1. Blog Updated!: Instead of focusing on my dissertation proposal, I worked on updating this blog all weekend. I have come to the realization that while most people like WordPress for its snazzy themes, I much more prefer Blogger for its ease in adjustments and settings (I wrote this before it messed up today). I spent literally hours trying to upload a theme to WordPress.com only to find out that you couldn’t upload unaffiliated themes to wordpress.COM, but you could do it to WordPress.ORG! Then, you have to get a domain host before you can download the .ORG version. So, before I found that out, I had paid money to get a new theme. When I found out I couldn’t use that without paying more money for a domain, I felt like screaming. I bought a cheap domain at godaddy.com and still couldn’t move forward because I couldn’t find some authorization EPP code. At this point, I had spent more than 5-7 hours working on this stuff.
I finally gave up and went back to blogger to find a theme to my liking. I was hoping to find one with a three column footer and a dark, simple, sleek background, and I found it…for FREE. I downloaded it in a matter of seconds and then moved things around and was very pleased. Then, I decided to change the header to add my own photos but didn’t know how. I found a great tutorial on Digital Photography School and was finally able to make my header once I figured out what was going wrong with the Rectangular Marquee Tool on my limited, free version of Photoshop. Two hours later, I made the header you see above. I am happy. I am pleased. I don’t ever want to update my blog again….well, not until my next blogiversary. LOL!
2. FIRST Blogiversary!/Danish Revisited: Anyway, since this is my first blogiversary, I decided to revisit what I made on my very first post: a cherry cream cheese danish braid. Instead of making a cherry danish this time, I made a lemon-lime danish and a lemon-lime danish with fresh strawberries (I’ll explain next while I ended up making two danishes). Both danishes had a lime glaze on top and the last one had candied lime zest as well.
Well, to go along with all the trouble I went through to update my blog, these danishes didn’t turn out as well as I had wanted. The first one I burnt even after baking it a few minutes under the time suggested (remember I always do half the time and then I went a few minutes under that). It still tasted fantastic, but as you can see, it was burnt and the braid didn’t stay together as well as the one on my very first post.
I didn’t burn the second one. Instead, I dropped it on the kitchen floor right before I baked it (fortunately, it was covered with clear wrap), and the braid loosened up and just opened up completely while baking in the oven. Everything was a total disaster but still tasted great. After, drizzling a bunch of glaze and candied lime zest on top, you couldn’t see its “lime pastry cream guts” sticking out as much.
I am sorry that I can’t share with you all a beautiful, perfect danish. I will make another one….next year for the next blogiversary (if I last that long). I will do it well enough ahead of time so that I’m not stressed and pressured for time. I will do it before spending hours on fixing up my blog.
3. FIRST Giveaway!!: On a positive note, I am offering my first giveaway. I wasn’t sure what to offer. So, I thought of something related to the theme and feel of my blog, which I hope deals with international culture, foods, and languages. So, for my giveaway, I am giving one of the following cookbooks to one of my lucky readers, lurkers, and/or visitors residing in the UNITED STATES, CANADA, or MEXICO (I apologize to readers not residing in those countries; I am a lowly graduate student and can’t afford much more.). Deadline: Thursday, April 1st at 12 midnight, Pacific Time.
In order to participate in the giveaway, answer ALL of the following questions in the comment section below:
Para participar en el concurso, contesta todas las siguientes preguntas en la sección de comentarios abajo:
1. Which cookbook would you like? ¿Cuál libro escojerías?
2. What international (i.e., outside of the U.S. for me) dish would you like to see on Mangio da sola? OR What international (i.e., any dish not traditional to your country of residence) dish have you prepared?
¿Cuál plato internacional te gustaria ver en Mangio da sola? O ¿Cuál plato internacional has preparado tú?
3. And because I am a linguist, how many languages do you speak? AND/OR What languages would you like to learn, if you could?
Y porque soy lingüista, ¿cuántos idiomas sabes? Y/O ¿Cuántos idiomas te gustaría aprender si pudieras?
If you would like to leave a comment without entering in the giveaway, you don’t need to answer the questions. Just leave some love!
Lemon-Lime Danish Braid
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamon (optional)
1 tablespoon butter2 large eggs (beaten)
2 cups unsalted butter (cold)
DOUGH: Pour milk and water into a saucepan; heat to a scald. In a large bowl, add in sugar, salt, cardamon and flour. Add a tablespoon of butter to the scalded mixture. Stir till the butter is melted. Add in two beaten eggs and mix with a whisk. Cook mixture to 110F.
Once cooled, add in instant yeast. Pour liquid into the bowl of the flour mixture; mix with a wooden spoon. Pour out onto a lightly-floured surface, and knead for 6 minutes or till smooth and elastic. Wrap into plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
BUTTER BLOCK: Prepare the 2 cups of butter. Place the butter onto some plastic wrap. Place more plastic wrap over the top. Using a rolling pin roll out to a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. If you roll the butter to large, just cut the sides and place the excess butter on top and re-roll. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
DOUGH PACKET: Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll into a 9×18 rectangle. Place the rolled butter onto the bottom 2/3rd of the dough. Fold over the top part of the dough to the middle. Brush off any excess flour. Fold over the bottom half over top the first. Pinch the seams closed. Turn the dough 90 degrees, so the narrow end is facing you. Roll out the dough into another 9×18 rectangle. Brush off any excess flour. Do the three fold again and seal the ends.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place a black dot or make an impression with your finger on the plastic wrap. Place into the fridge for another 30 minutes. Remove the dough, and roll out again and fold again. Wrap with plastic wrap and place another dot or impression on the plastic wrap. Place back into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Again, remove the dough and roll out again and fold for a third time. Cover with plastic wrap and place another dot or impression on top so you will have three dots to remember how many times you have done this. Place the dough back into the fridge for at least 1 hour or over night. Now the dough is ready to use.
Remove the Danish dough from the fridge. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface and then unwrap and cut the dough in half. Wrap one piece with plastic wrap and place back into the fridge. Roll the dough into a 10×15 rectangle.
Brush any excess flour from the top. Now, place the dough into a piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza slicer lightly score the dough 3 inches from each side. Do not cut through the dough. It’s just to be used as a guideline.
Place your filling into the middle without crossing the score marks. Using your pizza cutter and a rule cut slices down each side on the dough. Do not cut past the score line. It will be about 9 slices down both sides.
Cut off the two bottom pieces and the two top pieces. Fold over the bottom onto the filling.
Beat one egg and 1 tablespoon of water into a small bowl. You will use this as glue. Brush each piece of dough as you create the braid. Begin at the end of the dough and fold one piece of dough over the filling. Brush with the egg wash. Now, take one piece of dough from the other side and fold that over the other piece. Continue till you have created a braid. Brush the top of the braid with egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap and egg wash once again. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with some icing over top.
To make the spirals, roll out the other half of the danish dough in a rectangle shape about a 1/4 of an inch thick. Fold in half and using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1/2 inch thick strips.
Take each piece of dough, gently stretch it slightly and twist it over and over until it is tightly wound. Coil the twist rope into itself.
Place onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 30 minutes. Make an indent in the center of the coil ( I used the bottom of a shot glass to make the indent ) and fill with filling. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Drizzle some icing over top.
LIME PASTRY CREAM:
2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 cups cream
2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I combined lemon and lime)
Mix together egg yolks and cream. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk every minute or so at first, but as it heats up and starts to boil and thicken, you will need to whisk constantly. This should take about 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to low/medium-low so that mixture bubbles gently and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, or when you can draw your finger through it and the line stays there. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve/strainer to remove all lumps. Because the mixture is very thick, you may have to help the mixture through the strainer by pushing gently with a spoon.
Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, with plastic wrap pressed gently against the surface of the cream.
Using a zester, remove the rind from three limes. In a saucepan, add the water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a soft boil, and add the lime zest. Continue to boil mixture for 15 minutes. The lime zest with become translucent.
Use a fork, remove the zest from the liquid, and place the cooked zest onto a piece of wax paper. Spread out the zest, and sprinkle on top with a little sugar. Allow to cool and place into an airtight container until ready to use.
LEMON OR LIME GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
Stir ingredients together well, and pour or drizzle on top of danish.