Archive for May, 2009

Buttery Yeasty Rolls

30 May 09

This will make a very buttery, yeasty soft roll sort of dough. You can do many things with this basic dough.

250 g whole milk (1 cup)
2 pkg. dry yeast
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
2 eggs
600 g bread flour (4-1/2 to 5 cups)
more melted unsalted butter

Warm the milk to about 100degF. Combine everything in a good mixer. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Second speed for 5 minutes, or until good gluten development is observed.

Let rise in a greased, covered bowl for 1 hour, or until doubled. This can be stored in a refrigerator overnight and taken out the next morning. Just let it warm and rise until doubled.

Now you need to decide what to do with this stuff:

Clover Leaf Rolls: No need to roll. Just pull off 38 gram pieces and cut or pull each piece into rough thirds. Then very gently roll each third into a ball and put the three into greased muffin pan cups. Let rise until doubled, then brush with melted butter and bake at 400oF for 15 minutes. Move to a cooling rack immediately and brush again with melted butter.

Soft Square Rolls (Krystal buns to the Southerner): Roll out about ½” thick and cut into pieces about 38 grams each, square. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place the square pieces close together, so they will barely touch and join in the bake. Let them rise until fully doubled. Brush with melted butter and bake 400oF 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Move to a cooling rack immediately and brush again with melted butter.

Parker House Rolls: Roll out about ½” thick and cut into 3” rounds. Brush with melted butter, fold in half and seal the edges with your fingers. Place on greased (or non-stick) baking sheets far enough so that they do not come together during the bake. Let them rise until doubled. Brush with melted butter and bake 350oF 20 minutes. Move to a cooling rack immediately and brush again with melted butter.

Burger Buns: Roll out about ½” thick and cut into the correct size for your use. A 3” cutter will give a fair sized bun. A 4” cutter will give a jumbo bun. Let them rise until doubled. Brush with warm butter and bake at 400oF 20 minutes. Move to a cooling rack immediately and brush again with melted butter. You can add sesame seeds, grated Parmesan cheese, or whatever just before baking.

Cinnamon-Raisin (or whatever) Bread: Divide the dough into 500 gram pieces and roll out into rectangles that are the length of you loaf pan. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar. Roll up the dough into a tight cylinder and place into the greased pan, seam side down. Let rise until doubled, brush with melted butter and bake 400oF for 30 minutes. Move to a cooling rack immediately and brush again with melted butter. Killer variation: soak some good raisins in water (or brandy) for about 1/2 hour, then drain well and sprinkle over the dough before rolling into a cylinder.

Notice the common threads:

Let the shape rise until it is doubled – soft and fluffy to the touch.
Brush with melted butter just before popping into the oven.
Bake until golden brown, you do not want a hard crust or dry crumb.
Brush with melted butter just after removing from the oven.

Makes about 24 soft rolls.

{{Herself Sez: on the Parker House Rolls, you may want to make them smaller, rolled thinner and cut to 2” circles The 3” ones himself made were entirely too large – to my taste. I was brought up on little ones, so these were a bit “much” for me. Good, though!}}

The dough is slightly sweet, and thus will make wonderful dessert-type rolls with the addition of a small amount of sugar, perhaps some fruit, such as raisins, and some cinnamon or cardamom.

{{Herself Sez: This is a very versatile dough – useful for many purposes. For those who don’t like biscuits (such as Himself), simply cutting them in 2” rounds and baking will make a nice yeast-raised breakfast roll. I’m a biscuit afficianado, but I like rolls, too!}}

Add grated cheddar cheese and finely chopped (not minced) garlic for a garlic-cheese roll that is delicious.


Seafood Newburg

22 May 09

{{Herself Sez – This is one of the yummier recipes the Ol’ Curmudgeon has come up with in a while.}}

3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 pinches salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 dash nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs dry sherry
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup seafood of some sort

You can use just about any kind of decent seafood with this. Lobster is the real classic – but who can afford that nowadays. Shrimp or scallops do quite well, as does crab. You have about a five minute simmer that you can cook the seafood. If it is going to need more cooking time then do whatever is necessary ahead of time.

Sauté the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly. Do NOT brown. Stir in the spices – salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Add the cream slowly, stirring all the while. Stir seafood into the sauce if it needs cooking. Simmer and stir about 5 minutes or until thickened.

Slowly add hot mixture to the eggs, stirring constantly, then add back into the pan. You do know that iff you add eggs to a hot mix, they will cook and solidify, so you add the hot mix to the eggs and then dump that back and the eggs will stay liquid.

Stir seafood into sauce if not already added and stir well. Add the sherry and stir for about 30 seconds. Then serve in pastry shells or over rice.

Very good and very filling. Your food Nazi won’t like this – but your taste buds will love it.

{{Herself Sez – Himself served it in puff pastry shells – Yummy sounds-Yummy sounds!!}}

Beauty Pageant Loses Collective Mind –

16 May 09

{{Herself Sez: He’s back! (At least this week!) And even MORE curmudgeonly than ever!

By now most people should have heard about the dust-up that probably cost Miss California the Miss USA crown.

Asked what she thought of gay marriage by the “openly gay judge” Perez Hilton, she said (as gently as possible) that in her family marriage was between a man and a woman.

Later the director of the Miss California pageant told Fox News “As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman,” said Lewis in a statement. “I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family.”

What is happening is that the liberal political correctness litmus test is being applied to every walk of life in this country. You will soon not be able to win a beauty pageant, open a business, or do anything else without the official liberal seal of political correctness.

Don’t think that can happen here? It is happening here. The liberals fought hard during the 1950’s and 60’s to get the loyalty oath trashed. Don’t remember that? Used to be that all public college professors had to sign an oath that they supported the Constitution of the United States and did not advocate violent overthrow of the government. This never did strike me as being terribly unreasonable since the government paid a good deal of the salaries of these people.

Now the libs are gleefully plotting to take away all free speech. Think not? The “fairness doctrine” is the tip of the iceberg. This business with the Miss USA pageant is another sign of the continuing erosion of freedom of thought and speech. Did you know that it is illegal to criticize a politician 60 days before an election? How ‘bout that for thought control? The “local doctrine” is being strongly pushed in the liberal Congress. What is that? Well, the FCC will survey all radio stations and if the content is “offensive” to some members of the community, the license can be lifted. This is aimed at Rush, Sean, Neal, and other conservative radio commentators. Where there is a conservative community and they can’t be hung on the “offensive” clause the second part kicks in. The content does not have enough “local flavor”. And the license can be lifted. Basically, since liberal talk radio has never been financially successful, the libs will kill conservative voices with government power.

The internet is free. Yeah, right. Legislation is being introduced in the Congress to allow the president the power to shut down the internet on an emergency basis. Note that the nature of the emergency is never defined in the bill.

Oh yeah, and what stupid idiot asks a homosexual that obviously dislikes women to judge a beauty contest? Looks like the libs are really showing their lack of sense – common or otherwise.‏

My Recipes – Trifle

12 May 09

{{Herself is posting today}}

Here is one of my favorite dessert recipes. I’m putting all my recipes together into an e-book, as is the Ol’ Curmudgeon. We’ll let you know when they are ready to purchase and download.


Trifle is a British dessert that was used extensively in the Old South. It was varied with the fruit available and the basic recipes used by the cook. You can go as crazy as you want to with it, but basically it is simply layers of fruit, cake soaked in booze, custard, and whipped cream. You can use any kind of sponge cake or pound cake, but the old fashioned POUND cake is probably best. Serving it in a large footed bowl makes it look elegant!!

I first had Trifle at my Cousins Bill and Charlotte’s home. Cousin Charlotte, Bill’s wife, is a wonderful cook! She did NOT make the fast version of this treat!

Sponge cake (or pound cake)
1 1/2 to 2 cup fresh fruit**
3 1/2 – 4 cups custard
3/8 cup 10-X sugar, sifted
1 1/2 to 2 cup heavy cream, whipped
3/4 to 1 cup bourbon, brandy, rum or sherry
fruit and mint for garnish**

Slice pound cake about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and slice off crust. Line bottom of a pretty bowl (there is even such a thing as a “trifle bowl!!”) with the sliced, trimmed pound cake. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the liquor.

Arrange fresh fruit around lower edge of bowl, between cake and side of bowl. Spoon 3/4 of the custard over the cake. Arrange about 1/2 remaining cake slices on top of custard. Spoon preserves over cake. Layer rest of cake slices over preserves. Pour rest of liquor over cake. Cover with remaining custard. Cover and chill.

Just before serving, whip cream until foamy. Slowly add powdered sugar, continuing to beat until soft peaks form. Top trifle with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit and mint.

The custard you use can be any basic vanilla custard. Many recipes call for a richer custard made with half and half rather than milk, and with 2 or 3 extra eggs. You can use either vanilla or liquor to flavor it. Guess which I prefer?? It should be chilled thoroughly before adding it to the trifle.

When in a hurry, I have used Sara Lee or Pepperidge Farm frozen pound cake, frozen strawberries or raspberries, strawberry or raspberry jam, Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix and Cool Whip!! Hey, it works, and only gourmets will be the wiser!!

** NOTE: Fruit for the inside layers can be any fruit in season, but berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc) work best. Raspberries are traditional. Preserves should “match” the fresh fruit. Fruit for garnish should match fresh fruit. Fruit for trifle layers can be lightly crushed (or halved, in the case of strawberries). Fruit for garnish may be used whole or sliced partway down, in the case of strawberries. When desperate, UNSWEETENED frozen fruit can be used; firm berries work best, strawberries “don’t quite make it” for trifle when they’ve been frozen.

VARIATION FOR CHOCOHOLICS: Substitute chocolate egg custard for the vanilla egg custard. Substitute chocolate pound cake for the sponge or pound cake. Substitute Chocolate Cool Whip or Chocolate La Creme for the whipped cream (or add cocoa powder and extra 10X sugar to whipping cream while making it). Use a chocolate or coffee liqueur thinned “somewhat” with vodka for the liquor. Strawberries and raspberries go best with chocolate, but other fruits may do OK, too.

Make in layers, as above.

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