The Hoppy Okapi

A 2012 Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

Happy World Tapir Day! April 27, 2009

Today is the second annual World Tapir Day! Follow the latest tapir news on twitter or join the World Tapir Day group on Facebook.

I thought I’d celebrate by re-posting some of my tapir pictures from the past year, all taken at the San Diego Zoo (where the tapirs will soon be enjoying a new exhibit in Elephant Odyssey):

Tapirs everywhere

Tapirs everywhere

Looking for apples in the pool

Looking for apples in the pool

Malayan Tapirs in the pool

Malayan Tapirs in the pool

bairds_tapir

And a repeat of some info from last year’s tapir day post:

If you want to learn more about tapirs or contribute to tapir research and conservation, visit one of these great sites:

  1. The SaveTapirs.org site
  2. The official World Tapir Day site
  3. The Tapir Preservation Fund

What else can you do to celebrate World Tapir Day?

  • Visit tapirs at a zoo near you! You can see Malayan Tapirs in San Diego; Baird’s tapirs in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; Mountain Tapirs in Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; and Brazilian tapirs in New Orleans and Chicago – and those are only the ones I know about! Check out your local zoo for more info.
  • Get cool tapir gear (like my stylin’ red shirt!) from any of the sites above – the proceeds from your purchase will go toward conservation, AND you’ll help make other people more aware of tapirs, building even more conservation power!
  • Learn about rain forest conservation and figure out what you can do to help save the tapir’s habitat.

Happy Tapir Day!

 

Adventures In Sourdough VI: Blueberry Waffles with Whole Wheat Flour April 5, 2009

Filed under: baking,home,sourdough — Amanda @ 20:54
Tags: , , , ,

I used to buy Eggo waffles for breakfast sometimes, but then I actually looked at the ingredients for their “Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat” waffles, and was seriously unimpressed with their whole-wheat content. Since then, whenever I’m craving waffles I make my own, individually wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer. They’re round just like the Eggos I used to love and can be toasted straight out of the freezer for a quick breakfast or lunch. Last weekend, I decided to take my homemade waffles to a whole new level – it was time for sourdough waffles.

I based my recipe on the Blueberry Waffle recipe in Ed Wood’s World Sourdoughs From Antiquity, but increased the yield to eleven waffles by adding an additional feed and proof cycle. Here’s how I did it:

1) To two cups active culture (100% hydration), add two cups whole wheat flour and one cup water. Proof for 4 hours (or longer depending on culture).

sourdough culture with whole wheat added

sourdough culture with whole wheat added

2) Thaw 2 cups frozen blueberries; drain if desired (I’m ok with purple batter, so I kept the bluejuice). Melt four Tablespoons butter. Add blueberries, butter, and 1 teaspoon salt to proofed sourdough culture.

sourdough cluture with blueberries and butter

sourdough culture with blueberries, butter, and salt

3) Beat 4 eggs and 1/4 cup sugar on high speed until foamy and tripled in size. (The original recipe called for the more traditional separation of eggs – it added egg yolks and sugar directly to the flour mixture and beat the egg whites to soft peaks, but I had just made a genoise cake the day before and realized that I could be slightly lazy and skip the egg separation step. Seemed to work pretty well.) Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture.

Eggs and Sugar, Foamy

eggs and sugar, foamy

4) Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in 1 Tablespoon hot water; add to waffle batter and mix gently.

final waffle batter

final waffle batter

5) Add batter to preheated waffle iron and cook to desired level of crispiness. My waffle iron took slighty more than 1/2 cup batter per waffle, and I used a cook time of about 5 minutes per waffle on the highest heat setting. The waffle edges sometimes had an uncooked appearance when there wasn’t enough batter to fill the iron completely; since I was re-toasting my waffles after freezing this was no big deal, but it’s worth making sure the iron is full enough to come in contact with the edges of the waffles when you’re eating them fresh from the iron.

waffle in progress

waffle in progress, not enough batter

6) Eat and enjoy! I’ve had these waffles toasted to untra-crispness with butter, with peanute butter and jelly, and the traditional butter and maple syrup (Grade B, for richest flavor). They’re probably the best waffles I’ve made yet – the sourdough flavor works well with the sweet-tartness of the blueberries and adds a depth of flavor that waffles are usually missing.

Blueberry Whole Wheat Waffle

Blueberry Whole Wheat Waffle

This is my second submission to YeastSpotting, the weekly compendium of blogged breads that is a fantastic source of baking inspiration.

 

Wildflowers in Anza Borrego: Palm Canyon Trail April 3, 2009

After our tour of Galleta Meadows and lunch at Carlee’s (home of yummy burgers and yummier homemade potato chips), we headed out to Anza Borrego state park to claim our campsite and do a bit of hiking. We headed out on Palm Canyon trail, the most popular one in the park, and the same one that we started on on our backpaking trip last fall. Anza Borrego during the wildflower bloom is a lot different than Anza Borrego during late fall – more water, more green plants, and way more people. The flowers themselves were pretty impressive once we got about half a mile down the trail – almost every leafy plant in site was blooming, and the buds were just starting to come out on the cacti. We were sad to see a troop of boy scouts playing strange gladiator games and running amok over the delicate desert landscape (I thought the point of camping during scouting was to learn to like and respect nature, not destroy it, but apparently times have changed), but otherwise had a good time exploring the canyon and taking pictures of the flowers. We hiked a little beyond the oasis to a small waterfall, and then took the trail less-traveled on the way back to camp, hiking along the western edge of the canyon. Even though the main trail was pretty crowded, there was no one else on the longer trail back to camp, and we almost lost faith a few times when it took counter-intuitive twists, but ultimately stuck with it and enjoyed the alternate view.

 

 
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