Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Yummy Lunch Recipes

I've made two very successful recipes this past week I wanted to share.  

First, an incredibly delicious Spinach and Feta Hummus from What's Gaby Cooking.  This made for a delicious lunch with whole grain crackers and some fruit on the side. Just two quick notes: 

1. In my opinion, 1 tsp salt is more than enough since there are plenty of other salty ingredients in this recipe.
2. I also think 1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes is plenty, unless you like your hummus really spicy

The second recipe is Roasted Eggplant Salad with Smoked Almonds and Goat Cheese from The Kitchn.  My main reason for making this was to use up some smoked almonds in my pantry, but I must say it was surprisingly delicious. However, if I made it again, I think I would use cilantro instead of parsley, but that's just a personal preference. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

I just made some delicious cinnamon buns for Easter tomorrow!  I adapted them from a Todd Wilbur "Top Secret" Recipe for Cinnabon's Cinnamon Rolls I found on his website a while back. The ingredients are pretty much the same, but I changed up the preparation a bit and made significant changes to the glaze. A lot of people are intimidated by yeast baking, but it really is not that difficult. It just takes a little extra time because the steps are more spread out. The hands-on time is not much more than your average home-baking recipe. They are perfect for a holiday brunch, afternoon tea, or anytime you feel like a treat! And with that, here's my version:



Cinnamon-Rolls
Print Recipe

Dough:
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 cups flour

Cinnamon Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled slightly

Icing:
5 Tbsp butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
milk

To make the rolls:
Measure the milk in a glass measuring cup.  Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and test temperature. Microwave another 20-30 seconds. Milk should feel warm, but not hot. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, or until it starts to get foamy. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, salt, and eggs. Whisk in milk mixture. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Let stand 5-10 minutes to allow the moisture to soak into the dough (this will make it easier to work with). 

Transfer dough to a floured surface. (I highly recommend working on a large-sized silicone mat. If you do, the dough sticks much less and the kneading and rolling process is much easier.) Knead dough for about 5 minutes, adding a little extra flour as needed.  Dough should be smooth, elastic, and not very sticky.  

Transfer ball of dough to a clean, buttered bowl and loosely cover with a clean dishtowel.  Let rise in a warm place for about an hour. Dough should double in size. 
Note: For this step, I like to give the oven a quick shot of heat at about 200 degrees for just a couple of minutes then shut it off.  This creates a nice warm place for the dough to rise. But please, please, please, make sure the oven is off and not too hot before you place the dough covered with the dish towel in it. You want a warm, cozy spot not a kitchen fire! Be careful!! Also, remember not to turn the oven on for any other reason while your dough is rising! (Seriously, fires suck.) 

Once doubled in size, roll the dough out on a floured surface. (Again, I recommend working on a silicone mat.) Dough should be about 20 x 14 inches. 

To make the filling
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. 

Brush the melted butter all over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over buttered dough. 

To form the rolls:
Working from the long side, tightly roll the dough, enveloping the filling and forming a 20-inch long log. 

Cut the log into even quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 even slices. 

To bake:
For best results, line a 13x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper (Reynold's new pan-lining paper is perfect for this.)  Butter the parchment.  
Note: If you do not have pan-lining paper, you can place a 9-inch wide strip of regular parchment long ways in the pan; the edges should overlap the sides. You will not be able to line the whole pan, but this should still help keep the rolls from sticking.  If you don't have either kind of parchment, make sure to grease the pan liberally.

Evenly space the rolls in the prepared baking pan, 4 in each row. Cover pan with a clean dish towel and let rise again in a warm place for approximately 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Rolls will almost fill up the pan. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you are letting your rolls rise in the oven, make sure you take them out before preheating the oven.

Bake 10-13 minutes. Rolls should be golden brown. 

To make the icing:
In a large bowl, beat all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Add milk 1-2 Tbsp at a time until a thin, glaze-like consistency is reached. 

After the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool about 15 minutes before coating them in the icing. Alternately, you can leave the icing on the side and let each person use however much they prefer. That way frosting-freaks (like me) get lots and non-frosting people (like Nick) can skip it altogether.