Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Jul. 11, 2004 - 9:44 a.m.

My Boring Buns

I've got some time to kill while I'm doing some baking (the dough has to sit and rise for an hour) so I thought I'd knock off a brief entry. Don't go any further if you don't want to read a boring food entry. Really. This is not a funny story entry. No disasters happened to me. My dog is behaving. So is NewWifey(tm). No vegetables have attacked me, no radio station listeners are stalking me. This is just boring, staid, "What I Did Today" filler. Even *I* am bored with this one. But I'm tossing it out there anyway......

I'm making Chinese "Silver Loaves". Know where I got the recipe?

A video game!

I picked up a used copy of "Deus Ex: The Conspiracy" for my Playstation-2 a few months ago, and really enjoyed it. In fact I played it several times, it being one of those games you can employ different strategies each time to experience different outcomes.

There are a lot of areas in this game to explore. You go to New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and several other places, wandering around completing missions. Standard enough fare in the gaming world I suppose, although this title really does it well.

Along the way your character can interact with numerous bits of scenery. There are computers you can hack into which might give you insights into the larger story as you read the e-mails stored there. There are a couple of pool tables where you can pause and try your hand. And here and there you will find books that other characters have been reading.

Most of the books are excerts from novels, some of which may hold clues to your situation. Other books may contain codes you'll need to gain access to a security system, or perhaps list the author's ATM password so you can empty his account later.

And two of the books contain recipes.

The first book you find is in the basement kitchen of a warlord's compound in Hong Kong. When I first clicked on it I was expecting a code to the next level, or maybe an excerpt from "The Art of War". Instead I saw:

Chinese Silver Loaves

1 3/4 cups hot water

3 Tblsp sugar

2 Tblsp vegetable shortening or oil

6 cups flour

2 Tblsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1. Stir sugar and shortening or oil into hot water until sugar dissolves. Then allow to cool to lukewarm.

2. Sift dry ingredients together, then gradually add the warm liquid, mixing.

3. Knead 5 - 8 minutes, return to bowl and cover with a damp cloth.

4. Allow to rise for at least one hour.

I couldn't have been more suprised if the book had instead opened to pictures of the Chinese Basket Trick. A recipe? In a video game?

Then I found the next one, in Paris (of course). The back gate of the hotel where I needed to meet an underworld figure allowed me to enter through the attached restaurant's kitchen. The cook chided me for interrupting his work, but offered me food anyway. And there on a back cutting board was a book. Clicking on that one yielded the second recipe of the game, for Coq au Vin.

Well I've made Coq au Vin dozens, if not hundreds of times. It was one of the first dishes I learned to prepare at the French restaurant where I began training. I still make it because it's fast, easy, cheap, and impresses the hell out of people who have the hell impressed out of them by fancy sounding dishes. I gave the game's recipe a careful going over, and in the main it wasn't too bad. I had a problem with them adding both wine and stock (an American bastardization that does nothing but totally wimp out the original, all wine, Provencal concoction). But other than that, it certainly appeared workable.

As I say, I've played the game a few times now. And every time I've gone down into that Hong Kong kitchen, read the recipe for Silver Loaves, and wondered if it was as valid as the French offering.

So this morning while NewWifey(tm) slept in, I popped Deus Ex back in the PS2, travelled to Hong Kong, and copied down the above recipe. Then came back upstairs to give it a whirl.

If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go check on how the dough ball is progressing....

Hmm. Well. It looks like bread dough. It feels like bread dough. The only thing that seems odd is that the volume hasn't really increased while sitting in a covered bowl for the past hour. I suppose it's not all that suprising though. If you look at the recipe again, you'll notice that the only leavening is 2 tablespoons of baking powder...for six cups of flour. That's not a lot. I suspect these loaves may have gotten their name not because of any sivery hue, but rather because they have the same density as silver. We'll see.

Another thing you may have picked up from the recipe; there are no instructions as to how to bake these puppies. What temperature? For how long? Do you shape individual rolls, or leave it as one loaf? Score and brush the top?

Admittedly, I am not a baker. I trained for several years in professional kitchens, but not much of that time was spent working with dough - bread or otherwise. Still, I have a basic working knowledge of the procedures involved just through my general interest in all things cooking. So I feel reasonably safe just winging it.

Ok, now what I've just done is cut the dough ball down into equal portions and formed 10 small loaves, like sandwich rolls. I scored the tops and brushed them lightly with a mix of vegetable oil and sesame oil (for a bit of Asian flavor). On half of them I sprinkled sesame seeds also. Then, onto a Silpat and into a 400 degree oven. I'll check 'em in about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, let me just warn you should you decide to try this yourself: If a recipe calls for you to mix water and oil and then heat it, NEVER bring it to a boil. Trust me on this, it's a bad idea. You could get seriously hurt. Just make the water hot enough to dissolve the sugar, that'll be enough.

What else to chat about while I'm sitting here? Hmm, remind me to someday tell the story of meeting NewWifey(tm)'s folks for the first time. I served them - what else - Coq au Vin. There is an actual funny story involved about our resident groundhog, her bumpkin parents' goat-vomit green 1971 pickup truck they drove from Arkansas in, and the 400 dollar bottle of wine that ruined NewWifey(tm) forever.

Aw shoot. I'm gonna peruse porn for the rest of the time til the rolls are done.

Ok, the rolls are done.

Waddaya think?



It looks so light and airy, don't it?

I've got to tell you however, my original suspicion was correct. They are NOT light and airy. They are incredibly dense - that particular roll weighs almost 4 pounds.

Ok, it's not THAT dense. But it's not as light and airy as a yeast roll. Upon cracking it open the inside is nice and soft, and subtley fragrant, but not sandwich roll consistancy. It's more like a moist buiscut texture, although not quite as crumbly. The flavor is good too, both with olive oil and sea salt sprinkled on, and plain butter. All in all, rather enjoyable. For a video game recipe, I mean.

Well, that was my boring as hell entry for today. I felt I needed it to offset the previous entry's pandemonium. Boy, did I get some interesting e-mails from that one. It seems you're all either wild eyed perverts, frothing with eager excitement over blowjob stories, or you're wild eyed Puritans, frothing with eager excitement to condemn people who write blowjob stories. Thankfully the latter were in the minority, but I enjoyed reading all the e-mails whether they were pro or condemn.

Ok, time for lunch. I wonder what I should have.....

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