Tuesday, March 23

Cappadocia - Central Turkey

I'm in central Turkey for Discovery Week with a great group of 16 students. Seriously, best group I've ever traveled with. We did 8 km of hiking yesterday and 15 km of biking today with almost no complaints. And the scenery is stunning, no, stunning is too mild of a word. Breathtaking. I've biked through many spectacular sights - papaya orchards in Thailand, hill country of Laos - but this beats it.

I'll add pictures when I've got a faster internet connection.

In the meantime, I highly recommend looking this region up and planning a trip. It's awesome.

Monday, March 15

Tom's Shaggy Bread Recipe

I typed it up for Zombie Girl so figured I'd post it too:

Here's the bread recipe:

Medium/Large Loaf
2/3 c water
1/1.25 c starter
1/1.5 T Kosher salt
1/1.5 c whole-wheat flour
5/~7 c unbleached flour

For savory bread:
1T/1.5 T dill seed
.25/.4 c chopped fresh dill
1/1.5T whole grain mustard
1 small/1 medium onion, grated

For sweet
.75/1 c brown sugar
.75/1 c chopped dried fruit
.75/1 c chopped nuts
.5/1 T spice of your choice
(We used dried figs, walnuts and nutmeg, though less than a tablespoon)

Mix water and starter (if making savory also mix in dills and mustard). Stir in whole-wheat flour (if making savory, also stir in onion). Stir in 1 cup flour. Stir in salt (delayed so it doesn't kill the yeast in the starter). Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time to form a shaggy, moist batter which just begins to clean the bowl (pull away bringing all surrounding dough with it). (If making savory, stir in ingredients while still quite shaggy).

Cover and allow to sit overnight in a cool place (refrigerator is ok).

In morning, tip out dough onto floured surface using a spoon dipped in flour. "Knead" lightly 5 to 6 times. Form into shape of pan. Line a similarly shaped proofing pan with 2 pieces of "cross-wise" parchment (crossed to make lifting dough out easier) sprayed with oil. Scoop dough and place inside.

Cover and allow to rest in a warm place approximately 4 hours.

0.5 hours preheat oven and pan that you'll bake bread in to 500F.

Remove pan from oven, score the top of the dough and transfer, parchment and all, into preheated pan. Cover and return to oven. Lower temperature to 425. Bake covered, 0.5 hours. Remove lid, continue to bake for 35 - 50 minutes or until internal temperature is 208 - 210F. If browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Allow to stand 5 minutes in vessel. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour (if you can manage) before slicing.

Sunday, March 7

Shaggy Bread

One of my co-workers had me over to see how he makes bread yesterday. This guy rocks. He brings in some sort of breakfast treat EVERY Monday. It's a great way to start a Monday. It's often a huge loaf of bread that he's made.

He uses a sour-dough starter and it's a no-knead, over-night slow rise. The only difficulty is having the starter. I used to have one going in Vancouver and I think I'll start one again in Amsterdam. In the meantime, I might get some of his because it really was easy. You proof it in a vessel that's a similar shape to the baking pan and proof it on parchment. Then just lift the whole thing into the pre-heated pan when you're ready to bake it.

But all of this I've seen and done before. The best part was getting to see Tom and his wife's collection of Polish pottery. I'm inspired. I'm already planning to rent a car for my October break and drive to Poland. Anyone want to join me?

Here's the bread plus some pottery:

Baking Bread with Tom

Women's Day

Monday is International Women's Day. It's still unclear to me whether it's celebrated anywhere other than Russia. However, the folks at Nat's work definitely honor it. She came home with 3 bouquets of flowers. So as I sit here, I'm surrounded by tulips. It's lovely. And my orchid seems to be celebrating also, because another (4th!) bloom just opened.

Flowers for Women's Day

Wednesday, March 3

New Career?

Student: "Hey, Ms. S, did you ever do drama? Or have you considered a new career in drama?"

Me: "Huh?"

Student: "Well, because then you could yell, and make all those weird faces, and people wouldn't think you were so strange."

Tuesday, March 2

What city is this?

Remember how before I left Moscow there was 30+ cm of snow and it was cold? Well, when we arrived there was hardly any snow left and it was only (only, she says) -4. Today it's right around 0 and snow and icicles continue to fall off of roofs. Maybe spring is coming...

Monday, March 1

More about the boat trip

One of K&M's colleagues organized a boat trip as her parents were in town also. So K&M signed us all up. It was a private boat tour, just our group of 10. We were picked up in mini-vans with air con and off we went. Being a Saturday and a holiday weekend, traffic was light and it only took us about an hour to get out of the city. I took several photos from the van:

A rickshaw parking lot:
Rickshaw Parking

A guy walking down the street with a huge vessel on his head:
Dhaka Boat Trip

And proof that it's not like a kilt:
Dhaka Boat Trip

Then we arrived. As we made it before our boat, we had time to look out over (and smell... it was horrific) the water. This guy was sitting on a bunch of jute before it's been made into rope:
Sitting on Jute

As mentioned below, a crowd gathered. Definitely not threatening, just curious. One of the girls that K&M work with was loving it - acting like she was a movie star as they are staring and photographing us. Me, as mentioned below, not comfortable at all. Hence, I've only got the one photo of them.

We were on the boat for about 10 minutes before stopping in a village where they weave the silk sarris.

Dhaka Boat Trip

I took a lot of pictures holding my camera in my hand, with my hands down at my sides. I got lucky with a few:

Dhaka Boat Trip

Dhaka Boat Trip

Dhaka Boat Trip

And here I am with K&M:
Dhaka Boat Trip

I went to bed at 8:30 last night. Tonight I've made it until 9:45. Right back into the routine.

The Staring

Dhaka Boat Trip
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em

This is one example of the staring. We took a boat trip. And this is as we're leaving. You can see the others walking away up hill, they'd seen enough. In that crowd there's actually 4 women! More later. Time to return to work!