Sunday, July 31, 2016


Stollen ... is a German bread made with candied or dried fruit, traditionally around Christmas-time.  My mom often made Stollen for the Christmas season, and I could never get enough of the stuff.  I asked her once why she made a traditional German bread, and she said “In my Scotch family, this was our tradition!  The Germans must have stolen it from us!”  My mother would never have stooped to a pun, so I'm sure that one was unintentional.  The name “stollen” is itself German, so I'm not sure how my mom could believe it was actually of Scotch origin :)  In any case, here's her recipe for her delicious stollen:

1/4 c warm water
2 pkg yeast
pinch ground ginger
1 3/4 c milk
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c butter
1 box raisins
1 c walnuts chopped
grated rind 1 lemon
candied orange rind
candied lemon rind
candied pineapple
candied cherries chopped
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 t lemon zest
about 7 - 8 c flour

Mix yeast with warm water and tiny amount ginger and tiny amount sugar let stand until dissolved.

Scald milk and pour over butter into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and cool until just warm. Mix in dissolved yeast, add eggs and beat well. Add other ingredients and enough flour (at slow speed on mixer) to make a medium firm dough.

Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Form into 3 long loaves - press rolling pin length wise and fold over narrow side to middle, making a kind of pocket.

Set on greased cookie sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350% oven for 45 min to 1 hour. Remove and put on racks to cool. While still warm, put lemon juice and confectioner sugar icing on top and garnish with whole candied cherries.

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Yesterday morning was busy as heck with various and sundry things. 

A shipping company truck arrived to pick up the dinged desktop originally intended for Debbie's office.  It's headed back to North Carolina to be planed off, refinished, and shipped back.  It will ship along with Debbie's new, shorter desk – and I'll reassemble the repaired desktop with the rest of it's parts, and install it in my office. 

Abby S. came over for a computer programming lesson.  She's running into the first stuff that comes hard for her: the details of loops.  I've got her writing a function to determine whether a number is a prime, and then optimizing it.  We'll extend that over the next couple of weeks to list all the primes between 1 and n, and then to do it recursively.  It will be interesting to see how her young brain absorbs recursion :)

In the afternoon Debbie and I decided to go out for dinner.  We went to the Black Pearl in North Logan.  I'd picked up takeout food there before, but we'd never been in to eat a sit down meal.  We loved the takeout food, and yet we were surprised by how good the food there was.  They have an avocado egg roll that sounded good, so we ordered one as an experiment – it was awesomely good.  I had a California roll and sweet-and-sour pork, both excellent.  I particularly appreciated the fact that the sweet-and-sour sauce was served on the side (without my asking!), which allowed me to use it sparingly (my preference).  Debbie got Singapore rice noodles with shrimp, and she ate an impressive amount of it – so it must have been good :)  We'll be adding this place to our list of good places to eat in the area, for sure!

This morning Debbie and I took our usual wildlife drive, up Blacksmith Fork Canyon and partway to Ant Flats, turning around at Miller's Ranch.  We left this time well before sunrise; we didn't see any direct sun until nearly our turnaround point.  We saw plenty of wildlife, but the highlight was spotting three moose (at right) just east of the dammed pond, about 1/3 of the way toward Hardware Ranch from Hyrum.  The moose appeared to be a family group: an older bull, a cow, and a young bull.  We saw several deer, including a doe with twin fawns (just barely still spotted).  Debbie spotted a rabbit, to our memory only the second one we've ever seen in Cache Valley.  Near Miller's Ranch we saw lots of birds.  As we drove up, there were approximately 12 bazillion swallows perched in bushes and on fence strands right near the road.  When the sun finally popped up, they joyously took off, wheeling and swooping for bugs.  In the distance to our west, we spotted a pair of Sandhill Cranes, presumably the same pair we've been seeing nearly every time we come out here.  This time, though, their chick was nowhere in sight.  We're afraid something may have killed it.  Debbie spotted a blue heron hunting alongside a holding pond, and in the same pond I spotted a large duck.  A little while later, Debbie spotted six ducklings huddled between two uprights on a dock in that pond.  Nice!  We caught a glimpse of a kingfisher, but no cedar waxwings or dippers today...