Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Basil should never be wasted

Our garden is off to a sad start as we sit here middle of June. A frost took a bunch of my herbs so the ones left behind are struggling and I’m daily fighting the bunnies over the honor of my green beans. But thankfully, the herbs in pots on my deck are flourishing. I was so excited to see our basil take off! I was picking some for bruschetta I was making and ended up picking way more than I needed but it needed to be pruned. Oh what to do? I decided to whirl up some basil, garlic, and olive oil - a little pesto to keep in the fridge. At least it wouldn’t go to waste. As I sat looking at my dinner options for potatoes for that night - I had a light bulb moment - what about Pesto Potatoes? Well lookie there - easy as dumping the pesto in, coat the potatoes, top with some parmesan cheese and bake. These potatoes went great with the steak Andy cooked and fresh green beans the kids nipped for us. A group effort! A VERY delicious dinner for sure!

Pesto Potatoes

4-5 medium russet potatoes
1 (10 ounce) jar pesto sauce
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Scrub (but don't peel) potatoes and cut into large cubes. Place cut potatoes in a large Ziploc bag.
Add pesto sauce to the bag and shake until all of the potatoes are coated. Pour contents out into a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Overdressed for the Garlic Bread Party

I live in a house where kids cheer when garlic bread is served at dinner. I also live in a house where the mom often forgets to buy it. This time I tried my hand using my own baked French bread and making my own garlic butter for the top. Cheers are what happened when I told the kids what was in the oven with our mostly vegetable casserole for dinner. I likely "overdressed" the bread and used too much of the garlic butter but Andy and the kids told me nope, it was perfect. Using soft homemade French bread made for even better bread, it was crispy around the edges but not tough at all like some grocery store garlic bread can be. This butter can be used on just about anything to make it taste better, perhaps not cookies - they already taste delicious... but potatoes, veggies, bread, sky is the limit... as long as it's savory. Let's not try it on our cinnamon rolls, deal?

Garlic Butter
1 Cup Butter (room temperature)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/8 Cup Parsley, dried
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

Whip the butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.
Slowly add the olive oil while continuing to mix the butter.
Add the cheese, parsley, and garlic powder. MIx.
Store unused garlic butter spread in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Rolls so soft you want to sleep on them

Seems like all I make lately is bread or some form of it. I asked Andy what kind of bread we should have with our Beef Stew dinner that he and Bronwyn made for us. Recently we watched and old Good Eats and Alton Brown spoke of the downfall of the dinner roll. How it was either entire gone or in it's place was made from dough smushed in a tube that explodes. Well, I myself enjoy a good exploding tube biscuit now and then, but I was willing to try his recipe out. The kids were too. We loaded up the new trusty mixer and let her spin.
The kids helped me roll them out and put butter in them. I wasn't so sure they'd turn out since they looked a little wonky, but we let them rise and then baked them.
Parker House Rolls have a weird fold over, I wanted to do a different shape, but we figured we should try what was suggested... I'm still at odds on the shape but I can tell you these rolls are wonderful. They are nothing like the tube biscuits. They are soft, pillowy, perfect for dipping in soups or in our case delicious stew. Yum. Bronwyn used one the next day for her sandwich, she loved them so much. Well worth the time and effort.

Parker House Rolls
8 ounces warm whole milk (100 degrees F)
2 1/4 ounces sugar (about 1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
15 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, 3 ounces at room temperature, 1 ounce chilled and cut into 16 small cubes

Spray a half sheet pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Place the milk, sugar, yeast, flour, egg yolks, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on low speed for 1 minute. Change the paddle attachment to the dough hook and rest the dough for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 2 ounces of the room temperature butter and mix on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and you are able to gently pull the dough into a thin sheet that light will pass through, about 8 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll and shape with hands to form a large ball. Return dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a 16 by 3-inch log. Use a bench knife to cut the dough into 1 3/4-ounce portions, about 16 rolls. Using your loosely cupped hand, roll each portion on the counter until they tighten into small balls. Working 1 at a time, use a rolling pin to roll each small ball into a 3-inch circle or oval. Use the side of your hand or a small dowel to make an indentation across the middle of the circle. Place a small pat of chilled butter into the center of the indentation, then fold in half and gently press to seal the edges. Place the rolls, top-side down, onto the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly. Melt the remaining 1 ounce butter and brush the tops of the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Campfire not necessary for these S'more goodies

When cleaning out ones cabinets one finds odd things... like a container of freeze dried marshmallow bits. That reminded me I had planned to make these s'more cookies once upon a time. Since I was trying out my new mixer I figured let's toss a batch of cookies in and see what happens. I need some different beaters but still... the cookies turned out pretty tasty. The dough is amazing just to eat too. So... bake them or not - you do you.

S'mores Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup Jet-Puffed Vanilla Mallow Bits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar.
Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined.
Add graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
Fold in mallow bits and chocolate chips.
Drop by heaping tablespoons on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are set.
Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Low Key - because nothing is High Key anymore...

For Memorial Day this year we did a low key celebration - as everything seems to be in 2020. We had pulled pork in the crockpot and I decided to try my hand at Brioche Buns! These buns were pretty delicious, especially with some pulled pork and coleslaw on them. Bronwyn has been having them with PB&J... or even PB and Apple Butter, or Butter and Apple Butter... all around winners. Maybe next time I'll make them smaller and they can be little slider buns! Very easy to make, very delicious.

Brioche Buns
3 1/3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) instant/rapid rise yeast or active dry yeast
2 tbsp butter (softened)
1 cup water
2 tbsp milk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp extra all-purpose flour, for kneading the dough

If you are using rapid rise/instant yeast, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in your large bowl. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, add water and milk. Microwave for 45 seconds, until very warm. Whisk 1 egg in separate bowl. Then follow directions as listed below.
If you are using active dry yeast, whisk together flour and salt in your large bowl. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, add water and milk. Microwave for 45 seconds, until very warm. Whisk in sugar and yeast, then let stand for 5 minutes, or until yeast it foamy. Whisk 1 egg in separate bowl. Then follow directions as listed below.
Set your mixer on low, then add in light butter. Mix for about a minute, or until butter is distributed through flour mixture.
Turn the speed up to medium and slowly add in your wet ingredients, including the whisked egg. "Knead" the dough with your mixer for about 5 minutes, or until dough is slightly elastic.
Use a spatula to form the dough into a ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes-1 hour if using instant yeast or 2 hours if using active dry yeast. You want your dough to double in size.
Dust a cutting board with 1 tbsp flour. Use the extra tbsp to flour your hands. Scrape the dough onto your cutting board and knead just until the dough is not as sticky.
Grease two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon linings. Divide dough in half. Make each half into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion around on the cutting board until you make a circle shape (or log shape for hot dog buns). Place six rolls on each baking sheet, with a good amount of room between them.
Cover both baking sheets with kitchen towels and let buns rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Set a large shallow pan or large skillet filled with 2 cups of water on floor of your oven. This will help keep your bread moist. Preheat oven to 400F. Once buns have doubled in size, whisk remaining egg with 1 tbsp of water. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. You could add sesame seeds at this point.
Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
01 09 10