There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This month's Challenge from Michelle was to make a sandwich.   Before getting to that, however, I apparently have some unfinished business from my last post.  In that one I made some sourdough waffles with the new Professional Double Waffle Maker Santa brought me.  One of my fan excoriated me for not addressing what I put on top of the waffles!  Now, a purist would observe that putting anything on a freshly  (and Professionally) made wild-caught-sourdough waffle is gilding the lily.  And as Heraclitus said, you can't put your foot in the same river twice, or was it Thomas Wolfe who said you can  never go home again.  Whatever--the waffle ship has sailed.  But to fill the hole  that my homey John felt  my last post left in his soul, or his stomach, here are some sourdough English Muffins I made
 and here they are topped with some Wild Blueberry Jam
 from the Maine Diner.
Which you can check out here.

Happy John?
Now for the sandwich.  So many choices, so little time. 
I decided to make a Mexican Torta.  According to
A Torta is a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong 6-8 inch toasted sandwich roll, called telera. Tortas are served hot. Common ingredients may include, but are not limited to:
Pork Carnitas
Chicken Milanesa
Pork Loin
Pork Chops
Smoked Ham
Fried Eggs
Beef Barbacoa
For mine I started with the bread.  I used some HB in 5 master dough to make a batard, or what Lucky Jack Aubrey would call a "French short bastard."  (The Mautitius Command, 97-98).  Since we were in the midst of some unseasonably nice weather, I baked it on the grill.   
 Once it had cooled, I sliced it in half and scooped out most of the the interior. 
I wanted to make a meatless torta, so for the filling I mixed some pinto beans with some salsa and some pickled hot peppers and some cumin until the beans were slightly mashed.  I piled this on the bottom of the loaf, and topped it with some shredded cheese.  Then I broiled it to brown the cheese.  I put some cole slaw mix on the top half of the bread, 
 mooshed the top and bottom together, and cut it in half. 

And we ate the whole thing. 

In closing, I was reading an article in Audubon Magazine on feathers, and the author offered an observation from his mother-in-law.  On reflection, and I gave it some fair amount of reflection, it seemed to me to be an essential and  fundamental truth, so I offer it to you here:

You are never more than 3 feet from a spider.

To those of my gentle readers for whom this might be disturbing, I can only offer the following from James Thurber:
There is no exception to the rule that every rule has and exception.


  1. I want that sandwich!!!!!!!!

  2. I wanted to reach in and grab that sandwich! Nice English muffins too.

    Gotta go there's a spider on the wall! :)

  3. Quick transition there--sandwich to spiders! I like the fillings you chose, especially the coleslaw.