The main character, Gil, is smitten with the 1920s, specifically the 1920s in Paris. By the end of the film, he's ready to forgo his life in Malibu for long walks and a tiny apartment in Paris. I won't give much more in plot or analysis, but I will see that I found his desire all too familiar. In high school, I traveled to South Africa, Mexico, Italy and Botswana. I (briefly) studied International Affairs in college before getting swept into Creative Writing. Even now, I still find myself wishing I lived in a foreign city. The thought of immersion thrills me.
But then I step back, or more honestly, I get into my car. As Ryan and I drove home from the theater last night, I was struck by all the faces, places and people in this city I call home. A myriad of cultures and backgrounds that makes each day an opportunity to grow and change. Living in America, and specifically in Austin, I've met people from all different cultural backgrounds, and our relationships have stretched my mind, my heart and my palette. I won't get into politics here, but I will say that immigration is what makes America a place that thrives and continues to inspire millions around the world.
The bagel is enjoyed by millions of people, and as it migrates across the country (and the world) it rubs up against many different culinary traditions and cultures.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Bill of Los Bagels. He offered to send me their cookbook, and after perusing their website, I greedily said, "Yes, please!" This bagel shop specializes in Jewish, American and Mexican baked goods. It truly is a multicultural experience, and their large following across the country proves they produce a much appreciated product.
When I received my cookbook, the first page I turned to made my stomach growl. A jalapeno bagel. I know...you're hungry now too. When I read about a bagel chock full of spicy, Mexican flavor, I knew that Bill and I would be friends.
This afternoon, I pulled out my first sheet of Jalapeno bagels, and the smells of yeasty dough, jalapenos and red chilies made me almost swoon. Ryan and I came home tonight and eagerly sliced open our bagels...we wanted them for breakfast and for dinner. They are simply that good.
As I took my first chewy, spicy bite today, I knew why these bagels were so popular at the store...and once again I felt grateful to live in a place where so many cultures touch and mingle. I look forward to the day I can visit this store in person. I'll be buying a dozen to take home!
The Smith River is the only major undammed river in California. Epic runs of salmon still occur on the Smith, although, usually at night, during a high tide, in a down pour, on the full moon. Crisp and clear, the Smith flows to the Pacific untethered by man.
The Smith River Gift Box is as impressive as the cliffs which edge this fast flowing river. 1 dozen of our boiled then baked Bagels, 1 loaf of our Challah, 1 jar Larrupin, 1 bottle Slug Slime, 1/2 dozen Apricot Rugalah and 1/2 dozen Chocolate Chip Rugalah.
If you would like a chance to win this gift box, take a moment to visit the Los Bagels website and leave me a comment with your favorite bagel...I'm always looking for new ones to try.
And take a moment to like me on facebook. I'm creeping towards 1000 likes, and I know you all can help me along.
*Adapted slightly from a Los Bagels original
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup + 2 TBSP lukewarm water
3 1/2 unbleached bread flour
3 heaping TBSP of dried red chile flakes
1/4 cup diced jalapeno peppers (canned)
2 quarts water
1 TBSP baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1. In a small bowl, stir the honey, the yeast and the salt into the lukewarm water. Place the flour into the bowl of a standing mixer (or any large bowl) and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the chile flakes and the jalapeno peppers. Using a dough hook, or a large wooden spoon, and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. The dough should form a stiff, course ball and the flour should be fully hydrated.
2. Resume mixing on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or knead dough on a lightly floured surface so that the gluten can begin to develop. The dough should be stiff and slightly tacky. It should have a smooth, satiny feel. If needed add more flour or water to achieve the desired consistency.
3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise at room temperature, for 60-90 minutes. After initial rise, divide the dough into 6 (4 1/2 ounce) pieces. Form the pieces into rolls.
4. Line 1 large sheet pan with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter for a large bagel, two inches for a regular one or just slightly more than one inch for a miniature. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible.
5. Place each of the shaped pieces two inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and allow to retard over night.
6. In the morning, remove your bagels from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. After an hour, check to see if your bagels are ready for boiling. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be boiled when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. If they don't float, let them sit at room temperature for 30 more minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 500°F with the rack set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil, and add the baking soda and salt. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
8. Gently drop the bagels into the water, boiling only a few at a time. After one minute, flip them over and boil for another minute. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pan with cornmeal or semolina flour. Remove the boiled bagels to a wire rack while finishing the remaining bagels.
9. When all the bagels are boiled, place the pan on the middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately five minutes, then rotate the pan. After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450°F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and brush with melted butter. Allow the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores