“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” – Frida Kahlo.
I was asked by Paprika Southern magazine to style a table and write a little something for their Fall issue with inspiration from Frida Kahlo. And this is where my head went. .
Maybe she said to me, “Set a secret dessert table for two in the garden,” a certain September day in 1938. Things had been rocky with she and Diego –his philandering getting in the way of their happiness so it was only natural she took her own lover. The brilliant colors used in her artwork had been missing in her personal life. So maybe, I would have created a scene for her sweet tryst just like this one. With the colors that surrounded her at La Casa Azul. With the colors of her Autumnal world in Mexico City. With the colors of lost love and newly found lust. With the colors of magic. Just maybe she said to me “Set a secret dessert table for two…” -Libbie
Barbie dreamed of being a high fashion model in Paris. When Sears called and asked her to pose with a bike and french baguettes for their Spring/Summer catalog she remarked that “dreams really do come true”. Learn how to make a baguette HERE!
I think it was in fifth grade that I studied states and capitals. Each student’s final grade depended on an oral presentation about an “adopted” state. Our teacher wrote all the states on colorful pieces of paper and placed them in a goldfish bowl for us to choose. I picked Montana. It could have been worse; my friend Randy picked Idaho. I don’t remember much about the presentations aside from the Missouri one given by my classmate Paul, who had a talent for the theatrical. Paul donned a coonskin cap as he talked about Daniel Boone, then deftly removed the cap and taped on a white felt mustache as he read a poem by Mark Twain. The best part of Paul’s state performance was the German pretzel bread he passed around as he talked about Germans immigrating to St. Louis in the mid-1800s. The bread was the best thing I had ever eaten inside the walls of our school. Still warm from Paul’s book bag, it tasted like a thick slice of pretzel. I’ve been obsessed with it—and Paul—ever since. I hope Paul earned an A on his presentation. He deserved it for the bread alone. I’ll ask him the next time we talk. All these years later, Paul and I are still the best of friends.
(a sliceable hot pretzel)
yields 2 loaves, or twelve 4-inch rolls
What you need:
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (115° F)
1⁄2 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup baking soda
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, put the water, milk, butter, yeast, and brown sugar. Mix until combined, then let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, or until it begins to foam. Mix in the salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour
and mix for 1 minute. Continue to add the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a firm ball that is tacky, not sticky (think about a Post-it note—it’s tacky, not sticky to the touch). Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl. Drizzle the dough ball with the oil and turn it over in the bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough at medium-low speed for 10 minutes, until the dough has a satiny shine and is elastic. Cover the dough and let rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
At this point, if you would like to make Pretzel Brats see the variation on page 110.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into two equal pieces. Roll each piece between the palms of your hand in a circular motion to form two smooth balls. (If making rolls, divide the dough into twelve equal pieces and form into balls, then continue with the following steps.)
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a stockpot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Slowly add the baking soda without stirring.
Working with one dough ball at a time, use a large spider or slotted spoon to slowly lower the dough ball into the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds, turning once to make sure the complete surface of the dough has been covered with water. Remove with the slotted spoon to drain and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Make a cross in the top of each loaf using a sharp knife or razor. Don’t worry if the dough looks rather ugly at this point; it will pop up and become beautiful during baking.
Sprinkle the loaves with salt (kosher, pretzel, or Maldon salt). I like a salty pretzel bread and salt-free pretzel rolls.
Bake for 25 minutes (15 minutes for rolls), until the loaves are a dark golden brown, turning the baking sheet around once in the middle of the bake time. Let the loaves cool slightly before serving.
By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey With Joshua Summers (rooster masked man)
Rooster Mask Portrait by Chia Chong
Happy Chinese New Year!
2017…the year of the rooster…are you a rooster…do you know a rooster?
(watch this video from Origami Time to learn how to make this rooster origami)
THE ROOSTER: People born in a year of the Rooster (1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017) are observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. Roosters are very confident in themselves.
Roosters are always active, funny, and popular within a crowd. Roosters are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention.
Roosters are happiest when they are surrounded by others, whether at a party or just a social gathering. They enjoy the spotlight and will always be charming.
Roosters are a little self absorbed. They expect others to listen to them while they speak, and can become agitated if they don’t. Roosters like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments.
Their behavior of continually seeking the unwavering attention of others annoys people around them at times.
Roosters are loyal and make devoted friends. They ALWAYS keep their promises and are true to their word. Sensitive individuals may find it hard to get along well with Roosters, because they always brag about themselves and their accomplishments, which may make others uncomfortable.
Roosters are typically healthy people. They are active and enjoy sports. Roosters don’t get sick very often because they tend to fight illness well. Even when they do become ill, they feel better quickly. Are you a rooster? If you are a rooster, or know a rooster, or wish you were a rooster, here are a few things you need to know.
Lucky numbers: 5, 7, and 8
Lucky days: the 4th and 26th of any Chinese lunar month
Lucky colors: gold, brown, and yellow
Lucky flowers: gladiola, cockscomb
Lucky directions: south, southeast
Lucky months: the 2nd, 5th, and 11th Chinese lunar months
Unlucky color: red
Unlucky numbers: 1, 3, and 9
Unlucky direction: east (what????)
Unlucky months: the 3rd, 9th, and 12th Chinese lunar months
Happy Chinese New Year!!! Celebrate the rooster or any new beginning with a party like THIS!