Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Baking (The Hot Cross Bun Recipe!)

I got an email from Bon Appetit which had a link for a No-Knead Focaccia Bread. I love the Jim Lahey 18 Hour No-Knead Bread. I started the recipe last night, yes this is what I do on a Friday night.
The dough rose perfectly overnight in the fridge. The result was nice focaccia risen to a good height to be used in this coming week's Meatball Sub dinner and Sausage and Pepper dinner. Click here for the Bon Appetit Recipe.

Wednesday was the start of Lent which means it is Hot Crossed Bun Season!!! I have my Mom's recipe. My sister also uses this recipe. The Buns are great. The dough is beautiful to work with. The rise is always perfect and the flavor is well we make this recipe every year so that means it is always delicious!

My Mom's Hot Cross Buns Recipe -

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup seedless raisins
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Lemon Icing (recipe at the end)

  1. Sprinkle yeast into warm water in a large bowl. ("warm" water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on the wrist.) Stir until yeast dissolves.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Stir in evaporated milk, sugar and salt until sugar dissolves; stir into yeast mixture.
  3. Beat eggs in a small bowl; stir into yeast mixture with raisins,
  4. Sift 2 cups of the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg over yeast mixture; beat until smooth, then stir in just enough of remaining 2 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking.
  6. Place in a greased bowl; brush top lightly with butter; cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place, away from draft, 1 hour, or until double in bulk.
  7. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured board; cut into 18 equal size pieces. Shape each lightly into a ball; place in a greased baking pan, 13 x 9 x 2.
  8. Cover with a clean towel; let rise in a warm place, away from draft, 45 minutes, or until double in bulk.
  9. Bake in moderate oven (375˚) 30 minutes, or until golden brown; remove pan; cool on a wire rack.
  10. Make Lemon Icing; drizzle from tip of knife or spoon over buns to make crosses.
Lemon Icing - Blend 1 cup unsifted confectioners powdered sugar with 4 teaspoons of milk, 1/4 teaspoon on vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract in a small ball. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The First Friday of Lent - Baked Fish and Chips

We are off to a strong start for Lent. Baked Fish and Chips received rave reviews! Quick to put together, about 15 minutes prep time and 25 minutes in the oven. And clean up was a snap!
 I found this recipe on PureWow. I used Cod Fillets which were on sale for 6.99 a pound. I got almost a pound of fish, too much of course. Next time I will be sure to salt the fish after it comes out of the oven.

The chips were a nice treat. Serve them with Malt vinegar, trust me.
Ingredients -
The Fish-
1½ pounds cod or pollack, cut into 3-by-1½-inch strips
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups panko bread crumbs

The Chips-
4 or 5 large Russet potatoes, washed, dried and thinly sliced
⅓ cup olive oil
Kosher salt

Method -
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Grease another baking sheet generously with nonstick spray.

Make the Chips: Toss the potatoes in the olive oil to coat, then pour onto the preheated, ungreased baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt after you remove them from the oven.

Make the Fish: Dry the fish with paper towels. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl, and the bread crumbs in another small bowl.

Dredge the fish in the flour, then dip it into the egg, then dredge it in the bread crumbs to coat. Place onto the greased baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden and the fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Frittatta

Another oldie but a goodie! The frittata consisted of Peppers, Zucchini, Shallots, Eggs, Bacon and Provolone Cheese. Add some toasted Italian Bread and you are done.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Polpettone, Italian Meatloaf

A classic recipe, Polpettone, Italian Meatloaf. This recipe is from An Italian In My Kitchen blog. This received wild praise. Enough leftovers for what was declared the best lunch ever. Click here for the recipe. I used Ground Beef and Pork. To the seasonings, I added Ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce and oregano. Perfect!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Braised Short Rib Spaghetti

This was a well-received dinner. It took a few hours to make but the result was so perfect for a winter night. I had the short ribs in the freezer and all the other ingredients in the house. We the meat and the sauce were delicious. I found the recipe by googling Short Rib Recipes. This came from the blog The Original Recipe site.

I made 1/2 the recipe and we have enough sauce leftover for another meal.
3 lbs bone-in short ribs
kosher salt, as needed
freshly cracked black pepper, as needed
vegetable oil, as needed
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 celery stalks, diced
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup red wine
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
1 bay leaves
1 large sprig of thyme
1 sprig of sage
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp butter
3/4 lbs spaghetti
high-quality grated parmesan, to garnish

Let the short ribs sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Season generously with salt and black pepper on all sides. Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough vegetable oil to just coat the bottom of the pot.

Working in batches, sear the short ribs really well, about 3-4 minutes on all four sides. Transfer each batch of meat to a foil-lined sheet pan or plate once seared.

To the pan drippings, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauté the vegetables for a few minutes until tender and caramelized. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the flour and let cook for a minute or so, stirring continuously.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to release all of the flavors. Let simmer for another minute.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, thyme, sage, and another pinch of salt. Let the tomatoes simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the beef stock. Add the short ribs back to the pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot, leaving a small crack open to allow some steam to escape.

Turn the heat all the way to low and let the short ribs braise for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

To Assemble:
Prepare of large pot of boiling, salted water.

After 3 hours, remove the short ribs from the pot. Use your hands and a pair of gloves to shred the meat, discarding any large chunks of fat, bone, and connective tissue.

At the same time, drop the spaghetti into the boiling, salted water and cook for 2 minutes less than the package’s instructions.

Whisk in the butter. Stir the shredded meat back into the sauce. Taste and season with more salt and freshly cracked black pepper as needed.

Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Alternatively, ladle the sauce over the spaghetti. Serve with the parmesan cheese and herbs on top.