Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cardamom Knots!

I made cardamom bread today, but instead of making two mini braided loaves I made one mini braided loaf (with half the dough) and 3 bread-knots with the other half. It was a brilliant idea! And now I want garlic knots...

To make knots, roll a long snake of dough (at least 8 inches long), and loosely knot it. If you make it too tight the dough with stretch and split as it rises, so leave lots of space in there. No need to seal the ends-- there's no way those puppies are gonna un-knot themselves. Another fun idea is to make a pretzel roll, which involves an even longer and skinnier snake and making a loose pretzel shape (like this), in which case you'll need to stick the ends down with a bit of water or egg-wash.

I also sprinkled the knots with sugar and a little extra cardamom, which I don't usually do, but was a good idea b/c I hadn't measured the cardamom I put in the dough and it wasn't quite enough. The best thing about making cardamom knots is pulling them apart and eating them right out of the oven, which I've always kept myself from doing with the entire loaf... :-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sausage, Butternut & Gnocchi

I'm not sure where this idea came from, but it's a keeper. (And easy!)

Peel, cube and steam (until fork-tender) about half a butternut squash.
Meanwhile, crumble and fry about a pound of spicy italian sausage with half an onion, diced.
When the sausage is browned, remove it from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
Peel and thickly-slice 2 cloves garlic.
Boil water and prepare gnocchi according to package directions.
Heat remaining grease from sausage, add garlic and steamed squash cubes. Cook on medium-high until squash is lightly browned and/or begins to get squashy (er, squishy). Add back in the sausage and salt to taste.
Stir together gnocchi with sausage/squash and enjoy!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eggs Florentine

A decadent and more indulgent breakfast you will not least not today! In an effort to teach my fiancée how to poach an egg we ended up with this breakfast classic. Though it has garnered a somewhat snooty reputation, this is actually a fairly simple dish to make, and make your own at that. The basic recipe is as follows:

Stack in this order:

-Toasted English Muffin
-Sautéd Spinach
-Poached Egg

That's it. Hollandaise, a simple emulsion of egg yolks and butter, may sound scary, but I assure you, so long as you keep stirring and don't over cook it, you can't screw it up.

I will say that we added a bit of garlic and fenugreek to the spinach which gave the otherwise bland vegetable a bit of a kick. All around it was a terrific learning experience and a completely delicious success.