Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sausage Gravy on Biscuits

My brother Grant was telling me a while back that he had sausage gravy on biscuits and that they were "mighty fine groceries."  I had seen recipes around for this but never had it, thinking it was a little too hearty for our tastes, but curiosity and an extra large hunger pang this morning lead me to trying this.  Now I regret all those missed opportunities, but am heartened (can one be "heart"-ened by a sausage gravy breakfast, I wonder?) to know that we'll be enjoying this again.  Ole Sweetie-Pi loved it!

Sausage Gravy on Biscuits
(Cooking from Quilt Country by Marcia Adams)

1 pound bulk sausage, as lean as possible
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart milk
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tobasco

Baking powder biscuits, recipe of your choice

Break up the sausage into a large saucepan and saute over medium-low heat.  Do not allow the meat to brown or to get crisp.  When the sausage is about three-quarters cooked, add the onion, and cook until the onion is transparent.

Drain of all but 2 tablespoons of the meat drippings (you don't have to be too precise about this). Stir in the flour with a whisk and cover over medium-low heat for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until the flour turns golden and bubbles up.

Pour in the milk all at once and add the seasonings.  Cook and whisk until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes or so). Taste for salt and pepper and re-season of necessary.   Split open a nice hot biscuit and top with sausage gravy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Nutella and Coconut Pinwheels

I'm not going to say that these were amazing, but I am going to say these are soooo good.  And sweet.  And chocolate-y and coconut-y, almost like a German chocolate cake but not really.  Does that make sense?    I wish I could have you over for coffee and one of these, because I know you'd be wowed.

The bread part is not as fine textured as I would have wished for; it was "raggedly" and "sturdy" to work with, I thought, but I am more than happy with the flavor and its ability  to stand up and complement the filling.

The original recipe called this a "no knead", and perhaps it is, but I still found I needed to knead it a couple of minutes.  I'll give you the recipe as it's written (my changes in procedure will be parenthetical).

Nutella and Coconut Pinwheels

4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 13-ounce jar chocolate-hazelnut spread (like Nutella), divided
1 cup shredded coconut

2-3 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. 

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, salt  and butter to 120*-130* Fahrenheit.  Add the milk mixture, along with the eggs, to the 2 cups of flour.  Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium  speed for 30 seconds, then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour. (Knead for three or four minutes, if desired.)  Cover and allow to rise in a warm place, until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, grease a large baking sheet, set aside.

Roll dough into a 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle.  Spread 2/3 cup hazelnut spread on the dough, leaving a 1-inch edge along one side of the dough. Sprinkle coconut on top of spread.   Roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side where the filling is spread to the edge.  Pinch dough to seal.  (I moistened the edge with a tiny bit of water to add some stickiness back to the dough to make it easier to seal.)

Slice in nine pieces.  (I sliced into 12 rolls.  Also I cleaned the knife in between cutting slices to keep the slices neat.)  Arrange on cookie sheet, leaving ample space in between.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 45 minutes.)

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350* Fahrenheit.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Cool 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack.  Drizzle with icing.

Nutella Icing

In a small bowl stir together remaining hazelnut spread and 2 to 3 tablespoons milk or until desired drizzling consistence is achieved.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies II

My brother came by the other day with a couple of boxes of stuff that my mother gave him.  In one of the boxes was a collection of old handwritten recipes that my mother and grandmother had collected. 

This little treasure was written down by my grandmother and I am delighted to have it. not only because it was a recipe from my beloved grandmother but also because peanut butter cookies are among my most absolute favorite of cookies.  I've searched high and low for the "perfect" peanut butter cookie and for me, for now, the this will be the recipe I turn to.

These cookies are buttery, slightly crispy, slightly chewy, and are the perfect companion to a tall glass of frothy cold milk. I can't stay away from them!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature (or other shortening; I used real butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted  all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Have ready a greased cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add the two sugars; cream into the butter.  Add well-beaten eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Mix well.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend well.

Shape into balls the size of walnuts.  Place on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little sugar in a saucer.  Flatten the cookie dough with the tines of fork that have been dipped in sugar to about 1/4-inch in depth, crosshatching the design into the dough.

Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. 

I made 4 dozen from this recipe.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Waffled French Toast with Strawberry Butter

This recipe is so simple, it makes me wonder why I never thought of it on my own.  But I have the happiest of reasons...

The days have been just a little crazy around here lately.  Ole Sweetie-Pi's youngest daughter announced her and her fiance's intentions to be married this September and then asked if  I be willing to help her with the food, along with several of her friends and family.  Of course, I'm thrilled to be included and have spent countless hours scouring cookbooks and the net and delving into the recipes and  food memories of friends for the best of the best.  In spite of the stresses and the many moments of uncertainty, I am loving every minute of this!

As it happened, while looking for girly-girl recipes, I discovered this delightful waffled French toast with strawberry butter recipe.  It's included in Best of the Best, The Recipe Hall of Fame cookbook, edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley. I love the reddish-pink butter, smiles, and who doesn't love waffles or French toast.  This would be  perfect for a special occasion breakfast with "just the girls."

Waffled French Toast with Strawberry Butter
(from Best of the Best,The Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook)

I halved the recipe for the two of us, but I'll give you the recipe as written.

1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (I omitted)
2 tablespoons butter, melted (I omitted)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla (my addition)
8-10 slices bread

Preheat waffle iron and grease if necessary.

In a shallow bowl (I use a pie plate) with a flat whisk, combine milk, eggs, sugar and salt, then melted butter.  Dip bread slices, one at a time, in egg mixture and drain.  Bake in waffle iron 2-3 minutes, until brown.  Serve with Strawberry Butter.

Strawberry Butter

1/2 pound butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
10 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed and drained

Combine all in a mixer or food processor until smooth and creamy.  This is best served at room temperature, but can be stored in fridge for several weeks.  Yields 2 1/2 cups.