This is twice now that I have not been betrayed by yeast. The first was the mall pretzels I made last year. Dang if they didn't turn out perfecto! This time, it was rolls. Sweet orange rolls to be exact. A recipe I downloaded from Averie Sunshine that I printed out in the fall, which has been sitting on my kitchen counter for 4 months. They were...well just look! WOWWY.
One cannot imagine how I waited to make these rolls. The recipe just laid there, languishing, ignored, forgotten...
"Can I throw this away?" My husband gently asks while cleaning the dishes, and trying to clear my clutter week, after week, after week.
"No!!!" I scream just a bit too loudly, leaping across the kitchen to rescue this poor little piece of paper that is crimped and stained and by all rights looks worse than most things I throw away. And he doesn't ask why because he already knows I'm a psycho if anyone touches stuff in my kitchen.
I have been trying to find the time, and the courage, to make her rolls for too long. I must break through my belief that yeast is my enemy, and forge ahead. Luckily, her instructions are always detailed, and spot on. So by following the recipe TO THE TEE, my rolls did indeed rise to the occasion.
I grew up eating those spooky Pillsbury orange rolls. They were good in that, "it's covered in frosting and I don't know any better," kind of way. And if you didn't eat them all within 2 hours, they turned mealy and mushy and firm. Ick.
If I'm going to fall off the wagon and eat sugar, I'm going to go for it. In this way, I rationalize, I am mitigating my treasonous munching, with a triumph over a fear of a little organism.
Really? Well, I don't care if it doesn't make sense to you. I made them anyway.
And oh, what a triumph it was. I gotta say, slathering that square of dough with butter...and then marmalade...and THEN brown sugar, made me feel criminal. I should check tomorrow to make sure my photo isn't hanging in the post office. But perhaps if I took a tray of these little golden goodies with me, they'd lower my status from felon to friend.
Seriously, you can tame anyone and anything with these beauties.
I have included the link to her recipe here and above, but I should let you know some things I did a bit differently. It is a very short list.
First, I found that I cut the rolls too thick. (I made 12 of them. 16+ would have been fine.) For rising and cooking consistency I think a height of not more than about 3/4 inches is best. Mine were a little taller which meant that when I cooked them, the rolls in the middle were not quite done and the edges were ever so slightly brown. NOTHING that made them even remotely inedible, of course, but I couldn't have won any awards for consistency. Next, I found that I needed lots more glaze than the recipe called for. Yeah, more sugar. Just make double. Go for it. Also, I found the foil to be a bother. It stuck even with lots of oil. I'm going to try them directly on the non-stick pan I have and see what happens. And finally, they really did change consistency by being refrigerated over night. I HIGHLY recommend, as Averie does, that you make them and cook them right away. It's just too yummy not to.
Enjoy the photos. I'll be in the back, eating my way through the tray of triumph!
During college, while still in that experimental phase in terms of Majors and Minors, I was dabbling in obtaining a Bachelors in Theater Arts. I loved the idea that the stage could be a portal to any place, era, or idea. Perched atop its blackish patina, and with the help of a bevy of curtain raisers, set movers, and fellow thespians, I looked out into the spotlight and emoted with all my 19 year old heart in dozens of plays, operas and of course the occasional Lerner and Loewe extravaganza.
As I look back, it would have been a suitable degree given my flair for the dramatic. As it is, I find that I still look at life through this lens, knowing that setting a stage is as important as any job when you are trying to communicate an emotion to those around you. And certainly in cooking, there is no better metaphor.
Take the lowly bread slice for instance. Especially a slice of newly baked french bread that has been gently toasted to a friendly golden brown. It just sits there, much like a stage and says, "Tell a story with me." And so by crowding my counter top with the accoutrements of culinary experimentation I began to think about all the players that should crowd my savory podium.
First, a bright red jar of cherry peppers would be the muse. Papadews as they are often called, have a wonderful sweetness that balances their heat and tang. By mixing some fresh thyme leaves in with the Mascarpone cheese, I added some earthiness to the creaminess, and slathered it all on the toasted discs. Next, the layers of sliced peppers -- garnet, shiny, and happy for the white bed of cream -- were elevated and ready for their closeup . Hmmm. How could I create the overture? The music that would turn heads and pull all the flavors together in harmony? Yes. I would add a bit of fine brandy to some honey and drizzle that upon it all. And just for flair, a few tiny flecks of Himilayan sea salt for a topping of crunch and a way to set off the sweetness of the honey.
Sound good to you? I hope so. If you want to read about the actors in this production, click on and download the recipe to my SWEET CHERRY PEPPER BRUSCHETTA WITH THYME INFUSED MASCARPONE AND BRANDIED HONEY and turn your diners into a happy audience.
Yes, applause is always welcome. Although an encore is up to you.
You've heard me say that if possible, I would cook all the time. And I think all of us have a dual life that splits our desires. That is how I am with cooking. Every extra moment I am thinking of food. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I also love my daily life as a business owner, writer, and branding therapist. And I guess my clients love me back, because my portfolio of business has grown exponentially in the last year. This is all good, except it is squeezing out my cooking time, and that is sad. I have to make sure it doesn't replace it altogether or I'll go positively bonkers, but for January at least, that will be the case.
In lieu of single posts about one meal, I'm going to share some photos and recipes about the little bit of cooking I did over the holidays. Why wasn't there much time plating, photographic and blogging? Well, we had company here and spent lots of time waiting to hear the hostess say, "party of 12, your table is ready!" So you'll have to be happy with a few stellar dishes.
I promised some good friends, who went on the Kentucky Bourbon Tasting Trail last November, that I would create a menu with lots of Jack in it. This is the meal that I came up with, it was about as yummy as they come. All the flavors were in harmony and because we ate it at home, we didn't have to worry about New Year police checkpoints. Whew! Check out my Bourbon, Soy, Ginger Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts, served with Bourbon Sweet Potato and Onion Rice Pilaf.
So, Jack was invited for breakfast one day as well. This Maple Bourbon Baked French Toast Casserole with warm Grape Syrup was the bomb. Crunchy yet spongey, sweet and moist, I ATE TOO MUCH! Get yourself into the kitchen and try it now.
I've been looking at them for decades. Those little, green, firm fruits called Tomatillos have been a mystery to me and I don't know why. I figured that had to end. Let me tell you. If you haven't grilled a Tomatillo, you need to. They are amazing and the perfect anchor for a simple Mexican flavored meal. For me it was center stage on Christmas Eve. No stinkin' ham for this crowd, it was Pineapple Salsa Baked Cod with Chili Sauteed Russets and lovely Grilled Tomatillos. TASTY. I just spooned fresh salsa over cod filets, topped with crushed Sea Salt flavored Town House crackers, and a little parmesan cheese to serve.
So there you have it! I guess I wasn't that absent these last two weeks. Hope you enjoy!
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.