noun: 1. A center column that supports the steps of a spiral staircase. 2. A post supporting the handrail of a staircase.
When I read something I really like on someone’s blog, I always wonder what else is going on in their mind while they were writing…
I am listening to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tdG0Ivz5uI.
The above is for Em. I will try to learn the ways of Abba. Baby steps.
The turn…dancing, not writing.
I am watching:
I am thinking:
Spirals give me countless thoughts.
Newel sounds like renewal. Like Spring.
I have a brass husband-to-be.
I make a good cinnamon bun, and I didn’t even like them before this one.
Should I share the recipe?
I am being silly.
Yes, of course share.
Could I enjoy writing without a drink, and a cigarette?
I hate when a cover by a nobody comes up when I try to search for Gordon Lightfoot:(
1970’s Michael Caine.
I am just listening to music now. Write!
Life is really one big spiral.
I hate when people say stuff like that.
I love puns!
I am not sure how others come to write, but writing for me seems to come together in strange, and unknowing ways. With a word, a picture, a certain breeze, something tells me to sit down. I don’t believe in the forced pen, or key. All of the intricacies may only make sense to me, or others may see something that is not for my eyes, which is equally satisfying.
Meanwhile, I switched to Facebook, posted to my hometown’s website about a new ****mart ruining our small town, a town that cannot withstand a big box store. On a good note, I was very happy that there were still some people who took a stand, and stayed involved.
We have come to the end of the spiral, or the middle. Not sure. I hope you enjoyed this tiny glimpse into my blogging world/mind, which will be completely different the next time around. I wait with anticipation.
Writing is ever-changing, and ever-challenging, and I hope never-ending. I wonder: what are you thinking?
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Spreading cream cheese into the layers of dough enhances the richness and moistness of these rolls. This dough may be prepared a day in advance and left to rise in the refrigerator overnight. This illustrated step-by-step guide shows you how to make this dish.
* I prefer the warm rise.
FOR THE DOUGH:
1 1⁄4-oz. package active dry yeast
1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3⁄4 cups flour, sifted, plus
more for kneading
3⁄4 tsp. fine salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room
temperature, plus more for the pan
FOR THE FILLING:
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
1⁄4 cup finely chopped pecans
1⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1⁄4 cup raisins
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. maple syrup
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE ICING:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 1⁄2 tsp. of the sugar, and 1⁄4 cup water heated to 115°. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low-speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 1⁄2–2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large bowl; stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set filling aside.
3. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary, about 1 minute. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10″ x 10″ square. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with a rubber spatula until it’s smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square; then fold square into thirds as you would fold a letter to fit it into an envelope. Take the open ends of the resulting rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle.
4. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Drizzle the reserved filling over the dough, leaving a 1″ border at the edge farthest away from you. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder, seam side down, on a cutting board and, using a thin, sharp knife, trim off the ends; cut cylinder crosswise into 8 equal-size slices. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered 9″ x 13″ light-colored metal baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight.)
5. Heat oven to 375°. Uncover the rolls. (If refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
6. Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.
7. Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack; brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle all over the rolls. Serve immediately.
MAKES 8 ROLLS
This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #114
Morel and Fiddlehead Fern Ragout– from Emeril Lagasse
- 1 1/2 pounds fiddlehead ferns
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 pound fresh morels, trimmed and rinsed well
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan curls, for garnish
In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add fiddleheads and return to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fiddleheads to an ice bath and chill. Drain and pat dry, removing as much of the outer brown, tissue-like membrane as possible.
In a skillet saute shallots in butter until softened, about 2 minutes. Add thyme, morels, and garlic and continue to cook until morels have softened and given up their liquid, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 2 more minutes. Add chicken stock and cook until reduced by half. Add fiddleheads and cook 2 minutes, add cream, chives, and parsley, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan curls.
Escargots a la Bourguignon from Gourmet
yield: Makes 4 first-course servings
active time: 25 min
total time: 30 min
- 1 small garlic clove
- 3/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
- 12 to 16 snails* (from a 7- to 8-oz can)
- About 2 cups kosher salt (for stabilizing snail shells)
- Special equipment: 12 to 16 sterilized escargot shells*
- Accompaniment: French bread
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Using a heavy knife, mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/8 teaspoon table salt.
Beat together butter, shallot, garlic paste, parsley, remaining 1/4 teaspoon table salt, and pepper in a small bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Beat in wine until combined well.
Divide half of garlic butter among snail shells. Stuff 1 snail into each shell and top snails with remaining butter. Spread kosher salt in a shallow baking dish and nestle shells, butter sides up, in salt.
Bake snails until butter is melted and sizzling, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
* Available at Dean & Deluca (212-226-6800).
· The escargots can be prepared, but not baked, up to 30 minutes ahead and kept at room temperature until ready to bake. · If you don’t have an escargot serving dish, serve the snails on a bed of kosher salt (to stabilize shells) on a platter.
Cardamom Almond and Black Pepper Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies
(adapted from a Maida Heatter recipe)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 100%)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cardamom
Melt the chocolate, and set it aside to cool a bit.
Cream the butter. Blend in the sugar and vanilla extract, then the egg. Mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder until just combined.
Separate the dough in half. Mix the chocolate and black pepper into one half of the dough, and mix the almond extract and cardamom into the other half.
Roll out each type of dough separately into an 9″x14″ rectangle. It helps to roll each dough out between two layers of wax paper. Then remove one layer of wax paper from each dough, and carefully lay one atop the other, trying to align them as best you can. If you like, you can firm them up in the freezer before layering them.
Remove the top layer of wax paper, and use the bottom layer to help you roll the dough up like a jelly roll, starting with a long side.
The dough must be cold and firm before you cut into it. It can be sliced frozen, so your simplest option is to just stick the cylinder in the freezer until it hardens.
Preheat your oven to 350º.
Slice into 1/4″ thick slices, and lay them 1″ apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through.
They’re done when they are just barely starting to become pale gold around the edges. Err on the side of undercooked rather than overcooked, if need be.
Note: Here is the trick to making good pinwheels.
Use that bottom layer of wax paper. I mean, really use it. Roll each curve with it, tucking it tight, and then pulling the end of the wax paper out and adjusting it before the next incremental curve.
In the end, roll the wax paper around the whole thing, and roll the whole cylinder on the table just to even it out and compress the layers. Pretend you’re rolling out a play-doh snake. It’s the same technique. (Didn’t play with play-doh as a kid? That may be the problem. In that case, get a kid to help with this step.)
Freeze it. Take it out occasionally to roll it on the table again, just to fix any flattened bits as it stiffens. Alternatively, I hear it’s very helpful to cut a cardboard tube (say, from a finished roll of paper towels) in half, and use that curved mold to keep your roll nicely curved as it freezes.
And definitely wait until it is frozen before cutting the slices, else it will compress and deform when you make your cuts.
Chioga beet salad with horseradish crème fraîche
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus 1 hour standing time
From the Los Angeles Times
6 large chioga beets, golden and red
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted ground coriander seeds
1 shallot, minced
1 (8-ounce) carton crème fraîche
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chervil, whole leaves or rough chopped
1. Boil the beets in enough water to cover, with 2 tablespoons salt, until tender, about an hour.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, coriander and shallot and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine the crème fraîche, horseradish, one-half teaspoon salt and pepper and set aside.
3. Drain the beets and, while still warm, peel them. Slice them into wedges, about 8 to 10 per beet, and cool.
4. Pour the vinegar mixture over the beets and let stand, covered, at room temperature for an hour. Spoon the horseradish cream onto a platter, covering the bottom. Using a slotted spoon, mound the beets over the cream. Garnish the beets with the chervil and serve.
Each serving: 152 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 13 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 12 mg. cholesterol; 285 mg. sodium.