Bread

Tangelo Sweet Rolls

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It has been a very long time since I lasted posted, and (unsurprisingly) a lot has happened. My husband and I are expecting our first child in October!! It is a very exciting time for us, and the first trimester was a roller coaster of nausea for me. Our cooking has been minimal the past few months, as I have been living off of my cravings for subways sandwiches and mashed potatoes!

I have also been craving  citrus fruits way more often than I ever did before! Perhaps I need the calcium? Either way, we found a way to make citrus fruits unhealthy and sugary and delicious- put them in sweet rolls! These are essentially cinnamon rolls with a fruity filling instead of the more traditional nut and spice filling.

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Typically these kinds of sweet rolls are made with oranges, but we made them with tangelos (the zest and juice). I preferred the tangelo flavor because it is tangier. Also, the rind is much brighter in color, which makes for great photos when you add in the zest!

You can serve these for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack! It does make a large batch, and they don’t stay moist for too long- so I recommend making these when you’ve got lots of hungry mouths to feed!

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The recipe was inspired by an orange roll post from Lemon-Sugar, who uses traditional citrus and no zest! It was super easy to make, even in our small kitchen with no mixer. It is rather time consuming, but these tasty treats make the wait worth it!

Enjoy!

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Tangelo Sweet Rolls

(makes roughly two dozen rolls)

Ingredients

for the dough
2 1/4 tablespoons instant yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
5 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 eggs


for the filling
1 tablespoon tangelo zest (from about 1 tangelo)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature [especially if you don’t have a mixer, it’s best to take this out as early as possible so that it can completely soften]
1 cup sugar

for the icing
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1 tablespoon tangelo zest
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

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First, make your dough. Preheat the oven to 200° F and after it has preheated, turn it off. Combine the warm water with the yeast to proof your yeast- you may even wish to add a pinch of sugar for the yeast to feed off of. Let the yeast proof for about ten minutes. I usually proof yeast in the oven, but it was very reactive and I just left it on the counter this time around!

While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter in the microwave. I did probably one minute on 50% power, just enough to get it melted, but no more. Whisk the honey into the butter.

In a large bowl, measure out four cups of AP flour. Combine with the salt. Fold in the proofed yeast.

When the honey-butter mixture has cooled down a bit, whisk in the eggs. Then, add this to the larger flour mixture.

Fold it all together with a rubber spatula. In different environments dough will form in a unique way. My recommendation is to keep folding until it all comes together in one big heap. If you can stick your finger to it and pull away dough (meaning, it’s super sticky), add a bit more flour. Add 1/2 cup at a time, and do not go over 6 cups! We needed about 5 1/2 for ours, thus we added 1 1/2 cups to the original dough. Work it as little as possible in between additions. You do not want your dough to get tough and you don’t need it to lose all stickiness. It should be pretty sticky, but it should at least all stay together even when you put a finger on it.

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Butter the bowl well and cover it in plastic wrap. Place it somewhere warm- either your oven or maybe even a microwave! Let it rise for 1 hour.

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While the dough is rising you can make the filling, which takes like two minutes. With the remaining 58 minutes you could watch your favorite show or go to the gym to make up the the insane number of calories you will be consuming from these rolls. William and I chose the former. 🙂

To make the filling, start by washing and zesting a tangelo. We got one tablespoon of zest and 1/2 cup of juice from a single tangelo. Juice the tangelo and strain the juice into a bowl. Combine 1/4 of the juice with all of the zest in a bowl. Add in the sugar and room temperature butter. Blend them together until a paste is formed.

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When the dough has finished rising, and is about doubled, prepare a large work surface by covering it in parchment paper and sprinkling it with flour. Punch down the dough while it is still in the bowl. This gets all of the added air out and allows for the rolls to cook more evenly. Spread the dough carefully into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.

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Take your filling and drop spoonfuls across the entire sheet of dough. You will then need to spread the filling with your hands. Your dough should be sticky and the filling is a bit granular from the sugar, so the process will take some time and patience. Spread the filling generously across the entire rectangle of dough.

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Next comes William’s favorite part! Rolling the dough. This is not an easy task, but it’s fun- don’t let yourself get frustrated with any mess you make, it will all be tasty and beautiful in the end! You need to roll the rectangle into a very long cylinder. Try to keep it as tight as possible, gently pressing down and squeezing the dough when necessary. If you need to stretch out the dough to help this process, you can, as long as you don’t poke too many holes in it!

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When all is said and done, hopefully you have a giant cylinder of dough snaking its way across your countertop!

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Butter several pans. [We really like using round glass or ceramic pans for rolls, it seems like they cook better in these and the heat more effectively reaches the center of the pan, fully baking all of the dough.] Using your sharpest knife, cut 2-inch slices and carefully place them in the pan. It helped having two people in the kitchen for this. When you move them, you do have to be pretty careful to keep them together and not let any filling fall out.

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When all of the rolls are cut and in their pans, let them rise for another half hour.

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Preheat your oven to 375°F. When you bake the rolls, be sure to bake them all on one rack, to insure even cooking. We did 20 minutes on the top rack, and 5 minutes on the bottom rack. During the last five minutes we also needed to cover them with tin foil so that the tops would not be too browned.

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I will say, the baking is always a little stressful for me. We do not have the best oven, and it doesn’t seem to heat things very thoroughly. This can be especially problematic with breads, and sometimes the center goes uncooked. This technique of moving our pans around worked very well for us and they were all perfectly cooked!

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While the rolls are baking, you can make the icing. It’s super easy! In a medium sized bow, whisk together another 1/4 cup of juice, and another tablespoon of zest, along with a bit of orange extract. We did need to zest one more tangelo for this, but if you have a really good plane grater, you might not find it necessary! Combine this with the powdered sugar and cream. You may need to add additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to get the consistency that you like.

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I prefer fairly thick icing, as it photographs better and coats the rolls a bit better.

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When the rolls come out they are ready to be glazed and served! [Do not skimp on the glaze, yes, you have enough to cover them!!]

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Enjoy!

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4-Ingredient, Vegetarian Sausage Balls

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Growing up, my family ate a ton of breakfast foods. One of the things we commonly ate on special occasions were sausage balls. These are tiny bites of absolute heaven. Cheesy goodness and spicy sausage held together with a little breadiness from a Bisquik box. Little did I know at the time- those were basically the only ingredients in the entire snack!

Now that I no longer eat actual sausage, I still like to revisit recipes like this from my childhood. Recently, I began experimenting with the creation of a vegetarian sausage ball. I was looking for a super easy way to make these nostalgic treats for an only slightly healthier diet.

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Perhaps the most amazing thing about these is that they can be frozen! They can be frozen for long amounts of time and then, for long amounts of time, you have a stash of delicious sausage balls that you can reheat at any moment for a quick, but still tasty breakfast! Every time we make ours we make them a little bit bigger. If you make them about the size of a golf ball, you don’t get as many servings out of it, but you can truly have a single one for a solid breakfast on-the-go. It’s a great option for busy families who still like to do some meal prep and have food that feels more homemade!

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This is such an incredibly easy recipe- it only calls for 4 ingredients (one of which is water, I mean, does that even count?)!

4-Ingredient Soy Sausage Balls
(makes about 27, medium-sized balls)

Ingredients
1 lb soy sausage (I always use Morningstar’s regular brand, and simply use 12 patties)
3 1/2 cups Bisquik
1 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I highly recommend shredding cheese off of a block for this, it makes the moisture content more accurate so you will not need to add as much water as you will if you use pre-shredded cheese)
1/4 cup water

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First, microwave all of the soy sausage patties on a plate for 4 minutes. You want them to be soft and easy to tear apart, but not to the point of being fully crisped or cooked. Chop the patties into a crumble. You can chop them as finely as you like. It really depends on your preference.

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Combine the cheese and Bisquik in a large bowl. Stir together carefully. I like to use my hands because it can be a messy process and I prefer to have complete control over it!

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Add in the sausage crumbles. Mix together entirely. It helps to have a very large bowl here, and to use your hands as you stir.

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Finally add in the water. It will not seem like enough water at first, but keep working the “dough” until it finally comes together. You should not need to add more than a 1/4 cup of water if you use freshly grated cheese. If you are using packaged, shredded cheese, it will be drier than the fresh kind. As a result, you will want to add additional water. I recommend doing this by the tablespoon until your dough comes together. You want to avoid adding too much water. The dough will be fairly dry, but still cohesive enough to keep shape.

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Cover a baking tray in parchment paper. Form the balls, trying to keep them as regularly shaped as you can. It’s up to you how large or small you make them. We have never done larger than roughly 1/4 cup sized. Arrange them on a baking tray. Rest the baking tray in your freezer for 15-20 minutes.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake for 20 minutes! They do stick to parchment paper and aluminum foil, so you will just need to let them cool and then peel them off carefully!

Any balls that you would like to freeze, you can plop them all in a large plastic bag and put them in the freezer! When you are ready to eat them later, simply follow the baking instructions listed here!

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Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Tortillas and Breakfast Burritos

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About 8000 years ago someone amazing figured out that if you grind up wheat you can get flour out of it and make delicious things. The original tools used to perform this task were made of stone, and they continued to be made of stone until the 19th century when Europe’s Industrial Revolution instigated the use of metal in mills to grind wheat. Unfortunately, these “modern” processes also take away flour’s greatest, most nutrient-rich components (the germ and bran of the wheat). As usual, I am convinced that the Romans had everything solved perfectly as they used animals or water to power a stone which ground the wheat, leaving the nutrient-dense parts intact… but that is a story for another day!

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Alas, here we are, with a new, cautionary tale every day that demonizes flour and gluten. While I do detest this slander and mourn the loss of my favorite ingredient’s good name, it has lead us to some interesting and exciting discoveries. When we ask the question: what can I use instead of flour, we get many answers (some more disgusting than others). So far, my absolute favorite answer is: cauliflower!

We have made muffins and pizza crusts out of cauliflower with great success. Our most recent use of this oddball veggie is for tortillas. For anyone concerned with calorie or carbohydrate counts, flour tortillas are basically a no-go. They are extremely compact and therefore calorie-dense, it’s just not worth it. However, these cauliflower tortillas make for a darn good substitute. They are only 28 calories per tortilla, with 1.5 grams of fat and carbs, but a whopping 2.3 grams of protein! While they do break apart more easily than traditional flour tortillas, they are much more moist and flavorful. If you’re okay eating your burrito open-faced, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

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As for the process of making them, as far as I can tell they do require a blender. You need to rice the cauliflower, and although I’ve read that you can do that with a grater, it sounds messy and frustrating to me. With the food processor, it doesn’t take but an hour or so to make and bake them, totally worth it!

Cauliflower Tortillas

makes 6-7 tortillas

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

additional items
blender
cheese cloth or tons of paper towels
parchment paper

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Loosely chop the cauliflower, discarding the green stems and leaves.

Place the cauliflower in a blender with one cup of water. Blend it until it looks almost like disintegrated styrofoam floating in the water (that’s a weird simile, but that’s what it will look like). Scoop the cauliflower out and drain it on paper towels or through a cheese cloth. You want to get it as compact as possible. Place it on a plate and microwave it for ten minutes.

When it is done cooking, take it out and carefully drain it again. I took my time with this, as the cauliflower was still very hot from the microwave. I used a combination of paper towels and a cheese cloth to get it (again) as compact and dry as possible.

Measure out two cups of the mixture (this should be essentially all of the riced cauliflower). Combine it with the eggs and spices in a medium-sized bowl.

The mixture should look like thick grits. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully shape six or seven tortillas. We used a heaping 1/4 cup of mixture for each tortilla and pushed it into a circle with the bottom of the measuring cup.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the tortillas for ten minutes. After the first ten minutes, very carefully peel up each tortilla and flip it over. They are fairly fragile, so you want to use the biggest spatula you have! Bake them for ten more minutes or until they are dry and browned! Let them cool thoroughly before enjoying them!

Try not to stack them before they are cooled, as they will stick and break apart. You can treat these like any tortilla, except they don’t wrap up as well because they break apart. If you want to add some extra crispiness and a buttery flavor, you can heat them up in a skillet with some butter! We made breakfast burritos and just enjoyed them open-faced, more like tacos! (Pictured below: open-faced breakfast burrito. Scrambled egg whites with soy sausage, shallots, shredded pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, and parsley. All on a cauliflower tortilla!)

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Rosemary-Mozzarella Pretzels

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I am the biggest fan of huge, soft pretzels that ever existed. I know that is a hefty statement to make, but it’s true! These massive, buttery pretzels outrank their crunchy, baked cousins in every possible way… except maybe standards of healthiness. No, these are not clean-eating pretzels that you got in your lunchbox as an alternative to chips. These are big, fluffy, cheesy, salty pretzels- the kind you salivate over at ballparks and stadium events.

Truth be told, the existence of soft pretzels is really my only motivation for ever attending stadium sporting events or visiting overcrowded malls. These soft pretzels are a fabulously souped-up version of their ballpark counterparts. We stuff them with a deliciously cheesy filling and top them with butter and parmesan.

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This is based off of a great recipe by Baker by Nature! It includes a great explanation of yeast and the chemistry behind it, and why some people proof it and some do not. I proof yeast every time I bake with it. It is second nature to me, and I think it’s a good habit to get into. Because of this, I include the proofing process as part of the recipe here.

Growing up, my mom taught us very early how to bake bread from scratch, and she always proofed the yeast before making the dough. I have never had this method fail on me (unless, of course, the yeast is dead). It is super easy to follow, and it creates the fluffiest, moistest breads! If you’re totally confident working with yeast and breads, you don’t have to do this part, but I would certainly recommend it!

 

Rosemary-Mozzarella Pretzels

makes 8 large pretzels

for the dough
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons Rapid Rise yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/4 cups AP flour
3 tablespoons minced, fresh rosemary
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
parchment paper

for the pretzel cooking liquid
10 cups water
3/4 cup baking soda

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for the filling
1 1/2 cups shredded, mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded, parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

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for the topping
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/2 cup grated, Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

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Begin by proofing the yeast. Preheat an oven to 200°F. After it preheats, turn it off. Mix the sugar with the water in a small bowl (the water should be slightly warm to the touch, around 110°F). Pour in the yeast and agitate slightly to ensure that all of the yeast is moistened by the sugar-water. Place the bowl in the oven and leave the oven open. Let it sit in that warm environment for 10 minutes.

While the yeast is proofing, measure out the flour and salt into a large bowl. Mix them together. Add in the softened butter until it is completely mixed in with the flour (no big chunks).

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Wash, de-stem, and mince the rosemary.

Add the proofed yeast and rosemary to the dough. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything together by folding dough and scraping the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a warm, damp paper towel and place it back in the oven (with the oven door closed this time). Let the dough rise for about an hour (it should double in size).

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Mix the mozzarella cheese with the parmesan, pepper, and salt.

When the dough has risen, remove it from the oven and roll it out in a ball onto a floured work surface. (I usually cover my counter with parchment paper and add a bit of flour on top for this process.)

Using your sharpest, unserrated knife, cut the dough into four equal pieces.
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Next, cut each of those slices into two, so that you have 8 pieces in all.

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To make each pretzel, roll one dough ball out into a long string. You want it to be about 1 1/2 feet long.

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Use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten it.

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Place about 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella filling on the dough, along one edge.

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Slowly and carefully, roll the dough back into a circular tube. Be sure to press down on the dough to create a seal around the filling!

Make the shape of the letter ‘U’ with the tube.

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Cross the two, top ends of the ‘U’.

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Flip the crossed ends down over the loop, and you’ve got a traditional pretzel!

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Do this with each dough ball, and in the meantime, set a large pot of water mixed with baking soda on the stove to boil.

As you are forming your pretzels, feel free to have some fun with it. You can even do a double twist, like so:

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After the pretzels are formed and the baking soda water is boiling, prepare two cookie sheets by covering them in parchment paper. Next, place the pretzels in the water one-at-a-time. Let it float there for about half a minute before carefully lifting it out of the water using slotted spoons.

Do this with each pretzel, until they are all partially cooked from the water. This might create a bit of a mess with baking soda residue on the range, but it is super easy to clean, so do not worry too much about it now!

Preheat the oven to 425°F. While the oven is preheating, do a quick egg wash on the pretzels to help them brown.

Whisk together 1 tablespoon of water with an egg. Using a brush, coat each pretzel generously in the egg wash. After the oven is preheated, let the pretzels bake for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top!

Finally, prepare the topping!

Melt about 4 tablespoons of salted butter. Brush the top of each pretzel with the butter.

Measure out the extra parmesan and chop up another tablespoon of rosemary. Mix those two together in a small bowl along with the garlic salt and pepper. Sprinkle this on top of the pretzels!

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Enjoy with tomato sauce for dipping or by itself!

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Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins

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Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!! I hope that the past week has been full of revelry and sinfully delicious food!! Unfortunately, I have been battling pneumonia over here and haven’t enjoyed this week as much as I’d like! But, with Lent coming up, William and I will be trying out the Daniel Fast. It is a very restrictive diet, and we have been trying to ease ourselves into it slowly. Part of this adventure entails a focus on plant-based foods that are ALL natural. Exploring this ‘new’ world of foods has been an eye-opening journey to say the least.

The preservatives and chemicals we thoughtlessly consume on a daily basis are so omnipresent, sticking to the Daniel Fast feels like an impossibility at times (and we haven’t even started). However, the main goal is to eat healthier and eat things that were meant to be food- REAL food. So… going through the ingredients in my fridge right now this means no high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, thiamin mononitrate, methylcellulose, or disodium guanylate. What? I have been consuming all of those things- and if you asked me something as simple as what color they are- I couldn’t tell you. I don’t even know what some of those words actually mean!

This post is not a leap- it’s a stepping stone. It serves as an example of the incredible things you can do with all natural ingredients. My new absolute favorite miracle veggie is cauliflower! See- these are not ordinary muffins. They are actually gluten and wheat free, low in carbs, and high in protein! They are made of cauliflower. It is one of the coolest things I have ever made, I know I’m going to be using cauliflower a TON on the Daniel Fast. It can replace breads either in muffin form, or as a pizza crust. I am currently working on adapting this for vegan use, but for now it does contain egg and cheese.

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Cheddar-Jalapeño Cauliflower Muffins

makes about 12 muffins

recipe largely inspired by IBreatheImHungry

1 small head of cauliflower (you will only be using 2 cups of it)
1 large jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 small clove garlic
1 heaping tablespoon onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

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First, prep the cauliflower. This is the magical part where cauliflower becomes a versatile ingredient. Rinse it carefully, and cut out the stem and core.

cheddar jalapenoCut it into chunks and place it in a blender with some water.

cheddar jalapenoThis is my cheat to “ricing” cauliflower. Get that blender going and let it work its magic.

cheddar jalapenoI know this looks really strange right now. But once it gets smooth (almost like cottage cheese), you can stop the blending and drain out all the water in a strainer.

cheddar jalapenoWhile you are letting the cauliflower drain, clean and mince the jalapeño. I actually keep a small bowl of olive oil on hand when I mince hot peppers so that the capsaicin does not seep into my skin and cause that burning sensation. Be very careful during this process though, and be sure to keep your hands away from your eyes and face!

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Set it aside to cool, so that it does not cook the eggs.

Whisk the eggs in a medium-sized bowl and add in the jalapeño.

Now, move back to your cauliflower. You can check to see if it has drained by gently pressing it down with a spoon. Try to get out any left over water. Add two cups of the cauliflower to the egg mixture with the jalapeño. Mix all of this together, and slowly add in the butter. You can save the rest of the cauliflower in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. There will be a ton left, but there are so many things you can use this for (including a delicious, gluten-free pizza dough).

Next, add in all three cheeses!

cheddar jalapenoMince the garlic, and add that into the bowl along with the onion flakes, salt, and pepper.

cheddar jalapenoFinally, mix in the coconut flour and baking powder.

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Butter a regular muffin pan generously- these muffins will stick, so you want to make sure you grease the pan very well. Fill the pan with batter. They will not rise too much, so you can fill them up to 3/4 full!

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Preheat the oven to 375° F and bake for 30-35 minutes. You want them to be a dark, golden brown.

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When I took these out of the oven, I was overeager. I immediately wanted to dig in (they’ll make your kitchen smell amazing). BUT, it is best to wait! The original recipe states that you should wait at least a half hour before trying to take them out of the pan. I think you can get at them a little sooner than that. Use a butter knife to gently separate the muffin from the sides of the pan, and slowly work the muffin out.

cheddar jalapenoEnjoy!

Aloo-Paneer Paratha


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Paratha has become such a staple for me- not only as a side dish when I’m stuffing myself with Indian take-out, but as a snack as well. You can freeze these and cook them on a pizza stone [at 425F for about 10 minutes] even months after you’ve made them! No defrosting, no potato mashing or paneer-making—- just baking.

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For anyone unfamiliar with Indian cooking, paratha is a wheat flatbread that has been stuffed with various fillings– usually a potato mash or other vegetable medley. I filled mine with a mixture that is similar to the kofta mixture. It contains mashed potatoes, paneer, cilantro, and peppers. I decided to add in some fennel and chili pepper, to make the piratha stuffing a little more savory. Honestly, the filling is a place to really get creative. You can create whatever mixture you like and stuff it in there, and it’s going to be delicious!

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One note before we begin cooking: you really do need a rolling pin for this. I am in love with a French rolling pin that I bought very cheaply off of Amazon. When rolling out this dough it’s important to get a thin, yet solid layer, and that is difficult to do without a rolling pin!

 

Aloo-Paneer Paratha

makes 8-10 flatbreads

 

for the dough
just under 2 1/4 cups chapati flour (I use a mixture of AP and whole wheat)
just under 1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the filling
5 butter ball potatoes (boiled and mashed)
1 cup crumbled paneer (store-bought, or home made)
5 tablespoons minced cilantro (hara dhania)
1 poblano pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin (jeera)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon of ground ancho chili pepper

Before you can really begin the assembly of the stuffed flatbreads, you must make the dough and the filling separately.

 

To make the dough, simply combine 2 1/4 cups chapati flour and the kosher salt in a medium bowl. I can never find chapati flour, and I don’t have any need to go to specialty groceries, so I usually just opt for 1 cup AP flour mixed with 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour. It is an easy solution that uses commoner ingredients, and still produces a delicious result!

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The dough will feel fairly dry, and that’s okay! The butter used in cooking it, as well as the moisture in the filing will make up for this!

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After you have created your dough, you can let it rest for a few minutes while you mix up the filling.

 

Combined the boiled,mashed potatoes with the paneer, minced cilantro, minced pepper, cumin, pepper, salt, fennel, and chili pepper. You are making a mash similar to the one for the kofta.

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As you are adding your spices and peppers, I would encourage you to taste everything along the way! The flavor of this filling is not going to change much in the cooking process, and there is nothing involved that cannot be eaten uncooked.

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Lick the spoon and take little bites here and then, to ensure that you’re getting the flavor profile you want!

 

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The next step is to assemble the flatbreads. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and flour it generously. With floured hands, separate the large dough mass into little balls- about the size of golf balls.

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You want an even number, because you’ll need two dough balls for every flatbread. We got about 16 out of our dough (meaning 8 parathas).

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Using a well-floured rolling pin, take two dough balls and roll them each out, one at a time.

 

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You should now have two roughly circular layers. At this point, you want to prepare a small dish with water, butter, or olive oil. You will use this to help press the dough pieces together and create a seal around the filling. Many recipes call for ghee, but I find that regular butter works just fine here.

In this instance I used water in the pressing process, and butter in the grilling process. Everything still turned out great!

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Now that you have two pieces of dough ready, you can assemble the flatbread! Spoon a generous heaping of filling on top of one piece. When I say generous- I mean about a 1/4 cup! The dough is surprisingly elastic and shouldn’t break easily. However, it might take some trial and error to get the right amount for your parathas.

parantha

 

Next, gently position the second, flattened circle on top of the filling. If you have two, differently-sized circles, I’d recommend putting the bigger one on the bottom. When the bottom circle is bigger, it is easier to pull the edges up and around the top circle, pressing down to create a single, enclosed flatbread! At this point, you can use the water/butter/ghee/olive oil to seal the dough and increase elasticity.

parantha

 

 

The final step before cooking is to flour the rolling pin and roll out the enclosed paratha! This is such a fun process, as it totally transforms the flatbread, and it is so neat to see!

parantha

 

I find that it’s best to flip the paratha a few times during the rolling process and re-flour the surface of the parchment paper. This helps to ensure no sticking or breaking of the bread during the rolling process. A warning- it will stick a bit to the rolling pin, so be careful about how much pressure you use when rolling it out.

Continue this process with the remaining filling and dough balls, and cook them in a butter skillet over medium heat.  Cook in the butter and flip, until both sides are browned.

parantha

 

Even if you are planning to save some for later consumption, you should still cook them all in the skillet with butter before freezing them. The butter adds a great flavor and when you reheat them in the oven they will become extra crispy and delicious!

parantha

 

Serve at once with chutney as a snack, or as a side to your favorite Indian dish! (I often even eat them by themselves, and they’re still incredible!)

parantha

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Grilled, Cornmeal, English Muffins

english muffins

Homemade English muffins are a lot like homemade guacamole. They are mouthwateringly delicious in comparison to the poorly created and tasteless grocery store brands. I say this lovingly, as someone who used to buy prepackaged English muffins.

Now, there are three key factors that go into a good, homemade English muffin. First, the dough, once cut into circles, should be rolled in corn meal. Second, they should be grilled in salted butter not unsalted butter (or vegetable shortening if you’re vegan). Third, use tipo 00 flour if you can. This flour is ground very finely and really makes for a nice, dense muffin that is not dry at all.

Finally, an important note: this recipe can be made with whole milk, but I made it with almond milk and it is delicious that way! Making it with almond milk also means that these English muffins are vegan! Never did I ever think that I would taste something vegan and think it was so delicious!

Also, this recipe is SUPER easy, so that’s a plus! It makes a small batch of muffins, and is doable the morning of for a great brunch or breakfast.

If you want to use these for eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce, you can find a Benedict recipe here and the sauce recipe here.

 

Grilled, Cornmeal, English Muffins

(makes 7-9 muffins)

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk or whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 cups tipo 00 flour (or AP if you don’t have this)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
cormeal for dusting
salted butter for grilling (or extra vegetable shortening for the vegans)

english muffins

First, in a small saucepan, warm the milk until it begins simmering and then remove it from heat. Let it cool down just until it’s lukewarm.

english muffins

Then, in a large bowl, combine the sugar with the warm water and the yeast. Let the yeast stand until the mixture becomes slightly thick and creamy (about 10-15 minutes). It will still be a little watery, don’t worry about this.

english muffins

Next, melt the shortening in the microwave.

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Add the milk mixture and the melted shortening into the large bowl with the yeast. Add in 1 and a half cups of flour and stir everything together.

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Next, add in the remaining flour and the kosher salt. Continue to stir with a paddle or rubber spatula until the dough comes together and is smooth.

english muffins

 

Knead the dough until it becomes soft and elastic. Then grease the bowl with a bit of the vegetable shortening and cover it. Let the dough rise for about one hour.

 

After the dough has risen, punch it down and role it out onto a floured work surface. You want to roll out a sheet that is about 1/2 inch thick.

english muffins

Using biscuit cutters, or the rims of glasses, cut out circles. You can recycle the dough to continue creating more circles until you’ve used up all of the dough.

english muffins

Next, roll the dough in some corn meal.

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Next, place the muffins on a baking sheet in a warm place. Cover them and let them rise for an additional 30 minutes.

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Finally, prepare a griddle with butter or shortening and grill the muffins!

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Enjoy!

english muffins

 

 

Beer-Cheddar-Mustard Pull-Apart Bread

 

pull apart bread

Growing up in the South was heaven for a kid. Climbable magnolias and SEC football were everywhere. In our house, Autumn Saturdays were game days, and the living room echoed with curse words and the occasional War Eagle (in different ratios, depending on the year). These days were like something out of the Wonder Years, and any event like this always calls for a particular kind of snack.

You need something delicious and filling, because no real lunch will be served on this day. You need something easily shareable, because all of the other fans that have flocked to your TV will want a taste. This bread is the perfect gameday food.

pull apart bread

I mean, let’s run through a quick checklist: Beer- good; Cheddar Cheese- good; Mustard- good; Bread- mmmmmm. How could this possibly go wrong?

Okay, so this recipe isn’t the easiest thing to make. It does require some measuring and some careful instruction-following. But, if you make it to that moment when the bread comes out of the oven, piping hot and smelling delicious, you will feel as if you have just scored a game-winning touchdown.

pull apart bread

 

Beer-Cheddar-Mustard Pull-Apart Bread

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

for the bread:
4 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup dark beer
2 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs

pull apart bread

for the filling:
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (again, vegetarians, you can find an anchovy-free version at Whole Foods)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

misc:
parchment paper recommended

pull apart bread

 

First, make the dough. In a small saucepan, heat the 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup of beer, just until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/3 cup beer. Set aside to cool down slightly.

 

Next,  stir together 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt. Add in the butter-beer mixture, stirring slowly. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.

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Add the remaining 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup of all purpose flour and mix  everything until just combined. Next, flour the bowl lightly and knead it for five minutes, or until it becomes smooth.

pull apart bread

 

Oil the bowl and transfer dough to it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 50 to 60 minutes, until doubled. While the dough is rising, you can prepare the filling!

pull apart bread

 

Back in the same small saucepan you used for the butter and beer, melt the 4 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce until smooth. Set aside.

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In the bottom of a medium bowl, stir together mustard powder, paprika, table salt and several grinds of black pepper. Add shredded cheddar and toss until grated strands are evenly coated with spices. After the cheese and spices are mixed, store this in the refrigerator to keep the cheese from going soft.

 

Now comes the more difficult part: assembling the bread. First, coat a 9-by-5 loaf pan with salted butter.

Next, prepare a work surface. Lay down parchment paper, and measure out a 20×12″ rectangle. I have found that marking the edges of this on the parchment paper with sharpie works best. Next measure out 12×4″ within this rectangle, and mark these measurements as well. Then flour the parchment and prepare to assemble the bread!

pull apart bread

 

Flatten and roll the dough into the 20-by-12-inch rectangle. This is a sticky dough, so it helps to repeatedly lift the dough off of the parchment and re-flour it to keep it from binding with the paper!

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Next, brush the butter-mustard-Worcestershire mixture evenly over the whole surface, right up to the edges.

Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips; use the 12-by-4 inches measurement on the parchment to make sure these strips are of equal size.

Sprinkle the first one evenly with a generous helping of the grated cheese. Gently place another strip on top of it, coat it with another heaping of cheese, and repeat with remaining strips until they are stacked 5-high and all of the cheese is used.

 

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Very carefully, with a sharp, serrated knife, use sawing motions to slice through every two inches of the pile. This should end with 6 or 7 two-inch piles.

Now, carefully arrange the stacks of dough, to stand in the loaf pan. If you have too many to fit (which is what always happens to me), simply push everything down to make more room! It helps while you are stacking to hold the pan upright. Sprinkle the top with any extra cheddar cheese you might have.

Loosely cover the pan with more plastic wrap and set it aside to rise again for 30 to 45 more minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake loaf for about 30 minutes, until it is puffed up and brown. Be sure not to let it cook too little, because if you do the dough in the center may not fully cook. Let the cheddar on the outside get nice and crispy before taking it out! If you have a convection oven, you’re better off here.

pull apart bread

Serve warm with cold beer. This bread really is best when it’s warm, but you can also enjoy it when it’s cold. I usually slice it up and put it in the oven with some garlic salt on top!

Enjoy!

pull apart bread

Bahamian Johnny Cake

Johnny Cake

As a child, I spent most Spring Breaks and sometimes even part of my Summer vacation in the Bahamas with my family. We have been to many places in the Bahamas, but one of our favorites is Hope Town. This small village is on Elbow Cay, which forms the northern tip of the Abaco island chain. This area is in the north of the Bahamas, so it’s actually very close to Florida!

 

Johnny Cake

In Hope Town, the locals are very welcoming and in this very tiny community there is a cute church, a school, a museum, and a beautiful lighthouse.  There are also several groceries on the island that serve up great Bahamian classics! As a child, I remember waking up early in the morning and driving down to these stores. We would pick up some delicious homemade bread for lunches on the boat, plenty of Kaliks, and johnny cake. Kalik, one of the local beers,  is always popular, and now that the entire family is “of age” according to Bahamian law, we can go through entire cases each time we visit!

 

Johnny Cake

 

While most of our time is spent boating around from island to island, we also love finding little beaches to sit and relax. Every time we visit there is something new and interesting to do or see!

 

Johnny Cake

I decided to post the recipe for johnny cake in particular because it is reminiscent of a Southern specialty: corn bread! I am not a big fan of corn bread because it is usually too dry and often has a slight buttermilk flavor. However, johnny cake does not include buttermilk and for some reason it is always so deliciously moist! Johnny cake batter can be poured onto a griddle and cooked like a pancake, but in the Bahamas it often takes the form of a loaf and thus resembles corn bread.

This recipe is incredibly easy! Really, even beginner cooks can do this! It doesn’t make a mess and it doesn’t take too much time. If you want to add a southwestern twist, you can chop up some jalapeño and throw that in the batter!

 

Bahamian Johnny Cake

Ingredients
1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup corn meal
1 egg
1 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup butter

 

Johnny Cake

 

First, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl.

Johnny Cake

 

Add in the corn meal.

Johnny Cake

 

Mix all of the dry ingredients together using a rubber spatula.

Johnny Cake

 

In a small container, beat the egg. In a large, microwave-safe measuring glass, melt the butter. While the butter is melting, measure out the milk. Next, pour the milk into the butter and stir everything together. This will help cool the butter down so that none of your egg gets cooked! Add in the beaten egg, and stir well.

Johnny Cake

 

Make a well in your dry ingredients, and pour the butter mixture into the well.

Johnny Cake

 

Using the rubber spatula, fold the batter in on itself until everything is fully mixed.

Johnny Cake

The batter will be pretty thick and grainy from the corn meal, but this is okay! This is a hearty, cheap bread that has long been a staple for Native Americans across the East Coast, so it should be thick!

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter or grease an 8×8 baking pan, and spread the batter evenly into the pan.

Johnny Cake

 

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through and lightly browned on the edges.

Johnny Cake

 

This type of johnny cake can be cut into little slices like corn bread and served with just about any topping you can think of! We really like to enjoy them with butter, preserves, cinnamon sugar, or Alabama white sauce!

Johnny CakeWith butter

Johnny CakeWith Alabama muscadine preserves

Johnny CakeWith melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar

Johnny CakeWith Alabama white sauce

They will keep for just a few days and they reheat very nicely on a griddle with butter!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Pão de Queijo with paprika and sea salt

pdqIt’s World Cup time, and although Brazil is not my team, I thought that I’d make some Brazilian snack foods for the games. Pão de queijo, Brazilian cheese bread, is a very common breakfast or snack food. It is SO delicious, and worth trying if you’ve never had it!

I topped half of mine with spicy paprika and sea salt (that is definitely my preference) but they are amazing just plain as well. If you seal them in an airtight container, they should last for a few days. BUT bring these out at your next football viewing and I promise you there will be no leftovers!

pdqThese are airy little cheese puffs, bite-sized for the perfect game day food!

A quick note on finding cassava or tapioca flour: Whole Foods has it and so do most health food stores. You can also find it at Latin markets, if there is one conveniently located near you.

Pão de Queijo
Makes a little over 2 dozen puffs

Ingredients
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups tapioca or cassava flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups parmesan-reggiano cheese, shredded
parchment paper for baking

pdq

First, preheat the oven to 450°F.

Pour the milk, oil, and kosher salt together in a medium-sized bowl. (The oil + milk combo is super cool looking, like mercury!) Over medium heat, continually stir everything until a rolling boil gets going and everything is completely mixed together. When it’s ready to be taken off heat, you should see big bubbles coming up through the milk.

pdqPour the milk mixture into a bowl and add in the tapioca flour. Using a rubber spatula or your hands, stir in the flour until there is no more dry flour. It will be hot from the boiling milk, so be careful!

pdqIt will look super weird once the milk is all soaked up, but I promise you haven’t done anything wrong! Let the dough cool until you can put a finger on/in it and hold it for a few seconds.

pdqIn a separate bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly. Then, mix the egg in with the dough using your hands, only putting in 1/2 at a time. Let each part soak into the dough thoroughly before adding in the second 1/2. The dough will be very sticky!

pdqFinally, add in the cheese!

Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and pour a small amount of vegetable oil in a cup (this will help with the stickiness of the dough). Measure out 1 tablespoon portions and round them. You can use your hands to form the little balls, continually dipping them in the vegetable oil to keep them from sticking.

pdqSpace them about an inch apart on the baking sheet.

pdqIf you choose, top them with sea salt and paprika!

pdqNow, turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for 25 minutes, or until they are just browning on the outside, more golden brown on the bottom, and have puffed up nicely!

pdqEnjoy!