Friday, June 24, 2016

Bouquet of Rolls

When your food assignment for a summer potluck happens to be rolls, you might want to give these a try.  This bouquet of "rolls" can be made with any dough, even frozen roll dough.

This "bouquet" should be baked in a circular pan for the right look.  I used glass, but you could also use metal pie tins, or a spring-form pan as well.  If you use a spring-form, you can display your bouquet on a pretty plate.

To form your rose shaped rolls, begin by dividing your dough into portions about the size of your fist.  It also helps to let the dough rest for at least a few minutes so it can "relax" enough to roll out easily.

Now roll two of these portions out at a time.  Make one slightly smaller than the other.  Spread melted butter over both.  Now roll from the long side, like a jelly roll (not too tightly).  Now, using a sharp knife or bench scraper - cut the two ends long enough so they can stand up in the pan and resemble a flower.  

The remaining center section can then be cut into triangles.  Notice that the two rolls that are next to the roses will be straight on one side.  

Now arrange the rose-shaped rolls in the center of your round pan.  You'll want some space between them, but not too much.  As they rise, they will start to "bloom" and support each other.  

Arrange the remaining triangle-shaped rolls around the perimeter of the pan as shown.  Don't overthink this - it can make you crazy.  But bread is a beautiful thing as it bakes - it just "fills in" and looks amazing.  Even if it's different every time. 

Allow to rise until the rolls nicely fill the pan, then brush with melted butter and bake as directed in your recipe.

Since this is a tightly packed baking dish, you'll want to make sure you bake them long enough - or you'll have some underdone rolls in the center.  Be sure to check for signs of doughiness before you take them out.   Feel free to brush with even more butter after they cool slightly - it'll add a nice sheen and they will look irresistible!

Then pass the bouquet and let everyone pick their favorite "flower/roll".  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stacked Cobb Salad

The fun technique of stacking can make healthy green salads look elegant.  You can purchase food rings, which are a fun little gadget - if you’re into gadgets.  

However, you can accomplish the same thing by using a simple tin can with both ends removed, then use something to press down the ingredients gently as you layer them in.  

A few tips for stacking:
  • Pay attention to the colors and textures of your layers. It’s nice to use colors that contrast with what you are plating your salad on.
  • Decide the order you will stack your salad ingredients.  The texture of each ingredient adds interest also.  Dice, slice, or fan out your ingredients to make them look more interesting.
  • Dressing (in small amounts) will help some items hold together a little better.  Lettuce almost always needs a little something to keep it from falling apart.
  • The size of your plate needs to be large enough so when you start to eat the salad, it will hold the avalanche of goodness.  
  • Press each layer down gently as you assemble your salads. “Tamping” the food into layers helps it stand at attention until you eat it.
  • It’s important to lift the ring straight up when you take it off.
  • If it all falls apart, so what?  It will still look beautifully layered and mounded in the center.  

This is what I used in this version of stacked salad:

Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced romaine tossed with just enough ranch dressing to hold it together
Rotisserie Chicken Salad (recipe follows)
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped hard cooked egg
Roughly chopped crisp bacon
Diced avocados
Arugula (or other greens with a fun texture)

Rotisserie Chicken Salad
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 teaspoons honey 
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3-4 cups rotisserie chicken breast, diced 
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  1. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, celery, honey, poppy seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.
    Place diced chicken breast in the bottom of a large bowl. Gently toss with dressing.  

    Serve with fresh fruit, soup, and rolls.

    And... if you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy way to set your table - all you need is a roll of wrapping paper, a disposable tablecloth, bright napkins, transparent tape, limes, hydrangeas, and a large glass bowl.  Follow the steps below and see how fresh your salads look on a no-stress table design.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lin's Lemon Butter

This is my dear friend (Sister) Lin Snowden - from Victoria, Canada.  I serve with this cute lady in the Family & Church History Headquarters Mission in SLC, Utah.  I'm so sad she's ending her mission to go home next week.  Then she leaves (AGAIN) on her second mission to digitize records in Barcelona, Spain this January.  We have had a great time together for the past 2+ years, and I will miss her!  Our conversations always seem to gravitate towards favorite recipes.  She shared one last recipe with me today, and told me I could post it here.  This is a recipe she used in her Tea Room that she ran before her mission.  Wish I could have been one of her customers - I'm sure it was fabulous.

Here in the United States we call this "Lemon Curd".  Not sure why - but it sounds "sour", doesn't it?  Lemon Curd typically is a bit of a pain to make.  Most recipes are very technical - instructing you to separate your eggs, strain through a sieve, etc...  But this one is a keeper because it's so very simple to make.  I don't have photos of hers - because we devoured it today.  But it is even prettier than this one (from a prior post here back in 2010 - found HERE).

Lin's Lemon Butter

6 eggs
1 ½  cups sugar
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup softened butter

Put it all in a blender to mix
Microwave for 10 mins.  It will look messy and curdled
Put in blender till smooth.

We (my tea room) used to make these in a small pastry shell, and then piped small rosettes of butter icing round the edge.

*Note:  This lemon curd could easily be used to make these two recipes - and save a lot of time in the process!