Thursday, February 26, 2009

Operation Jalapeno is in full effect!!!

Operation rid myself of a pound of jalapenos is in full effect! Thank you to all who commented on my earlier post about things to do with these beauties! For two consecutive nights jalapenos got stuffed with some kind of cheese and wrapped in some flavor of bacon...truth is it's a combination I never tire of and since there were two different audiences no one but me was wiser for it! The first night it was jalapeno - manchego (or irish sharp cheddar) - maple those were good stuff! The second night it was jalapeno - cheddar (which i was unfortunate enough to buy at Wal-Mart....don't ask, it wasn't because I love the place or their food selection!) - and plain smoked bacon. Either way, it's a winner, and there's a good chance I'll do that again since I've got twelve of them left and plans to hang out with some friends tomorrow night who haven't been part of the jalapeno/cheese/bacon fest that has been this week.

Since the last few nights have involved some not so healthy fare and since I pushed myself pretty hard at the gym this morning I wanted a healthier way to eat my hot peppers four of them joined a roasted salsa.

Easy Roasted Pepper Salsa

1 Large Red Bell Pepper
4 Large Jalapenos
4 Medium to Large Ripe Tomatos
1/2 Medium Red Onion, Quartered
3 Small Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Coarsly Chopped Cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Place peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic on a foil lined broiler pan. Crank your broiler up to HIGH - once it is heated to the correct temperature, place the pan about four inches from the heat.
2. Allow the peppers to char all the way around, you'll need to turn the peppers four times (so all sides get charred), each time you turn the peppers, turn the onions. Every other time you turn the peppers, turn the garlic and the tomatoes.
3. Once everything is sufficiently charred, allow it to cool outside the oven.
4. Chop the tomatoes into quarters - put in a blender. separate the onion and garlic (so you don't have chunks of onion) and drop into blender on top of tomatoes.
5. Seed the bell and jalapeno peppers. Half the jalapenos and quarter the bell pepper - drop into blender. Season with salt and pepper then add the cilantro.
6. Blend until your salsa reaches the desired consistency - season more if you'd like to.

My mother's version of this recipe involves a grill pan and/or skillet on the stove and time standing up making it all roast properly, I wanted the salsa tonight but didn't want to hassle with that (yup I'm lazy) because I've been busy since I got home with work my answer, the BROILER! My friend the broiler helped me immensly and gave a great flavor to it all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday by way of Austin, Texas

Growing up we used to visit Louisiana a lot, my parents met and got engaged there so the state (and New Orleans) holds fond memories for sister and I were just lucky enough to tag along for the ride. We would tour the plantations (no wonder I love history, at a young age my parents would drag us through historic buildings!), wander the French Quarter and take in all the good Cajun food we could eat! I think my sister and I were the only kids in our elementary school who walked around Bourbon Street with their families! Needless to say there isn't a huge offering of quality Cajun in Austin, there are a few places that are good but for the most part it's just not the same. So for this Fat Tuesday (for those of you not in the know, that's the last day of Mardi Gras), I decided to dish up some home-cooked order of Chicken, Crawfish and Sausage Jambalaya please!

Chicken, Crawfish & Sausage Jambalaya
5 Ribs Chopped Celery
3 Cloves, Peeled and Minced Garlic
1 Cup Minced Onion
1 Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 Chopped Large Chicken Breast
1 Lb Cleaned and Deveined Crawfish Tails
16oz Sliced Smoked Sausage
2 Cups Uncooked Rice
32 oz Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tsp Worcester Sauce
1/2 Tsp White Pepper
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Salt

1. Saute onion, bell peppers, celery and garlic in a deep cast iron pan until it becomes tender.
2. Brown chicken and sausage in pan with veggies, add worcester sauce and seasonings.
3. Once chicken is no longer pink, add rice and stock to pot. Bring to a boil, taste for seasoning. Add parsley to mixture. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked.
4. Once rice is cooked, fold in crawfish meat. Top with extra parsley and serve with crusty warm French Bread.

Monday, February 23, 2009

mmm mmm Good, Mexican Beef Stew

Being that I am a bit behind on posts (and have a slight backlog of recipes and photos), today there's a good chance I'll be up to two posts. The first is something I found in a Julee Rosso cookbook called Great Good Food, the last few weeks we have had sporadic cold fronts that have left us with some chilly evenings, one evening I went searching for inspiration and stumbled upon Julee Rossos' Mexican Beef Stew...I highly recommend it! It has a delicious savory flavor that reminds me of a Cuban pork stew my mom made when we lived in Florida, mom's was a little sweet as it had apples and raisins but also some heat, this one has the raisins and heat and is perfect for a chilly February evening.

Mexican Beef Stew
2 Lbs Roma Tomatoes, Chopped
2 Corn Tortillas
1-2 Canned Chipolte chilies in Adobo Sauce, seeded
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 12 Lbs Stewing Beef
1/4 Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Thinly Sliced Onions
1 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
1/2 Lb Fresh Tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed well, cut into wedges
1/2 Cup Raisins
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 Whole Cloves
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt

1. Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and set the sheet under the broiler, about 4 inches from the heat. Broil until charred. Place tortillas under broiler and toast until crisp.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatoes, tortillas and chilies, blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and pepper, saute until meat is browned on all sides. *At this point I also added some garlic powder and some of the salt so that the meat was better seasoned.* Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato mixture, broth, tomatillos, raisins, cinnamon stick, cloves and salt. Bring to a boil, cover partially and reduce the heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

The recipe calls for this to be served with brown rice or noodles, I served it over brown rice and thought it was great. One of the best parts of this recipe is that the whole cookbook is healthy food - this has 277 calories per serving, 30g of carbs, 19g of protein, 51mg of cholesterol and 11g of fat...not to bad for a hearty stew.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Do you know the Muffin Man...or Woman?

This morning I woke up with a strange desire to after surveying the contents of the fridge I decided on homemade blueberry muffins. Lately I've been on a berry kick so I've been heading to Costco (yea, I know you're thinking Costco and Sam's are the home of 30 gallon bottles of catsup not berries!) where I have been the lucky finder of low priced 24oz containers of berries. Right now I've got blackberries and blueberries in the fridge but last week also added raspberries (which I eat faster than I can keep on hand) to the mix. Let's put it this way, 1 small container of any of the aforementioned berries costs between $3-$5, at Costco I've gotten my 24oz boxes for less than $7 a piece...a good savings for someone who eats them as quickly as I do. So, as I said, homemade blueberry muffins were the muffin du-jour today, with an added bonus of a strusel topping!

Blueberry Muffins
1 Stick Softened Butter/Margarine
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 Cups Fresh Blueberries

Strusel Topping
2/3 Stick Softened Butter
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Oats (as in Quaker Oatmeal Oats)

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt.
2. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each egg. Add baking powder.
3. Slowly add in and alternate between flour and milk, beating well in between.
4. Mash 1/2 cup blueberries, add to batter. Stir in vanilla.
5. Add remaining 2 cups blueberries.
6. Pour batter into paper-lined muffin pans filling to the top.
7. Put all dry strusel ingredients together into a bowl, cut in softened butter. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.
8. Bake muffins for 30 minutes or until a cake tester can be inserted and come out clean. Cool on a rack.

So on a separate note, yesterday I had the pleasure of going to Dallas to see the King Tut exhibition at the Museum of Art, a very cool experience. Prior to our entrance time, my boyfriend and I wandered around the remnants (I say that because it was 2pm) of the Farmers Market and found all kinds of great produce we brought home with us. I bought red plums, fresh mangos, fresh shelled peas, brussel sprouts and more jalapenos than I know what to do with. I guess I'll be making some salsa this week and stuffing jalapenos but that will still leave me with plenty (as you can see from the photo), any ideas for all these jalapenos?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valenties Sweets

My posts have been a little sporadic lately, work has been crazy and I seem to see less of my usual life and more of my desk than usual, so my apologies! Anyway, last Friday my best friend and I got together to make Valentines sweet treats, she dipped chocolate covered strawberries and I made chocolate cut out cookies.

The strawberries were very easy and delicious, Jenn melted a bag of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave (slowly, 30 seconds at a time to avoid burning), then dipped the berries and some were then rolled in either coconut (the white) or crushed pistachios (the yellow). Then they were laid on wax paper to harden.

The chocolate cut out cookies I made were also easy, and very tasty!

Chocolate Cut-out Cookies
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup (plus 2 tbsp) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 Cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 Cup sifted Powdered Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract

1. Sift together dry ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Put butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together. Mix in egg and vanilla. Gradually add in dry ingredient mixture.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness.
6. Quickly cut out cookies from dough, if it gets too soft, put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
7. Bake until crisp, for a thinner cookie (1/8 of an inch) this is about 8 minutes.
8. Decorate & Enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hearty lunch for four and a decadent dessert!

Last Saturday my sister and I went out to Lakeway to see my paternal grandparents, we took lunch and a tasty little dessert with us too! We are very lucky because for the entire time we've been back in Texas (10+ years now) we've lived close enough to both my paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents and until December a great grandmother to see them all regularly. This past Saturday we took lunch out and ran a few errands with my grandparents in Lakeway.

Mimi (Maternal Grandmother), Jackie (Little Sis) & Nana (Great-Grandmother)

Me, Jackie, Dodie (Paternal Grandmother) & Papa (Paternal Grandfather)

Me, Nana, Mimi & Jackie

Jackie & I took a hearty Lentil Stew and Personal-Sized Decadent Dark Chocolate Cakes, they were quite the hit, so much so that I have since made the cakes for my boyfriend (who also enjoyed them).

Lentil Stew with Spicy Sausage
*Adapted from Cooking with Curtis Stone*

2 Shallots, peeled and sliced
2 Cups Baby Carrots, chopped
3 Bay Leaves
2 14 oz Cans of Tomatoes
1 Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Castelluccio Lentils
3 Cups Chicken Stock
4 Cups Chicken Broth
5 oz Spicy Sausage (I used a cured Spanish Chorizo)
Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder to taste

1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large pot, sweat onions and carrots with bay leaves until soft. Add the tomatoes and reduce until the mixture begins to stick to the pot. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

2. Pour in wine and stir to deglaze, then allow it to reduce by half. Add the lentils, stock and broth and cook an hour.

3. Fry the sausage in a frying pan, then add to the stew. Return to the stove for an additional twenty minutes.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Cakes

3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2/3 Cups Unsweetened Dutch Cocoa Powder
5 Tsp Instant Coffee (powdered, not prepared)
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter,Softened
2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup Egg Substitute
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2.5 oz 80% Cocoa Bar Dark Chocolate
Powdered Sugar for Dusting
Raspberries for Garnish

1. Sift flour, cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer, add sugars and cream. Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating until well blended. Slowly mix flour into the sugar/egg mixture. Divide evenly among ramekins; arrange on a pan. Cover and refrigerate four hours (or up to two days).
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. Let ramekins stand at room temperature for ten to fifteen minutes. Uncover and bake for 21 minutes, or until cakes are puffy and have a slight crusty on the top.
5. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with raspberries, serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zesty Poblano Chicken Bake

I'm not big on the whole 'casserole' thing, not sure why, I just don't make them much or think to do it but my boyfriend is a big fan of them so last week when I was scratching my head about what to do with two pounds of chicken thighs and a handful of fresh poblano peppers I decided to indulge his love of the casserole...yes that means I broke down and made one! Turns out it was pretty tasty, the left overs made some good work lunches too!

Zesty Poblano Chicken Bake

2Lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
1 Whole Head of Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds, lightly toasted
1 Fresh Pepper
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Freshly Ground Cloves
1 Tsp Ground Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 Tsp Ground Allspice
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Sweet Onion, Halved and Thinly Sliced
3 Large Poblano Peppers, Roasted, Seeded and cut into strips
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 Cups Halved Grape Tomatoes
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar (or Cheddar/Jack Mix) Cheese
Fresh Chopped Cilantro, for garnishing

1. Trim the excess papery peel from the garlic, leaving the head intact; cut to expose the tops of the cloves.
2. In a deep pot, combine the thighs, garlic and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that rises to the top. Add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/4 allspice, salt and pepper (to taste). Cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the meat is tender. Allow chicken to cool in broth approximately 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Remove chicken and place in an oven safe dish (I used an 8X8 pan).
4. In a large heavy skillet, combine oil and onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until the onion softens, then add the roasted, seeded slices of poblano. Add vinegar 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp allspice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Mix tomatoes with pepper and onions, then add the mixture (and the juices in the skillet) on top of the chicken in the pan. Sprinkle cheese over the contents of pan, bake until cheese is bubbling.

I served this over yellow rice and garnished with fresh cilantro and it got rave reviews...easy, and pretty cheap to make!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Smoky Meatballs on an Icy Day

Last Wednesday we had a mildly icy day, for those of you who aren't from Austin, ice, any ice, shuts down this city and the surrounding areas. The ice wasn't too bad, it only created a late start day for most of the area schools and some businesses but I was lucky enough to work from home that day. I am one of those people who just doesn't deal well with the cold, and when it's icy my limestone house seems to retain the cold in a way that nothing else seems to!

So while I sat bundled up in my house trying to keep warm and work, I thought about what to make for dinner...what delicious comfort food was just itching to be made? Smoky Meatballs with a Tasty Tomato Sauce! As many of my latest posts attest, I am an avid Cooking Light reader, this recipe was inspired by a Smoky Meatball recipe in the December 08 issue, different because when you're stuck in the house all day it's hard to get out and buy ingredients...but still good.

1/2 Cup Plain Breadcrumbs
1 LB 80/20 Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/8 Cup Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/4 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Egg

3 Tsp Olive Oil
2 oz Thickly sliced Prosciutto
2 Cups Chopped Onion
2 Large Red Bell Peppers, Chopped
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
1 28 oz can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, undrained, halved or quartered

Manchego Cheese, shredded for topping finished sauce/pasta with
Chopped, Fresh Flat-Leafed Parsley for topping

1. Mix meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Wet your hand, then form mixture into appx 20 meatballs (2tbsp each), depending on size you may have a different amount.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add prosciutto to pan and cook until well browned, stirring frequently. Remove from pan. Add 1 tsp oil to pan and then add meatballs. Cook until browned. Remove from pan and set aside with prosciutto.
3. Add remaining oil to pan, then put onion, bell pepper and garlic into the pan. Cook until tender, stirring often. Add sherry, cook until almost completely dissolved, scraping pan to remove any browned bits.
4. Add tomatoes and meatballs; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
5. Pour sauce over individual servings of noodles, top with cheese and parsley.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday Fiesta!

In honor of the Super Bowl tonight, my best friend is hosting a small get-together, she's doing fajitas and since I've been lucky enough to get to review a forthcoming cookbook featuring Tex-Mex, I offered to do some sides/appetizer dishes...I was asked to test and blog about some recipes from the upcoming cookbook "Foods and Flavors of San Antonio" - I am thrilled about this as it's a book full of some of my favorite cuisine. Today I'm posting two of the items from this book and two items from me/my family.

First off, a delicious Black Bean Caviar featured in the "Foods and Flavors of San Antonio," some of you may be familiar with Texas Caviar, a very similar item made with black-eyed peas instead of the black beans found in this dish.

"Foods and Flavors of San Antonio" Black Bean Caviar:

2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
3 green onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Tortilla Chips or crackers to serve

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, tomatoes with green chiles, garlic, onion, olive oil, lime juice, salt and cumin. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Spread the softened cream cheese onto a serving platter. Spook the bean mixture evenly over the cream cheese.

Sprinkle the chopped green onions, tomatoes and cilantro over the top.

Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Serves 12.

I think this is a delicious twist on the traditional Texas Caviar that is typically served as a salad...this dip will be a perfect, slightly healthier twist on Super Bowl food than the typical Seven Layer Dip. I love the flavors in this and would like to try this as a salad, leaving out the cream cheese and adding a cup or so of sweet corn to the mix!

After putting this together I decided to try and maximize my time and whip up some flan for desert, for flan, I used my mothers recipe for Flan Napolitano, which you can find on her blog Texas To Mexico. I love custards and flan is no exception. Unfortunately because I've got to drive everything over to Jenn's house I did not want to flip the flan out of the pan before I left, therefor you'll only get photos of the flan in a pan....but it's a neat flan pan direct from Mexico (yea, I didn't know they made those until my parents moved down there).

Done, stuck the flan in the fridge and now off to make Chicken Empanadas, another tasty find in the "Foods and Flavors of San Antonio."

"Foods and Flavors of San Antonio" Chicken Empanadas:
1 15oz box refrigerated pie crusts, containing 2 11" rounds
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, coarsely chopped
1 4oz package cream cheese
2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
4 tbsp salsa
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 medium egg, beaten
Additional salsa for serving

Remove the pie crust pouches from box. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat the water and bullion cube in a saucepan to boiling. Add the chicken. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes to poach. Remove the chicken to a plate and finely chop. Set aside.

Heat the cream cheese in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted.

Add the cilantro, salsa, cumin, salt and garlic powder. Stir until smooth.

Stir in the chicken and remove the pan from heat.

Unfold the pie crusts and remove the plastic film. Roll out slightly on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3" rounds using a biscuit cutter. Reroll the pie crust scraps to make additional rounds.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place about 2tsp of the chicken mixture in the center of each round. Brush the edges lightly with water. Pull one side of the dough over the filling to form a half circle. Pinch the edges to seal them or press them together with the tines of a fork.

Place the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with the beaten egg. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with salsa.

Serves 12

This was so easy and they were so tasty I will absolutely make these the look like something that took hours to make! The majority of my time was spent waiting on them to come out of the oven and I'm sure they'll be a Super Bowl Sunday hit!

My final recipe for the day (yea I feel like I'm on a roll posting yesterday's dinner today and these four items) is for a favorite twist on the margarita....ok, fair warning these are brutally strong, but man are they good!

Beer Margaritas

1 can limeade
1 12oz bottle Corona, or other light Mexican beer
Tequila, enough to fill the can of limeade
1 can Sprite, 7up, Mountain Dew or generic brand of these

Pull limeade directly from freezer, do not thaw, pour into pitcher. Pour beer and soda into pitcher as well. Fill limeade can with tequila and mix into pitcher. Enjoy!

Originally these were a joke from college for us, but frankly they are so good that my friends and I continue to make them and will for many more years I'm sure.

Just a quick word of thanks to Gloria Chadwick and her publishers for the advanced viewing copy of her cookbook, check out her blog Foods and Flavors of San Antonio for more delicious recipes and check out her upcoming cookbook! Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday!

The non-baker bakes (and makes soup)!

As a self-proclaimed non-baker I have slowly become interested in baking things that do not require the use of my bread machine (which by the way is a fabulous substitute for actually baking)! Partly inspired by the successful making of the no-knead bread and partly due to the February 09 issue of Gourmet (check out the cover), I have been on a bread making baking spree!
So the first thing I attempted from this amazing looking cover were the Cracked Wheat Topknots...I paired them with my version of a delicious and Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

Cracked Wheat Topknots
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling-hot water
  • 1/2 cup medium bulgur (also called cracked wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon table salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (a 1/4-ounce package)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105–115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flaky sea salt (preferably Maldon)
Stir together boiling-hot water, bulgur, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt in a small bowl and let stand until bulgur is tender, about 40 minutes.

While bulgur soaks, heat milk with butter in a small saucepan over low heat just until butter is melted.

Stir together yeast, warm water, and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Add flours and remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt to yeast mixture.

Drain bulgur in a sieve, then mix bulgur and milk mixture into flour mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead, dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and almost smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Form dough into a ball.

Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Cut half of dough into 12 equal pieces (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Roll each piece into a 12-inch-long rope with floured hands (flour surface only if dough is sticky). Make a loop with each rope, wrapping it around fingers of one hand, then knot dough twice through loop, leaving 1 end in center on top and tucking bottom end under. Transfer to a baking sheet, arranging rolls 2 inches apart.

Make more rolls with remaining dough, transferring to second sheet. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake rolls, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer rolls to a rack to cool at least 20 minutes.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
Cook bacon in a large heavy pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add garlic and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, thyme, bay leaves, broth, stock, water, 3/4 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper and boil uncovered until squash is tender (appx 15-20 minutes). Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Puree soup in small batches in blender, be careful not to over fill blender. Return to pot and season with added salt and pepper to taste and the vinegar. Sever topped with crumbled bacon.