Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

We had a feast. Yes. A feast. For breakfast! I guess that means it was a breakfreast?

Pancakes, eggs, juice, sausage, bacon, orange juice and pumpkin brioche cinnamon rolls (and apple crisp and apple pie). We eat good when my sister is here.

These were really great little cinnamon rolls. They aren't gooey or sticky at all and not too pumpkiny. (Try to tell that to my 9 year old nephew who threw his nose up after finding out that these had pumpkin in them) The icing on the top gives them that extra yumminess.

Enjoy my friends.

Pumpkin Brioche Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Source: Bacon Concentration
Yield: 12 or so

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg

3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups flour, canned pumpkin, and next 5 ingredients to yeast mixture, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

The dough will be very sticky. Dump 1/4 cup flour onto a working surface, and begin kneading the dough in your hands. Add flour 1 Tbs. at a time from the work surface. Once the dough no longer sticks to your hands, continue to knead on the work surface until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes total).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until dough is doubled in size. Punch dough down, cover and let rest 5 minutes.

On a floured surface roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread the "filling" butter onto the dough, and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut roll into 1 inch slices. Place the slices in a 11x7 or 9x13-inch pan coated with cooking spray.Cover and let rise for 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden. Combine glaze ingredients, and stir until smooth. Spread over rolls while still warm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Football Night at 179

My husband is a sport fanatic. Well...maybe not "sports" but a football and basketball fanatic. He could tell you who the NFL MVP was in 1987, the style jersey the team was wearing that year, and a whole list of other facts. In 1987 I was more concerned with brushing the tail of my favorite My Little Pony.

For the most part I don't mind hanging out and watching football. (We root for the Giants and Notre Dame in our house) Mostly I sit and play with recipe binders or read a magazine. Last night I completely passed out. One of my favorite parts is when they do the intro of the teams and their faces pop up and they say their name and what school they are from. I go through and say yes or no if I think they are cute. Seth likes that game too.

Of course on occasion we have special food for football night. Like grilled vegetable muffuletta and spicy pretzels. The muffuletta was tasty but really hard to eat. That thing was probably 4-5 inches tall! Delicious and healthy so it was worth the mess I made eating mine. I make the pretzels often and don't really have a recipe. I just drizzle them with a bit of oil and then shake seasoning on them. I normally do a mixture of garlic salt, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, mustard, and pepper then bake them for a while.

Go Giants. Go Robby Parris! :)

Grilled Vegetable Muffuletta
Source: Rachael Ray
Yield: 4 servings

1 eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick on an angle
1 red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
1 large portobello mushroom cap
1 red onion, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper
6 ounces baby spinach
1/3 cup pine nuts (a generous handful)
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple generous handfuls)
1 cup store-bought giardiniera (pickled vegetable salad)
1/2 cup pitted green olives
One 8- to 9-inch round loaf crusty bread
1/4 pound deli-sliced provolone cheese

Pre-heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly brush the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, portobello and red onion with 1/4 cup EVOO; season with salt and pepper. Cover and grill, turning once, until charred, about 6 minutes.

Using a food processor, puree the spinach, pine nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano; season with salt and pepper. With the machine on, drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup EVOO. Transfer the pesto to a bowl; rinse the food processor.

Using the food processor, pulse the giardiniera and olives into a coarse relish.

Slice the top quarter off the bread and scoop out the insides. Spread half the pesto on the inside of the bread, layer with half of the grilled vegetables, then spoon the remaining pesto on top. Fill the bread with the remaining vegetables and top with the provolone. Spread the inside of the bread top with the vegetable relish and set into place. Press down firmly, then cut into wedges.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parker House Rolls

It is getting colder in Maine. The days are shorter. The things coming out of my kitchen are more hearty. I have great memories of my mother making beef and barley soup with yeast rolls on cold fall days. I asked her to teach me to make that soup the fall before she died. I have a long list of things that I should have been asking her to teach me! Like knitting and sewing!!

This past weekend I made vegetable and barley soup with these rolls that have been on my "to make" list for over a year. I am going to be making these a lot. I was so pleased with the way they turned out. The texture of the dough is perfect, soft and a little bit chewy. The herb butter gives a great flavor here and there. Plus look how beautiful they are in that pan!!

Parker House Rolls
Source: CHOW
Yield: 32 or so rolls

1/4 ounce (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup clover honey
5 2/3 cups bread flour (about 1 pound 14 ounces)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for the bowl and dish
1 recipe Fall Herb Butter, melted
2 teaspoons fleur de sel

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a medium bowl; set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir buttermilk and honey into yeast mixture; set aside.
Stir together flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, make a well in the center, pour in yeast mixture, and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Increase mixer speed to medium low and add butter, a few pieces at a time, letting butter completely incorporate before adding more. Mix dough until smooth, elastic, and slightly soft, about 10 minutes total.

Butter a large bowl, place dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with butter.

Once dough has risen, divide in two equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle, keeping the second piece covered with a towel.
Cut the rolled rectangle of dough lengthwise into 5 strips. Cut each strip into 3 smaller rectangles. Measure 2 tablespoons of the herb butter and reserve. Spread a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of remaining butter on a rectangle, fold the rectangle in half, and set aside. Repeat with remaining rectangles. Repeat entire process with second piece of dough.

Arrange rolls seam-side down in the prepared pan, 6 across and 5 down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the lower third.

Once dough has risen, brush reserved 2 tablespoons herb butter over top of rolls and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake until bottom and tops of rolls are golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool 5 minutes, and serve.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Fakon. It's a funny word. Oh, you aren't sure what fakon is? Fake bacon. At first I wasn't so sure about the stuff. I was brought up on real bacon and loved it. (I still do but my thighs don't really like it...and neither does my husband) We started buying it for breakfast and it was OK but then I discovered that if you add it to things it really does taste more like bacon!

I had been craving a BLT and decided that I would try making an FLT. Fakon, lettuce, and tomato on white bread. I thought about it all day at work so when I got home, made it, and bit into it I was really happy. I used fresh tomatoes from the garden, and toasted the bread in the oven on one side so you still get the crisp bread but it isn't too hard on your mouth.

Fakon, it's whats for dinner.

Source: ME!
Yield: one delicious healthy sandwich

3-4 slices of fakon
Mayo or Veganaise

While you cook the fakon on the stove top toast the bread under the broiler. Spread mayo on both side of bread and season with S&P. Layer on the fakon, lettuce and tomato and dig in!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Honey Oatmeal Bread

Hey my foodies friends!

You like bread, right? Homemade bread of course. Cut really thick with some fresh butter on it? Maybe even a day old toasted with some peanut butter? Yeah, I do too.

I make bread a lot during the fall and winter. I'm not sure why I don't in the summer because the house is so warm that the bread would rise really fast...and homemade bread beats store bought bread any day. I have a variety of bread baking books and one on my wish list but I find that if I'm stuck I can always go over to the King Arthur website and find a fun recipe there. I even have a few giftcards kicking around and think I may buy some sour dough starter from KA. That will be a whole post itself, I'm sure.

This is honey oatmeal bread. Thick and hearty. Great warm from the oven but also for toast the next day. It comes together quite easily and I think everyone will enjoy it!

I thought this proofing yeast looked like a brain. :)

Honey Oatmeal Bread
Source: King Arthur Flour
Yield: one loaf

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups "quick" rolled oats
2 packets "highly active" dry yeast; or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast; or 2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons oats, to sprinkle on top, optional

1) Combine the 3/4 cup water and oats, and let rest for 20 minutes. This gives the oats a chance to absorb the water and soften up.

2) If you're using active or "highly active" dry yeast, dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. It should start to bubble as the oats and water rest.

3) Add the remaining ingredients to the oats (including the yeast/water/sugar mixture, if you're using active dry yeast), and mix and knead—by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle—until the dough feels springy; it will be quite stiff.

4) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rise, covered, for 2 hours; it's a slow riser.

5) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into an 8" log. Place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.

6) Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, till it's crowned about 1 1/2" over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Brush the top of the loaf with milk, and sprinkle with oats, if desired.

8) Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. When the bread is done, it'll be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 190°F.

9) Remove the bread from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Store well-wrapped at room temperature.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Into the Pink Pretzels

I'm sorry for being away my foodie friends. You see...I've been busy. Not really with cooking or baking but with being an activist. You know I hate breast cancer; we've been over this before. Here. And here. A few other spots too.

For my most recent event I collaborated with the very talented Bruce Mayo, a local artist. He wanted to throw a bash for his 40th birthday and instead of gifts wanted to create a new batch of work and have them sold for breast cancer awareness. He knows of my passion and allowed me to pick the charity. I chose Keep A Breast because of the audience they target and their unconventional way of awareness. They are very unique. Just like me. Just like my mum.

By the end of the night Bruce had sold 21 of his 29 pieces and we had raised nearly $3000 to send to KAB. In the end I believe we will be around the $4000 mark. What a great event and a fun night!

Honestly these pretzels have nothing to do with the event or even breast cancer. What I can say is that these are perfect. I am throwing out my old recipe for soft pretzels and using this one. Absolutely delightful!

Soft Pretzels
Source: Alton Brown
Yield: 8 big fat pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I am returning from three days at the gorgeous Mountain View Grand Hotel in Whitefield, NH. As I mentioned in a previous post, Seth and I went to celebrate our one year anniversary at the hotel where we were married. When we were leaving on Saturday morning I had this wave of panic thinking that we had built the weekend up so much and it wasn't going to be as fun and enjoyable as we had thought. I was so wrong. Our stay was better than I could ever have imagined.

We did absolutely nothing besides enjoy each other. We sat, without talking, for large chunks of the day. We drank champagne in the evening and coffee and hot chocolate in the morning. We watched the people come and go and visited with the farm animals in the mornings after breakfast. On the night of our anniversary we grabbed a couple blankets and snuggled up on a wicker seat on the porch. Life is grand.

Of course we consumed massive amounts of food. The only shots I got of anything was of this pan au chocolat from a little vegetarian bakery in Bethel and of my caramel apple. I sort of have a thing for pan au chocolat and it is on my list of things to tackle this winter. This was so so tasty. I was told that the woman who makes these is pregnant and loves working the dough. That made me smile.

The apple was my dessert in the tavern. The granny smith was coated in a homemade caramel, then dipped in chocolate and presented with spun sugar (cotton candy) on the stick of the caramel apple. This was so cute and fun...and delicious!
Even though I don't have the photos to show most of the food we ate I have to talk about it!! The first night we ate in the tavern. Seth had a seafood bake and I had stuffed sole with lobster sauce. This was where I first figured out that they had a new chef. The food for our wedding was great and I loved it but this was over the top. Our bartender confirmed that they had hired a new chef, one of the best in New England. A great investment for them!

The next night (our anniversary) we ate in the main dining room. This was heaven. I think, quite possibly, the best meal I have eaten in my life. I had a tomato and mozzarella salad with an aged balsamic glaze. Seth had an artichoke salad with mozzarella. I love when restaurants give you sorbet prior to your entree. I was hoping that they would and they certainly did not let me down. We were served a lemon ginger poppy seed sorbet. My palette was cleansed for my entree...yellow fin tuna served medium rare. Now, I wasn't sure about ordering tuna because every time I have it has been over cooked. This one was perfect. Very very pink and raw in the middle. It was served with an oyster sauce and herb whipped potatoes. **sigh** I wish I had some right now! Seth had scallops in a brown butter with a Parmesan tuille. His was really good too! I had been craving creme brule since I saw it on the dessert menu in the tavern. Again, they didn't disappoint me. It was excellent. To my surprise Seth even ordered dessert! He had Indian pudding with homemade cinnamon ice cream. Oh. Now that is fall in a dish!!

We were so sad to leave and it was so hard to come to work this morning. Seth reminded me that we have to work in order to go on vacations like that!

Enjoy the photos!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Take 2 (literally) Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

As this is being posted Seth and I are in the White Mountains at the same place we were married one year ago. People keep asking me if it feels like it has been a year. I honestly can't gauge. Getting married didn't really change very much for us. I just feel like Seth has been my love for a long time, since I've known him. We just go about our lives and are happy and in love...that is all I can say! And if you know us, you know we aren't afraid to show how in love we are. It's OK to make gagging noises at us. I'm used to it at this point.

While I didn't make these whoopie pies today I chose to post them today because the recipe came from the same place we got our wedding cake; Two Fat Cats Bakery. Two Fat Cats is my favorite bakery in Maine. Not only do they have THE best cake and cupcakes but they have the coolest shop. It is exactly what imagine my bakery looking like. It is very open, you can see everything they are doing. They have their cookbooks out in the open. And of course they have their fat cats lying around in the windows to greet treat seekers.

This is my second batch of pumpkin whoopie pies this fall. The first was a Rachael Ray recipe and I thought those were pretty good. These are different. The cake part is a bit more cakey. I prefer this part of the recipe over the other. The filling is very different, this filling has no cream cheese. It is butter, fluff, powder sugar, and maple flavoring. While I really liked it I prefer to have my pumpkin whoopie pies with a cream cheese filling. That's just me. You might prefer something entirely chocolate filling!

If you make these I promise you will not be disappointed...lack of cream cheese and all. They are wonderful.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Marshmallow Filling
Source: Two Fat Cats Bakery via Bon Appetit
Yield: 24 pies

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
2 teaspoons maple extract

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add marshmallow creme and maple extract; beat until blended and smooth. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Sift first 7 ingredients into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in another large bowl until blended. Gradually beat in oil. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in pumpkin. Add dry ingredients in 2 additions alternately with milk in 1 addition, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Cover and chill batter 1 hour.
Arrange 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment; spray lightly with nonstick spray. Spoon batter onto baking sheet to form cakes (about 3 level tablespoons each; about 12 per baking sheet), spacing apart. Let stand 10 minutes.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool cakes completely on baking sheets on rack. Using metal spatula, remove cakes from parchment.
Line cooled baking sheets with clean parchment; spray with nonstick spray, and repeat baking with remaining batter.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling on flat side of 1 cake. Top with another cake, flat side down. Repeat with remaining cakes and filling. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes

Don't know what to do with all those cherry tomatoes from the garden? Yeah, you can do sauce. Yeah, you can do salad. I suppose you could do some sort of canning if you're into that. But what about slow roasting them with olive oil, garlic, thyme and salt? Oh yes. I do suggest this one!

I served this over rice because Seth could live on rice. He loves it. You could serve it over pasta as well or even on crostini as an appetizer! You could also add different herbs like oregano and basil.

Enjoy the freshness my friends!

Roasted Tomatoes
Source: Martha Stewart (I think...I cut it out of a magazine and I think it was hers)
Yield: depending on what you are doing with it...4

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs of thyme
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Combine all of this in baking pan and cook at 300 for 30-40 minutes. I broiled mine for a couple minutes to get a very light char on the tops of the tomato skins. Serve over rice or pasta.