November 23, 2011

Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Glaze

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
For the entire recipe
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed, 5-1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1-3/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12-1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
3-4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Combine Cinnamon-Sugar filling ingredients in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.
3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in small bowl. Add liquid to flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed and just combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy, about 5 minutes.
4. Roll dough into approximately a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough.
5.Using bench scraper, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal.
6. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. Turn pieces onto it’s side so spiral pattern faces up. Slightly flatten each piece of dough with palm to seal open edges and keep filling in place.
7. Place one roll in center of prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25-28 minutes. Cool buns in pan for 5 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan; without separating.
8. Place plate on top and invert buns onto plate. Place another plate on the now inverted buns and flip it over, so it’s right-side up. Continue to cool for 5 minutes before icing.
9. While buns are cooling, whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in small bowl until thick and smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Drizzle glaze evenly over buns; serve while warm or at room temperature.

November 16, 2011

Cider-Spiced Apple Pie

Basically, just a good old fashioned apple pie.  Yum 


  • 1 recipe  Pie Crust or 1 pkg. (14.1-oz.) refrigerated piecrust (2 crusts)
  • 3 lbs. braeburn apples (about 7)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. ground mulling spices
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Roll out the piecrusts into two 12-inch rounds. Fit 1 round in a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate the prepared pie plate and the second crust until ready to fill.
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples into 3/8-inch-thick slices. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, sugar, cornstarch, mulling spices and salt. Spoon the mixture into the prepared piecrust, pouring any juices on top. Dot with the butter and cover with the second piecrust. Crimp the edges of the 2 crusts together. Brush the top of the pie lightly with the egg white, sprinkle with a little sugar and cut 3 vents in the top.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the pie on top and bake until the top is golden and the filling is simmering, about 50 minutes.

Basic Pie Crust


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 6 tbsp. chilled vegetable shortening
  • Ice water


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter and shortening until most of it is the size of peas.
    Drizzle 1/2 cup ice water on top and stir together with a fork. Stir in more ice water 1 tbsp. at a time until the dough is slightly moist but not wet.(Test by pinching some of the dough; if it doesn't hold together, add more water.)
    Gather the dough into a ball, then divide in half, forming each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
    Let the chilled dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each disk of dough, as needed, into a 12- to 13-inch round, working from the center out and away from you, dusting lightly with flour and rotating the dough as needed to keep the circle even.

Warm Brussel Sprout Salad w/ Pecans & Cranberries

10 2


  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a small baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, clean and prepare brussell sprouts by cutting off the root end, halve them lengthwise and shred crosswise with a very sharp knife.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. 
  4. Add the brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and cook, tossing well, until crisp-tender, about  5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the toasted walnuts, cranberries and maple syrup
  6. Serve warm

November 1, 2011

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. I learned about Spaghetti alla Carbonara from a college friend,  whose dad loved to cook.  He was an airline pilot and would be gone from home for large stretches of time.  When he would arrive back home,  it was always a time to celebrate  with a great feast.  One of the dishes he loved to prepare was carbonara.  I like to make it with linguini...I just prefer that to a spaghetti noodle.  I have tried it with fresh peas and with asparagus to give it some freshness and crunch.   Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce. Work quickly when adding the egg want a creamy consistency, not scrambled eggs. 

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti or linguini noodle
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed  red pepper
  • 1/2 pound bacon,sliced in 1 in.pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh chopped basil
  • Optional- Fresh peas or asparagus


  1. Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente.")
  3. Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. 
  5. Add the bacon and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic and shallot into the fat with the crushed red pepper and saute for  about  1 minute to soften.  Add cream. Stir.
  6. Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and GENTLY toss for 1 minute to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.
  7. Whisk the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Add cooked pasta and gently toss. Add optional vegetable.  Pour  into pan with the bacon and cream.  Coat and heat through. 
  8.  Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and salt. 
  9. Mound the pasta into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped basil.
Serve with Ceasar salad and a loaf of crusty bread.  
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