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Christmas

December 19, 2013

A Christmas Miracle

from the archives ...being the true story of a Christmas Miracle, for Megan and other foodies at the 'rents for the holidays, with apologies to everyone else...
Barn

Come on over and sit with me Megan. Let me tell you a story. Now this is a true story, though some folks doubt it. But I was there that Christmas Eve and it happened just like this...

Way back when your mama was just a wee thing, there was a great storm. You can find mention of it in the history books, things like this:

"On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1945, 20 hours of continuous snowfall blocked roads and required snowplow operators to work the holiday in southern Minnesota."

But they don't tell the true story. Not the whole story.

They don't tell you about The Thing that happened on a dark road, way out of town...

Picture it. A small town in southern Minnesota, Christmas Eve, 1945. It wasn't like now, where you can order everything under the sun with just a click of your mouse. No, in 1945 if you wanted something you had to go to a store, so near everyone in town was out that fateful day.

The war was finally over and the troops were starting to come home to their families. After the last few holidays which, as you can imagine, were not festive affairs, it seemed that the entire town was having a party...

Continue reading "A Christmas Miracle" »

December 24, 2012

A Christmas Miracle

from the archives ...being the true story of a Christmas Miracle, for Megan and other foodies at the 'rents for the holidays, with apologies to everyone else...
Barn

Come on over and sit with me Megan. Let me tell you a story. Now this is a true story, though some folks doubt it. But I was there that Christmas Eve and it happened just like this...

Way back when your mama was just a wee thing, there was a great storm. You can find mention of it in the history books, things like this:

"On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1945, 20 hours of continuous snowfall blocked roads and required snowplow operators to work the holiday in southern Minnesota."

But they don't tell the true story. Not the whole story.

They don't tell you about The Thing that happened on a dark road, way out of town...

Picture it. A small town in southern Minnesota, Christmas Eve, 1945. It wasn't like now, where you can order everything under the sun with just a click of your mouse. No, in 1945 if you wanted something you had to go to a store, so near everyone in town was out that fateful day.

The war was finally over and the troops were starting to come home to their families. After the last few holidays which, as you can imagine, were not festive affairs, it seemed that the entire town was having a party...

Continue reading "A Christmas Miracle" »

December 25, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

...being the true story of a Christmas Miracle, for Megan and other foodies at the 'rents for the holidays, with apologies to everyone else...
firstSnow-barn

Come on over and sit with me Megan. Let me tell you a story. Now this is a true story, though some folks doubt it. But I was there that Christmas Eve and it happened just like this...

Way back when your mama was just a wee thing, there was a great storm. You can find mention of it in the history books, things like this:

"On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1945, 20 hours of continuous snowfall blocked roads and required snowplow operators to work the holiday in southern Minnesota."

But they don't tell the true story. Not the whole story.

They don't tell you about The Thing that happened on a dark road, way out of town...

Picture it. A small town in southern Minnesota, Christmas Eve, 1945. It wasn't like now, where you can order everything under the sun with just a click of your mouse. No, in 1945 if you wanted something you had to go to a store, so near everyone in town was out that fateful day.

The war was finally over and the troops were starting to come home to their families. After the last few holidays which, as you can imagine, were not festive affairs, it seemed that the entire town was having a party...

Continue reading "A Christmas Miracle" »

November 21, 2011

Rosemary Fan Dinner Roll Recipe ~ v.Simpler

1752877947_82181d5b22_o

This is a slightly simpler, straight dough version of these Rosemary Fans. (Straight dough is mixed at one time, versus recipes using starters, etc.) If you have the time to do the original version, which requires an extra few hours for the starter to ripen. I encourage you to do so, the bread flavor is a bit richer, somehow more "grainy" in a good way. It's all those lovely enzymes and tasty bits...

Rosemary Fans

These rolls bloom in the oven into charming little fans, each with its own look. The bread dough is simple to make and shaping the rolls is quick, easy and (happily for small hands) not an exact science. You can substitute almost any other savory herb for rosemary, though fresh herbs really do work best for this.

Makes 12 large rolls

1 1/2 cups water (at body temperature)
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups flour (bread flour is better, but all-purpose will work)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon rosemary fresh, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)

  1. Put the water, yeast, whole wheat flour, three cups of the bread flour and the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. (Use low speed on a stand mixer.) Sprinkle in the last cup of flour while mixing, stopping when the dough clears the bowl and stops absorbing flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the dough out on a well-floured counter and sprinkle the salt on it. Knead the dough 5-10 minutes (stand mixer: 5-6 minutes on medium) until it is firm yet supple and smooth. (You may need to use a bit more flour on the counter.) Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. (Use the rising amount, not time, to determine if dough is ready for next step.)
  3. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on a lightly floured counter and flatten into a rectangle with your hands. Let the dough relax for a minute while you prepare a muffin tin by lightly coating each cup with olive oil.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12x18 rectangle. If the dough starts resisting and springing back, let it rest for a few minutes and then finish rolling. Brush the dough with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle liberally with chopped rosemary.
  5. Cut dough in half crosswise and lay one piece on top of the other. Cut that stack in half and stack the pieces to make one four-layer stack that's about 6x9 inches in size. Make three cuts crosswise and 4 lengthwise to give you 12 rolls about 1 ½ by 3 inches. It doesn't matters if the sides are uneven, it's what gives them their charm.
  6. Place in oiled muffin tins, one stack per cup with a short edge facing up. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour. When the rolls have increased in size by about half that amount, turn on the oven to 425 to preheat.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans for 15 minutes and then gently turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling. Don't handle the rolls too roughly; they occasionally fall apart when warm.

Welcome, More magazine readers!

Welcome to kitchenMage!

I was chuffed when More asked me to contribute a recipe to their Best-loved Christmas Recipes article. The Rosemary Fan recipe they posted is a simpler version of these Rosemary Fans — which uses a starter and has step-by-step photos if you find them helpful.

If this is your first time at kitchenMage, let me show you a few things you might find interesting:

Here are a few other recipes you might enjoy:

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December 17, 2010

How to Shape Christmas Tree Bread

From the archives...

I really dislike posting a recipe I have only made once. What seems to be a simple bit of culinary magic one day may fizzle on second try. Even well-tested recipes can run into problems when moved from one region of the country to another: the moisture level of flour changes noticeably from a wet climate to a dry one, for example, and altitude screws with baking and boiling, not to mention your alcohol tolerance. (My brother-in-law who works as an EMT a mile up in the mountains tells great stories.)

There are, however, a few writers whose recipes I trust enough to go with a single pass at a recipe when I am short on time and I turned to one of them for the sweet roll dough I used for the tree. Modifications were made, of course: I zested an orange, toasted and ground cardamom, sprinkled in cinnamon, and tipped in a splash of vanilla; milk became buttermilk; sugar was reduced a little bit - there was a LOT of sugar. Ten minutes after I put it in the oven the house was filled with a heady mix of spices and I was regretting not putting an extra 'tasting' loaf in the oven. (After I took photos, I tore into a golden ball of dough; I can report the flavor lived up to its aroma-vertising.)

The crumb, sadly, did not. Dense and chewy, not tender and light. Totally wrong.

Continue reading "How to Shape Christmas Tree Bread" »

December 21, 2009

How-to Shape Christmas Tree Bread

I really dislike posting a recipe I have only made once. What seems to be a simple bit of culinary magic one day may fizzle on second try. Even well-tested recipes can run into problems when moved from one region of the country to another: the moisture level of flour changes noticeably from a wet climate to a dry one, for example, and altitude screws with baking and boiling, not to mention your alcohol tolerance. (My brother-in-law who works as an EMT a mile up in the mountains tells great stories.)

There are, however, a few writers whose recipes I trust enough to go with a single pass at a recipe when I am short on time and I turned to one of them for the sweet roll dough I used for the tree. Modifications were made, of course: I zested an orange, toasted and ground cardamom, sprinkled in cinnamon, and tipped in a splash of vanilla; milk became buttermilk; sugar was reduced a little bit - there was a LOT of sugar. Ten minutes after I put it in the oven the house was filled with a heady mix of spices and I was regretting not putting an extra 'tasting' loaf in the oven. (After I took photos, I tore into a golden ball of dough; I can report the flavor lived up to its aroma-vertising.)

The crumb, sadly, did not. Dense and chewy, not tender and light. Totally wrong.

Continue reading "How-to Shape Christmas Tree Bread" »

December 25, 2007

Bûche de Noël: It's done!

buche de noel with candied rosemary sprigs

Well it isn't the world's best picture and I went for simple decorations, but here it is. A minimalist Bûche de Noël with candied rosemary sprigs. The weather report says there may be snow before it is served. But what do the weather folks know, they predicted mushrooms! Merry Christmas (if you do that) and Happy Tuesday (if you don't) - see you all in a day or so with the rest of the photos of the madness.

December 24, 2007

Bûche de Noël: Chocolate Apricot Frosting Recipe

The crazy continues

frosting: all of the meringue and a pile of apricots

I'd love to sit and chat but I have a cake to frost. With this.

Chocolate Apricot Frosting Recipe

Cream 3/4 cup each butter with 3/4 cup powdered sugar + 1/3 cup cocoa

Beat 3 egg whites until foamy and slowly sprinkle in 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat to billowy, stiff  peaks.

Dice a handful of dried apricots, splash with amaretto and set aside for 30 min.

Gently fold 1/3 of meringue into the sweet chocolatey butter. Repeat with other 2 thirds. Add apricots and mix in gently. refrigerate until cake goes into oven, then set on counter to soften.

flickr set of this craziness:  Bûche de Noël

Merry, merry, merry!

If you are anything like me, you are just starting a rather complicated dessert and have no time for blogs...and therefore you probably aren't reading this.

Hmmm.

Maybe I need another lede.

clears throat

Continue reading "Merry, merry, merry!" »

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