Pancakes from Scratch

Pancakes_recipecard

This is a basic mix so that you can have pancakes anytime. Double the recipe if you have more than two people to feed. Add blueberries if they are available. Or chocolate chips. Or banana slices. Or whatever you like in pancakes.

 

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Scalloped Potatoes

ScallopedPotatoes_Card

Your simple scalloped potatoes, quick and easy, no frills. Don’t worry if you don’t have gouda for the top, use more parmesan or any other cheese. You can also substitute half-and-half or milk for the cream.

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Gouda cheese, grated,  for topping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a saucepan, heat up the cream with the bay leaves, thyme leaves, garlic, and some salt and pepper. While the cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bay leaves. Pour the heated cream into a large bowl with the potato slices. Mix gently to coat the potatoes. Season the mix with a little bit of salt and pepper. Spoon a little bit of the cream into the bottom of the casserole dish. Then layer the potatoes, alternating with parmesan and the cream mixture. Pour the remaining cream at the bottom of the bowl over the top. Top with some grated Gouda and fresh thyme leaves. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, but pull back one corner for the steam to escape. Bake for 40 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

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Italian Easter Bread

This recipe is a slight modification of Nana Latona’s Italian Easter Bread Recipe at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/italian-easter-bread-recipe/

easterbread

For the Dough

  • 8 – 10 cups (1134 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges, zested & juiced
  • 4½ teaspoons (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (227 grams) butter, melted
  • 8 eggs for dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)
  • 6-10 raw eggs in shells, dyed, for decoration

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups (227 grams) powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
  • Sprinkles, if desired

Make the Dough:

  1. Place 8 C flour in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm to the touch, but not hot. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature of the milk should be between 110 and 115 degrees F.
  3. While the milk is warming, place the sugar in a small bowl and add the orange zest. With your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moistened.
  4. Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, stir in the sugar and zest mixture, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and begin to mix it into a dough (it will be shaggy at this point).
  6. Next, add the melted butter and continue to mix. Then, add the orange juice to the dough and mix to combine.
  7. In a small bowl, use a fork to lightly beat together the eggs, salt, and anise flavoring. Add to the dough and continue mixing.
  8. At this point, you may need to add more flour to the dough, depending on how much juice you get out of your oranges. (I added quite a bit more to get the dough to come together.) Once you have a sticky ball of dough formed, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding a small amount of flour at a time as needed, or until the dough is soft and elastic. It will remain slightly tacky.
  9. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Shape the Bread:

  1. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and divide in two. Divide each half into two (you will have four pieces of dough). We will work with one pair, and then the other. Roll two pieces of dough into 24-inch long ropes. Loosely twist the ropes together. Transfer the braided rope to one of the prepared baking sheets and bring the ends together to form a ring, twisting and pinching the ends together to seal. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough so that you have two circular, braided loaves.
  2. Tuck a colored, raw egg under the wrapped dough. Put them closer to the center because as the dough rises they will come to the top.
  3. Brush the tops of each with the melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake one at a time (unless you have the oven capacity to correctly bake both at the same time) until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Glaze the Bread:

  1. Once the breads are cooled to room temperature, you can glaze them (if you desire). In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and the milk until smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze onto the top and sides of the bread, and decorate with sprinkles. The bread is best served at room temperature. If you have leftovers, wrap well in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Cream Scones

  • 2 cups (280 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (2 grams) salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup currants (if you substitute dried cranberries, chop them into smaller bits) (optional)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream

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Heat oven to 425°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. (If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips. If using food processor, pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second.) Stir in currants.

Stir in heavy cream with a fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Do not over knead! The traditional way to make the scones is to pat the dough into an 8-inch circle and cut into 6 or 8 wedges. With this method, you bake with the wedges still touching. Alternatively, you could roll out the dough to ¾-inch thick and cut circles with a biscuit cutter.

Place rounds or wedges on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops with additional beaten egg; sprinkle with sugar. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 14 – 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

6-8 servings

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Brooke’s Enchiladas

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Roasted Carrots with Cumin

Note: I’ve roasted sliced fennel root with the carrots and the family loved it.

carrots

  • 10 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and crosswise. If the carrots are fat at one end, cut the fat half in half again lengthwise, so that the pieces are more or less equal in thickness. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves.

Heat a heavy baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the carrots on it in one layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the carrots every 10 minutes. They should be slightly caramelized and tender.

While the carrots are in the oven, lightly toast the cumin and coriander seeds (seconds in a skillet). Place the toasted seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind. Add the soft butter, turmeric and stir with the pestle until well combined. Transfer to your serving dish.

Remove the carrots from the oven when done and add to the dish with the spice butter. Toss together, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve.

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Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼-½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla*, or whatever you want)
  • paste food coloring
  • Sugar Cookies

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Combine sugar and ¼ cup milk. Mix until smooth. Add milk as need to create a smooth mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Add corn syrup and almond extract.

Add food coloring one drop at a time until desired color is reached.

To decorate cookies, your outline icing should be the consistency of toothpaste, your flood icing should be the consistency of corn syrup.  Icing will dry hard overnight.

*Note that if you use vanilla extract the icing will have a  slightly off white hue, but that won’t matter if you are coloring it.

Keep unused icing sealed until ready to use.  Icing will keep for several weeks on the countertop, in a sealed container.

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