Using up the refrigerator (that’s what I do around here)

We had lots of unused vegetables from our CSA and leftover ingredients from Feastly and life, and needed to get rid of them. So… I made a casserole; a crazy veggie corn casserole. And it has in it: 2 eggplants, 6 ears of corn , 6 bell peppers, 3 hot peppers, 1 red onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of leftover rotisserie chicken. This was literally what we had in our fridge, and it needed to go away.

So I diced and salted the eggplant. Cut the corn off the cob. Diced the peppers (bell and hot). Diced the chicken (again). And mixed it all up in a bowl.

Then I made a cheese sauce. Oh god. Diced the red onion. Got it simmering in olive oil. Added several tablespoons of all-purpose flour (too many tbsp of flour). Added oil back to try to recover from too many tbsp of flour. Then pulled out leftover chicken broth. And in that pan, I keep stirring and stirring until it got thin enough to add a quarter of a pound of parmesan cheese and an eighth a pound of cheddar cheese (both of these were also leftovers). I mentioned this was a cheese sauce, right? And then I added a little bit of milk to thin it out more.

And after Laura very kindly transferred the mix of veggies into our covered casserole, I poured the sauce over and mixed it in. Then I covered it with panko crumbs from our pantry and shoved it in the oven at 350°F.

We’ll let you know how it turned out.

 

P.S. We also made apple sauce today, finishing the apples from our insane, mistaken purchase of a bushel of apples.

Dictated by Adam, transcribed and edited by Laura

Diet Wrecker

If you’re on a diet or otherwise trying to avoid sweet-stuff, seriously, abandon ship/post now. This one contains ALL the butter. Also sugar. Lots of sugar

Still here? Awesome, let me begin gushing about these cinnamon rolls.

These are not the typical cinnamon rolls with a cinnamon-sugar mixture laced through. These have a spiced cinnamon-brown sugar mix laced in, with cardamom and coriander. I would have used the star anise called for in the original, but a) we didn’t have any left when I thought we did and b) the grocery store didn’t have any on the shelves (what the heck Wegmans, weird place to fail on me).

Very, very addictive. We had a couple friends over for a little dessert party hang out – pretty sure all four of us had at least two rolls each. Which still left an entire pan of more. This, dear readers, is why I irregularly take baked goods into work – my desk is not in the same area as where we usually leave food for everyone. Therefore, no mindless snacking. Not saying I never eat what I bring in. Just, no where near as much as I would if we kept the excess in our apartment.

Fair warning, this is a long recipe, in terms of time. There’s two different dough rises and ingredients should come to room temperature before even starting. Look elsewhere for a quick dessert, but these can be made ahead, frozen, and then finished the day you need them.

Man, I really want another cinnamon roll right now…

Spiced Sticky Rolls
(with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 2 nine inch pans, ~ 24 rolls
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 24; Desserts: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, lightly warmed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tsp butter, unsalted, at room temperature (if at all possible)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp (ish) of vanilla extract (pretty sure I accidentally poured in more than a tbsp…)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon OR 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom OR cardamom seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar, dark
  • 1 cup/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk (or less if you like thicker icing)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if desired (for thicker icing)
  1. Dough:
    1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and set aside until a bit bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the milk mixture, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough becomes very thick.
    2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and warm, about 7 minutes OR switch the stand mixer to a dough hook and knead until taut and smooth, about 5 minutes.
    3. Wipe out your bowl and lightly oil it. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and then turn to get it coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place, to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. Filling:
    1. Grind together any whole spices you are using until fine, then mix in the pre-ground spices. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, then cream the sugar mixture into the butter.
  3. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 by 24 inches. You’ll want a big work surface for this. Once rolled out, slather the butter mixture thickly across the dough, making sure to spread it nearly to the edges. Roll up along the long side of the dough, into a taut and tight roll – this works better with two people rolling the dough in sync.
  4. Cut the dough roll into 24 individual rolls – we found our sharp chef’s knife worked better than a bench scrapper. Divide the rolls among the prepared pans, then cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F
    1. Making tonight: Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes (ours were slightly gooily underdone [still delicious!] at 18 minutes). Drizzle (or douse…) with the icing (described below) and serve warm.
    2. Making ahead: Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool. Freeze in their pans or a freezer bag. To finish, allow to thaw in the refrigerator over night and bake in the morning at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Frost with icing (described below) and serve warm
  6. Icing:
    1. Beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. Add more sugar as necessary to achieve your desired thickness/consistency.

Pretentious Pizza

Also known as ‘Grown-up Pizza’. Yep, I understand how utterly snobbish the title and first line sound. But serious, what else am I going to call pizza involving figs and brie? Oh, and caramelized onions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pizza is one of those things around here: we own a pizza stone (and leave it in the stove all the time to even out heat in the oven) but don’t make it very often. Which probably explains why the finished product was square tonight. Ledo’s, I am not and would like to make round pizzas…. You’d think if I can for pie, I’d be able to with pizza. But no-O-o. 🙂

The pizza was utterly delicious by the way.

Tonight was actually testing two new recipes: the thin crust and the topping combination. The crust came out pretty good – rolled it out a bit too thin so folded it over on itself which created some air pockets when parbaking. Wasn’t a problem per se, but definitely something I’ll keep in mind next time. Tasted a bit like sourdough bread, except, you know, thin and almost crispy (not burnt crispy, approaching cracker crispy).

The topping combination worked out really well – as Adam said when we sat down to dinner, this was a bit outside his comfort zone. After the first bite, his comfort zone had expanded. 🙂 Fresh (green) figs with brie and a caramelized red onion, with a drizzle of honey reminded both of us of an appetizer I’ve made occasionally: dried figs split in half with a smear of goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. The tartness from goat cheese was brought in here by the onion (although not a great deal – red onions == sweeter than yellow onions). And I really like slightly goo-y brie melted just a bit into onion.

Good crust, good toppings, just not quite right with each other though. We’ll be keeping both recipes, just not using them together.

Next time though? DEFINITELY caramelizing the onions in a slow cooker ahead of time. I swear every recipe I’ve ever seen lies about how long caramelizing onions takes.

Thin Pizza Crust

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes two 10-inch crusts
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 35; Pizza: 2 recipes left

  • 6 fluid oz of lukewarm water (~3/4 cup water for them without digital scales [get a digital scale. I’m making the transition from measurements to weights right now and it’s pretty awesome])
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 10 oz (~2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  1. Combine the water and yeast; stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes to proof. Combine with the flour and salt in a bowl and mix until the dough comes together, kinda shaggy.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (along with any loose dough from the bowl). Knead until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic. It should still be moist and slightly tacky. Knead in 1 tbsp of flour at a time if too wet.
  3. Set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1.5 hours.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 portions. The 2nd portion can be used or frozen (at least I hope so – the 2nd one from tonight is in our freezer right now). Gently press, stretch and roll the dough out until 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Top and bake as directed in your pizza recipe

Caramelized Onion, Brie and Fig Pizza

Original from Heather Crhisto
Makes 1 pizza
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 35; Pizza: 2 recipes left

  • 1x pizza crust
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz brie
  • 5-6 fresh figs
  • Honey, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare a baking sheet/pan.
  2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then add the sliced onion and sprinkle with kosher salt; sweat for 5-7 minutes. Add the water, stir, and continue cooking until the onions are soft and the water has evaporated. Add the red wine vinegar and cook, stirring, until the vinegar has cooked off. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Roll the pizza crust out, brush with the olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (this parbakes the crust).
  4. Meanwhile, slice the brie and figs into slices the size of your choosing. Thin brie slices will be more melty (and wonderful).
  5. Spread the onions over the crust, then top with the brie, then layer on the figs. If desired, drizzle honey over the pizza.
  6. Bake until onions are hot and brie is melted, 5-7 minutes. Slice and enjoy.

First from the new batch

Somehow, or other, I managed to actually try one of the recipes that made it through elimination off a computer screen. See friends had a cookout for the July 4th weekend and asked us to bring a dessert – I’ve got some of those to try! So Adam and I whipped up a batch of the Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble. It being rhubarb and berries season at Wegmans. But uh, slightly … modified. See Adam’s mom makes these fruit crumbles in a deep black (oven-safe) bowl that tastes really good and is easy to serve, having been baked in the serving bowl and all. Her’s involves significantly more alcohol than any I’ve ever made though 🙂

I think this recipe needed a) a smaller dice of the rhubarb and b) the 9″x13″ baking pan specified. I’m sure the depth of the bowl affected how things cooked and that I would have gotten a more even bake with a flatter dish. Adam’s mom’s version goes in at a lower temperature for longer, I think.

::sighs:: I had a voice dictation of the recipe from her. Deleted that after transcribing it into my computer. The first one that was stolen. No back up. Very sad Laura. Thing I was actually most upset about, since everything else was replaceable. I may be able to convince Capers to dictate the recipe again. Some year when we’re in the same place for a holiday.

Any rate, the end result for the crumble I did make was a bit too astringent and acidic from the rhubarb (hence the need for a smaller dice, so it would have cooked more), the blackberries didn’t quite go with, and I definitely needed more sugar to counter-balance everything. End vote was, not good enough bones shown to try and fiddle with it.

Hurray, one less recipe to copy out!

Blackberry-Rhubarb Crumble

serves 8-12
original from TheKitchn.com

Fruit

  • 18 oz blackberries, rinsed
  • 1 lb rhubarb, rinsed & cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • small pinch of kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Toss the blackberries and rhubarb together, gently, with the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pour into a large, oven-safe, deep bowl.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and work the two together with your hands. Squeeze and pinch until clumpy with loose crumbs at the bottom of the bowl. Drop the clumps over the fruit then shake the crumbs evenly over the top. Sprinkle with pecans, then pour the melted butter evenly over everything; make sure to wet everything.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and crumble baked through, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving (suggest serving with ice cream).

 

We’ve replaced the camera, so pictures will start happening again (yay!)

Raspberry Danish

Yeah, once again my brain was eaten by a book on Tuesday night which kinda prevents writing a blog post for Wednesday morning… I am really missing having a buffer but haven’t seemed to make the time yet to build one. Warg. Like everyone else, too much stuff going on.

(The book, btw, is Jo Walton’s My Real Children – and yes, I really liked it.)

So, a raspberry danish. Honestly, I think this wasn’t worth the time/work. It looks very pretty but only tastes fairly good. And when needing to plan around 2 different one hour rises plus cutting and weaving time (not all that much time, more brain power expenditure than time expenditure) before the danish ever gets in the oven, the recipe needs to blow me away. This one, the filling okay and the pastry was too sweet for my tastes. I’m sure I could decrease the sugar and find a new filling that I like better (I do like raspberries btw). But the bones of the recipe just don’t seem worth the time

It was very pretty thoughRaspberry Danishes

Raspberry Danish

4 loaves
Original from That Skinny Chick can Bake
Recipe Count – 6 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder:  2 more left, Subsection – Dessert Breads: 1 more

Dough

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 – 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 3 tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  1. Combine the sugar, salt, yeast, and 2/3 cup flour in a bowl.
  2. Heat the milk and butter in a small pan over low heat until the butter melts and the mixture is very warm but less than 115°F (check with a digital thermometer – if the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast). Slowly add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the egg and 2/3 cup flour; beat to incorporate. Stir in enough additional flour (about 1 1/3 cups) to make a soft, sticky dough. Knead until smooth, elastic and no longer very sticky (add a bit of flour if necessary). Form into a ball and place in a large, greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. To prepare the filling, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and the berries; mix in the cornstarch mixture. Over medium heat, gently simmer until the sauce thickens, roughly a couple minutes. The raspberries will break down somewhat, but not all of them and not completely. Set aside.
  5. Punch down the dough, then divide it into 4 equal pieces, shaping each into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time, roll it out on a lightly-floured surface into roughly a 12″ x 15″ rectangle. Spread about a fourth of the raspberry mixture down the middle of the dough. Then on either side of the filling, cut the dough into 1″ wide strips. Fold the strips alternately across the center and then fold over the ends. Transfer to a greased baking sheet then cover the pan with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F, then bake until the top is light brow, about 20 minutes.

End result is that no, I’m not keeping this recipe. Also, I’m setting aside the two recipes in my drinks section – they both involve carbonation and learning to deal with carbonation/brewing things is going to be its own learning project. Much like learning to can things will be. So, down to 4 recipes total.

Which means it’s time to start sorting through the pile of bookmarks to recipes, figure out which of the 78 I’ll be copying out. Oy, my hand hurts thinking about it.

Those are no muffins

Apparently rhubarb season is really short in our area – tried finding some at Wegmans for two weeks and nada. Was randomly at Eastern Market last Saturday and the first place asked at said that the season had just passed. But the second place had some out (hurrah visual recognition!) – aaand only took cash. I don’t really carry cash any more but I had a little bit and at $6/lb, only needing a stalk, two bucks covered it. So, very lucky there.

This one was the second strawberry-type muffin I’ve been saving for the summer and I am very glad to a) eat them and b) finally get them out of my binder! I don’t make breakfast stuff too often and am glad I made the time for these.

All that said, these Strawberry Rhubarb muffins (with cinnamon streusel topping) are NOT muffins.

They’re cupcakes.

Seriously, they’re sweet enough to taste like one and I really don’t care if you don’t make cupcakes with fruit or require frosting on top of your cupcakes – these are sweet enough to fit my category description.

Doesn’t keep me from eat one at breakfast though 🙂

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins CUPCAKES with cinnamon streusel

12 cupcakes
Original from Cup of Sugar, Pinch of Salt
Recipe Count – 7 left
Section Count – Black Binder:  4 more left, Subsection – Breakfast: 0 (all done!)

Filling:

  • 1 cup strawberries, stemmed & quartered (quartered, then measured)
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, peeled if needed & diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

Muffins

  • 1.5 cups unbleached white flour (if you’ve got your local Glut equivalent, otherwise all-purpose flour is just fine)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly (if it re-solidifies, the microwave on LOW power works well)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup milk

Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cubed butter
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Filling (Can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated): In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the strawberries, diced rhubarb, and sugar. Sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and allow to boil. Once mixture has thickened, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease muffin cups or line.
  3. Mix together the topping sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon with a fork until it looks like coarse sand. Set aside.
  4. Combine the muffin flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, and egg; mix into the flour mixture.
  5. Fill muffin cups to about 1/3 full then create a small indentation in the middle. Fill with about tbsp of strawberry-rhubarb mixture. Fill remainder of muffin cup with batter (right to the top) and sprinkle with topping.
  6. Bake until golden brown & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffin

That really wasn’t a dough….

It was really more like softened butter mostly held together in a flour structure. I mean technically it was dough and it certainly baked like dough (like it should), but holy gods, that was the butteriest dough I have ever worked with. And I bake a lot! Not pastry chef levels of a lot, but for a home baker? What the [expletive] was I making, you ask?

Brioche

And for those of you who, like me, have/had never heard of brioche before, the Wiki page.

Yes, this one has chocolate. Adam taste tested for me. I don’t think he minded:Adam

Why the [expletive] was I trying to make a pastry involving three different rises (one 4-12 hours long), involving an ingredient that I can’t eat, and enough butter to kill half the cardiologists at the AMA? Well… I’ve never tried brioche before, and Adam is doing a French themed Feastly in July – I claimed the dessert in order to participate (and have an excuse to try more dessert recipes) so brioche seemed appropriate. And I definitely want to try the recipe at least once before serving it to people who’ve paid for a dinner.

Honestly, I think the only reasons this one worked for me on the first go are threefold:
1) I may have mentioned I’ve baked a lot?
2) We own a marble pastry board. Yes, I know that is utterly ridiculous. We put it on our wedding registry figuring that we were just noting things we’d buy eventually. Because I like making lists and this way we could export it and save the idea. And then our family and friends bought out our registry. We were very confused. Highly gratified, don’t get me wrong. But also confused.
The relevant bit being that we own a marble pastry board. Which really did make working with a very buttery dough easier.
3) Adam’s aunt and uncle own a bakery. Which means Adam has watched his uncle transfer very buttery, wet dough from one surface (like a marble board) to another (like a wood cutting board you’re comfortable taking a knife to the dough on). The trick is to lay down one layer of plastic wrap on top of the dough and then roll the dough onto a rolling pin, like you’re rolling up a scroll. … That may not be the best analogy there, but it’s the one I’ve got, so we’re going with that. 🙂 The plastic wrap keeps the dough layers separated, the rolling pin lets you walk the dough to the new surface and then you just unroll. It’s a neat trick. And thankfully one I don’t need to execute very often.

I would not recommend these brioche to y’all. I mean, they’re tasty and interesting. But heck, see above on how I got it to work. And that’s before I’ve mentioned that I started on Tuesday night, left the dough in the refrigerator about 8-10 hours longer than is called for, and finished up on Wednesday night. I’ll probably use these guys for the Feastly, but then I’ll be able to start on a Saturday morning (and I’ll be using an sweetened egg wash on the brioche before putting them in the oven next time). Also, marble  pastry board. Plus I like crazy hard baking challenges. I just don’t, in good conscience, recommend that anyone else try it. Unless you’re a pastry chef – ’cause then you’re probably giggling that I think brioche are kinda tricky.

So, from the Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition, I present

Brioche au Chocolat

make ~20-30 pastries
Recipe Count – 11 left
Section Count – Dessert Binder:  5 more left, Subsection – Dessert breads: 2 more

  • 1/3 cup warm milk, 105°F-115°F – original called for whole milk and although I used 2%, I would really recommend sticking with that whole milk – it’ll give a richer dough and really, that’s what you should be going for
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (i.e. leave it out on the counter at the start of the recipe and it’ll be soft by the time you need it)
  • Your favorite type of chocolate (dark or semi-sweet recommended)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1-2 tbsp milk or water, optional (I did not use it this time but will in the future, so am including it here)
  1. Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl you will be mixing in the flour – preferably the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Allow to stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup flour, the eggs, sugar and salt; mix by hand or on low-speed, gradually stirring in the other 1 cup of flour. Mix until all ingredients are blended, about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough: with a dough hook on low to medium speed for 7-10 minutes or by hand for about 15 minutes. Using a dough hook, the dough should clear the side of the bowl but may stick to the bottom. If kneading by hand, slap the dough down on your work surface, lift half of it up with both hands (it’ll be sticky and part will remain stuck to the surface), and slap it down over itself. Dough is kneaded when it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
  3. Vigorously knead the butter into the dough until completely incorporated and the dough is again smooth. Transfer dough to a buttered large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place (75°F – 85°F ideally) to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead briefly. Refrigerate, covered, for 4-12 hours, until doubled. Do not leave in too long to rise or the dough will taste yeasty.
  5. Punch down the dough and roll out into an 18″x15″ inch rectangle. Cut into 3″ squares and place a generous sliver of chocolate on each square. Fold the dough over the chocolate and, if desired, brush with the egg yolk mixture. Place dough packets on an un-greased baking sheet. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (I used the plastic wrap we used to transfer the dough) and allow to rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  6. 15-20 minutes into the rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F.
  7. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve when reasonably certain chocolate will no longer burn your mouth. 🙂Finished Brioche