Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Long weekend, long story

The long weekend had me as busy as the weather. I started out on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, dodging surprise bursts of rain. I took a trip to a vast cavern of sailing and marine relics with my parents, where my Dad was tempted to buy a captains wheel. I also had to get myself ready for a trip to the other side of the mountains for a big, dirty, and loud music festival - aptly named 'Sasquatch'.

Spending days and nights at the Gorge ampitheatre requires some careful planning. Once you arrive and set up camp,  edibles and sundries (new vocab word of the weekend!) are few and costly. The whole event puts you out in the elements; actively listening to music all day and the rowdy antics of fellow campers all night. 

The trip began with a late night drive, through blurry forests, horror-movie roads, and eerie ominous rivers. 

Even at one in the morning when we set up our tent, the sprawling field of make-shift dwellings was still full of activity. Friends were lost, fireworks were going off, and dozens of scattered conversations all blended into one massive sound.

As soon as the sun came up, a kale-filled bun was happily devoured by my camping buddy. The rest of the day went by in a blur, there was music from noon until mid-night.

During Caribou's early show, I had a little filled bun. 

Highlights of the day: discovering the unique Tune-Yards, watching the bass player for The xx intensely swoop around on stage, dancing to the infectious sounds of LCD Sound System, and getting sleepy to the lights and lulling of Massive Attack. 

By the end, the ground was pretty dirty. 

To get through the trip, a bag of home-made granola bars and filled buns were shared between us. They were most definitely tastier than anything that the Gorge was serving, and were so nutrient dense you didn't want much else. Except for some cornbread maybe. 

The buns were delicious, and I have already started thinking of other filling mixes. The granola bars were chewy, thick, and not too sweet. They are also great if your cupboard of bulk-item-baggies needs some clearing. 

Thick Granola Bars
Adapted from here
2 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. oat flour (I processed my oats until fine)
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c. almond butter
8 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tbsp water
3 1/2 c. delicious additions (1/2 c. chopped walnuts, 1/2 c. chopped almonds, 1/2 c.chopped pecans, 1/4 c. millet puffs, 1/2 c. dried currents, 1/4 c. dried cranberries, 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 12 inch baking dish, and put a layer of parchment paper in the bottom, butter the top of this. In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients, including your delicious additions. In another bowl blend together the melted butter, almond butter, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, and water. Pour this over the dry ingredients and toss until everything is evenly coated. Press the mix into the baking dish and put in the oven for 30- 40 min. I let mine just begin to brown on the top - anymore than that and they will be too crunchy. Let cool on a rack in the pan, then cut into squares.

Filled Buns

2 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 c. lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
3/4 c. lukewarm buttermilk
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter at room temperature
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour

1-2 medium chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic
4-5 c. of roughly chopped leafy greens (I used kale and cabbage)
1/2 c. shredded sharp chedder
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp melted butter
sesame seeds
smoked salt

First, begin the dough. Combine the yeast, water, and sugar and let set for 15 min to bubble and dissolve. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and stir. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Add just enough of the all-purpose flour to form a dough - I used about 3/4 c. Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead until very smooth and stretchy. Put into a lightly oiled bowl and let double in size (on a cold day, mine took 1 1/2 hours). During the rise, make the filling. In a medium frying pan over medium heat 3 Tbsp butter. Add the carrots and garlic. Saute until the carrots are beginning to soften. Add the leafy greens, paprika, and season to taste. Cook until the greens have lost most of their volume. Set aside to cool. Add the shredded cheese, and refrigerate if you still have time on your dough's rise. Just before your dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, if you have a baking stone preheat this as well. After the rise, remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 12 equal pieces, round each one into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough piece into a circle about 5 inches in diameter. Place a scant 1/4 cup of the filling in the middle of the dough. Gather the edges, and pinch together in a swirl. Place the bun seam side down onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Repeat for other buns. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and smoked salt. Bake either on a sheet, or stone, for 15-20 min. until the outside is lightly browned. Cool on a rack.

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