My mother gifted to me her beloved asparagus dishes. I absolutely love these dishes. They have a beautiful vintage feel and are specifically designed to be used only for asparagus. It’s a pleasure to pull these dishes out of the cabinet to serve asparagus. I don’t use them often but when I do it reminds me of how detailed my mother was when she entertained. It’s very special to acquire some kitchen pieces that you can pass down to future generations. There is a closeness that is felt when you know that you are eating off the same plates that your ancestors ate from.
Should I buy thick or thin asparagus?
There are different size asparagus available. Some are pencil thin and others are thicker. If you are roasting the asparagus in the oven the thin asparagus will work great. You do not need to peel thin asparagus. You simply trim off the bottom, rinse them off, toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The asparagus will be done in under 5 minutes in a 400 degree oven. You can serve them with a little salt and pepper or shave some Parmigiana Reggiano on top. This makes a beautiful appetizer or side dish.
The thicker asparagus need to be trimmed and peeled from below the tip to the bottom. In this recipe I boil the asparagus for around 6 minutes until they are tender but still bright green. You do not want to serve a brown, over-cooked asparagus. After six minutes you should spill out the water and rinse asparagus with cold water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After 5 minutes you can remove the asparagus from the ice bath and place on plates. The asparagus can stay at room temperature for an hour so this is a great appetizer to make when you are entertaining.
How to make a perfect hard boiled egg:
The perfect hard boiled egg should not have dark area between the yolk and white. That does not look nice. You need to pierce the bottom of the egg with an egg piercer before you gently submerge the egg into water. I like the Endurance egg piercer available on Amazon. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator 5 minutes before you place them into the boiling water so they are not shocked by the water. After the eggs have boiled for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and allow them to remain in water for a few minutes. Then set them aside or refrigerate until you are ready to use them. You will have beautiful yellow and white hard boiled eggs.
Some other serving ideas for asparagus:
A simple dressing made with Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, a touch of Dijon and salt and pepper
Chilled chopped crabmeat or shrimp mixed with mayonnaise and dill
Shredded Gruyere or Parmigiana Reggiano. Place under the broiler for a minute to melt if desired.
I am so excited to share this with you! I have been experimenting with a chocolate bread recipe. I wanted to come up with one that was a combination of brioche and babka. A sweet, but not too sweet, dough layered with just the right amount of semi sweet chocolate. Of course the chocolate bread also had to have a crumb topping. If we are going to go for it well then let’s go for it. I used my cinnamon roll recipe as the base of the dough but added an additional egg yolk, some vanilla extract and a little extra butter. So should we call this Babka, Brioche or Briochka? The dough is softer and fluffier than a typical babka, more like a brioche but it is cut and twisted like a babka so really I guess Briochka is probably the best name.
The result is a buttery, sweet brioche style bread with layers of chocolate running throughout. It’s sweet but not too sweet. The chocolate filling for the babka is made by melting butter and semi sweet chocolate morsels and then mixing in confectionary sugar and cocoa powder to make a chocolate paste. The paste is then spread over the rolled out dough before the dough is rolled. The technique is very similar to cinnamon rolls but we cut the roll in half instead of slices. Each half will fit in one loaf pan. The half is cut vertically and then twisted before being placed in a loaf pan sprayed with baking spray or greased with butter.
How do I prevent gaps in my babka?
No one likes large gaps of air between their layers of babka. There are a few ways to prevent this.
Roll the dough slowly and tightly. Pull the dough slightly back as you roll forward.
Spooning a little half and half over the dough after the second rise will help keep the layers together
Brush top of dough with egg wash before sprinkling on crumb topping
Let bread cool for 15 minutes in pan before you remove babka to cut
Can I Use a Different Filling in the Babka?
Yes, you can fill the dough with several different fillings. Spread Nutella over the dough before rolling or try raspberry jam or cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. You can also add chopped walnuts or raisins if you like. Be creative.
Pillsbury Original Biscuits Make Delicious Quick and Easy Donuts
Pillsbury Biscuits make easy and delicious donuts. Simply fry the dough in vegetable oil and top with your favorite glaze.
Sometimes when you wake up on a lazy weekend morning you want something delicious and sinful to eat while reading and drinking a hot cup of coffee or tea. Now, I have posted some delicious breakfast recipes but they take time and sometimes you want to cheat a little which is definitely ok. This is the perfect moment to pop open a can of Pillsbury biscuits and make delicious donuts. Simply cut a hole in the middle using the top of a shot glass or a mini round cookie cutter. Anything small and round will do. It’s so fun and easy.
After cutting a round hole in the middle of each biscuit, fry them in 2 inches of vegetable oil until golden brown on each side. This will take about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel after frying. Mix confectioners sugar with a little milk and a touch of light corn syrup to make a sugar glaze or mix cinnamon and granulated sugar together to dip the donuts. I like to dip the donut holes in cinnamon and sugar and glaze the whole donuts.
This is a very fun morning activity to do alone or with your family. Be creative! Add a little food coloring into the glaze or dip the glazed donut into sprinkles for an added touch. You can also melt some chocolate or spoon some raspberry jam into a bowl to serve as a dipping sauce. There is nothing like a warm donut in the morning. Your friends and family will be very impressed when you serve a gorgeous platter of homemade donuts and no one has to know how easy they were to prepare. Enjoy!
I have been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll recipe for awhile. Some are too dry, some are too cakey, some don’t have enough cinnamon, some are too sweet. I have finally perfected the recipe. After many tries, and I’m sure a few extra pounds, I have come up with a recipe that has the perfect amount of sugary cinnamon with the right softness of dough.
This recipe does not require a lot of ingredients but it does require some time. The rising process is very important in yielding fluffy rolls that goes oh so well with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling. I also think adding a bit of half and half or milk before baking the rolls keeps the rolls moist and gooey and the filling doesn’t dry out. I use instant yeast in this recipe and bread flour. You can substitute all purpose flour and active dry yeast if that’s all you can find. If you are using active yeast you will need to dissolve it in warm (not hot) milk before adding the sugar and eggs. I think instant yeast is easier to work with because you just add it to the flour and it doesn’t need to be activated but really either is fine. Just make sure that your yeast isn’t old. I also like King Arthur bread flour instead of all purpose. King Arthur makes amazing flour. The bread flour is higher in gluten and has 12.7% protein which results in a loftier and consistent texture. I use this flour in all the bread I make. It is also great for homemade pizza dough. If you don’t have bread flour do not worry, you can use all purpose and the rolls will still be delicious. The final touch to making these rolls exceptional is spooning some half and half or milk over each roll after they have risen and before you bake them in the oven. This prevents the rolls, and filling from drying out.
I like a simple powdered sugar frosting, I do not like cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls. I think its too heavy and takes away from the lightness of the rolls. The cinnamon rolls are sweet and decadent enough, the frosting should just add a bit of glaze to the top.
Can I make the dough the night before?
Yes, you can make the recipe up to when you are suppose to let the rolls rise for a second time. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let them rise for about an hour before baking. They should be double the size as when you put in the refrigerator. After the rolls have risen pour half and half over them. Let the half and half absorb into the rolls. Gently pour out liquid that has not been absorbed and bake in oven as directed.