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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crisp Roasted Potatoes

The steps of partially cooking the potatoes before roasting and tossing the potatoes with salt and oil until they are coated with starch are the keys to developing a crisp exterior and creamy interior. The potatoes should be just undercooked when they are removed from the boiling water.  From Cooks Illustrated.  Excellent served with Zippy Barbeque.

• 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• Table salt
• tablespoons olive oil
• Ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in Dutch oven; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat and gently simmer until exteriors of potatoes have softened but centers offer resistance when pierced with paring knife, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and transfer to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt; using rubber spatula, toss to combine. Drizzle with another 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; continue to toss until exteriors of potato slices are coated with starchy paste, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle remaining tablespoon oil over surface. Carefully transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer (skin-side up if end piece). Bake until bottoms of potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 25 minutes, rotating baking sheet after 10 minutes.

3. Remove baking sheet from oven and, using metal spatula and tongs, loosen potatoes from pan, carefully flipping each slice. Continue to roast until second side is golden and crisp, 10 to 20 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed to ensure potatoes brown evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This is a favorite of mine that my mom used to bake.  I've changed the recipe a little using some whole-wheat flour and egg substitutes.  I adapted this from my mom's recipe as well as this one from a friend.

Time: 30-45 minutes prep, 2+ hours total rising, 30 minutes baking
Makes 2 loaves

• 6 cups of flour (I used 2 cups whole wheat flour)
• 5 T vital wheat gluten
• 7 T sugar
• 1½ t salt
• 1T instant yeast
• 1¼ cup milk
• 5 T butter
• ¾ cup warm water
• 3 eggs*
• ¼ cup butter, softened
• ½ cup white sugar
• ¼ cup light brown sugar
• 3 T cinnamon

1. In a large mixer bowl mix with a whisk combine flour, gluten, sugar, salt, and yeast.
2. In a saucepan combine butter and milk and water. Heat over low heat until liquid is warm (butter/margarine does not need to melt).  You can also do this in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds and checking when it's the right temperature.  Between 110-120 degrees is perfect.
3. Gradually add eggs* to dry ingredients and mix 1-2 minutes on low, scraping bowl occasionally.
4. Switch to the dough hook and add the liquid ingredients.  Let mix until all the flour is incorporated.  If the dough is sticking to the sides add a little flour at a time until it pulls away (about 1/4 cup at a time).
5. Knead 2 more minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough from hook.
6. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from a draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour (a little longer if using whole wheat flour)
7. Meanwhile combine sugar and cinnamon, and soften butter.
8. Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough in half. Roll half the dough into a 14x9 rectangle.
9. Rub lightly with softened butter. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the bread. Roll tightly from the 9-inch side jelly-roll style. Seat edge firmly. Seal end of loaf and tuck underneath.
10. Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased 9-inch bread loaf pan. Repeat with other loaf. Cover; let rise until doubled in bulk about another hour.  Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with any remaining cinnamon sugar.
11. Bake at 375ºF (or 350ºF if using dark non-stick pans) for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out onto wire racks to cool.  If you can resist slicing into warm from the oven, serve when completely cooled.

*To make this a little less eggy for Little Red (she's almost outgrown her allergy, but still can't have a ton of eggs in food)...I substituted 2 T milled flax seed and 6 T of warm water for two of the eggs.  I love that flax seed also makes it a little healthier then eggs.