Tag Archives: Stir

Brown Sugar Asparagus

25 Aug

My run of Les Mis started this past weekend. Opening night had a few bumps, naturally, but it was still a fantastic show. That meant that performance number two could only get better, right? Well, let’s start the morning off with trying to saw through a bagel…and my pinkie. Awesome. Five stitches and a tetanus shot later, my finger was wrapped in so much gauze and tape, I looked like I had sprouted another limb. I asked the doctor if I could take it off for the show (we actors are more than a little vain I suppose – I just could not fathom wearing that monstrosity on stage). He was hesitant, but said it would probably be fine if I just wore a regular bandaid. Hooray! Victory…ish. I took off the bandage just before curtain (I was being good and waited as long as I could), and nearly passed out from the process. I’m a boob. But the stitches got stuck on the gauze, it was all swollen and bruised…and I couldn’t even get the dumb bandaid to stay on right. In short, I ended up rewrapping the darn thing. I did cut the size down by about half, so it wasn’t so in-your-face-I-almost-amputated-my-finger kind of bandage. My mom could tell I had it on (she was looking for it because she told me I was crazy for only wanting to wear a bandaid – mom’s are always right), but my neighbor came and said she couldn’t see it from the audience. I’ll take it! Because I have to wear it for the entire run of the show. 😦 The good news? The show was awesome – none of the glitches from opening night – I figure I absorbed all of the bad luck…and then bled it out all over my kitchen. I’m all about taking one for the team!

Asparagus…you don’t have to use a knife to remove the woody ends (I’m a little wary of knives these days) – just give them a good bend, and they snap off themselves. Don’t skip this step in attempts to avoid wasting a perfectly good spear of asparagus (I have never done this…ever). It tastes bad and it’s impossible to chew, so you’ll end up throwing it away anyways. This is my favorite way to prepare the good ends though! A perfect combination of sweet and salty, and oh-so-tasty!

photo 1

Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus spears

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chicken broth

Snap off woody ends of asparagus and discard. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Cook, stirring continually until sugar dissolves. Add asparagus to brown sugar mixture, turning to coat. Saute for 2 min. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until asparagus are crisp-tender.

photo 3

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Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

27 Jun

So, I have 2 confessions to make:

1. I love cinnamon rolls

2. I am an epic failure at making cinnamon rolls

When I was about 12, my grandma had me come over to her house for a bread making tutorial. She spent hours with me teaching me what temperature to keep the water at to activate but not kill the yeast, how to roll out the dough and get rid of air bubbles, the best conditions for rising bread…the result? She declared me the worst bread maker she had ever had the pleasure of teaching. That hasn’t stopped me from continuing my efforts, however :). About 1 in 10 tries I get it right. This wasn’t one of those. But I did like the recipe – even though my dough didn’t rise (I blame the yeast…something has to be wrong with it) the dough was still soft and easy to work with. The rolls didn’t even get close to doubling in size, but they looked pretty enough and tasted even better. I just had a baby and am homebound for a bit, which means I make things that aren’t really all that conducive to shrinking my post-baby-belly. This was my effort to make cinnamon rolls into a healthy treat. If you add fruit, that makes it good for you, right? 😉

photo-22

Ingredients for the dough:
1 cup milk
â…” cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Ingredients for the filling:
2 tablespoons softened butter
10-ounces frozen berries, not thawed Use any type of berries you like. We love blueberry and raspberry. I used the tiny wild blueberries for the rolls in the photo.
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Ingredients for the glaze: 
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ tablespoons half and half or whole milkDirections for the dough:
1. Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove top over moderately low heat until it reaches 110-115°F. Remove from heat and pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.2. Add the softened butter, eggs, grated lemon zest and sea salt. Add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer.3. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands 2 or 3 times. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

4. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or two 9-inch baking pans.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a 10-by-24-inch rectangle. In a medium bowl, toss the frozen raspberries with the sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then scatter the raspberry mixture evenly over the dough.

6. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them in the baking pan(s), cut sides up. Scrape any berries and juice from the work surface into the baking pan between the rolls.

7. Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy and have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.

8. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, until they are golden and the berries are bubbling. Cover with foil if browning too fast.

9. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

10. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the butter and half and half (or milk) until the glaze is thick and spreadable. Invert the rolls onto the rack, then invert the rolls again onto a platter. Drizzle glaze over rolls and spread with an offset spatula, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

~ To make ahead, prepare the recipe through Step 7. Cover the rolls, refrigerate overnight and then return to room temperature before baking.
~ For variation the sweet rolls can be filled with a variety of frozen fruit. Try blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or chopped sweet cherries.