Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cozonac-Romanian Easter Bread

Print Friendly and PDF
We continue our journey through abbecedario culinario della comunita, the European Community Culinary ABC, with the country of Romania and the letter "D" for Drob, a traditional Romanian dish similar to the Scottish speciality, haggis. La Cucina di Cristina entertains us with lovely photos of Romania and some facts about the country itself, plus her version of Drob. I hope to put Romania on my list of must see countries.  

The Romanians have a rich culinary history predominately the Ottoman Empire which ruled the country for 276 years. The Turkish cuisine greatly influenced the Romanian cuisine adding spicy meat dishes, vegetable appetizers of eggplant, peppers along with other vegetables and sweets containing nuts, and honey in cakes and pastries. Since Easter is upon us, I decided on Cozonac, a rich yeast bread swirled with a ground nut mixture. I found dozens of variations on Cozonac, some had nut fillings, some had ricotta cheese filling, some had raisins in the bread dough, some were braided-the variations seemed endless. Finally, I chose a moderately simple recipe.

Makes 3 Loaves (9x5x3)

Rich Yeast Dough
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 cups warm milk  (105°-115°F)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup or 8 ounces), melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks, whisked until combined
  • 7-7 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 4 tablespoons milk. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until creamy.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, mix together the sugar and the lemon zest with your fingers until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the warm milk, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract and egg yolks.
  4. Place half the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, add half the liquid mixture. Mix on low speed until mixed well. Add more liquid and flour in increments until well mixed. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky, so don't add more flour unless necessary.
  5. Grease a large bowl. Turn dough into bowl, then flip over greased side up. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled-1-2 hours. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the nut filling. 
Nut Filling
  • 1 pound pecans, or nut of choice (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs, whisked together
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together nuts, sugar and butter until finely ground, about 30 seconds or less, in short pulses. Remove to a large bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix well. Store covered in the refrigerator until dough rises. If making ahead more than 3-4 hours, bring nuts to room temperature.
To complete the Breads

  1. Butter or oil your loaf pans. After the dough has risen, remove to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Using one ball of dough, roll out in a large rectangle the width of your baking pan. Spread with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Beginning with the short side of the rectangle, roll dough over filling jelly roll style. Pinch ends and seams. Place in baking pan. 
  2. Repeat procedure for the remaining two balls of dough.  Cover pans lightly with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a moderately warm place until doubled in size. Mine rose just to the edge of the pan.  Brush tops with an egg wash (1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water, mixed together) and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-45 minutes and golden brown. Bread is done when tapped lightly sounds hollow, or until a thermometer inserted in the middle of the bread reads about 200°F. Remove from oven. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack to cool to room temperature.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spicy Sausage Bread Rolls

Print Friendly and PDF
These rolls came together totally by accident. The dough began its life as hamburger rolls, but while it was resting in the refrigerator, I ran to the grocery store for a few things. Always interested in different sausages, fresh or smoked, I came upon a flavor I had not seen before-a cracked pepper smoked sausage! What if I wrapped the dough around thin slices of the this fully cooked peppery sausage! It was a great idea! The finished product was a success and will a little spicy mustard to pep it up, I had a great picnic bread or buns for hamburgers, hotdogs or other sandwiches.

Bread Dough

(Bread Machine)

3 cups bread flour
1/2 plain yogurt
1/2-1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast

Sausage Filling
4-6 ounces thinly sliced fully cooked smoked sausage of choice (I used a cracked pepper smoked sausage)
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

Place ingredients in the bread pan of a bread machine and process on the dough cycle according to the manufacturer's instructions for your bread machine.  Check the machine and either add more water or more flour for a well-mixed dough.When cycle has completed, remove dough from pan and place on a lightly floured surface. Let rest 5-10 minutes.

Divide dough into 9 or 12 pieces depending upon what size you wanted your finished roll. To fill the rolls, take a ball of dough and wrap it around 3-4 slices of the smoked sausage. Pinch to seal completely. Place rolls on a parchment lined baking pan. Let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix egg yolk with the 1 teaspoon water. Brush the mixture on the rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes or until rolls are golden browned. Serve warm or at room temperature. They freeze well.

Spicy Sausage Bread Rolls

The black and white image is my contribution to BWW #76 hosted by its creator, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook . Black and White Wednesday is organized by Cinzia of CindyStar Rules and host line-up can be found Cinzia's blog.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hokkaido Milk Bread-Tangzhong -- We Knead to Bake #3

Print Friendly and PDF

Hokkaido is Japan's second largest island. It is located at the North end of Japan close to Russia, an island very earthquake prone, the last major one in 2012. It is also the name of this fluffy, puffy  bread chosen by Aparna for We Knead to Bake #3. Tangzhong is a water, sometimes milk and flour-based roux championed by Yvonne Chen who wrote the Taiwanese cookbook which translates as "65° C Bread Doctor". The roux is touted to be the secret ingredient in baking soft and airy breads which stay fresher longer than breads baked without the roux. The Tangzhong, a mixture of 1 part to 5 parts water is cooked in a skillet to a temperature of 65°, which activates it leavening abilities, cooled to room temperature for several hours, then incorporated into the flour mixture. 

I hadn't heard of this method of preparing bread dough, but I am definitely going to use the Tzanghong method on my future bread baking adventures.  The recipe Aparna gave the group is not a difficult dough and quite versatile. It can be shaped into animal characters as well as a filled bread, sweet or savory. My interpretation of the Hokkaido Milk Bread has a cinnamon sugar and mini-chocolate chips swirled throughout the dough and baked in 4 by 6-inch loaf pans. 

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong

Original recipe from 65 Degrees Tangzhong "65C Bread Doctor" by Yvonne Chen and adapted
from Kirbie's Cravings. There is also a video available which might be helpful on making the Tangzhong.


For the Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk

For the Dough

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons powdered milk
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1/2 cup milk( and a little more, if needed)
1/8  cup (2 tablespoons ) cream (25% fat)
1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF) of the tangzhong from above recipe
25 grams unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips if making the chocolate chip rolls ( I used the chocolate along with 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar


The Tangzhong  (Flour-Water Roux):

Whisk together lightly the flour, water and milk in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring/whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.

If you have a thermometer, cook the roux/tangzhong until it reaches 65° C (150°F) and take it off the heat. If you don't have a thermometer, watch the roux/tangzhong until you see lines forming in the roux/tangzhong as you whisk it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.

Let the roux/tangzhong cool completely and rest for about 2-3 hours at least. It will have the consistency of a soft and creamy creme patisserie. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about a day. Discard the tangzhong after that.

The Bread Dough:

Aparna made her dough in the food processor. The dough can be made by hand, but the dough is sticky and can take some time and effort to knead by hand. I used my bread machine with great success, so I suggest you either use the food processor or the dough cycle of a bread machine and process according the the manufacturer's instructions for your machine.

My instructions for the dough will be written for processing on the dough cycle of the bread machine. Place ingredients with the exception of the mini-chocolate chips and cinnamon sugar in the pan of your bread machine and process accordingly. 

When the cycle has completed, remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. For four mini-loaves, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, then each piece into 3 equal pieces. You should have 12 small pieces of dough. Roll each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar over the oval, then some mini-chocolate chips-don't make the filling too thick or it will run out. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval-or roll jelly roll style. Pinch to to seal the edge. Place three rolls side by side in a greased mini-loaf pan. Repeat for 3 more loaves.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. When loaves have risen, carefully brush the tops of the loaves with milk or cream and bake them for about 20-30 minutes until they are done ( if you tap them they will sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top. Let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then turn them out and transfer to a rack to cool.

Serve or store in a bread bin. This bread stays soft and delicious even the next day. If you are interested in making the animals, read Aparna's excellent post on how to shape the animals.

Submitted to yeastspotting.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #75-The Gallery

Print Friendly and PDF
Welcome to a lovely gallery of black and white culinary images. This week was a productive week with fifteen images to display on the gallery! Thanks to a very talented group of photographers for submitting to BWW #75.

Plum Cake alla Zucca
Sandra-Dolce Forno
Dry Ginger Coffee
Spring Onion Bulb
Nandita-Pakka Shale
Deep Red Bardolino
Cinzia- CindyStar
 Lovely Fruity Chiaretto

Jamaican Banana Fritters
Tanusree-Ma Niche

A Day in a Butcher's Life
Jehanne-The Cooking Doctor
A Day in a Butcher's Life
Jehanne-The Cooking Doctor
Farm Chalet, Berner Oberland
Rosa-Rosa's Yummy Yums
Frittelle di Riso
Sandra-Indovina Chi Viene a Cena (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner)
Summer Stillness
Priya-The Humpty Dumpty Kitchen
Meena-Encourage Spice
Pain de Seigle aux Pavots
Julie-Stregatto Cuciniero
Tomato Still Life
Lynne-Cafe Lynnylu
If I have missed anyone or made any errors in links, etc., please let me know. 

Susan, of The Well-Seasoned Cook will be hosting BWW#76 on March 27. Interested in hosting or participating, the rules and hosts line-up can be found here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #75 Announcement

Print Friendly and PDF

Black and White Wednesday #75 is being hosted here on Cafe Lynnylu. Hope to see all your lovely culinary black and white images in my inbox. The rules are very simple and are posted here. To whet your monochromatic appetite---

I will be posting the gallery on Wednesday, March 20 and will be accepting your images up to 8:00 AM, New York time on that day. In your post, please link back to this announcement as well as the rules link mentioned above. Please send an email to lynnylu AT gmail DOT com with your attached photo and link to your post. Use of the below logo is optional, but appreciated.

Also, sharing tomato photo to Texture Tuesday whose theme this week is the word e-dition. 
Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Still Life Images-Black and White Wednesday #74

Print Friendly and PDF

"In a still photograph you basically have two variables, where you stand when you press the shutter. That's all you have". ~Henry Wesse

"Let the subject generate its own photographs.Become a camera." ~Minor White

"Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. but above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography." ~George Eastman

These two photos are my contribution to BWW #74, this week hosted by the lovely Cinzia,  of  CindyStar Blog who now manages this culinary black and white images blog event having taken over for the lovely Susan,  creator of BWW. Rules and host line-up can be found here.
Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shrimp Creole With Pan-Fried Polenta

Print Friendly and PDF

Today I'm pleased to reveal my adaptation of Shrimp Creole from Emily's blog, It Bakes Me Happy. Being a member of the Secret Recipe Club has given me the chance to read and cook from so many wonderful food blogs. Emily's blog is full of not only tantalizing recipes, but also evident is her vivacious personality and love for her family and blogger friends. We love shrimp in our family and live on the coast where fresh shrimp is abundant, so it was an easy decision choosing the shrimp creole.  

Louisiana Creole cooking is a melting pot of cuisines-French, African, Portuguese, Italian, Native American and Spanish with a little Southern thrown in the pot. Traditional ingredients in shrimp creole are diced tomatoes, the holy trinity-onion, green bell pepper and celery-and a hot sauce.  Creole dishes  are thicker and spicier than a gumbo which is also served over rice, but is made without a roux. The foundation of creole, gumbo and jambalaya (rice is incorporated in the cooking process) dishes is the holy trinity. My adaptation is called "holier than thou trinity" as I substituted canned green chiles for the bell pepper that accidentally ended up in a soup the day before. I liked the idea of sauteing this mirepoix in a small amount of bacon fat and adding the cooked diced bacon to the final dish which I served over fried polenta. And since we like spicy food, ancho chile powder, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce made its way into the shrimp creole. If making your own fried polenta seems a daunting task, pre-made polenta in a tube can be found most supermarkets.

Shrimp Creole 
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 whole canned green chiles, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce, or hot sauce of choice
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish
  1. In a heavy saucepan, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Pour off some of the bacon fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the onion, celery and green chiles to the pan. Saute until softened. Add the chile powder and minced garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Bring this to a boil, lower heat and cook about 20 minutes. Add shrimp, cook until pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Add reserved bacon or top finished dish with bacon and chopped green onions. Serve over fried polenta (recipe follows) or cooked white rice.
Fried Polenta
  1. In a heavy saucepan, add the water, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil. Add the polenta, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the polenta from sticking to the saucepan. A diffuser plate works well with this type of cooking.  Cook about 20-30 minutes or until mixture is very thick. 
  2. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Pour in the polenta, smoothing the surface with a greased spatula. Cool, then refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or overnight. Next day, cut the polenta in triangles. 
  3. In a large heavy skillet, preferable cast-iron, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Fry the triangles of polenta until crisp and brown on each side.
To serve-place 1-2 triangles of fried polenta on a plate. Top with shrimp creole, bacon and chopped green onions.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Smoked Turkey Red Beans, Spicy Sausage and Rice

Print Friendly and PDF

It's still winter where I live and this Smoked Turkey Red Beans and Rice is the perfect dish  to serve on cold days. It's not a difficult dish and made easily in the slow cooker, but there are several stages of preparation, so it's best to start a few days ahead of time. First, the smoked turkey parts are roasted in the oven along with onions, carrots and celery, then the pan is deglazed with wine, water added and slow cooked for eight hours. After stripping the meat and skimming fat, the resulting stock is cooled and chilled. Next day, the pre-soaked beans, vegetables and aromatics are combined with the smoked turkey stock, reserved meat, then slow-cooked for 6-8 hours. Lastly, some of the beans are pureed to thicken the stew which is then served over rice. I have made it probably four times in the last few months and it always get rave reviews. A big hunk of hot crusty cornbread completes this satisfying version of red beans and rice.

Smoky Turkey Stock

  • 2 packages smoked Turkey drumsticks or combo wings and drumstick
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and halved
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing
  • 1 cup  white wine or water
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 10 black peppercorns
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Brush turkey drumsticks and vegetables with the olive oil. Place in a roasting pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until turkey parts and vegetables brown. Remove from the oven and place roasting pan over two burners. Deglaze pan with the wine or water. 
  2. Place turkey parts and vegetables in slow cooker. Add the 7 cups water, garlic cloves and black peppercorns. Cook on high heat for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove turkey parts after 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. Cool to touch, strip meat from bones and reserve. 
  3. When stock is done, strain, discard vegetables and reserve. Cool, then refrigerate for several hours or until cold. Before using in recipe, skim fat solids from surface. Makes about 8 cups stock. You will need about 4 cups for the red beans and rice.
Smoked Turkey Red Beans

  • 1 pound package dried red beans or pinto beans, soaked. I put my beans in a pot of enough cold water to allow the beans to triple when soaked. Bring this to a boil, remove from heat; cover and allow to soak 1-2 hours. Drain, discard soaking water.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • smoked turkey stock
  • reserved turkey meat
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick- JohnsonvilleRagin' Cajun (very hot) or Aidell's-just to name a few
  • 2-3 tablespoons Creole Seasoning-purchased or homemade (recipe below)
  1. Place the oil in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery and green pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic after 4 minutes of sautéing. Place in slow cooker with the bay leaves, thyme, smoked turkey stock, pre-soaked beans, reserved turkey meat, spicy sausage and 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Check beans for tenderness after 4-5 hours. Add Creole seasoning, if desired, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  2.  If desired remove one cup of beans, puree and return to slow cooker. Serve smoked turkey red beans over rice. Garnish with thyme, thinly sliced green onions and sliced jalapeños, if desired. Serves 6-8.

My Creole Seasoning
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablesspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients. Cover and use within 3 months.

Smoked Turkey Red Beans with Spicy Sausage

Pinto Beans

The two black and white photos above are my contribution to BWW #73 hosted this week by Zorra of Kochtopf. Black and White Wednesday was created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and is now managed by Cinzia of Cindy Star Blog. Rules and host line-up here.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
Gadget by The Blog Doctor.