Bike Day

Bike_04Nov12_DSCF1466Winter is here, and I decided that I would put my studded tires on my bike.  One of the recommendations is that you ride 30 miles on dry (ice free) pavement in order to set the studs.  So, I thought I would start the process today.

My route was from my home to the Mendenhall Glacier,and around the Loop Road via the Brotherhood Bridge Trail.  The total mileage was 13.31 miles, done in a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes.  About 10 minutes of that time was spent taking a few pictures, and making a couple bike adjustments.  Temperature was about 35 degrees, and it was raining the entire ride. Thankfully, there was no wind. Over all, a good ride considering the day and the equipment.

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Riding a mountain bike versus a road mike is always a slow experience, but todays ride was very slow, mainly due to the studded tires (see blurry image above).  They are very heavy and wide, with huge knobs, making the ride at least 15% less efficient, though it feels more like 25%, versus a road bike.  Even going downhill I could not get near the speed that I usually attain.  However, the ride was fun, and if I was not as wet as I was, I would have continued riding.

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When I arrived at the glacier visitor center, I was approached by a women who commented that I was going to make people have epileptic fits because of my blinky light.  I have a MagicShine 808E that I keep on blink mode when I ride.  It is a bit bright, and will light up street signs over 1/4 mile away in the day time.  But, drivers do notice, and that is exactly what I want.  The woman, who may have been a bit upset about my light, was ignored, as are all such people.

Lets see if we can see my route as displayed in Google Maps:


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Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread–Gone Wrong?

I was attempting to make Cinnamon Raison Swirl Bread today, and things did not quite go as planned.  While the dough worked out well, When I attempted to cut the log I formed it in half to make the braid and swirl, things started falling apart.  There was absolutely no way that I could continue with my planned recipe, so I improvised and made a ring – a very delicious ring.

I was actually intending not to post this, but after tasting the results, I decided to make this post to explain what I intended to do, and what I did.Cooking_3Nov12_DSC1321

In order to make Swirl Bread, you make the dough, roll it into a sheet, place your filling on the sheet, and roll the sheet into a tight log.  You then cut the log in half length-wise and form a braid.  Unfortunately, the dough was so weak, I could not braid it.  I think the weakness was the result of excess moisture from my decision to soak the raising.  While they were not wet, they were very moist, and that made the dough too wet to handle.  So, I put the two halves back together and attempted to stick one side to the other the best I could, which was not that great.  I then formed the reformed log into a ring, and baked that.  The result?  Moist and delicious!

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Recipe: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl BreadCooking_03Nov12_DSC1336

Ingredients:

Dough:

4 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Honey
1 each Egg
1 tsp Salt
2 1/4  tsp Yeast
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Heavy cream
1/2 cup Water

Filling:

1 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1 cup Walnuts – broken into large chunks
2  Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2  cup Butter – melted

1. Proof yeast in warm water

2. Scald heavy cream and add butter to melt as well as the salt.

3. Mix all dry ingredients.

4. When cream is cool, add cream, yeast mixture, egg, and honey to the dry ingredients.

5. Knead as appropriate.

6. Place in lightly greased bowl and allow to rise until double.

7. Optional – While bread is rising – soak raisins in hot water to plump. (I will not do this next time)

8. Roll into rectangle and brush with melted butter.

9. Drain raisins discarding water.

10. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar, walnuts, and raisins on the dough.

11. Roll into a tight log and form into a ring.

12. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  The top will be golden brown.

13. Cool a bit and slice.

And the result:

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Irish Cream

A few months ago I found that we had run out of Irish Cream, so I found a recipe that I had, found the ingredients, and started making my own Irish Cream for our coffee.  What I found is that my recipe is somewhat better than the Irish Cream that you can purchase, and it is about one-third of the price, especially if you use inexpensive  (cheap) whiskey.

Recipe:  Irish Cream LiqueurCooking_2Nov12_300_1301

Ingredients:

1 Cup Heavy cream
1 2/3  Cups Irish Whiskey
14 Ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk (usually one can)
1  Teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/4 Teaspoons Almond extract
1  Tablespoons Cocoa powder
1  Teaspoons Instant coffee granules

Procedure:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender

2. Blend on low speed until thoroughly mixed.

3. Place in jar(s) in the refrigerator to store until needed.  I have kept this for two weeks without issue.

Note:  Use the slowest speed possible that will mix the ingredients.  This will prevent the incorporation of air into the mixture.

The Almond Extract is one item that I am still playing with.  The recipe tastes great without it, but too much is not that great.  I use between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon depending on what I want for the week.

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