Monday, November 21, 2011

Paula Deen's Orange Brownies

My sister-in-law, Kate, just sent this rexipe to me. I haven't tried it yet, but I wish that I had gotten it sooner. Saturday was our last home game and tailgate, so I'll have to wait til next year for football season. This sounds delicious enough to serve anytime.
Orange Brownies
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2007
about 20 to 24 brownies
•       1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•       2 cups granulated sugar
•       1 teaspoon salt
•       1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
•       4 eggs
•       2 teaspoons pure orange extract
•       1 teaspoon grated orange zest
•       1 recipe Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan.
Orange Brownies:
Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
•       1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
•       4 tablespoons softened butter
•       1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
•       2 tablespoons orange zest
•       2 tablespoons orange juice
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice. Spread over brownies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cook's Country Soft and Chewy Dinner Rolls

I have not tried these rolls. The recipe, however, is from Cook's Country, and their recipes are usually perfect. Frankly, I think that it's hard to beat Sister Shubert's Rolls, but they aren't available everywhere.

Makes 12 rolls

1 1/4cups water, heated to 110 degrees
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1tablespoon sugar
1envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or rapid-rise yeast
3cups all-purpose flour
1/2cup instant potato flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. WARM OVEN Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease large bowl.

2. MAKE DOUGH Whisk water, oil, sugar, and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, potato flakes, and 1½ teaspoons salt until combined. With mixer on low, add water mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes.

3. LET RISE Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

4. SHAPE ROLLS Punch down dough on lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into quarters and cut each quarter into 3 equal pieces. On clean surface, form each piece into rough ball by pinching and pulling the edges under so that the top is smooth. Then cup each round with your palm and move in a circular motion on an unfloured surface to shape a smooth ball. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 20 minutes. (Or refrigerate rolls for up to 24 hours.)

5. BRUSH AND BAKE Remove rolls from oven and discard plastic wrap. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush rolls with egg and sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cooking. Cool rolls on sheet 10 minutes. Serve.

MAKE AHEAD: Bake as directed until rolls are just beginning to brown and outside is set, about 5 minutes. Cool completely and freeze in zipper-lock bag. When ready to reheat, defrost at room temperature for about 1 hour and bake 10 minutes in 400-degree oven.

TO MAKE WITHOUT A MIXER: In step 2, whisk water, oil, sugar, and yeast in liquid measuring cup. Mix flour, potato flakes, and salt in large bowl. Make well in flour, then add water mixture to well. Stir until dough becomes shaggy and difficult to stir. Turn out onto floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth and forms cohesive ball, about 10 minutes. Proceed as directed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

The trick to having a great Thanksgiving meal without a nervous breakdown or complete physical breakdown is planning. Here's what I do-

Several weeks ahead
Make turkey stock for gravy and dressing, freeze. (Buy turkey necks or wings. Roast and then make stock.
Make cranberry sauce, refrigerate
Make cornbread, crumble and freeze
Make pie crusts and freeze. Freeze crusts uncovered for a couple of hours. Then cover well with aluminum foil and then place in plastic freezer bags and return to freezer.
Make soup and freeze

Sunday before-
Cook sausage and veg for dressing, freeze
Make roux for gravy, refrigerate

2 days before
Prepare green beam casserole and refrigerate
Prepare onion casserole and refrigerate
Prepare sweet potato casserole, if serving, and refrigerate

Day before -
Make pumpkin pie filling, refrigerate
Brine the turkey

Thanksgiving am
Remove pie crusts and pumpkin filling from freezer
Prep and bake pecan pie
Prep and bake pumpkin pie

Pancetta and winter squash soup

Roast turkey
Cornbread dressing
Green bean casserole
Homemade cranberry sauce
mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes, or sweet potato casserole
Ama B's creamed onions

Mimoi's pecan pie
pumpkin pie

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Julia's Leek and Potato Soup

I've made this soup since I got the cookbook, Julia Child's Kitchen, 30 years ago. This is super easy and delicious. If you don't have leeks, you can use any combination of onions, green onions, shallots, etc. You can also add leftover, cooked vegetables to vary it.

6-8 servings
3 tbl butter
3 cups chopped leeks (white part only), or onions
3 tbl flour
4-6 cups water
1 tbl salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup or so of tender green part of leeks, chopped (optional)
4 cups (1 1/2 lbs) potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
1 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream and 2-3 tbl butter (I don't usually add this, but it does make it delicious)
2-3 tbl minced fresh parsley or chives

Melt butter in a 3-4 qt pot. Stir in the leeks/onions, cover pan and cook on low for 5 minutes without browning. Blend in flour and stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat and add 1 cup water, slowly, stirring. Return to heat and add remaining water, stirring. Add salt and pepper, optional leek greens, and the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer partially covered for about 40 minutes.

Mash with a potato masher for a chunky soup or blend with stick blender for a smoother texture.

To serve, add milk and as much of the cream and butter as you'd like. Don't allow it to come to a boil again if you're using the milk. It may curdle. Taste and correct seasonings. Serve and garnish with chives or parsley.