Aged Dairy Curds By Any Other Name…

So, we’re getting ready for work the other morning.  Doing the things we do to get ready to go to work in the morning.  I’m brushing my teeth; Beloved has the morning bullshit news on.

Ewwwwwww!” I hear coming from the bedroom.  “That is just gross!”

Do I ask?  No.  I know I’ll find out.

And I do.

“This place is the best French restaurant in Cleveland???”

I perk up as I string out the floss.  This could be good.

Nor was I disappointed.

“You’re not gonna believe what they just showed!” my darling husband howls.

“Arumph?”  I ask.  (Hey, give me a break – I’m flossing.  See, Dr. J?  F-L-O-S-S-I-N-G.)

He sticks his head in the bathroom door.  “This dish.  This…dish.  Okay, we’ve got PEI mussels.”

This is a bad thing?  Beloved loves mussels.  PEI or otherwise.

“Sauteed in wine, garlic and about a pound of butter…”

Sounds good so far to me.

“Then they shove a wad of greasy French fries in the center…”

Whaaaaaaa…???  Flossing begins to lose its importance.  He sees the look on my face.

“YEAH.  And then they drizzle what looks like Cheeze Whiz all over it.”

I spit.  “Um, dear – in French cuisine I think it’s called ‘fromage.'”

“Pthththt.  Fromage, cheese – whiz is still whiz.”

Well, he’s got a damn fine point there.

“So,what’s the dish called?” I ask.

“I’m not sure – they said something about ‘Lard Baton’?”

Fat On A Stick?

Well, that sounds…yummy.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

Brown and Serve Rolls

Well, hello there.  I’ve been out of commission since late Friday night, but everything is back on track again.  Thank goodness – I’ve been like a junkie the day before payday.

Oh, and for the record, no – it was not the installation of the Foodbuzz ad that brought the site down.  It was my own incompetence.

Ahem.  Moving forward.

Anyhoo, since the Spin Cycle this week is “roles” and Jen suggested that if we had a great roll recipe we could use that and because I 1) do indeed have a great roll recipe and B) haven’t had much chance to think of a post about my many roles in life (I wear so many hats I make Bartholomew Cubbins look like a piker) I decided to go with the easy option.

Oh, so shoot me.  Besides, the rolls are good, fairly easy (as yeast breads go) and you can make them ahead and eat them all week, if you’re so inclined.

We usually are.

Seriously, though – nothing beats home-baked bread, and these combine that very home-baked goodness with the convenience of store-bought brown and serve rolls.  Once they’ve been pre-baked, you can store them in the fridge for a week, baking as many as you want when you want, or store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I mix and knead these in my KitchenAid stand mixer, but these can also be mixed and kneaded by hand (in fact, from time to time I’ll make these completely by hand – it’s marvelous stress relief). I’ve included instructions for each method here – give one a try.

Because they smell heavenly while baking.  Oh, and they taste really, really good.

Note:  The flour should be sifted directly into the measuring cup, then leveled off with a knife before pouring it in the mixing bowl.

Brown and Serve Rolls

makes 2 dozen

1 package or 2¼ teaspoons dry active yeast

½ cup tepid water

½ teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup scalded milk, cooled

5 cups sifted bread flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 heaping teaspoon salt

Mixing by hand:  Combine the yeast with the tepid water and sugar in a small bowl; allow to sit for about 5 minutes.

Whisk the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk, honey, and yeast mixture.  Add the butter and mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are well-incorporated and a rough dough forms.

Scrape down the sides, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter or board.  Knead for 10 to 12 minutes until smooth and shiny, then place in a large, buttered bowl.  Turn the dough to coat with the butter, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Mixer method:  Combine the yeast with the tepid water and sugar in a small bowl; allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Place the milk, softened butter and honey into the mixing bowl of the stand mixer; add the yeast mixture, then the flour/salt.  Attach the dough hook to the mixer and mix all the ingredient on low until the ingredients are well- blended and a rough dough forms.  Scrape down the sides, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

Knead the dough with the dough hook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the dough clears the side of the bowl and is smooth and shiny.  Place in a large, well-buttered mixing bowel.  Turn the dough to coat with the butter, then cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter and press down with your hands until deflated.  Form it into a ball and place it into the buttered bowl again; cover with the plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in bulk once more, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Melt about 4 tablespoons, or ½ a stick, of butter in a small bowl and allow to cool.  Position two racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 275º F.  Bring out 2 standard muffin pans, each with 1 dozen muffin cups.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter once more.  Pat out into a rectangular shape about ½ an inch thick and dust lightly with flour.  Dividing the dough evenly, cut into 48 equal pieces and cover with plastic wrap.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball, dip in the melted butter and place in a muffin cup, allowing 2 balls of dough in each muffin cup.  Repeat until all cups are filled with 2 balls of dough; cover with plastic  wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Place each muffin pan on a rack in the oven – one on the upper rack and one on the lower rack – and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until cooked through but NOT BROWN.  Set the muffin pans on a cooling rack for 20 minutes, then turn the rolls out onto the cooling rack until completely cooled.

Seal in a large, ziplock plastic bag and refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

To brown, preheat the oven to 400º F.  Bake the rolls for 5 to 7 minutes, until warm and brown.  Serve hot with butter.

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Raspberry Cosmopolitan

First off, you may have noticed something slightly different on my sidebar.

Yeah.  That.

I know, I know – I once said I’d never have ads on this site, but well, I was…um…seduced by the thought of making a buck or two off of this blog, and well…you see.  Sure you do.

Seduced, I tell ya!

At any rate, you don’t have to click on anything to make me any money, just let the little ad run and hopefully I’ll get a check for 23 cents every quarter.  Seriously, though, FoodBuzz is a great foodie site and I’m thrilled to not only be a part of their community but also to have qualified to be a Featured Publisher (which gets me the nifty banner ad over there).

Anyhoo.  Raspberry Cosmopolitans.  This recipe comes courtesy of my sister-in-law, Tough Yankee Broad.  Her version includes raspberry puree, so if you’re inclined to puree your raspberries, go right ahead – it certainly gives it a very intense raspberry flavor.  I use the raspberries as a garnish because after you’ve finished the drink, in which they’ve been happily marinating, you can eat them.

Yum.  Yum.

Raspberry Cosmopolitan

serves me

1/2 part raspberry liqueur

1 part raspberry vodka

1 part vodka

2 or 3 raspberries

Combine all ingredients except the raspberries in a cocktail shaker with some ice.  Shake well to blend, then strain into a chilled martini glass.  Drop in the fresh raspberries.

Enjoy responsibly.  And have a lovely weekend, y’all.

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Custard-Topped Spoon Bread

I found myself in the midst of another side dish crisis last night.  I had one of my in-danger-of-imminent-freezer-burn roasts in the crock pot since our current financial situation is backing up Beloved’s demand suggestion that I cook from the freezer, refrigerator and pantry (thank you, Uncle Sam, for your yearly fleecing), and I had to decide what I could make to go with said roast.  Potatoes?  No, we’re having those tonight with the rest of the roast.  Pasta?  No, we’ve had that the previous two nights, in the form of mac ‘n’ cheese and spaghetti.  Rice?  No, we’re having that Friday night (either teriyaki chicken or a stir fry).  There are grits and couscous in my pantry, but neither seemed to scream “Make me with your roast!”

So I threw together this spoon bread.  It was pretty good, warm and comforting and filling, but in retrospect there were things I could have done to make it more…exciting, I guess.  I’ll make it again, but will probably throw in some sauteéd onions and garlic, maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bit more salt.  I might also leave off the “custard topping”, which was pretty decadent but didn’t really lend a lot to the overall quality of the dish (and added a ton of calories).

At any rate, here it is as written.  And as written, it might also make a pretty decent brunch dish.  (I also apologize for the cruddy picture – I was in a hurry when I took it.)

Custard-Topped Spoon Bread

serves 8

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 rounded tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups milk

1 1/2 tablespoons plain white vinegar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 can corn, well-drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Generously butter an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.  Add the eggs, milk and vinegar and stir until well-moistened, but still a bit lumpy.  Stir in the melted butter, then fold in the corn and cheese.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish, the pour the heavy cream slowly and carefully over the batter without stirring.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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