Thursday, July 14, 2005

Beer rolls

In my pursuit of finding the perfect bread and roll recipe, I tried to recreate a beer bread I'd had before. This is the recipe I developed and Jonathan has named as his favorite of my bread experiments.

In a large ceramic or oven-safe bowl pour 1.5 cups of room-temperature beer. Let sit 10 minutes then heat in microwave. I judge the temperature by putting my pinky finger in it - if it's too hot to keep my finger in, let it cool a bit. Dissolve 3 Tbsp sugar in beer. Add 1 package yeast and stir once. Let sit 10 minutes until yeast foam covers most of the liquid and you can smell the yeast.

Add 1/3 cup oil, 1 beaten egg, 2 tsp salt, and 3 Tbsp powdered milk. (If you don't have powdered milk, substitute 1/2 warm milk for 1/2 cup beer in first step.) Beat well with whisk. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When dough begins to form, switch to using a heavy spatula to stir. When to thick to stir, dump onto clean, floured surface.

Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. The finished product should not stick to your hands and be smooth, not torn-looking. Keep kneading if necessary.

Oil the ceramic bowl, then roll the dough in it to lightly cover it in oil. Leave the dough in the bowl and brush with milk. Place bowl in slightly warmed oven (about 90 degrees) and brush with milk every 15 minutes.

When the dough has doubled in size, remove from bowl and place on floured surface. Knead until you can handle the dough without it sticking. Shape into rolls or loaf and place on baking pan. I like Pampered Chef stoneware, but whatever floats your boat. Brush with milk and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before removing from stoneware.

Other ideas: add 2 tsp powdered garlic and 2 tsp parsley to dough while adding salt. Excellent garlicky dinner rolls! Not so hot with jam for breakfast the next day though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Watermelon pickles

Now that summer fruits are in season, we've been feasting on watermelon! So what's a good southern girl to do with the rinds? Pickle 'em!

In a large bowl mix 1/3 cup salt, 1 cup water, 4 cups watermelon rinds, with all pink and green removed, cut into 1 inch slices, plus water to cover melon. Cover and let soak overnight.

Drain the watermelon rinds and rinse well. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until just tender and begin to turn translucent. Drain well.

In a saucepan mix 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, dash allspice, few drops red food coloring. Simmer 20 minutes.

Pour seasoning mixture over rinds. Simmer ten minutes. Pour pickles into sterilized jars and seal. Cool the refrigerate at least one day before eating.

et voila! The finished product...minus a few sample bites!