with people, says Mommy.  That's a lot to ask of a bulldog but, like the little engine that could, I think I can, I think I can...

I feel a skooch betrayed.  Turns out Mommy and Daddy were with Aunt Gail and Uncle Stuart and their Italian Spinone, Sambuca.  They come home with the stink of his scent on their clothes.  Oh, the nerve of it.  But even worse?  Mommy and Uncle Stuart baked bread, all sorts of bread, and Uncle Stuey learned how to make pizza (see photo below)!  Well, I nevah (how's that for a southern bully).  Is there no such thing as loyalty to a little sous chef?!

Thank goodness things are back to normal and we're back in business at Bella's Breadbox.  First up?  A breakfast pizza (see photo below) that we had for supper.  We love having breakfast for supper!  This was delish - smothered with cheese and topped with bacon, chives, scallions, shallots and topped with eggs and cilantro.  Divine.  And good cold the next day, I might add.

We also took our first stab at Meyer Lemon Bread with Rosemary (see photo below) based on a request from Mama and Aunt Connie.  We used the zest of one meyer lemon and then squeezed some fresh lemon juice into the water when we mixed the dough.  The end result?  A little bit of a pucker tempered by the sweetness of the meyer lemons.  Daddy gave it a B+.  I'm thinking a little brown sugar might make the difference next time.

We're gearing up for a very busy week because of Rosh Hashanah.  Mommy and I are plotting the menu, including a lovely Tarte Tatin from Patricia Wells and our freshly baked challahs.  I'm so excited - I love scooping out the dough and rolling it into a ball  :-)  And apples are one of my favorites.  Yes, folks - it's going to be a good food week in Santa Monica!

So that's the update from Amalfi Drive.  We wish a healthy, peaceful and joyous New Year to you and all your loved ones.

Love and licks ya'll

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Labor of Love

Good morning, Bella fans!

Hope everyone is having a glorious Labor Day Weekend because labor is the word over here.  Sheesh, I'm too pooped to pop.

We've been very busy this past week, albeit silent about our efforts online.  Would you like the good news or the bad news?  Okay, the bad first.  We had our first official flop, and by flop I mean toss it in the trash - even I won't eat it.  What was it, you ask?  It was our first attempt at Sweet Potato Bread with orange juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger.  But that sounds so good, you say.  And the idea was so brilliant, I add (especially since it was mine).  But the final result - blah.  No, not just blah, ick.  No, not just ick, awful.  Bitter.  Disappointing.  Unhappiness.

I know, I know.  After what we've been through, this should be the worst thing that happens to us.  But oh, if you'd only smelled the dough - we had such high expectations.  We were counting the minutes until the bread was done - we could hardly wait the hour to let it set before tearing off a chunk of the end.  Pfeh.  What a disaster.

But there is good news, and plenty of it.  Being the bread afficiando I now am, I told Mommy to expand her repertoire (those lessons from my french bulldog cousins are really paying off) into pizza.  The dough is super easy, from Jim Lahey's "My Bread" which is our bible of bread baking, and Mommy and I put our stubborn heads together to come up with toppings.

Our guinea pigs were our dear new friends from Italy, Marianna and Carlo.  Are you crazy serving pizza to Italians, you ask?  Yes, I reply.  We are crazy.  Crazy like a fox!  We made four kinds of pizzas, although we sadly only photographed two so forgive me for being such a tease.  Here they are, in no particular order - creme fraiche with salmon and dill, shaved asparagus with parmesian cheese, rapini with carmelized onions and red chili flakes, and grapes with rosemary (see photos below).  Snarf city!  They were delish!

And for dessert?  Get this - we melted bittersweet chocolate and then stirred in crushed up Frito Lays.  Yep, I said Frito Lays!  We spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then topped the chocolate with more crushed Fritos so it looked like brittle (see photo below).  Then we popped the whole thing, baking sheet included, into the freezer to let it set.  We broke it into pieces, scooped some on top of vanilla bean ice cream and sprinkled it with saigon cinnamon sugar.  OMG.  Incroyable!

But back to our regularly scheduled bread bake.  I do so love to race up the stairs in the morning to the smell of freshly baked bread and this morning did not disappoint.  Mommy surprised me with a new creation - ricotta almond bread with lemon zest (see photo) and it was a beauty.  I'm drooling as I type, because I haven't yet sampled the loaf but I fully intend to before lunch.  A girl can live by bread alone  :-)

So that's all the news that's fit to blog.  Time to go put an Asiago Cheese Round in the oven for Uncle Josh and Aunt Darcy who we're seeing tonight for supper.  Mommy and Daddy don't know it yet, but I plan to stick my head in the door before they can close it and go with them.  hehe

Love and licks to all,