December Round-Up: Bread, soup and a bunch of other stuff

I’m sorry but I’ve been a bit distracted and haven’t kept up with my posts this month. Here are a couple of recipes for buns, 3 for soups and a lot of pictures of meals I’ve made to make you salivate. I hope to do better in 2016.

Bread/Buns

  1. Pretzel Buns

Crumb

Pretzel Buns – makes 6-8 buns

200 ml warm water
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil (ie sunflower oil)
2 1/2 cups (about 300g) all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
4 tbsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
sea salt for sprinkling

Add the sugar to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it rest for 5-10 minutes (it should be foamy).

Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl then pour in the yeast and oil and mix well with a spoon. When it’s well combined, knead the dough with your hands for several minutes. If needed, add more flour. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.

Once ready, shape into a ball and brush lightly with oil. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and then with a towel. Leave it to rest somewhere warm. This would take about 1 hour. The dough will double in size.

When it’s ready, take it out of the bowl and knead it again a little bit on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 (or 8) pieces and shape them into balls. Cover the balls with a light towel and leave them to rest. This time for about 30 minutes.

Now it’s time for the part that will give these buns their appetizing crust.

First, prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 liters (6 cups) of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda little by little (it’s going to foam, so don’t just dump all of the soda at once, because it will overflow and turn your stove into a mess). Place back on heat.

Place 2 or 3 of the buns in the water and poach them for 30-40 seconds on each side. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them on the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C (395-400 deg F).

Brush the buns with the beaten egg, sprinkle some sea salt (or pretzel salt, if you have). Make several cuts on top of them with a sharp knife.

Bake the buns for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re a nice brown colour.

Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.

      2. Easy White Buns for Xmas

Debra C’s Easy White Bread – makes 1 loaf of bread (in 8″ x 4″, 9″ x 5″ or 13″ Pullman), 2 free form loaves, 15 dinner rolls  baked in a 9″ x 13″ pan.

1 1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp sugar
5 tsp active dry yeast
1- 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
3 – 3 1/2 cup all purpose unbleached flour

Put warm water, yeast and sugar in medium sized bowl and stir until dissolved. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes or until foamy.

When yeast blooms/bubbles, add salt and oil/butter, stir until salt is dissolved.

Start adding flour slowly (1/2 cup at a time) and stir with spoon until you can’t stir any more.

Flour your hands and turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and keep adding flour as you knead. This is going to take several minutes, adding just a bit of flour at a time. After adding flour just form a ball and cover with your bowl.

Let rise 5 minutes in the bowl, covered.

Roll out or gently press with your knuckles, until it becomes a rectangle (10″ x 14″).

Roll up and place the dough, pinched seam down, into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let rise 20 minutes or until double in size in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cut a slit in the top of the bread. Brush with a little egg glaze or milk.

Bake approx. 20-30 minutes until done.

Cool before cutting.

For rolls – Divide into 15 equally sized portions and shape into balls. Place into an oiled 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish and let rise.

Brush with egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp of cold water) and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Let rest in dish for about 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack or the bottoms may get a bit soggy.

Soup

  1. Kale and Hot Italian Sausage Tri-Colour Gnocchi Soup

Kale and Hot Italian Sausage Tri-Colour Gnocchi Soup – serves 4-6

1-2 tsp vegetable oil
4 links hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced (optional)
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped (and stems removed, if desired)
1 pound potato gnocchi, tri-colour … for colour
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt (1/2 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp), to taste starting with amounts noted

optional toppings: freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage and onion until the sausage is browned, breaking up as much as possible. Drain out as much of the excess grease as possible.

Add in the chicken stock, salt, pepper and diced roasted red peppers (if using), and bring the mixture to a simmer (still over medium-high heat). Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and add the kale and gnocchi and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the gnocchi are cooked through and tender. Stir in the heavy cream.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm with desired toppings.

NOTE: If you can’t find hot Italian sausage, use mild and add a sprinkling of crushed, dried red chili pepper flakes.

    2. Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup – serves 6-8

4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 2 tbsp chicken soup mix)
2 cups chicken breast (cooked, and cubed)
4 oz long grain and wild rice blend
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced or 2 tbsp dried onion soup**
1 cup corn, canned or frozen (optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream
~1/2 cup water

** What I used

In a large sauce pot, saute the carrots, celery and onion in the butter over medium heat.

After a few minutes, add the flour, stir into the butter and cook for 3-4 minutes to cook out the rawness in the flour.

Stir in the chicken broth a cup at a time until it’s all been added to the pot. Add the corn (if using), onion soup mix (if you didn’t use onion), black pepper, cubed chicken and rice blend. Bring to a boil then cover the pot and reduce the heat until the soup is simmering and cook for 25 min, or until the rice is tender.

Whisk in the whipping cream and check the thickness. If too thick, add the additional water. Taste for seasoning. If too salty due to using the dried soup mix, you may wish to add a bit more water.

    3. Chicken Chile Verde Soup

Chicken Chile Verde Soup – serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water, divided
1 cup masa harina
1/2** – 1 cup cup green enchilada sauce
1/2 jalapeno pepper**, diced or 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or old Cheddar** cheese
4 oz cream cheese
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

Garnish: additional Monterey Jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips for topping, if desired

** What I used

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add in the chicken broth.

Combine 2 cups of the water with the masa harina, whisking until smooth. Pour into the pot along with the remaining cup of water, enchilada sauce, and jalapeno or green chiles. Season with the salt, chile powder, cumin and pepper to taste. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in the Monterey Jack and cream cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted, whisking if needed, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.

Serve topped with additional Monterey Jack cheese and crumbled tortilla chips, if desired.

NOTE: This soup will get thicker upon standing. If you like a thinner soup, use more water or chicken broth to thin it out.

Miscellaneous Meals

Mushroom Alfredo and chicken cutlet

Chicken cutlet, mashed potatoes

Pizza – Italian sausage and mushrooms

Meatloaf, baked beans, onion rings and coleslaw

Roasted chicken breast, baked beans and coleslaw

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, coleslaw

Pan fried pork chop, mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes, corn and salad

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7 thoughts on “December Round-Up: Bread, soup and a bunch of other stuff

    1. They turned out nicely. I’d suggest dividing the dough into 8 balls though, not 6. The regular buns are tasty as well and you can freeze half if you need to.

      1. I am going to be making these today 🙂 My kids are all excited. We are going to use them to make ham and colby jack sandwiches. I think I might need to double the recipe though because 8 won’t be enough for all of us!

    1. Thank you for the comment.

      I hate having a backlog of pics or recipes to share. The recipes are a problem because, unless I get a concise recipe written down ASAP, I often forget the little details or the adjustments to the recipe or recipes that I combined/adapted/created to create the dish that I finally made. Especially when I mentally double or halve the recipe and then can’t reconcile what I’m reading on a printout with the scrawl on the page that I added or with what I remember.

      Makes it hard to recreate when you try to make the dish again 6 mos or more later.

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