Saturday, June 30, 2007

A treat from San Francisco

I have been counting down the days till my dear friends Kat and Su's visit from San Francisco. It's been a LONG time since we last saw each other and the weekly telephone and emails don't measure up to seeing both of them again! Can't wait to go shopping, restaurant sampling and just hanging out with these guys. The best part of it all is that they really enjoy whatever I dish out to them, so it makes their visit a treat for me as I get to try new recipes too! :) And they arrived today!

We went out to Kat's favorite Flagstaff Restaurant overlooking the city of Boulder for dinner tonight while our dear friends Rus and Mari babysat, and we had a great time. We sat on the deck for drinks, went indoors by large glass windows for the meal, and returned to the deck for desserts and coffee. And while we were on the deck, we saw three young bucks walk down the hill in the bushes next to the restaurant. It was surreal to see the deers so close, and our waiter jested that the mechanical deers will return for another showing later... Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, and didn't get to take any pictures of the scenic view, the gorgeous food, and the terrific company. Will update this post after K and S return home and upload their pictures to me....

Friday, June 29, 2007

4 AM snack

Like most moms, I appreciate Tivo saving the shows I love to watch for later without interupting the daily schedule with the kids. And I have tapings of all my favorite shows like Grey's Anatomy, Oprah, Ellen, programs on travel channel and the food network channel. Problem is that I don't have time to watch any of it. So now I have about 2 months of taped programs to view, and I finally have to make an appointment with myself to watch Ina, Oprah, Ellen and more Ina (Grey's new season starts again in late August). I quickly skipped through reruns of Oprah and Ellen to shorten the viewing list. And thank goodness for fast forward buttons to skip through the commercials and close caption to speed watch! However, after 20 mins of Barefoot Contessa, I was ready for a snack. So off to the kitchen and this happens... Like they say, pictures say a thousand words... and then some!
Note to self: Don't watch food programes in the middle of the night!Found some mini peppers and fish paste in the fridge, put them together and I have this! Was out of almonds or I would have added that too after seeing Cooking Nija's stuffed peppers.
A little vegetable oil to fry up these little pretty peppers...
Found some leftover beehoon I made for lunch yesterday.... some sambal, fresh cut red chili and sweet sauce, and now I am ready to eat!
I was going to call this post midnight snack, but the fact of the matter is that I finally sat down to chow at 4 am. Some people I know consider this as breakfast, but I know I will be having cinnamon rolls when they are done at 9 am for breakfast...East Meets West Kitchen: Rich Cinnamon Buns

Does this sound familiar?

This was forwarded to me from Bel, and I thought I'd share this funny note from her. Not an ounce of truth in it at all, right ladies? For those of you that read chinese, I had edited the english portion a little and intentionally omitted some parts that I think is good to be 'lost in translation.'

随便 (Whatever)

男:今天 晚上咱们吃什么?

Man: What are we having for dinner?


Woman: Whatever..


Man: Why don't we have steamboat?


Woman: Don't want steamboat


Man: Alright, why not we have Si Chuan cuisine

女:昨天刚吃的川菜,今天又吃 .......

Woman: Just had that yesterday


Men: Hmm..... I suggest we have seafood


Women: Don't want seafood


Men: Then what you suggest?


Women : Whatever..

Funny thing is I always know what I want for dinner, but the family don't necessary agree with my choices...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Honeycomb Cake/'Bolu Sarang Semut'

For my friend at Food Story . This is honeycomb cake from Malaysia and Indonesia. The texture is light, 'holey', and chewy. The english name of this cake comes from the chemical reaction of baking soda in the recipe which results in that texture. The malay name bolu sarang semut means ant's nest or something? (apologize for the my limited knowledge of the malay language.) Have had this cake many moons ago, but have never make it myself. This recipe has been in my 'to try' file for a long time... and now it's not!

I found this recipe at Jodeli.

210 g sugar
240 ml water
80 g butter
6 eggs
160 g condensed milk
180 g unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

In a saucepan over low heat, stir and carmelize sugar until it's golden brown. This will take about 10 mins. Carefully add water to the caramelized sugar as it will splatter. Trust me, it hurts! Keep stirring til all the crystalized sugar becomes syrupy again. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir til butter melts. Set aside to cool.

Jo's recipe called for bottom heat only. I preheat convection oven to 350F. In mixing bowl beat eggs and condensed milk. Add sifted flour and baking soda into the egg mixture. Mix well. Add cooled syrup into batter.
Pour into a greased cake pan. Leave it aside for 5 mins so that baking soda can do it's thing for the recipe. Batter is runny.

Bake 1 hour or til done.

Note: I had the ingredients at room temperature. The nice, brown cake was not as sweet as I thought it would be. It's actually quite light, spongy and chewy. Although the honeycomb effect is more prevalent at the bottom due to the temperature in the oven, the top section was chewy too. Interesting cake. My kids get full credit on the decorating and tasting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Camouflage Melon Exposed

I was intrigued by the name of this melon when I saw it at the grocery store today. Camouflage Melon? Camouflaging from what? Is it hiding from some melon-lover who would probably skip this fruit because of it's poor skin condition? Or is it a young melon camouflaging as a mature, more sophisticated melon? It is cool name though. Found out later that it is also called frog skin melon. Think I like the first name better... I was curious about the taste, as the wrinkled skin sort of reminded me of the old winter melon for making chinese soups. And at the price of 2 for $7? How could I refuse?

When I cut it open, it was dripping juices like a watermelon, and the inside looked like a honeydew, but softer and much juicier. But the pleasant surprise was when I ate it. It was so SWEET! Juicey and sweet, and very refreshing! I added some raspberries as suggested on the label. It was a simple satisfyingly light dessert to end the meal. Sometimes the best food is fresh fruit...

Ayam Panggang Bumbu Merah/Grilled Spicy Chicken

When I lived in Penang, I met a kind Indonesian lady who made this dish for a ladies gathering. When we chatted, she had graciously shared with me the ingredients and I jolted it down on a piece of napkin. Well, I finally found that napkin while unpacking a box, and am so excited to try and share another new recipe! I am not very good with chopping up chicken pieces chinese style like the chicken rice stalls in south-east asia, so I cut the chicken up in quarters and serve it with more sambal on the side.

3-4 lbs organic chicken fryer
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs lime juice
6 Tbs chilli paste (see recipe below)
1 tsp minced garlic (optional)
2-3 lemon grass, crushed
1 kaffir lime leave, thinly sliced
1/2 salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs tamarind juice

Using kitchen shears, cut off the backbone of the chicken. You may want to save that for making chicken broth later, or discard. Marinade chicken with the next 8 ingredients for 2 hours. Heat the grill to 500F. Place chicken on grill for 10 mins or until done.

Chili Paste (Sambal)

1/2 c dried red hot chilies
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 c chopped red onions or shallots
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c fresh lime juice
grated zest from 1 lime
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp salt

Put everything into a food processor and blend. Pour contents into a non-stick wok with 1 Tbs vegetable oil, and cook for 10 mins or until it's reduced to 1/2 cup.

Note: As it was raining, I decided to turn up the oven to 500F and cooked it for 15 mins. I prefer more color on my chicken, so I cooked it for another 5 mins. Since we live in a world of salmonella and ecoli, I used a meat thermometer and stuck it to the inner most part of the thickest part (thighs) to confirm that chicken is cooked (180 for whole chicken). And don't let cooked chicken sit out for more than 2 hours. Here are the USDA guidelines for preparing chicken. Do I sound like a mom now???

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nonya-Style Salad

If I left it to dear Hubs as to what to make for dinner, the answer will inevitably by steaks, cheeseburgers, brats on the grill and corn on the cob. And now that the hot days of summer are here, it makes baking, cooking or working in the kitchen a little less appealing. Especially when there are swimming, playgroups and lots of trips to the 'play park' as the kids call it.

Made this simple nonya salad dish from Auntie Stella to go with bbq tonight, and the crunchy texture of the veggies and the toasted peanuts really add to the meal. She had always estimated quantities with her cooking, and whenever I asked for a recipe, her response has always been 'just go by taste!' So, that's what I did, at the very end...

Ingredients from the farmers market:
1 Cucumber
1 red pepper
1/2 a fresh Pineapple
fresh red chillies
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper

Ingredients from the pantry
about 2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Homemade chili sambal or sambal oelek
1 tsp lime juice
toasted peanuts to garnish

Ingredients from the asian market
firm style tofu
shrimp paste - ommited
dried prawns, pounded and toastedDice up tofu and dry on several changes of paper towels. Heat up some veggie oil in the wok, and fry tofu till golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. A healthier alternative is to dice the firm tofu and combine with 1/8 c soy sauce, 1/8 c sesame oil and marinate for 10 mins. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly oil the foil. Place marinated tofu on foil and bake for 15-20 mins stirring once. Remove when golden brown and crispy.

Dice up the fresh veggies and pineapple. Place in bowl. Right before serving, add chili sambal, lime juice, vinegar, sugar and seasonings and mix well. Taste and adjust accordingly. Like most parents with young kids, I served the sambal and toasted chopped peanuts on the side this time. Serve immediately.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Singapore Style Mee Siam

Can you see the vermicelli noodles in this mee siam picture? It's in there!
Oh! Trying to take a second shot. I know the noodles are in there somewhere!
Okay, finally took away some of the toppings and changed the bowl. Told you there were noodles there...
That's the motherload of noodles for the recipe...

Singapore style mee siam is rice vermicelli swimming in a spicy gravy and served with lots of garnishes like shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, baked tofu, chives, and key-lime-size limes. There are many debates of where mee siam originated, some say that it's from Thailand (which makes sense since Thailand was known as Siam till 1939, and once again from 1945 to 1949 according to Wikipedia). Others claim that it's indian (a sweeter version) or malay. Regardless of who made it first, this dish has a spicy, sweet, tasty broth and is popular as a snack food any time of the day. There are a limited amount of ready-made mee siam paste sold here, though I have no idea which one would be more authentic since I have never made this dish before.

According to my dear friend and fellow blogger Ching, the mee siam in Malaysia is different from Singapore as the malaysian version is drier. Since she had enquired about Singapore style mee siam, I browsed my library of cookbooks to find a recipe for this dish to surprise her on her visit. Finally found one by Mrs. Leong Yee Soo, and this is the result of my first mee siam cooking from scratch. This recipe comes in three sections... Firstly, the sauce for the noodles was spicy enough to wake up your mouth (fourth picture above). Secondly, the gravy was interestingly sweet and spicy with flavors of bean paste, and lastly, the sambal (that spot on the first 2 pictures that's loaded with chili seeds) was wonderfully hot sourish and spicy with flavors of tamarind (sweet and sour), dried chilies, onions, and hae bee (dried shrimp). I was so excited with the outcome of this dish that I forgot to take some of the toppings out of the fridge! Now awaiting the verdict from judge Ching. Heh heh! Will need to check with my 'real' Singapore friends next to verify if this is authentic enough! LOL!

Darling, little E enjoying a meal with mommy Ching while happy, big E played with her friends..

Summertime Pink Lemonade

Yippee! It's officially summer for two days now, and the temperature is rising over here. Time for homemade bbq sauce, variety of popsicles and jellos for the kiddos, and tons of lemonade and limeade for moi. Maybe a couple of pina coladas and margaritas too. Saw this recipe with only 4 ingredients in a past issue of Fine Cooking, and I have been saving it for a hot day like today (forcasting 99F). Thank God for air-conditioning and afternoon rain storms when they come!
1 cup chopped strawberries

1 1/2 c organic cane sugar

Peel of 2 lemons (in strips and no white part)

2 c lemon juice

Place strawberries and 2 c water in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 mins. Remove from heat source, add lemon peel, cover and leave to cool. The strawberries will continue to soften and release color as it cools.

Strain syrup and using the back of spoon, press strawberries to release more juices. Discard solids. Add lemon juice, 2 c water and chill. Serve within 2 days.

Note: This only makes about 7 cups. :( But the good news is that you can always double the recipe! :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Papaya Salad

I was browsing through the fruit section of the local grocery store, and when I saw some green papayas. I immediately thought of green papaya salad. However, when I was preparing and slicing through my purchase in my kitchen I was suprised to find that the flesh was orangey though it tasted crunchy and mildly sweet.
So the result is a make-shift not-so-green papaya salad with lime juice, a touch of sugar, some finely sliced red peppers and a dash of cayenne pepper. Used a honey dressing with it.

Honey Dressing:

1 c organic honey
1/16 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
juice from 1 fresh lime

Put everything in the blender, taste and add seasonings to your liking, and serve chilled.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Milo Wheat Bread

Picture of bread after kneading and left to rest for 45 mins.

It seemed like all my friends who grew up in south-east asia had their fare share of Milo or Ovaltine growing up. It's what parents usually give their kids as a supplement or in place of milk. And the difference between Milo and Ovaltine is kinda like Pepsi and Coke. Personally, I like both Milo and Ovaltine Malt. Now that it's summer-like weather and my kids are drinking more chilled, plain wholemilk, I thought some Milo flavored bread could be interesting. I like the resulting mild chocolate color, and slightly sweet taste. Used the wheat bread recipe that came with my breadmaker, and added 1/4 cup of Milo to the recipe. Made the dough in the breadmaker, then transfered the dough to a Pam-sprayed bread pan to rise and baked it in the oven. Might play with it more to get a stronger Milo flavor, but the kids seem to like it. Probably will make Ovaltine malt bread next. Aiyah! Always playing with my food!
Recipe for Lee Ping:
For my breadmachine, I add all the wet ingredients first, followed by the dry ones. Here's the ingredients for a 1.5 lb bread.
Note that depending on the humidity of your area, you have to test how 'wet' or 'dry' your dough is after 5-10 mins in the machine. Dough should be sticky. If dough is dry, add 1 tsp of water or milk.

For the milo bread, I mixed 4 tbs milo with 3 tbs warm milk. But the flavor was quite mild, and I might add more milo next time. Add to the rest of your 'wet' ingredients for the milo wheat bread.
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey ( used organic can sugar)
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups Bread Flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons quick active yeast

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kan Sui Zhong/Jianshui Zong/Kee Chang (Alkaline Dumplings)

The origins of making zong zi or chinese dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves can be found at wikipedia. This year, the festival fell on June 18, and I finally bought the bamboo leaves and made these on the 19th. Made some kan sui zong or otherwise known as jianshui zhong in mandarin, and added homemade red bean filling to it for this year's zhongzi jie. This is my first experience to be so close to raw ingredients for zong as neither mom or grandma made zong. Somehow zong magically appears every year during Duan Wu Jie and mom always knows which store has the best ones that year. That's why I felt like a duck out of water when it comes to making these chinese dumplings, especially with it comes to wrapping and tieing these guys!

Kan Sui Zhong is M's favorite as they are smaller than the savory ones. Made some with red bean filling after seeing the picture at this site. This is Amy Beh's recipe, and it looked simple enough to try. Since I had no idea what or where to find boraz (pansat or peng seh), and reading the definition of boraz almost freaked me out, I decided to omit that ingredient and try the recipe anyway. I also reduced the amount of lye water/alkaline in the recipe. Used a digital scale to help measure out the ingredients in metric.

500 gm glutinous rice, wash and soaked overnight; drain well
dried bamboo leaves, soaked in hot water overnight
3 litres water
3 tsp alkaline water
2-3 tsp boraz (omitted)

1 1/2 tbs alkaline water

Place 1/2 tsp yellow coloring into glutinous rice 1 hour before use. Drain well.

Using the bamboo leaf, fold into cone shape and fill 1 tbs of casing with rice. Add some homemade red bean paste and finish with 1 tbs of rice. Wrap into pyramid shape and tie securely with string.

Bring water to a boil. Add alkaline water. Put the bundles of dumplings into hot water and boil for 3 hours. Remove and hang to dry.

I like mine with gula melaka syrup!
Gula Mela syrup
250g gula Melaka, chopped
50g soft brown sugar
180ml water
2 screwpine leaves, knotted

Bring to slow boil and stir till sugars are dissolved.

Also made azuki red bean paste using a recipe from Grace Young's cookbook Wisdom in the Chinese Kitchen
2 c azuki small red beans
1 c packed dark brown sugar
3 tsp vegetable oil

Wash the beans, cover the cold water, and soak overnight. Drain beans and discard water. Place beans in a saucepan, add 6 cups cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour, or until very soft. Monitor the pan to make sure water doesn't dry up. Drain and discard the water.
Place the beans in a food processor and process until smooth. Add brown sugar and process until just combined. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bean paste and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is dry. Remove from heat. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for 1 week.

Note: It took a while to get them wrapped and tied. There were 2 casualties where the zong didn't stay tied, but they were still wrapped. Dried them for a day and placed in ziplock bags in the freezer. Was going to wait till Saturday before trying one, but I couldn't resist (Sorry Ching!). So I opened one up today to try, and it had a mild 'kan sui' taste like the hongkong wonton noodles. Very surprised with how well it turned out. Now I have to venture onto savory ones next.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Darling Mini Jelly Donuts

Found this krapfen/light donut recipe in an old copy of Gourmet, so I made a batch of mini jelly donuts for company. And since the kids adore Dora the Explorer, I shaped a batch of it in the shape of Explorer Stars or otherwise known as estrella on the show.

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast
2 tbs warm water
1 c whole milk
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten

3 1/2 to 3 3/4 c all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
About 10 c vegetable oil

1/2 c raspberry jam
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Bring milk to a simmer in a 1-qt heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in granulated sugar and salt. Cool milk to lukewarm (about 90F).
While milk is cooling, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl, stirring until creamy, then let stand until foamy, about 5 mins. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with fresh yeast.)

Pour milk mixture into a large bowl and stir in 2 1/2 c flour, 2 tbs oil, eggs, and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon to make a very soft dough. Spread 1 c flour on work surface and put dough on top, scraping it from bowl with a rubber spatula. Knead dough, incorporating all of flour from work surface and adding just enough additional flour (if necessary) to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 mins. Transfer dough to another large bowl and sprinkle lightly with additional flour, then cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll out with a floured rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick. Cutout rounds with 1-inch cutter. Stretch 1 round to 2 1/2 inches and put 1 teaspoon jam in center, then stretch another round to 2 1/2 inches and use it to cover jam, pinching edges of rounds firmly together. (Pinching will stretch doughnuts to about 3 inches in diameter.) Make more jelly donuts in same manner.

Cut through filled donuts with floured 2 1/2-inch in different cutters, rotating cutter several times to help seal edges. Transfer rounds to a floured kitchen towel, then reroll scraps (only once) and make more jelly donuts in same manner. (If dough shrinks after rerolling, let stand 10 minutes.)
Cover donuts with another kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place 30 minutes.
While donuts rise, heat 3 inches oil (about 10 cups) in a deep 4-qt pot until it registers 375F on thermometer.
Fry donuts 2 at a time, turning occasionally, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 mins per batch. (donuts will bob in oil; hold them half submerged with a slotted spoon to brown evenly.) Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioners sugar.

Recipe from Gourmet magazine

Note: This took a little while, so I will try to use my breadmaker for the dough next time. Also instead of stretching the dough to fill the jelly, I chose to cook the doughnuts first, let it cool, then fill the donuts with jelly which I thought was easier. Forseeing a mess, I didn't fill the kid's donuts, and let them dunk their donuts into the jelly instead.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

It was a party weekend. I was fortunate to spend it with my dear H, and Mama and Papa, Danielle and Dusty and lots of friends. Made a prime rib dinner for company on Friday, birthday party on Saturday, and a great Father's Day bbq today.

Happy Father's Day to all dads!

Party Weekend

Marilyn and family came and brought some lovely roses from her garden on Sat. Thanks Marilyn!
The kids had a blast playing with the inflatable bouncer for most of the day, and it wore me out in just 5 mins of jumping, hopping and bouncing!
Made a salt encrusted Prime Rib dinner for 8 on friday night.

Tried a blueberry version of panna cotta for dessert, and it was good!
We had a great time with Pat and her friend Al on Friday. Thanks everyone for your gifts and well wishes for the weekend get together.

For the Prime Rib Roast, I used the recipe here from texas beef, and it worked wonderfully.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Raspberry Panna Cotta Almond Cream

Sharing this delicious recipe from Sara Corpening Whiteford and Mary Corpening Barber when they were on the Today Show some time back. I had penned down the recipe then, and finally got to making it. Creamy, custardy and the raspberry a perfect combo with it. Tasted heavenly. And so easy. Inspired by panna cotta, this dessert is divine.

1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 c milk
1 c heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 c sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 c fresh raspberries
Fresh mint for garnishing

Whisk the first 2 ingredients together and let sit for 5 mins.

Combine and whisk the next 4 ingredients in a saucepan over med high heat. Remove from heat when it just comes to a boil. Remove vanilla bean and let it cool. Add saucepan cream mixture to soften gelatin and whisk til incorporated. Add almond extract while whisking. Using sharp knife, split vanilla bean, scrape out seeds and add to cream mixture. Whisk til mixture is smooth and gelatin is melted.

Strain mixture into bowls and drop raspberries into it. Chill for 3 hrs.

Recipe from Sara Corpening Whiteford and Mary Corpening Barber when they appeared on the Today Show on NBC.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Got Gouqi?

Gouqi berries, goji berries, or wolfberry are all the rage recently for decreasing risk in several illness and improving health. So I bought a bag of dried gouqi berries from Wholefoods yesterday, and it's sitting on my island like a beacon, calling me to make something fun out of it. I was admiring the little almond shape berries this morning and thinking what to make with it so that my little eaters will readily consume it without picking out the red berries. I had often add a few of this mildly sweet berry in chicken soups as it adds a mild sweetness to the broth. Mom used it in most of our daily soups growing up, and I remembered grandma telling me to drink up my soup as the goji berries were suppose to be good for improving eyesight. Later I found out from my auntie Stella that these berries also enhance immune system function, protect the liver, and improve circulation. Oh, and also something about increasing sperm count. Nothing about increasing breasts size, but something about decreasing the chances of breast cancer. Seemed like a miracle berry, I guess.
My wonderful, healthly girlfriend Kathryn in California told me that she simply snack on these berries or make 'goji tea' (spelled that way here). Then I came across 'gouqi coffee' (spelled that way in China) at the asian market in San Francisco sometime ago. What would entice MY kids to eat this, I thought. Maybe I can wash and soak some, puree it, and add it to their popsicles? Bake a batch of goji muffins? Or goji cookies? I'll have to put this in the back burner till next week.

Rich Cinnamon Buns

This is not for the faint of heart. Not the calorie-counter either. But it sure was GOOD! Especially with a good, strong, hot cup of coffee.
Made a double batch of this recipe for bible study recently. Recipe from an old gourmet magazine. Made this in a 9x13 pyrex pan instead.

For dough
1/2 cup warm water (105–115°F)
2 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm milk
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
For filling
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (9 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnuts (optional), chopped

For glaze
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Special equipment: a standing electric mixer fitted with dough hook; 2 (9- by 2-inch) round cake pans
Make dough:
Stir together warm water, yeast, and a pinch of the sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over.)
Put 5 cups flour, salt, and remaining sugar in bowl of electric mixer and mix with dough hook at low speed until combined. Whisk together milk and eggs in a small bowl, then add to dry ingredients along with yeast, beating at low speed until flour is incorporated. Beat at medium speed until a very soft dough forms, about 2 minutes. Add butter and continue beating at medium speed until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 4 minutes (it will be quite sticky).

Rinse a large bowl with hot water. Add dough to wet bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Prepare filling:
Bring water and 1 cup granulated sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and simmer just until they begin to burst, about 2 minutes. Pour through a large sieve into a bowl and cool berries, reserving syrup for another use (such as a flavoring for seltzer).

Form and bake buns:
Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and dust with flour, then roll out into a 16-inch square.

Brush off excess flour, then spread evenly with butter with a small metal offset spatula.

Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and sprinkle evenly over dough. Dot dough evenly with drained cranberries, then sprinkle with nuts if using.

Beginning with side nearest you, roll up dough, firmly but not tightly, into a log, then pinch seam to seal. Trim 1 inch off each end with a large knife and discard, then cut log crosswise into 12 slices.

Arrange slices, cut sides up, in buttered cake pans (place 1 slice in center of each pan, then evenly space 5 more around it). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F while buns are rising.

Bake buns in lower third of oven until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes.

Make glaze:
Stir together confectioners sugar and milk with a fork until smooth. Drizzle over buns while still hot.

Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from gourmet magazine

Monday, June 11, 2007

Party Freaked

My meez thoroughly express my state of mind right now. The kids' birthday party were pushed up a week when I realized that I couldn't get the entertainment for the original event date. Long story short, I have 4 days till then, so I am frantically trying to get the house ready for company and decide on the menu for the party. With any luck, the party will be a blast. So, in the meantime, I will be too busy running amok. Will update soon. Thousand apologies if I don't get to your comments promptly this weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grilled asian beef tenderloin and asparagus

It was hot, sunny, and 89F today, and I'm back at the grill. This time with some beef tenderloins that marinated in soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil. Also grilled some asaparagus that's brushed with olive oil and garlic. See a pattern here? Perhaps I should have name this garlic Sunday. Oh yeah, there were some brats from the Continental sausage company too. Loving it!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Grilled Whole Coho Salmon

First of all, let me clarify the title. It's actually a headless, tailess fresh coho salmon. Why? Because it came that way. Not from mother nature, but from the grocery store. So, there was no salmon head curry. (LOL!)

Now for the fun part. I love summer time and grilling. And grilling fish is a favorite of mine. Next to grilling steaks, fruits, vegetables. I had a tub of Kalamata olives in the fridge, and wanted to give a meditaranian flavor to the fish. Lots of lemon and olives. Oh, and garlic and oregano. Ummm. And olive oil.

Then I remembered I had a juicy, ripe pineapple on the counter. Grilled pineapple would be nice...