Saturday, January 31, 2009

Getting Ready for February!

I am finished with my internal medicine month!!!! That is my last call month for my entire M4 year! From here on out I have an ethics month, 2 clinic months, and an off month. I better enjoy that because in July, I will start a year with at least 6 Q4 call months as an intern. But until then, I am going to enjoy my M4 year...and get ready for February. First of all, I want to let you know about a month of giveaways hosted by the lovely lady of Southern Plate. Just check out this post with all the wonderful possibilities! Personally, that Wilton set is SO tempting looking...I love the cupcake holder! So, be sure and check back with Christy this month.

Next, one of my favorite things about February is having a reason to make sugar cookies! Valentines' day is the perfect opportunity. Now, I must admit, at this point in my life, I make these cookies for my children's choir and that's fun enough. However, if you have a Sweetheart or someone who's your Valentine, I don't know many people who dislike a good sugar cookie! I made these right after Christmas (and can't find my pictures! Sorry!) because I was not pleased with the recipe I had used earlier. As Anna says, they are perfect! Not too sticky when rolling them out and still pretty soft when eaten...though for some reason my dad thought they were hard. Seems that he was expecting something more like the kind you can buy at know, the fluffy ones with thick pink and yellow icing and sprinkles? I've never found a sugar cookie recipe like that! If anyone has a recipe like that let me know because those are SO good! Anyway, here is the recipe for "clean," quick, and easy sugar cookies.

No-Fail Cut Out Sugar Cookies from Cookie Madness (halved)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, unsalted, cool room temperature
1/2cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 large egg (whisk and then put half in)

Thoroughly stir together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt, scrape sides of bowl and beat in egg, beating only until egg is blended in. Add the flour mixture gradually (1/2 cup at a time) and stir until incorporated. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8″ thick. Cut the cookies into shapes and place the cut cookie shape on baking stone. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown in color. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Yield will vary depending on how big you make the cookies

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Turkey Bowl

It's that time of the month...Daring Baker time! I almost didn't get around to this challenge and the results make that pretty evident. As you know, I've been busy with my house medicine month, and though I've made time for "simple" baking for call, a DB challenge was the last thing on my mind. Thankfully, I had today off, so I put together a quick batch of the challenge.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

I decided to do the savory tuiles. As I was putting together the batter, I did a quick "batter check." Yes, I am a batter taster. To me, this tasted like pancake batter, just thinner. Now, the directions say to make a cardboard mold but I was lazy and just free handed a circle on top of the Silpat. It worked okay; however, when I pulled out the tuile to mold it, it just didn't want to mold! I got only a very shallow bowl. My original plan had been to put some roasted sweet potato in the bottom with a poached egg on top, but this just wasn't deep enough to do that. So, I made a quick little turkey snack. I put a small layer of spinach on the tuile, added some turkey, swiss cheese, and tomato and added a drizzle of spicy mustard. It turned out pretty good. I think it would make a great little bite for a shower. Thanks to Karen and Zorra for the unique challenge. If you would like to see more results, check it out here. Below is the basic sweet and savory recipe. Recipe:
Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Savory tuile/cornet recipe

From Thomas Keller "the French Laundry Cookbook"

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)**
8 tablespoons (114 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter (it is easier to work on the Silpat before it is put on the sheet pan). Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. After baking the first batch of cornets, you will be able to judge the correct thickness. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.

There should not be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds.

Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Super Bowl Snack

Only a week left...I'm so excited! This morning, I started teaching Sunday School in our college department. I'm really excited about this. But, next Sunday we are having a Super Bowl party. I plan on making something sweet (haven't decided what yet), maybe a dip, and these yummy pinwheels that I created a few years ago. If you like muffulettas, then you will really enjoy these. They have a simple olive salad, ham, and cheese, all rolled together in crescent rolls. I've posted these before, but after almost three years, I think they deserve another posting! After I make them, if I get better pictures, I'll add them here. Since this is such a good recipe for the Super Bowl, I'm entering this in Recipe Girl's recipe fun would it be to have a gift card to Sam's!!!!!? So, if you have a recipe you think would fit, go by and check out the details. If not, try these pinwheels...I don't think they'll disappoint!

Muffuletta Pinwheels

2 packs of cressent rolls
1 10 oz. bottle of spanish (green) olives
1 10 oz. bottle of black olives
5 garlic cloves, minced
a dash garlic powder
~1/4 cup olive oil (I didn't measure this. Just put enough that it looks "right" to you)
8 sliced deli ham
4 slices provolone cheese
5 cheese Italian blend (if desired)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Chop the olives (both). Mix with garlic, garlic powder, and olive oil. Open the crescent rolls (there are four "rectangles" per package). Press down each rectangle until slightly larger than it started. Going the length of the rectangle, place two half pieces of ham on the dough (you will have one piece of ham per rectange). If your ham pieces are small then you could you 2 pieces. On top of the ham, place 1/4 piece of provolone cheese (1/2 piece per rectangle). Spoon some olive salad over this. It is around 1-2 Tablespoons; however, I didn't measure how much, but if there is too much you'll know - it won't roll! Sprinkle the extra cheese on this if using it - I recommend using it! Roll from the stuffed side toward the other. Use a serrated knife to cut the pinwheels. Place in a greased round cake pan (as you would place cinnamon rolls) almost touching. Bake for around 11 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove and enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rolling Along

These Q4 months just get away from me! Despite not wanting to work with adults, I have REALLY enjoyed my team and, thus, my month. One of the things I enjoy doing is making on call treats. There's just something about having a treat to get you through 30 hours of work with minimal sleep. I have made Sharpei cookies (which my over REFUSES to bake correctly!) and oatmeal krispie cookies. Last week, I decided to make some cinnamon rolls. The month before I joined the Daring Bakers, they made some cinnamon rolls. I made them over Christmas and my dad really liked the dough, though he did say I needed to put more sugar in the filling...I had already done that! :-) One thing I really liked about the dough is that it makes a manageable amount of cinnamon rolls. My other recipe is pretty big and makes about double what I can use easily. The lemon (or orange as I used in the second lemons!) zest in the dough lends a lovely flavor that kind of floats around your tongue leaving you noticing it but wondering what that extra flavor is. I did change the flour a bit the second time (for my team) and used about 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 1 1/2 cups AP flour, as I didn't have bread flour. It still turned out great...if you don't overbake it (oops!) the dough is a pleasant texture as well. I highly recomment this wonderful dough recipe from The Break Baker´s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart as provided here. However, instead of using the traditional icing, I decided to use a cream cheese icing that I found on an AllRecipes recipe for Cinnabon clones. This was a really good icing, though I highly recomment that you NOT use makes the icing an ugly yellow! So, if you want to make homemade cinnamon rolls and have a few hours for a couple of proofing times, this is a WONDERFUL and pretty easy recipe. Try it! And stop back by...I've already got plans for the next call treat but I need ideas for the final call...any suggestions?

Cinnamon Buns


6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter(I used 3 TBSP shortening and 2 1/2 TBSP butter)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread
2 teaspoons instant yeast*
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing - recipe follows

Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand). Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
On a pastry cloth or oiled countertop, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. Pour and spread the melted margarine over the dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)
Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.
Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf.
Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes (closer to 20) or until golden brown.
Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes. While they are cooling, make the cream cheese icing recipe below:

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together. Spread the icing across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pie and Pictures

I don't know if y'all have seen the picture meme going around, but I have and thought it looked like fun. However, I don't do memes unless I'm tagged. Well, I finally got tagged by Jill! it is. I'm supposed to choose the fourth folder and fourth picture in my picture file. Unfortunately, it's not a very good picture. This is from my friend Rachel's wedding. I was trying to be artsy and get her in the picture with the cake; instead, it just looks silly! Oh, well! Now, I tag Red Dirt Mummy, Emily, Brilynn, and Jane.

Now, on to the pie! My family doesn't really have a traditional Christmas dessert. We do always have prime rib roast, though it's not my favorite, and squash casserole, one of my favorites! So, this year, when Mama asked what we were having for dessert, I said that I wanted to try an apple pie. I had never made one until now and have wanted to try for a while. When I think of apple pie, I think of a wonderfully layered pie, with yummy tart apples. Well, mine was NOT wonderfully layered...I used a pie plate that was too large in diameter. I wanted it's depth but should have gone with the smaller plate. I think that would have helped the topping more concentrated over the apples. In the end, I had fun and dressed it up a bit with caramel sauce and cinnamon. Despite it's original humble look, it turned out pretty good, and, as my dad said, looked homemade! I'm taking that as a compliment! Apple Crumb Pie (from Mama's recipe box)

Pie Crust (from Granny)
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 T water
1/3 cup shortening
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Remove 1/4 cup flour and blend to a paste. Cut shortening into remaining flour until pieces are size of small peas. Add paste to flour mixture. Mix with fork until dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball (this is best done by putting a piece of saran wrap over the bowl, dumping it, and pressing the dough together.) Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes (not a must, but I find it works better this way). Roll out crust to 1/8 inch thick to cover 9-inch pie pan

5 to 7 tart apples (5 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 T. margarine

Pare apples, core, cut into eighths, arrange in unbaked pie shell. Mix 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over applies. Mix 1/3 c. sugar, flour, cut in margarine till crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes 'til done. Serve warm with ice cream.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disappearing Cookies

So far on my medicine rotation I've had some interesting experiences. I've performed a paracentesis, I've seen someone's heart shocked back into rhythm, I've had a patient pass away, and I've prayed with a patient (after he requested that I do that). You say, none of these has to do with cooking...well, here's one more...I had ALL of the cookies I made eaten before the day was over, basically by one guy. Wow! Now, I must admit, these were really good cookies. I got them from the Cookie Bible with minimal changes. The end product is a perfectly textured cookie (soft) with a bit of crunch from the cereal. I don't really like crunchy cookies but this one is a good crunch, not that overcooked, flat crunch. I HIGHLY recommend these cookies and am sure that I'll be making them again. Look out for more on-call treats, as I'm currently making something yummy for my 4th (almost halfway through!) call tomorrow. Crispy Oat Drops from The Cookie Bible
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mint swirl chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips (the original used baking M&M's)
1 cup rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup coconut (I did NOT toast it this time!)
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream the butter/margarine and sugars. Beat in the egg. Put dry ingredients on top of this mixture and lightly stir together (the dry ingredients...this saves another bowl to clean!). Then blend into the creamed mixture. Add the chips, cereal, coconut, and almonds. Drop onto baking sheets or stones. Bake for 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 4 dozen cookied. Here is a heart that just formed on its own!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Because Bananas are Healthy

So, Santa is quite full from all those cookies and is trying to lighten up...just a little bit! I mean, his sweet tooth never dies, but if you add fruit that makes it better for you, right? So, he's enjoying these maple banana muffins. They're quite moist and sweet enough for good ole Santa! I honestly can't remember EXACTLY what I did, but I know it was based on this recipe. I think it was something like this:

Maple Banana Bread

1/3 cup butter, melted (or oil)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2 bananas, mashed
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (or use muffin cups). In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and maple syrup. Beat in the egg and bananas. Add milk. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and baking powder, and stir into the banana mixture just until moistened. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tin or muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes or until browned and cooked through. You can test using a piece of raw spaghetti or a very small knife if you don't have a cake tester.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Soup's On Call

Welcome to 2009! I had a lazy day today but did manage to "undecorate" from Christmas. My apartment now looks a little sad but I'm sure I will get used to the normalcy. I start back to work tomorrow, after having the month of December off, with a bang as I am on call! Should be lots of fun! I'm actually kind of getting excited. After being out of the hospital for so long, I really do become ready for it again. I guess that means that I am doing what God wants right now in my life. As I head back to work, here is a yummy and healthy way to start your new year! It is a soup recipe that I found on Maria's site, Two Peas and Their Pod. It is full of vitamins, fiber, and protein. It even has that heart healthy eat up!
Vegetable Soup with Sweet Potato adapted from Maria

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sweet potatoes, diced
2 small zucchinis, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 cans of diced tomatoes, (15 oz)
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 cans of white beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz) - I think this would be better with about 1.5 cans...the end of my soup had too many beans.
Salt and pepper

Saute the onion in olive oil or in cooking spray. Add celery and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the sweet potatoes, zucchini, and squash. Cook for around 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and broth. Then add the beans and stir. Season to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. I had mine with some asiago cheese bagel from Panera bread...I think this is one of my favorite versions they have...SO good!