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Das Brot!

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Ezekiel Bread. Enough said. This is one of my favorite breads and still one of the most popular reasons people find their way to this little blog. I have a few versions of this recipe but the one below is the one I use most often. For additional directions and pictures of it being made, click here. To read my lay-person’s biblical interpretation of this recipe, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#552)

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Two boxes of food on their way to a local food pantry.

Urban Simplicity.

Street Art…a few things I saw while riding my bike today.

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I feel truly blessed in that all of this free street art is within a few blocks radius of my front door.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That Can be Carried on a Bike (#551)

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Two slices of pizza, two bottles of red wine, a gym bag full of wet clothes, a small tripod, and a camera bag with an extra lens.

Urban Simplicity.

The View from My Handlebars on a Clear but Frigid Evening…

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The corner of Allen and Elmwood on a very cold night. I was on my way home from the community center after a steam and swim. The air on my face was cold–really cold–and my fingers were freezing (I really need to get better gloves). I was feeling slightly stressed because of the self-inflicted nonsense that is often happening in my head. And I looked up and saw that full moon directly above. How could I not snap its picture. Anyhow, I thought I’d share.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#550), and a couple brief comments…

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A new set of studded snow tires.

Ok, so I’ve put off buying snow tires for years–maybe a decade. I’m not sure why, maybe the price. And maybe I didn’t think they’d make that big of difference. Well, I purchased this set today and I cannot tell you how incredible they are. The downside is that they greatly (really greatly) increase road resistance, which is especially noticeable on dry pavement. But man, in the snow I feel like I’m driving a four wheel drive truck. No slipping or sliding; excellent braking. The money spent is well worth it. And if you happen to be a four season cyclist who is considering purchasing these tire but haven’t yet, just do it. You won’t be sorry.

Urban Simplicity.

Lebanese Plate (yum!)

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Sometimes I just have to cook for myself. I really do. I cook all day for others and sometimes it just feels food to cook for me. Anyhow, this is what I had for dinner tonight (click any of the highlighted words for recipes)…moudardara with lamb (rice with lentils and vermicelli), hummus, labna (yogurt cheese), and kabis malfouf (spicy pickled cabbage). For more Lebanese-inspired recipes, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

The Bitterest Fortune Cookie…

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I won’t lie…I enjoy reading the fortune cookie when I order Chinese take out. And this is the one I received a few nights ago. Umm…that’s my fortune? Sounds like the writer of this has some anger issues. And besides that is not the golden rule.

To read about the Golden Rule that touches virtually every religion, click here.
For more in the fortune cookie series, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That can be Carried on a Bike (#548 & #549)

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#548…Crates and boxes of food on their way to a food pantry.

#549…A Christmas Tree.

Urban Simplicity.

The view from my handlebars on a really frigid and snowy night on my short commute home and a few things I saw along the way…

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Urban Simplicity.

Four Trees; One Photo

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I came upon this while riding my bike the other night. It was frigid cold out; my fingers ached, but I thought this was beautiful. So a took a photo and thought I’d share. Click it for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Cook Like Your Grandmother…how to make tallow or lard

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Okay. I do realize that this is not the healthiest food in the world, but as an ingredient is it very useful and every cook should know how to make it (and it is so easy to make). My cooking fat of choice these days is olive oil. But I’m spoiled. By this I mean that I live in the northern hemisphere far from any olive trees, but I can easily go to the store to purchase olive oil. That said, this wasn’t the case for my ancestors. In that case animal fats would be indispensable for cooking (one needs fat to cook), but also for so many other things, such as soap, candles, and skin care. Anyhow, I hadn’t made this in a while and I had a large prime rib dinner this week where I work so I had a lot of beef fat trimmings. So rather than throw them in the trash I turned it into tallow (this is so easy to make and look at how much you would pay for it if purchased). Tallow, of course, is rendered fat made from beef whereas lard is rendered fat made from pork. But both are made in the same way. Here’s how to do it…

Take any amount of fat with no or at least minimal meat remaining and cut it into chunks, dice it, or grind it. Place it in a pot and add just enough water that it is covered.

Bring the pot to a boil then lower it to a simmer. Then simmer, simmer, simmer. It’ll take a few hours.

After some time the water will have evaporated and the fat will have cleared. You will notice the difference in the way it sounds as it simmers now. It will sound thick; viscous. 

Shut the pot off and let it rest for a little bit, to a llow it to cool slightly and let everything settle. Then strain it twice. First to remove the remaining meat and fat pieces, then a second time trough cheesecloth to remove any small particles.

Transfer it to small containers; it should look crystal clear.

Once chilled it will turn pure white and solid. It will keep for months under refrigeration.

Urban Simplicity.

A few things I saw while walking home from work on a really cold night…

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Urban Simplicity

Two Loaves; Two Recipes…

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I’ve posted both of these recipes before but not in a while and I made them recently and thought that I would re-post them. They are both two of my favorites, Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread and Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf. Recipes are below.

 

Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 or 3 loaves

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

2 cups oatmeal, plus additional for coating

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

3 ½ cups water, divided

2 tablespoons instant yeast, divided

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Separate the ingredients into two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, two cups of oatmeal, the wheat gluten, and 2 ½ cups of water; stir until just combined. In the second bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of yeast, and 1 cup of water; stir until just combined. Cover the bowls and allow the ingredients to rest and begin fermenting for at least an hour, but up to 12. Then combine the contents of bowl bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining tablespoon of yeast, along with the olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two or pieces, gently shape it into loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loaves in it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough. Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1-1/2 pound ground turkey

1-1/2 pound ground pork

1 bunch parsley, washed and minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon basil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 cup breadcrumbs


Heat the oil in a heavy skillet then add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté a minute longer. Remove the vegetables, spread them on a clean plate and place them in a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked and cooled vegetables to a bowl along with the turkey, pork, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, eggs, ketchup and hot pepper sauce. Mix thoroughly then add the breadcrumbs and mix again until. Pack the meatloaf into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it at 350F for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Allow it to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Two Loaves; Two Recipes…

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I’ve posted both of these recipes before but not in a while and I made them recently and thought that I would re-post them. They are both two of my favorites, Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread and Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf. Recipes are below.

 

Whole Wheat Maple-Oatmeal Bread

Makes 2 or 3 loaves

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided

2 cups oatmeal, plus additional for coating

2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

3 ½ cups water, divided

2 tablespoons instant yeast, divided

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons kosher salt


Separate the ingredients into two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, two cups of oatmeal, the wheat gluten, and 2 ½ cups of water; stir until just combined. In the second bowl combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of yeast, and 1 cup of water; stir until just combined. Cover the bowls and allow the ingredients to rest and begin fermenting for at least an hour, but up to 12. Then combine the contents of bowl bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining tablespoon of yeast, along with the olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two or pieces, gently shape it into loaves. Dust the counter with extra oatmeal and roll the loaves in it, gently pressing oatmeal into the surface of the raw dough. Place the loaves into oiled loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Spicy Turkey and Pork Meatloaf

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1-1/2 pound ground turkey

1-1/2 pound ground pork

1 bunch parsley, washed and minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon basil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 cup breadcrumbs


Heat the oil in a heavy skillet then add the onion, celery and bell pepper. Sauté until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté a minute longer. Remove the vegetables, spread them on a clean plate and place them in a refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked and cooled vegetables to a bowl along with the turkey, pork, chili powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, eggs, ketchup and hot pepper sauce. Mix thoroughly then add the breadcrumbs and mix again until. Pack the meatloaf into a lightly oiled loaf pan, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake it at 350F for about 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and continue to bake it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Allow it to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

First Friday…

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Okay, so this is another Buffalo specific post and a bit of shameless self-promotion (sorry). But if you happen to find yourself in Western New York during the month of December and like galleries you may be interested in visiting the College Street Art Gallery and Co-op. It’s a teeny little space at the corner of Allen Street and College (244 Allen Street). The gallery is part of the Allentown First Friday Gallery Walk. Anyhow, the above photo is one of four of mine which will be hanging there through the month of December. The opening is Friday December 6th.Hope to see you there.

Urban Simplicity.

More Pro-Buffalo

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Some readers from my general geographic area read this blog, but with the beauty of the internet people around the globe do as well. Anyhow, if you want to get a two minute glimpse into where I live take a peek at this short video.

Urban Simplicity.

Things That can be Carried on a Bike (#547)

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A gym bag with wet clothes, and a double order of Chinese take-out.

Urban Simplicity.

Fortune Cookie Philosophy…

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I hear pleasant news every day. But sometimes I don’t recognize it or allow myself to hear it. I just need to listen more…

More fortune cookie philosophies
Urban Simplicity

A Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh…

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Please Call Me by My True Names

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow–even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch,

to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,

who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and my pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open,
the door of compassion.
Five quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh

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