February 27, 2010

Die Bananas, Die!

I have a vivid memory of my four year old son, that makes me smile every time I think of it.

I walked into the kitchen one afternoon to see his pale-blue eyes, half covered in disheveled hair, peeping over the counter top. No, let me correct that. Intensely glaring over the edge of the counter, at the bananas that sit there each week.

I asked, "Carson, are you hungry?"

"Yes," he sheepishly replied.

"Would you like a banana?"

He paused a moment, then in a tormented tone answered, "No...I'm waiting for the bananas to DIE, so I can eat banana bread!"

Banana Bread, the utopian state to which all bananas aspire.  Or at least that is the belief in my house. Everyone enjoys a ripe banana, yet they all (husband included) leave them sitting there. Hoping...if there are at least 3 left when they turn dark, this supreme treat will emerge. Ah, the lesson of delayed gratification. I'm enormously intrigued watching my children ponder this virtue of patience. Mediocre satisfaction now...or jovial bliss later...hmmm.

This moist and flavor-packed banana bread makes a great breakfast or brunch item, but is best warm out of the oven, slathered with butter!

Carson's Banana Nut Bread

1 cup sugar
1 stick of softened butter (reduce the fat by using ½ stick butter and ½ cup applesauce)
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 Tb. milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup shredded coconut (variation ¾ cup diced apple)
¾ cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecan, walnuts...)

Preheat the oven to 325* and grease a 9X5 loaf pan. Smash the sugar, butter, eggs, milk and bananas together in a large bowl.

*You could put the ingredients in the mixer, but I like to smash them with a spoon because it leaves little chunks of banana in the bread. 

In a separate bowl whisk together all the dried ingredients. Stir the dry mixture into the wet. Add the coconut and chopped nuts. Mix well.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake 60-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minute in the pan, then flip it out onto a cooling rack.

*Loaf pans often have the same measurements etched onto the bottom, but are slightly different sizes! If your loaf pan seems small, and the mixture comes close to the top, pour some into a smaller loaf pan for an extra mini loaf. If you’re not sure, place a cookie sheet below to catch any drips.

February 24, 2010

Versatility Goes A Long Way

As I watch the Olympics this month, a single word resonates in my ears from coaches and  commentators alike...versatility. You would think a world-class athlete competing in the Olympic Games, would have to dedicate their lives to a single sport or element. To eat, sleep and breath one goal--shoving all else aside. Yet during the "bio" portion of the Olympic broadcasts, what I continually hear from those who know the competitors best, is that many of them are extremely versatile. Well-rounded individuals, capable of greatness in many areas of life. Champions in multiple sports, business moguls, master musicians, published photographers, brilliant parents...amazing.

I can remember, as a child, having such a strong desire to achieve greatness in just one area of life. ANY area, for that matter! I was decent at a few things, but had little natural talent. Because of this, I unknowingly trained myself to work hard--in ALL areas. Over time I developed a work-ethic that, now,  I wouldn't give up for any amount of raw talent. I've always had to grind away to achieve my goals, to gain skill...to get what I want. I'm thankful for this, and believe it to be a blessing in disguise! I've learned to be versatile--maybe not to the extent of an Olympian, mind you--but enough to lead a fulfilling life. 

Personal versatility (or skillful adaptability) gives you confidence; makes you comfortable in your own skin. Versatility enables you to be open to trying new things. You may have heard the old saying, "Become all things to all people that in the end, you may win some." Versatility gives you the ability to see another person's point of view; to relate to others on more than one level, to win people over. 

Versatility goes a long way.

As for versatility on the dinner table, I present a Roasted Mustard-Maple Chicken and Quinoa Cucumber Salad. It's sure to win you over!

Notice how the whole-grain mustard seeds and the quinoa mimic each other in this dish, giving it a sense of cohesion. As they say, you eat with your eyes first!  

This mustard-maple glaze cleverly crosses traditional culinary boundaries. It's sweet, spicy, bold and savory--and it can boost the flavor of almost anything! It complements bone-in chicken and breasts, pork loin and chops, ham, fatty  fish such as salmon or trout, and even beef (although I would reduce the amount of maple syrup if using it with beef).

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is another versatile ingredient.  This "super grain" is extremely healthy and can be substituted for couscous or rice. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium,  iron, and a good source of vitamin E and  B. It contains a close-to perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for human tissue development. It is exceedingly high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids. Plus, its rich nutty flavor blends well with just about anything.

I usually prefer to grill bone-in chicken because it makes the skin crispy, leaves the meat very moist, and produces lovely grill marks. When I made the chicken this week, there was still snow on the ground--so I opted to bake it instead--still perfectly wonderful. I'll give instructions for both methods. 


Mustard-Maple Chicken with Quinoa Cucumber Salad

1 whole chicken, or 1 griller's pack of bone-in chicken
2 Tb. olive oil
2 Tb. Dijon mustard
2 Tb. whole-grain mustard
3 Tb. pure maple syrup
1 Tb. chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper

1 Tb. oil
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cucumbers, sliced and quartered
1 Tb. fresh chopped dill
2 packed cups of arugula
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Olive oil and lemon juice for drizzling
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375*. Cut your chicken, at the joints into 8 pieces—2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks. If you are uncomfortable boning a chicken, buy the chicken pre-cut in a “griller's pack” or select a whole chicken and ask the butcher to cut it for you!

Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the oil, both mustards, maple syrup, parsley, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper together in a small bowl.

 Brush each piece of chicken, with the mustard glaze, covering it entirely. You should have about half of the glaze left, to re-glaze later.

Place the chicken on a greased, rimmed baking sheet, TOP down. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and flip the pieces over. Brush the tops of the chicken with a thick coat of glaze. Return the chicken to the oven and roast another 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

*If grilling your chicken, preheat the grill to medium. Follow the same process, placing the chicken top down on the grill. Grill the chicken for 20 minutes per side—40 minutes total. Re-glaze when you turn the chicken.

While the chicken is roasting, place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tb. of oil to the pan, then add the quinoa.

*I mixed regular and red quinoa from the bulk bins at the grocery store.  I just think it looks prettier this way!

Toast the quinoa for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add 2 cups of chicken stock, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper to the pot. Bring it to a boil. Cover the quinoa and lower the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has absorbed and the spirals around the quinoa have separated. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot covered for another 5 minutes to steam. Pour the quinoa into a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Then, mix in the cucumbers, dill and arugula leaves. Drizzle with 1 Tb. of olive oil and 1 Tb. of lemon juice. Toss well and top with feta cheese!

Serves 4.

February 22, 2010

Kitchen Quandaries

Thank you for submitting questions to be addressed in this post. I'll do my best to answer them thoroughly!

Questions- Should I buy salted or unsalted butter?

Answer- I always prefer unsalted butter for two reasons.

1. Salt is a preservative. People were using salt to preserve food, long before refrigeration was invented. When salt is added to butter, there is no need for the manufacturer to hurry it off to the store. Therefore, they don't. Salted butter is much more likely to sit around in the factory's refrigerated storage before it gets to you. Unsalted butter is always fresher...because it has to be.
2. You have so much more control over the amount of sodium in your food, when you put it in yourself! I love salty foods, but I'd much rather add natural salts with less sodium. That leads to question number two.

Question- What's the different between table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt? Do I really have to buy so many types of salt?

Answer- Table salt is the most refined and processed. It also has added anti-caking agents, iodine, and preservatives (from the answer above, does salt need preservatives???) Kosher salt is minimally processed and has no added preservatives. It is a larger grained salt, so its easier to pinch in your fingers. Sea salts are the largest grained salt, and often are irregularly shaped and slightly colored. Many of them have not been processed at all. Meaning, sea salt is the healthiest choice. The down side, high quality sea salts can be a little pricey. If you have sensitive taste buds you might notice the absence of the "chemically" flavor in kosher and sea salts. They possess more of a natural or briny note. I use kosher salt for baking and general cooking. I use sea salt for finishing dishes, sprinkling on baked items, and for dressings--places where the mild flavor difference isn't going to go unnoticed.

Question- What's so important about kitchen knives?

Answer- EVERYTHING! Your knives should be your #1 kitchen tool. (Followed by a good cutting board to keep them sharp!) You get more use out of a good knife, than any other kitchen utensil or gadget. Therefore,  you should invest in well-made knives and take special care of them. Choosing a good chef's knife can be tricky. Cutlery companies address the steel and ergonomics in different ways. The two most important things to consider: the knife should be made from one piece of steal, running from the tip all the way through the handle, and the knife should be comfortable to hold. There are two common varieties of chef's knives to inspect.

1. The classic french chef's knife is long with a curved blade, to allow a rocking motion when slicing.
2. The Santoku, or Japanese chef's knife, has a straighter edge along the blade, but tends to be a lighter weight knife.

The best way to decide which kind you like is to try them out. Some kitchen stores will allow you to handle the display knives. An even better place to try them out is at a friend's house. If you have a  friend with both types, offer to go over and help make dinner. By the end of the night, you'll know which one you like best! Good knives will last forever, so buy the best you can afford. It's better to spend $100 on one reliable and comfortable chef's knife, than to have a butcher's block full of cheap, flemsy knives that dull easily.

Caring for knives. Knives need to be hand washed and dried to stay sharp. Using a steel to sharpen your knives is a good idea too, but over time even this will not keep the blade as sharp as it should be. I recommend taking your knives to a professional sharpener about once a year. Oh yes, they're out there--blade sharpening shops--just waiting to breath new life into your sad little knives. This keeps your knives in the best possible shape--for a small amount of money!

Question- How do you season a cast iron skillet?

Answer- The best way I have found, is to rub the interior of the skillet with shortening, then to bake it up-side-down on 350*, for about an hour. The right amount of shortening will absorb up into the iron and the rest will drip off. I place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drippings. Seasoning is important, because it protects the cast iron from rusting and creates that famous, natural, non-stick surface. I LOVE iron skillets! They are fairly inexpensive and are heavy-bottomed to provide even heating. They can be used on the stove, in the oven and on the grill! If you are buying one for the first time, I suggest going BIG. If you start with a small skillet, you'll just end up going back to get another one!

Caring for cast iron. As mentioned above, the seasoning is important. This should be done when you first bring your skillet home. If you ever burn something in the skillet and have to scrub it with steal wool, you'll have to re-season. You must always hand wash an iron skillet. Wash it with warm water and just a touch of dish soap. Purists would say never to use soap on your iron skillet, but I just can't seem to help myself! Dry it thoroughly and add 1-2 drops of oil to it. Rub in the oil with a paper towel. If you do this everytime you use your skillet, you'll keep it well seasoned.

Question- You mentioned making your own stock in the "Waste Not" post. When I boil chicken breasts, is the leftover water stock?

Answer- It wants to be stock, but it's just not quite there. What you have is a very watery, tasteless broth. The bones are important when making good stock. They release so much flavor into the water. I buy a rottiserie chicken almost every week. I bone the chicken, then use the shredded meat in salads, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, enchiladas... I then take the bones, and skin and throw them in a large pot with a couple big pinches of salt, a couple shakes of tumeric (enhances the color) and whatever scrap veggies I find in the bottom of the refrigerator drawer. Usually this includes a piece of unused onion I've put in a baggie, or the white stubs from a bunch of scallions, the root end of a head of celery stalks, or the last carrot in the bag--you get the idea. Fill the pot with water and simmer for an hour. Allow the stock to cool, strain and pour into quart-sized zip bags, then freeeze. As mentioned in the post last month, I can easily make 3-4 quarts of high quality stock, out of scraps, when I used to pay $4 for one quart. You can also keep some in a plastic container in the fridge for those times you just need 1/2 cup or so, for sauces. If you want to make stock out of the boiled chicken water, I suggest loading the pot with veggies. You'll end up with more of a veggie stock than a chicken stock--but still a great base for cooking!

Question- What is your favorite cookbook?

Answer- I am a huge Ina Garten fan, and have several of her "Barefoot Contessa" cookbooks. Her recipes are elegant, simple and comforting--just my style. I use her recipes "as is", and also mutate her recipes frequently, making adjustments to my family's preferences. But, my all time favorite cookbook is the Cook's Illustrated, THE BEST RECIPES cookbook. It's enormous, with no photos and very few illustrations. So why is it my favorite? Because it is exactly what is says it is; a book of the very best fool-proof recipes. Cook's Illustrated pulled together a large team of chefs to test, and retest every recipe until the team unanimously decided they had come up with the best product. Then they went into great detail to explain their processes and decisions. I have never been let down by any of THE BEST RECIPES recipes. And what's more, I come away with not only a great recipe, but with background knowledge. It's a cookbook and a cooking course rolled into one! Secretly, I've been known to keep it on my nightstand for bedtime reading. Don't tell!

Question- Explain the various cooking methods for eggs.

Scrambled- Eggs that are whisked to combine the yolk and white (usually with a splash of milk) and fried in a skillet over medium-low heat.  
Fried- Cracked over the skillet, then fried, flipping over once so both sides are cooked. The yolk and white should stay separated. Fried eggs can be prepared soft-fried (runny yolk) or hard-fried.
Sunny-Side Up- Cracked over a skillet and fried on only one side, so the yolk remains very runny.
Poached- Eggs cooked in liquid so they remain very moist. Generally this is done by cracking the egg over a pan of hot, (but not boiling) shallow water and cooked to the desired consistency. You can poach eggs in other liquids, so the egg will absorb the flavor of that particular liquid.
Hard and Soft Boiled- The eggs are placed, in their shells, in a pot of cold water. Turn the stove to high heat and bring the water to a boil. Boil for 10-12 minutes for soft-boiled and 15+ minutes for hard-boiled. Place the pot in the sink and allow cold water to run into the hot water, until the water in the pot is cool. Remove the eggs.

Question- Explain the difference in beef temperatures.

Rare has a cold red center and is soft to the touch, temperature 120-125*.
Medium-rare has a warm red center and is slightly more firm, temperature 130-135*.
Medium is pink and firm, temperature 140-145*.
Medium-well has a very small amount of pink in the center, temperature 150-155*.
Well done is brown throughout, temperature 160* and above.

REMEMBER, the less you cook your beef the juicer it is, AND the more healthy is it. Just like veggies, the more you cook them, the more vitamins and minerals you kill. At my house, we like our beef to be medium-rare.

Question- I bought a block of Greek Style Feta Cheese because it was cheaper than the crumbled feta. It's texture is rubbery and doesn't have any flavor. What can I do with it?

Answer- Hmmm...If you're sure it's not bad, and can't bare the thought of throwing it out, here are two options.

1. Try soaking it in olive oil to soften the texture. It may take a couple days before you notice a change.  You could also throw in some fresh rosemary stems to enhance the flavor.
2. Below is a recipe for a wonderful feta spread--maybe the other ingredients will mask the fact that your feta is faulty! I had the opportunity a couple years ago to go to South Beach, FL for the Food and Wine Festival. Many local restaurants were there giving out samples and recipes. This recipe came from a Greek restaurant in Miami. I can't remember it's name to give credit, but the spread is awesome!

Spicy Feta Spread

1 large red pepper, roasted
1 lb. crumbled feta, room temp.
½ lb. ricotta
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 Tb. fresh thyme
2 Tb. fresh oregano, chopped

Black Pepper to taste
Pita bread, cut into wedges

Hold the red pepper with tongs and roast over a stove burner until all sides are black. (This can also be done under the broiler, or on the grill.) Place the pepper in a paper or plastic bag for 15 minutes to steam, then remove the charred skin. Cut in half and remove the seeds and membrane. Chop the pepper and set aside. Using a food processor, pulse all the other ingredients together until smooth. Put the mixture into a bowl. Fold in the red pepper and chill for 2-3 hours. To serve, drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on top and sere with pita wedges.

*You could buy a jar of roasted red peppers, but roasting one yourself is pretty easy and it definitely tastes fresher!

Serves 8-10.

February 19, 2010

Pasta Puttanesca

Here is a classic BIG-flavor dish that takes a short amount of time to prepare. Pasta Puttanesca, the word puttan means worthless, or throw-away (also slang for hooker) in Italian and several other languages. The dish was named puttanesca because the ingredients were all a chef had left in his pantry one night--just the leftover items from a busy day in the kitchen. I'd say he discovered a pretty terrific combination! Fresh, herbs, lots of briny olives and capers, tomatoes...what's not to love?

You could serve this as a vegetarian dish. But every time I come across a vegetarian dish, I think to myself, "You know what would be great with this...STEAK!" So here it is, New York Strips and Crispy Basil with Pasta Puttanesca. YUM!

Seared NY Strips with Crispy Basil and Pasta Puttanesca

2-4 New York strip steaks, 1- 1 ¼ inch thick
2 Tb. unsalted butter
1 Tb. olive oil
½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper

½ lb. dried pasta, Strascinati or Orecchiette
1 Tb. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 Tb. capers
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 dashes of crushed red pepper flakes
1- 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
¾ cup fresh arugula or spinach leaves
*Parmesan for garnish

Boil the pasta as directed on the package. Drain and set aside.

Heat two large skillets—one to high heat, and one to medium. The skillet over high heat is for the steak. Add the butter and oil to the skillet. Salt and pepper the steaks.

Drop the basil leaves into the hot butter and oil; flash fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch out—the fat will pop as the moisture is released from the basil. When the leaves look crispy, but still green, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel.

Next add the steaks to the skillet. Sear for 4 minutes per side, for medium-rare.

Remove from the pan and tent with foil. Let the steaks rest for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 1 Tb. if oil to the second skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, parsley, olives, capers, anchovy paste, oregano, and red pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes and simmer another 5 minutes. Toss the pasta and arugula into the sauce. Toss until the pasta warms through. You shouldn’t need to salt this, because of the briny ingredients.

You can serve each person a whole steak, but for my family I usually just buy 2 large steaks and slice them on the bias. I fan them out next to the pasta. Serve the steaks drizzled with pan juices and topped with crispy basil leaves!

Serves 4.

* If your steaks are thicker than 1 ½ inches, it can be hard to pan sear them perfectly. Preheat your oven to 450*. Then sear the first side for 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over and place the pan in the oven for about 6 minutes for medium-rare. This will insure you don’t have a crispy outside and raw inside!

February 17, 2010

The Rise and Fall of Dough

Wheat is often thought of as an empty, flavorless grain. It gets so much bad press these days. Last summer my family tried to go gluten-free. I can't exactly remember why--maybe it was peer pressure from our health-driven community, who knows! After buying ALL the alternate flours; I made the concoctions and baked. It was amazing how much we actually missed the texture and flavor of wheat. Yes, wheat has it's own flavor, a mellow, earthy tone that is truly distinct. Maybe we are overly addicted to it in the U.S., maybe it is a "cheap" grain, but none-the-less I like it. After much experimentation with ingredients and contemplation, I made a decision. Since no one in my family had celiacs disease, autism, IBS, wheat allergies, or any other condition said to be effected by wheat consumption; we were going back--in moderation.

Oh, the warm yeasty smell of wheat dough filling my house as it rises...and bakes. Let's not overlook the matter of the YEAST. It's for leavening--yes, but it's so much more! It too, has it's own distinct aroma and taste that can't be replicated.

I simply like the idea of yeast...it's a living organism, lying in wait to activate and infiltrate whatever it is added to. It is discreetly infectious. Our lives are this way. Surely we have all witnessed gossip or a bad attitude work it's dark magic through a crowd. But I like to think of yeast's qualities in a positive light, causing action, expansion, elevation, and enlightenment.

I often try to self-evaluate with this in mind. We are always effecting others in some way, whether we mean to, or not. Does my life's message and my attitude promote positive motivation and inspiration in those around me? Or do I breed negativity, contempt, and apathy? There are times when this can be a hard question to ask yourself.

Back to the baking...yeast is the best ingredient to add when trying to produce a light, airy bread product. It is a single-celled fungus that converts sugar and starch into carbon dioxide bubbles. These bubbles lift the bread and create the pores throughout it. You shouldn't eat raw yeast, since it will continue to grow in your digestive system and steal nutrients from your body. But once deactivated in the oven (or through pasteurization), yeast is a healthy food product. Some yeasts are even sold as nutritional supplements.

For this post, I'm making pizza crust. Pizza dough is essentially a white bread dough with added olive oil. The oil produces a richer flavor, and denser crust with more pull when you bite it. How you handle the dough makes a difference in texture as well. The more you knead your dough, the more "pull" you will create. This is essential for pizza crust.


Perfect Pizza Crust

1 envelope dry active yeast
2 Tb. olive oil
4 cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
Extra oil and flour for prep

For dough: Place ½ cup of warm water in your electric mixing bowl. Add the yeast and allow it to swell for 5 minutes. It should look foamy. Then add 1 ¼ cups of room-temperature water, plus the oil and salt.

Using a bread hook, mix on low, adding the flour a little at a time. “Knead” in the mixer for 2-3 minutes until well combined but tacky.

Oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to cover in oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.

When to dough is more than double the original size, punch it down and place it on a floured work surface.

Divide into two equal pieces. Use your hands to turn the edges of the dough under to create a perfectly round, smooth mound. ( I made a double batch here--just cut yours in half!)

Either roll (from the middle out) or hand-stretch the dough to a large 18 inch circle—be careful not to tear the dough.

Place it on a piece of parchment paper and liberally oil the pizza crust.

Allow the crust to rest and repeat with second piece of dough. Preheat the oven to 500*, and place two round pizza stones or two flat cookie sheets on the middle two racks.

Fig-Prosciutto Pizza: (For 2 pizzas)
4 Tb. Fig preserves
½ lb. prosciutto, sliced into thin ribbons
1 cup arugula leaves
6 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tsp. fresh thyme
4 Tb. pine nuts
Salt and Pepper

*I have had similar pizzas with fresh figs. Truly divine! Sadly, good fresh figs are hard to come by in the mountains of North Carolina, so I decided to try fig preserves. It's a great substitute, but don't over do it! Fig preserves are much more sweet than fresh figs. You don't want to turn this into a "dessert pizza!"

Your dough will "relax" and shrink a little while you are prepping your toppings. Before topping the pizza, re-roll or stretch the dough to its original size.

Smear each crust with 2 Tb. of fig preserve. Then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients, randomly over the surface of the dough.

Using another cookie sheet slide the pizza (and paper), onto the heated pizza stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until crust is golden-brown.

*If your pizza stones are well-seasoned, you can slide the pizza off the paper for direct contact with the stone. This will result in a crisper crust bottom. I wouldn't try this if you are using metal cookie sheets--you may not get the pizza back off!

Makes two large pizzas.

If you are in a pinch for time--frozen bread dough is a good substitute, it takes no time to prep, but triple the time to thaw and rise. Rhodes is a good brand to look for, they sell 5 loaves in one bag. Set 2 loaves in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. It will take at least 6 hours.

I LOVE your feedback. Please feel free to make comments!