Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pumpkin Sticky Buns

"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart" ~ Erma Bombeck

The roasted pumpkin in the freezer called out to me today, really it did! I opened the door and it said "bake me", it is cold and snowy and the warm oven will fill your soul with the aroma of pumpkin and spice. What could I say? The pumpkin was right, what better way to spend a winter day than baking?

Pumpkin Sticky Buns

1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. melted butter
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts

Mix yeast with water, let sit for about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, salt, sugar, melted butter and flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a large buttered bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Roll out on a lightly floured board, about 9X14 inches.

Brush with melted butter, mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle raisins over top. Roll up, cut into 12 even pieces.

Pour melted butter evenly over bottom of iron skillet, sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts. Arrange buns, cut side down in skillet.

Re-dampen cloth, cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 30 minutes. Invert a large plate over skillet, turn out rolls.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Twists

....sugar and spice and everything nice

I had some Bauman apples that needed using up, what better way to eat apples than coated with cinnamon sugar and baked in a yeast roll? Warm from the oven, these rolls quickly disappeared. I am sending a batch over to A Southern Grace for her "Cinnamon Celebration".

Apple Cinnamon Twists

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped apples
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped nuts

1 cup powdered sugar
4 to 6 tsp. cold water

Combine 2 cups flour, salt and yeast. Heat milk, water, butter and honey. Add to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add remaining flour, knead until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes, dough will double in size.

Punch down dough, divide in half. Roll out half of dough to a 12-inch square, brush with half of melted butter. Spread half of apple sugar filling on center of dough, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of nuts. Fold 1/3 of dough over nuts. Spread additional 1/4 cup of apple mixture and nuts. Fold over remaining 1/3 of dough. Cut into 1-inch strips. Twist each strip. Place on greased sheet or parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover twists, let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan, drizzle with glaze.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ice and Snow...

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show ~ Andrew Wyeth

The arctic winds have descended, we woke up this morning with a -10 degrees .... brrrrrrrr. Popped out the door for some quick picks last night and this morning, don't let that sunshine fool ya, it is bitter out there. Just click for larger image.

During the winter months our diet consists of lots of homemade vegetable soups, they warm the body and soul and on a day like today (it is currently 1 degree outside) you just cannot ask for anything better. An added bonus is that they are heart healthy! Leftover pasta or rice? Toss it in the pot, or make dumplings. There are no hard and fast rules for what you can add to soup, so go ahead and use your imagination (and leftovers).

Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup

One mistake made by cooks is to chop up a bunch of veggies and throw them into a pot of water when making soup. What you end up with is boiled vegetables. Sautee them first, along with your herbs, in a small amount of butter or oil first to enhance their flavor. Add homemade vegetable or chicken broth and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Your tastebuds will thank you.

This soup has a combo of finely chopped celery, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes. I sauteed them about five minutes. Add your choice of herbs and sautee a couple of minutes more, then add about 6 cups of broth and simmer. The spinach was added the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with home-baked bread or rolls.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Day...

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? ~ J.B. Priestley

Snow Tree

We are having a snow day here in the Cleveland, there is at least a half of foot on the ground and it is still snowing. When we were children we headed outdoors on days like this to build snow forts for a snowball battle royale. This was the time before synthetic fiber clothing and gloves, I can still remember the smell of those woolen mittens drying on top of Mama's heater. With remembrances of childhood always comes the memory of food. We would sit at the table while Mama opened a can of Campbells tomato soup, then she would grab that bag of Wonder Bread and make grilled cheese sandwiches with a thick slice of Velveeta. This is my 'grown up' version of that simple meal.

Tomato Bisque

I pulled out a quart of roasted tomatoes from the freezer I had put up last summer, baked a loaf of whole-grain bread.

The tomatoes had been seasoned with basil, oregano, salt and pepper while roasting so the bisque needed little seasoning. When the tomatoes are thawed, the skins slip off easily. I sauteed a chopped onion and a small amount of celery in about a tablespoon of butter, added to the tomatoes and pureed. Pour the mixture into a pot over medium low heat, add milk and/or cream to the consistency you want. Easy as opening a can!

I have been experimenting in creating a loaf of whole-grain bread that would be hearty yet light, this one won kudos from the food critic. The only problem I have with home-baked bread in this house is getting everyone to wait while it cools. I sliced some yogurt cheese I bought at the Coit Road Market, which melts nicely.

Grilled Cheese

Whole Grain Bread Recipe

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup stone ground rye flour
3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. yeast
1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup boiling water
1/4 to 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts

Combine bulgur wheat with 1 cup boiling water, set aside to cool. Combine milk, water, honey and molasses in a small pot and warm. Combine flours, salt and yeast. In a large bowl combine half of the flour mixture and warm liquid and mix well for about 4 minutes. Add the remaining flour, bulgur wheat and nuts. Knead well. The dough will be slightly sticky.

Place in a well-buttered bowl and cover with a damp towel. Set in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface shape into a loaf. Place in a buttered loaf pan, cover with a damp cloth and let rise for about 30 minutes. Before placing in the oven I brushed the top lightly with egg white wash and sprinkled on some whole oats.

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until done. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

Daddy (c.1953)
West 112th Street
Cleveland, Ohio