Sunday, March 22, 2015

Make This!!

Grand Central Bakery's Jammers!
Last week, I found this cookbook in the UP library. It's full of yummy recipes & beautiful photographs.
The one recipe I kept coming back to was for their jammers. A jammer is a cross between a biscuit & a scone, with a healthy dollop of jam baked into the top. This morning, I decided this is what we were having for breakfast.

Grand Central Bakery Biscuit Jammers from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup  cold, unsalted butter

1 1/4  to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup good-quality preserves or jam (I used Bon Mamam raspberry)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl with high sides, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk to combine.

Dice the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime- to quarter-sized pieces of butter remaining. If you’re preparing the dough the night before, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk in one addition. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together; it will look rough. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will come together on the paddle if you are using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches.

The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. It won’t look smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the jammers into circles at least 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 2 inches and again cut into circles.

Use your thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty-cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb-shaped hole that’s a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think "pinch pot"). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of jam and put the jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1 1/2 inches between them.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.

Don't Make This!

For all the baking & cooking successes in my kitchen, there are lots of fails. Of course, I only like to blog about the successful recipes. Sometimes a recipe comes out so wrong, you have to blog about it to warn others not to try it!

I get this magazine every three months. There are lots of great ideas in it.

This quarter, there was a recipe for easy gnocchi. I LOVE gnocchi and order it whenever I see it on a menu at a restaurant. I've never made it because I've heard it was difficult.
I had some free time yesterday and thought I would try the 'easy' recipe.

The dough came together very easily and I was overjoyed that gnocchi wasn't so hard to make afterall.

Just look at those perfect pillows!
Everything was perfect until I dropped the gnocchi into the boiling water.

A soggy mess.
What was the consistency? Think sad and soggy tater tot.

For now, I'll stick to ordering gnocchi at reputable restaurants!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Don't forget to wear green today! ☺

I made Guinness beer bread for my work peeps.
This bread is especially good with a thick coating of salted butter on top. I like to call that "butter frosting." Yum.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Make This!!

No matter how you pronounce it, it tastes delish!
Take one ten pound pork belly.

Score the belly with one inch diamonds.

Mix up a concoction of chopped herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, fennel fronds & seeds. Rub all over the scored pork belly.

Roll, long side.

At this point, you can score the skin (like the belly), or leave it as is.

Tie up with string. Roast for 25 minutes at 425*.
Reduce oven to 350* and roast for another hour and a half.

Dinner is served!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunny Saturday!

Another beautiful 60* day in February! We have been so lucky this past month, while the Midwest & East suffer.  I can't remember the last time we had such a dry & sunny winter. The forecast for the coming week looks beautiful too. Thank you, God! ☺

Omid and I took full advantage of the sunshine. We worked outside in the yard for a bit and on the boat; then decided we better eat at Lardo. We've been meaning to go for weeks, but never had the time. And wouldn't you know, Alton Brown came to town last week and beat us to Lardo. We were so mad that the Food Network star beat us to the punch! Oh well, better late than never! That being said, have you been? If not, go! This is my new favorite place and I can't wait to go back.

Waiting for our lunch in the gorgeous sunshine, with a Boneyard IPA. Nothing better!

Omid got the Pho'Rench dip (to die for!) & I got the pork meatball bahn mi. Very good, too, but not as tasty as Omid's.

But wait! There's more!!
We forgot to order the 'dirty fries' and had that after our sandwiches. This may have been a mistake. These are a meal on their own. Good, but next time I'll stick with the sandwiches.
By this time, we were so full, we walked up Hawthorne to try and feel better. We stumbled upon this guy....What do you think he said to Omid?!

After walking a bit, we decided we needed to finally try Salt & Straw. We drove to 23rd and walked along there for a while. Right before Salt & Straw, we saw our old friend Papa Haydn. We made the decision to visit memory lane instead of Salt & Straw. Papa Haydn it was!
For the last 20 years, I have ONLY ever ordered panna cotta at Papa Haydn. It's the best and is not to be missed. Of course, it pairs nicely with an Italian muscati. Omid got the bourbon ball (chocolate mousse with bourbon). So dense!


Our neighbor at Papa Haydn. ♥