Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hamburger Rolls - The Ultimate in Softness ©

After buying hamburger rolls for the better part of my life, I decided to test various hamburger roll recipes; none seemed too rewarding - depressing at best! I finally came up with a recipe - and actually remembered what I did - for the common hamburger roll that is soft, fluffy and tasty and FAR beyond the pasty, tasteless rolls you buy in a super market. For those of you interested in making your own rolls, here is the recipe.

4 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/2 T. sugar
1-1/3 cups of warm bottled water
4 tsp. Vegetable oil
2 cups KA AP flour
2 cups Bread flour
1-1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp bottled water
beaten egg white.

In large stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast, sugar, and warm water. Mix well with beaters, and let stand until foamy and/or creamy -about 8-12 minutes.

Add oil, 2 cups of bread flour, and salt. Stir well with beaters. Remove the beaters and insert the bread hooks. Add the remaining 2 cups of AP flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough comes together. Add addition flour if necessary to form a smooth, cohesive, elastic ball of dough. Flour counter, and knead further as necessary to get a smooth, elastic ball of dough. Should not be too sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn so dough is coated on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk - about 40 minutes.

Weigh dough, and divide into 8 equal pieces – or more for smaller buns. Roll and form the dough in balls/rounds. Flatten slightly, then place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, or on a cookie sheet lined with oiled, floured parchment paper. Let rise for another 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.

Beat the egg white and water. Carefully brush the egg white onto rolls. Bake rolls in preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake and Blueberry Bread

The following two recipes are excellent desserts, and very easy to make. The Brown Sugar Pound cake was originally on and provided to King Arthur's Baking Circle by bmwatl, an esteemed BC member. The Blueberry Cake was provided to King Arthur Baking Circle by C. Stevens.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake - Smooth and dense in texture, this cake has a wonderful caramel flavor.

Cake Ingredients

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour or sugar a 10-inch tube pan, a 12-cup Bundt pan, or two 9" x 5" bread pans. If using bread pans, divide evenly between the two.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

At medium speed with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for 4 or 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer running at low speed, add the oil and beat until incorporated; then, beat in the eggs, one at a time(*). At low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until ingredients are blended; do not overbeat. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour into your prepared pan(s), and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove cake from oven and check doneness with a cake tester, metal skewer, or toothpick. If tester does not come out clean, bake for an additional 10 minutes, then test again. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely. Frost with Brown Sugar Frosting or Brown Sugar Icing.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 pound light brown sugar (16-ounce package
or about 2-1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 5-ounce can of evaporated milk
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hint: When making a cake recipe that calls for several eggs to be added one at a time, break open all eggs in a separate bowl, slightly beat , then pour into the cake mixture a little at a time.
Blueberry Bread (*** )


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint blueberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice – optional
2 eggs -- beaten
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan or three mini-pans (about 6 x 3).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the blueberries, the lemon powder and nuts if you choose to use them. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk and oil; add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Transfer mixture to prepared pan(s). Bake large loaf about 55 minutes, smaller loaves 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan 15 minutes; remove from pan and cool on a rack.

You can use dried blueberries pre-soaked in water for a while, but fresh blueberries are best

(***) This recipe has been slightly modified from the original recipe. The original recipe can be found at

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Il cocktail di aragosta con la menta

Lobster cocktail with mint is a delightful appetizer - expecially for the hot, steamy days of summer. This Sicilian appetizer is a warmup to most any meal.


1 Large lobster tail (or two small ones)
1 TBS of vinegar
1 stalk of celery
3 lemons
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper
finely chopped parsley (only the leaves)
Mint leaves (2-per serving)


Clean the lobster and dip in a container of cold salt-water for 30 minutes. Put a pot of water over medium heat and add salt and vinegar; bring to a simmer. Dip the lobster in the pot and simmer until done (do not over cook). Remove when cooked and place in a salad-bowl, let Cool and dice into 1/2 inch chunks.

Wash the celery, dice it into 1/4" pieces, then place in water with the juice of 2 lemons for half hour. In the meantime, flavor the diced lobster chunks with oil, salt and pepper. Add the diced celery, and the juice from the remaining lemon; stir well. Cover the salad-bowl and store in refrigerator for half hour. Divide evenly into cocktail glasses. Before serving, add the chopped parsley and garnish with the mint leaves.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Amish Peach Crumb Pie

The Amish are an incredibly simple, yet complex people. The family unit is forever binding with them. Those of you who are reading this blog and have had them as neighbors or have dealt with them on a personal level for any amount of time, know what I mean. They are generous, very introverted, yet will share whatever they have with a friend - either Amish or English (non Amish) The following recipe was given to me by one of the Amish families here in MO. Pie is always an appropriate dessert with just about any meal. Served with a few scoops of your favorite ice cream or sherbert, you can't go wrong. We had this pie a year ago at an Amish wedding reception I attended. It was a small reception; only 350 people - all but three were Amish. They sure know how to cook and bake. Their recipes are simple, yet lavish in taste.

Filling Ingredients

4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca powder

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Mix together gently, peaches, sugar, salt and tapioca. Let blend for 5 minutes before spooning into pie shell.

Crumb Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine; melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
Mix ingredients well and sprinkle over pie shell. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Gyoza with Fried rice and dipping sauce

This recipe has been in the family since the 60's. The first time I had it, I thought it was a Mexican dish. Duh!!! What do I know? It's a very tasty snack, or can be a main meal served with fried rice. We resurrected it a few days ago for the first time in several years.

Gyoza Ingredients

1 Lb Lean ground beef
3 medium sized mushrooms finely diced
2 green onions (scallions) finely diced
1 Stalk celery finely diced
3 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp Ground ginger
2 Cloves garlic finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped cabbage
1 Package wonton wrappers
1 beaten egg white
Vegetable oil for frying (*)

Mix all ingredients together. Place 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of the meat mix inside a wonton skin. Fold skin diagonally, so you end up with a triangle. Dampen the edges of the skin with egg white and press together so they will seal and not come apart in the cooking process. Place stuffed skins in hot oil - 5-6 at a time - and fry until deep golden brown. Remove from frying oil and place on paper towels. Place on oven proof dish and keep warm in the oven until all are done.

Fried Rice

2 Cups cooked Jasmine rice
2 Cups Chicken broth
4 Strips crispy bacon crumbled
1 Stalk celery finely chopped
3 Green onions finely chopped
2-3 Mushrooms finely chopped

Cook rice per instructions in chicken broth-not water. Let cool, then add remaining ingredients to rice and mix well. Sautee rice mixture on medium high in a large pan until the rice is browned and heated through.

Dipping Sauce

1/3 Cup Soy Sauce

1/3 cup Habanero Vinegar

1/2 cup water

4-6 Chive stalks that have blossoms on them (Gone to seed)

We make our own vinegars, so I don't know if Habanero vinegar is available in the stores, but it's easy to make. Add 4-6 quartered habaneros - seeds and all - chives, plus a few cloves of crushed garlic to a quart/gallon- jar/bottle. Pour heated (not real hot) vinegar into the jar of peppers, chives, and garlic and let it sit for a month or longer in a dark place so the flavors will infuse into the vinegar. It's only slightly warm, but has the wonderful flavor of the habanero. Dip the cooked gyoza into the sauce.

The gyoza can be fried, steamed or boiled. We prefer the fried version.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Il Prosciutto ha avvolto i cuscini di pollo

This is a fairly quick recipe that is very rewarding.


1/2 Cup frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted
1/2 Cup ricotta cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
4 B/S chicken breasts, about 6-8 ounces each
4 Slices of prosciutto ham (preferrably imported)
2 TBS butter
1 TBS Olive oil
12 small onions or shallots (pearl onions are great here)
1 1/2 cup button mushrooms sliced in half
1 TBS all purpose flour
2/3 Cup dry white wine
1 1/4 Cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste


Drain defrosted spinach in a strainer, and press all the water out with a spoon. In a bowl, mix spinach with the ricotta and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Slit each breast through the side lengthwise and enlarge to form a pocket. Fill with the spinach mixture, reshape the chicken breasts, wrap each breast tightly in a slice of prosciutto and secure with cocktail toothpicks. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and brown the breasts for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a large, shallow ovenproof dish and keep warm until required.

Sautee the mushrooms and onions for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned . Stir in the flour then gradually add the wine and chicken stock. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Season and spoon the mixture around the chicken.

Cook the chicken uncovered in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the toothpicks. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

A nice accompaniment with this meal is a candied carrot puree, and steamed fresh green beans. Of course, a glass of chilled chardonnay wouldn't hurt either. Mangiare felice!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding has been a favorite of ours for years. We generally serve it at the Christmas meal with a standing rib roast, green beans, gravy, and mashed potato.

Yorkshire-Pudding batter needs to be cold. Make it a day ahead, and refrigerate.Serves: 8


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk

1. Sift together flour and salt. Place in bowl; make a well, and place eggs in center. Slowly whisk eggs into flour mixture until a paste forms. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup milk.Gradually whisk in remaining 2 cups milk. Cover with plastic; chill in the refrigeratorat least 4 hours, or overnight.

2. When roast is finished, set oven at 425 degrees. When pan has been deglazed, pour 1/4 cup reserved pan drippings into roasting pan. Heat pan and drippings until very hot, about 5 minutes. Remove batter from refrigerator, and shake or whisk well; quickly pour into hot pan. Cook until crisp and golden, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Alternate method would be to melt one stick of butter in a glass baking dish 8 1/2" x 11" then pour the batter into the dish with the melted butter. You can also make individual Yorkshire pudding servings by using a muffin tin with 1-TBS melted butter in each muffin section. I suggest getting a Texas-sized muffin tin.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pasta Primavera

With most fresh veggies fully available most of the year , pasta primavera is a nice meal - or anytime. It can be served hot or cold as a salad.

12 ounces uncooked spaghettini, vermicelli, penne, or ziti

• 2-1/2 cups (3-inch) diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)
• 1-1/2 cups shelled green peas (about 1-1/2 pounds unshelled)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
• 2 cups diced zucchini
• 1/2 cup sliced green onions
• 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or ham, chopped
• 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Asiago or fresh Parmesan cheese

To keep the prosciutto from sticking together in the pasta, lay it out on a plate to dry after you chop it. The rich, nutty flavor of the Asiago complements the saltiness of the prosciutto, but Parmesan can be substituted if necessary.

1. Bring water to a boil in a large Dutch oven, and add the pasta. Cook pasta for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, and cook 2 minutes. Add the peas, and cook for 1 minute. Drain well, and set aside.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini; saute 5 minutes. Add onions; saute 1 minute. Add broth and wine; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta mixture, basil, and oregano; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon oil, salt, pepper, and prosciutto. Spoon 1-1/4 cups primavera into each of 8 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1-1/2 tablespoons cheese. Yield: 8 servings.