Monday, October 30, 2006

Cinnamon Rolls

2 large eggs, room temperature
2 yolks, room temperature
1/4 c sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted
6 oz buttermilk, room temp
4 c all purpose flour
2 1/4 t dry yeast
1 1/4 t kosher salt
1 c packed brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
pinch salt
raisins or craisins
chopped nuts
1 1/2 t melted unsalted butter

whisk eggs, sugar, melted butter (6 T), and buttermilk in stand mixer. Add 2 c flour, salt and yeast and mix until combined. Switch to dough hook. Add all but 3/4 c remaining flour. Knead on low 5 min, add flour if necessary so dough is soft and moist but not sticky. Knead 5 more minutes until clears sides of bowl. Knead 30 s by hand. Oil L bowl, put dough in, oil top of dough. let double in size (2 to 2.5 h)

combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and raisins, and salt in small bowl. butter 9 x 13" baking dish. Shape dough into a rectangle, roll to 18" x 12". Brush with butter (1.5 t), except for 3/4" on one long edge. Sprinkle filling, press gently into dough. Roll into cylinder, cut into 12 1.5" rolls. Arrange in baking dish, cover tightly and refridgerate 6 hours or overnight.

Take rolls from baking dish, put into cold oven for 30 mins with a shallow pan of water. Remove all from oven, preheat to 350F, bake about 30 minutes until golden.

Top with cream cheese frosting or just powdered-sugar-drizzle made with milk/sugar/maybe van.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

My boss's birthday was today, but she's out of town, so my office was going to go out to lunch with her yesterday. I thought upon our return we should have cake, and I wanted to make something good. I didn't want to make cake from a box, as there are so many good cupcake recipes I wanted to try (see for about 100 examples of awesome cupcakes). I had a grapefruit the day before, so I still had the astringent bitterness of citrus in my thoughts, and so I considered the cupcakeblog's basic cupcakes filled with various citrus curds, with cream cheese frosting and zest on top. When I got to the various stores to replenish my egg and powdered sugar supplies, though, I couldn't find the many varieties of curd I expected, nor could I find the "grapefruit slices" candy I meant to top the cupcakes with. Grapefruit slices are like orange slices, only 100 times better: less gooey, a little harder, a little less sweet, a little more bitter. I get them from Central Market, but alas, they had none.

So I sampled other candies and tried a chocolate-coated orange peel candy, which had that astringency I was craving in the citrus cupcakes. So then they became chocolate orange cupcakes with little candies on top. This recipe was based on a Williams-Sonoma recipe I found online.

3 T cocoa
1/4 c hot water
1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground ginger
1 orange
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/8 t vanilla, 3/8 t orange juice
1/4 c butter, melted and cooled

Dissolve cocoa in water. Sift together flour, b. powder, soda and salt. Add the zest of the orange. In the stand-mixer bowl, mix the eggs and sugar, then add the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the cocoa mixture, then the butter, and then the dry ingredients (bit by bit). Fill 12 cupcake wrappers halfway to 3/4-way full. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes (15 was not nearly long enough, but 20 was pushing dryness). Remove them from pan and cool on a wire rack, once they are cool enough to handle. Frost after they are completed cooled.

Cream cheese frosting

1/2 stick butter
8 oz cream cheese (neufchatel is fine)
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla, 1.5 t orange juice

Beat the butter until smooth, then add cream cheese and vanilla and OJ. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until 2 cups are incorporated. Add more if necessary, to obtain the stiffness you desire.
Cilantro-Soy-Lime Chicken

I bought some chicken thighs to make a curry from, but didn't get around to it, b/c instead I made some fish soup (see #5 below). So I've got these chicken thighs, and limes, and soy sauce I finally bought after wanting for months, but never remembering because it's soy sauce, and don't you already have that at home? What goes with lime and soy? How about rice wine vinegar, cilantro and basil? Add pepper, 1/4 t chipotle powder, and 1/2 t ground ginger. Marinate for 20-30 minutes, then cook in hot skillet with some garlic. Try to have the heat high enough that the chicken gets browned to a nice color, then remove chicken and reduce remaining marinade into nice brown sauce. Very tart and tasty. Not a big hit with the husband, however, but that's mainly because of it being chicken; he didn't taste it.

Juice of two limes (about 0.25 c)
0.25 c soy sauce
0.25 c rice wine vinegar
handful of basil, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
0.25 t chipotle (or ancho) chili powder
0.5 t ground ginger
0.5 t freshly ground pepper
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
7-8 chicken thighs, trimmed, cubed (though breast would be good, too, or probably very firm tofu, which could then be baked. also would be fine with beef, if one were so inclined, though more chili might be in order in that case)
A number of recipes I have tried but did not take pictures of, foolishly:

1. Pesto
I tried to grow basil this year. It did OK. I sprinkled basil seeds in with my tomato seedlings. The tomatoes never made it, since I didn't water them regularly enough, and they can't take that if they are in little clay pots. The basil did better, but still not great. Actually, pretty great considering I mistreated them (see above re: no watering). Only at the end of the summer did I read that basil plants grow more if you pinch bits off and use them, so on that day, I went out and harvested half the basil. You see, I thought the end of summer was near. That was in August or so, and yesterday was 90 degrees out. To be fair, today it was about 65 at the highest point of the day.

The pesto, however, was excellent:
2 T pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves
2 3/4 c basil
2 T grated parmesan
2 t lemon juice
3 T olive oil
I used these measurements as approximate guides. Process the pignoli and garlic, then add basil, parmesan and lemon and process again. Finally, add olive oil until a smooth (but still chunky) consistency. You know, like pesto.

2. Fruit cobbler
I love making fruit cobbler, and spent probably years "refining" my apple crisp recipe. Really, that just means trying different additions to the apples, and different types of apples, and occasionally trying different toppings. Or sometimes even different fruit. Peach crisp was nice too. Back in cherry season, I made a cobbler with cherries and nectarines. I will not include the recipe, however, because it was too biscuity on top, not sweet enough, too stout. I will note, however, that it was baked at 350 for about 35-45 minutes.

Then recently I tried again with the nectarines, this time what I think of as a crisp, though it might more properly be called a grunt or slump or crumble or something. I am not sure of the classifications on this type of dessert. Just that I like it.

Nectarine crisp
1-2 cups oats (like for cereal, the 5-minute kind, not the instant)
1.25 c brown sugar
0.67 c flour
0.67 c butter or margarine
sliced fruit (enough to fill the pan - medium-sized oval corningware pan, if you are me)

Mix oats, sugar and flour. Cut in butter. Top the fruit with this mixture, and bake 45 minutes (or until browning on top and fruit has obviously cooked to the point where it releases its juice).

3. Bread pudding
On returning from our last trip to Houston, we stopped in Corsicana at the Cooper Street Bakery outlet (or something like that; if you've driven from Houston to Dallas, you've probably seen the signs). They had lots of fruitcake and cookies, which I did Not buy, and some things that I did: egg bread rolls (delicious), a stale cupcake (blech), and English Muffin bread (blah). We did not really eat the muffin bread, because I made proper bread in addition. So midweek, there's this whole loaf of muffin bread staring at me with an accusatory tone. I decided to make bread pudding. It was pretty good.

2 c milk
3 eggs
4-5 c bread, cubed or torn to 1" pieces
0.75 t nutmeg (or since I hate nutmeg, cinnamon instead, and a little cardamom)
0.5 c raisins (I used dried cranberries)
0.75 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 apple, cut into little pieces

mix the eggs, sugar, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. toss the bread, craisins and apple. Pour liquid over bread mixture, let sit for 30 minutes. Bake at 350-400 (it went too slowly and was in for 45 minutes, so I raised the temperature - I am impatient for results) until golden brown on top.
If reheating, add a bit of milk to each serving so the microwaving is more effective and less drying.

So, that is all of the recipes with no pictures. They were good.