Monday, June 2, 2014

Abby Update - Home Lab Experiments

A house without a dog (from my friend  Dann in Ohio)
With a dog.

Abby is settling well into the household. As many rescues are, she was quite shy the first couple of weeks but is now more actively being a lab playing with her toys, retrieving a ball, the tail thump thump thump against the couch when I come into the room. She is very well behaved, not chewing on anything that's not a chew toy, obeying basic commands and learning new ones each week. She's been allowed on the bed to sleep just twice, after the initial trip here from foster care and after that first trip back and forth to the Range.  She seemed to know it was a treat, and will not go up on the bed unless invited. Once invited she will pretty much take up every inch of it
She does well in her harness and likes her rides in the vehicles to visit friends or run a quick errand while one of us stays in the car with her. The "exploding retriever" experience of our first trip north is but a memory (hey, we've all gotten car sick)  On the trip home from the Range she laid quietly on the seat snoozing the whole time but for one time I turned on some Classic Country and she sat up with an irritated look that said "they're playing LeAnn Rimes - if she yodels I'm going to start barking". I turned it off.

The only other non snooze moment was a stop to stretch legs and get a Chick Fil a. Like her Mom, Abby loves Chick Fil a, the smells from the bag setting her tail on high rpm.
Like all labs,  Abby does like her food, going into a full body wag each morning as I get up to feed her a bowl of kibble.

That doesn't mean she sometimes would prefer people feed her something else.
That's not a treat, that's a large hamster pellet.  A treat is made of meat.

This weekend, being on call, Partner in Grime drove down from home to hang out with us.  Fortunately the bat phone did not ring, but for a consult. 

With everything quiet, Sunday called for pancakes, but the big puffy baked ones, of which I'd not made one in a couple of years and had no idea where the recipe went to. There was one in this little book of Swedish recipes I picked up out West, though and I thought I'd try that  In mixing it up, the proportions seemed a bit off, and the amount of batter seemed like too much for the size pan recommended and the recommended temp a bit high. But I tried it anyway thinking, "it's a published cookbook, how can it be wrong".   But I said that about the "overnight, no knead yeast bread" recipe I got from a well known website. And we know how THAT loaf turned out
The pancake was assembled and after 45 minutes  I had what looked like a giant pan of hot jello in the oven, even after cooking an extra 15 minutes. I'm not sure how the edges can be  almost burned dark brown AND raw inside, but they were.  I poked it with a spatula and it rippled and growled. I've had science experiments that looked less toxic.
I disposed of it like any good bio-hazard.

Abby played dead to avoid having to act like she wanted to try it. . . .
while Partner started looking for cold cereal (or the nearest exit).

I double checked the recipe and I'd made it just as directed.  Oh well, that's what I get for following the rules as opposed to my usual cooking style of "Watch this!" with the fire extinguisher handy.

Not willing to admit defeat, I tried again, this time just winging it, Partner patiently waiting, as anyone that hangs around someone that likes to experiment with stuff, often does. Since an oven pancake is sort of a cross between a pancake and a popover, I adapted my standard popover recipe to the bigger pan and added some Cardamom and Lemon Zest. Melting four Tablespoons of butter in the pan, getting it all nice and hot before pouring the batter in, didn't hurt, either.

Puffy Oven Pancake

This is what the doctor ordered.  It was perfect, with a tender crunch to the edge, and soft and fragrant in the middle.
Served the traditional way with powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
I do think the second try was worth the wait, as my faithful lab assistant seemed to agree.