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February 02, 2012

Cheddar Cheese and Onion Breadsticks Recipe

I am moving recipes over from A Year in Bread before it goes dark. First: Cheddar Cheese Onion Breadsticks Step away from the Olive Garden breadsticks and try them. You will never go back.

Cheddar cheese breadsticks

When I was a young'un, I moved from "Baja Oregon" to a very small coastal town in southwest Washington. A town where the locals joked, in some cases bragged, that, upon arriving, you should turn back your clock 20 years - to the '50s. (um, no) A town where, in the only 'ahead of their time' moment I witnessed there, they hated Calif…er, Baja Oregonians with a vengeance.

Well, mostly.

Some folks (read: young men, sadly, with an emphasis on the young in all its myriad dreadful meanings) were utterly fascinated by the strange creature in their midst and vacillated between semi-awe and hormonal stupidity with occasional forays into West WTF. The strange creature, being a child of the coolest artistic little beach towns in Baja Oregon, thought this was mildly amusing behavior...for about 15 minutes.

I arrived in late-spring and my first summer there was, to put it mildly, not my best year. Two things saved me that wet, foggy summer. The first was a job at the local pizzeria, where Gina, a wise-cracking New Jersey girl — everyone swore we were sisters — taught me to toss rounds of dough high in the air and, much harder, catch them again. She also let me play with the brick oven.

I loved Gina.

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November 21, 2011

Rosemary Fan Dinner Roll Recipe ~ v.Simpler


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.

January 10, 2011

Small Batch Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Thanksgiving!

While you are baking, these Rosemary Fans are a staple at my Thanksgiving table. If you need something a bit quicker to put together, try these simple, flaky biscuits. While the dough is rising, get yourself in the holiday spirit with A Christmas Miracle, a dizzyingly tall tale very true story (I swear) of heroism and Cheerios.


Were I to guess at such things, I'd bet that "How many calories are in one of Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls?" is an awfully common question in some people's mind. The rolls are very popular and look seriously decadent with that generous helping of gooey icing on top of the fluffy rolls.

CrThe answer is, perhaps not as many as you think. 

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls recipe, however, makes a HUGE batch of cinnamon rolls. I mean, sure if you live on a ranch and have to feed hungry cowhands (which are neither cows nor hands, discuss), make them for holiday gifts, or you have a big freezer you can stuff full of them you might be able to cope with 40-50 cinnamon rolls, but what about apartment dwellers or people with an itsy-bitsy little freezer? Like a large percentage of the people I know.

Well, how about a small batch recipe?

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September 13, 2010

Feta Chive Cornbread Recipe

I am moving posts over from my Herb Garden site, which will be going away once I complete the task. This cornbread recipe is from a few years back. but it is one I regularly return to. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

kitchenMage's Feta Chive Cornbread

As the days shorten and temperatures take a nightly dive, my food cravings begin to turn towards fall's hearty soup and stew offerings. It's not that I am done with summer – there are still lots of tomatoes on the counter and the herb garden is bursting with late summer goodness – it's more that I feel the need to diversify a bit. Hedge my bets against the day the sun doesn't shine so brightly.

Maybe it goes with the simmering pot of blueberry habenero chutney, another sure sign of fall, or perhaps it's just absence making the heart grow fonder, but the other night I found myself pulling a container of someoneElse's chili out of the freezer.

A brief digression may be called for here. Around our place, there are several levels of heat in food: warm, hot, hot+, hot++, and georgeHot. The latter refers not to George Clooney but rather is named for a friend who likes really hot stuff – a high point of one of George's recent vacations was discovering a tourist shop in a small Washington town with a shelf full of one of his favorite hot sauces from New Zealand...on sale. someoneElse has been working on making something so hot that George is satisfied. Said satisfaction may involve post-tasting skin grafts on his tongue. I, unfortunately, get sideswiped by incorrectly labeled things on occasion. This chili said hot+, I swear.

Where was I? Oh yes, chili...freezer.

The plan was simple: chili, salad, bread. A quick and easy dinner that could expand to include the friend who called from the road and was invited to join us. I was a happy mage.

Except that the month of the broken oven (now over, thank the flying spaghetti monster!) left me with darned little in the way of bread in the house. Nothing, actually.

Checking the clock, I realized that all I had time for was some sort of quick bread. Chili...quick must be cornbread! As the only part of the meal I could claim to have worked on, though, the cornbread had to be special. A peek in the refrigerator uncovered feta cheese. I can work with that.

Google "quick bread" + feta and I see this sentence: "Cornbread is a quick bread." Thinking, "Ah, cornbread, with a reference to feta somewhere - that must be a sign" I clicked on the link.

Kevin's Cheese Bread. Um, err, is that my site?

Is that a sign?

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April 08, 2009

Lemon mousse recipe

Lemon Mousse

To my peculiar form of synesthesia, spring is yellow. The world around me seems to agree, covering itself in daffodils of hues from palest cream to cartoon-sun yellow to bright tangerine, with clumps of golden forsythia and swaths of chartreuse spring grass. Purple will be along soon, in a week or so when the chives start to bloom, but for now the garden tends toward the golden.

While the world turns to yellow outside, the fruit selection here on the 46th parallel tends toward the remnants of winter, somewhat yellowish in its own right: the ubiquitous banana, an apple or two (Note to the folks selling Red Delicious apples in April - they don't store well. Really.), and lots of citrus.

Sadly, the strawberries trucked 1000 miles look good from a distance but a closer inspection of their plastic cage reveals half-ripened berries with a distinct lack of aroma. And mold. My editor calls it zombie fruit because it looks like fruit, but has no soul.

So it's back to the citrus. Lemons, in fact. Because lemons are yellow and taste like spring. Only sunnier.

This recipe comes from Ray's Boathouse, one of Seattle's longtime beloved waterfront seafood restaurants. Ray's is the kind of place you take your parents when they come to town. The view is lovely, the seafood is fresh and well-prepared, and the service is excellent. When I lived in the area, it was one of my indulgences.

Once, on a unseasonably warm spring day, I had this lemon mousse at Ray's. It was light and tart and not too sweet. Spring in a dessert bowl. Much later, the recipe turned up in Northwest Best Places Cookbook (vol 2) - it is also in Ray's Boathouse Cookbook These two events are separated by what seems like an unreasonably long time for them to be using the same recipe, so maybe I am misremembering that day at Ray's. All I know is when I open the book to this recipe, I feel the first warm spring breeze and see a field of yellow flowers. Who am I to argue with spring?

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March 06, 2009

Sleepover Steel-cut Oats Recipe

Sleepover Steel-cut Oats

It has been quite the winter around here, what with the cookbook coming out, my broken arm, and snowpocalypse! - and that was all last year! 2009 started with floods that shut down my state, followed by storms that washed out roads and took down 60 foot cedars in the valley. The usual distractions of the Internet are filled with bad news: economic meltdown, record unemployment, all those gazillions of dollars being thrown at the banking industry while a farmer in the next valley faces a growing number of farmers around here who are packing it in. (And what does it say that searching for that linked string above, including 'gazillion' gets almost 3000 hits? Nothing good, I'm sure.)

Tough times all around.

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May 30, 2008

Apple Puffcake recipe

apple puffcake

Lazy Sunday mornings. Light peeking in the window spills over the bed where those who resist the dawn snuggle in for just another minute or two. No agenda beyond a leisurely morning of tea, catching up on my friends on the tubes of the Internet, maybe a crossword puzzle...

Um, yeah. I remember those days.

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May 13, 2008

Nutella mousse recipe

nutella mousse

This barely qualifies as a recipe, but I suppose it has more than one ingredient and some instructions, so it'll pass.

I found myself in the kitchen earlier, staring at yet another possible chocolate cake for the book. It wasn't quite what I was after, but it did leave me with a couple of very handy things leftover:

  • A couple of tablespoons of Nutella
  • ~1/3 cup of whipped cream

aka: deconstructed Nutella mousse

So I constructed it.

To make the mousse, stir the Nutella frantically for a minute to loosen it up a bit. Don't heat it, it just doesn't seem to help. Fold in about a quarter of the whipped cream to lighten the Nutella a bit. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Drool for 10 minutes while trying to get the glam shot of the not-so-photogenic brown glop. Eat.

May 07, 2008

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream Recipe

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

This one's for Inv Robbins, who died on Monday after helping to make about a zillion kids happy by creating the first American food franchise: Baskin-Robbins.

When I was a munchkin, I loved Baskin-Robbins. There was a BR store within walking distance of all my usual haunts and they gave you free ice cream on your birthday. Even better, my older brother's best friend was a shift manager. For him, this mostly meant he, at 17, got to herd 15 and 16 year-olds, which I am sure was a pain. For him.

I, on the other hand, thought that the point of being a shift manager was free banana splits. Not for him. For me.

Since then, I have switched to making my own ice cream. Last year, I happened upon a sale which tipped me over the edge and I bought a really good ice cream maker, which has led to more than a bit of creamy, frozen goodness around my place. It really doesn't take much effort to whip up a batch of ice cream base and with my machine, which doesn't require pre-freezing a bowl, I can have ice cream almost on a whim.

There is a downside to making ice cream, however: making the custard base.

Standing over a hot stove attentively stirring a pot of cream and eggs lest it scorch may not be as painful as herding minimum-wage teenagers, but it's nowhere near as fun as eating a banana split.

Well, I've got the answer.

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April 29, 2008

Canadian bacon, cheddar and souffle recipe

canadian bacon and cheese souffle

I am a big fan of food that delivers showy results with a reasonable amount of effort. I like food that scares people even better. I don't mean "scares" like some of the stuff that Steve eats - that just weirds me out - but rather stuff that scares the cook, not the eater. Like soufflés.

Soufflés can definitely be intimidating, even though they consist of two dead simple parts: a simple white sauce that functions as a base and a mound of stiffly-beaten egg whites. The base provides all of the flavor and the whites elevate the dish, literally, above the simple ingredients. Combine the two, however, and even experienced cooks cringe.

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