Friday, March 20, 2009

Roasted Garlic, Parmesan rolls

Roasted garlic is sublime. The smell alone is enough to put me in an aroma-coma. You can roast a head of garlic, remove it from the papery shell, and spread it alone on a piece of bread. It has a sweetness imparted by the roasting that is like none other!

Don't be frightened off by the roasting process. It is incredibly simple. Take a large head of garlic. Cut the top off so that most of the cloves are exposed.

Yeah. Fully aware that my garlic is sprouting. Don't think it matters though. Continue.

Drizzle olive oil over the top of the cloves. wrap it in a layer of foil, put it into a glass dish or somthing similar, and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes. It will look all carmelized when it's done.
Let it cool enough to touch and remove the cloves from the skins. You can smash it up like I described above, or mix with sour cream & put on a baked potato (oh my gosh!) Or smash it up in mashed potatoes with rosemary, butter & cream!!

Ok. So roast three medium sized heads of garlic as directed. Soften a stick of butter. Remove the cloves and smash them up in a bowl. Add the butter, a pinch of salt, 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, (not KRAFT, not KRAFT, NOT KRAFT!!) 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, and 2 teaspoons of italian seasoning. Stir it all up and set aside.

You need some dough. I have a roll recipe that I use for several things. It is a wonderful recipe. If you want it, let me know. But I realize that time is a factor in all our lives. If you want to use frozen bread dough, I will not cry. I can't promise that they will turn out as divine as these rolls did, but it's not gonna kill ya! You will need three pounds of dough.

After the first rise, roll the dough out in a rectangle about 16X24 inches. Take the roasted garlic mixture that you set aside and sprinkle all over the dough. Like so:

Then, roll up like a cinnamon roll. If your dough is incredibly, pillowy soft like my dough, you will have problems slicing without squishing. I use dental floss to cut rolls like these. Slide the floss under the roll, then bring it up over the top and cross. See?

Then place the rolls 12 to a jelly-roll pan, and let rise again for 30-40 minutes, or until double. Then bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned on top, about 15-17 minutes depending on your oven. Brush with a little melted butter when you pull them out of the oven. Done. Eat at least one while hot, or wish you had.

Again the ingredients:

3 heads of garlic
olive oil

3 pounds bread dough

1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 cup parmesean cheese
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
pinch of salt

Friday, March 13, 2009

Food Photo Friday--Black Bottom Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

These are dangerous. Dangerously delicious. I've known this ever since I made them the first time, about 13 years ago. Thus, I limit myself to making them no more than twice a year. There is something about the unexpected texture of the chocolate chips in the cream cheese center that makes them irresistible to me. Make them if you dare.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese-softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Beat well and add 1 16 oz. pkg. chocolate chips.  Set aside.

4 3/4 cups flour plus 2 Tbsp.
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup packed cocoa
3 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups water 
1 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. vinegar
3 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix ingredients and beat well.  Line your muffin pans with paper liners.  I finally just bought a cheap, silver, muffin pan.  The nice, non-stick one I have never works right.  Either my edges burn or my middles don't get done all the way, even if I turn down my oven.  Using a medium sized cookie scoop, put a level scoop of batter in each liner.  Then, using a small, (melon ball size) cookie scoop, put a slightly overflowing scoop of the cream cheese mixture.  Then, another level scoop of cake batter over the top.  The cupcake should be a little more that 2/3rds of the way full.  If you stick with these amounts, your filling and batter should work out pretty evenly, giving you about 4 dozen cupcakes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.  The tops should not feel mushy, but not totally dry, either.  I keep mine in the fridge because of the cream cheese, but take them out to take the chill off before we eat them.  

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream
10 oz. semi sweet chocolate (I usually just use Hershey's chips or something like that, just make sure it's chopped small)

Heat cream on stove until almost boiling.  Put chocolate in a bowl.  Pour cream over chocolate and let sit until chocolate is melted.  Cool. (not in fridge--just let it sit until lukewarm)
Using a mixer, beat on medium for a few minutes until it's a spreadable consistency.  Watch it closely, it can go from perfect to broken in just a minute.  

Spread on cupcakes.  Honestly, the cupcakes are great alone.  They are wonderful with a thin layer of ganache.  Using as much as I did in the photos will likely kill you.  Unless you are a chocolate pro.  Then you might be able to handle it.  Good luck.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Food Photo Friday--Pot Stickers

Mmmmm.........This is Shelby's favorite dinner!  She always helps me fold the pot stickers and I must say, her folding talent has surpassed my own!  And she's fast. Which helps because we make about 120 of these dumplings each time, and I like them to all be ready at once.  This does require a little engineering, but you don't have to make quite that many! We fill, fold, brown on a griddle, then steam in 3 or 4 batches in two 12 inch cast iron pans, keeping the first two batches warm in the oven while the last two batches finish up. They are well worth the effort! And any leftovers are just as yummy!

Here is the recipe:

For 120 pot stickers/half recipe if you want less

4 cups shredded & finely chopped cabbage (about 1/2 a small head)
1 Tbsp. salt
1 lb. ground pork (I use Jimmy Dean Regular--buy it on sale and freeze it!)
2-3 Tbsp. minced garlic
2-3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
4-6 finely chopped green onions

2 60 count pkgs. Gyoza/Dumpling wraps--These are about 4-5 inches round and found in the produce section of most grocery stores

Add the salt to the cabbage and stir it around. Let it sit 15-20 minutes. Squeeze out the water from the cabbage either with your bare hands, or wrapped up in a cheese cloth. This reduces the volume of the cabbage quite a bit, but removing the excess water is an important step. Add the pork, garlic, ginger, & green onions. Mix well. Fill each wrap with a small amount of filling, maybe 3/4 tsp. You don't want a ton of filling, it will take too long to cook. This amount of filling should almost exactly fill 120 pot stickers. If you have wraps left over, use less filling next time, if you have filling left over, use more.

With your finger tip dipped in water, circle the edge of the wrap to wet. Place the small spoon of filling in the middle. Fold in half like a half moon. Pleat one side of the wrap to make the fold, pressing together as you go.

This is the closest thing I could find to how I fold mine. In my opinion, they use too much filling and use too many pleats (pretty, but too time consuming) Notice that the pleats are only on one side:

After they are folded, I place them on a sprayed griddle to brown. They seem to get a little dried out around the edges during this process, but don't worry, they will steam just fine. I brown them on the bottom, and the non-pleated side. You can see from my photo about how browned I let them get. Just work as quickly as you can, (a helper really makes a difference!) and get them all browned and piled onto a plate to await the next step.

In a medium-hot 12" skillet, spray generously with Pam or brush with oil. Place pot stickers in a single layer in pan. Don't put too many or they will stick to each other. Quickly pour in about a cup of hot water and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for about 5-7 minutes. Check liquid after a few minutes. You don't want any liquid left, but you also don't want to allow them to stick. Since I use a cast iron pan, there is a very fine line before they will stick like crazy! If you have a non-stick pan, this might not even be a problem for you . As each batch is completed, hold in a warm oven.

I usually serve these with white rice, glazed carrots, and Yoshida's Original dipping sauce. You can also make a sauce from soy sauce, ginger, green onions, and a little sesame oil.

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