Friday, August 22, 2008

Bavarian Pretzel Rolls

I found this recipe from a new blog I've been reading called A Year in the Kitchen. I've printed several recipes from Ashlee's blog (thanks, Ashlee!), but this is the first one I've tried. Mike loves the pretzel rolls from the Yalaha Bakery, so I thought I'd try my hand at making them myself. It took a bit of work, but I really enjoyed the process. It was a great way to stretch myself! And they were SO good!

I used the dough hooks on my stand mixer, and after a rising I rolled it up and cut it into pieces.

After another rising, they were ready to be boiled.

You have to add baking soda to the water to make it very bubbly. The boiling process cooks the rolls on the outside, giving them that pretzel look - browned on the outside and chewy on the inside. I guess the baking soda keeps them moving constantly?

Ready to go in the oven.

Oh man, they were SO good right out of the oven! I put some of them in the freezer for later, and the rest disappeared pretty quickly. They make great sandwiches!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Note: As I have previously mentioned, Blogger has been acting up for me recently. It is not uploading pictures (as opposed to just flat-out refusing!), but some of them are coming out sideways. I have decided to just keep blogging and ask you to turn your heads ninety degrees when the occasion calls for it to properly view the picture!

Anniversary Dinner: Meat Loaf Wellington

This week Mike and I celebrated our third anniversary, and I wanted to make a special dinner to celebrate. Meat Loaf Wellington is one of Mike's favorites - it does have a lot of steps, but if you follow them closely it's not particularly hard, but the result tastes and looks like it's very complicated!!

I decided to try using ground buffalo, which my local Publix recently started carrying. I was using a little less than the recipe calls for, but I mistakenly used the original amount of cheese, so you will later see that it came oozing out a little! Otherwise I was very happy with the buffalo.
With the meatloaf ingredients mixed in. Ground buffalo does have a bit of a different feel to it - it's less "granular" feeling, more....moist, maybe? I think the finished result is also a little more moist than beef.

You put down a piece of aluminum foil (that Reynolds Release nonstick foil stuff works especially well if you have any) and form the meat into a rectangle, then sprinkle the cheese to within one inch of the edges.
This is the tricky part - using the foil, you have to roll up the meat like a jelly roll. If you go slowly it'll be fine, it's very forgiving. I usually have to fix some bare spots after I'm done!
You put the loaf in the oven to cook almost all the way, then pull it out to drape crescent roll dough over it.
This new prodcut from Pillsbury is perfect for a recipe like this - it's crescent roll dough without any seams! I draped it over the meatloaf and tucked over the edges, but next time I will probably trim it to fit with my kitchen scissors.

Twenty minutes later, THIS beauty comes out of the oven! Fair warning: this smells absolutely wonderful while baking, so keep a cattle prod around to drive away any husbands or animals you may have in the house.
I paired the meat loaf with roasted garlic green beans.
The finished product!* This is an excellent treat - the buttery crescent rolls, paired with the cheese and meat.....yum!! A great anniversary meal!!
*Note that the original recipe calls for topping the meat loaf with cheese and parsely, but I don't do this.

Friday, August 08, 2008

White Cupcakes

Blogger has been misbehaving for the last several days, but we appear to be back to normal. I have a lot to catch up on! First, I made another Lemon-Curd Trifle with Fresh Berries to bring to a friend's house for dessert, which only uses egg yolks. Well, the cheapskate in me can't stand to waste anything, so I had to find a use for all those egg whites...enter Taste of Home's Berry-Topped White Cupcakes! Using only egg whites creates a very delicate, smooth tasting, yummy cupcake that goes perfectly with the cream cheese icing.

I got REALLY adventurous and decided to try making some of them in my new mini-bundt cake pan. As you can see, they rose quite a bit, which was great for the regular cupcakes, but I had to trim it off the mini bundts so they would sit flat.

I piped icing right into the middle of the mini bundts, and since I already had the pipe bag out, I did the regular cupcakes, too. The cream cheese icing was the perfect consistency to do this! I have absolutely no experience with piping, whatever I do is the result of me plodding my way through figuring it out.
I think it makes the cupcakes so special looking! It really was worth the extra time, plus it was a lot easier than it looks! You just have to go slow and turn the cupcake in your hand, not the pipe bag.
I decided to top the mini bundts with blueberries at the last minute because I thought they needed a little extra something, but the cupcakes were so pretty as they were I decided to leave them alone. I think I liked the cupcakes a little better than the mini bundts, but that's just because they had more icing and I LOVE me some icing! If you're not a big icing fan, using mini bundts would be a great way to enjoy more of the cake with less icing.

I love this recipe - it's so unlike any other cupcake! Nery said it was the best cupcake she's ever had....I don't know about THAT, but they are very tasty!!