November 30, 2010

Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls

Since I had lime zest from the Key Lime Pie, I decided to try this recipe for Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls. It sounds like an odd combination, but I enjoy both lime and cardamom. I made the rolls but froze them before baking to save them for a lazy (holiday, perhaps?) weekend.

Cardamom-Lime Sweet Rolls
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/3 cups flour, divided

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lime zest
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cardamom
2 Tbsp. melted butter

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. lime juice

Dissolve yeast into warm water, and let stand 5 minutes. Combine sour cream, sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt together. Add to yeast, and stir to combine. Add two cups of flour to the mixture, stirring to form a soft dough. Gradually add remaining flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to hands as the dough is kneaded. Place dough in large greased bowl, and cover. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about one hour.

To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, lime zest and cardamom together. Divide the dough into two equal portions, rolling each portion into a 12 x 10 square. Brush each piece of dough with melted butter, and sprinkle evenly with filling. Beginning with a long side, roll up the dough jelly-roll style, pinching the dough to seal the seam. Cut each piece of dough into 12 one-inch pieces. Place the 24 pieces (cut side facing up) in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. (Note: this is the stage where I froze my rolls for later baking.)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Uncover dough. Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.

To prepare glaze, combine sugar and lime juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over rolls. Makes 24 rolls. (Each is approximately 130 calories.)

November 28, 2010

Key Lime Pie

My husband and I discovered how much we enjoyed key lime pie in Florida, where we sampled key lime pie, key lime pie milkshakes, etc. Since then, I've made key lime cupcakes but had not made a pie until today. Key lime pie is incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious. This is a lower-calorie version, although it still packs about 300 calories per decadent slice.

Key Lime Pie
1 reduced-calorie graham cracker pie crust
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 14-oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. grated lime zest
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Using a blender, combine eggs and egg yolks. Add lime juice, milk and lime zest, and blend until well combined. Pour into pie crust. Bake 20 minutes or until edges are set. (Center will not be firm but will set as pie chills.)

Cool completely on wire rack. Cover loosely, and chill at least 2 hours. Once pie is chilled, make the meringue topping by beating egg whites on medium until foamy. Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Heat until boiling, and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 250ºF. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites, beating on high for 2 minutes or until stiff peaks form.

Cover chilled pie completely with meringue. Broil the pie until the meringue is lightly browned. Yield 8 servings.

Steaks with Pomengranate-Wine Sauce

With Christmas approaching, pomegranates are becoming more prevalent in the grocery stores, which means they're stocking up in my fridge. I remembered a recipe for steaks that involved pomegranates, which was our wonderful supper tonight. My husband was skeptical about the fruit with the savory meat, but he was impressed. The pomegranate sauce has a hearty flavor that enhances the meat.

Steaks with Pomegranate-Wine Sauce
2 steaks
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. minced shallot or onion
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup beef broth
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill to your desired temperature while preparing the pomegranate sauce. To make sauce, heat small saucepan on medium. Add oil, and then saute onion for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil, using a spoon to crush the pomegranate seeds as much as possible. Boil approximately 7 minutes, until the liquid is nearly gone. Remove from heat. Serve the steaks topped with the pomegranate mixture.

Hunter's Delight

Although my husband didn't get a deer this year, we have a bit of venison left in the freezer. I decided to try this easy, slow cooker recipe for Monday's dinner.

Hunter's Delight
1/2 lb. bacon, sliced
2 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, thinly sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
1 1/2 lbs. venison, cubed
2 cans cream-style corn
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. seasoned salt

In large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain. Place potatoes and onions in the slow cooker. Top with bacon and venison. In small bowl, combine corn, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and salt together. Spoon the corn mixture over the other ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low 6 to 8 hours or until meat and potatoes are tender. Serves 8.

November 21, 2010

Danish Pumpernickel Bread

OK, this may not technically be pumpernickel bread because I omitted the caraway seeds since neither my husband nor I care for them. This makes a rather large loaf of bread and was the final of my 3 breads from yesterday.

Danish Pumpernickel Bread
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup dark molasses
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. 7-grain cereal
1 1/2 cup dark rye or pumpernickel flour
1 Tbsp. gluten
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Heat water until warm, between 105ºF and 115ºF. Pour into warmed mixing bowl, and add yeast and molasses. Let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, caraway seeds, salt, cereal and rye flour. Beat well. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Slowly add gluten and bread flour. Mix until dough forms. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springy but soft to the touch. Cover and let rise one hour until doubled.

Punch down dough, and shape into rectangular loaf. Place loaf into greased 8 x 4-inch bread pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until loaf is golden. Cool on wire rack.

Carta di Musica

This bread translates to "music paper" in Italian. It's a native bread of Sardinia, eaten by shepherds through the centuries. The bread can be stored for several weeks without spoiling, although I doubt it will last that long.

By accident, I tried the bread with a dusting of cinnamon. (I was cleaning/organizing my spices, and a set my bread in a pile of cinnamon.) It is excellent and reminds me of pie surprise!

Carta di Musica
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Let yeast dissolve 5 minutes in warm water. Mix yeast together with flour and salt, kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in clean, covered bowl for 20 minutes. Lightly flour a baking sheet, and place it in the preheated 450ºF oven.

Divide dough equally into 16 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to form a 6-inch circle. Keep remaining pieces of dough under a damp cloth. If the dough is resistant, set it aside for 2 minutes while you start rolling the next piece. Keep rolled circles under the damp cloth as well.

Bake each circle 10 minutes, turning them over halfway through baking. Let cool on wire rack. Makes 16 cartas.

November 20, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread

I had a wonderfully productive day today, both in the kitchen and in general terms. I baked three different bread recipes today, spending my rising and baking time cleaning/organizing all my kitchen cupboards. I now have more space AND three delicious types of bread.

I made a quick bread from my Bread Bible book by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Her recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread turned out amazing. I was impressed by my willpower to wait to try it as my dinner dessert, considering the bread was tempting me since 9 a.m. This is a dessert bread with consistency similar to chocolate cake.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread
3 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
3 Tbsp. boiling water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
13 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped medium-fine

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Whisk together cocoa and water until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Once at room temperature, whisk in vanilla and eggs until smooth.

In large bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed 30 seconds to combine ingredients. Add half the chocolate mixture and all the butter. Mix on low until all dry ingredients are moistened, and then increase speed to medium for stand mixers (high for hand mixers) for one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually add remaining chocolate mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of bowl, and fold in chocolate.

Fill 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 pan with batter, and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake the bread for 25 minutes, and then tent loosely with a piece of buttered foil. Continue baking for another 25 to 35 minutes (50-60 minutes total) until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Place on wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Loosen edges of bread, and remove from pan. Cool completely.

Carrot Soup

I've been intrigued by the idea of carrot soup for a while now, and I finally tried it with the last of my garden carrots. It's a nice thick soup to use as an appetizer, rather than a main course. I really like the flavor, although I think I used a bit too much ginger when I eyeballed it-left my "sissy" mouth burning.

Carrot Soup
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1/3 cup sliced shallots
1 lb. baby carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
Plain yogurt to garnish

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to pan, and cook until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, and cook 4 minutes. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are tender. Add ginger, and cook another 8 minutes or until carrots are very tender. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes at room temperature.

Use a food processor to puree the soup. Serve warm, garnished with yogurt if desired. Makes 8 1/2-cup servings.

November 17, 2010

Pickled Brussel Sprouts

The reason I'm posting this is because I have no clue how I made my pickled brussel sprouts last year ... and they were the hottest canned item I created. So, here's my recipes from this year.

Pickled Brussel Sprouts
5 cups vinegar
5 cups water
1/2 cup pickling salt
2 Tbsp. celery seed
4 Tbsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. turmeric
Fresh or dried dill heads (optional)
Dried hot peppers (optional)
Lots o'brussel sprouts

Soak brussel sprouts in salt water for 10 minutes to drive out any bugs. Clean brussel sprouts, and make and x-shaped incision on the end of each sprout to allow brine to penetrate.

Prepare brine by combining vinegar, water, pickling salt, celery seed, mustard seed and turmeric. Bring mixture to a boil.

Meanwhile, place 1 head of dill and/or 1 hot pepper into each clean, prepared pint jar. Fill each jar with brussel sprouts. Add boiling brine to each jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.

Black Bean Soup

This is soup number two on my quest to quench my desire to use black beans. It's not that I'm hooked on the flavor of black beans as much as the recipes intrigue me. This was a good soup, still not as thick as I would have expected. I made it while recovering from an extracted, impacted wisdom tooth, so I appreciated something I could slurp without opening wide.
Black Bean Soup
1 cup dried black beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
14 oz. vegetable broth
4 oz. chopped green chiles, drained
1/8 tsp. salt

Sort, and wash beans. Cover with 2 inches water, and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, and then remove from heat. Cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans.

Heat the olive oil, and add onion and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes or until tender. Add beans, water, oregano, cayenne, cumin, broth and chiles. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender.

Use a food processor or blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in salt.

Serve soup garnished with shredded cheese, sour cream or other yummy garnish.

English Muffin Bread

This is a simple bread recipe that requires minimal effort. Tastes quite similar to English muffins and works well in grilled cheese. I ran out of regular flour, but it tasted fine with some whole wheat flour substituted.

English Muffin Bread
5 cups flour, divided
2 packages active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
Cornmeal to dust

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the warm milk and water. Beat on low 30 seconds, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat on high 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour, but do not knead.

Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle the pans with cornmeal. Spoon the batter into the pans, and sprinkle cornmeal on the top as well. Cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake loaves at 375ºF for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.

Pickled Carrots

I was determined to put our carrots to good use this year, so I decided to try pickled carrots. I haven't sampled the goods yet, but they look pretty in their jars!

Pickled Carrots
2 3/4 lbs. washed/cleaned carrots
5 1/2 cups white distilled vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. canning salt
8 tsp. mustard seed
4 tsp. celery seed
4 hot peppers (optional)

Prepare canning jars according to canning instructions. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt together and bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, and then add carrots. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place 2 tsp. mustard seed and 1 tsp. celery seed (and 1 optional hot pepper) into each jar. Fill hot jars with hot carrots. (I used tongs.) Cover with hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Place lids and rings securely on jars.

Process in hot water bath 15 minutes. Makes 4 pints.

November 1, 2010

"Pumpkin" Pie Pudding

I'm trying to do better with trying new recipes and then blogging about them. (Yes, that requires a two-part commitment.) Here's the latest experiment with the butternut squash puree.

"Pumpkin" Pie Pudding
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/2 can butternut squash puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Add milk and egg, and heat on medium stirring constantly. Heat until mixture comes to boil for one full minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Combine remaining ingredients in a second bowl. Whisk into milk mixture on low heat, heating until warm but not boiling. Divide evenly into four serving dishes. Chill until set. Serve topped with whipped cream and candied nuts, if desired. Serves 4.