Friday, February 12, 2010

Bye Bye Brioche!


Its a slightly misleading title, but what I really mean is "bye bye old, quick and easy recipe for brioche". With all due respect to the folks at Cooks Illustrated, Dorie Greenspans recipe kicks their behind far and beyond to another galaxy.

I'm never usually in a rush to eat brioche right away and dont mind letting the dough sit overnight for far more buttery delicious goodness. The hands on time is relatively the same. Although I must admit that this time around there was a lot of unnecessary hand kneading. Why? Because my Kitchenaid stand mixer died on me!! I dont understand how! I've had it for about 2 years but dont nearly use it as much as I should... nonetheless it happened. The hubby couldn't deal with the cries of disbelief and subsequent pouting, so replaced it the very next day with a brand spanking new professional version. I've been too intimidated to wrestle the 3 cubic foot box, so its been sitting there on the living room floor for a while now. I should get it out soon, I have to make some more brioche dough so I can make these sticky buns again, just toooo good! I've been eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner 2 days in a row...they are that good (and yes, I do tend to overdo things, but just a bit ;) ). Make sure you have a glass of ice cold milk handy, you'll need it to cut through the sweetness. Enjoy!

Brioche dough (recipe makes for 2 batches of sticky buns)

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup lukewarm whole milk
3 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 large eggs at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp

Put yeast, milk and water in the bowl of stand mixer and stir till yeast dissolves. Add the flour and salt. Attach the bowl to the mixer and pulse for 20 seconds. Dough will be very shaggy and dry. Beat in the eggs one by one till fully incorporated and then add sugar. Beat on medium just till a ball is formed (I tried following the recipe to the t and tried kneading the dough ball for 2 additional minutes when my mixer died!). Reduce the speed to low (or in my case, throw caution into the air and get your fingers in) and add the butter in 2 tbsp chunks till all the butter is used up. You will end up with a very runny dough, don't be afraid you're on the right track. Transfer the dough to a greased clean bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, punching it down periodically. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Or freeze dough in a ziplock bag with excess air removed for about 3 months.

For the sticky buns

1/2 the dough from above

For the glaze

1 cup granulated sugar (Dorie asks for light brown sugar but I was out)
1 stick butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup cashew nuts (D says pecans)

For Filling

1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp salted butter
1 cup of raisins

Making the glaze

Melt butter, sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the honey. Pour the mixture onto a greased ovenproof 9x13 pan. And then sprinkle the nuts over it.

Making the buns:

Roll the dough out, roughly into a rectangle about 1 mm thick. Spread the 3 tbsp of the salted butter over the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar and raisins over the dough. Roll it along its longest edge to get a nice long log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces and arrange them on the pan with the honey glaze and nuts. Let the buns rise in a warm place for about an hour or till doubled in size. Bake in a 375 preheated oven for 30 minutes. Once the buns are out of the oven, let them sit for 20 minutes. Then place a platter over the still hot baking pan (use oven mitts!) and flip the baking pan over the platter. Serve sticky buns warm with whipped cream or a glass of milk.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken enchilada soup for a snow day lunch

We've been getting a lot of snow around here lately, record breaking amounts in fact. Warnings have been issued to allow only emergency vehicles on the roads. My window and the street outside are covered by this thick fluffy blanket of pristine snow. So beautiful. Its the perfect weather for a bowl of piping hot and spicy chicken enchilada soup and a grilled cheese sandwich dunker.
Chicken enchilada soup

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 small yellow onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 of a chicken breast (chopped to small bitesize cubes)
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp of salt
1 red pepper deseeded and cut into strips (or you can chop depending on your preference)
1 yellow pepper deseeded and cut into strips
2 cups of frozen roasted corn kernels (I used the Trader Joes brand, but can be substituted with regular corn kernels)
1 small can white lima beans (substitute with black beans or cannellini beans)
1 tbsp of tomato paste
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp sour cream (or more to taste, substitute with heavy cream or even whole milk yogurt)
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil

Add about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to a medium to large sauce pan. Turn on heat to medium. Add cumin seeds to the oil. Let them fry for a few seconds, then add onions and garlic. Cook till the onions are soft making sure the garlic doesnt burn, turn down heat if necessary. Add the chicken, salt, cumin powder and chili powder. Fry till the chicken is cooked through. Add the tomato paste, peppers, corn and beans (you can add other veggies like zucchini if you prefer) . Stir fry for about a minute. Add the chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and seasoning accordingly (as in more chili powder). Mix in the cream just before serving. Garnish with cilantro if you like (I do, but ran out). Enjoy hot. Soup tastes even better the next day when the flavors have time to meld. Leftovers freeze nicely too.