Saturday, February 1, 2014

Orange Vinaigrette

Sometimes I forget recipes.   I try something, love it, life happens, and I forget the recipe.  This is the case with this simple vinaigrette.  Recently I rediscovered this recipe while cleaning out some files, and for the last five days, we've had salad with this vinaigrette.  That's how much we love it.   We usually make a mixed green salad, add some thinly slice apples, a few chopped nuts, and toss it with this vinaigrette.   It brings a little sunshine to a winter meal.

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled and minced
  • a pinch or two of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • kosher salt and freshly ground paper to taste
  • Place the all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended.  Season to liking.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
rock and roll ain't noise pollution,

Monday, December 30, 2013

Biscuit Boot Camp

I've been down this road before.  During my annual rereading of Lonesome Dove, the following passage always stirs something deep in my soul:

The heart of his breakfast was a plenitude of sourdough biscuits, which he cooked in a Dutch oven out in the backyard. His pot dough had been perking along happily for over ten years, and the first thing he did upon rising was check it out. The rest of the breakfast was secondary, just a matter of whacking off a few slabs of bacon and frying a panful of pullet eggs. Bolivar could generally be trusted to deal with the coffee. 
Augustus cooked his biscuits outside for three reasons. One was because the house was sure to heat up well enough anywayduring the day, so there was no point in building any more of a fire than was necessary for bacon and eggs. Two was because biscuits cooked in a Dutch over tasted better than stove-cooked biscuits, and three was because he liked to be outside to catch the first light. A man that depended on an indoor cookstove would miss the sunrise, and if he missed sunrise in Lonesome Dove, he would have to wait out a long stretch of heat and dust before he got to see anything so pretty.

And each time I'm inspired to bake biscuits.  However, this year is different.  This year I'm serious.  Here is proof of my seriousness:

I've purchased two cookbooks dedicated solely to the art of biscuit making.

Southern Biscuits by Natalie Dupree
Biscuits by Belinda Ellis

Also I stocked my pantry with self-rising Southern flour.  I found Martha White flour at my local Dillon's, but I had to special order the White Lily flour, which isn't available in Kansas.   You see, the key to biscuit making is a Soft Winter Wheat, which has a lower protein content and is primarily grown in the South.  Using Southern flour is the first step to produce pillowy biscuits.  In future blog posts, I will share my trials and tribulations of biscuit boot camp.

may your biscuits always be buttered,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Swaddled by a Cinnamon Roll

I have a recurring dream where I'm standing at the gates of heaven, and just as I'm about to take my first step to enter, St. Peter informs me, "Sir, I know how you really like to eat, so I should inform me that in heaven there is no . . ." And then he completes the sentence with something like BBQ, beer, bourbon, bacon, or pie.  This dream/nightmare stirs anxiety in me as I face the dilemma of what to do next.

Sometimes St. Peter informs me that there are no cinnamon rolls in heaven, and this stirs defiance on my part. After hearing about the absence of cinnamon rolls in heaven, I burst into a profanity-laced tirade. There's no way I'm stepping through those pearly gates. I know that when contemplating heaven I shouldn't concern myself with earthly matters, but my stomach's spiritual compass can be a bit wonky.

I love cinnamon rolls. I always have. If I had to rank my
 favorite foods, cinnamon rolls would be at the top. For me cinnamon rolls are the ultimate comfort food. Eating a cinnamon roll is the equivalent of being swaddled in a quilt made by my grandmother.

A few years ago I read about the cinnamon rolls at Johnson's Corner in Loveland, Colorado, and I knew that I would have to stop the next time I rolled through the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Here's what you need to know about the rolls: They're huge. They're 1300 calories (you should be able to capitalize numbers to emphasize their importance). They taste FANTASTIC. I just have one complaint. There's too much icing. I prefer a light glaze on my rolls. I know that I'm in the minority with this criticism, but I prefer to enjoy the essence of a cinnamon roll, which in my opinion, can be smothered by too much icing.

roll on,


PS. . . I'm not a Neil Young fan because his voice grates on me, but for some reason on the day I drove down from the mountain from Estes Park to Loveland, I listened to his album Rust Never Sleeps. Let me tell you: It's perfect music for driving down a mountain.