Cinnamon rolls

12 09 2009

When I was a kid, my mother made biscuits literally every weekend. Once, my dad and I tried to figure out how many biscuits my mother had made, and I can’t remember the number but it was a lot. She really, really likes biscuits. So do I.

However, once in awhile, she’d use biscuit dough to make cinnamon rolls. Sounds weird, right? Well, I’m impatient (you may have noticed a trend what with the never chilling anything or planning more than 30 minutes ahead what I am cooking) and these are delicious, and everyone who eats them wants the recipe. I’ve made my own tweaks and so, without further ado, I give you delicious quick cinnamon rolls.

Donna’s Cinnamon Rolls

  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 4.5 tsp baking powder (I added an extra 1/2 tsp this time, and it really made a great difference in texture)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4c butter (heh)
  • 1c whole milk

for the streusel:

  • about 1c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 450F. Butter a 9-in round cake pan (I use a springform because I love springform pans). Mix dry ingredients; cut in your butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the milk all at once; stir until dough just comes together.

Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and pat – don’t use a rolling pin – the dough into a rectangle that’s about 3/4inch thick.

Mix the flour, cinnamon and brown sugar together and cut in the butter; spread most of the streusel mix evenly atop the dough, reserving a bit for topping. Carefully roll up the dough rectangle, and cut into slices about 2 or 2.5 inches thick. Put the rolls into the cake pan; they should be very close but not actually touching. You want them to kind of all grow together while baking so the edges don’t get all hard and weird. I always feel like I’m chewing on one of those dough Christmas ornaments when I don’t make them this way. You should probably know I did that a lot as a child (but then again, I also liked mint so much I ate toothpaste until my mom threatened me with nothing but baking soda ever again). Top with the remaining streusel, patting a bit down atop each roll.

Put your cinnamon rolls in the oven for about 15-20 min, or until puffy and golden. Cool for 5-10 mins and be sure to cut them apart or they’ll just fall into a bunch of crumbs.


Oh yes, also

12 09 2009

I am painting again. This belongs to Liz, because Liz is awesome.

Some things never get old

12 09 2009

Like soup, salad, and good bread!

So I mentioned the no-more-photos quandary to my dear friend Patrick, and he told me to quit being so fussy and just snap a damn picture. Good advice! I took a quickie with my iPhone so you can be just jealous enough to try this recipe. I rounded up the recipe for the salad from eat the right stuff and got a rough idea of what I was doing on the gazpacho from another blog, though I didn’t really follow the recipe.

Hatch Chile Gazpacho

  • 1 hatch chile pepper, mild (I bought a spare to use for garnishing; you only need a 3 or 4 slices garnish for each serving, but the leftovers can always get thrown in some eggs with cheese and Cholula)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (sorry, sorry, do something with the extra half, it can’t be that bad)
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 slice bread (I used a roasted garlic and jack cheese, mmm), soaked in
  • 1/2c stock (I use, at the suggestion of the inimitable Orangette, Imagine’s No-Chicken Broth, because it doesn’t taste like much)
  • 1 seedless/English/Canadian/whateverthefuck your grocery is calling it today cucumber (the one with ridges, in plastic wrap), peeled
  • 1 large tomater!
  • salt to taste

Put the peppers, green onion, basil and garlic in your food processor and process until extremely finely chopped. Wee, tiny pieces. Add lemon juice, olive oil, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar; process until it starts to puree. Add the bread and stock and puree. Add tomato and cucumber; here you get to make your own choices. Sam likes hers pureed and thusly I puree it. Others like it a little chunky. This is why I tell you to wait to the end to add the cuke and tomato, because these are the things you would want chunks of. It’s like a choose your own adventure story, except the ending is always that you eat gazpacho. Add salt to taste (I used, I think, somewhat less than a teaspoon). Chill for as long as you have; I hear 2 hours is the minimum, but I don’t plan very well, so mine chilled more like half an hour. Oops. Garnish with a few slices of hatch pepper and be sure to serve with a few pieces of crusty bread!

Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Salad

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1/4c pine nuts, toasted (it is possible, just possible, that I forgot to toast these. Eh.)
  • salad greens (I used a spring mix or whatever, I’m not picky. It’s green. Put it in my face.)
  • Small log of Montchevre goat cheese (I like this brand because it’s mild and creamy and not too expensive and mmmmmmmm)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • heaping 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss yer sweet potaters in olive oil with the minced garlic and the chili flakes; roast in the oven for about 30 min, until tender and slightly browned at the edges. Put on a plate to cool and put the peppers in the pan as well (add a little more olive oil if you’re worried there’s not enough left over) and roast for about 20min. See how I just saved you a pan? You’re welcome.

While the warm foods cool, mix up your salad dressing, put some greens on a plate, pinch off a bunch of goat cheese for each salad (or just a little, if you’re a wuss, but I like as much as I can put on there without seeming like I have a problem), etc. Once they’re around room temp or slightly, slightly warmer, arrange the potatoes and peppers atop the salad greens, sprinkle with pine nuts and goat cheese, and drizzle with your vinaigrette. Eat!

A quick weeknight recipe

1 09 2009

Okay guys. I hope you can all forgive me for this (har har) but I probably won’t often post photos anymore – I stayed away for so long because I realized I detest making everyone STOP and wait for me to take a photograph of a plate before I serve dinner. Half the reason I love cooking is that I get to share it with others and make them happy, and I end up feeling sort of neurotic and removed from that sense of community when I have to photograph everything. So, this will mostly just be recipes, but that’s okay with me, because mainly my friends and family read this anyhow.

Without further ado, this is a delicious casserole I made once awhile back and again last night. It rules. Please try it. Normally I don’t use meat subs, but they’re great in a pinch, and if you eat meat you could easily substitute already cooked chicken (I think… I’ve been vegetarian as long as I’ve been cooking).

Cheesy Chik’n and Plantain Casserole!


4 large plantains or burro bananas, peeled
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 anaheim peppers, diced (IT IS HATCH CHILE SEASON, PLEASE USE THEM INSTEAD! They’re hotter but oh so delicious)
Olive oil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg Quorn pieces
1 tsp salt
cumin to taste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz shredded queso quesadilla (get it at the food hole, or possibly cm)

1. Slice plantains lengthwise and lay on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10min or until they start to brown (mine took more like 20). Turn the oven down to 365.
2. In the meantime, saute peppers and onions in olive oil until soft; add garlic and saute 1 min more.
3. Add the tomato sauce, quorn, salt, and cumin. Cook until bubbly and Quorn is heated through.
4. Lightly grease a casserole dish. Lay 5 plantains slices in the bottom of the dish and layer 1/2 the Quorn mix on top. Spread the beans over the quorn, and slice any left over plaintains and spread atop the beans. If you can fit all your plantains in the bottom of the dish, that’s great too! Layer on the rest of the quorn mixture, and top with the shredded cheese.
5. Bake for 30 min at 365 degrees.

NOTE: Do not be an idiot like me. Please get some kitchen gloves to dice peppers. If you don’t, you will probably get what amounts to mild chemical burns from the raw peppers. It hurts like hell and is basically the dumbest way to injure yourself ever. Leave it to me on that front.

Also: a new endeavor

5 03 2009

I had an idea awhile back, as I’ve started biking to work, and I thought I’d start posting a few pictures a week from my ride – but mainly all from one vantage: the river/the lake/the dammed-up river or whatever at Pleasant Valley. Things are always a little different, but it’s so much more obvious with photographic evidence. An exercise in being mindful of the beauty in small changes, and the beauty in everyday life. I like minutia. Here’s a few days over the last week or so:

February 27, 2009; morning




March 3, 2009, morning:



March 3, 2009, sunset (coming home later than usual after East Side Pies with Lauren):


March 4, 2009, evening:



The last one is the old abandoned power plant in East Austin. My friend Patrick once took me on a fantastic night-time bike ride and we went right up by it – it’s very horror-film in the best possible way.

Early Spring Supper

5 03 2009

The headwind coming home tonight on my bike was absolutely killer. I was pedaling all the way down the Pleasant Valley bridge over Town Lake, which is bordering on the ridiculous. I am almost convinced I am actually a sail that has developed (perhaps mediocre) consciousness.

Anyway, the long and the short of this is that I was ridiculously hungry when I got home. And what do you do on a cool Texas spring evening? Make pasta with asparagus. Clearly. I loved this combination mostly because the pasta is tossed in a lemony-parmesan white sauce infused with rosemary and garlic – a hearty winter sauce if ever there was one – and then paired with tangy, balsamic-rosemary-roasted-tofu wedges and crisp, barely-roasted asparagus. It’s the perfect dish for being in between seasons.

I’m not posting a recipe for the entire thing. It’s pasta. Improvise, for goodness sake. But the white sauce, yes, that deserves a good recipe.

2 c milk
1.5 tbsp butter
2 tbsp unbleached flour
7 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
5 or 6 sprigs of rosemary
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c finely grated parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan; whisk in flour and continue cooking and whisking until pale gold. Whisk in the 2 c milk, the garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest, and heat to a simmer over medium heat (no higher and do not boil, it is milk after all) until thickened. This takes awhile. Not forever, it’s no choux pastry, but it’s awhile. Strain garlic cloves and rosemary out of white sauce and stir in parmesan, whisking until cheese is melted and you have a delicious thick creamy pasta sauce.

To make the rest of the pasta, I simply caramelized about 1 c of chopped onions and about 7-10 cloves garlic, minced, in a pan with the zest of 1/2 a lemon, and then let that sit around on low to med-low heat for awhile. Right at the end, I stirred in the peas and then added pasta and the white sauce, and cooked it over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or so to integrate everything.



Pasta is so easy. Yum. I am full and pleased!


1 03 2009

So, if you think my Iron Cupcake – Coffee submission (previous post; Gingerbread Mocha Cupcakes) looked as good as I think it tasted, vote for me here:

Thanks! ❤