Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Blake!

Since it was Blake's birthday today, I decided to follow the tradition my sister has with her family, and let the birthday boy decide what we're having for breakfast. Blake asked for Cinnamon Rolls, which I have actually never made before. So I set out on a search for a good cinnamon roll recipe when I remembered my sister telling me that my Aunt Carolyn's dinner roll recipe works well for cinnamon rolls. And for the filling, I turned to my favorite America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. And I made my own cream cheese frosting for the top. I added just a teeny bit of cinnamon just for looks.

Carolyn's dinner rolls recipe makes 24 rolls, and since I didn't want 24 cinnamon rolls sitting around our house, waiting to join my love handles, I decided to make 12 cinnamon rolls and 12 dinner rolls. We had Blake's favorite "chicken cheese sandwiches" with the rolls. And though my rolls didn't turn out quite as well as when Carolyn or Lisa make them, I think they were the best sandwiches I've ever had!

*Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talents, Aunt Carolyn!*

For dinner, Blake requested one of his favorites, かつカレー (Pork cutlet and curry rice), and for dessert, a moist chocolate toffee caramel cake, which actually has another name I won't bother mentioning. So here are some of the recipes from my busy day in the kitchen.

(... does anyone want to come over and help me do the dishes and eat some left over cake and cinnamon rolls? Please?)

Carolyn's Dinner Rolls:
2-1/2 C warm water
1/2 C sugar
2/3 C powdered milk
1/3 C butter
3 T rapid rise yeast
1 egg
2 t salt
7~7-1/2 C flour (all-purpose or bread flour, either works just fine)
  1. Pour water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add powdered milk, sugar, and yeast. Mix with whisk attachment until combined. Let the yeast proof.
  2. Add egg and cooled melted butter. Mix.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add 5 C flour and mix for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, and add salt. Beat for another 4-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and very elastic. Add 1 more C of flour. As you beat the dough, comtinue adding flour a little at a time until the dough is still slightly sticky.
  4. Cover and let stand until double it's size.
  5. Punch down and divide into 2 parts.
  6. For the dinner cresent rolls: Roll each part into a circle 18 inchs in diameter. Butter with a thin coat. Cut into 12 pie sapes. Roll into a cresent shape. tucking the ends as you roll it up. Place on a buttered cookie sheet with the little point down. Let rise in a wamr place until double it's size. Place in a preheated 350° oven and bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Brush with butter when done.
  7. For the cinnamon rolls: Roll one ball into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon roll filling. Roll up tightly and pinch the end seam. Slice into 12 equal pieces and place in a 9x13 metal baking pan (I used ceramic and it was fine) and let rise to double its size. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely and spread cream cheese frosting on top.
Cinnamon Roll filling:
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
pinch salt
  1. Mix ingredients in a small bowl.
Cream Cheese frosting:
1 package cream cheese
2 C confectioners' sugar
1/3 C butter, softened
1/8 t cinnamon, optional
  1. mix ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth and completely combined.

Chocolate Toffee Caramel Cake:
1 box devil's food cake mix
1 container whipped topping
1 jar caramel sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 bag of heath bar toffee bits or 2-3 heath bars, crushed
  1. Bake cake in 9x13 pan according to directions on box.
  2. Once the cake is done, let cool for a few minutes, and while still warm, poke hole with a fork throughout the cake. Drizzle contents of the caramel sauce jar and sweetened condensed milk can all over.
  3. Once completely cooled, spread whipped topping on top and sprinkle heath bar toffee bits on top.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exciting New Recipe

As I was blog surfing, I came across a recipe that fascinated me and I thought I should give it a try. I was nervous to break the news to Blake because he's not too huge of a fan of "weird" food, but he said he trusted me, and even said he was pleasantly surprised and liked it a lot more than he expected. So here is my new favorite sandwich.

Asian/French Sandwich?
Makes 2 servings

1 baguette or artisan loaf
1/2 block of extra firm tofu, sliced into 4 pieces
1/4 C soy sauce
3 T rice wine vinegar
1/2 t chili oil (or as much or as little as you want)
fresh ground black pepper
2-3 crushed cloves of garlic
1-2 large carrots, grated lengthwise
1 long seedless cucumber, sliced thin lengthwise
1 large handful of cilantro
mayo or herb aoli (optional)
  1. In a large container, pour the soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, black pepper, and garlic. Stir to combine. Place tofu slices and let marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Slice the bread to seperate top from bottom and then cut into 2 large sandwiches. Toast bread, if you want.
  3. On one half of the loaf, place the mayo, 2 tofu slices cucumber, carrots, and cilantro. Cut the sandwich in half to make it easier to eat and serve.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Super Dinner

Last night we had a get-together with some friends from church and we made pizza. I made the dough and sauce and each couple made their own pizza with whatever toppings they liked. There was a whole lot of extra sauce left over so I decided to use it for our dinner tonight. I added tuna and spinach to it, and tossed it with whole wheat spaghetti, which makes it my super heathy dinner. The sauce already had a ton of garlic in it, which is another super food, I think ... so I'd like to say I'm pretty proud of my dinner tonight. Whole wheat pasta isn't my favorite, but I still think it turned out really well. I think I would have preferred normal pasta or multi-grain, which has less of a distinct flavor to it.

Super-food Pasta
enough for 1 lb of pasta
1 lb whole wheat, multi-grain, or traditional spaghetti
2 C home made pizza sauce
3 big handfuls of baby spinach
1 can of solid white albacore tuna, drained
  1. Boil pasta short of al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve some pasta water.
  2. In a skillet with high sides, combine the tuna, spinach, and sauce and heat on medium high heat. Stir to combine until spinach wilts. Set aside.
  3. Once sauce is heated through and toss the sauce with pasta (and add some pasta wter to loosen the sauce a little) and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens a little more. Serve hot with finely grated Parmesan cheese if you want.