Posted in Baking, Books, Bread

Croissant adventure

Books I finished this weekend.

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Posted in Baking, Bread, Recipes

Sugared Crescents

This is the last weekend of spring break.  It has been a much needed break.  I feel it was far to short.  I’m not sure if I am zen enough to return to work on Monday.  Work has been extra challenging this past month.  I’ve been trying to sort out my feelings about it over this past week away and have come to an impasse with myself.  I am not willing to give up, so I need to move forward.  Thus I’m declaring this weekend the weekend of Crescents. It’s something I have not made before.  And something very French.  I feel that in order for me to move forward I need to get back to the things that I use to love.  I need to remember that I use to love using my weekends to make lovely things in the kitchen.

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Posted in Baking, Bread, Desserts, Friends, Holidays, Life, Mamasita, Recipes, Turkey

Thanksgiving Recap

My friends I had not meant to be away from this space for so long.  I’ve been so busy with work and not really doing anything else that I haven’t had anything to share with all of you.  Here are some of pictures from our feast yesterday.
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Finishing up the last of the meal!

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Remnants of our meal.
On the Menu was:
Collared greens (which were way too salty!)
Green bean casserole (provided by M)
Beef Curry (made by Jacks)
An attempt at stuffing and gravy
Apple Pie
Apple Pie
(The Joy of Cooking, pg. 873)
Crust:
Ingredients:
  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water (can add 1 to 2 tablespoons more if needed)
Directions:
  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt
  • Break shortening into large chunks
  • Cut butter in small pieces
  • Add shortening and butter to flour fixture
  • Cut fat into the flour mixture (I used a pastry blender, but two knives work as well) until mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces.
  • Drizzle ice water over the mixture.
  • With a rubber spatula, cut the mixture until it looks evenly moistened
  • Press down with your hands until the dough coheres
  • Divide dough in half and make into two flat disks
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 2 days
  • Roll one out on lightly floured surface and transfer to pie plate
  • Roll out second and set aside
  • Keep refrigerated until ready for filling
Pie Filling:
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds granny smith apples
  • 2 pounds pink lady apples
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons large granulated sugar – for topping
Directions:
  • Peel, core, and slice 1/4 inch thick all the apples
  • Combine all dry ingredients and lemon juice with apples.
  • Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring several times.
  • Pour mixture into the bottom crust
  • Dot the top with butter
  • Drape top dough over the top, trim and crimp.
  • Cut steam vents in the top of the crust
  • Sprinkle with large granulated sugar
  • Bake pie at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
  • Place a baking sheet underneath and reduce  heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for 30 to 45 minutes until apples feel tender when a knife or skewer is poked through a vent.
  • Let cool for 3 to 4 hours.
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Now we are spending our Friday recovering.  Even Mama is tired from all the activity.
Posted in Baking, Bread, East Coast, Recipes

More Wheat Bread

002 Another day, another Wheat Bread recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Directions:
  • Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl (or mixer bowl)
  • Add honey, salt, and both flours
  • Using the bread hook attachment mix
  • Once a ball forms knead for 3 minutes
  • Place ball in a well oiled glass bowl
  • Cover bowl with tin foil
  • Heat oven to broil for 2 minutes – turn off oven
  • Place bowl into oven and let rise for an hour and a half
  • Punch down
  • Form into a loaf
  • Place on a greased pizza stone
  • Let rise for 15 minutes
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown
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Posted in Baking, Bread, East Coast, Fitness, Recipes

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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There are very few things that make me deliriously happy.  Fresh baked bread with honey on top is one of them.  After a long week of practice teaching, after dealing with another snafu with the California DMV regarding my vehicle, after learning I’ll probably have to drive the entire 3,000 miles home in July, after another air bead sprung a leak, and missing my kitty it was time to treat myself.

Though this week was not an entire bust.
On Wednesday Alex and I went to see Jillian Michales at the beautiful Warner Theater in D.C.
Jillian Michaels is our new guru.  We watch biggest loser, listen to her podcast, follow her on Facebook etc. This was a very happy moment in a long week.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
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Ingredients:
  • 2 packages of yeast
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 & 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 4 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 & 3/4 to 3 & 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Directions:
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl
  • Add honey, butter, salt, 2 & 1/2 cups very warm water, and 3 cups wheat flour
  • Mix on low speed for one minute
  • Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes
  • Add remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of wheat flour and mix
  • With a spoon stir in 2 & 1/4 to 2 & 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Mix until dough pulls away cleanly from the side of the bowl
  • On a lightly floured surface knead in the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup of flour
  • Continue kneading for 10 minutes (adding more flour as needed)
  • Grease a large bowl with olive oil, turn the dough in the bowl to cover all sides
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes
  • Punch down dough and divide in half
  • Place each half shaped into dough loaves in separate greased loaf pans
  • Cover and let rise for 45 minutes
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees
  • Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes
  • Remove from pans and cool on a rack for about 1 hour
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Posted in Baking, Beef, Bread, East Coast, Holidays, Main Dish, Recipes

Happy New Years

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Last night Alex and I made Steak Diane and these Cloverleaf Rolls from One Perfect Bite.

Ingredients:
  • 2 beef steaks
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cognac
  • heavy cream
  • Flat leaf parsley
Directions:
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out the steaks to flatten and cut off any excess fat
  • Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet
  • Brown the steaks on both sides for about a minute per side
  • Set steaks aside to rest
  • Add more olive oil if needed
  • Saute shallots until soft
  • Add mushrooms and table spoon of butter and heat for about a minute
  • Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
  • Heat through for a minute
  • Turn up heat and tilt pan away from you
  • Pour in the cognac into the far end and allow it to ignite.  (we has to ignite with a match since we have an electric stove)
  • Once the alcohol has burned off, swirle the juice around the pan
  • Add cream and allow the sauce to thicken
  • Turn down heat
  • Add steaks back into the pan
  • Cook until done to your taste.
  • Add chopped parsley
  • Serve
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I’ve update my Goals Page for 2013.
 I hope that everyone had a safe night and well…
 Happy New Year!

Cloverleaf rolls
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Direction:
  • Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved
  • Let stand until foamy, about  minutes
  • Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan
  • Add milk, heat to lukewarm
  • Combine yeast mixture, remaining sugar, butter mix, bread flour, and salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in 1 & 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour to make a slightly sticky dough
  • Knead dough on floured surface, adding more all-purpose flour as needed, about  minutes
  • Grease a large bowl
  • Make a ball with dough and place in greased bowl turn to coat
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled about  hour
  • Butter muffin tin cups
  • Divide dough into thirds
  • Take 1/3 piece of dough make into 18 small balls
  • Place three balls in each cup
  • Continue in same way with rest of dough
  • Cover muffin tin and let rise in a warm place again for about 40 minutes
  • Paint with egg wash
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Bake until golden about 15 to 20 minutes
  • Makes 18 rolls


Posted in Baking, Bread, East Coast, Holidays, Life, Recipes

Happy Christmas

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day.   Since Alex and I are thousands of miles away from our normal celebrations we spent today doing something a little different.
Today:
We went for a 20 minute run/walk.
I wanted to watch the first Harry Potter movie,
but could not find it on any of our streaming media, instead
and this TEDtalk
We prepared our Christmas meal of ham, mashed red potatoes, roasted asparagus, and rolls.
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We made these rolls, glazed the ham with lime juice and honey, roasted asparagus with olive oil, and mashed red potatoes with a bit of milk, chicken stock, butter, salt, and pepper.
Parker House Rolls:
Ingredients:
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 room temperature large egg
  • 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Directions:
  • Whisk yeast and warm water in a small bowl
  • Let stand for 5 minutes
  • Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just warm
  • Combine shortening, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
  • Add warm milk
  • Whisk to blend
  • Whisk in yeast mixture and egg
  • Add flour
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms
  • Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth about 4 to 5 minutes
  • Place in greased bowl turn to coat
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 & 1/2 hours
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Melt butter
  • Lightly brush a baking dish with the butter
  • Cut the dough into four pieces
  • Roll out one piece cut into rectangles
  • Brush half with butter fold over place in baking dish
  • Continue for other three pieces of dough
  • When all rolls are in baking dish brush tops with butter
  • Bake until golden brown 25 – 35 minutes
Posted in Baking, Bread, East Coast, Holidays, Recipes

Corn Bread

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Happy Thanksgiving Eve.

I spent the day feeling sick.  I should have finished my paper, but all I could muster was a quick trip to the grocery store for the sweet potatoes for the Garlic Roasted Yams that I’m making for Thanksgiving.  The remainder of the day I laid on the floor watching Hell’s Kitchen.  This led me to looking up Epicurious.com.  It’s a pretty neat cooking page.  I’d never seen it before in all my internet meanderings.  There I saw a picture of corn bread and I really really wanted it. I kept thinking about melting butter on it and honey running down the sides. So, I pulled myself up and whipped this together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 & 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Butter a cake pan
  • Combine cornmeal and milk in a small bowl, let rest for 5 minutes
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add cornmeal-milk mixture.
  • Mix to combine
  • Add eggs one at a time mixing to combine in between
  • Slowly drizzle in oil whisking the entire time.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan
  • Bake until golden brown on top and inserted toothpick comes out clean.  ~35 minutes.
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Posted in Baking, Bread, East Coast, Recipes

Sour-Don’t

Here is the sourdough Alex and I made with our sourdough starter.  Isn’t it cute?  And it looks like a nice crusty sourdough round.  That is where the similarities stop.  It smells and tastes like a dense french bread.  Not that there is anything wrong with French bread, but that was not what we were aiming for.

For this loaf we…

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of sourdough starter
  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • water if needed
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients, except water, in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook
  • Mix until dough is combined and no longer sticking to the bowl.
  • Add water if needed to crate a cohesive dough.
  • Remove from mixer
  • Place in lightly greased bowl.
  • Set aside to rise/double in size
  • Knead
  • Set aside to rise/double in size again
  • Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for an hour
Now we are eating it all up and I’m contemplating trying to do the starter all over again with a different recipe.