Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter - softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/3 cup white or raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and beat until pale yellow and smooth.
4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
5. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla - beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
6. Stir until just mixed - overmixing causes tough muffins!
7. Spoon the batter into the muffins cups evenly and sprinkle tops with a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon.
8. Bake until golden brown and springy to the touch - about 20-25 minutes.
9. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins.
10. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from William's Sonoma Muffins cookbook.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Delicious and EASY Pot Roast

We're all looking for tasty, easy dinners these days. This recipe takes a little bit of thinking ahead since it takes a few hours to cook in the oven but once you put it in you're done until supper time!
The best cut of meat that I have found for this is Beef Shoulder - if you can get part of the shoulder blade in there it makes it even better.
Disclaimer - I made this yesterday and did not make the caramelized onions or roasted carrots - we ate the carrots that braised with the beef - they were delicious!

Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Carrots

For Pot Roast
½ cup canola oil
salt and pepper
3 – 4 pound beef shoulder roast
1 cup dry sherry
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
8 stalks celery, peeled and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
About 8 cups chicken broth

For Roasted carrots and caramelized onions
6 medium carrots, peeled, halved horizontally, then halved lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium mild onions, sliced crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 F.
2. Season beef with salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof pot, heat oil over moderately high heat unitl hot
but not smoking.
4. Add beef and sear until dark brown and crisp on all sides.
5. Transfer beef to a large plate, pour off oil in pan and discard.
6. Add sherry and simmer, uncovered over medium heat, scraping up browned bits until
reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
7. Pour reduced sherry into a heatproof liquid measuring cup.
8. In the same pan, combine carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Lay beef on top of
vegetables and pour reduced sherry over top of beef.
9. Add enough chicken stock to cover ¾ way up the beef.
10. Cover pan and place on lower rack of oven and roast until fork tender – about 3 hours.
11. While beef is roasting prepare carrots and onions. During final hour of roasting, toss
carrots with olive oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
12. Spread carrots on a baking sheet and transfer to upper rack in over – roast until tender
and slightly browned, about 45 minutes.
13. Heat canola oil for onions in a skillet over moderately high heat. Add onions and sautee
until caramelized – about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
14. When beef in finished, remove from pot and cover with foil to keep warm on serving
platter. Drain juices through a sieve, discarding solids, and skim off fat. Return liquid to
pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly reduced and season with salt and pepper.
15. To serve, combine carrots, onions and half of juices in a bowl and serve with sliced beef
and rest of juices in a gravy dish.

Yeast Rolls

Why not make your own rolls to go with dinner? No preservatives and WAY cheaper! Takes about 2 1/2 hours with rising and baking!
Half the recipe and it makes 16 good sized rolls - make the whole recipe and freeze half for later in the week!

Yeast Rolls
5 ¾ to 6 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 pkgs active dry yeast
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk
½ cup butter
1 egg
melted butter, if desired
1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast, mix well.
2. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and ½ cup butter until very warm.
3. Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture, blend at low speed until moistened.
4. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
5. Add an additional 2 ½ to 3 cups flour and kneed until dough pulls away cleanly from
sides of bowl.
6. Add an additional 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ cups flour and kneed on medium speed for 3-5 minutes –
until dough is smooth and elastic.
7. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover loosely with a towel.
8. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
9. Punch down dough and divide it in half.
10. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
11. Using half the dough, divide into 16 equal pieces.
12. Shape each into a ball, pulling edges under to make a smooth top and place balls, smooth
side up, in greased pan. Do this twice and use all the dough.
13. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
14. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
15. Uncover dough, brush with egg wash(1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water) and bake 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
16. Immediately remove rolls from pans and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.
17. Brush with melted butter if desired.
18. Serve warm or cool.