Raspberry Rolls with Limoncello Glaze

Along with things like regular haircuts and lengthy hot showers, while on our trip I missed my KitchenAid mixer. Is it possible to make scrumptious things without one? Of course, but for banging out sticky doughs, the KitchenAid is tops.

KitchenAid, Raspberry Rolls, Propane Kitchen I named my trusty mixer Janet. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous to name your appliances. It started as a joke and just stuck. In any case, before our trip she got a pretty regular workout with butter and flour. Janet is still in storage, so I was fortunate to put my mom’s mixer to good use when I visited.

These luscious, sticky rolls elicited a lot of ooohs and ahhhs and yums on Father’s Day. The dough is slightly sweet, balanced with a tangy raspberry filling. For an extra festive kick, I topped them with a glaze made with limoncello. I found this through the excellent Joy the Baker, who posts seasonal recipes and cooking tips paired with beautifully styled photos. Her blog always makes me hungry.

Don’t let the length of the recipe discourage you; these actually came together quite easily. Let your mixer – whatever it’s called – do the hard kneading work.

Raspberry Rolls with Limoncello Glaze, Propane Kitchen

Raspberry Rolls with Limoncello Glaze

makes 12 rolls

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Dough:

1 C milk (I used 2 percent)

2/3 C sugar

1 1/2 Tbs active dry yeast

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted buttered, softened to room temperature

2 large eggs

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp salt

4 1/4 C all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 C for kneading, plus more for sprinkling the counter

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

For the Filling:

1 1/2 C  fresh raspberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)

1/3 C sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp cornstarch

1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, browned and slightly cooled

For the Glaze:

1 C powdered sugar

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs limoncello

To make the dough:

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk to about 95 degrees. Pour the warm milk into the bow of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes. The yeast will foam and bubble. That’s how you know it’s alive. After frothy, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest, and sea salt to the yeast mixture.  Whisk together flour and spices. Add to liquids. Beat on low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and replace the paddle with a dough hook. Beat dough with the dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Dust a clean counter with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the work surface. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of flour and knead for about 2 minutes. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.

Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and place in a slightly warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. [Alternate: let dough rise overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before proceeding in the morning.]

While dough rises, grease a 9×13-inch pan with butter. Set aside.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl toss together raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch. Crush the raspberries just slightly as you stir. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter until it is browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble the rolls:

When the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently knead for 1 minute. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 10×20-inch rectangle.

Spread the butter over the dough. Spread the filling over the dough. Raspberries will be scattered across the dough.

Working quickly, tightly roll up the dough into a 20-inch long log.  Cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 pieces. (This part will make a huge mess; my kitchen counter looked like a crime scene. A DELICIOUS crime scene.) Carefully and quickly lift the rolls into the prepared pan. The rolls will release juice into the bottom if the pan. That’s fine! Cover pan with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour, until puffed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

To make the glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and limoncello. Drizzle glaze over cooled rolls and serve. Rolls are best served the day they are made but will last up to 3 days well wrapped at room temperature.

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Devil’s Tower Steak Sandwiches

We’ve been on a sandwich kick. A gooey, oozy sandwich kick. A piled-high-and-hearty kick. In Philadelphia we tried two different cheese steaks, one at Sonny’s Famous Steaks and another at Dalessandro’s. Then in Chicago we stopped by Portillo’s and, on the advice of a trusted friend, ordered the Italian Beef, with, hot, add mozz, dipped. What we received was perfectly seasoned sliced beef topped with spicy-hot pickled peppers and melted cheese, all nestled in a crusty roll, then dipped – the whole thing dipped – into au jus. It was a succulent seven-napkin meal.

Out on our own, we found ourselves craving these hulking sandwiches. For an impromptu Minneapolis backyard get-together we made them with thick New York steaks from the butcher shop down the street. In our most recent version, we used London Broil. These are not traditional Philly or Chicago ‘wiches, so we named them Devil’s Tower Steak Sandwiches after the view from our window.

Devil's Tower, WY

steak sandwich, philly cheese steak

Devil’s Tower Steak Sandwiches

1 lb London Broil or steak of your choice, seasoned with salt & pepper

4 shallots, sliced

2 C sliced mushrooms

1 Tbs olive oil

1 green pepper, sliced

½ lb provolone or mozzarella

1 baguette or 4 hoagie rolls

Pepperoncini, to taste, if desired

Iceberg lettuce, shredded

1. Cook steak over grill or in a cast iron pan until rare. Thinly slice and set aside.

2. Slowly caramelize shallots over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are rich and brown, about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan and heat until they release their moisture. If they get a little brown, all the better. Add olive oil and peppers and cook until everything is tender. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.  Meanwhile, heat bread. Cut baguette into 4 equal pieces and split.

3. Add meat to pan and divide into four separate piles.  Place slices of cheese on top of each pile. Add 2-3 Tbs of water to pan and cover, letting the cheese get gooey and melty.

4. Scoop the cheesy steak into each baguette or roll. Top with onion, pepper and mushroom mixture.  Add iceberg lettuce or pepperoncini, if desired. If there are any pan juices, pour them over the top of each sandwich. Devour.

London Broil, steak sandwich

steak sandwich

Penne with Kale, Walnuts, Chicken and Pesto

The houses here are hunched down in gullies or stand weather-beaten in brown fields, all with steeply pitched roofs that speak of long, harsh winters. We drove through our second snowstorm of the week – the spring I gushed about has not made it to New England. Icicles still adorn the roadways. State parks and campgrounds are closed, and finding campsites will be a challenge the next few days as we pass through the Adirondack Mountains. Last night we parked just off Vermont Hwy 125, with a view of the bridge that will take us across the southern end of Lake Champlain into New York State.

White Mountains, NH

Kale and walnuts are a new favorite combination. I recently made an easy side dish of steamed kale quickly sautéed with chopped walnuts, olive oil and garlic. This is another take on that idea. And, yes, adding more nuts and cheese to a pesto dish may sound like too much of a good thing…but it works.

Toasting Walnuts

Penne with Kale, Walnuts, Chicken and Pesto

½ lb dry penne pasta

1 large bunch kale, stemmed, chopped

½ C walnuts, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 C chicken broth

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 big spoonfuls prepared pesto, to taste

½ C Parmesan or manchego, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions. Stir in kale and let cook for the last 5 minutes. (Use more kale than you think you need! A big bunch cooks down to nothing.) Drain.

Meanwhile, heat walnuts, olive oil and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes until fragrant.  Set aside. Add chicken breasts, broth, lemon juice and garlic to pan. Cover and steam until cooked through. Shred chicken.

Toss together pasta, chicken and pesto. Top with walnuts and cheese.

Penne Kale Walnuts Chicken Pesto

Cabbage and Mushroom Galette

Does the word “cabbage” inspire thoughts of culinary greatness? No? I didn’t think so. This galette will change how you think of cabbage. Tangy, hearty and yet almost silky in texture, a cabbage and mushroom filling gets wrapped in an amazingly flaky pastry crust for a meal that’s much more impressive than the title implies.

cabbage and mushroom galette

This is the second Smitten Kitchen vegetarian recipe I’ve adulterated with bacon. (The first was this soup.) Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against vegetarian recipes, but we had a lot of bacon. The original recipe also called for a chopped hard-boiled egg in the filling, which I skipped because we were out of eggs. Next time, I think I’ll crack an egg onto the center of the galette during the last 5 minutes of baking.

cabbage and mushroom galette

cabbage and mushroom filling

I see myself making this crust often in the future – in addition to savory dinners, I think it will be delicious for a peach or apricot galette. Maybe with some sweetened ricotta, too? I’d already started making this recipe when I realized I didn’t bring a rolling pin with me in the Minnie; luckily my Klean Kanteen water bottle did the trick!

galette crust

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Classic Toffee

I don’t know about you, but the holidays just aren’t the holidays unless until I’m messing around with pounds of butter and sugar. Cooking a batch of this rich toffee makes me feel like one of Santa’s jolly elves.

Classic Toffee

1 C butter

1 C sugar

¼ C water

1 C chocolate chips

½ C chopped pecans

Sea Salt

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine butter, sugar and water. Cook over medium-low heat and stir stir stir until it reaches hard-crack stage (300°). This will take about 15 minutes.

Pour toffee onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Let set for a minute. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the warm toffee. Allow the chips to soften, then use an offset spatula (or the back of a large spoon) to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Sprinkle nuts over the chocolate. Add a dusting of sea salt.

Allow the toffee to cool completely. Break into pieces. Store in a hard-to-open container on a high shelf so you can’t mindlessly eat it all in a single sitting. Or, package and give away immediately. Don’t even bother trying some toffee with your morning coffee; I already tested that and it’s a terrible combination.

toffee recipe

Toffee Recipe

toffee recipe

Toffee recipe

Oven Puffed Pancake

If I’ve ever made you breakfast, chances are you’ve eaten Oven Puffed Pancake. It’s been my signature morning dish for, oh, the past two decades or so. It’s from James McNair’s Breakfast, first published in 1987. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I believe my dad and I bought this, along with a blue teapot, for my mom’s birthday. Family? Is that correct?

I loved this book.

James McNair Breakfasts

All the recipes seemed sophisticated and refined, inspired by far-away places like France or New Orleans. Continue reading

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

If you have a can of pumpkin puree leftover from Thanksgiving baking, I urge you to give this soup a try. Hearty, comforting and a tad spicy, it’s not overly pumpkin-y. This recipe is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food bloggers and author of a new cookbook coming out in 2012. My version is more rustic, thick with chunks of tomatoes and beans, and fresh chiles and chipotle powder to lend a southwest twist. Continue reading

Totally Flexible Farro Salad

Nutty, toothsome farro is one of my all-time favorite grains, and I love farro salads because they’re so versatile. I’ve been making a lot of these in the Minnie because they come together quickly and allow me to use whatever veggies I have on hand.

Following are some basic proportions to create a dish packed with flavor and texture. Tailor these ingredient suggestions to your personal taste. To create a heartier one-dish meal, I add a shredded chicken or a link of quality sausage.

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Food & Farmers: Fish Stories

I consider myself a fairly savvy grocery shopper.  Whether I’m grabbing produce or canned goods, dairy or snacks, I can look for the USDA organic seal, or scrutinize ingredient statements to make educated decisions. There are brands I trust and labeling regulations I understand. But, when it comes to seafood, I’m at a loss. Often, fish is displayed with little information beyond variety and price. Even when I know where a particular scallop or fillet came from or how it was harvested, I’m not sure how to interpret those details – farmed is bad? Line caught is good. Bottom trawling is out. Imported? Local?

“It’s not black or white,” agrees Laura Anderson, owner of Local Ocean Seafoods, a Newport, Oregon-based fish market and restaurant. I had the chance to get some advice from Anderson on how to make the best choices. Anderson is a third-generation fisherman with an impressive list of credentials – a Master’s in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University, extensive work as an independent Marine Resource Management Consultant to organizations such as Oregon SeaGrant, Environmental Defense and the Oregon Salmon Commission, and Peace Corps volunteer working on costal management in the Philippines. She founded Local Ocean Seafoods in 2002 with the mission to “give people the best seafood experience of their lives.”

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How to Make a Frozen Pizza

  1. Arrive in camp around 6pm. Agree to make a frozen pizza because it is hot and you are feeling lazy and vaguely cranky and just want to read.
  2. Guiltily think about all the fresh vegetables you’ve acquired over the past few days, and consider how long they’ll last.
  3. Decide to add a big salad to the dinner menu.
  4. Heat a pot of water to boil tiny red potatoes unearthed from your parent’s garden.
  5. When searching for herbs in the fridge, grumble a little when the mozzarella falls off the shelf. Set it on the counter and forget about it. Continue reading