Friday, June 27, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Buns

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

I've been making a  few different variations  on the cinnamon roll theme in the last month.  We loved, and have made quite a few times now....the Huckleberry and lemon sweet rolls, and more recently a batch filled with a jam of peach, pear and orange brandy.  Today....since it's been a while since we've done actual cinnamon that's what I did.  Only slightly modified with the addition of poudre douce, and chocolate chips.  Over all pretty happy with the outcome.

Over time, I've modified the dough recipe I use and have upped the liquid amount and moved away from the use of melted shortening to using vegetable oil.  The dough is very moist and easy to work with  due to the added oil and rises to a nice airy bun once baked.  We've also made some savoury options and presented the rolls as a twisted loaf rather than buns like with this Cheddar and Thai Chilli twisted loaf .  Other good savoury combinations are Cheddar and Marmite, and Spinach and feta.

1 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar
4 cups flour
2 tsp instant yeast
I add all of the above to my bread machine and let it make the dough for me.  once the dough is ready I roll it out to a rectangle 30 inches by 12 inches and spread with filling,.

This batch is filled with 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp poudre douce, 1/3 cup chocolate chips and a pinch of salt.

Rollup to make a 30 inch long log and slice into 24 equal pieces placing 12 in a 9X 13 pan.  Let rise in a warm draft free place until double in size.  Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until rolls are nicely browned and near 200F internal temp.

While rolls are still hot from the oven mix a glaze of 1 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 Tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla and enough milk (3-6 Tbsp) to make a pourable glaze.  Mix until smooth and pour over still hot rolls.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tenderize beef with baking soda

Normally I only buy sirloin to make stir fry.  This week it was on at such a good price that I decided to try baking soda tenderizing on them before grilling them.  It turned out to be a pretty good option and I'll be sure to do it again.  Before marinating the steak in a recipe from all claimed to be the best...who am I to argue?......I treated the steaks with some baking soda in water for 15- 20 minutes.  If you have sirloin sliced across the grain ready for stir fry....marinating with baking soda and rinsing as outlined below, will give even better tenderizing result since the cut is much thinner.  Want to give it a on.

Tenderizing Steaks
Before marinating your steaks...treat them with a bit of baking soda to help tenderize the meat a bit.

1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup water

Dissolve the baking soda in water and pour over steaks in a ziplok bag.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse well and proceed with marinade .

Adapted from All Recipes

3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic, granulated
4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp  black pepper

Combine all and pour over steaks in ziplok bag and marinate in fridge over night or for an hour or two if you have lest time.  Remove from marinade and grill to your liking.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Easy Square Pillows

Our weekend turned out to be pretty rainy here.  I was planning to stain the deck....but due to the rain, that did not work out.  Instead....I finally got around to making new cushions for the couch.  The previous ones I'd made were completely dead...and I really liked this velvet fabric....It's a really nice rust colour....more so than shows in the picture.  Nothing trim...since the fabric was pretty heavy......I did not have confidence my machine would negotiate 4 layers.  Four 18 inch pillow forms and 1.5 m of fabric worked out to $10 each. 

Simple Square Pillows

Measure you pillow form across from seam to seam.  Mine were 18 inches across as promised.  Cut 2 pieces of fabric a 1/2 inch wider in each direction than your pillow forms.  I cut mine 18 1/2 inch by 18 1/2 inch.
You need to angle in the corners a bit so you don't end up with really pointy corners.  Set your cut fabric corner onto a cutting mat grid and using a ruler measure in 1/2 inch from the corner on one side and 5 inches down on the other...and cut along this line.  Do the same across the top and you'll end up with something like what we have below.  If you don't have a rotary cutting mat and cutter....just measure in 1/2 inch in from the corner and 5 inches down and mark the line with pencil and cut with scissors.  Make sure to mark both pencil lines before cutting or the second one will be hard to measure.
Do this to all four corners for both front and back pieces.  Place right sides together and sew together with 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving 6 inches open to turn right side out.  Clip corners and turn right side out.  Stuff in the cushion form and stitch closed the opening.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bring a Plate: Deviled Eggs

Our street had it's annual "before summer holiday" pot luck BBQ last night.  We were fortunate yet again to luck out on the weather and had a beautiful night....and a bonfire till quite late.    Unfortunately those of us organizing did not realize that we'd over lapped the date with our high school we were missing a few of the regular families.  However, we had quite a few new additions to the neighbourhood who took the opportunity to come out and meet the what looked initially as it might be a poor turn out....turned out to be just right.  
I love bringing deviled eggs to pot luck get togethers!  They seem to be a forgotten food...yet nearly everyone likes them and they are generally pretty kid friendly.  Top that off with the fact that you need next to nothing to make the DH will eat them..(no carbs) and they are a win win.  They are so very versatile....sometimes I use a bit of curry powder rather than the dry with bacon and guacamole....or chutney......or chopped olives.....or get the idea:)

Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs, split and yolks removed and set aside
3 Tbsp salad dressing, like miracle whip
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
pinch of salt
black pepper
smoked paprika, for garnish
chives or onion greens, for garnish

Once eggs have been peeled, and split....take the collect yolks and mash them with a fork to remove most of the lumps.  Add salad dressing, mustard powder and salt.  Mix until fairly smooth....adding more salad dressing if needed.  Spoon yolk mixture into empty egg halves or transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe into the empty egg halves.  I love disposable piping bags for this:)  Sprinkle with a grind of black pepper and a wee bit of paprika and some chopped chives...if you've got them. The recipe is easily doubled.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chicken Paprikash- In the Pressure Cooker

Always looking for more opportunities to use the new pressure cooker!  I had a package of chicken thighs, some sour cream and some tomatoes to use up....So Chicken Paprikash was a good fit.  As it is a braised is well suited for the pressure cooker.

Chicken Paprikash- for the pressure cooker

8-10 chicken thighs, bone in skin on
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp paprika, Hungarian or sweet
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
3 Tbsp oil for frying
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp caraway seeds , crushed
1 bay leaf
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix the flour with 2 tsp paprika and pinch of salt and pepper.  This flour is for dredging your chicken pieces.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture.  Heat oil in bottom of pressure cooker on medium high heat and brown chicken pieces on both sides.  Remove chicken to side plate and repeat until all pieces are browned.  Add chopped onion to pot adding more oil if necessary.  Stir and fry until translucent, then add garlic, paprika ,cayenne, caraway seeds and bay leaf.  Stir while frying the garlic and seasonings making sure not to burn...for about 1 minute.  Add in chopped tomatoes and stir for another minute.  Add in chicken stock and stir well making sure to scrap the bottom of the pot so that nothing is sticking to the bottom.  Add back in the chicken pieces and attach the lid.  Turn heat to high and bring to high pressure (15 psi).  Once pressure is achieved....start timing and reduce temperature to medium or low enough to maintain a steady but small stream of steam from the relief valve.  Cook at high pressure for 15 minute then remove from heat and allow to depressurize naturally.  Once depressurized....remove lid and remove chicken pieces to side plate.  You may reduce sauce by slowly boiling until desired thickness is reached.  Once thickened, add sour cream heat for one minute and return chicken to the pot.  Serve with sauce over buttered noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.