Monday, July 25, 2011

You're Crowding Me

Overload.  Yesterday's cooking/baking was way too much.

Lesson learned:  keep it simple and focus.

Remember those donuts I made?  The perfect little pillows of joy that were practically bursting forth from the screen?  You do?

Yeah, well I made those again last night while we were making dinner... and uh...  I didn't have enough room on the counter for them and I made them all wonky-like.  That's a real word.  It's also a real tragedy.

So even though my donuts may look a bit on the crazy side (i.e. like the salvaged rejects from Dunkin' Donuts), I bring you a tomato-y, cheese-y tart-like-thing.  Not sure exactly what it's called, actually.  Just trust me when I say it is good and filling.

Oh, and uh... this has strawberries in it.


Don't say "ugh" at me.  Wait til you try it!  Even Cori liked it, and that was the true test!

For all of us...  have a little faith in this recipe.  And the strawberries.

Tomato and Mozzarella Galettes with Cilantro Strawberry Pesto
Borrowed from Food 52

2 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
3 tbsps EVOO
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
1/2 cup arugula, tightly packed
1/2 cup cilantro, tightly packed
3 tbsps walnuts
5 small strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks
1/2 cup EVOO
salt to taste
2 10x10 puff pastry sheets (1 box), thawed
6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices
a handful of freshly grated parmegiano reggiano cheese

1. Turn on the broiler and put the rack in the center of the oven.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the tomatoes cut side up.  Drizzle the EVOO over the tomatoes, salt and pepper them, and broil for ten minutes.   Check on them to make sure they are not burning.  Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool.  Turn down the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a food processor with the blade attachment, pulse together the basil, arugula and cilantro until roughly chopped.  Add in the walnuts, strawberries and mozzarella, and pulse again until finely minced.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the EVOO until smooth.  Salt to taste, pulse briefly, and set aside.

3. Roll out each of the puff pastry sheets into a 12" circle (mine was more... a rounded square).  Transfer each to parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Spoon on 1/3 cup pesto onto each pastry dough, spreading with the back of a spoon all over, leaving a 1 1/2 inch boarder all the way around.  Thinly slice your cooled tomatoes, then layer them onto the pesto.  Add the mozzarella over the tomatoes, then sprinkle with the parmegiano.  Gather up the edges of the dough, fold them over and pleat them all the way around until it completely surrounds the pie.  Repeat with the other pie dough.  Bake on the two middle racks for 30-40 minutes, when the crust is golden.  Let sit on the pans for a few minutes to rest before slicing and transferring to plates to serve.  Feeds 4.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I wish it would rain already

Fact:  I have never sliced a mango before.  Not once.  Not ever.

Love those measuring cups.  Love them to death.

Fact:  They have a slightly invisible pit.  Not so awesome to try and slice around.

Sifting in the cocoa powder for fun.  Fun is allowed.  

Fact:  I added cocoa powder to this recipe because...  why not?  Life is a gamble.  Deal me in.

Most difficult folding I've ever done.

Tip:  If you love mango, you should watch this and remind yourself of all the reasons mango is amazing.

Diabetes Chick is here to make her debut.  

 Vegan Chocolate Mango Banana Bread
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 medium overly-ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa
1 ripe mango, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
raw sugar, for sprinkling

*preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly butter and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan*

1. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the vegetable oil, brown sugar, and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined.

2.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa into the banana mixture.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Fold in the mango chunks.  Your bread dough should be fairly stiff - this is okay!

3.  Scoop the dough into your loaf pan and even out slightly with a rubber spatula.  This would be a good time to sprinkle your raw sugar over the top.  Bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes, or until a long skewer inserted into the center comes out relatively clean (a few crumbs are fine).  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, and then turn out onto a cutting board to slice and serve warm.

*bread will keep, wrapped at room temperature, for 5 days.... or maybe 5 hours, depending on how hungry you are*

Pretty Pretty Princess.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Time To Get Up And Make The Donuts!

I'm not going to talk about anything else.  I started to write other things about Cori being in New York... my mother telling me about smelling Krispy Kremes down the street... the sweatmageddon happening outside... and none of it seemed to build this up enough.

I can see your halo.

This is about donuts, kids.  Yeasty, chocolate-glazed wonders that came out of MY kitchen.

Yeast foam timer.  Dry ingredients.  Egg yolks at the ready.

What?  That's not real life.  There's no way that's real life.

Risen donut dough.  Can I eat it yet?!?

It is.  I did it.  Ohmydearsweetlord did I do it.

Look at that little guy.  I just want to pinch him!

All rolled out and waiting to get punched.

Fancy biscuit cutters.

There are 4 of these donuts left to bring into work (I ate 5 yesterday), plus some donut holes.  What... you thought I forgot about those, did ya?   I got you covered.

Um... they look like teething rings.

Let me just get a neon sign in my window and serve coffee.  We got Donut Town up in here.  Look at that assembly line!

Make sure you get the temperature right, Kasey!  Jeez-uh.

*ehem* Perfection.

Cinnamon... sugar... holes...

Glaze 'em.  Sprinkle stuff on 'em.  DONE DID.

A Donut Recipe
Recipe lifted with love from Joy the Baker

1 packet active dry yeast
2 tbsps warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 1/4 cup flour, plus more for sprinkling and rolling
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
roughly 10 cups peanut oil, for frying

1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water.  Let sit for 5 minutes until foam "blooms" in the bowl.  If it does not foam, throw it out and start again with new yeast.

2. In a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture.  Mix at low speed until you get a shaggy, soft dough.  Turn mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl briefly, and then turn back on to medium-high for about 3 minutes.  You want a stiff dough that cleans the sides of the bowl for you.  (You may have to hold the plastic shield on the bowl while it kneads, since it seems to want to throw the dough over the edge a lot.)

3.  Sprinkle the dough ball with a little bit of flour to prevent a crust from forming.  Let rest in the bowl with a kitchen towel over the top (non-terry cloth) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours in a warm, draft-free place.  It should double in size.

4. On a lightly floured countertop, turnout your dough and roll into a circle of 12" in diameter.  Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, punch out 12 donuts, then go back with a 1 inch biscuit cutter and punch the middle of them (donuts, meet donut holes).  Make sure you punch the donuts as close as you can together, because you absolutely cannot put all the scraps together and re-roll the dough.  It will be too tough and won't stick to eachother.  Throw out the scraps.  On a lightly floured baking sheet, place all your donuts and donut holes and cover with a non-terry cloth dishtowel, allowing to rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes. 

5. Meanwhile, pour enough peanut oil into a tall, heavy pot until it is 2 1/2 inches deep (let's not kid around here... you are deep fryin').  Heat on medium-low until a candy thermometer reads 350 degrees.

6. Working in batches of 3, place a donut into the hot oil for about 1 minute per side.  You'll flip when the first side gets a nice golden tan.  Flip with a slotted spoot or mesh skimmer.  Once both sides are done, remove with the slotted spoon/skimmer and transfer donuts to a wire cooling rack set on top of a rimmed cookie sheet.  Allow oil to drip off.  Let oil get back to 350 degrees before you put the next batch in.  Repeat with the rest of the donuts.

7.  For the donut holes, you'll work much more quickly.  Work in batches of 4 and only cook for about 30 seconds per side.  Flip and cook the other side.  Drain on the same rack as the donuts. 

*if you want cinnamon sugar donut holes, skip the drying rack and place them into a bowl filled with a mixture of 1 cup sugar and 2 tsps cinnamon.  roll around in the mixture until thoroughly coated and then put on a seperate rack to cool*

Chocolate Glaze
This is enough for TWO batches of donuts... just sayin'.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 whole milk, at room temperature
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp Bailey's Irish Creme (optional)
2 tsps vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, melt together the butter, milk, corn syrup, liquor, and vanilla.  When the butter has just melted, whisk in the chocoalte chips until melted and smooth. 

2. Turn off the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar until completely smooth.  Place over a bowl of warm water (to keep the glaze from setting too quickly).

3. Using your hands, dip your donut into the glaze and place on a cooling rack.  While the glaze is still warm and melty, sprinkle with whatever you want (i.e sprinkles, sugar balls, peanuts, mini m&m's, heathbar bits, mini chocolate chips).  Allow the glaze to set for at least a half hour.  Done!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finally Gettin' It Done

I woke up this morning to my mother's voice on the other end of an early phone call.

*ugh* what time was it?? 8?  Oh.  That's actually normal time.  Right.  Knew that.

Then it dawned on me that in my frivolous day off yesterday, I forgot to purchase coffee.


Yes.  I did.  Or rather... didn't.  I had to fix that, stat.

Have you ever been to the grocery store in the early morning?  It is glorious.  No lines.  No crowds.  All the produce is so bright, new and cheerful.  I think a peach winked at me.  Weird.

Grabbed my favorite coffee (Cafe l'orange, in case you're looking for a thrill ride in your java cup).  I was closer to sanity.

But oh WAIT - those blueberries look good...  and hmmm I think I need more milk for a glaze I'm making soon...  But I won't use all of it, so...  muffins.

Yes.  I made muffins.  Not just regular old muffins.  Blueberry cinnamon muffins with crunchy, buttery, sugary peanut crumble on top.  No biggie.

And I made them giant, thanks to my step sister Karley's glorious gift last Christmas of the major muffin cups.  Win.

I guess what I can take from this is the knowledge I'll never be able to go to a grocery store and just get one item.  Even if that item is my life blood.  No.  Not ever.

And I'm not complaining because now I have muffins in my house.  Nay... in my belly.

Blueberry-Cinnamon Muffins with Crunchy Peanut Crumble
Recipe play compliments of Anecdotes and Apples

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pint blueberries
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsps brown sugar
3 tbsps butter, cut into chunks
3 tbsps flour
1/4 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts

*preheat oven to 350 degrees.  line jumbo muffin tin with paper liners*

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the blueberries and toss together to coat (this prevents the blueberries from sinking during the baking process).  Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, milk and vanilla until combined.  Pour into the dry mixture and fold together until just combined.  The batter will be pretty thick - this is good.

3. In a food processor, combine the brown sugar, butter, flour and peanuts.  Pulse until you get coarse crumbs and the butter is just starting to combine (tiny crumbs of butter is a good thing).

4. Divide the muffin batter evenly between the jumbo liners (they will be about 3/4 full when all is said and done).  Top with the peanut crumble.  Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and the muffins are springy to the touch.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today is a good day

Lately I've been trying to beat the heat by staying out of it.  Kind of working.  Kind of not.

I keep venturing out for ingredients for breadtwists and pizza.  These are the things that make my house just as hot as the great outdoors.  Not exactly keeping cool, am I?

Did you know that the weather service people want us to "check on our friends and neighbors" in this heat?  I say don't check on anyone unless you're bringing butterbeer.

So what exactly have I been up to lately?  I'll share it.  Share it with you right now.  It's been a great few weeks, high heat and all.

Cori and I have been attending the IMA Summer Nights movies every chance we get.  They got even more awesome when Cori scored these chairs (guess who gets the pink one).

One mention of summer ales and it was to the grocery store for good brew.  See that?  The beer WANTS to be in my tummy.  Go figure.

Made Angel Food Cake and propped it up on said beer while both cooled.  Killin' two birds, kids.  For real.

Supervised while Cori did treatments on the animals.  I say supervised when I really mean I took pictures.  Of a chair.  There are many pictures of this chair.

Fast facts:  I love finding things at Marshall's (i.e. this top was a WIN and a HALF).

Also, butterbeer before the Harry Potter Double Feature will get me through 6 hours on my butt in a theater.

... that and the coffee drink I had at intermission.

I helped make dinner last night with my step mom Kim.  Her tomatoes in a balsamic reduction with basil are amazing.

Let's promise each other we'll put these on everything, okay?

Right.  Glad we could make that vow.

Keep your summer classy.  And full of food.  And STAY OUT OF THE HEAT/BRING ME BUTTERBEER.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pick Up Sticks

There's something fundamentally wrong with my brain for choosing to turn on the oven to 425 degrees when it's 90 outside.  Wrong wrong wrong.

I refused to turn the air conditioning on (because it was actually feeling quite lovely outside early in the morning), and so flipping on the oven to get us back to balmy indoor weather seemed... logical?  No.  No sane person would be doing what I did.

Cori and I made Pizza last night (which... needs tweaking.  I don't share things I'm not psyched about 110%), and there was the second ball of puffy dough sitting in my fridge when I woke up this morning.

Breadsticks.  DONE.

Well... breadtwists.  Whatevs.  You get what I'm sayin.

All the sweat effort was worth it, though.  You can't ever go wrong with yeasty bread, garlic, and butter (duh).

Garlic Butter Breadtwists

3 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
course sea salt
1 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 tsp fresh oregano, minced
garlic powder (several pinches)
1/4 cup parmegiano reggiano, freshly grated

1. Roll out the pizza dough into a rectangle, about 5 x 12 (ish... I didn't measure).  Using a long, sharp kitchen knife, slice the dough width-wise into 12 strips.  Gently stretch each strip until it's about 12 inches long or so, put your forefinger in the middle (so it hangs evenly), grab the ends, and twist.  Lay on a greased, rimmed baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the 11 strips, taking care to put space in between (about a 1/2 inch or so).
2. Cover with cling wrap that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, and cover for about 45 minutes.  It should be in a warm part of your house, as this will encourage proper rising. 
3. When you have 15 minutes to go, turn the oven on to 425 degrees.  
4. Brush the tops of each twist with the melted butter, and sprinkle sea salt over the butter.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Take out of the oven and sprinkle with the basil, oregano, garlic powder and parm. reg. cheese.  Continue to bake for 3-4 more minutes, or until the twists are barley getting golden on the edges and are springy when you poke at them.
5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack.  Serve warm.

These can last for one day at room temperature in a bread bag/paper bag, or 2 days in a ziploc bag in the fridge.  Marinara sauce or melted queso would be ridiculous right now.  And some beer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Heaven's to Betsy!

I don't own a tube pan.  I know.  Weird.

But I do know how to borrow one.  And how to break in said borrowed one for the friend who graciously loaned it to me.  I'll put it on my list of things I want for Christmas.

Angel Food Cake is totes what I just made.  And I've never. eaten. it.   In my entire life.  Did you know THAT?

Yet I'm making it.  Even more weird.

Sometimes I'm crazy.  Sometimes I make things I've never tried before.  I'll say it.  Say it to your face.

Strawberries get all sliced up...

Lemon gets a sugar rub-down.

*hand model provided by yours truly*

Strawberries and lemon sugar get mixed together to macerate.  They're totally into that kind of thing.

Egg whites, water, vanilla, sugar, and cream of tartar get whipped into medium, glossy goodnight peaks.  I'm sure that's the term.

Cake flour, salt, and more sugar are folded in.

Careful.  Deflate not.

Goodness, me!  Like a puffy, eggy cloud!

Can you believe this cake has zero fat?  Totes!

Can you also believe that cake flour has little-to-no protein/gluten?  If you're sensitive to the gluten, this is a wonderful thing to indulge in.  I lie not.

My awesome timer.  I'm a bit nerdy about it.

Look!  You've got enough time to browse the interwebs. Just 45-50 minutes and you're golden.

... or rather, your cake will be golden.  You smell what I'm bakin'.

Oh... you cool this thing upside down.  I'm serious!  Upside down.  

I bet you always wondered why the middle of those tube pans were taller than the edges.  Well, consider yourself schooled.  Let's get you baking.

Angel Food Cake
Respectfully adapted from Joy the Baker

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 large egg whites, at room temperature (after separating, let them sit for at least a half hour)
1/3 cup warm water
1 tspn vanilla extract (or you can try your favorite flavoring, like orange or almond... get creative!)
1 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
4 tsps sugar
zest of 1 lemon

*place rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees*

1. In your food processor with the blade attachment, grind down the sugar for 2 minutes.  This pulverizes it so the egg whites can better attach themselves.  Set aside half in a small bowl for later.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the remaining sugar, salt, and cake flour.  Set aside.

3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites, water, vanilla and cream of tartar on medium speed.  You want them to be well blended and just starting to get frothy.  Crank up the speed to medium-high, adding the sugar from the bowl slowly.  Beat until you get medium peaks and trails form in the foam from your whisk attachment.  Oh... and it should be glossy.  Make sure to watch it - you don't want dry egg foam.

4. Remove the bowl from your mixer and fold in the flour mixture.  (To fold: cut downwards with your spatula, sweeping underneath and following the side of the bowl upwards, bringing the underside of the foam over itself.  Make quarter turns and do this until just combined, being careful not to over mix/deflate the foam.)

5. Spoon the foam into an ungreased tube pan.  The foam needs something to "climb" on, which is the sides of the pan.  It'll come out of the tube - promise.

6.  Place on center rack in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Check at the 40 minute mark (since oven calibrations vary).  Test with a wooden skewer to make sure it comes out squeaky clean.  The top should be a deep golden color.

7. Now comes the fun part.  Make room in your fridge for the cake.  Place a rimmed cookie sheet in the fridge, and invert the cake upside down, so it is sitting on it's center tube.  The cake won't fall out.  It'll just... sit there.  Wait at least an hour before removing from the fridge.  Run the thinnest blade you have along the sides to remove from the pan.  If you have a two-part tube pan (i.e. one that has a removable bottom), take the same knife, hold the center portion still, and slice along the metal to remove.

8. Cut into slices and serve with the lemon strawberries and cream.