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Monday
Mar232015

French Style Rolls

French style rolls

It’s the first Secret Recipe Club reveal day of spring! This month, I was assigned to Bewitching Kitchen, written by Sally. Sally is a biochemist who was born and raised in Brazil, and has lived in Paris and California before settling in Kansas. She describes a little bit about her research in bacteria on her Science page. It sounds so interesting. I love to get a glimpse into what other people do for a living!  Because of Sally's background, she has a whole section of Brazilian recipes, which all looked so delicious! She also has a section all about sous vide cooking, which is super cool! We do not have a sous vide, but after experiencing food cooked that way at a restaurant we both love, Joel has been wanting to get one pretty badly. I will most definitely revisit that section of Sally’s blog when we finally do get one. We started out the month trying to challenge ourselves with Meatless March. Because of that, I was limited by what I could choose. Don’t get me wrong, Sally has plenty of non-meat based recipes to choose from so it was not difficult by any means, but there were so many amazing looking recipes that included meat that I could not make. Long story short, the challenge fizzled and meat was quickly back in some of the foods we ate this month. But, by that time, I had already settled on making these French-style rolls, so I didn’t stray from my plan, and I’m glad I didn’t. These rolls were amazing. While Joel is typically the bread-baker in our house, I’ve made a few recipes before that have either been too dense or too chewy, but this one had the perfect consistency; a nice crunchy crust with a fluffy interior that was great for both sopping up sauce and for making sandwiches! Thanks for letting me into your kitchen this month, Sally. I can’t wait to stop back and try some more of your recipes! 

1/2 cup Warm Water
2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (this is the same as the amount in 1 envelope)
1 cup Cold Water
4 cups Bread Flour
2 teaspoons Salt

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or alternately, in a food processor), add the flour and salt, mixing to combine. Add the cold water to the yeast mixture, then pour it into the bowl with the flour. Mix until the dough starts to form a ball. Adjust with additional flour if the consistency is too sticky or water if the consistency is to dry. Knead the dough (either with the dough hook or by hand) then place it into a bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover and place the bowl in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1-3 hours depending not he temperature in your kitchen. When the dough has risen, shape it into either 12 rolls or 2 loaves and place them on a baking sheet to rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Make a deep cross cut on the top of the rolls using kitchen scissors, or slash the top of the loaves with the blade of a sharp knife. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes if you are making rolls or for 40 minutes if you are making loaves. 

SOURCE: Bewitching Kitchen

Monday
Mar092015

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Cauliflower cheddar soup

We’ve been in a funk lately. Neither cooking, nor eating, has given us any joy. Perhaps it’s the winter we’ve been experiencing. Now that March is here, things aren’t much better. It is my least favorite month. It just seems so long, especially when temperatures are still frigid, snow is piled high, and spring is nowhere to be found. To spice things up a bit, and perhaps to bring some happiness back to our meals, I’ve decided to challenge myself to go meatless for the whole month. We’ve done it before, but we’ve taken break over the past few years, so why not bring it back? I sat down at my computer and planned out meals for the entire month of March so as to go into the challenge prepared. I have to say, the whole first week was a success. It has been a while since I have liked every single thing that has come out of my kitchen, but this week surprised me in the best way possible. This soup was one of the recipes we made this week. Besides the fact that it was incredibly easy to prepare, I had seconds and Joel had thirds(!) which is basically unheard of around here! To say we enjoyed it is an understatement! Here’s hoping that the next few weeks come with just as much success in the kitchen, and in the challenge, as this one. 

2 tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, diced
1 head Cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup Water
6 ounces White Cheddar, grated
1/4 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Pepper, or to taste 
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, or to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and water, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in the blender).Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

SOURCE: Prevention RD 

Monday
Feb232015

Chorizo Gravy

Chorizo gravy

Welcome to the February edition of the Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! This month, I was assigned to Sew You Think You Can Cook, written by Lauren. Lauren is an aerospace engineer who lives in Ohio with her husband and her baby boy. She has a ton of awesome recipes, and as her blog title suggests, she also posts a bunch of her amazing quilts, along with tutorials. She is so talented, you really need to check out her quilt blocks! They are all beautiful, but my favorite is the half-square triangles. Maybe some day I’ll be brave enough to tackle it, but for now, I’ll just stick to getting comfortable with basic sewing. As for the recipe, this month I chose something a little outside the box for us. While Joel and I are both from NY, born and raised, we decided to try a southern classic. While even Lauren says that this isn’t a “traditional” biscuits and gravy recipe, she has southern roots, so I knew this had to be good. Plus, with an ingredient list so short, it was really hard not to give it a try. Let me tell you, this was by far the best decision I could have made! We absolutely loved this dish. I made this for breakfast before a day of skiing, and it was the perfect stick-to-your-ribs type of meal that kept us full until lunch. Thanks for the delicious peek into southern cuisine, Lauren! 

3 links Chorizo Sausage, casings removed
2 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Milk
*(I used skim and ended up needing to thicken with cornstarch, so I recommend using 2% or whole milk) 

In a large skillet, brown the chorizo, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. Once cooked through, use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo and let it drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Without draining the skillet of the fat, whisk in the flour to make a rue. Add the milk and whisk continuously over medium heat until the mixture thickens to a gravy consistency, about 5 minutes. This was the point where I realized it was not thickening to my desired consistency because I used skim milk, so I put a teaspoon of cornstarch into a small bowl and added a little bit of the milk from the skillet, stirring into a slurry, then added the mixture back into the skillet and whisked until thickened. When the gravy has thickened, add the chorizo back to the skillet and stir to combine. Spoon the mixture over biscuits (I used these)

SOURCE: Sew You Think You Can Cook

Friday
Feb202015

Cheesy Beer Bread

Cheesy beer bread

Welcome to the first Friday of Lent. Meatless meals are all around, and local fish fry places are bursting at the seams with customers. When the crowds take over, we prefer to stay home, which is why I plan to make a creole shrimp dish for dinner tonight. A flavorful bread is necessary to soak up all the saucy goodness, if you ask me. And what better type of bread than one that contains beer and cheese? With no rising time needed, this is the perfect bread to make after a long day at work.  

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 (12 ounce) bottle Beer (I used Southern Tier’s Where the Helles Summer seasonal spring lager)
2 tablespoons Butter, melted

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese.  Using a wooden spoon, mix in the beer until completely incorporated. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan, pour the melted butter over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool

SOURCE: Elly Says Opa

Sunday
Feb152015

Blueberry Belgian Waffles

Blueberry waffles

While we have gotten away from the weekly waffles we once enjoyed on the weekends, they are still a welcomed treat every so often. Since yesterday was valentines day, I had hoped to make a special breakfast, but when I woke up, the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating enough to allow me to make a quick run to the store. Luckily, we had everything we needed to make some waffles! I tried a different recipe from the ones I have already posted, and I couldn’t have been happier with the result. While most waffles we have had have either been very dense or so light and airy that they are crispy, these waffles had a great consistency. Substantial enough that we were full after eating one, but not so filling that we were feeling bogged down all day. The leftovers reheated nicely for a Sunday morning breakfast, as well, which certainly helped to combat the -25 degree temperature outside (I only wish that was an exaggeration)!

2 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 3/4 cup Milk
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 cup Blueberries (I used frozen)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour 1 cup of batter into the center of a preheated waffle maker and bake until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cool leftover waffles, wrap in foil, and refrigerate. Reheat in the oven. 

SOURCE: Deliciously Yum