Yeast rolls

My sister accused me of stealing these from Logan’s and passing them off as my own. They are that yummy. This is, of course, a King Arthur Flour recipe; can you ever go wrong with those? I think not.

Yeast rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast; I use instant/bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 cups AP flour (12 3/4 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Instructions

  1. If you use anything but instant yeast then quit it; it’s too high maintenance. I kid! Mostly. Not really. No, but if you’re using non-instant yeast dissolve it in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar and let it sit for 15 minutes; otherwise go to step two
  2. Combine all ingredients and knead together in a stand mixer for about six or seven minutes on the second speed; the dough should clean the sides of the bowl and probably stick a little on the bottom; you don’t want it too dry
  3. Let the dough rise, covered, in a lightly greased bowl at room temperature until it’s just about doubled; this will probably take about an hour but make sure you give it enough time to get nice and puffy
  4. When dough is puffy lightly grease two 9″ round pans (I use a pie plate) or a 9×13″ pan with butter, then gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a silicone mat or a lightly greased cookie sheet to work with it; cut into 16 roughly even pieces
  5. Shape each piece into a ball, pulling the dough down to the bottom of the ball so it makes a tight skin around itself; place eight rolls in each pie/cake pan or all in the big pan spacing them out as evenly as possible (they won’t be touching at this point), then cover with lightly greased plastic wrap
  6. Preheat the oven to 350, and let the rolls rise at room temperature till they’re all nice and puffy and touching each other, filling out the pan
  7. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until they’re nice and golden brown on the top; remove from oven and top with butter if you’re feeling particularly decadent (I clearly was) and let them cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Or your mouth (I kid — too hot! For a minute anyway)

I must add: if you’ve never had one of these for breakfast the next morning spread with Nutella, you’re just not really living.

Savory pasta

This started as a desperation side dish (i.e. “OMGit’s7:30whatcanImakeintenminutes?!”) and turned out to be so tasty! It’s definitely going in the rotation.

Savory pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces pasta
  • Salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and sprinkle in some salt
  2. Add in pasta and stir; reduce heat to medium-low (you want it just barely simmering) and put a lid on the pot; let it simmer according to cooking time on the pasta box
  3. When time is up pour into a bowl (there will be just barely any chicken broth left; pour it in too) and add a splash of olive oil. Toss to evenly coat pasta, then sprinkle with cheese.

Quick and easy, folks!

Guacamole

On a trip to Hilton Head Island the Yankee and I discovered this dish: guacamole topped with crab meat. This is a win. I set out to recreate it as soon as we got home, and I’m pretty pleased with the result! This is a huge party hit, too; I highly recommend.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • Two ripe avocados
  • Two Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt to taste, but about 1/2 tsp.
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (or some onion powder if you hate the crunch of raw onion)
  • Eight ounces lump crab meat, drained
  • Chips (obviously)

Instructions

  1. Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork
  2. Stir in tomatoes, pepper, cumin, pepper, salt and lime juice, plus onion if you’re using it
  3. Top with crab meat and serve with chips

Pimento macaroni and cheese

I love the simplicity of this one-pot macaroni and cheese; however, after 20 hours in the car with Kiddo (who, by the way, was a car-traveling champ) in the last four days I wasn’t really feeling the urge to watch the pot as closely as I would need to in order to avoid a boiled-over-milk scene on the stove.

I also had some pimentos that had ripened in the garden while Kiddo and I were gone.

So I crossed my fingers and totally made up tried this — and it worked!

Pimento macaroni and cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1.5 cups dry pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 3 fresh pimentos, peeled (like this, only tiny), seeded and minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a heavy, oven-safe sauce pot melt butter till foam subsides, then add flour and whisk until fully combined; add milk while whisking and turn off stovetop heat
  3. Stir in salt, mustard, dry pasta, cheese, and pimentos; cover pot and place in oven
  4. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through; top with additional cheese and uncover for the last few minutes if you so desire

That’s it!

Southern style green beans

When I was 14 and babysitting for a family in town the mother called home around 4:00 in the afternoon and asked me to cook some fresh green beans for supper. I immediately called my mother and asked her exactly how to cook them. “For today?” she replied incredulously.

Fast forward ten years (or so… ahem) to the first trip The Yankee and I made together to his homeland of the frozen tundra Detroit area where I ordered green beans at a restaurant. What arrived on my plate was something bright green and very crunchy. They were, er, not my favorite part of the meal. Mine start cooking by noon for supper that night. 😉

Southern style green beans

Ingredients

  • Green beans from last year’s garden (they’d been frozen; I try to avoid the BPA in canned ones)
  • A slice or two of bacon or pork jowels
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth from the freezer
  • Garlic
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Pick a heavy-bottomed pot and pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom; use that to fry a couple strips of bacon or pork jowls
  2. When the bacon is cooked through toss in a couple handfuls of fresh green beans, a clove of garlic, a sprinkling of salt and enough chicken broth to cover the beans; cover pot with lid and gently simmer… for a long time

Ingredients

  • Green beans from last year’s garden (they’d been frozen; I try to avoid the BPA in canned ones)
  • A slice or two of bacon or pork jowels
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth from the freezer
  • Garlic
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Pick a heavy-bottomed pot and pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom; use that to fry a couple strips of bacon or pork jowls
  2. When the bacon is cooked through toss in a couple handfuls of fresh green beans, a clove of garlic, a sprinkling of salt and enough chicken broth to cover the beans; cover pot with lid and gently simmer… for a long time

– See more at: https://oneparticularkitchen.com/2010/08/13/southern-style-green-beans/#sthash.82WD34zf.dpuf

You can also add some red pepper flakes and or some Worcestershire sauce into this if you’re so inclined. It’s pretty fabulous.

This is easy, right? And of course you can control exactly how cooked they are this way.

Now if only I could get the Yankee to try them….

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa (Salsa de Molcajete)

The salsa roja recipe is popular. Ridiculously popular. But we had some company in town and I needed salsa fast — nigh onto immediately. Rick Bayless recipe to the rescue! This is quick and easy, and simple to tweak:

You’ll need:

  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles (my late-season ones from the garden weren’t that hot so I used 5)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, preferably fire roasted
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt

Easy steps to yum:

  1. Heat an ungreased skillet over medium heat and roast the chiles and garlic, turning often until they’re splotchy and brown and soft — this takes about 10 minutes for the chiles, and 15 minutes for the garlic
  2. Cool until you can handle them, then roughly chop the chiles, discarding caps, and drop into food processor
  3. Peel the garlic and scoop the softened cloves into a food processor; pulse until very finely chopped
  4. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the food processor then pulse until puree is coarse
  5. Pour into serving dish and stir in cilantro and lime juice, and salt to taste — about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Mashed black beans

I recently came across this Rick Bayless recipe for simple mashed black beans. Can you ever go wrong with a Rick Bayless recipe? I’m saying no. With a little tweaking for what I had on hand and what sounded good, I ended up with this:

  • 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings (I always have some in the fridge)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt

In the time it took The Yankee too cook up our fajitas (more on that later), I had these done like so:

  1. Put a dry skillet over medium heat and drop in three unpeeled garlic cloves; keep turning them till the skin is nice and browned and the garlic inside is soft; set aside to cool enough to handle, then remove skins
  2. While the garlic is roasting, drain and rinse a can of black beans
  3. Remove the pan from the heat for just a minute and drop in 2 Tbsp. bacon fat; let it melt (it will do this quickly and will also smoke quickly, thus the part about removing the pan from the heat), then drop in softened garlic and crush the cloves with a potato masher
  4. Pour in can of beans and give it all a good stir to incorporate the garlic
  5. After everything is heated through, use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash the beans; you’re not looking for ice-cream texture here, just smush them up a bit
  6. Take the pan off the heat and add in as much water (probably 2-3 Tbsp) as is needed to be able to easily spread or spoon the beans
  7. Season with salt to taste — 1/2 teaspoon or so

These are fantastic eaten as is, sprinkled with cheese, on nachos, with fajitas, with burritos… use your imagination!