Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Prep Time: 40 minutes (sweet potato mash - can be done ahead)
Prep Time: 22 minutes
Bake Time: 18-24 minutes

Grade: A+

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (November 2003) 

I have made these biscuits many times and they always turn out good. They are a little more work because you have to cook the sweet potato first.

I usually get 11-12 biscuits out of these instead of 8 by making a little smaller. My picture isn't great, but they looked good.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crescent Rolls

Prep Time: 19 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Chill Time: Overnight
Shape Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours or more
Rise Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 22-26 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (November 2001) Note: If you don't subscribe online to Cook's Illustrated, you can find the recipe with Google fairly easily.

I brought these to Thanksgiving dinner that someone else was cooking, and finished up the rolls while the turkey was resting. It worked out great.

This recipe is quite old. It was from 2001 – the year I discovered Cook's Illustrated – and I've wanted to try this recipe ever since then. The instructions are fine, but I would have liked a little bit more detail on the shaping and how the dough should feel. Maybe if I read the original article, I would get more info. I think I have really become used to having videos from ATK PBS show or Everyday food, and I missed that with this one.

The dough rises initially with a 3 hour rise, then chilling overnight, then shaping, then chilling some more. Finally you set them out to warm for 1 hour before you can bake. That may sound complicated, however, you can leave the dough in the refrigerator for long periods of time (up to 3 days), and you can even par-bake the dough, allowing you to finish them with shorter bake time after freezing.

So, despite the long time these take overall to make, the recipe is quite flexible to fit into your schedule, if you give yourself enough time for all the steps. They are really fairly simple and worth the effort. I did try the par-bake method, and it worked out well. I was able to bake them while the turkey was resting at 350, and the timing was perfect. To try to bake them fully with one oven for a holiday meal with a turkey or roast might be difficult because they start at 450 and you need a preheated pan in the oven where you can add hot water.

Next time I make these, I will try to shape my initial rectangle better before first the chill. It would have made rolling out into a larger rectangle easier. I had lots of scraps from trimming because my rectangle was not great. I decided to use them to make "practice" rolls so I could try them before serving to larger group. That was fine. The 16 real rolls were still large, and I had 4 rolls from practicing.

Overall, this recipe is a winner, and I will use again.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 27 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Everyday Food (October 2012)

I liked this recipe because I made it ahead and then was able to put in the oven later. Also, I happened to have some leftover pepperoni and ricotta that needed to be used up, so this was perfect.

It was relatively simple to make considering I thought filling the shells would be a pain. I could probably make this quicker if I started boiling water sooner.

I used only 15oz ricotta which was plenty to fill the shells. I also used frozen spinach instead of the zucchini. It all worked well. I didn't have fresh basil, which would have been nice.

It got a thumbs up from my picky eater. He didn't realize that there was spinach in the shell filling.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Blueberry-Orange Cornmeal Muffins

Prep Time: 13 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Everyday Food  (Video with recipe)

I tried a "healthy" blueberry muffin recipe from Everyday Food a month or two ago and was underwhelmed. But this seemed quite different, so I tried it and really liked them. I used lemon instead of orange because I didn't have an orange. Not surprisingly, that worked fine.

The mixture is quite thick, but I was warned in the video (from link) that this would be the case, so I didn't worry. I did skip adding the flour to the blueberries for that reason though.

These have a nice little glaze on top and a slightly crunchy texture. These are not the "best" blueberry muffin, but good if you want something different and like cornmeal.