Monday, October 21, 2013

Sixty Minute Cinnamon Buns

On Monday and Wednesday mornings we provide a breakfast-y snack for the Seminary students.  This morning I awoke at 4:29 and decided cinnamon buns were the order of the day.
Sixty Minute Cinnamon Buns, ready to eat, though still a little hot!
 Sixty Minute Cinnamon Buns

4-5 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast (a scant 2 Tablespoons if using loose yeast)
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, and dissolved yeast in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer.  Attach bowl and dough hook, mix for one minute.  Combine milk, water and butter in a small saucepan.  Heat over low heat until quite warm--110-115 degrees F.  Butter does not need to melt all the way.  Turn mixer on to medium speed and slowly drip the milk/water/butter into the flour mixture then continue mixing for one more minute to be sure all the flour is absorbed into the wet ingredients.  Slowly add in the remaining flour until the dough leaves the side of the bowl, then knead for an additional 5-7 minutes and the dough is smooth and elastic, though still soft.  Not all the flour may need to be used, depending on the humidity of the house and the flour....

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place dough in  a greased bowl, turn over so all sides are greased, then cover the bowl and set into a sink half-filled with warm water for 15 minutes.  The dough should have nearly doubled in bulk by now.  Put dough onto a lightly floured board and roll out into a large rectangle.  Brush melted topping butter over entire top surface of dough rectangle.  Mix white sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over top of dough, covering the whole surface.  Sprinkle the brown sugar over top then roll up rather tightly from the long side.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls and place on parchment lined half-sheet pan.  Cover with a clean towel and let sit for 15-20 minutes, until at least a little bit puffy, though not doubled in bulk.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Check at 12 minutes to see if they are cooked.  If not done, let cook another 2-3 minutes.

Place on a rack to cool completely before eating.  Eating when hot will burn your lips, a most unpleasant situation.

Yield: 14-or 15 buns
Sixty Minute Cinnamon Buns still on pan, not burned.
These are very popular with the Seminary students.  What is not to love about yeasted dough, butter, sugar, and cinnamon?!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kale Chips are a Delight!

Last year A shared some kale chips with me that she had made at a place where she was volunteering.  I loved them.  I tried to make them and turned out solid black ash with some salt, garlic and onion on them.

This year I found some kale chips at Morning Glory in Brunswick, Maine.  They were $6.99 for a small box!  I am sure they were delicious but I did not have the money for them.

SO....I made more and this time they worked.

What you need:

Fresh kale ( I used curly kale)
Granulated garlic
Granulated onion
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Oil a baking sheet, or put a piece of parchment paper on the baking sheet.  Wash kale and pat dry.  Pull pieces off the stem (about 2 to 4 inches square-ish) and place in a large plastic bag. 

Drizzle about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over kale pieces.  Close bag and shake until all sides of kale are coated with oil.  Mix together garlic, onion, pepper, and some more than one-half teaspoon of salt or it will be way too salty.  Open bag and sprinkle mixed flavoring over the top them close bag and shake again until kale is well coated. 

Kale Chips...going fast!

By now the oven will be ready.  Spread kale pieces onto baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes...NO MORE.  When your oven timer goes off, pull out the baking sheet.  You can let the kale sit a moment but it is really ready to eat immediately.  Enjoy these chips!  Way better than potato chips....

It seems to me that the Morning Glory kale chips had a peanut butter coating.  That might be interesting to try.  It did look rather sludgy but if you like peanut butter, or maybe almond or cashew might be worth trying it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cream Puff Shells

In Julia Child's book, The French Chef Cookbook,  from her long-running TV series, there are two recipes for cream puff shells: one the regular recipe and one for a slightly larger batch.  I made the larger batch, which made 48 puffs.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Butter two cookie sheets/half sheet pans and set aside.  Be sure your oven racks are in the upper and lower third of the oven.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
9 Tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon)
5-6 eggs

If you are making sweet cream puffs, you can add 2 teaspoons of sugar to this batter.

Put the water, salt, and butter in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring.  When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat, drop in the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.

When all the flour is absorbed into the water (or vice versa!), return the pan to the stove over medium heat and stir until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.  REMOVE PAN FROM HEAT AGAIN.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and drop in one egg at a time and stir vigorously again until each egg is absorbed, then drop in the rest, one at a time, until they are all absorbed into the flour mixture.  I used all 6 eggs since I could not tell if the batter was the right consistency or not...

While still warm, use a teaspoon to drop 1-inch across and 1-inch high globs of batter, set 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on the BUTTERED pan.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, checking at the end to be sure they are not over-cooking.  Remove from oven and put on a cooling rack.  With a sharp knife, puncture each shell near the bottom where you might want to cut for a hole for filling them. 

You can go OCD and check the interior of the puff to see if there is any "wet stuff" in the middle.  If there is, just pull it out with the handle of a teaspoon, but...not necessary in my book.  Particularly since it was just the family eating them.

Once the puffs are cool, you can fill them with pastry cream of many varieties, sweetened whipped cream, or any number of savory filling.  You can also make them much larger and use them for creamed savory fillings like Turkey a la King, etc.  If you do make them larger, cook them for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F then lower the heat to 325 degrees F. and bake another 15 minutes or so then check one to see if the inside is cooked.  If not, push back in and cook some more.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Own White Bean Hummus/Dip recipe

My Own White Bean Hummus or Dip

6 cups cooked white beans
1 teaspoon chopped chives
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup tahini
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Soak 2 cups white bean (Great Northern is the kind I used) overnight in a large pot of water to which you have added 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Drain  and rinse beans then cover with water about an inch over the top of the beans until bean are soft.  Allow to come to room temperature.

Put all ingredients into a large Cuisinart and process until smooth.  Serve with vegetable sticks or chips or crackers or....

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Ice cream is a lovely treat any time.  It is even a greater treat on a hot day in the summer.  Several years ago we were given a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker like this one.  I LOVE Freecycle!  People are so generous with their stuff...well, it is always stuff they don't want anymore but they could just put it in the trash.  This lady got the ice cream maker as a wedding gift, used it twice and decided she preferred to buy ice cream.

So yesterday was the day after our anniversary (a day I had planned to make the nice ice cream but was too tired at the end of the day) so I made it.

Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (I used skim but anything will work.  I almost threw in some yogurt I had but didn't at the last minute)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon nice vanilla

In medium bowl stir together all the ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Take the cold part of the ice cream maker out of the freezer where it has been chilling  for 24 hours.  (If you are like me, you will just store the clean ice cream maker bucket in the freezer at all times so you can just pull it out when the grandkids come by and need a sugar fix...)  Carefully pour the cream mixture into the ice cream maker and assemble the other parts.  Turn on and eat your meal.  By the time you finish eating and visiting over a nice supper, your ice cream will be ready to eat.
Fresh vanilla ice cream.  Doesn't it look delicious?!

If you are not making this at the beginning of a meal to let the time go by without noticing it,  set your timer for 30 minutes.  Unless you failed to freeze the container for a full 24 hours, the ice cream will be ready in 30 minutes

If there are only two of you eating, there will be leftovers after having a serving apiece.  
Leftover ice cream in a one-quart container.

Homemade Salsa Verde

We came into a few tomatillas, jalapenos, and onions and harvested some cilantro from the what could I do by make salsa verde?!  It is nowhere nearly as good as the Herdez salsa verde we got hooked on in Mexico, but it is pretty good for a first try....especially since I watched a YouTube video and adapted the recipe to what I had on hand.

5 tomatillas, roasted in a cast iron skillet
1 onion thickly sliced and roasted along with the tomatillas
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced and roasted along with the onions and tomatillas
1 jalapeno--should have used more
7 sprigs cilantro fresh from the garden
3 large cloves garlic, smashed then finely chopped
Juice of two limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Wash all produce the put the tomatillas, onion slices, and yellow bell pepper in large cast iron skillet over medium heat and roast until the outsides of the skins are blackened somewhat.  Turn everything over every so often.  Mine took about ten minutes until  I was comfortable with the coloring.

Put into a Cuisinart (or blender) with all the other ingredients, then put in about 1/4 -1/2 cup water and blend until completely blended.  Taste it to see if it needs more salt and pepper

First ever fresh salsa verde

This is what it looked like before I put it in the refrigerator to chill. I dipped a saltine cracker into for a taste--since we did not have any tortilla chips at the moment--and liked it. I then ate three teaspoonfuls out of the container just plain.  So yummy.  Needed more salt and more jalapenos.

This is the kitchen ready to clean after the salsa verde and applesauce projects.  And the breakfast and lunch projects...Instead I am writing this blog post.  Perhaps I will go clean now before I get too tired and bag it for the day.  If you look closely you can see the soap suds in the hot water.....

Friday, June 14, 2013

Quick and Easy Homemade Tortilla Chips

Our family loves tortillas and salsa...particularly fresh salsa.  A new rub has been that I have tried making homemade tortilla chips.  The exciting thing is:  they work!  and they are quick and easy.

We started with a bag of slightly older corn tortillas.  Well, actually, they were old enough that some of them were crumbly.  Those tortillas stayed in the bag!  For the rest, though!!!

To make the tortilla chips:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Get out a half sheet pan, or other large flat plan.

Place one tortilla on cutting board and brush top with olive oil then sprinkle with coarse sea salt...not a lot then cover with a second tortilla.  Brush that tortilla with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place a third tortilla on top and repeat the process.

When you have brushed with oil and salted 8 tortillas, with a very sharp knife (I love to use my Chef's knife which is very sharp and works great for almost everything!) cut the tortilla stack into quarters then lay the quarters on the sheet pan so they do not overlap, if possible.  If they overlap a very little it is ok.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for ten minutes then turn over carefully.  Let bake another 5 minutes then turn off oven.  Check to see if they are a light golden brown.  If not, let them sit in the oven for another 2-3 minutes, checking at the end of each minute.  They CAN burn so do watch them.

 If they seem not to be crispy when they come out, do not worry. If they have been in the oven for at least fifteen minutes, they should crisp up as they cool...that being said, they taste fabulous warm with guacamole or fresh salsa.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Perfect Quick Guacamole

Wings Market had some soft avocados for 69 cents each on Tuesday so I purchased two of them with an eye to making guacamole.  When I got home I realized that I had already used the jalapeno pepper so I couldn't make the guac that day.  Yesterday was too busy...not one moment left.

Early this morning (3 AM arising this time!)  I was scanning guacamole recipes to see the variations that are out there.  Tonight I decided to go ahead an make ours before the avocados went by. 

Perfect Quick Guacamole

This is what I did:

2 ripe avocados
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup prepared mild salsa

Place diced onions and avocados in a medium being the best material.  Mash them together, leaving the avocado slightly chunky if you like it that way.  Add chopped cilantro,  lime juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in  prepared mild salsa and mix well. 

Serve immediately with fresh tortilla chips.  Really yummy.

Kale is the best!

Sauteed kale with onions and garlic is a real treat.  This is what I did:

Start with a 12 inch well-seasoned cast iron frying pan/skillet (preferably one which has been in the family for generations so you can smile with love of family while you cook).  Add 1-2 tablespoons canola or olive oil and heat over medium heat until oil is hot. In the meantime, peel one yellow onion.  Slice it into moon-shaped slivers and put into frying pan.  Stir with a wooden spoon to break up the onion slivers into individual pieces.  Peel and smash then finely chop 2-3 cloves garlic and add to the sauteing onions.  Stir well to keep onions and garlic from burning.  When onions are partly translucent, add enough chopped kale to reach the top of the pan.  Stir continuously until kale is completely coated with cooking onions, garlic, and olive oil and is a lovely dark shiny green.  This will take about 4-5 minutes.  Cover pan and turn off heat.  Let sit an additional 5 minutes then serve with coarsely ground sea salt and Tajin original seasoning, if you can find it.

In our house this serves one no other person will eat it.  Sad for them.  Happy for the one!  Of course, the one is not likely to eat all of this at one sitting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grammie Corwin and the Adder Snake

One summer day when I was perhaps ten years old I walked down the hill through the fields to Riverbow, the house where my grandmother Nina Belle Merrill Corwin lived as a widow, a trip of about three-quarters of a mile or a little less.  Grammie Corwin had a large garden of beautiful pansies which I loved. We had been out in the garden doing pansy maintenance and  had walked across the lush lawn back up to the house.  There we found a large snake at the bottom of the steps.  Grammie went back to the brooder house (where all her gardening tools now resided after the years of baby chicken being hatched there) where she looked around for a snake eradication tool.

She picked up a small hatchet and we went back to the house.  There she used the hatchet to whack the snake, but missed a telling coup de grace.  The snake headed across Route 110 away from the house, nearly covering one whole lane. Several cars came by and Grammie kept motioning the cars to drive over the snake, BUT NOT ONE OF THEM DID IT!  They all drove around the snake.  The snake, a spotted adder, got all the way across the highway then stopped and curled up, apparently worn out by its injuries and the trek across two lanes of traffic. 

Grammie and I went into the house where she gave me a glass of red raspberry Kool Ade which had been in the refrigerator in the beautiful wide-mouthed green ceramic pitcher she always used for Kool Ade. We played a game of Parcheesi together.

Later when we went back outside prior to my walking back up the hill home, THE SNAKE WAS GONE!  You can imagine how interested I was to head up that hill home again with an angry injured snake nearby!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fruit Smoothie. Is there any other kind?

Today I made a delicious fruit smoothie.

These are the ingredients I used:

2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
1 cup orange juice
1 1/3 cup plain fatfree homemade Greek yogurt

Put all ingredients into a large Cuisinart and process with metal blade for 1-2 minutes or until all the frozen chunks are smooth.  Serve in glasses with a spoon.

This recipe serves four very heartily.

It is easily made smaller if you want a lesser quantity of cold sweet treat...usually I just use one cup each of orange juice, frozen blueberries, fat-free plain yogurt,  and one banana...sometimes throwing in a handful of pulverized flaxseed as well.  The two berries was a special treat.

Blueberry-Srawberry Smoothie on Porch Railing

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spanish Omelet, one successful iteration

This time when I made Spanish omelet it was very popular on the home-front.

Scrub up to three small to medium red potatoes and cut out any eyes.  Dice them and put them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons water in the microwave to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until you can smell the potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooking, peel and dice an onion...can be any kind though I used a yellow onion this time.

In a large skillet place 2 tablespoons canola oil and turn on the heat to medium high.

Remove potatoes from microwave and drain off any remaining water and carefully pour the semi-cooked, diced potatoes into the hot skillet.  Sprinkle the onions over the top then cover for about 2-3 minutes or until the bottoms of the potatoes begin to brown.  Carefully stir them (you don't really want to make mashed potato!) and put one cup of frozen peas on top.  Put cover back on and give the pan 1-2 more minutes...potatoes should now be softened and browned and the onions and peas nearly cooked.

Scramble 5-6 eggs together and pour over top, tilting pan this way and that to get the eggs spread out over whole top of vegetable mixture.  Cover for a minute or two until the egg is cooked.  Sprinkle with ground black pepper and shredded cheese.

Very big seller here.  Unlike so many things I make!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spicy Broccoli Cheese Soup, 2013 version

One night early in the week we were chilled to the bone after being out in the below zero F. weather so soup was on order.  This is the recipe I came up with after looking at multiple recipes online.  To me it tastes pretty yummy!

Broccoli Cheese Soup, Spicy
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings about 4

16-ounce package frozen broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped very finely
1 rib of celery, chopped fine…can use food processor for both of these chopping jobs if you don’t have a good chef’s knife;  just pulse a few times until the consistency you like.
1 quart chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon or more ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon hot chili oil (you can leave this out if you are not a spicy fan, or add more...though probably not very much more.  This amount was as spicy as we liked it...)
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Dash of salt-if you taste  the soup and find you need it

1. Put oil or butter into a heavy soup pot (4-quart or larger). Place pot over medium heat and add onions and celery.  Stir with a wooden spoon for several minutes until the onions and celery are well-softened.
2. Pulse broccoli in food processor until finely chopped.  (This is for those people who don’t like to see broccoli florets in their broccoli soup.  You know who you are!)   
3.  Add chicken stock to soup pot and bring to a boil, stirring often as you check to make sure the onions and celery are actually sofened.  Add chopped broccoli, thyme, hot chili oil, and black pepper.  Stir well.
4.  Stir in shredded cheese then add heavy cream.  Stir well.
5. Serve immediately.  Nice homemade croutons go well as a garnish, or just enjoy it as is.
6.  If you do have leftovers, store them in a glass bottle in the refrigerator then either sip cold, or warm in a microwave or put in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the temperature you like.  You don't want to heat over high heat or the cheese and cream can break and you have ugly-looking soup.  It has happened...