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Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Rolls

August 11, 2014

Both my mom and my sister have a soft spot for cinnamon rolls. I have to admit that there is something pretty exciting about the slightly sweet dough and the cinnamon filling that gets swirled into the roll. I’ve been playing around with recipes for at-home cinnamon rolls and came up with this!

You will need:

  • 3/4 c milk
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 1/4 t yeast
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 T + 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips (optional)

Then you will…

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk with 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Heat until the milk starts to bubble, but not to a full boil. This will scald the milk.
  2. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the water, egg and sugar.
  4. Whisk in the milk-yeast mixture.
  5. Stir in the flours and 1/2 t of the ground cinnamon, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Knead the dough until it is smooth, roughly 5 minutes.
  8. Cover the dough with a warm, damp cloth and let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  9. In a small bowl, melt the remaining half cup of butter.
  10. Stir in the brown sugar and remaining tablespoon of cinnamon. Set aside.
  11. Roll the dough out into a 12×9 inch rectangle.
  12. Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the dough.
  13. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, if using.
  14. Roll the dough up lengthwise and seal the seams.
  15. Cut into twelve equal pieces.
  16. Place with the cut side up in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.
  17. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  18. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  19. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  20. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

20140728 Cinn Choc Rolls 03

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Creamy Onion, Mushroom and Spinach Pasta Sauce

August 5, 2014

This is a very hearty sauce that D and I made one night recently. It includes lots of our favorite things: caramelized onions, mushrooms, and fresh spinach. We ate it with some homemade ravioli, but I think it would be even better with a longer noodle like fettuccine. That type of pasta would stand up to the meatiness of the sauce. It is also a little richer than most of the sauces we make, so it is definitely something to serve as a treat.

20140720 Mushroom Spinacb Sauce

You will need:

  • 3 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into thin slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and the tops sliced
  • 1/4 c sherry (or Marsala or other preferred wine) – optional
  • 14.5 oz (1 can) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1 c light cream
  • 3/4 c grated hard Italian cheeses (I used a three cheese blend of Asiago, Romano and Parmesan)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt half of the butter over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion slices and stir to coat with the melted butter.
  3. Pile the onions together in the middle and allow to caramelize slowly, stirring infrequently, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and allow to cook until fragrant.
  5. Remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl on the side.
  6. Melt the remaining butter over medium heat in the same pan.
  7. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat.
  8. Allow to cook through until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
  9. Mix in the sherry to the mushrooms and allow to cook off.
  10. Add the onion-garlic mixture back into the pan.
  11. Stir in the can of diced tomatoes with their juices.
  12. Simmer over medium heat, allow to cook until the tomatoes are heated through and able to be slightly broken down with a spoon.
  13. Mix in the cream and the grated cheese. Stir gently until the cheese is melted and well integrated in the sauce.
  14. Season generously with freshly ground pepper (and salt to taste).
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Cannoli Pie

July 26, 2014

Cannoli are a very fun dessert to eat, but they may seem a bit intimidating to make at home. This pie marries the best of the flavors in a really easy-to-pull-together way. I drizzled chocolate sauce on top of mine. Try this dessert at your next dinner party! 20140620 Cannoli Pie 02 You will need:

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c + 3 t sugar, divided
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1 T milk
  • 2 c ricotta
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the nutmeg and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter until the dough begins to pebble.
  4. Hand mix 1 of the eggs and the milk into the dough. Knead until well mixed.
  5. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan.
  6. Place the pan with the dough in the freezer while you mix the filling.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta with the remaining egg, the remaining 3 teaspoons of sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the vanilla extract.
  8. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread the filling into the dough-lined tart pan.
  10. Place the pie on the lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the dough is slightly browned and the filling has puffed slightly and set.
  12. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
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Sausage and Spinach Ravioli

July 21, 2014

D and I both really enjoy good ravioli. We decided to make some at home following a fun weekend of camping. It seemed like a good hearty meal for a post-hike day. Using wonton wrappers makes this a quick to put together meal. You can usually find them in the refrigerated part of the produce section at your local market. The directions below have you sandwich the filling between two wrappers; we did this and then cut out fun shapes with some ravioli presses we got for Christmas. If you want, you could even just use one wrapper per ravioli and create small triangles! Whatever makes you happy!

20140720 Sausage Ravioli 02

You will need:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 oz mild Italian sausage, out of the casing
  • 1 c packed fresh spinach
  • 1 t fresh sage
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 t ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package (12 oz) fresh wonton wrappers

Then you will…

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Brown the sausage in the skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.
  3. Add the fresh spinach and mix. Allow to wilt before removing the skillet from the heat.
  4. Chop the sausage, spinach and sage in a small food processor until it is fine enough for a ravioli filling.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the whole egg with a splash of water. Beat until well mixed to make a simple egg wash. Set aside.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg yolk with the ricotta and nutmeg. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add the sausage mixture to the egg-ricotta mixture. Season with salt and pepper per your tastes.
  8. Mix well. Set aside.
  9. Lay out 6 wonton wrappers. Lightly brush one side of each with the egg wash.
  10. Place a small amount of the filling (less than a teaspoon) in the middle of 3 of the wrappers.
  11. Top the wrappers with the filling with the remaining 3 wrappers, egg-side down.
  12. Press around the filling to get rid of any air bubbles, and then firmly press the rest of the edges together.
  13. Repeat until you have assembled all of your ravioli, storing the finished ones on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  14. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
  15. Bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil. You don’t want huge bubbles, since that can break open your ravioli.
  16. Drop the ravioli into the water and allow to cook until they float.
  17. Remove and serve with your favorite sauce!

20140720 Sausage Ravioli 03

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Honey Cornmeal Cookies

July 11, 2014

20140618 Cornmeal Cookies

These are super easy cookies to mix together. There are only a few ingredients, and then you get this delicious combination of honey and cornmeal. It’s almost like a dessert cornbread.

You will need:

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 5 T honey
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c flour

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the salt, cinnamon, honey, cornmeal and flour until mixed.
  5. Place tablespoons of the dough two inches apart on the cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
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Cinnamon Coffee Bundt Cake

July 6, 2014

I made this one morning while D was sleeping in late. It’s easy to pull together, and a slice is the perfect complement to a morning cup of coffee. I baked it in a Bundt pan, but this would be great in a 9×9 baking dish as well. Just use what you have on hand!

20140616 Coffee Cake 02

You will need:

  • 1/4 c + 1/3 c brown sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 c + 2 T whole wheat flour, divided
  • 3 T old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 t nutmeg, scant
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 t instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 8 oz light sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine together 1/4 cup of the brown sugar with a pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons of flour, the oats, 1/2 t cinnamon, nutmeg and the melted butter.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture evenly along the bottom of the Bundt pan.
  4. In another small mixing bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of the brown sugar with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the instant coffee and the chocolate chips. Set aside.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 5 tablespoons of softened butter with the sugar.
  6. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  7. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda and remaining 2 cups of flour.
  8. Mix in the yogurt or sour cream, whichever you decide to use.
  9. Spread half of the batter on top of the cinnamon-sugar mixture already in the pan.
  10. Sprinkle the cinnamon-chocolate chip mixture of the the batter.
  11. Top with the remaining batter.
  12. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  13. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool the rest of the way on a wire rack.
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Basil Cashew Pesto

July 1, 2014

D and I have a cute little basil plant on our deck. We used some of its fresh basil along with some cashews to make a pesto sauce the other night. We added some light cream and fresh pasta to round out the dish. It was a wonderful dinner! We liked the creaminess you get by adding cashews to the pesto plus the lightness from the lemon.

The pesto will keep for about 2 days in the fridge; I recommend topping with plastic wrap to keep its bright green color. You can also freeze it using ice cube trays and then put the pesto cubes in a ziptop plastic bag for up to 6 months.

You will need:

  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 t salt, scant
  • 5 c fresh basil
  • 1 c unsalted and roasted cashews
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 c Romano cheese, grated (or could substitute Parmesan)
  • 1 c olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. Add the garlic and salt to a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground.
  2. Rinse the basil and add (still wet) to the food processor.
  3. Add the cashews, lemon zest, lemon juice and cheese to the food processor.
  4. Blend until well mixed.
  5. With the processor on, slowly add the olive oil until mixed together to form the pesto. You can add extra olive oil to thin the sauce as needed.
  6. Add a little pepper to taste.

20140525 Basil Cashew Pesto

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