Suzi's Blog

Nana’s Potato Rolls

It’s kinda interesting to watch. I mean, I’ve literally seen water evaporate off the dessert floor. But rolls? They can evaporate, too. That pan of Nana’s Potato Rolls was put in front of my grandsons and I turned around — and I did go get a coffee and the paper — and when I was back they were gone. Just gone. And the two thirteen year olds professed, not innocence, but that the rolls were really good and could they have more. Please.

Suzen, my wife and their grandmother, took this all in stride and with pride. She sent me back to the store. This time for more nonfat dry milk and potato flour supplies. Those are the "secret" ingredients here.

For the second batch, I made sure the rolls came out of the oven when the boys were outside playing. I got cold butter and warmed the honey in the microwave.

When the boys came inside, and four of “their” rolls were gone, I did profess innocence. They noticed the butter and honey. They learned.

Rolls are a treat we all have too infrequently. And, God forbid, many of the rolls we consume are taken, already “made,” from cardboard containers and baked. That is not the definition of home-baked.

Suzen has made these rolls since she got her first copy of The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. In the book, this recipe is called White Bread 101 and it really and truly is the white bread recipe you should start your bread baking career with.

We’re going to a party next month and her contribution will be 125 of these rolls. She’s rolling her eyes at that quantity, but she never turns away an audience for her kitchen wonders. Make these rolls just once, and you’ll consider them a wonder, too. They have a soft, luxurious texture and an aroma out of the oven that will drive you, literally, to butter and honey.

I’m not sure how the nonfat dry milk and the potato flour contribute to the final result here. The official chemistry is probably a bit complex. But whoever discovered this combo deserves the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Or at least our many thanks.


Nana’s Potato Rolls [aka White Bread 101]

Yield: 11 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
  • ¼ cup potato flour or ⅓ cup potato flakes
  • 1 ⅛ cups lukewarm water

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together by and, mixer or bead machine. Knead until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough’s consistency with additional flour or water as needed. But remember, the more flour you add while you are kneading, the heaving and drier you final result will be. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour, until it is puffy [and not necessarily doubled in bulk].

Divide the dough into 2.5 ounce pieces. There should be 11. Roll each piece into a small ball and place symmetrically inside a 9-inch buttered cake pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for about 1 hour until the rolls “fill” the pan.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Uncover the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, tenting the rolls lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10 to 15 minutes if they appear to be browning too quickly.

Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. While still warm, remove the rolls from the pan by inverting over a second wire rack. Re-invert and allow the rolls to cool to room temperature.

[Or, if you are impatient, eat them warm. They are yummy by themselves, but I prefer butter and honey or jam.]

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for1/30th second at ISO‑2500

 

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Grilled Vegetable and Arugula Salad with Crostini

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It’s strictly your choice. This salad can be just that: salad. Or, it can be the entire meal. There is asparagus and zucchini here, which provide bulk and substance as well as flavor. Tomatoes provide their usual accents while avocadoes donate their rich, cream texture, here in a grilled format.

There is so much going on flavor wise, that the salad is quite fulfilling. Of course, just to add that extra layer we all desire, this salad comes with crostini covered in the goat cheese of your choice.

Chilled white or rose wine is a natural accompaniment. You want a brisk wine flavor that is strong enough to announce its presence in the face of all that vegetable competition. And one that works with goat cheese.

The most common wine paired with goat cheese is Sauvignon Blanc. Albarino from Spain is enjoyed there with their very particular and prized goat cheeses. Riesling will work well as do Chardonnay or Syrah. If you are lucky, you can query someone in a gourmet shop that furnishes both wine and cheese to get an accomplished pairing. It’s a task to know wine, a task to know cheese, and surely a leap to be expert in both.


Grilled Vegetable and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 ½ tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad and Crostini:

  • 5 ounces  baby arugula (about 7 cups not packed)
  • 2 firm but ripe Hass avocados, quartered, pitted but not peeled
  • 2 medium tomatoes (preferably heirloom), halved lengthwise
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, woody stems trimmed
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small baguette, cut on a very sharp diagonal into twelve ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 4 ounces  fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

Preparation:

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, shallots, and mustard together to combine (but not emulsify). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the salad and crostini, prepare a grill for medium-high cooking over direct heat.

Place the arugula in a large wide shallow bowl or on a large platter and set aside.

Lightly coat the cut sides of the avocado quarters, tomatoes, zucchini, and the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush one side of the baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the baguette slices for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are toasted. Spread the goat cheese over the crostini. Set aside on a plate.

Next, grill the avocados, cut side down, for about 3 minutes, or until they are slightly charred and grill marks form. Using your fingers, remove the peel from the avocados and place the avocados on top of the arugula. Grill the remaining vegetables, turning them as needed, until they are slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side for the tomatoes, about 4 minutes per side for the zucchini, and about 5 minutes for the asparagus. As the vegetables come off the grill, arrange them on top of the arugula.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and the crostini. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the salad at the table and serve with the crostini.

Source: What’s for Dinner by Curtis Stone with inputs from About.com

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑1000