Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Veggies

One of the things that I read a lot when looking into weight loss methods is that I should be eating more vegetables. More color, more variety, more anything. Veggies are good for you, and you could almost certainly be eating more without damaging yourself. Go ahead, eat a carrot.

So tonight I made a dish with a lot of fresh veggies. Well, it was really only one kind of vegetable, but there were several different colors.

Yeah, I chopped these

Bell peppers are beautiful, and they are so good for you. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lycopene--there really isn't anything they can't do.

I used about half of the peppers from the bowl up there in my Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken tonight. According to my wife, this is the best dish that I make, and she said it was even better tonight because of the fresh peppers.

Finished product

It was awfully good, but I learned something slightly alarming about rice tonight that I'm not sure I'll get over. Apparently, because white rice is so refined, it turns to blood sugar very quickly and can cause an insulin spike. What that means is that our insulin level will take a dip later, making us want something with high sugar content to start the cycle all over again.


So, long story short (too late?), I made snickerdoodles. Yes, I know. But this is a dessert blog, right? If I can't share this with you, who can I share it with?

I went with the all-butter version posted on Bridget's blog over at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. She is an amazing cook and food photographer, and I hope to be as good as her someday.

The cookies turned out flat because I haven't found the right formula for my new high-altitude home, but Bridget was definitely right about the value of replacing the shortening with butter. Soooo yummy. Take a look at her pictures, and I dare you to go three days without baking them yourself.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quick Cinnamon Buns

Welcome to my new blog! I wasn't planning to start this so soon, but I have received several inquiries about a cinnamon roll recipe that I recently discovered that has quickly become my absolute favorite. What better way to start a food blog than with a breakfast roll, right?

This recipe is even greater because it doesn't require any yeast. Since the dough doesn't need to rise, these rolls are much more quick and simple. This comes from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, which is a book that I cannot recommend enough. Make sure to take a look at the notes I added in the directions.

Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing

3/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c buttermilk (for a homemade substitute, click here
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Glaze (I don't use this one--I go with a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze)
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp buttermilk
1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously coat both a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan and a wire cooling rack with vegetable oil spray (BLOGGER NOTE: I use butter so as not to damage my pans).

2. For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and the 1 Tbsp melted butter together in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand.

3. For the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 Tbsp of the melted butter together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until absorbed (the dough will look shaggy), about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. (BLOGGER NOTE: My dough is always VERY wet when I turn it out onto the counter, so be prepared with more flour for kneading into the dough.)

4. Press the dough out into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle using your hands. Brush the dough with 2 Tbsp of the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border, then press it firmly into the dough.

5. Loosen the dough from the counter using a bench scraper (or metal spatula). Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Slice the dough into 8 pieces and place in the prepared pan. Brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp melted butter. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

6. use a knife to loosen the buns from the pan. Flip the buns out onto the prepared wire rack, then turn upright and let cool for 5 minutes before glazing.

7. For the glaze: Set the rack of buns over a sheet of newspaper or parchment paper (for easy cleanup). Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk together in a large bowl until thick and smooth. Sift the confectioners sugar over the mixture and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Spoon the glaze evenly over the warm buns.

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