20 June 2012

The Best Macaroni Salad Ever

I've searched for the best macaroni salad recipe to no avail, but now I think I've found it.  It has just the right amount of tang and all the right ingredients.  The original recipe served 12, what follows serves 6. This will be dinner tonight along with Turkey Burgers with Chipotle-chili Tartar Sauce.  My search has ended!

Serves: 6
  • 2 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 whole Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped (more To Taste, Can Also Use Pimentos)
  • 1/4 cup Black Olives, Chopped Fine
  • 6 whole Sweet/spicy Pickle Slices, Diced (about 1/3 Cup Diced, I use Wickles, available at Safeway)
  • 2 whole Green Onions, Sliced (white And Dark Green Parts)
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Red Wine Or Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar, More Or Less To Taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Plenty Of Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons milk (more If needed)
  • Splash Of Pickle Juice (spicy Sweet Pickles)
  • Extra Pickle Juice To Taste 
Cook the macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside. Mix together mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Splash in pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside. Place cooled macaroni in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing. Toss and add more dressing if you'd like. (Dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as salad chills.) Stir in olives, roasted red peppers (or pimentos), pickles, and green onions. Add more of any ingredient if you'd like more stuff going on! At the end, splash in a little more pickle juice and stir. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sliced green onion to serve!

Click for printable recipe

Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

27 May 2012

Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

One goal I've made for myself this summer is to keep my blog up to date.  It was something I had to let go by the wayside during this school year.  This is also a selfish goal, I find that if I keep recipes I like in my blog I can always find them!  

While I try to watch the fat intake available around the house, I find that I miss baking most of all. Mark thinks anything in the kitchen should be eaten by him. I couldn't resist trying these Lemon Rolls, similar to my mom's cinnamon rolls, but filled with tangy lemon.  They did not disappoint, worthy of every extra gram of fat.  After we ate one for breakfast I sent some off to Rob and Kaci, fewer left for us to consume.  The fact the the recipe only makes 12 is worth trying other versions, perhaps with blueberries, or with orange and poppy seeds similar to the orange poppy seed rolls sold by the Village Bakery in Sepastopol?

I made the rolls the evening before and popped in the refrigerator until morning when I let raise on the counter for about and hour.  My kind of Sunday Morning treat!
Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
Makes 12 large breakfast rolls

Lemons, for dough, filling, glaze, and garnish
3 large lemons, at room temperature

For the dough:
1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active yeast

3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F (warm but not hot on your wrist)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft, plus 3 tablespoons more for roll assembly
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I only used 4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs

For the sticky lemon filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

For the lemon cream cheese glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Prepare the lemons:
Zest and juice the lemons. Divide the zest into three equal parts. One part will be used in the dough, a second part in the filling, and the final part will be sprinkled on top of the baked rolls for appearance and flavor.
Divide the juice into two equal parts, and set aside. Half of the lemon juice will be used in the lemon-sugar filling for the rolls. The other half will be used in the glaze.

Make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes or until foamy. With the mixer paddle, stir the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour into this milk and yeast mixture. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and one part (1/3) of the lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.
Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.
(If you do not have a stand mixer, stir together the ingredients by hand, then turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead the dough by hand for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.)
Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled — about one hour.

Make the filling:
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the second part of the lemon zest (1/3) with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles soft sand. Slowly pour in one part (1/2) of the lemon juice, stirring. Stop when the sugar and lemon juice form a thick, clumpy mixture like wet sand. (You may use all of the reserved half of the lemon juice; you may stop before completely adding that half of the lemon juice, depending on how much juice you got from your lemons.)

Assemble the rolls:
Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10x15 inches.
Spread the dough evenly with 3 tablespoons of very soft unsalted butter, then spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch and pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon sugar firm inside. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls. Pinch the bottom of each roll closed to help keep the lemon sugar inside, and place each one, open and cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.
Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or a towel, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour before proceeding with baking.)
Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.

Make the glaze:
While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small food processor (or with a mixer, or a sturdy whisk), whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the remaining part lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

Finish the rolls:
When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the final part (1/3) of the lemon zest over top to garnish. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, but do serve while still warm.

Recipe from The Kitchn

14 February 2012

Pretzel Candy Kisses

That was the small token left for Mark this morning when I took a plateful of these to school for our chocolate fest.  Lo and behold the chocolate fest is tomorrow.  Oh well, the plate was empty by the end of lunch today.  I wanted to make these Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites, but ran out of time and needed something quick and easy.  

Pretzel Candy Kisses


1 1 pound bag of waffle pretzels, butter flavor are really tasty
1 bag of Hershey's dark chocolate kisses

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper of a silpat mat.
3.  Spread pretzels on cookie sheet leaving about 1/4 inch between them.
4.  Top each pretzel with an unwrapped kiss.
5.  Carefully place a second pretzel on top of the chocolate.  If it's not quite soft enough, pop back in oven for a few seconds.
6.  Chill for 30 minutes.
7.  Store in air tight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I buy 2 bags of pretzels to allow for breakage.

Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups