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Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

From Dish Amelia:
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I was casting about for what I would post this month for my SLD, and the topic ended up finding me in the most natural and planetary of ways. There were so many signs in fact, that I had to list the indicators just to look at because everything seemed so connected and clear. (Cycle, Spring, oval, egg, Easter eggs, Easter…)

I decided to try making the kolache. The kolache are a Czech pastry, but it is so much more. I know what these are because both of my parents are from Texas and we would visit sometimes when I was growing up. There is a solid old Czech community near my dad’s hometown, and he impressed on me the importance and specialness of getting the good kolaches in the tiny town of Snook when passing through. (Mom, Dad, kolaches, fruit, wildflowers, jewel tone colors…) It happened that my mom just went on a little road trip to see the wildflowers, and she sent a few pics. And, I just happened to work a catering job at Lincoln Center for the new play “Ann”, abut Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. To add to the Texan reminders, large swaths of Brooklyn were just looking towards or went to Austin for the South by Southwest music festival. (Ann Richards gig, SXSW, Texas, New York, Brooklyn, Greenpoint, Poland, Eastern Europe, Czech Republic…)

I figured that the Tall Pole might have some awareness of this pastry, because many eastern European traditions carry a level of crossover, like poppy seeds. (Traditions, poppy seeds…) The Pole was not really sure, but was not opposed to my investigation, sweet-toothed as he is. I turned to the Eastern European Food section of About.com, an excellent resource, and found the related Polish kolaczki, which was interesting. But this was not the type I was going for, which led me to the obvious next stop: awesome food blog Homesick Texan written by Lisa Fain (who also has a great cookbook). Of course she did a post on kolaches. And weirdly enough she had posted in March of 2007, leading me to wonder about kolaches and springtime. (…food blogs, springtime, traditions, New York…) Her post is wonderful, and I can only add a slightly different angle, and also a bit more sugar, as the kolaches I remember are a bit sweeter than her recipe. I also left off the sprinkled topping. (Hers is adapted from Texas Monthly and the Houston Chronicle, mine is adapted from hers.)

1 packet active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk

1.2 cup sugar

3 cups AP flour

2 large eggs

3/4 cups melted butter

1 tsp salt

fillings at your discretion

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Photo from mom.

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Prepare your starter. Combine sugar, yeast, 1 cup of flour (whisk) and then milk

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Cover and let it double in size and get foamy.

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Mix together melted butter, salt and eggs

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The starter has become foamy! Mix the butter/egg mixture into this.

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Then mix in flour, a 1/2 cup at a time.

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Knead ten minutes. So fun. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise one hour.

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Look at that! I’m always impressed by yeast.

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Pull off pieces and roll into egg-sized balls…

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Flatten into disks and brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise another half hour.

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Prepare your fillings. I chose mine based on tradition and color variety. There are several Polish pastries I’ve seen in Greenpoint that utilize this chocolaty looking (not chocolate) paste. With some investigation and many questions directed at the Tall Pole (who probably never imagined he would field so many) I found that this ingredient in Polish is called masa makowa, or poppy seed butter, and usually contains almonds and sugar. One can make this easily, but to save time, and invest in some authenticity, I braved the crazy Easter line of the Polish deli to grab some. It’s quite good. I also got some crumbly farmer’s cheese

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The fillings: strawberry, sour cherry, orange ginger, farmer’s cheese (with maple syrup drizzle, my one liberty), and poppy seed paste. Obviously you could (should?) make these too, but for maximum variety I used high quality, few ingredient jams. In the future I think I would just make my favorite or be more experimental, but I wanted to tap into tradition, not expand on it just yet.

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Make a decent indentation with your fingers and spoon in the filling.

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Bake at 375 for 13 minutes. Brush them with melted butter (why not?) when they come out. Let them cool a bit and savor this new rite of spring.

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From Dish Nicole:

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It sometimes works out in the land of Saucy Little Dish that we dishes have the same thing in mind.  Last week Deanna posted her quinoa recipe and simultaneously I had quinoa on the brain when I came across this recipe for a quinoa bake in the New york Times.  Quinoa is classified as a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal, or grain so I decided to make it pseudo-healthy and bake it into a gratin.  Who doesn’t love a delicious cheesy gratin anyway??  Plus I was just bringing the side dish; my good friend was making us the healthy main dish of fish and asparagus to accompany my quinoa creation.

1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 plump garlic cloves, minced

4 cups cooked quinoa, (1 cup uncooked)

2 large eggs

3 ounces Sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (3/4 cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and start out making your quinoa as instructed (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water).  I added chicken broth instead of water for added flavor.  While the quinoa is cooking, prep your ingredients and wash the spinach.  Leave a little of the moisture on the spinach and heat in batches in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the spinach is wilted let it cool or rinse with cold water, squeeze out the excess water, chop and set side.

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Next you will want to heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add in your onion and cook until soft.  Add in the garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute before adding in the chopped spinach.  Add salt and pepper and set aside.

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Next beat the eggs in a large bowl and add in the sage, spinach mixture and the cheddar cheese and mix well.  Pour into your gratin dish (aka baking dish) and smooth out.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese on top, drizzle a little olive oil and bake until golden brown.  Approximately 30 minutes.  I prefer the top a little crunchy so I left it in a little longer.

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End result: crunchy, cheesy, yummy.

*The original recipe called for Gruyère, I chose to use sharp white cheddar instead.

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From Dish Nicole:

pepperoni white pizza

While I was home over Thanksgiving my family and I ate too much and then talked about how full we were. Then the next day we ate the leftovers and did the whole cycle all over again. A family tradition. One of the great things about my family is that we have a huge family and tons of close friends that are honorary family members. We get together throughout the holiday season and usually we do a pot-luck style gathering due to the amount of people. You always get to sample the holiday classics as well as a new recipe someone was trying out. Some are healthy, and well you know, some call for a pound of butter, a la Julia Child. At one recent get together my mom’s best friend Cindy came over and she mentioned a recipe her daughter had told her to try. Pizza dough made from cauliflower. I was intrigued. When I got back to NYC I started the old Google search and came across a website called Eating Bird Food and got to work making my dough. I made 2 pizzas and they were excellent. I am not saying that you should replace delicious crusty pizza dough with this permanently but it is a healthy alternative and is gluten free for our gluten intolerant friends!

 
Yields 2 Pizza crusts
1 head cauliflower (about 2 cups riced)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & Pepper

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Start off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Grease your cookie sheets or use a pizza stone. I recommend using a pizza stone if you have one. (I do not but you bet I’ll be registering for one!) Remove all the stems and leaves from the cauliflower and chop into small chunks.

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Put all the cauliflower in a food processer and pulse until the cauliflower is ground to a coarse rice consistency. Next you want to cook the cauliflower until it’s translucent. You can do this by microwaving it for 8 minutes or heat in a sauce pan over medium heat. If using the sauce pan, you do not need to add oil, just keep stirring and do not leave unattended. Once the cauliflower is ready you can mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. If you would like to add salt and pepper you can do so at this time.

Now you are ready to roll out the dough. Unlike regular dough you do not need to knead the dough. You will simply spread out the dough onto your prepped baking sheets or stone. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The center should be cooked through and the edges will be crispy.

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Remove from the oven and add your toppings. Here is what I used:

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Pizza 1: tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, onion, pepperoni & fresh chopped basil
Pizza 2: red potatoes thinly sliced, ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese & fresh chopped basil

baking
Once your pizzas are ready you are going to put them back in the oven and broil for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Slice and eat immediately.

pizza!
You won’t trick any bread lovers but this pizza sure was tasty. Grab a fork and knife, you will need it, and eat away.

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From Dish Paige:

Happy November! It’s my favorite time of year right now (aside from all of the insane weather we’ve been having here in the Northeast) because as we near Thanksgiving, it means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! I’ve always had a weakness for pumpkin pie, and at this point, if I see the word pumpkin in front of anything, I’ll eat or drink it.  The other day, we made marshmallows in class and all I could think was, “how good would this taste with pumpkin pie spice!?” The answer, as you will find out below, is….AMAZING!

For the cookies (this recipe comes directly from the Quaker Oats website, and it amazing as is):

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks butter, room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 large egg, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix and set aside.

 

In the bowl of your mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, paddle the butter until soft and fluffy. Add in the sugars and continue paddling until well combined and nicely creamed. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until just combined. Add the flour in 3 batches, paddling until just combined after each addition. Line your baking sheet with parchment and scoop the cookies using an ice cream scooper. With wet hands, flatten the cookies into discs. Bake for approximately 10 minutes – you want the cookies to set but remain soft. Cool.

For the filling:

75g egg whites

240g granulated sugar

60g glucose or corn syrup

water

2 packets powdered gelatin or 15g (bloom the gelatin in 2/3 cup water)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

In your mixer, begin whipping the egg whites on medium speed. Once they reach soft peaks, turn the mixer down to it’s lowest setting and keep it stirring. Meanwhile, place the sugar in a VERY CLEAN pot and combine with just enough water to make it the texture of wet sand (like you’re building a turret on a sand castle). Add the glucose the sugar mixture and heat over medium heat until the mixture reaches 260 degrees. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and pour the sugar syrup in the bowl between the sides of the bowl and the whip. Add the gelatin and increase the speed, mixing until the bowl cools down and the mixture becomes fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.

Place the marshmallow in a piping bag and pipe a big old pile of filling on the undersides of half the cookies. Place another cookie on top and enjoy!

Note: You will have TONS of marshmallow filling so you might want to double the recipe. Or you can save it and use it for hot chocolate or any other confection you can think of!

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Apple Tarte Tatins

From Dish Danielle:

There are many pastimes synonymous with upstate New York, but none are as epitomizing as apple picking in the fall. There is something deep inside my upstate bones that pulls me towards apple trees every autumn. I can’t always make the big trek to my hometown, but luckily there are many incredible orchards dotting the perimeter of our beloved city, the BIG APPLE, (…heh). This year, not only did I go apple picking with a couple of dear friends — we visited an orchard not too far upstate that is ALSO A WINERY. This means you can buy a bottle of wine, and then yes…oh yes, tuck that bottle under your arm and head into the orchard to sip and pick. It was quite the fall afternoon…followed by several weeks worth of apple tart making/recipe tweaking. The below recipe is a mash-up of several attempts to perfect my method, taking very clever baking cues from some seriously saucy dishes.

Ingredients
1 large round pie crust: use Julia’s recipe
8 large apples, cut into medium slices (you don’t want them too thin)
6-8 hibiscus tea bags (or another nice aromatic variety)
boiling water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
ground ginger
1c brown sugar
1c white sugar, and a small handful more
½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 tbsp butter

Toss tea bags into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them—enough so that when the apples slices are added, they’re submerged. Add half of each sugar, and a few liberal pinches of ginger. Add the lemon zest and ½ the lemon juice. Whisk so the sugar dissolves and the tea steeps well (taste the liquid and add any of the above to your liking). Add sliced apples. Let them sit, completely submerged, for 45mins, jostling them now and again. While you’re waiting, make your crust if you’re doing it from scratch.

Preheat your oven to 375.

Strain the liquid from the apples into a small pot. Place over a high flame and allow it to reduce to a thicker drizzle to top your finished tarts with. Toss strained apples with the remaining sugar, the rest of the lemon juice, a few more small pinches of ginger, maybe a few grinds of nutmeg, and cinnamon if it’s to your liking (I didn’t use it).

Place a large cast iron over a med-low flame and set the butter in to melt (I used several small cast irons and made mini tarts). Once it’s melted, take a small handful of white sugar and sprinkle it into the butter. Now, pull the cast iron off the heat and arrange your apple slices however you’d like. Pile them high because they’ll shrink a bit during this next step.

Once your apples are in the cast iron, place the pan back over medium heat and essentially allow the sugar/butter/apples to ‘boil’ for 10 minutes or so. You want the juices to be bubbling up on the sides and to turn amber in color. Remove from heat. Roll out your pie crust. Carefully place it over apples and tuck it inside the edges of your pan.


Pop your tart into the oven for 15-20 minutes and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the pan has cooled down, gently run a knife along the outer edge of the tart to loosen it from the pan. This is the hardest part: lay a large plate or cutting board over the top of the pan and flip the whole thing quickly to invert the tart. You may have to use a small offset to get the most stubborn slices of apples off the bottom of your pan, but you’ll make it pretty again with some of your reduced tea/lemon/ginger drizzle.


Use a bakers brush and paint the inverted tart(s) with the reduced drizzle.

Slice and enjoy fall’s bounty!

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From Dish Jodi:

It’s been hot here in LA. And though I love our hilltop house and big patio — a place to dip my feet regularly would sure be nice. It’s been a little bit of “Operation Find A Pool” and last weekend was no exception. Here’s a little technique I figured out.

1) Find a friend (or friend of a friend) with a pool.
2) Using sneaky undercover tactics, figure out that this person happens to love anything made with chocolate and coconut.
3) Make cookies (see below).
4) Send friend pictures of cookies, asking for a trade.
5) Realize friend is weak to idea of chocolate and coconut cookies and take advantage.
6) Dangle feet, float and splash away in friend’s pool while friend is distracted by cookies.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COCONUT COOKIES (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups white-chocolate chips or chunks
1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream butter and sugars in an electric mixer. Mix in vanilla and then eggs, one at a time.


Meanwhile, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Mix slowly into butter mixture until combined. Fold in chocolate, coconut and walnuts until evenly distributed.

Put big scoops of dough on baking sheets leaving a couple inches between. Smush them down a little to shape. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.


Let cook on the sheets for a couple of minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

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From Dish Paige:

If you’ve been following Saucy Little Dish, then you might have figured out something I love to do is make at-home versions of food items one can easily purchase at the store. Sometimes the end result is way more awesome than I could ever expect (English muffins, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups). And sometimes, after laboring away for hours, covered in batter and flour from head to toe, the store-bought version reigns supreme (I’m looking at you Milano cookies). The other day, I stumbled on this recipe for homemade cheddar cheese crackers (a.k.a. Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips) and I just had to make them. The verdict: Super delicious, super flaky, and totally worth it!

Ingredients:
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 tablespoons butter or vegetable shortening (vegetable shortening will give you a flakier cracker, but some people find it gross)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water
coarse salt

Directions:
Combine shredded cheddar, butter or shortening and salt until well combined. Add in the flour and rub in with your hands until it resembles a coarse meal with some larger pea-sized pieces. Add the water and mix until combined. Knead just a little bit to form a cohesive ball. Cover in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 mins or over night.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle and cut into 1-inch squares. Place the squares on a sheet tray lined with parchment and sprayed with non-stick spray. With a skewer or toothpick, poke a hole in the center of each square. Sprinkle with coarse salt and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown (mine took 13 minutes).

Eat as a snack, or float on top of tomato soup. Stores for a day or two in an air-tight container. Will not last more than an hour if you live in a house like mine.

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