Saturday, July 27, 2013

Homemade Pull-Apart Rolls

                                           


            When I was in high school, our wonderful German cooks prepared these nearly every Friday in the cafeteria.  We were required to have a “grade A” lunch, which merely meant that it had to be nutritionally balanced. When we didn’t,  we had to pay an extra 5 cents penalty. That’s right! But guess what? Nobody cared about the expense when there were hot pull-apart yeast rolls. It was worth it. In fact, many of the upper classmen went for seconds and thirds. They were that scrumptious.

I give Kelsey Nixon of the Food channel the first of kudos! I cut back on the flour and tweaked it slightly, but otherwise, it’s nearly the same. It’s easy! Let’s get on with it:

                            Homemade Pull-apart Rolls


packets (rapid rise) active dry yeast

1 3/4 cups warm water

1/2 cup honey




  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing after they're baked
  • teaspoons sea salt,( more BEFORE the rising time)
  • large eggs, beaten
  • to 6 cups flour ( enough to make it maliable, but not dry)
  • 1/4 cup milk

  • How to:
  • Preheat the oven to 400°. 

    In an 8 cup measuring cup, combine the yeast, and warm water (not hot) and the honey and stir. Let it activate for 5 minutes until a foamy head develops..





  • Add 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 teaspoons salt, and eggs, one at a time. Put mixture in a LARGE BOWL. Slowly add the flour, one cup at a time until fully incorporated and the dough becomes amass. Remove onto the counter and knead just long enough till it is smooth and elastic. Dust in more flour if it is too sticky.

  • Cut the dough mass into FOUR portions. From each portion, form rolls in the size of a large golf ball rolling from the palm of your hands, placing each into the iron skillet or cookie sheet without them fully touching. Cover with a damp towel or foil for about 30- 35minutes.


  • Bake the first 15 minutes on 400° then lower to 375° for about 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Using  a butter knife, cut carefully around the edge to loosen. With an oven mitten under the skillet and  a large serving plate over the top, turn over to remove entire loaf then back upright onto another plate.  Mix remaining butter with the milk, and generously paint each one till you see a gloss! Wait about 5 minutes till steam releases. SPRINKLE with a little KOSHER or PINK salt.  Enjoy!

  • For storing and moistness, it's best to place in plastic bags before they fully cool.

    * You can use a stand up mixer, food processor, or just your hands. (I've done both, and they turned out equally fine! Hands say looooooooooooove!)

    For Kelsey's take, click this link:
  • .



  •               

  • Thursday, February 7, 2013

    Rustic Strawberry Peach Pandowdy


    This is simply delicious as well as easy.  I first give credit to Tyler Florence from the Food Network who inspired it. I just made a few twists and turns for flavor and curtailed the time. This dessert is great with my barbeque and superb dessert with any pork entree! 

    Then, you know Pookah and I had to go and do something ELSE to hurry it up!  Tsk. tsk! 


    Here's what you'll need:

    A buttered iron skillet. Preheat oven to 375° 

    Ingredients and Method:

    Crust: In a large glass bowl
    1 box of corn muffin mix (OR 1 cup Masa flour w/
    2 tbsp baking powder), 2 cups all purpose flour 4 tbsp unsalted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cream or half & half.

    How:
     Mix all dry  ingredients. Add the butter and use your clean hands to mix and break up the butter, folding in and out until it looks like small peas. ADD the cream, a little at a time until moist, but manageable. Set aside.

    Filling- In a large glass bowl:
    1 carton fresh sliced or frozen strawberries (w/sugar), 1 1/2 bag of frozen peaches, 1/4 cup good bourbon*, 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp of the following: ginger, cinnamon, tablespoon sea salt, lemon juice. 2 tablespoons  cornstarch or tapioca starch. 

    How:
    Mix the filling well. Pour into a buttered iron skillet. Place on the stove, medium high, for about 5 minutes until ingredients become syrupy. Take off the stove.  ADD the bourbon and mix again. 

    NOW:
    Add moist crust mix in large spoonfuls on top of the peach filling and sprinkle with a little sugar. There will be spaces and gaps, but they'll come together and puff up during baking. Brush some more cream over the top, sprinkling top crust with a little sugar.
    Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is puffy, and filling is bubbly. Remove to the counter and let it sit for at least 15 mintues.

    Serve hot with vanilla ice cream!

    Let me know how you like it. Add comments, questions, or suggestions freely! Thanks!
    * If you skip the alcohol, use a good rum or bourbon extract.




    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Luscious Puffy Seafood Pot Pie


    Luscious Puffy Seafood Pot Pie




















                       If you're trying to thrill someone in your life who is contemplating to head out, this is what you fix beforehand!  College student, long lost friend, X honey, former locker mate. Comfort food is calling with such richness that will leave 'em verklempt with this taste treasure.

     This looks like a lot, but trust me. It’s not difficult.  Okay. Let’s do it!

    Ingredients Needed: ( recipe measurements below this list)

    12 oz. crabmeat ( fresh, or pouched)
    8 oz raw deveined shrimp or crawfish tails, or 4 imitation sliced crabmeat sticks
    2 puff pastry crusts, thawed on counter
    green, red and/or yellow bell pepper
    red onion
    white or yellow onion
    celery
    1 medium potato ( diced and microwaved for 1 minute)
    red pepper flakes
    smoked paprika
    roasted minced garlic
    dry sherry or dry white wine or >  ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
    1 quart half & half or 2 cans Fat Free evaporated milk 
    1 egg white  ( or whole egg, beaten)
    1 can cream of mushroom soup

    Seafood Ingredients:

    12 oz  fresh or pouched crabmeat, or TWO 5- 51/2 oz cans , drained well.
    12 small or medium raw, peeled and deveined shrimp or crawfish tails 
    ( Put in a bowl for later)

    For crust:

    2 puff pastry crusts, rolled out slightly to fit 6  round or square individual baking dishes.
    ( I used the cutest square dishes with little handles as seen on this page) 




    "AwhhHhhhh…!"


    Sauté  in skillet:

    4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

    4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of flour and make a roux


    ADD: ¼ cup red bell pepper
    ¼ cup green and/or yellow bell pepper
    ½ finely diced medium red onion
     ½ finely diced medium white onion ( yellow is okay )
     ½ cup finely diced celery
    1 small microwaved potato ( 1 minute only) 
    1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, plus 2 teaspoons of black and cayenne pepper
    ADD: ¼ cup dry sherry or dry white wine, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup half & half 
    and 1 tablespoon of roasted minced garlic
    Sauté  on LOW till tender and stir well.

    ADD:
    All seafood, and 1 cup frozen sweet peas 

    Spray baking dishes then fill  with cooking filling till 2/3 full ( or 1/4 inch from the dish rim); 
    Place crust on top and brush with egg. Pierce 6 slits. Add two spinach leaves on top
    Place all on baking sheets.   Bake at 400°  for 20 to 30 minutes.  Put on counter to cool.  

    Now. At last. You've made something so special, you'll be remembered for all time!
    And at last... well, click the following and enjoy!
    At last: ( song originally by Etta James to be sung while you do this part.)

    "At Last"- Etta James (when the meal is finished!)











    Simple Focaccia D'Italia

          Well, I did it again! Here I was, minding my own business while making my 40 year old delicious homemade bread recipe, when I'll be darned if my invisible Pookah turned on the television to the Food channel. It tripped on Anne Burrell's recipe for focaccia bread. I couldn't believe how uncomplicated it was! (Thanks, Anne! You related to me?)
          Then... of course, I tried to put some beautiful stuff in it, reshape it, and tweak the measures to make several loaves. 

    For one HUGE Loaf ( round, rectangular, size of a mini planet)
    Preparation time is about 20 minutes, 
    Rising time, around 1 hour and 45 minutes.  
    Baking, about 20 minutes.


                                                                        Easy Focaccia D'Italia 

    ~1 1/2 cups warm water with 1 package of yeast

    Add a large tablespoon of sugar, and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; Put it aside to let the yeast and liquids marry till it foams (about 10-15 minutes

    ~Right after you fix the yeast mixture, put 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomato in some olive oil and/or Italian dressing) for 15 minutes as well to hydrate. 

    ( You can use Roma fresh, diced. If so, skip the hydration)

    ***Meanwhile:  Pour 5 cups of all purpose or unbleached flour into a LARGE BOWL ( or food processor with dough blade) 

    Stir in at least 2 tablespoons** each of the following ingredients:

    Coarse Sea or Kosher salt **
    Brown sugar
    Dried Sweet Basil
    Dried Rosemary
    Dried Italian seasoning
    sesame or poppy seeds
    **garlic powder ( optional in amount)
    Mix together 

    Corn Meal (See bottom when ready to bake)

    Then:

    *** Add the chopped hydrated sun dried tomatoes***

    1 cup diced pitted Calamata olives

    1/2 cup Asiago or Grated Parmesan cheese

    1/2 cup grated  Gruyere or Sharp Cheddar cheese

    Mix again all ingredients. ADD YEAST LIQUID. Mix well and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. ( if too wet, dust with a little more flour. If too dry, add a little warm water.)

    Form ball. In glass bowl, pour enough extra virgin olive oil OVER the ball.

    Turn it over and pour a little MORE! ( Yes, it is an oily bread, so don't worry about excess!)

    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it nap for about 50 minutes. ( If you are making more than one loaf, now's the time to start the process with the next one-- same ingredients, process, and amount exactly.)

    When you remove the risen dough, punch down and place it in a large PIZZA pan that is sprinkled with CORN MEAL. TURN OVER and sprinkle more corn meal. Make sure the edges are tucked into the pan.. Pour a little more oil and let it rise for another 50 minutes or until doubled. 

     Loosely tent cover with foil (do not wrap.) Bake at 400°  for about 25-30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. 

    Remove and let it cool~Report  your results to me and tell me what you think~ 

    God bless you and thanks world.  Once again, you've given me someone to talk to and share with! 

    ( That is, besides my Pookah!)






    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Baklava-Neighbor Friendly

                                                Baklava 




    Yes!

    Middle eastern folks know how to get to the heart with beautiful foods and pastries made with phyllo dough!  ( found in most grocery store freezers.) Greeks use this dough for spanakopita (spinach pie).  Arabics, Jewish, Lebanese, and Syrians, make a wide range of stuffed pastries with its insanely leaf-like texture. Its versatility allows even a new cook to make something decadent without too much fuss.  Baklava is the most popular with its aromatic fresh spices, unusual floral oils, nuts, and fruits. Here's how to get the Cookie'z (that's me) shortcut and easy version. Double the recipe if you're going to make a bunch. 
    Thank you, Alton Brown of Food Network for coming closest to my Sitty's recipe which follows! 

    Tips:

    ~~Call your International Grocery store or quality grocers for:
     Rose water and Orange Blossom water  needed in this recipe!

    ~~ Get a good pastry brush; the best is silicone

    ~~ Make sure the dough thaws on the counter for at least an hour before use, and keep some waxed paper nearby to cover it since its consistency is as thin as leaves and can dry out during the filling process.

    Ingredients you'll need1 lb of phyllo dough 
    ( Ground whole spices are great, but spices can be granular.) <--- shortcut!
     cinnamon, allspice , rose water, orange blossom water or orange zest, lemon juice, sugar, honey, 2 lbs unsalted butter,  water; Small clean spray bottle. Measurements are below.


    Only 7 Basic Steps (same time it took for the Lord to create the the world)
    (Joanie and I worked together. It helped!)
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Step 1:

    FILLING: 

    In a large glass bowl:.

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    •  3 tablespoons ground allspice 
    •  6 ounces each of the following nuts:
    •  blanched almonds, pistachios, walnuts and/or pecans. Mix all ingredients. 
    • Put next to your working area.
    Step 2:
    • SYRUP:
    •  In a large sauce pan:
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and allspice 
    • 1 (2-inch) piece grated fresh orange peel, tbsp orange zest OR 1/3 cup orange blossom water
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Boil for up to 10 minutes. Take it off the stove to cool completely. (You can also put it in your fridge to speed it up.)
    Step 3:
    Butter Mixture for painting the phyllo sheets:
    18 ounces or 5 sticks  clarified unsalted butter, (Clarified is a term that simply means butter that is melted to a boil for about 2 minutes until clearer (ghee). The water portion within the butter helps to thin it out and extend the amount!)

    Fill up your spray bottle with a cup of rose water.


    Ready?


    Step 4

    Assembly: 
    Prepare a buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch metal sheet or pan,
    You'll need about 22 sheets of phyllo. (Try to work quickly, and cover unused phyllo sheets with waxed paper during the buttering applications.)
    S-t-a-c-k :
    4 sheets of phyllo evenly into the pan; using a pastry or small paint brush, spread butter generously covering the sheets; SPRAY rose water all over.  Now add 4 more sheets, this time, every other sheet buttered.
    ADD: 1/3 of nut/ spice mixture. spray more rose water; Then stack 4 more sheets, every other buttered; ADD 1/3 more of nut mixture and spray with more rose water; 
    Add  5 more sheets, every other one lightly buttered, remaining nut mixture, then remaining 5 sheets, including top sheet, each buttered. Spray with more rose water. Sprinkle with some cinnamon or/and any extra nut mixture. TRIM OR FOLD and pinch IN the dry edges.

    Step 5
    Cut diagonally and then across to make 2 inch diamond shapes or squares. 
    Bake at 350°  for approximately 50 minutes or until top is browned and puffy.

    Step 6: 

    Remove from oven and let it cool for at least an hour. 
    NOW: CUT through the sections again with a soft bladed knife.  
    SPOON a generous amount of syrup over the sections, allowing each application to absorb and create a "shiny" top layer. Repeat until "sticky".

    Let it it sit w/out a cover for at least a few hours. Test the "bottom" of a piece, making sure it's not too wet, but still sticky. ( don't worry even if it is. It'll cool and solidify) Leave it uncovered for about 6 hours.


                                                                    Almost done!!

    Step 7:
    Using a spatula, pull out two pieces at a time,  placing them in a cupcake liner then on a foil - lined or parchment covered counter and cover with more foil (optional). Leave them alone for another hour. YES. I said so.
    Place all in a large container or cookie tin.  Keep for up to 3 weeks.

    Watch folks' jaw drop when they taste! Congratulations! You did it!!!
    Please let us know how it worked out. Leave a comment about results, with any questions or concerns!



    Baklava-Neighbor Friendly

                                                Baklava 







    Middle eastern folks know how to get to the heart with beautiful foods and pastries made with phyllo dough!  ( found in most grocery store freezers.) Greeks use this dough for spanakopita (spinach pie).  Arabics, Jewish, Lebanese, and Syrians, make a wide range of stuffed pastries with its insanely leaf-like texture. Its versatility allows even a new cook to make something decadent without too much fuss.  Baklava is the most popular with its aromatic fresh spices, unusual floral oils, nuts, and fruits. Here's how to get the Cookie'z (that's me) shortcut and easy version. Double the recipe if you're going to make a bunch. 
    Thank you, Alton Brown of Food Network for coming closest to my Sitty's recipe which follows! 

    Tips:
    ~~Call your International Grocery store or quality grocers for:
     Rose water and Orange Blossom water  needed in this recipe!

    ~~ Get a good pastry brush; the best is silicone

    ~~ Make sure the dough thaws on the counter for at least an hour before use, and keep some waxed paper nearby to cover it since its consistency is as thin as leaves and can dry out during the filling process.

    Ingredients you'll need1 lb of phyllo dough 
    ( Ground whole spices are great, but spices can be granular.) <--- shortcut!
     cinnamon, allspice , rose water, orange blossom water or orange zest, lemon juice, sugar, honey, 2 lbs unsalted butter,  water; Small clean spray bottle. Measurements are below.


    Only 7 Basic Steps (same time it took for the Lord to create the the world)
    (Joanie and I worked together. It helped!)
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Step 1:

    FILLING: 

    In a large glass bowl:.

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    •  3 tablespoons ground allspice 
    •  6 ounces each of the following nuts:
    •  blanched almonds, pistachios, walnuts and/or pecans. Mix all ingredients. 
    • Put next to your working area.
    Step 2:
    • SYRUP:
    •  In a large sauce pan:
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 1/4 cups water
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and allspice 
    • 1 (2-inch) piece grated fresh orange peel, tbsp orange zest OR 1/3 cup orange blossom water
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Boil for up to 10 minutes. Take it off the stove to cool completely. (You can also put it in your fridge to speed it up.)
    Step 3:
    Butter Mixture for painting the phyllo sheets:
    18 ounces or 5 sticks  clarified unsalted butter, (Clarified is a term that simply means butter that is melted to a boil for about 2 minutes until clearer (ghee). The water portion within the butter helps to thin it out and extend the amount!)

    Fill up your spray bottle with a cup of rose water.

    Ready?

    Step 4
    Assembly: 
    Prepare a buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch metal sheet or pan,
    You'll need about 22 sheets of phyllo. (Try to work quickly, and cover unused phyllo sheets with waxed paper during the buttering applications.)
    S-t-a-c-k :
    4 sheets of phyllo evenly into the pan; using a pastry or small paint brush, spread butter generously covering the sheets; SPRAY rose water all over.  Now add 4 more sheets, this time, each individually buttered.
    ADD: 1/3 of nut/ spice mixture. spray more rose water; Then stack 4 more sheets, each buttered; ADD 1/3 more of nut mixture and spray with more rose water; 
    Add  5 more sheets, EACH one lightly buttered, remaining nut mixture, then remaining 5 sheets, including top sheet. Spray with more rose water. Sprinkle with some cinnamon or/and any extra nut mixture. TRIM OR FOLD and press IN the dry edges.

    Step 5
    Cut diagonally and then across to make 2 inch diamond shapes or squares. 
    Bake at 350°  for approximately 50 minutes or until top is browned and puffy.

    Step 6: Remove from oven and let it cool for at least an hour. 
    NOW: CUT through the sections again with a soft bladed knife.  
    SPOON a generous amount of syrup over the sections, allowing each application to absorb and create a "shiny" top layer. Repeat until "sticky".

    Let it it sit w/out a cover for at least a few hours. Test the "bottom" of a piece, making sure it's not too wet, but still sticky. ( don't worry even if it is. It'll cool and solidify) Leave it uncovered for about 6 hours.

                                                                    Almost done!!
    Step 7:
    Using a spatula, pull out two pieces at a time,  placing them in a cupcake liner then on a foil - lined or parchment covered counter and cover with more foil (optional). Leave them alone for another hour. YES. I said so.
    Place all in a large container or cookie tin.  Keep for up to 3 weeks.

    Watch folks' jaw drop when they taste! Congratulations! You did it!!!
    Please let us know how it worked out. Leave a comment about results, with any questions or concerns!