Monday, October 15, 2012

Bolillo Roll (my version)


the recipe for the Bolillo dough is:

dump all in a kitchen aid mixer with a dough hook:

3 cups a/p flour
1 tsp (heaping) yeast
1 tsp (heaping) kosher salt
1 tsp (heaping) sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 cup warm water

Combine and then turn on high for 5 minutes.  Add flour as needed *up to 1/4 cup* to reach the point where the dough will clear the side of the bowl but still be adhered at the bottom by about an inch.

Let it go 5 minutes...  then watch the video :)

I'll write out the full process here later but wanted to get the ingredients listed since the video is online!


Macaroni and cheese pressure cooker style

pressure cooker pasta, cheese sauce and meatballs

OK, I admit it, every once in a while we go down the prepared food aisle and I try to find something Connor will like. He doesn't like boxed food as a rule, yeah, I did that one to myself.  He's a "can't you just make it at home" sort of kid. I've tried to force him to eat macaroni and cheese from a box, it's never gone over well.  He does, however, love a good Alfredo and I was determined to find a way to find the ease of a box and the speed that he can manage and make himself.  He is 13 after all and food isn't something he waits for graciously.

I was playing around in the kitchen, like I do, and I discovered a box of macaroni and cheese that I got for free and stared at it...there's got to be a way to cook this boxed stuff (and real stuff too!) in the pressure cooker! No pots to fill with water, no precarious draining or having to deal with the stove. 

Bingo, baby, I did it  Here's how I do it!

1 box of any macaroni and cheese
a single layer of dry, small, pasta like mini shells

Put a single layer of dry pasta (boxed or loose) in the pressure cooker and cover with water. Add just enough to cover totally. *there's pictures below to show you* Add a pinch of salt and a drop of oil. Lock and load and set timer for 5 minutes (high pressure) walk away.

Meanwhile, put 3 T butter and about 1/4 cup milk in a dish.  I told Connor to do this so he has something to do for the 5 minutes the pasta is cooking :)  I also think he figured it was a higher percentage of me cooking than a box which was the reason he was willing to give it a try I think.

At the end of 5 minutes, release the pressure and LOOK!  it's COOKED!!!  it's not gummy or pasty, it bugs me that it works...but it does and it works beautifully!!  I tried it with a number of small size pasta and it worked with each one just as well.  I think mini shells are the favorite now, with butter, cream, Parmesan and pepper.  These beauty shots are from a box for effect.

Drop the butter and milk onto the pasta in the pot, remember there's no need to drain!  Toss it around and then either add real cheese of your choice OR you can add some of the powdered stuff and toss it around with more pepper.  Look at this, it's crazy and it's fast and it's delicious (well, not the powdered stuff)

Serve it up straight from the cooker.  Grate some cheese on top or just serve it the way it is.  I have no problem with my 13 year old son making himself a pressure cooker meal of pasta and cheese any day of the week. I served myself up some, for science of course, and added a couple of the meatballs I'd pressure cooked earlier in the day.  Yeah, it was pretty good.

I do the same preparation, with the butter and milk/cream but use fresh grated cheese when I made this same dish using small shells.  Same thing, a single but solid layer of dry small pasta and water to cover.  IF you like it a little softer, do 6 minutes, but 5 works perfectly for us and our preference for pasta that is al dente.

Go try this, it's wacky, quick and really really good.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bacon Jam (or chutney) (oh yes I did!)

So, I needed to make bacon jam.  Yeah, well, sorry but I did.  I did a little reading about it, realized it was really just like onion jam but with bacon and figured I could spend some kitchen alchemy time and come up with something. 

Sometimes, rarely, I make something that simply delights me, this is one of those things.  I think it's better than most anything else I've made. 

I didn't need to make a ton, there's just me who would like something like this.  It's part jam, part chutney, all crazy delicious good. 

Jump on the bandwagon to the "new" hot trend and make some.  My version makes three little mason jar fulls.  Just enough to keep one for yourself (or two) and share one which makes you an instant rock star.

Let me know what you think, I will be busy with my bacon jam on crisp toast with a lightly fried egg straight out of one of my chickens on it and really, I'll be glowing right afterwards :)  


3/4 cup coffee (room temperature is fine)
1/4 cup maple syrup (use the real stuff, it matters)
1/4 vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1 medium onion (sliced)
1/2 large apple, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound of your favorite bacon

OK, let's begin: 

In a glass measuring cup, combine the coffee, syrup, vinegar, brown sugar and pepper, leave it aside.

Chop the bacon in 1/2-1 inch pieces and throw it in your favorite heavy dutch oven.  Fry it on medium heat until it's brown and crisp and all the fat has rendered off.  Transfer the bacon to a bowl to wait for you.

Drain off all but about 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. SAVE THE FAT in a mason jar and put it in the fridge, this stuff is GOLD.  Use it to fry EVERYTHING and you will have a 587% happier life, trust me, I did the math.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and fry them for a few minutes, until they soften then add the chopped apple.  Fry it until the onions start to turn slightly golden and the apples are soft.  Remove the onions, garlic and apple from the pan.  I just toss them on top of the bacon that's waiting for me.

Add the liquid you prepared to the dutch oven, crank the heat to high and boil hard for 3 minutes.

Add the bacon, onions, garlic and apple back to the pan and adjust the heat on medium low.

Simmer the mixture until it turns dark and thick and syrupy.  I let it go about an hour, if it gets too thick, add water and let it continue to cook.  I add 1/4 cup if it needs it. The onions and garlic will have almost melted and the apple will disintegrate when you touch it.

Transfer the mixture to a blender, I have a Ninja, and pulse to chop and combine everything.  Feel free to add a few tablespoons of water to help it loosen a bit.  Transfer it to the 3 little jars and put lids on them and are the proud owner of  bacon jam.

Oh the smokey, thick, sweet, savory, coffee, maple syrupy flavor is something else!

I won't tell if you decide to keep it for yourself. 

This is great warm, room temperature or cold.  Each temperature changes the flavor slightly.  I like it room temperature on bread with extra old cheddar.  I like it on warm bread out of the oven.  I like it on crustini spread with herbs.  I like it on crunchy bread under an egg.  I like it on a fork,  It's very rich so a little goes a very long way.  

I think this is the perfect amount to make to enjoy and to share.  It should keep in the fridge about a month but really, I have no idea how on earth it'd be around that long.

I intend on making jars as gifts this christmas, a little jar full of this degree of delight with a little red bow...I can't imagine a better gift to give or to receive!! 

Make this, you'll be happy.