SFL Exclusive Recipe: Prosciutto and Gruyere Morning Rolls

Behold the most magical and perfect savory brioche-based roll ever birthed by my kitchen:

Savory Prosciutto and Gruyere Brioche

Basically, these are a savory version of the traditional cinnamon roll or sticky bun. For those of you who feel like a challenge, here is my recipe:

Prosciutto and Gruyere Morning Rolls

I learned how to make brioche from the excellent Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I have tweaked the recipe over time, and what follows is the recipe and method that I use when I make brioche that is to be used as a base.  The idea of incorporating savory ingredients arose out of a desire for an alternative to the typical sweet rolls I usually make for breakfasts and brunch.  This recipe requires at least two days for preparation and will yield 12 large rolls using 2 extra large muffin tins.

BRIOCHE BASE

  • 3 level teaspoons of fresh active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of warm water (100° to 110° degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup and approximately 1 2/3 cup of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of browned and cooled unsalted butter (instructions for this will follow)
  • 4 oz (8 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter

FILLING

  • 8 thin slices of prosciutto (approximately 4 oz), lightly pan-fried, chopped into small pieces, and chilled
  • 4 oz of gruyere, grated and chilled
  • 2 oz of pecorino romano, grated and chilled
  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Proof the Yeast.  In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine the yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and stir until smooth.  Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 – 20 minutes or until the mixture bubbles up.

Prepare the Sponge.  Take a 5 – 6 quart metal mixing bowl and fill with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Dump out the water and towel dry.  With a whisk, combine one egg and 1/3 cup of flour.  Mixture will be thick.  Add the yeast and sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and there are no clumps.  With a rubber scraper, fold in the remaining 1 2/3 cup of flour.  Scrape down the sides and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside for 2 hours.

Brown the Butter.  Place 4 ounces of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat.  As the butter melts, scrape or stir constantly while the solids separate and begin to brown.  As soon as the solids have collected on the bottom and changed in color to a golden brown, remove from heat and scrape entire contents of skillet into a glass or ceramic bowl.  Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Prepare the Dough.  In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt.  Place the mixing bowl containing the sponge on a stand mixer and attach the paddle.  Add the sugar and salt mixture and 2 of the remaining eggs to the sponge.  Mix together on low speed setting for one minute, then for approximately 2 more minutes on medium speed setting.  If the dough is still very stick at this point and has not started to clean the sides of the bowl, add more King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, one tablespoon at a time (but not exceeding 1/3 of a cup) and beat on medium until the dough cleans the side and stays on the paddle.

Switch to the hook attachment and beat on medium high speed setting for approximately 2 minutes until the dough is shiny, smooth and tacky to the touch.  Turn the speed setting to medium and slowly pour in the brown butter.  Add 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) of the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time until all the butter has been combined into the dough.  Stop the mixer and remove the hook.  The dough should be shiny and smooth, and will feel both greasy and extremely sticky.  Roll the dough into a ball, lightly coat with King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and place in a lightly-buttered large bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.  Once the dough has doubled in size, place the still-covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Shape and Fill the Rolls.  While the dough is refrigerating after its first rise, prepare the prosciutto and combine the two grated cheeses.  After the dough is thoroughly chilled, removed from bowl and place on well-floured surface.  Using your hands, lightly pat the dough down and shape into a rectangle approximately 10 inches side to side by 6 inches top to bottom.

(A)Working from the left side to the right, fold the left third over to the middle and then the right third over that. Using your hands, lightly press and shape again until you have a rectangle approximately 6 inches side to side by 10 inches top to bottom.  Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat (A) two more times.

Using a rolling pin and working from the middle to the edges, lightly roll the dough until it is a rectangle shape about 2/3 to 3/4 inch thick and measure approximately 24 inches side to side and 12 inches top to bottom.  Cover with dry cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the muffin tins by spraying lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.

Remove cloth and spread remaining ounce of butter evenly across the surface of the dough.  Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly on surface, leaving about an inch across the bottom edge without cheese.  Cover the cheese with the chopped prosciutto, making sure that both are evenly distributed across the surface (again, save one inch along the bottom edge of the dough).  Sprinkle with freshly grated pepper.  Working from the top edge and starting in the middle moving out, carefully tuck in the top edge and roll down, making sure not to “smash” the dough down.  Work slowly and make sure that the roll is tight and firm.  Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, divide the roll into two rolls.  They should measure approximately 12 inches long each and should be 3 inches wide at the widest part of the roll.  Divide each roll into six equal slices, again using a gently sawing motion and taking care not to smash down on the roll.  There will now be 12 portions, approximately 2 inches thick and 3 inches wide at the widest part.

Place the rolls into the muffin tins.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray on the side that touches the pan and rolls.  Refrigerate the rolls overnight, or at least for four hours.

Bake the Rolls.  After the rolls have been thoroughly chilled, remove from the refrigerator and, keeping the plastic wrap on, place in a draft-free place until the rolls have risen 1 1/2 to 2 times in size.  Preheat the oven to 400°.  Beat the remaining egg and gently brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg.  Once the egg wash has dried, bake the rolls until the center reaches 190°, approximately 18 minutes.


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More Utterly Non-Shocking Conservative Wankery

So, an article in today’s Washington Times highlights the utter douchebaggery going on in Congress.  Shortly put,

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government’s many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.

Now, bear in mind that these are but a few letters sent to just one fed agency (USDA) and discovered via FOIA.  I can only  imagine how many other such letters were sent to DOE, DOT, DHS…

I know I am probably not the only one to be utterly unsurprised by this hypocritical bullshit. Not even to hear dear Lameass Alexander is amongst this esteemed group.  Certainly not shocked to see good ol’ Joe “YOU LIE!” Wilson is on the list. These are, after all, politicians.  If they were cheesy glittering vampires, then money is their pasty-faced virgin.

I was somewhat surprised, however, to read that these secret money grabs were totally in line with a virulent anti-stimulus stance.  And of course we can thank Joe Wilson for clarifying the issue for us:

“Congressman Wilson’s position on the stimulus bill is consistent,” said spokeswoman Pepper Pennington. She said Mr. Wilson opposed the stimulus as a “misguided spending bill,” but once it passed, he wanted to make sure South Carolina residents “receive their share of the pie.”

So Screamy Joe has just effectively pointed out for us the real-life application of the ‘Can’t Lose’ objection.  What this means is that an attorney can rant and scream and rail against something that is actually factually or procedurally or legally correct – thus the client thinks that he/she is REALLY getting their money’s worth, what with all the ranting/screaming/railing, despite the fact that the ranting attorney (and judge and bailiff and clerks and indeed all attorneys in the court) knows full fucking well that:
  1. there is only ONE possible outcome,
  2. nothing you do will change (1),
  3. but because your enemy supports (1), you must oppose it,
  4. which also means you have to convince your constituency (or client) that (1) is EVIL and you are GOOD for opposing (1), when in reality
  5. your constituents (clients) will actually benefit from (1), and
  6. they will receive these benefits no matter how big of jackass you are.

Have Your Cake and Action Figure, Too...

Soup.

I really love making soup. LOVE it. It is easy, makes your whole house smell like a good place to be, and it is pretty hard to screw it up. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to make soup because there are so many tasty root and bulb vegetables in season. Also, there is the cold. So, since our local grocery had some pretty sexy looking cauliflower and parsnips, I decided to make Cream of Cauliflower and Parsnip soup.

I don’t really use recipes when I make soups so much as a suggested ingredient list. First, when I make cream-based soups with pureed vegetables, I find that you really don’t need that much cream at all. Basically, I used a stick of butter, 3 small bulbs of shallots, one medium onion, three leeks, a good-sized head of cauliflower, about a pound of parsnips, 4 cups of chicken stock, fresh bay leaves, fresh thyme, about a cup of cream, some grated parm/reg, a pinch of powdered dried chipotle (because the parsnips are pretty sweet) and salt and pepper to taste. I use both ground black and white pepper when making soups.

Chop all your veg.

Mis - soup

Make sure to soak the chopped leeks in water rather than just rinse them. They are dirty, dirty veg.

Dirty, Sexy Leeks

Sweat the onion and shallots in a dutch over or big pot over med-low heat in the butter. Yes the whole stick. Don’t be such a pansy. Add the fresh herbs and S&P. Add the leek, re-season, put the lid on and let the veg soften completely. Add the stock, bring it up to boiling, add the cauli and parsnips, re-season, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on, and go do something else for a while. I folded laundry and drank some wine. Okay, and ate some chocolate.

Almost Soup

When the veg are COMPLETELY soft, turn off the heat. Puree in blender or food pro in small batches and put pureed portions in a separate bowl. Now PAY ATTENTION here unless you want to burn the living shit out of yourself and spend 47 minutes cleaning crap off of your ceiling. When you put hot substances into a blender, DO NOT PUSH THE LID ON. Catch that? Because the heat plus the motion of the blades will blow the top off of your blender unless you have it vented somehow. And no, it is NOT a good idea to just remove the oil cap. Instead, carefully place the lid on the top of the blender without smooshing it down and hold it in place. You can even drape a dish cloth over the top – just make sure to hold the lid in place because it WILL push up. Also, do not ever fill the blender vessel more than 1/3-ish.

When you are done with this and/or have tended to all your burns, return the whole pureed lot back to the original pot. Add your cream SLOWLY. Then your powdered chile and cheese, taste and re-season as needed. I sometimes add a couple of slices of crumbled bacon. Keep over low ’til you are ready to eat it.

Cream of Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup. And Maybe Some Bacon.

We had this with some totally old-school BLTs.

OMGBLT!

Oatmeal Cookies Are Little Plops of Love

Thought I would end the day with a foodie post. Here is my *exclusive* recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies:

Love Plops

SFL SUPREME OATMEAL COOKIES

  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar – baker’s grind*
  • 1 and 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella spread
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind
  • 3 cups of Quaker “Quick” (one-minute) oats
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips.

This recipe take about 15 minutes to make, plus an additional 30 to 70 minutes to bake depending upon how many cookies you put in the oven at a time.  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the brown sugar, then the white sugar and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.  Stir in vanilla.  Stir in Nutella and beat until mixture is smooth and fully combined.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat for one minute.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange rind, then stir in oats.  Add all of dry mixture to sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Add the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate and stir until combined.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Use Silpats for best results.  Bake at 350º for ten minutes.  Let the cookies cool completely on a baking rack.

*If you cannot find baker’s sugar, simply process regular granulated sugar in a food processor until it feels like soft sand when you rub it.

You Know What I Like?

Pie. Sweet, sweet pie. Here are some SFL pie pics to brighten your day. First, Ginger Pear Pie:

Ginger Pear Pie

Next, traditional Thanksgiving pies that my Nannie taught me how to make. I also credit her with teaching me how to properly roll pastry. The important part is that you take the scraps, wrap them around a paperclip on a string tied to a stick, and then fish for minnows.

Butterscotch and Chocolate Pies

Here is the Mommy Apple Walnut Pie and the baby pie (which I think really had bananas and Nutella in it):

Mother and Child

And here, truly the sexiest pie of all, the lemon meringue pie (which reminds – I need to do a post on meringue!):

Lemon Meringue Pie

What? Need a little more?

Yummmmmm.....

….And It Is Sufganiyot With The WIN!!!

YAY!!! I get to make something that is filled with awesomeness AND fried! Check it out:

SUFGANIYOT

In general news, my Clan did the decorating and tree thing today, and I had BOTH prosecco AND the nog, so I am quite tipsy. Hope you all had a GREAT weekend!!! ‘Til next time, gaze upon this deliciousness:

Spritz!

Palate Cleanser

Behold! The healing power of meat:

Mmmmmmmmeat!

Or, for the non-carnivorous, some sweet potato gnocchi:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Stand For More Ridiculous Histrionics From the Dominant Culture

Oh boy. Here we go again. The War On the Imaginary War On Christmas has escalated the interweb hand-wringing. Check out standforchristmas.com, a site that has been brought to you by the outstanding folks at Focus on the Family. As the site informs:

Millions upon millions in our nation deeply value the great truths of Christmas and the holiday’s inspiring place in American life and culture. We hope you will take a moment to “Stand for Christmas” by sharing feedback about your Christmas shopping experiences.

We’re asking YOU to decide which retailers are “Christmas-friendly.” They want your patronage and your gift-shopping dollars, but do they openly recognize Christmas?

Participants are asked to indicate whether a particular retailer is “Christmas-Friendly,” “Christmas-negligent,” or “Christmas-offensive.”  Readers should know that “Christmas-friendly” does not mean merely that a store does business with one who celebrates Christmas; nor does “Christmas-offensive” mean that a store has taken an action that is hostile toward one who celebrates Christmas.

No no no! For example, check out the following review of Banana Republic:

Comment Date: Nov 28 2009 10:13 AM

Rating: Christmas-Offensive

Comment: I clicked on their ad and used their search function. Typing in “Christmas gifts” I got “Holiday gifts.” Narrowing my search, I typed in “Christmas” and got “0 results for this search.” They will get the same number of purchases from me.

If one does not use the word “Christmas,” then one is offensive.  Likewise, simply acknowledging another religion’s holiday is offensive to those who observe Christmas. Most people have probably heard about the shitstorm over Best Buy. You can see the full story, as well as the HORRIBLY OFFENSIVE AND ANTI-CHRISTIAN ad here.

Wanna know what the bigots at Stand for Christmas think? Oh you know you do!

Comment Date: Dec 1 2009 6:27 AM

Rating: Christmas-Offensive

Comment: We purchased $2000.00 of computer equipment in June & were planning to purchase a Net book & wii system for Christmas. However, I found the Thanksgiving ad celebrating the Muslim holiday offensive. I am disappointed in Best Buy and intend to make my CHRISTMAS purchases & all other puchases in the future elsewhere. I only wish I had known in June-I would have spent that money elsewhere also. I think Best Buy should reconsider their policy!!

Comment Date: Nov 30 2009 9:58 AM

Rating: Christmas-Offensive

Comment: Who on earth do these people have in their marketing department? The number one rule of marketing is to promote your items to people who will buy them. I understand that Eid al-Adha was the day after Thanksgiving, but I don’t buy presents for that holiday any more than I would for Thanksgiving. Like the majority of Americans, I buy *Christmas* presents in honor of the gift God gave to us in the form of Jesus Christ. However, I will NOT be buying them from Best Buy this year. I will Christmas shop ONLY at stores that promote Christmas!!!

Comment Date: Nov 30 2009 7:33 AM

Rating: Christmas-Offensive

Comment: Christmas Negligent AND Offensive, Best Buy. Shame on you. I have purchased much from you each CHRISTMAS Season,but not this year!This is too much for us to grasp–WHY do you feel it important to give good wishes to the Muslim community, and at the same time offend so many Christians and Americans. Maybe you need to reconsider having your business in America. May God help you reconsider your stance.

And just in case this isn’t sufficient righteous indignation, please check the full-strength unfiltered crazy here and here.

So, apparently, in order to be considered “Christmas-friendly,” a retailer must overtly and explicitly recognize Christmas in advertising, personnel interaction, and store decorations and said recognition better be happening by Thanksgiving. In addition, a retailer CANNOT recognize any other religious holidays and must understand that the only event of any importance occurring after Thanksgiving is Christmas.  Furthermore, if a retailer fails to acknowledge Christmas as separate from and superior to all other religious events, then that retailer is patently offensive to christianity.

Good grief, people. What the fuck more do you want? Oh yeah – total control, I forgot. Can’t you just settle for being the dominant culture and leave the rest of us in peace? Oops – forgot that “peace” is offensive, too.

One of My Reasons for the Season

Stromboli Fun

Our most recent Demand-A-Dish winner was STROMBOLI. And I would like to thank you all for choosing the easiest dish on that list to make. Basically, stromboli is rolled up pizza — with some key distinctions. The first distinction:  work your pizza dough like a bread dough rather than a pizza dough. In other words, soften the yeast, knead the dough, and let it rise. I used a tweaked version of my pizza dough recipe:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parm-reg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Soften (proof) the yeast in the warm water and honey in pre-warmed bowl. In mixing bowl (yes, a different bowl), stir remaining ingredients (except for olive oil). Use only two cups of flour at this point, you can add more later if you want. When yeast mixture is all nice and foamy, add and the olive oil to to flour mixture and stir or beat with dough hook ’til fully combined.

Stromboli dough

Add more flour if you wish. Hand-knead for 8 minutes or machine-knead for 4. Dough should be VERY soft and glossy, but still hold a ball. Let rise is a warm place (like your oven; c.f., the insides of a recently-killed tauntaun – which, by the way, is now available in sleeping bag form) ’til doubled.

Remove dough from oven (or tauntaun corpse) and preheat to at least 485. Divide dough in two and roll out 1/2 into a large rectangle approx. 1/4 inch thick. Cut in two. Spread with whatever fillings you want and roll up tightly. Which brings me to the second distinction – don’t overfill the stromboli. And traditionally, a stromboli does NOT use a sauce. I did. What of it? I used tomato sauce, chicken sausage and provolone in some, pesto, sausage and mozz in others.

they see me rollin'

Bake for about 30 minutes or so or until they look done. Like this:

Stromboliolioli

Yumminess of the Lambs

Oh YES. Time to catch up on the food aspect of this blog. I am now 3 behind in recipe/proof posts. Yes, I know. I suck. Whatever. Let’s talk lamb…

I had originally planned to to a lamb korma. I ended up going with a much hotter rogan josh. I used this recipe as a base (thanks to GogoBoots for the heads up to this very awesome blog), though I made some changes.  I added juice from two limes at the deglazing stage and used yummy greek yogurt (which is one of the reasons I added lime juice – greek yog is so freaking thick).  I used a whole tin of peeled san marzanos and changed the spice ratios quite a bit.

Unlike baking (where precision is mandatory if you want edible results), I generally don’t pay much attention to amounts when I am cooking. I focus on end results like taste and appearance – especially when it comes to seasoning and spices and making curries. It is surprising how much MORE you can use in cooking as opposed to baking. Ginger being a good example. I will grate as much ginger as I have on hand when cooking with it. But baking? A little goes a loooong way, as I learned in the ginger pear lattice pie episode.

Leg of Lambie-Poo

But I digress.  Back to the lamb. I have made many curries, but this is the first time that I used lamb AND the first time that I had to butcher my own leg. Note the above picture, which is NOT mine, but pretty accurately represents the state in which my lamb was at purchase. So, yeah, awesome, I must say.  Now I am entertaining fantasies about working the butcher counter of EF and learning the trade. Because it is pretty fucking clear that I need some edumacations on the process of cutting up animals.  Anyhow, I think I did a fairly decent job, all things considered. And have now added a proper knife to my xmas wish list.

Here is the searing portion of the process:

Lamb and stuff
Lamb and Stuff

And the curry-ing portion. Note that I simmered, lid on, for over an hour, as the lamb was very sinewy and, well, leg-y:

Lamb Curry

And, the end results:

lamb josh groban

…which very quickly looked like this:

mmmmm…. lambs is good

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