17 October 2007

Dilly Potato Rolls

I just wanted to use up some leftover mashed potatoes, but when my BB pronounced these the best rolls I've ever made, I figured I should probably add the recipe to my blog. These are very buttery, soft and light. They walk a fine line between biscuits and rolls, depending on how you shape them, and make killer egg-biscuits for breakfast.

NOTE: If you're at high altitude, let the dough rise in the fridge so the gluten structure doesn't weaken. You may have to extend the rising time a little, but trust me, it's well worth it.

The recipe was adapted from the awesome cookbook, "One Potato, Two Potato" by Roy Fenimore.

Dilly Potato Rolls

~ 1 c leftover mashed potatoes, or 1 russet potato about 3/4 lb.
1 c warm water (~ 120 degrees), or 1 1/2 c water if using uncooked potato
1/4 c sugar
1 packet yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 t sugar (only if using an uncooked potato, instead of leftovers)
4 eggs
1/2 lb unsalted butter, melted
~ 5 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T coarse sea salt
~ 1/2 t dill weed
1 beaten egg, for glazing

If using the leftover mashed potatoes, add the yeast to 1/2 c warm water and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a stand mixer bowl, add the potato, 1/4 c sugar, remaining 1/2 c water, and 1 c of the flour to the yeast mixture, stir until smooth, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in warm place for about 30 minutes, until doubled.

If using uncooked potato, peel and dice the potato, cover with the 1 1/2 c water and boil for at least 15 minutes, until potato is quite soft. Measure 1/2 c of the potato water and add the yeast to it with the 3/4 tsp of sugar; follow the instructions above, using another 1/2 c of potato water.

Once the sponge has risen, punch it down with your hands or a baker's spatula, put the dough hook on your mixer, and add in the eggs, butter, remaining 4 1/2 c flour, 1 1/2 tsp of salt, and the dill. Mix until it forms a smooth dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Flour a work surface and your hands, and turn the dough out onto the surface.

For biscuits, punch the dough down again briefly, and pat it out to a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Use a three-inch cutter to cut out the rolls and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, spaced a couple inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about an hour.

For rolls, divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 10 - 12 equal pieces. Generously butter two 10-inch cake pans. Shape the dough pieces into spheres and line the cake pan with them, putting one or two in the center. This creates pull-apart rolls. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double, about an hour.

About 20 minutes before they're done rising, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the remaining sea salt. Put the tray/cake pans on the middle rack for 15 - 20 minutes, and rotate after 8 - 10 minutes for even baking. Once the tops are a lovely golden brown, lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top so they don't burn while the insides keep baking.

Eat immediately, or can be stored at room temperature for several days. Makes about 20 rolls. They can also be frozen for several months.

04 October 2007

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Broccoli

Dinner turned out well tonight. This is a variation on a basic tomato sauce recipe I use semi-regularly. It's fast, healthy, and more importantly, delicious. The sauce is also nice and colorful, and we all know things are better when they look pretty... okay, food is, at least.

Psst... use organic veggies!

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Broccoli

1/2 lb chunky pasta, like farfalle

~ 2 T olive oil
1 head broccoli
1 can (14 oz) quartered artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained
2-3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 med white onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, thickly sliced crossways
~ 3 T pinenuts (optional)

(spice measurements are approximate, modify to taste)
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/8 t ground mustard
healthy pinch of marjoram
small pinch of thyme
1/8 t cayenne
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/8 t fresh-ground black pepper

Start the pasta water to boil and put the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low-ish heat while you prep your veggies. Add the garlic, onion, and spices except black pepper to the olive oil and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts getting translucent around the edges.

Around now, your water should be boiling. Add the pasta, stir, put a steam basket on top, reduce the heat under the pasta to med. low and steam the broccoli about 5 minutes. Rinse the broccoli after you've steamed it and turn the heat back up to med. high on the pasta.

Add the tomatoes to the sauce and use a wooden spoon to crush them as you stir the sauce, to release the juices. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until your pasta's about 3 minutes from being ready. Add the artichoke hearts and broccoli and stir it up. If you're using pinenuts, now's the time to put them in the oven or toaster oven; once toasted, mix with the sauce.

Drain the pasta, top with sauce, serve immediately - with garlic bread, if you have it.

Serves 2