Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Warm and sticky cinnamon rolls are a little time-consuming, but a fantastic treat for special occasions.

yield: 2 dozen rolls

1 cup warm milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
3 1/2- 4 cups flour

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins

1 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. To prepare rolls, combine warm milk, sugar, salt, and yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes or until frothy.
2. Place 2 1/2 cups of flour in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Add milk mixture, egg, and melted butter, stirring to combine. Gradually add remaining flour until dough is tacky. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding flour if necessary and kneading until dough is no longer sticky. Return to bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, adding flour if necessary and kneading until dough is smooth. Roll out into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle.
2. To prepare filling, while dough rises, combine brown sugar with cinnamon. Stir in walnuts.
3. Brush rolled-out dough with 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture and raisins, leaving a 1-inch margin on 1 of the long sides. Tightly roll up dough lengthwise, starting with the edge that has filling all the way up to it. Press edges to seal. Using a knife, slice roll into 24 pieces. Place rolls in a 9 x 13-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (at least 1 1/2 hours; you can leave them overnight if you want).
4. Preheat oven to 350°.
5. Bake rolls at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan.
6. To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Moist and buttery, this cake is perfect either alone or topped with fruit (strawberries!) and whipped cream.

yield: 24 servings

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine flour through salt, stirring with a whisk. Place sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture, alternating, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
3. Spoon batter into two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
4. (optional) Wrap cakes in foil and freeze for up to a month. The cakes will be extra moist after they're thawed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chicken Salad

Sweet grapes, tart cranberries, and crunchy cashews lend to a more complex salad than "just your momma's chicken salad."

yield: 2 servings

1 large chicken breast, cooked, shredded, and cooled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup quartered grapes
8 slices hard-crust bread (optional)

1. In large bowl combine chicken, mayonnaise, and honey; stir well. Add in cranberries, cashews, and grapes, stirring to combine. Eat alone or in sandwiches.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Basil-Chicken Sandwiches

A cool, easy, and delicious chicken sandwich, perfect for hot summer days. Shown here with fresh strawberries and raspberries.

yield: 4 sandwiches (2 servings)

1 large chicken breast, cooked, shredded, and cooled
8 slices hard-crust bread
4 tsp pesto
4 tsp mayonnaise
2 small tomatoes, sliced
2 oz cheese, sliced (I used kaşar, since that's what's available here)
12 fresh basil leaves

1. Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto on each of 4 slices of bread. Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise on each of the remaining slices of bread.
2. Top each slice of pesto-smeared bread with chicken, cheese, tomato slices, and 3 basil leaves. Top with mayonnaise-smeared bread.

*I will confess, I stole the idea for this recipe from a friend. But the improvisations (and improvements, in my opinion) were all my own. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cran-Walnut Banana Bread

Oh. My. Yum. I got bored with regular banana bread and decided to experiment. This banana bread is full of healthy extras and pairs tart cranberries with sweet chocolate chips.

yield: 1 loaf

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350° .
2. Combine flours, wheat bran, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk.
3. Beat sugar and butter together in large bowl until blended. Add eggs, stirring well. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat until just moist. Stir in walnuts, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Pour into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zesty Cheese Pizza

A cheese pizza with a bit of a kick, utilizing kasseri cheese (or "kaşar" in Turkish) which is widely available in Turkey.

1 pizza crust
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
5 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz diced tomatoes
10 oz kasseri (kaşar) cheese

1. Combine oregano, cumin, paprika, and 1/2 tsp pepper; set aside.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add salt, remaining pepper, garlic, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until thick.
3. Preheat oven to 400°.
4. Top pizza crust with tomato mixture and cheese; sprinkle with oregano mixture. Bake at 400° 20 minutes or until golden brown.