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 Post subject: The Perfect Bagel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2001 6:01 am
Posts: 801
Location: Tallahassee, FL
The Sushi thread reminded me of some breakfast food problems I had in LA (Socal).

I hadn't left the country when I moved across continent, but besides the dearth of pizza places and the impossibility of finding a calzone made life difficult. In San francisco I ordered a calzone and when it came there was not only no marinara sauce, there was this blank stare when I asked for some sauce .......so after some scornful looks from the cooks for daring to request SAUCE with a calzone, the guy comes back with a container of COLD sauce for my calzone...charge me if you must, for daring to want sauce on a calzone, but must the sauce be refrigerated?...Have I landed in hell?....sometimes I thgouht that was the case.....life on the west coast could be a problem when it came time for breakfast.....

The donut shops in socal are almost all run by asians (I am married to an asian-Singaporean) and personally I do not care what your enthnicity as long as you produce what you claim to produce. I didn't make them put up signs that advertised donuts. The donuts were usually ok, not horrible, not great (selection was always limited), but the muffins were dry as the desert. no matter how many donut places i tried, a decent muffin was hard to come by. They are dry as dirt in most cases........I tell ya, one of the things I missed most about New England on the west coast was a freakin cranberry muffin (or even a decent blueberry one)......

This is my state of mind when I find a bagel place in Orange County, CA (OC) after I had moved there (I am gonna give it a try). Just cuz the place is run by an asian doesnt mean he cannot make a decent bagel (let's give him a try). If he makes a good bagel, I could eat there all the time (it close to my house and I have been looking for just such a place for as long as I had been living in my new place in OC.

The bagel is ok, but having it toasted is somewhat of a problem. When i say i want to have the bagel toasted, i mean i want it toasted.....heat it so it aint all doughy (but try not to burn it).......the very nice guy has his toaster turned up so high he can only heat em a little bit on the inside while the outside is practically burned or the outside is a little warm and it is cold on the inside......one of the things I miss most about school meal cafeteria food is the ability to make some of your own food using the professional toaster (I could make the perfect bagel-cooked-heated- on the insde-without being all burned on the outside......

On many occassions I had long talks with the bagel shop owner before we could make a decent bagel.........i go in there repeatedly with this Jewish guy from South Africa and he gets all embarrassed at me at how hard I am trying to get the guy to just toast the bagel, not burn it.......sorry, but a decent bagel is crisp, not burned or soft.......

if you are gonna do something, you might as well do it right .....heck, if you do it how the customers like it, they might even come back......my jewish friend acts all embarassed at me trying to get this bagel done right and i offer him a bite and all of a sudden he wants his bagel made just like mine (now every time i go in there, he wants his done just like mine).....duh........why pay for something that you like and not have it made how you like it..........when he makes the bagel as it should be made, I almost always have two instead of one (it actually tasted good)......

surprisingly, over time, if i do not give repeated explanations, we slip back into doughy bagel land.....i go back to having just one bagel and i stop going out of my way to having a bagel at his store (if you are gonna do it, do it right or do not do it at all)......

and the first bagel I ever ordered in LA (Culver City) cost $12.95 (in 1998). I go into this deli on a sunday morning as my wife and I are apartment hunting and order 'to go' a bagel with some cream cheese & lox (the fact that the prices were not listed should have been the tip off that YOU couldn't afford it) and a medium cup of coffee (for her). We are looking at somethign like $15 or more for a cup of coffee and a bagel, cream cheese & lox......no way, unless it is gold plated.......I'll just take the coffee........I had tried my hardest NOT to order the item without knowing how much it cost, bu they did not make it easy to do -I dared to inquire with the order taker how much the bagel with lox & cream cheese would be, but that request for information could only be resolved with the cashier whose job it was to collect payment, not give out information.....

All i wanted was a D & D (Dunkin Donuts)........havent seen one of them since i was in Jacksonville last winter for training - I tried not to tear up and just got a dozen donuts-I dont think they had cranberry muffins-mostly only in New England..... :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1495
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
The old office building where I used to work had a little restaurant that served the best zucchini muffins – they were spectacular and your post got me searching for recipes (It’s been a long time since I’ve had a really good muffin!!!) :)

Here’s one I found that sounds really good.

If your dried cranberries aren't plump and moist, cover them with boiling water and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain them and pat dry before using.

If you prefer, walnuts or hazelnuts can be substituted for the pecans.

Servings: Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated (from about 2 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (you can also use walnuts)

Spray, butter or use paper liners in your muffin pan.

Preparation

Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375°F.
In large bowl, whisk together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in zucchini.
In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar. Whisk in sour cream and oil. Fold wet mixture into dry until just combined (do not overmix). Gently fold in cranberries and pecans.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake until dark golden on top and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes (IF YOU CAN WAIT THAT LONG!), then serve warm or turn out onto rack to cool completely. (Muffins can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in airtight container at room temperature, or frozen in airtight container up to 2 weeks. Defrost in refrigerator, then rewarm, if desired, wrapped in foil in 300°F oven 7 to 10 minutes.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 3542
Location: Valhalla
Drove by about 30 Cranberry bogs today and about 100 Dunkin Donuts.
Some days I expect to find one popped up over night in my yard.

Didn't know how good I had it, till this thread. :lol:

F.

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