Wow! The last two weeks have been so incredibly busy for us…The Husband had some minor surgery, we spent some quality time at the State Fair (one of my most anticipated events of the entire year!), we’ve spent some extra time with family and school has started back up – whew!
All the while, my poor little blog hung out quietly alone in the corner waiting for me to have a moment to cook something. I have to admit, my kitchen’s been a little lonely for the past couple of weeks, too, as we’ve either shared meals with friends or family at get-togethers or opted for convenient restaurant options on our super-busy days. I swear my oven thinks I’ve abandoned it.
For whatever reason, it always takes me just a little bit of time to readjust and get back into the groove when my routine changes – I guess I’m not as flexible as I always think I am! But it’s time to get back on track – and back in the kitchen!
The only really delicious thing to have come out of my kitchen in the past few days was this really yummy berry cobbler. I snapped pictures right before The Redhead decided to try to do some unofficial “taste testing” with her fingers – luckily for the visitors we had over to share dessert, I caught her right in time.
We all really enjoyed it – too bad I also had to enjoy scrubbing out the oven after we were done! Word to the wise (I totally knew better and should have done this in the first place): if you’re gonna cook delicious, juicy, ripe berries in the oven and you don’t put a cookie sheet under your baking dish, you’re gonna end up with disgusting, dried out, burned berries in the bottom of your oven…and you’re gonna get real friendly with the steel wool. Uggg.
On the bright side, maybe I scrubbed away the calories from the cobbler (?!). Speaking of calories, I’ll be posting the delicious and the not so delicious food I had fun eating at the fair shortly.
Blog, it’s good to see you again!
Being a mom, wife and employee, the more hectic and busy life becomes, the more I deeply appreciate the simplest pleasures in life – those lovely moments when something very satisfying comes without too much effort.
This post is going to be a simple one, celebrating one of my greatest food pleasures – garlic herb bread.
Now, I am an equal-opportunity garlic bread eater – I won’t say no to any available version including the frozen kind that come six to a box, but this is my very favorite recipe for a simple, delicious and fresh loaf.
All I do is chop up a handful each of fresh parsley and basil, mince four or five cloves of garlic and stir them into six tablespoons of butter.
I love to buy the fresh French loaves from the Byerly’s just down the street from me – I half it and spread the herb butter on each piece. It can be baked in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or wrapped in tin foil and warmed slowly at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes.
The herbed garlic butter and crusty, warm bread smell amazing and, I have to warn you, are very addictive!
As the summer draws to a close in the next few weeks, I hope you take a few moments out of the hectic hustle and bustle, take a breath and allow yourself to savor your simple pleasures!
Ever since I discovered pâte à chou, I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that showcase my new-found skill, and I think I’ve hit on a winner…a tasty, easy-to-make yet impressive-to-look-at winner!
When I say easy to make, I mean seriously easy – I made these Gruyère and Black Pepper Gougères in 15 minutes yesterday morning while simultaneously straightening my apartment up before friends came over and making sure The Redhead didn’t use her new set of markers to “decorate” the living room walls! They also use one of my favorite cheeses – a slightly smoky gruyère that is deliciously melty and warm inside the crunchy, toasty crust with a little ground black pepper kick.
These are light and bake into hollow puffs which can be eaten warm, right out of the oven along with a meal or even filled with a crab or chicken salad, if you want to serve it as a more substantial hors d’œuvres – I’d love them with wine and fruit!
Here’s the Recipe!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (4 ounces) gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift flour into a small bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil, stirring until the butter melts. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the flour is incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan in a ball. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for approximately four minutes. The dough will continue to pull away from the pan in a large clump.
Scrape the dough into the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough forms large clumps, about one minute. Beat in one egg at a time until each egg is blended smoothly into the dough, about one minute for each.
On low speed, beat in the cheese and the black pepper.
Use a round, one tablespoon ice cream or cookie scoop or two tablespoons (one to scoop dough and the other to scrape dough onto the baking sheet) and spoon mounds of dough about one inch apart onto baking sheets.
Bake one sheet at a time until the gougères are lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
Cool five to ten minutes and serve warm.
Gougères can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two days and briefly warmed in the oven before serving.
(Recipe Credit: Real Food by Lunds and Byerly’s, Summer 2010)
I don’t know why the baking bug has hit me so hard, but it’s what I’ve been wanting to do a lot of lately. Maybe it’s partly because The Redhead really enjoys helping out with baking (and enjoying the treats after they’re done!). So when we wanted something warm and gooey and delicious for breakfast, the first thing that came to mind was Cinnamon Rolls….and not just any cinnamon rolls – potato ones!
It might sound odd, but using potato in a dough makes some of the most moist and soft baked goods ever! The first time I’d ever experienced this kind of dough was when I tried my mom-in-law’s kolaches and I was really impressed with their unique texture. I just knew that these Cinnamon Rolls would work out well!
This recipe requires the full yeast-bread experience and takes a little bit of elbow grease and patience, since it requires kneading and needs to rise twice. The Redhead LOVED getting to help knead the dough, though…
…she also got a kick out of making a mess!
The end result was a lovely, smooth, soft bread dough.
We made the filling of butter, sugar and cinnamon the way that the recipe directed – mixing it with a fork – and this made the filling very clumpy. If I were to remake this recipe, I would choose to melt all of the butter and brush it on the rolled-out dough and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly on top of that, just to make the filling a lot more evenly distributed throughout the roll.
Either way, the rolls looked delicious, even pre-baking! The recipe made twelve giant cinnamon rolls.
FINALLY, we baked and frosted and tasted! I will say that this unique recipe with potato in the dough was definitely superior in texture to a typical recipe and I’ll use it again. We experimented very successfully with an orange frosting, too, by adding 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and a couple of tablespoons of orange zest to the frosting recipe and those won hands down – a new family favorite!
Here’s the Recipe!
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 4 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 3 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast (scant 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons unbleached
- all purpose flour
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (or more) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Combine potatoes, 2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon coarse salt in large saucepan. Boil until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Mash potatoes with water in pan (do not drain water). Add butter and mash until butter is melted. Whisk in eggs, then 1 cup flour; mash until very smooth. Let potatoes stand until barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour 1/2 cup warm water into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; stir in yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add potato mixture to yeast mixture; mix on low speed until well blended, 2 minutes. Mix in 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well. Beat until sticky dough forms.
Spread 1/2 cup flour on work surface. Scrape dough out onto floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 8 minutes.
Coat large bowl with butter. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make filling:
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in medium bowl. Using fork, mix in butter.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface. Roll out dough to 24×16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough. Starting at 1 long side, roll up dough jelly-roll style, enclosing filling. Using large knife dipped in flour, cut roll crosswise into 12 pieces. Transfer rolls to baking sheet, spacing rolls about 3/4 inch apart. Cover baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes (rolls will be very puffy).
Bake cinnamon rolls until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool rolls 10 minutes on baking sheet.
Meanwhile, make glaze:
Whisk powdered sugar, melted butter, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and coarse salt in small bowl. If glaze is too thick to spread, add more milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls as needed. Spread glaze over warm rolls.