Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rosemary Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt

For the Rolls:
1 cup water, warm (not hot)
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
3-1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the Topping

1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
sea salt, for sprinkling
fresh or dried rosemary
Have the 3 bowls you will need out before you start. Bring the butter and egg up to room temperature.
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and let rest in a mixing bowl for three minutes. Add butter and mix with a mixer on low until the butter is broken up (the mixture will look curdled). Add the egg and beat on low until incorporated. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar and salt. Add to the water/butter mixture and beat on low until the dough just comes together. The dough will be very sticky, but should clean the bowl. Form into a ball with your hands, transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about one-two hours. Once the dough has risen, break off fifteen even ball shaped pieces of dough and place in greased muffin tins and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Once risen, brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt as desired.

Bake in a 375 degrees oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. (For my oven 18 minutes is perfect).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Favorite Party Layer Dip

A couple years ago, I attended a holiday get together of some successful doctor and scientist types, many of whom were gourmets with pretty much unlimited entertaining budgets. I guess after I showed up at the same house for Halloween wearing the top half of military fatigues with skin colored leggings and my date wearing the bottom half of the fatigues with a skin colored T-shirt. . . we were "upper and lower G.I." I was considered, likely a nut, but fun to have at such event.

It was at a house the size of Rhode Island. There was stuffed breads with cheeses and nuts, roast beast under glass, elaborate cookies and all kinds of wonderful, exotic things. And what everyone was standing around, hoovering in like there was no tomorrow, and spilling on their formal shirts, was my simple layered bean dip. that took five minutes from start to oven. Go figure.

1 large can refried beans (minus 1/3 cup which you can save for a breakfast burrito) mixed with 1/2 heaping teaspoon Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning or southwest style seasoning of your choice
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 jar Mrs. Renfro's salsa (trust me on this, do not substitute if you can find it).
2 cups shredded cheese, mix of cheddar and monterey jack
1 large can sliced black olives
sliced green onions and/or tomato for garnish

Pre heat the oven at 325 degrees.

In medium casserole dish, layer the beans (in which you've mixed the Penzey's seasoning and red pepper) with the cream cheese, salsa, cheddar and olives, and sprinkle with a little green onion and tomato for color. Heat for about 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbling. Serve with sturdy chips.

Stand back.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Makes 24-26, serving 2-4.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of Penzey's Vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a bowl, mix flour with sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. In a small bowl, beat egg to blend with milk, vanilla and 2 tablespoons butter. Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir JUST until evenly moistened. (there may be some small lumps in the batter)

Place an aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat. When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water do the hustle on it (about 360 degrees)  brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter (a 1/8 cup measure is perfect for this).

In about 1 and  1/2 minutes, thin crusts will form on bottoms of balls (centers will still be wet); pierce the crust with a slender wood skewer (knitting needles work great) and gently pull shell to rotate the pancake ball until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into cup. Cook until crust on bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce, about another minute, then rotate ball with skewer until the ridge formed as the pancake first cooked is on top. Cook, turning occasionally with skewer, until balls are evenly browned and no longer moist in the center, another 2-3 minutes (depending on the type of pan, such as teflon, it make take a couple extra minutes but with a good seasoned cast iron the total cooking time for each batch should be about 4-5 minutes

.Check by piercing center of last pancake ball added to pan with skewer--it should come out clean--or by breaking the ball open slightly; if balls start to get too brown, turn heat to low until they are cooked in the center. Lift cooked balls from pan and serve hot.

If you want to make filled ones, add a half a teaspoon of jam or a small spoonful of cooked sausage to the batter just before you make your first turn.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Oven Fried Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Oven Fried Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Seasoned flour
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons Penzey's Ozark seasoning
(there are stores across the country or you can buy online, see the lower sidebar link list for the address).
1/4 teaspoon black or chipotle pepper. (I use half and half)

If you want to use a store bought seasoned flour, my all time favorite is Kentucky Kernel by Hodgson Mill. Walmart carries it, as does the Marsh chain in IND and you can get it on line. It's awesome but it does have a tiny bit of MSG in it, so if you have anyone in the family with allergies to that take note.

Prep 4-6 pieces of chicken by dipping each in a mixture of 1 egg whisked with about 1/2 cup water. Then drop and flip the moistened pieces in a small dish containing about a cup of seasoned flour until thoroughly coated. (do not save the flour that has been in contact with the chicken for reuse)

Place on a shallow pan that's been generously greased with lard and/or bacon fat. Use enough to leave more than a sheen but not so much you can stick your finger in it and leave an impression. You want just enough to crisp the chicken, not leave a layer of liquid oil.
Bake chicken at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turn and bake another 30.

Cut up enough potatoes to feed 3-4 people into 2 inch chunks. Sprinkle with rosemary or more Ozark seasoning, or just salt, pepper and garlic powder, whatever suits your fancy. Sprinkle on some olive oil (I rarely actually measure in cooking, I'm guessing about 3 Tablespoons) and toss to coat.
Bake alongside of the chicken in a small cooking pan for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. If potatoes appear too dry after first stir, add another teaspoon of olive oil.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Oatmeal and Potato Bread

This makes one dense, moist loaf that is good plain, toasted or as an accompaniment to beef or lamb.

2 baking potatoes (you want a floury type potato like the Russet, not a waxy potato)
3 1/2 cups King Arthur's bread flour (with extra for dusting)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, finely chopped
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon Molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 Tablespoons uncooked oatmeal
2 Tablespoons powdered milk
1 cup slightly warm water

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch bread pan. Cut the potatoes into large pieces, but do not peel. (leaving the skin on for cooking results in a moister potato). Cover the potato chunks with water and bring to a boil, cooking for about 22-25 minutes (you want tender, but not falling apart.) Drain, remove skin and mash until smooth. Let cool

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl that is slightly warm. Cut in the butter until well blended (or blend in with your fingers) Stir in the sugar, molasses, yeast, oats and powdered milk. Mix in the cooled mashed potato, then add the water and gently mix into a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured clean surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (just until smooth and elastic). Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour)

Turn the dough out again and knead lightly, shaping into a loaf and placing in the greased pan. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven for 425 degrees C (220 C.)

Brush the surface of the loaf with water or milk and sprinkle with a few pinches of dry oatmeal. Bake for 25-30 minutes (It should be light brown and sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Dark Chocolate Stout Ice Cream

7 ounces dark chocolate chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Youngs Double Chocolate Stout
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, heat the milk (just the milk, not the cream too), salt and sugar until warm.

Place the shaved chocolate in a bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.

In another small bowl whisk the egg yolks

VERY slowly, drizzle the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks mixture back into the saucepan and place on medium heat.

Continue to cook, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, stirring continuously, just until the mixture coats the spatula.

Pour the mixture through the strainer over the dark chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Whisk in the Stout, vanilla and cream. Place bowl in a much bigger bowl full of ice to super chill it, placing it in the refrigerator until thoroughly cold.

Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions. Makes about a quart.