Monday, January 19, 2009

Plate of Happiness

I am having the hardest time writing this post. I think the sugary goodness of the rugelach pinwheels is distracting me. I can't think of anything witty or articulate. I am completely reduced to Homer Simpson drool noises. These were an enormous pain to make, but are just so good. Can I tempt you further?

from SmittenKitchen


1 package (8oz) cream cheese
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 C flour

1/4 C + 2 T sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
3/4 C chopped dried fruit (I used raisins, but craisins, dried cherries, or dates would be great)
1 C finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but I think pecans work well too)

1/2 C fruit preserves (I used apricot)

1 C sugar
2 t cinnamon

Put the cream cheese and butter together in a stand mixer. Mix until smooth (you may need help from you spatula throughout this process). Add the sugar and blend in. Add the flour a half cup at a time, blending well, and using the spatula to keep the batter off your paddle and back in the bowl. Divide dough into 2 sections and refridgerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the filling. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, fruit and nuts. Mix well and set aside.

Right before the dough is ready, heat up your preserves until very liquidy and then allow to cool. I microwaved mine for about 20-30 seconds and stirred well.

Rolling out the dough is tricky, I'm not going to lie. You need it to be rectangular which is difficult and it needs to be about 1/8 of an inch thick. The dough is very sticky and you'll need to work fast. Even though I made this in winter, in a not too warm kitchen, my dough kept getting too soft to work with. If your dough starts to stick, do not panic. I strongly recommend rolling it out on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Remove and roll only one of your two dough sections at a time. Flour your surface well and if the dough gets too soft, stop rolling it out and gently pop it back in the fridge. Give it about 10 minutes to cool down, then get back to rolling it out. Once the dough is rolled out, spread it with half the preserves and sprinkle it with half the filling. Then starting with the long side of your rectangle, gently and carefully roll up the dough into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and pop back in the fridge. Repeat with the second section of dough. The dough logs will need to stay in the fridge for at least another hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the topping together in a bowl. Remove a log of dough and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Dip each round in the topping and gently place on the parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and survey the damage. If you're anything like me, some of your rounds will have unspiralled. This is easy to fix if you act immediately. While the dough is still hot from the oven, try to reform the circles. As it cools it will hold it's shape. Also, as this is a very sugary recipe and there's all that fruity filling, you may notice a lot of carmelized goop on your tray. If you get the cookies out of that and onto a wire cooling rack ASAP you won't have a lot of random carmelly stuff sticking off your cookies.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's in a name? that which we call a hoagie By any other name would taste as delicious

Where I currently live, this is called a meatball hoagie. I've personally never liked the sound of hoagie. It's one of those words that just icks me out. Thankfully, the word sub is in such common usage nationwide that I can order a meatball sub and people will know what I mean. They may figure that I'm not from here, but they'd be able to fill my order just fine. In Connecticut, they call them grinders, which is my personal favorite name for this kind of sandwich. Depending on where you live, they might be called any of these things, a hero, or something else I'm not even aware of (in which case, tell me in the comments, enlighten me!) But no matter what you call it, a meatball sub is a whole lot of tasty on a roll (an Amoroso roll if you're in hoagie territory).

meatball recipe adapted from Giata De Laurentiis
should make 2-4 sandwiches depending on your roll size, we used 6" rolls and should have been able to make 4

1 lb ground turkey (make sure you get 94% lean, 97% lean tastes like cardboard)
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/4 c bread crumbs
2 eggs (or equivalent using egg beaters)
salt and pepper
1/4 c flat leaf parsley (I omit this, we're not big parsley folk)
olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce
long rolls
2 slices provolone cheese per sandwich

Mix the turkey, parm, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper and parsley together gently. When thoroughly incorporated, form into 2" balls. Mine flattened quite a bit while cooking, so they ended up looking kinda more like sliders than meatballs, but they tasted great. Anyway, heat the oil (you're going to need a lot, around a 1/4 c maybe, I try to get away with a bit less). The oil should be almost smoking when you add the meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes, then rotate to continue browning. Cook for 8 more minutes. Then add the tomato sauce and cover. Cook for 5 more minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through all the way. Slide two meatballs on a roll. Cover with two slices of provolone and put under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is nice and melty. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cooking by Proxy

In the South, it is traditional to have black-eyed peas for the New Year, black-eyed peas symbolizing luck and prosperity. I don't know about you, but I could sure use some good luck for the New Year. Prosperity wouldn't exactly hurt either. What does hurt is my ankle, which I sprained badly a few weeks ago. I have a lovely cast and a set of crutches. On the upside, I also have a husband who has taken over just about all of my responsibilities, from dog care and plant watering, to cooking. And so, tonight, although the blog post and recipe are brought to you by me, the actual dinner has been provided by Ryan.

Go ahead, make a double recipe, it takes so long to cook, you might as well have an extra meal to tuck away in the freezer.

1 C black-eyed peas soaked (cover a cup of peas with a few cups of water, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, let sit for an hour. If there's water left, drain it off).
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 C canned crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1 lb sausage (check ingredient list to make sure it's gf)

Combine the oil, onion, garlic, carrot and tomatoes in a large oven-proof pot or dutch oven. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the sausages in a large skillet with about an inch of cooking water. Cover and let the sausages cook for about 15 minutes. Then cut the sausages into disks. It's okay if they're raw in the middle, they have a ton of cooking left to do! Put the sausage disks in with the tomato sauce. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes on low with the cover on. Then add the black-eyed peas and stir in. Add enough water to cover. Put the lid on the pot or dutch oven. Cook for an hour and a half to two hours. Check every half hour or so. If there's not enough liquid, add a half cup more of water. If after an hour and a half there's too much water, remove the cover. The black-eyed peas and sausage mixture should be very thick, even a bit thicker than a traditional stew. It's done when the mixture is thick enough and the black-eyed peas are nice and tender.


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