Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dam Good Soft (and easy) Rolls

...Matt told me to call them that. Because they "Create a dam for the gravy."...Anyway. I was looking for a quick pizza dough recipe, and the dough came out so tender and pillowy, I wanted to use the remaining dough for rolls.  Which came out equally tender. So I wanted to share the recipe with additions of spices.

Dam Good Soft Rolls (or pizza dough)
1-- 1/4 oz package yeast
1 cup warm water
2.5 cups flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder*
1 tsp onion powder*
2-3 teaspoons paprika (optional)*

* You can use any dried herb or spice you like, it makes the dough remain tender because it helps inhibit some gluten development. These just happen to be my favorite additions

  • Put the warm water in a medium sized bowl, sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar over it. Stir gently and let sit for ten minutes. The mixture should look creamy 
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, remaining sugar, salt, and the spices of your choice. Mix into the yeast mixture along with the olive oil. Knead for a minute or two or until it forms a smooth ball.You may need more flour. the dough should be soft, pliable but not too sticky or too dry.
  • Let sit for 30 minutes, until it doubles in size. 
  • Knead once more and you can begin to roll it for pizza, or divide for rolls. If using for rolls, let the rolls proof for another 15 minutes. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.
  • If using for pizza, roll out, top as desired and bake at 425 for 12-20 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is melted

Friday, September 10, 2010

Roasted Vegatables

For some people, Fall means sharpened pencils, homework, and the end of the beach. For me, it's roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables and braised items. I could eat roasted vegetables every day. Especially if it contains sweet potatoes and broccoli. The sweet potatoes get crispy, caramelized and soft.
 What happens to the broccoli I can't really describe. Its florets get crisped. The broccoli flavor condenses into an in-your-face broccoli flavor. It took me awhile to come around to broccoli. Maybe I wasn't ready for it's delicious broccoli flavor.

Parsnips is something I never ate until I reached school. Its first appearance was in beef stew, my top three favorite meal choices at school. Those perfectly batonette cut root vegetables. Savory beefy sauce. Beef braised to tender beefy perfection. Mashed potatoes. Warm dinner rolls. Oh yeah....Nothing better on a cold Hudson Valley November night than a bowl of beef stew from Skills Kitchen.

But I digress......

The parsnips looked like potatoes, especially when coated in beef deliciousness, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new root vegetable. To quote Matthew, "They taste like carrots if carrots didn't taste like carrots." Which I completely understood. Funny enough, it makes sense. It's light, rooty, and lacking beta carotene. Paired well when roasted with carrots and sweet potatoes.

Looking forward to roasting more root vegetables and the first braise of the season.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bacon Fat, or Why I need to Check my Drafts on Blogger from time to time. 8/2009

Back when I was trying to lose weight and be healthy , I would never have dreamed of using bacon fat. Now, being a little older, "wiser", and sick of trying so hard, I'm looking at it in a whole new light.
I've learned I eat in stages. Tuesday-Saturday I don't really eat all that much. I muddle through my day picking at cookies, cookie dough and the occasional bagel or iced coffee. It's an occupational hazard. That's what they don't tell you about the food industry; you are lucky to eat. (But I don't mind)
Sunday and Monday, however, I'm a bear. I can't stop eating.

Which brings me to bacon fat. I am obsessed. I love how it smells when first rendered from the bacon, I love its honey color when poured into a container, I love how it solidifies into a whitish gray mass that spreads easily onto bread for frying.

Last week, Matthew brought home some Italian Wedding Soup. I had been craving bacon, so we settled on BLTs and soup. I was shameless. Not only did I substitute fresh hot bacon fat for mayo, but.....I dipped a bit of the sandwich into said bacon fat. Just a corner. Just enough for a small bite. It wasn't greasy or oily. It soaked into the bread, making it moist and warm

I want to buy pounds of bacon to render, and strain it. I want to have Matt make Bacon Mayo out of it. For BLTs with Bacon Mayo, with bacon fat brushed onto the bread and pressed in a frying pan.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eating in Secret

Growing up, I lived on tuna. Almost literally. Tuna was second only to freshly pan fried chicken cutlets. But for the past few years, I've shunned tuna. Eating it in very rare circumstances. It is fishy, it can be messy. Evidence is difficult to hide. Being at school didn't help. I was weird enough, I didn't need tuna to make it worse.

Now that I'm living in an apartment with Matt, I've come out of the Tuna Closet. I have a few hours to myself after work, a perfect time to dabble in my tuna love.
Today after work, I blew off the gym, citing broken headphones. Also, I needed to get the half frozen chicken out of the fridge for dinner tonight. I was craving tuna.

Some people eat tuna sandwiches, sometimes they eat tuna melts. A few with crackers.
I enjoy tuna in all those forms, but my favorite way to eat it is with chips. Which I don't find weird at all. It's tuna on chips. But maybe stranger still is the best way to eat tuna. The most tasty combination of food, or at least top 20: Tuna and Doritos. It is cheesy, nacho-y and just plain good.

The Doritos were on sale last week, so with little thought, I bought them. And fixed tuna with the usual: salt, pepper, garlic/onion powder, barely enough lite mayo to bind. No celery, please. No celery ever.  Top on Doritos and enjoy.

Tasty, tasty, tasty!
Okay, so I know that's weird. And shameful. And just kinda bizarre. But don't knock it till you try it!
I enjoy a good seared sesame seeded crusted yellow fin tuna (with an Asiany kinda sauce) as much as the next person, but tuna and doritos? Heck yes.

What's your dirty eating secret?