Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanksgiving pre-show

Thanksgiving 2011 was just a couple months after my weight loss surgery.  I was not able to eat much, yet I still devoured one of my home made dinner rolls.  It was fantastic... orgasmic even.  Then, somehow in all the chaos of the ensuing year, I lost the recipe!  Thanksgiving 2012 had two different roll recipes that, while both good, were not in any way in the same league as the 2011 rolls.

So this year, I was committed to finding that damned recipe.  I wasn't leaving anything to chance though, and started baking in late October.  I was testing, you see.  I didn't want to think I had found the recipe only to be disappointed on Turkey Day.  Well, my friends... I HAVE FOUND THE ROLLS OF MY DREAMS!  Yes, that's right, I found the recipe!  While browsing through my long list of bookmarks, I found this gem from allrecipes and had a major Deja Vu moment.  This morning, I set about to see if I was right.  BEHOLD!

These rolls are PERFECT.  I am not a fan of dense rolls, and these are light and fluffy and so very very tasty.  I would normally link the recipe when it comes from the web, but I intend to never lose this again so I'm also writing it out in this blog.

Lost and Found Dinner Rolls  
Makes 36 rolls 


2.5 c warm milk
4 t. yeast (about 2 packets)
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c butter, softened
2 t salt
7 cups AP flour
extra melted butter for brushing


1.)  Pour milk into large mixing bowl, and sprinkle yeast over the surface.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Beat in the sugar, eggs, 1/2 c butter, and salt; blend thoroughly.  Gradually stir in the flour to make a soft dough.  Cover bowl, and set in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

2.)  Punch down the dough, cover the bowl, and allow to rise again.  Repeat this step two more times.

3.)  Break off 2 to 3 inch size pieces of dough, roll lightly into round shape, and place in prepared baking dish, edges touching.  Repeat to make 36 dough balls.

4.)  Cover and let rise for about an hour.

5.)  Preheat oven to 400F.  Bake rolls in preheated oven until tops turn golden brown, about 10 to 15 mins.  When rolls are finished baking, brush melted butter over the top and serve warm.


First of all, your dough will be VERY soft.  You'll probably think you did it wrong.  You didn't.  It's ok.

This recipe has 5 rises.  Yeah, you read that right: the initial rise, the 3 rises after punch-downs, and the final shaped rise.  It's worth the time, I promise.

These rolls do fine touching, or separated.  Do whatever makes your skirt fly up.

These rolls are perfectly fine to bake a day or two ahead.  Just take them out of the oven a hair before you normally would, and skip the butter on top.  Then, on the day of serving, reheat them in the oven and brush with butter.

These also freeze beautifully!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Triumphant return with French Onion Soup

Howdy.  Yeah, been awhile since I wrote here, blah blah blah.  I can't make promises that I will post again in the next year, blah blah blah.  With soup like this, who cares?!  I have made my very first batch of French Onion Soup.  I used a recipe that I altered a bit.  Below is my version:

4 lbs of sweet onions (Vidalias if you can find them), halfed and sliced
3 T butter
1 t salt
~2 cup chardonnay
10.5 oz beef consomme (standard can size)
10.5 oz low sodium chicken broth
10.5 oz unfiltered apple juice (cider if you can find it)
1 bay leaf
2 t parsley
2 t thyme
country bread, sliced 1" thick
1 cup Fontina cheese, grated

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat over medium high heat and melt butter.  Once it has melted, add a layer of onions and a sprinkle of salt.  Keep layering the onions and salt until everything is in the pot.  DO NOT COVER.  Covering won't ruin your soup, but it will take a lot longer for the onions to brown and caramelize.

Cook over medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes before you stir.  It's ok if the onions begin to burn a little on the bottom... you just don't want them to turn to charcoal.  Keep cooking, stirring once in awhile (I stirred every 15 mins) until the onions are dark brown.  This will take at least an hour.  It took me a lot longer because I covered the pot and didn't have the heat high enough... the onions reduced in about 2 hours and then I uncovered and had to spend another 30 mins or so browning things.

Once the onions are brown and carmelized, add the wine and turn the heat up as high as it will go.  Stir frequently until the wine has a syrup consistency.  I judged it by dragging the spoon across the bottom of the pot and checked to see if the juice rushed to fill the gap or slowly filled it.  A slow fill is good.  Once it's at this stage, add the consomme, broth, apple cider, and herbs.  The original recipe called for a bouquet garni with fresh herbs... had I had fresh thyme and parsley, I would have done this.  I think it will improve the flavor.  As it is, all I had was dried so I tossed everything in.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, covered.

While you are simmering, use your soup ramekins and punch out rounds from the bread slices (now they fit your bowl... neat eh?).  Turn on the oven broiler and lay slices of country bread on a baking sheet and broil just until toasty, about 1 minute.

Taste your soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't add pepper, and it was plenty salty from the consomme and the broth.  Once the soup is good, fish out the bay leaf (or the whole bouquet garni) and toss.  Ladle soup into bowls about 1" from the top.  Lay toasted side of the bread on top of the soup.  Top bread with grated cheese.  Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.  No time estimate here, just watch it and do not walk away.