Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bodacious Buns

To have bodacious buns you have to put in a little work. It might be easier to crack open a can of pre made cinnamon buns, you might have even convinced yourself they are just like  homemade but lets face it, they are not even close!

Burn off a few calories making them, maybe put in an extra yoga or spin session and gobble them up on Easter morning. Your family will taste the difference and these will become a family tradition. I will not go on a rant about how disgusted I get by people that use  the phrase ” Its just family”…… really ? Treat them to these absolutely delicious, sticky, bodacious cinnamon rolls, throw in a mimosa and you will have a smiling, lip smacking, happy family♥

Prep the rolls one or two days ahead of the day you want to gobble them up, wolf them down or savor the spicy, sweet, sticky goodness of them.

If you have a bread machine you can make the sweet dough in that, it will save you a lot of time but if not here is what you do.

Sweet Dough:

Use a stand mixer using the dough hook for mixing the dough. You may use a food processor fitted with the standard chopping or the dough blade. pulse to blend.

2/3 cup Organic  whole milk

6 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast

2 large free range, organic eggs, room temperature

3 cups Organic unbleached all-purpose white flour ( Bob’s Red Mill is my favorite)

1 tsp. salt

1 stick butter ( 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 8 pieces.

Using a small sauce pan over medium heat heat the milk until 100 degrees, it should be at a slight simmer with tiny bubbles around the edge of the sauce pan. use an instant read thermometer to check the temp, if it is too hot it will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise. Transfer to a 2 cup glass bowl and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the sugar. stir and then sprinkle the yeast over the top and whisk to blend. The yeast will foam up and be ready in about 5 minutes. add the eggs and then whisk the mixture until smooth.

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combine the remaining sugar, the flour and the salt in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the milk & yeast mixture. With the mixer running add the butter one piece at a time until it is all incorporated. Blend well after each piece. Knead the dough for 6 minutes on Medium speed until the dough is silky and soft. It will have a pale yellow shine to it.

Brush a medium glass bowl with some melted butter and place the sweet dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap.

sweet dough in the glass bowl

Chill the dough two hours then proceed with the bodacious buns recipe or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.. You  may make the dough up to two days ahead of time. Remove the sweet dough from the refrigerator three hours before you plan to assemble the buns.

Bodacious Buns Recipe:

Make either the day before and refrigerate until three hours before you plan to serve them.

This is the time to take out the sweet dough to bring it  to room temperature( 2 hours) if you made it the night before and refrigerated it.

topping ingredients:

8 ounces chopped pecans

1 coarsely chopped, peeled Granny smith apple

1 stick unsalted butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar ( packed)

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest

Buns:

2 coarsely chopped Granny Smith apples. peeled.

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

Sweet dough

1/2 cup all- purpose flour

2 large egg yolks

course sea salt

to make the topping:

toast the pecans for fine minutes at 350 degrees  spread them flat on a cookie sheet. Do not burn them…. Let cool completely. Set 3/4 of them aside for the buns.

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the glaze is golden brown and glossy. It should look like caramel . This take about 5 minutes.

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Pour one cup of the glaze into the bottom of a large round glass pie plate and swirl it around to coat the sides. Sprinkle 1/4 reserved pecans on the bottom of the pie along with the apple pieces and  put this aside.

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 Bodacious Buns filling mixture:

Using your stand mixer beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Set aside

To assemble the buns:

If the dough has been refrigerated then make sure you have brought it to room temperature.. Punch the dough down and transfer to your floured work surface.. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Roll the dough so that the long edge faces you .Spread the cinnamon -sugar mixture over the rectangle of dough. sprinkle the remaining pecans over this mixture and then spread the coarsely chopped apple over the nuts.

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Beginning with the long edge roll the dough into a log, tightening as you roll and patting the ends. Pinch the seam together where the roll ends. Arrange the roll seam side down and cut into 6-8 equal pieces. Place the buns cut side up into the prepared pan, spacing them evenly apart. They should only touch slightly. Brush with the beaten egg yolk, lightly on top.

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Place the buns in the preheated 350 degree oven. bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbling up around the edges. ( the buns will register 180- 185 degrees in the center when done) . This takes from 50-60 minutes. Let cool ten minutes in the pan. Place a large flat plate over the rolls and invert them onto the plate. Spoon the extra sauce from the pie plate onto the rolls. Enjoy!

Be a Little Bonkers this weekend! Give away your smile as often as possible!ible.

If you are following along on my blog then you know I am dedicated to my Ashtanga yoga practice. As much as I love the actual practice , the intensity and joy it brings, I love my teacher the most! Diana Christianson is one of those people that just “beams”. From the first day I walked into her Shala I felt connected to her. Today I have to share a bit of our weekly conference that Diana starts every class with.

One of her three quotes that she shared today from “Alice in Wonderland”

Alice: ” do you think I’ve gone around the bend?”

The Mad-hatter: “I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are,”

When I think of the people I like to spend time with they are usually the ones that don’t take life so seriously! They can laugh at themselves and make me laugh at myself. I always feel so much better when I share a good laugh with a friend or my kids or my husband.

I am reading a book right now called “Living with the Heart of a Budda” and one of the mental images in the book is to imagine parts of your body as a smile. So when you close your eyes to meditate on a certain part of the body you see that body part smiling. Think of your belly area. Most people spendlotsof time not liking their bellies but If you picture a smile forming from hip bone to hip bone you can actually draw more breath into it. This increases the cleansing of the internal organs…. plus it just makes me smile!

so much of what I am learning in my Practice is about opening up our bodies. We spend a lot of time hunched forward, closing our shoulders around our hearts. If  instead,we pause and open up the shoulders, drop them down our spine and extend the chest  with a deep breath it immediately opens our hearts and lifts our spirit. I have tried to share wisdom with my children as they have grown but the best advice i can give is to give your smile away. Everyday!

A Lot!

You will feel better and the people you smile at and with will feel better too! Better yet, share a great big belly laugh.

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Every Hour is a Happy Hour

I spent tonight with my daughter enjoying a refreshing drink I mixed up with some ingredients from my local Whole Foods! We both looked at each other with delight after the first sip! Enjoy this tasty and crisp cocktail to kick off the Spring season!

What you will need:

Ice

1 cucumber

1 Meyer lemon

Bottle of LAMBRUSCO DELL’EMILIA BIANCO White Wine or any crisp white winewinelabel

Bottle of Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Liqueur Cucumber

liqueur label

Bottle of Adam Seger’s Bar Keep Swedish Herbs Organic Aromatic Bitters

bitters

To Mix:

Drop 2 ice cubes in glass, add 3 shakes of the bitters, add 1 jigger of Cucumber Liqueur and top with the LAMBRUSCO wine.

Give it a quick stir and add 2 slices of cucumber along with a squeeze of lemon!

Sit back and Enjoy!

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Weekend Garden Project

There is not a lot of things better than growing your own food. Going to the backyard and picking fresh produce to have for your meal. I love having my green juice ingredients right in my backyard!

My hubby and I have had a garden in our back yard for about 5 years. Scott has a green thumb to say the least! He was a horticulture major at U.C. Davis when we met and had a landscape design company for the first ten years we were married. We have had a few good years and a couple bad so this year we decided to build raised redwood planter boxes. We figured out that the increased space and better soil would give us double the vegetables we had been getting and  they would also better quality. I found the planter box idea in a Sunset Gardening magazine ” Small -Space Edible Gardening”.

Page 32 gave us detailed instructions to make one 8×4 box. It was not quite as easy as the directions said( Go Figure) but we managed to get four boxes built on Saturday( and we did not have to use one as a coffin to bury the other who did not survive building together!) The bliss of partner projects!! Any way I have attached pictures of the finished boxes and I planted my tomatoes Sunday. I will share the rest as we go along and also all of the beautiful recipes I will make from our produce. I will be planting Japaneses eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon radishes, peppers( hot and sweet), leeks, kale, lettuce, arugula. squash, cilantro, chives,and baby carrots. All of my seeds come from Seeds Of Change. They are heirloom seeds and are No GMO! We filled the planters with and organic vegetable soil mix from a large soil supplier in the area.

As long as you have two drills, one for pre drilling the screw holes and then one ready to put in the screw, you will be fine. Also our neighbor Todd gave us a great tip for drilling in wood screws” rub the screw with wax first, they went in like butter! happy gardening ♥

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Recipe for the last salad post!

somehow the recipe I attached dropped off on my last post!

I bought everything at whole foods, including the wine and beer we are drinking!

Grocery list, amounts will vary according to how many people you are feeding.

smoked salmon or the alder wood smoked salmon spread in the fish department.

cucumbers

heirloom tomatoes

spring mix or arugula

olive mix from the deli section

free range organic eggs

baby potatoes, Weiser Farm if they have them!

Pretzel rolls from the bakery

Irish Cheddar cheese

Pre made vinaigrette but only if  if you are not making my citrus vinaigrette from a previous post I did.

The night before; Boil the baby potatoes until tender, put into a storage bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Refrigerate until the next day,

Deviled Eggs: boil one egg per person

Best foods mayo, Dijon,salt, pepper, celery seed, chives

put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. add i tsp. salt. bring to a boil and then cook for ten minutes. Set the timer if you have to..

Once the eggs are done pour off the hot water and cover with cold water to cool. when you can handle them peel off the shell, rinsing with cold water as you go to remove all shell pieces. Cut the eggs lengthwise in half. set the white aside. mash the yolks with a bit of mayo to get a rough mix then add in a dash of Dijon. continue to add mayo and Dijon to the amount of yolks you have cooked until you get a nice smooth consistency. add the salt& pepper to taste. sprinkle celery seed and chives over the top to garnish..

Plate the salad on your prettiest plates and garnish with the deviled eggs,a pretzel roll and a wedge of cheddar. CHEERS!

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Wearing o’ the Green

Top of the morning to you all! I have been down with a bad sinus infection and cold , I guess eating super clean does not exempt you from getting sick. Maybe my immune system is cleansing too! In honor of St. Patrick’s day I thought I would share some Irish wisdom and a great recipe.

I saw this quote by Oscar Wilde scrolled so uniquely on this gorgeous back and I had to share it, talk about wearing o’ the green! If anybody as a people and a culture know how to enjoy life it is the Irish. Their history fascinates you with legends and fairy tales, they are always willing to pause and tell a story too! When you read back in history there are stories of the great wandering storytellers who roamed about and received food and shelter if they would share their stories with the people . Whatever house the storyteller stopped at would become the party that night , everyone gathering and sharing. I can see the kids fascinated with big eyes, a roaring fire blazing in the hearth and plenty of Irish(whiskey) being poured in the glass…..toasty inside and out right?  

Another quote I love also by Oscar Wilde, ” Never love anybody who treats you like you are ordinary.”

A reminder to all of us how unique we are but also how special the people we love are and to not treat them as ordinary either, it works both ways. The following recipe will help you celebrate Irish style with food that is not ordinary, with the extraordinary people you choose to party with! Love yourself today and in doing so you will beam with love and those around you will be hit by the sunshine.

Dinner should include:  great food, hearty drink, tons of laughter & BIG stories, after all it is the day for it and the best of friends, maybe even new best friends!

Supply List: Jameson’s Irish Whisky, Guinness, 2 pounds Organic bay potatoes, 2 pounds assorted root vegetables (to include, turnips, parsnips, carrots,onions and garlic ), malt vinegar, parsley, 2 pounds organic grass fed beef ( large cubed chuck). pastry dough, either homemade or Pillsbury. this will make six pasties.

We re going to make pasties! They are my favorite Irish meal. A wonderful savory meat pie that is filled with all of these goodies and served broken open and sprinkled with malt vinegar..Yummy! You can also make them vegetarian if you like.

Prep: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

prepare your pastry crust with your favorite recipe or use Pillsbury all ready made pie crusts, a great short cut! You will need one 6 inch round for each pastry.

Peel all of the root vegetables and cut into 1/2″ cubes.

Minced the garlic and chopped the onion into small dice.

Coarsely chop the parsley and set aside.

If using the meat, cut into 1′ pieces and season by sprinkling with sea salt and coarse black pepper.

 

add 2 Tbsp. canola oil to a medium hot skillet,add the onions and slowly brown for two to three minutes. add the garlic and stir into the onions, be careful not to burn it, adjust the heat if you have to. Add  the  cubed meat and brown on all sides, letting a small crust form before you mix it around in the pan. When all of the meat is cooked add in the chopped veggies , except for the parsley. stir it well and cook for about three minutes until all the veggies are coated with the pan juices. remove from heat and let cool for about ten minutes. When you are ready to assemble the pasties add the fresh parsley and salt and pepper to the vegetables& meat mixture. Scoop 1 cup of the meat mixture into the middle of the pie crust and fold the top over the bottom edge to form a half moon. roll and crimp the edges to seal the pie.Do this for as many as you are making . Brush the tops with egg yolk for a rich golden color. Make four small slits in the top of each pie before you bake them. bake for approx. 30 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning of the crust. While you are waiting make a bountiful green salad to serve with these. Maybe a great Irish cheese platter with olive and soda bread too!

Serve warm, sprinkled with malt vinegar. They can be made ahead and re heated once you are all ready to eat..Enjoy!

And drink a toast to the Chef, Jameson’s of course!

side note: day 27 of the resurrection cleanse

 

 

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19 Days of Cleansing and Menupause

Yes it has been 19 days of cleansing and detoxing ..wow! I really do feel great. I would say the hardest part is dealing with other people’s hang ups about cleansing & raw food. Everyone has an opinion, usually negative. Why do people react like I am judging them? I am doing something different but it is about me. The whole cleanse started as a commitment for Lent. I wanted to achieve something significant at the end of forty days. I have done given up sweets, alcohol, saying the “f” word, being negative, and whatever else I judged myself on over the many years of Lenting but they did not seem BIG enough this year for me. Instead of deprivation I am looking for inspiration hence the resurrection cleanse.

So my question today is why do people get so emotional about other peoples choices? They must think that they need to change too. Why else? I am shining a spotlight into my own health and if that inspires you to try something new today that is great, if not, and you just think I am wacky well then your right about that too! The cleansing starts as physical but rapidly becomes emotional. I am very attached to food! I love being a chef! I love creating menus and feeding people. I have enjoyed an amazing identity as Chef Cathy but my life changed very suddenly in last month when I was told that I no longer had a job in my kitchen at What A Dish. I was devastated and delighted at the same time. I have other projects that I want to work on but I was not ready to let Chef Cathy go yet…I wanted to do it on my time not someone else. the truth is this.. God knows what he is doing and I need to get my Self out of the way and by self I mean EGO.

I am so much more than the kitchen and food. I am a wife, mom, friend,rowdy dog walker, yoga loving, spinning lady with so many joys in a day it makes me laugh out loud! I coined a new word today for my new found freedom…Menupause…. and that makes sense to me and I am having fun with it.