Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cinnabombs

I know you wish you could bite this. Right now.
I remember the first time I had a Cinnabon. It was in a mall in Vancouver or Portland circa 1981. I had dreams about it for many years to come and it would take that long for a Cinnabons to come to Honolulu. But alas, the price tag always seemed rather steep, for one Cinnabon, and when you have four kids and a hungry husband, well, suffice it to say it just didn't happen very often.
So imagine my delight when I started dabbing into making my own homemade cinnamon rolls a few years ago. My family ended up naming my cinnamon rolls Cinnabombs. Because they were the bomb. Bomb-diggidy. The bomb.com as Kajla says.
Our neighbor, JW, lives in Colorado now and only comes home for Christmas. And he loves Cinnabombs. So I make it as a gift to him. And his family. And my family.

I want to share with all of you THE cinnabomb recipe that I used on Christmas morning at 5 am.  I found it at epicurious.com. I love that website and their iPhone app. I use it all the time.

(I read some of the reviews--always a great idea at epicurious--and one said she used regular yeast and it was fine so I did, too, she was right. Also, use the dough hook. And you can make it the night before and leave in fridge or freeze). It had a four forks rating out of four and many said it was the BEST ever.)

Cinnamon Rolls

Bon Appétit  | March 2008
by Molly Wizenberg

Ingredients
Dough:
   * 1 cup milk
   * 3 tablespoons butter
   * 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
   * 1/2 cup sugar
   * 1 large egg
   * 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (I used regular yeast and even though I got worried because it didn't rise as quickly as I had hoped, all is well that ends well)
   * 1 teaspoon salt
   * Nonstick vegetable oil spray (or just regular veggie oil in your bowl is fine)

Filling:
   * 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
   * 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
   * 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (modification: I used 1 stick and I semi melted it in the microwave so I wouldn't have to work so hard smoothing it out)

Preparation for dough: Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball. (my own modifications: I used the dough hook from the get go and I just did EVERYTHING in the bowl of my kitchenaid. Didn't knead ANYTHING but I did have to add probably an extra 1/2 cup of flour because it really seemed sticky).
here is the dough, in the oiled bowl
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Any kind of brown sugar will do. I have even done a half half brown sugar white sugar and it was great

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle.
So now you know it's early (housecoat) and I only use real butter. Also I made a double batch of Cinnabombs this is the second batch because you can see the little extra -bombs on the bottom right of photo that wouldn't fit in with the first batch. You can also see my beautiful all clad flour container that I love!

Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter.
Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up.
With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide) (my modification - I use a rule and cut ever 1.5 inches).

Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
This is the first time I used parchment paper. No need to grease anything. Yay for easy clean up.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.




For the frosting, I use a recipe that I found on the CopyKat Creations Recipes because it said Cinnabon Frosting. And it seriously tastes just like it. I halved the recipe as the original made the mother load of frosting.

Ingredients
1 stick butter, softened
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese (or 1 1/2 pkgs.)
1/2 box (more or less to taste) powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preparation:

Allow butter and cream cheese to reach room temperature. Beat both together in a bowl (I use the whipping attachment rather than the paddle attachment). Slowly add in the other ingredients. Once it is combined, whip it for an additional 10 minutes or so until it is nice and fluffy.

I suppose I will continue to make modifications to the recipe and post the results here. But you have got to try it...I have added pecans before, someone suggested raisins (possibility but not in my raisin hating household). It's all going to be alright). Enjoy. And let me know how it turns out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prepping for the New Year, a.k.a. I have Issues

Okay, this is the part of my month that I am experiencing extreme irritability and it has nothing to do with the holiday season. I am also pondering the new year and all the resolutions to make my life healthier. And of course one of the top ones is to eat healthier. Hmmm...I think I have had that on my list before. And if I were to take a look at my posts I would venture to guess that most of my posts would fall into the NOT SO HEALTHY category. This this for example. Or this. I even took a perfectly healthy fish and turned it into a not so healthy dish by adding mayo and sausage. But I'm going to try to change my ways. I have a semi solid plan.
I have these books on my bookshelf:

 As well as a couple of Weight Watchers cookbooks and a whole slew of blogs available at my fingertips. Bye bye Paula Deen, hello Anne-Marie.

We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck. In the meantime I have a few more days of indulgences to go. It started last night with a dark chocolate fondue and the most delicious little bananas EVER. I'll see if I can post a couple dishes before the new year. For those of you who are into last minute splurges.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful for Thanksgiving

my lovely uhu
I love Thanksgiving. I love that we share it with other families so that the cooking part is not so overwhelming. I love that we rotate responsibilities each year so that the burden to clean doesn't fall on just one family. I love that the same people love to gather and new people can join and we have even more fun. I love that we eat to capacity and then we rest and then we play and then we eat again. And then everyone takes home leftovers so even if the party wasn't at your house you still have food to eat the next day. I love Thanksgiving.
My mom made this delicious jello mold which has cheese and pineapple and who knows what else but it is SO DELICIOUS. And made so beautiful in the tupperware mold.

I made homemade buns. They rose a little too long because I didn't time the uhu baking well but they were still delicious. And so easy. I really should blog about it, that's how easy they were.

So happy that Laura and her sons and her honey joined us. Even happier that she brought i'a ota, a.k.a. poisson cru. Yum.

Lisa made this beautiful spinach salad that had a homemade dressing. I love her salads. It makes me want to eat salad.

Lisa ALWAYS makes a beautiful cranberry mold with a most delicious whipped topping. Even without turkey it was delish!

And I was so thankful for the beautiful Thanksgiving weather. It could not have been any better.

Jo even played in her dress. We called her the mumu lady. HAHAHA!

And even the little ones play. Hulali held this pose for the longest time. Always ready.

Kaiulu was an awesome player!!!

Hulali moment

Stuffed Uhu

GO LOCAL! That has been my rallying cry the past few months as I strive to eat more local products. So for this Thanksgiving at my house (and since I was in charge of the main dish) I made every attempt possible to stick with the theme. I tried (I seriously tried) to order a prime cut of beef from a local vendor but when I showed up on the day before Thanksgiving with my cash in hand, alas, they only had mainland beef. I shall not be foiled again next year. Plan ahead. Now I know.

I sent my husband to Suisan to scope out a nice size uhu. If there's any fish I like (Wait a minute. There aren't many fishes I don't like) it's uhu, a parrotfish. A beauty of a fish. He did a fine job and picked out a gorgeous looking 6 pounder, costing us about $25. I don't mind. I paid 3 times that for the prime rib.

I polled my friends on Facebook and asked several others how they prepare uhu and most came up with the same basic recipe: stuff it with a combination of yummy products of which mayonnaise is one of them, bake or steam it. And so I did. And it was yummy. From now on, I shall turn away from the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving Day and opt for my favorite fishy.
Basic ingredients - mayonnaise, chopped round onion, tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes that grow in my garden and cut them in halves or quarters), imitation crab, lup cheong (the whole pack because, well, just because), oyster sauce, cilantro (not in picture)

Here he is! While I understand that parrotfish can change between male and female I like to think that if the animal is beautiful in color it must be a male. So "he" he is.

It was speared. And my gfriend thinks the picture is upside down but really, the fish is dead, so that makes it right side up. Get it? haha.

So just to make sure I was doing things right, I got my brother, Bulla, on the phone. I wasn't sure if I had to scale it. He laughed at the thought of me NOT scaling it. Thanks Bulla. He also said it was one of the hardest fish to scale. By the time he told me that I was done with one side. I laugh in the face of difficulty. HA!
Note: Great idea to scale outdoors. Bad idea to have bees nearby. Really-there were about 5 or 6 of them ground bees by the time I finished. And they were getting a bit aggressive. Now I'm not one to be frightened of bees but they were beginning to bug me!



Sorry I don't have any measurements. Seriously, how can you go wrong? Just put your ingredients together and mix it til it looks like this. No salt (I figured the fishcake and lup cheong added seasoning). Just the list of ingredients (minus the cilantro which I just put on top the fish when it was done so non-cilantro lovers (and there are a few) can pick them out easily. I could have easily left out any ingredient or added other ones (green onion perhaps or maybe some ground pepper).

STUFF IT! I made way too much stuffing. It is amazing how little space is actually there after you gut it. But that didn't deter me from just putting the stuffing that didn't fit on the side. Kinda like guts sticking out of the uhu.

I packed the stuffing in there as much as I could. I have the fish lying on two sheets of foil in a 10x13 glass pan. The pan wasn't big enough. The tail stuck out.

And I sprinkled some lup cheong on top before I finished wrapping the foil around. I figured the oil would seep into the fish and provide more flavor. I was right. Again.

I had a little audience. She's going to be a chef.You can tell by the intent look in her eyes. That must be how our kupuna decided who would study with the masters.

I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. I checked it after about 45 minutes and stuck a chopstick in its thickest part, determined that it didn't "feel" done and put it back in for 15 more minutes.

I sprinkled on green onion and cilantro. I think the uhu is smiling. He is so happy to be offering himself up to us in lieu of a mainland raised turkey. He is pleased to be our "local" dish. And so am I.

My two BFFs. I don't do Thanksgiving without them. I love them. They love me. We have Thanksgiving together every year. Jo makes oyster loaf every year. I told her we don't raise oysters in the islands but she still does it. Lisa can always be counted on to bring a wide variety of delectables. This year it was a delicious spinach salad and much much more. Thank goodness we play volleyball afterwards to work off some calories. And then eat again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Christmas Morning French Toast

This is another great recipe from my FSiL (favorite sister-in-law) J9. I swear, everytime I travel to "The Couve" in Vancouver, WA, she makes something totally delicious, to die for, relatively easy, fattening, and I can't live without it another minute. This is one of those. I made it the moment I got home. And I was tempted to take off the "Christmas Morning" part of the title but to honor her, I kept it on because that's how she wrote it in her recipe book.

Yup. That's the recipe! And that's how I am committing it to memory. I took a photo of the front and back page, uploaded it to my iPhoto, uploaded the photos to my evernote and now I'm uploading it here! For all of you (sorry J9, I know you mentioned something about ugly writing but whatevers. Your writing is never anything but beautiful). You prep half the night before and half in the morning. Piece of cake. So to speak.
brown sugar butter before the heat is turned on

I sometimes feel like drinking this. I'm sure that with a little rum it must taste wonderful!

Poured the melted goodness (sans rum) over the bread. I love nuts. I think I put more than the recipe called for. I always do. But I left off the right side because my Kika doesn't like nuts. And I think it was her birthday breakfast.

Can you believe this is the raw state? Don't you just want to eat it already?

Ah. This looks cooked.

It's ready for eating! Nice and puffed up and WARM!

Yummy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

French Apple Tart ala Ina Garten

I had the good fortune, after 18 years of living on Hawaiʻi Island, to go pick apples up on Mana Road near Waimea. My dear friends and I went to the Hakalau National Forest Reserve for the once a year open house and on the way back we stopped somewhere along Mana Road to go pick the apples I had heard about throughout the years.
Finding the right spot was a shot in the dark (our driver wasn't quite sure where to go and directions we were given didn't quite work out right) but we lucked out and not only did we find an apple orchard but there were also PEARS! YES! YOU HEARD ME RIGHT! I know. Most people would not get so excited but seriously, when was the last time you saw a pear tree, a real pear tree, right here. Practically in my back yard.
Don't they look like real apples? They are! Here in Hawai'i!

Our fearless leader, Keoki, also known as our apple picker


My BFF Lisa and her mom, Alice

Me and my bag of apples. I tried not to go overboard. You know. No hoarding allowed. That's why we don't have enough fish in the ocean. Lei making materials on O'ahu. And so on. And so on.

Very long story short: I made a french apple tart. Thank you again, Ina Garten. I heart her. Lots. Click on the link for the recipe. And don't forget to read the comments. Comments are VERY HELPFUL! For instance, several people commented that the sugar leaked out, causing burning and a mess on the pan. So I made sure that my parchment paper was big enough to cover my entire pan. No leaking onto the metal. Yay. Also, someone said to remove the tart right away from the pan. I did that, too. No tart sticking to anything!
Bottom line, it was FABULOUS! I made it twice in one week. Remember, I got a bunch of apples!!! And the second time I made it I didn't have quite enough apricot preserves so I added some liliko'i butter and it came out really great!
pre-baked
Getting ready to put it in the oven. Just sprinkled it with 1/2 cup sugar and dotted it with 1/2 cup of butter.


Fresh out of the oven
It looks edible already


Brushed with apricot rum mixture

Now it's looking extra delectable

I got no complaints on this one




Crust was amazingly flaky. And the "burnt" parts, along some of the edges from the sugar actually added a nice quality to the tart. It was crunchy, tart, sweet, flaky, full of goodness. Especially fresh out of the oven. But even the next day too! Good luck.