Thursday, February 09, 2012

IF: Suspense

This is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic: suspense. I think it is a bit too flat to convey a sense of suspensefulness, but that's why I need to keep doing these exercises, yes?! Exploring…

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Soft Pretzels

The boy has been asking me to make soft pretzels for ages. My prior experience of soft pretzels was from those carts in New York and they never lived up to the expectation created by the smell. I found this amazing "pigs in a pretzel blanket" recipe that was more my speed, but the boy really wanted regular ol' pretzels. So I went along with that plan and these were a happy, happy surprise. They are anything but regular ol' and I will happily make them again and again. They were super t-a-s-t-y! Perfect for superbowling — or any weekend afternoon, really.

Soft Pretzels
Adapted from From Away
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115º F)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil/cooking spray
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
coarse salt

Combine water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top and wait until mixture starts to foam, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and butter and begin to mix with dough hook attachment on low speed, until ingredients are combined. Turn up the mixer to medium speed and work until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, approximately 4-5 minutes. 

Remove the dough, lightly coat the bowl with vegetable oil, return the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot in your kitchen until it doubles in size, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 450º F. Lightly oil two cookie sheets. In a deep skillet or roasting pan, combine the water and baking soda. In a small bowl, beat egg and water. Have your salt on hand. Bring the water to a boil.

On a lightly oiled work surface, divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope. Twist into pretzel shape.

Gently drop pretzel into boiling water, one at a time if necessary, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon or flat spatula, let drain over skillet and place on oiled cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes until a deep, golden brown is achieved. Remove to rack to cool slightly before serving.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Clickety-Clack: Typewriters on parade

I drew this little Olympia SG-1 for a client who wanted a custom rubber stamp made for this year's International Typewriter Appreciation Month (ITAM) which is this month, February 2012. Mr. Type Clack found me through my work for Ryan Adney's Magic Margin blog and the Typosphere grows pleasingly smaller each day.

In other typewriter related news, have you heard about Type-O-Matic? It's a magical online service who will hand-type your correspondence and mail it out into the world — all in the strictest confidence, if you please. So you could send an anonymous love note that special someone this year or just a really nice thank you note. Their list of FAQs is extensive and entertaining. So let's get typing!