Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls = Love. I don't know what is better, the aroma of these sweet treaties baking or actually eating them. I take that back, eating them is better. The anticipation of their sweet aroma baking will make your mouth water and your tummy rumble, but eating them is heaven. This is a fairly easy recipe since you do not have to make the dough. I think that is the hard part. So whip up these sweet treaties for the special people in your life. Satisfy your sweet tooth.

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 lb. loaf frozen white bread dough
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • ½ cup pecan pieces, optional
  • 1 clean kitchen towel
About 12 hours in advance remove frozen dough from freezer and coat with cooking spray and place inside of a plastic bag overnight in refrigerator.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 170° F. Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a 6" × 12" rectangle. Cover dough with melted butter on top of dough (I use a pastry brush), saving  a little butter for sealing the edges and basting the tops later.

Blend together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over top of dough, leaving a slight edge to seal, Then add raisins evenly over top of cinnamon sugar mixture, saving a little cinnamon and sugar for tops of rolls.

Roll up dough starting on the 12" side of dough and brush edges with butter, reserving some for the tops of the buns. Cut bread roll into 12 even slices and place in a greased 8" × 8" pyrex dish. Brush the tops of the rolls at this time with the rest of the butter.

Wet a kitchen towel and wring out excess water until it is damp but not dripping. Fold in half and cover buns. Place into the preheated oven along with a 2 cup measuring cup filled with boiling water. The dough loves a warm moist location to rise faster. Close oven door and turn off oven, after 30 minutes remove water and rolls, rolls should be doubled in size.

Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile brush the tops of the rolls with the rest of the butter and sprinkle on the remaining sugar and cinnamon, now sprinkle the pecans on top. Cover up again with damp towel while the oven is preheating.

When oven is ready remove towel and bake rolls on center rack for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove form oven and immediately invert from pan onto a plate, then tip over onto another plate so the pecans are on top. Prepare icing below and spread immediately onto warm rolls.

Vanilla Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bloody Mary

I love an occasional Bloody Mary. I'll tell you there sure is a wide variety of recipes, but this is my favorite version. I'm picky about my Bloody's and I have tasted them in many different places. The oddest one of all was in an Italian restaurant, as soon as I took one sip I knew something was off. Then I had my Stud Muffin taste it, he said it tasted fine. I took a few more taste testing little sips until I realized that there must be some rum in there. I approached the bartender and guess what, low and behold someone moved the rum to the vodka spot. I can see that happening because I used to tend bar and you never read each bottle, a good speedy bartender knows where every bottle is without looking. Trust me rum in a Bloody Mary is just plain old awful, so go for the vodka or the tequila, but, for this drink, avoid the rum like the Plague.

Bloody Mary
  • Martini shaker
  • mini skewer, the disposable kind
  • 1 large beer glass
  • 3 slices pepperoni
  • 1 grape tomato
  • 1 mozzarella string cheese stick, only using a 1 inch piece cut off
  • 1 lime wedge, room temp
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • ice
  • 2-3 oz. Belvedere Vodka
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco, a few drops
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of celery seed
  • one 5.5 oz. can V-8 juice, regular or spicy hot flavor, chilled
  • 1 disposable straw, the bendable kind
Prepare skewer by alternating pepperoni slices, tomato and cheese, set aside. Slice a lime wedge and cut across the middle so that you can wet the rim of the glass with lime juice. After wetting glass rim you may now add some Old Bay to a bowl or small plate and dip the rim of glass into Old Bay, coating glass rim evenly like you would a Margarita glass with salt, set aside.

In a martini shaker add some ice, vodka, Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco, black pepper, celery seed and the whole can of V-8. Put the lid on and shake a few times to mix well.

Pour mixture into prepared beer glass and place on top a lime wedge and prepared skewer, then add the straw. Enjoy!

If you would like to drink a Bloody Maria just substitute tequila for vodka. Or how about a Bloody Virgin, just eliminate the alcohol.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chicken N Dumplings

Now this recipe is a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out. These babies are the lightest, fluffiest, melt-in-your-mouth dumplings that you will ever eat. It's the best cure-all of a cold dreary Winter day. Give it a try and make your fat cells smile.

Chicken N Dumplings
  • 18 cups or 4 ½  qts. water
  • 1/2 cup chicken base
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken, whole
  • 1 ½  cup diced celery hearts
  • 1 ½  cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper     
In a large 8 qt. soup pot add water and base. Mix well with a wire whisk breaking up base. Add chicken and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.

While chicken is simmering, dice celery and onion. After chicken has simmered for 15 minutes remove chicken from pot and place on platter and set aside to cool. Strain broth from soup pot through a fine wire mesh. Return broth back to a clean pot. Add diced celery, onion, & black pepper to pot. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to simmer.

Meanwhile remove skin from chicken and discard. Pull chicken meat from bones and cut into bite size portions. Add chicken to soup pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Now prepare dumpling recipe below and add dumplings to soup pot.

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
Sift together dry ingredients. Add egg, melted butter, and milk to make a moist stiff batter. Drop by teaspoons  into boiling liquid. Cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Do not open lid or stir while dumplings are cooking.

This is a very old recipe for dumplings and they are called feather dumplings. They are the lightest and fluffiest dumpling that I have ever eaten and they will melt in your mouth.