Russian Friday – Poppy Seed Roll

Once again, we took a short vacation, and this mom’s separation from her kitchen resulted in a serious baking outburst. So, my New Year’s resolutions have been successfully shipped to the carb heaven, where they will probably remain sugar-high-and-all for the next 10 months.

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On a brighter note, this blog has reached 100,000 hits; which, I think, is worth a celebration!  So, Russian Friday it is – carbohydrates galore! 

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POPPY SEED ROLL

INGREDIENTS:

POOLISH:

  • 1.5 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tsp active dry east
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 160 g unbleached all-purpose flour

DOUGH:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1cup sugar
  • 50 g butter, melted and cooled to the room temperature
  • 600 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 (9 g) bag  vanilla sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING:

EGG WASH:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs water

Yields: 2 rolls

DIRECTIONS:

Make poolish: whisk 2 cups of flour with milk and sugar with yeast, cover and let raise for about 1 – 1,5 hours.  The poolish is ready after it reaches its peak height and drops.

Mix the dough: whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and butter together till everything is dissolved.  Add the mixture to the poolish.  Slowly add sifted flour.  Mix to incorporate all the ingredients.  Place the dough on a floured surface and knead (adding flour, if needed) till the dough stops sticking to your hands – for about 10 minutes.

Place into an lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for another hour.

Make the filling: mix sugar with poppy seeds , cover with milk and bring to boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Blend in a food processor. Let cool down before spreading.

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Make the rolls: divide the dough in to 2 halves. Working with each half separately, roll the dough into a 14 x 21 inch ((35 x 52 cm) rectangle about 0.2 inch (4-5 mm) thick. Spread half of the filling over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) edge.  Roll the dough into a cylinder, place it the seam side down on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper   Make a wheel out of it, carefully pressing the edges together. Cover with a towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C, position the rack in the middle.

Prepare the wash: whisk the yolks with water.

Score the rolls, cutting the outer edges through.  The cut should be about 2/3 rd-s of the width of the cylinder.  Repeat the cuts every inch (3 cm), and slightly twist the edges facing them up. Brush the top of the roll with the wash and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden-brown. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

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If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy

Minestrone with White Beans

While the food blogs are overtaken by sweets and flowers, and my own Valentine’s chocolate cake is sitting in the fridge awaiting the second coat of ganache; I decided to write about something less festive today. After all, most likely tomorrow is still going to be February; most likely – cold; and most likely you will be ready to jump back on a diet following the sweet Valentine. 

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/The recipe is adopted from Williams-Sonoma Italian Favorites/

 

 

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MINESTRONE WITH WHITE BEANS

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup dried cannellini beans
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lb (500 g) canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cabbage, shredded
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 ½ dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Yelds: 6-8 servings

DIRECTIONS:

Pick and rinse the beans.  Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak for about 4 hours.

Drain the beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Warm the olive oil in a soup pot.  Add onion, garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the stock, tomatoes, carrot, zucchini, cabbage, basil, oregano, sugar, and bay leaf.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add the potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Drain the beans and add them to the pot with the balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot, garnishing with parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Minestrone_Soup_WM-6The lazy version of this recipe is perfect for your crock pot collection.  Saute (or not) the onion and garlic, and dump all the ingredients but parsley and cheese in a crock pot, add 1.5 cups of water and cook on low for 8 hours.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Waffles

My kids look nothing like me. The daughter would probably even fail our DNA test. My mom comforts me that her ears look like mine.  Ears!?  Really!? Well, I don’t know about ears, but we surely have one thing in common: our love for carbs.

Here is a beautiful dish we both enjoy. Mix the batter the night before, and an easy breakfast is ready to be made in the morning. 

/Adopted from Allrecipes.com/

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WAFFLES

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 cup warm milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the melted butter. Mix in the yeast mixture, sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk alternately with the flour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Make ahead: place the batter and covered egg whites in the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking the waffles.

If baking right away, let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; fold into the batter.

Preheat the waffle iron (I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma). Spray with oil and spoon about 1/2 cup onto center of iron. Close the lid and bake until it stops steaming and the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in 200 degree oven.

Salted Apple Pie

Why did this Russian mom, whose only thoughts about baseball are that the outfits could be a bit sexier and that Tim Lincecum is kind of cute…, why did this mom goto watch the World Series? Well, because her lovely neighbor Amie was bringing an apple pie.  Amie’s pie is to die for, and it has an ability to make any game a hundred times more exciting! Since I first tried one of her masterpieces, I was hooked!

My friend Kusum just brought beautiful red gold sea salt from Hawaii , and the idea of this slightly salted dessert was born.  Well, it wasn’t all that original – just google “salted apple pie” but I’m still very proud of the outcome!

So, our family drove to an apple orchard, picked some apples, and made this.

/Adopted from Martha Stewart Living and Cooking Channel

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SALTED APPLE PIE

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pea-size pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water

FILLING

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • juice from 4 lemons
  • 6 medium to large sour apples
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (castor, unrefined, large granule sugar)
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

TOPPING

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • raw sugar to sprinkle
  • sea salt flakes to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS:

Make the crust. Place 3/4 of the butter in the freezer for about 30 min, and keep the rest in the fridge. In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add refrigerated butter, pulse about 10 times.  Add frozen butter, pulse again till the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some blueberry-size crumbs.

Add ice water, and immediately pulse until water is incorporated, about 10 more times. lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap, separate the dough in halves, and place each half on the plastic wraps.  Bring the edges of wraps together to gather dough.  Press into disks. Roll each disk (still in plastic) into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Refrigerate for at least 45 min.

Make the filling. In a medium sauce pan mix sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture turns golden brown.  Remove it from heat immediately and add cream, whisk the final mixture on low heat , sprinkle the sea salt, and let cool while preparing the apples.

Core, peel and cut apples using a mandoline.  Sprinkle with juice, sugar, and spices, and toss well. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Assemble the pie. Roll each piece of the dough into a disk that can fit a 9-inch pie-pan.  Line the pan with the first disk.  Lay 1/3 of the apple mixture on the bottom and pour a layer of 1/3 of prepared caramel.  Repeat the layering two more times.

Cover the pie with the second disk, cutting it through for the air to escape any way you like, or cut the second disk into strips and make a lattice top like mine, pinch the edges together.

Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and salt flakes.

Bake. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375°F/190°C.  Reduce the heat to 350°F/175°C and bake for another 45 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with ice cream.

 

Russian Friday – Mushroom Patties

I grew up in a pretty swampy area on the border with Finland where even apples wouldn’t ripe. The parents dutifully shipped me to my babushka every summer, so I get some vitamins in me (a.k.a. so my parents get some time off).  But when I would return back from babushka’s there would be a whole world of nutrition waiting for me in the woods.

Cranberries, blueberries, red huckleberries, and mushrooms – we picked them all up by ourselves and brought home to cook and to preserve with. No farmer-raised stuff – all wild!

 

It is so cold in San Francisco this week, I felt like making this chilly autumn kind of meal.  These mushroom patties go very well with mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables.  I made a spicy artichoke sauce to go with it, but for a fresher feel I would also recommend this cilantro sauce.

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MUSHROOM PATTIES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g fresh mushrooms
  • 40 g second-day bread
  • ¼ – ½ cup milk
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled
  • 4 tbs ground flax seed
  • 1 tbs bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the bread in milk.

Wash the mushrooms and put them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and process them twice through a meat grinder.  Also process the onion and soaked bread.

Add flax seed, salt, and pepper and mix well.  Form patties out of the mixture and roll them in bread crumbs.

Make ahead: you can freeze the patties for up to 6 months.  Place them on a cutting board, and leave in a freezer for 30 minutes before transferring to a freezer-proof zip-lock bag.

Fry on medium high heat in oil.

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ARTICHOKE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tbs olive oil, divided use
  • 8 artichoke hearts, cooked
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs goat cheese
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Leaves from 5 stems of thyme + more for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Chop the onion and caramelize it on a medium-hot pan with 1 tbs of olive oil.

Process caramelized onions and the remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Add more olive oil of the mixture is too thick.

Warm up (but do not boil) before serving.

 

 

 

Sourdough Thin Crust Pizza

Well, whle pizza aces would not be impressed by this recipe, a busy parent may appreciate its make-ahead option.

I bake bread about twice a week, and sometimes I set some dough aside for pizza.  The husband, the neighborhood, and the Awesomest Neighbor don’t seem to mind!

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SOURDOUGH THIN CRUST PIZZA

Dough:

  • 750g + 50g water (at room temperature)
  • 200 g leaven
  • 1000 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 20 g sea salt

Topping:

  • 900g pizza sauce
  • 500g mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil to sprinkle
  • smoked sea salt to sprinkle
  • olive oil (optional)
  • dry oregano (optional)

Yields:

8 medium sized pizzas

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough. I used a modified Tartine basic country dough recipe. Mix leaven the night before by combining 200 g of water at room temperature, 1 tbs of mature starter, and 200 g of all-purpose flour.

When the leaven is passing the floating test (if you drop a spoonful of leaven into water at room temperature, it floats), the dough is ready to be mixed.  Place a large mixer bowl on a scale.  Pour 700 g of water.  Add 200 g of leaven (I usually discard my mature starter at this point to use the leftover leaven as starter next time).  Mix the leaven with water.  Add 1000 g of all-purpose and 100 g of wheat flour and mix with a dough hook until incorporated.  Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let rest for 25-30 minutes.

Sprinkle with sea salt, and pour the remaining 50 g of water over the dough.  Mix again until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 3 hours.  Turn the dough a couple times during the first hour.

After 3 hours dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using a dough scraper cut it into 8 equal parts.  Fold each part into a ball.  Dust a large cutting board with flour.  Place the dough balls on it, lightly dust each ball with flour and carefully place the cutting board in a large plastic bag.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to the hottest – I use the convention broil setting at 500° F/260° C. Place the pizza stone on the middle rack.

Prepare the ingredients. The beauty of pizza, is that you can dump anything you want on it, and it will taste good.   My family prefers very simple cheese and tomato sauce pizzas with vegetables, so here are our little tricks.  

  1. Since I’m not a professional, it takes me a while to assemble my pizzas, hence the dough gets pretty moist, and I cannot slide it easily to the pizza stone. So, I prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and lay them on platters ready to dig in!
  2. Pre-shredded cheese contains starch and calcium sulfate to prevent caking, so if you have time – shred cheese by yourself.
  3. I pre-bake the crust for just a couple minutes before placing the toppings on it.
  4. Pizza sauce is an art form on its own.  I still need about a 100 attempts at home-made pizza sauce before the recipe could be published.  So, I cheat.  I mix a jar of Dave’s Gourmet Organic with a 6 oz can of tomato paste.
  5. For many people pizza is all about the sauce, for others – about the toppings,  for me – it’s about the crust.  I love bread, and there were very many failed pizzas before I was able to convert my bread recipe into a perfect thin crust.  To make it even more appealing to those, who have a tendency to throw away crust, I lightly sprinkle the edges with smoked sea salt. It adds even more magic to this sourdough goodness.

Make pizzas. Once the oven is hot, remove one of the dough balls out of the oven and place it on a floured surface.  Roll it into a thin disk with a rolling pin.  Lightly sprinkle the edges with smoked salt.  Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour or corn meal. P;ace the dough on the peel, and carefully transfer it to the pizza stone.  The hardest part is done!

Bake for 2 minutes.  Remove from the oven.

Keep the crust on the peel while sprinkling olive oil, oregano, applying pizza sauce, and other toppings.  Shift the pizza a little bit to make sure it’s not stuck to the peel, and carefully slide it on the pizza stone again.  Bake for another 5-6 minutes, rotate half-way through if needed.  Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Make ahead. Two pizzas are more than enough for Dave and I.  So, in strange cases when neighbors didn’t find out I’m baking pizza and failed to stop by, I pre-bake the rest of the dough.  Roll and bake each disk for 3 minutes. Lay them lined with parchment paper.  Let cool. Place the crusts in a large freezer-proof zip-lock bag, a freeze.  When ready to cook, let them thaw at room temperature before applying the toppings, and bake for 5-6 minutes.

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