Mid summer, the breath before the plunge (and homemade burger buns)

I love summer in southern California.

I was walking out back today in the dark of early evening. The air was cool and caressing on my arms and face. No bugs! Even the June bugs were gone. It was quiet except for the laughter coming from my sons room. He has guest spending the night so they can leave early for the Nethercutt museum tomorrow morning. Its way up in Pasadena I believe.

I love mid summer. The daunting heat hasn’t set in. The heat clouds haven’t piled up over the mountains, huge billowing, climbing clouds that send us all running to the beaches. Today was maybe 80 degrees, balmy with light morning clouds to keep things cool. My heart goes out to all of you across the country suffering from extreme heat this year.

Really, it goes out to you.

And some of you have bugs! Eww!

Dave made his famous blue cheese bacon burgers tonight. So I threw some burger bun dough into the bread machine and went to take a nap while it did its bread making magic. (restless night plus busy day=nap time)

Easy-breezy buns.

Dinner time! I love these colors.

Summer; when tomatoes from the garden teach you a whole new meaning of what a tomato really is. When strawberries from the stands are sweet, soft and juicy, not little red rocks in plastic containers. Sunflowers are bowing their heads about now, herbs are getting big, pepper plants are heavily laden.

Hear that?  BOOM! BABOOM! The Disneyland fireworks are going on in the distance. It must be about 9:35.

I had planned on canning today.  Mango raspberry jam.Instead I was gone almost all day. Had some fun at a restaurant supply store with a friend. Went out for a drive and photo shoot in the white spider with hubby.  Then came home and  baked up some buns. Now I have a cobbler in the oven.

’56 Giuleitta down by the docks

Good day all in all.

No, that was not a picture of  the cobbler.

The cobbler took all of 7 minutes to put together. It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe from her book and is a favorite of the boys. (One lad literally gets on his knees almost weeping, begging for cobbler. Really now.)

It all ends when the heat sets in. When it sets in deep. Then it’s getting up at 4 in the morning to do any baking. No impulse baking. We don’t have AC in the kitchen. Only the kind God sends in most afternoons from across the ocean, over the sands, past our neighboring cities and in through my back door and right out the front, graciously taking the oven heat with it.

But that will end soon. When the heat cloud pile up.

Paul is walking around playing tunes on the recorder. Its his new hobby for the dull days of summer. He already had his birthday and summer camp. (and again ended up in the ER with a smashed finger while at camp. But nothing broke, thank goodness.) So now its quiet and slow. He has been playing the music from Lord of the Rings, Fiddler on the Roof, Pans Labyrinth (which he has never watched but heard the music and can play some of it). Oh and Gilligans Island of course. You know what kind of recorder I mean? The plastic kind with holes for your fingers, the wind instrument one.

Now the cobbler is out and I am going to bed. I hope you all have summer days like these.

if you want to make your own burger buns and have a bread machine, here it is, from memory, it is that easy:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups flour (more or less)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast

Put them in that order in the bucket of the bread machine. Set it for dough only. Go take a nap. Come back when it is all mixed, kneaded and raised.

Now, I have to admit, I usually check on it and add flour or water as needed while it is mixing. Usually extra flour. If its sticking to the sides too much or you reach your finger in and it wont let go, you need to add a tablespoon or 2 of flour. You just want it tacky. Not, you know tacky.

When it is done, pull the dough out onto a floured cutting board. Cut into 8 equal peices. You can weigh them if you want or just eyeball them. I think they are about 3 oz each.

Roll each one into a ball. There are a couple ways to do this.  You can wrap the dough back around your finger, pulling your finger out, wrapping it around again a few times until you get a smooth, taute ball. There is a way to swirl it on the cutting board to acheive a nice ball, but I can’t describe it here. Make 8 balls with it and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Brush with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Lightly press down on each one to give it a burger bun shape. Let it rise about 45 mintes. You might have to press down a couple more times to keep its flat-ish shape. After the first 30 minutes, start to warm the oven up to 350.

Just before baking, brush with an egg wash (an egg and a small splash of milk mixed together in a bowl.) Then sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack before using.

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