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Category Archives: Lunch

Forget Those Supermarket Rolls – Go Krazy with Homemade Kaiser Rolls

Sean and I are both big proponents of sandwiches in this house and take every opportunity to make a good sandwich for lunch or dinner. Of course, there is nothing quite like a sandwich on a good roll to make it taste even better. The problem is finding the good rolls that you will love to eat. Unfortunately for us, we do not have a bakery in our town or nearby, which means you would have to settle for the rolls they offer at the local supermarkets. If you have ever had a Kaiser roll from New York City or one of the boroughs, you will quickly realize that the rolls offered outside of the city pale in comparison and or too soft, too dry and somewhat flavorless, making for a disappointing sandwich. The best solution available to me was to try to make these rolls on my own. I was hesitant at first, fearing it would be a lot of work to give it a try, but I came across this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen in their cookbook Bread Illustrated (one of my favorite cookbooks by the way). The recipe seemed very easy and straightforward, so I decided it was time to give it a try.

Homemade Kaiser Rolls

5 cups bread flour

4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups water, at room temperature

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg, at room temperature

4 teaspoons sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon poppy seeds, optional

Whisk the bread flour, yeast and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the water, vegetable oil, egg, and sugar together in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup until the sugar has dissolved.

Using the dough hook on a stand mixer, set the mixer to low speed and slowly add the water mixture to the flour mixture and mix the ingredients until a cohesive dough starts to form, and no dry flour remains, about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead the ingredients until the dough is smooth and elastic and clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom of the bowl, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead the dough by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place the dough seam-side down in a lightly greased large bowl or container, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Press down on the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a clean counter or workspace. Press and stretch the dough into a 12 by 6-inch rectangle, with the long side parallel to the counter edge.

Using a pizza cutter or chef’s knife, cut the dough vertically into 12 (6 by 1-inch) strips and cover the dough loosely with greased plastic wrap.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the plastic), stretch and roll the dough into a 14-inch rope. Shape the rope into a U with a 2-inch-wide bottom curve and the ends facing away from you. Tie the ends into a single overhand knot, with a 1 1/2-inch open loop at the bottom.

Wrap 1 tail over the loop and press it through the opening from the top. Wrap the other tail under the loop and pinch the ends together to seal them. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, placing the rolls pinched side down on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 3 inches apart. Cover the rolls loosely with greased plastic and let the dough rise until it has nearly doubled in size and the dough springs back minimally when it is poked gently with your knuckle, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently brush the rolls with the egg mixture and sprinkle them with poppy seeds, if using. Bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking process.

Transfer the rolls to wire racks and allow them to cool completely, about 1 hour, before serving.

The process of forming the rolls sounds more complicated than it is. Once you get used to doing it, they come together pretty quickly, though I have to admit I think mine could have looked nicer. Besides the looks, I have to say these rolls are excellent. They have the right texture and the crisp exterior that you want in a roll while still maintaining a moist interior crumb. There are stamps you can buy to imprint the rolls if you do not want to go through the effort of getting that rosette shape yourself (you can find them on Amazon or King Arthur Flour). We used the rolls that night for chicken sandwiches for dinner, and I have to say they are better than anything I can buy around here. While they are certainly not of the quality you will get fresh from the bakeries on Arthur Avenue, it’s a good one you can do yourself without a lot of work and still have a great roll for sandwiches. It’s definitely one I will be making again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on April 5, 2017 in Breads, Breakfast, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Uncategorized

 

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Easy Homemade Condiment Recipes | Tasting Table

We all rely on store-bought condiments most of the time, but is there a better option? Who has the time to make things like ketchup or mayo at home? Surprisingly enough, you do! Making your own condiments is a lot easier than you think, gives you better control of the ingredients you and your family eat and they just plain taste better. Tasting Table has put together 7 easy recipes for different condiments that you can make yourself so you can save some money, eat something that tastes great and really impress your family! Check it out!

I am finally over my sickness after several weeks of fighting it. Though work has been pretty crazy lately too, I am going to try to get caught up on my blogging next week so I can get back into my routine. I have some great recipes I have tried recently that will be fun to share. Stay tuned and thanks!

Source: Easy Homemade Condiment Recipes | Tasting Table

 

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Bread Week, Part 4 – Go Dutch for Lunch with a Cook’s Country Dutch Crunch Roll

I always have grand ambitions to make my own sandwich rolls for things like hamburgers, sausage and peppers, or just to have for sandwiches for lunch or dinner. I do make them sometimes, but not nearly as often as I wish I had time to and have to make do with what we get from the local store (oh, how I wish we had a real bakery around here!). In any case, I was planning on making chicken sandwiches for dinner recently and decided I was going to make my own rolls for them. I had come across a recipe in Cook’s Country from April/May 2016 for a roll I had not heard of before called a Dutch Crunch. It is a regional roll that is well-known in San Francisco for its combination of a lightly sweet sandwich bread with a crunchy, unique topping. The pictures of the rolls in the magazine looked enticing, so I figured it would be a good one to attempt for dinner.

Cook’s Country Dutch Crunch Rolls

For the Dough:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

4 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees)

3/4 cup white rice flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the dough, using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the all-purpose flour, water, melted butter, sugar, yeast, and salt together on low speed until a cohesive mass starts to form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Grease a large a bowl and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough briefly to form it into a smooth ball, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and the dough to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it is almost doubled in size and a fingertip depression in the dough springs back slowly, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Gently press down on the center of the dough to deflate it. Place the dough on a clean work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a rough ball by pinching and pulling the dough edges under so that the top of the ball is smooth.

Flip each ball onto the smooth side and pat each ball into a 4-inch circle. Fold the top edge of the circle down to the midline, pressing on it to seal it. Fold the bottom edge of the circle up to meet the first seam at the midline and press it to seal it. Fold the dough in half, so the top and the bottom edges come together and pinch the edges together to form a seam. Flip the dough to the seam sound down and gently roll it into a 6-inch log. Arrange the rolls in 2 staggered rows of 4 on the prepared baking sheet. Set the sheet of rolls aside to rise at room temperature until they are almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the topping, 25 minutes before the rolls are finished rising, whisk together the warm water, white rice flour, vegetable oil, sugar, yeast, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and let the topping rise until it has doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Stir the risen topping to deflate it. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the topping over each roll and quickly brush the topping on to evenly coat the roll tops and sides.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the rolls until the exteriors are golden brown and craggy and the centers of the rolls register 210 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, about 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before serving.

The process of creating the shape of the rolls sounds more complicated than it really is. Once you do one and get it into the form you want it, the rest are pretty easy for you to do. The topping is pretty thick when you are spreading it on (think pancake batter thick), but it forms a really nice crust onto the roll that you will definitely appreciate. The rolls are soft and chewy on the inside, like you want a sandwich roll to be, and have a really nice crunch on the outside thanks to the rice flour. It is the perfect sandwich bread for anything you might like – deli meats, turkey, chicken, tuna, vegetables – and they hold up quite nicely. We all enjoyed them with our chicken sandwiches and had them for the rest of the week to use for lunch. Like any bread or roll, you do need to plan ahead and give yourself some time to make the dough and let it rise (and buy the rice flour if you don’t happen to have any), but this one that is worth the effort.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day (it is beautiful here again, 72 and sunny and I am wearing shorts in February in NY), and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Breads, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Sandwiches

 

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Welcome to Bread Week! – Starting Off with Cook’s Country English Muffin Bread

I decided since I have a backlog of bread recipes that I have made recently that each post this week will be for one of the different bread types I have tried. Breadmaking is one of my favorite things to do, and I make lots of different things all the time, to the point where I know have 8 different flours occupying space in my cabinets. I am always on the lookout for a new bread recipe to try, and this one from Cook’s Country for English muffin bread seemed like a good one to start with. I have made homemade English muffins before, and they turned out great, but the process can be quite time-consuming. This recipe offers you the same texture and chew that you expect from a traditional English muffin in bread form and it is much easier to put together.

English Muffin Bread

Cornmeal

5 cups bread flour

4 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups warm milk (120 degrees)

Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans and dust each pan with cornmeal. Combine the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in the warm milk until it is combined, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until the dough is bubbly and has doubled in size.

Stir the dough and divide it equally between the two pans, pushing the dough into the corners of the loaf pan with a greased spatula. The pans should be about two-thirds full of dough. Cover the pans with greased plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough reaches the edges of the pans, about 30 minutes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Discard the plastic wrap covering the pans and transfer the pans to the oven. Bake the bread, switching and rotating the pans halfway through the baking process, until the loaves are well browned and register 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the bread., about 30 minutes. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack and allow the bread to cool completely, about 1 hour.

If you are looking for a great bread to toast, this one is it. The texture is very similar to what you get from an English muffin, and it toasts up very nicely for you, giving you great flavor, crunch and chew. It goes very nicely with breakfast, but I also made myself a slice to have with some soup I was having for lunch, and it was the perfect accompaniment. I left one loaf out and froze the other, wrapping it in foil and then in plastic, so we can take it out whenever we are ready for another loaf. I haven’t tried it as a sandwich bread, though I am sure it would be okay; to me, it is a breakfast and toast kind of bread and one I will certainly make again since it is so easy to put together.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Breakfast, Brunch, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch

 

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Quick, Easy and Delicious – You Can Make This Simple Crusty Bread

If you follow the blog regularly then you know that I write a lot about baking bread. For me, bread baking is a relaxing endeavor and I love the taste and smell of homemade bread more than anything you can buy from the supermarket. Of course, not everyone has time to put into making fresh loaves of bread all of the time. It can be a process and take several hours and a lot of people just feel like it is not worth the effort.But what if you could make fresh loaves of bread that were as easy as possible? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have fresh bread for the sandwich for work tomorrow or to go with your dinner tonight? It can happen if you make use of this recipe from Nick Fox from New York Times Cooking. The idea of the recipe comes from Jeff Hertzberg, a doctor from Minneapolis, who worked to streamline the bread-making process. Now you can have no fuss bread with just a little bit of effort on your part.

Simple Crusty Bread

1 ½ tablespoons yeast

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

6 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

Cornmeal

In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the yeast and the salt into 3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in the flour, mixing the flour into the water mixture until there are no dry patches. The dough will be quite loose. Cover the bowl or container, but not with an airtight lid. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake the bread at this point or refrigerate the dough, covered, for as long as two weeks. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; allow the dough to rest for about 40 minutes. Repeat the process with the remaining dough or refrigerate it.

Place broiler pan on the bottom of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and turn the oven to 450 degrees; heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust the dough with flour, slash the top of the dough with a serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough onto the stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until it is well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

Okay, so you can’t make a fresh, homemade loaf bread in 30 minutes but once you have let the dough rise at room temperature and refrigerated it, the hard part is over. It then just becomes taking a portion, letting it rest for 40 minutes and cooking it. This recipe makes enough for 4 loaves of bread so you can get plenty of use out of it. The dough itself is rather sticky when you make it but it is still pretty easy to work with. You don’t have to go through all of the kneading and everything else to prepare it. Once you put it in the oven you can brown it to your liking and it is great for any meal, to use for toast, sandwiches or just to have fresh bread around when you want it. You can even bake all 4 loaves at once and freeze the excess until you want to use it so you always have fresh bread around. I have used this recipe several times to make quicker bread when I know we are having people over for dinner and I want some fresh bread for the meal. It is flavorful, crusty and has a great chew. The picture I took is of loaves that aren’t quite as browned as I normally like but they are still quite good.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Breads, Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes

 

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The First Soup of the Season – Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

Okay, so the weather hasn’t been exactly fall weather here the last 2 days, with temperatures getting up into the 80s during the day on both days, but it still seems to be that soup time of year. Things cooled down quite a bit last night and should be back more towards normal here, which means brisk autumn air that makes for good soup weather. With so many great fall vegetables around right now, particularly a bunch of different root vegetables, the opportunities are there to make all kinds of good soups. One that has always been a family favorite of ours has been butternut squash soup and since squash is so plentiful right now  I knew I just had to make some soup the other night. I had picked up a couple of butternut squash at the farmer’s market last week, along with some carrots, celery root and leeks and I knew this was all going to come together nicely for a soup dinner. I decided to use this recipe from Molly O’Neill at New York Times Cooking for a baked butternut squash soup and adapted it to include some other great root vegetables to make it my own.

Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

2 butternut squash, about 1 pound each, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and finely chopped

1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons honey

teaspoon each of mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice

 

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash, carrots leeks and celery root in a shallow roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle the olive oil over the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables in the oil to coat them well. Drizzle the vegetables with the honey and add the mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice and toss the vegetables again so they are well mixed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and continue roasting the vegetables until they are lightly browned and fork tender, about another 20 to 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the chicken broth in a large pot or Dutch oven until it is simmering. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables in the pot with the broth and mix them well. All the broth and vegetables to continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and broth together until the vegetables are smooth (You can also do this in a blender in batches if you prefer). Return the pot to the stove and bring the soup slowly to a boil over medium-low heat and then stir in the heavy cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired.

You get some great combinations of flavors here with the squash, celery root, carrots and leeks. The honey just bumps up the sweetness a tiny bit here and the spices, even though they are in small amounts, add just the right touch. I like roasting the vegetables before putting them in the soup because they get nice and tender and seem to have better flavor this way than if you sautéed them in a pan or the same pot as the soup. You can leave out the heavy cream if you prefer but I added it because it helps create some great texture to the soup. The soup would benefit even more if you added a peeled and sliced apple to the vegetables when roasting, but I didn’t have any on hand so I left it out. You could also easily make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or just using water.This makes a nice batch of soup so you can have leftovers for other meals or lunches and we had the soup with sandwiches for dinner, but you could easily have it by itself, with some croutons, a salad or just with some homemade bread or biscuits. It was a great way to kick off what hopefully is the first of some awesome soups and stews this year.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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The 101 Recipes You Need to Know How to Cook | Bon Appetit

Every home cook has some basic recipes that they turn to all of the time for weeknight meals, special Sunday suppers or dinner parties. There are some classics and basic recipes that you learn along the way that you can always rely on when you want to turn out a great meal. Bon Appetit has put together 101 of the basic classic recipes, with everything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between so that you can have recipes to fall back on, learn and use when you want them. Check it out!

Source: The 101 Recipes You Need to Know How to Cook | Bon Appetit

 

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