Category: Kitchen

U is for Unexpected

On the shelves and in the nooks of Granny’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor, are tucked nearly as many salt and pepper shakers as there are cookie jars.

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This family owned shop is as delicious to look at, as the ice cream is to eat!

How about a little turkey or duck with that?

It’s like a scavenger hunt for fun!

Enjoy yourself for an afternoon in Metamora.

Z is for Zest

AtoZ Z2015

And so the Blogging A to Z Challenge ends … with the final letter of the alphabet. We Readers and Bloggers ought to celebrate with a little something nice. Maybe an aromatic cup of tea and some pastries?

Here is an easy and quick recipe for Zesty Lemon Filled Choux Puffs.

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon Heavy

I would happily make these delights all day long. They can look rather impressive, but the business of making the choux (pronounced shoe, as in tennis) is easy peasy. And just between us, although it might not be ‘correct’, I sometimes add just a touch of almond, vanilla, lemon, etc. to the choux. If possible, I use the highly concentrated oils rather than the more liquid flavorings, for fear of ruining the consistency.

Not a fan of lemon filling? Not an issue – these are nice with butter, chocolate mousse (another easy recipe, but for another post), or strawberry preserves beaten with whipped cream. They even work well with savories like tuna salad or veggies. Oh my!  I might have to meander into the kitchen …

Well, enough of that! Here we go with the actual recipe and some photos just for fun.

First, make your Choux:

1/2 cup generous Water (I use a touch more than the usual 1/2 cup, but not too much!)

4 Tablespoons Butter (use the very best butter you can find, preferably unsalted)

1/2 cup Flour

2 Eggs (room temperature is best, but if in a rush, at least try to warm them in a warm towel)

Blogging 2015 Zest Choux Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 375* 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or if you are not wild about parchment like I am, have at the ready unlined and ungreased cookie sheets.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, then add the flour all at once. Placing the pan over moderate heat, stir like mad until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan, making a ball. Remove the pan from the heat again, letting the dough cool for about five minutes. Then add the fresh eggs, one at a time, assertively stirring each one into the cooled dough until the mixture is smooth.

Using large spoons or iced tea spoons, drop equal sized dollops of dough about 2″ apart onto the cookie sheets – spoon choice will determine the size of each puff.

Blogging 2015 Zest Choux and Pan

Bake one sheet at a time for 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden. Blogging 2015 Zest Choux Baked

Cut open the upper third and … hey! Wait a second! Do try to stop eating them before they are all gone since you still have a lot of filling to use. Oh well, these are simple enough to make again … and again … and again!

The Lemon ZEST Filling

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon One

I am going to share the simplest lemon filling I know with you, but as you are already aware, there are a zillion recipes for lemon curd, lemon butter, lemon everything. Play with this and make your own complicated or straightforward version. Just remember that the idea is to have a good time in the kitchen!

2  8-ounce packages of real cream cheese (the substitutes simply don’t work as nicely)

1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (yup, this is going to be very easy!)

1/2 cup sour cream (I use plain yogurt because we never have sour cream in the house)

1/4 cup lemon juice (I do try to squeeze fresh lemons, but it’s your recipe now, so that’s up to you)

The zest of at least one lemon (the more lemons, the zestier the outcome)

Dash of lemon oil, vanilla, coconut, etc. (not actually necessary, but an option if you’d like to experiment with flavors)

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Place all of the ingredients in a bowl or food processor – or blender, I suppose – and blend until smooth, creamy and wonderful. Spoon into the few remaining Choux Puffs. You will have more than enough filling, so it might be wise to make multiple batches of choux pastry, or use the leftovers as filling for a refrigerated cake.

If you are concerned about the degree of icky sweetness, only pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of the can of sweetened condensed milk into the bowl above, then blend and adjust for taste and consistency. You could use heavy cream, plain yogurt, and/or more cream cheese instead of the entire can.

And then it is time to serve these wonders with a dab of filling and a scattering of lemon zest on top – or drizzle them with melted chocolate, or lightly sift confectioner’s sugar on top.

Whatever you’d prefer!

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon Heavy

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many Readers who made it through the entire alphabet with me, and the talented Bloggers who shared their wonderful posts during this Blogging A to Z Challenge.

I’ve connected with some remarkable writers, cooks, photographers and poets, and I’ve learned a great deal about blogging along the way.

I wish all of you happy discoveries, safe culinary adventures, good lighting and successful blogging – I am looking forward to enjoying more of your work in the weeks and months to come.

R is for Rolls

AtoZ R2015

Here’s a tasty post – Rolls! As in baking, as in kitchen fun, as in, ‘We don’t need more carbs in this house!’

But too bad – I like the word Rolls far better than my discarded drafts all about Renew, Reclaim, Restore, and other such philosophical meanderings.

Rolls.

Yum.

With butter …

Yummier.

So, for you, Dear Reader, I will share the recipe I love the best for hot, fresh, marvelous rolls.

Oh, do bear in mind that you will want to search out  (or make your own) fresh butter, and you might want to find some tasty jam, as well. Marmalade is always a good choice, too.

ROLLS – Now and Later

This recipe can be halved, and can be made in a food processor or with a stand mixer and dough hook.

5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups unsifted flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 packages active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

2 eggs at room temperature

In large bowl, thoroughly mix 2 cups flour with sugar, salt, and undissolved yeast.

Combine water, milk and butter in a saucepan, heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120* – 130*). The butter does not need to melt.

Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board, knead until smooth and elastic – about 8 – 10 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap, then a towel, let rest 20 minutes.

Punch dough down. Shape into desired shapes (round, small loaves, etc.).

Bake Now or Freeze for Later

If baking later, tightly wrap dough in plastic wrap and then foil, being sure to seal well. Freeze until firm before transferring to plastic freezer storage bags. Freeze up to 4 weeks.

Baking

Place fresh or frozen dough on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover, let rise in warm place free from drafts, until doubled in bulk – about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake at 350*, for 15 minutes or util golden brown.

Here are some helpful bread making sites:

http://allrecipes.com/howto/dinner-rolls/

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/bread