Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
1 cup milk lukewarm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter unsalted, softened, or margarine
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling (make less – this is way too much!) 
1 cup brown sugar packed
3 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup butter unsalted, softened, or margarine

Cream cheese icing (find something less sweet)
6 tbsp butter unsalted, softened, or margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar also known as icing sugar, or confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk with a tsp of sugar (you can take a tsp out of the 1/2 cup of sugar) in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. If the yeast is good, it will start to froth up.

To the bowl of your mixer add the sugar, butter or margarine, salt, eggs, and flour and mix until well incorporated. Pour the milk/yeast mixture over the flour mixture and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approximately 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approximately 1/4 inch in thickness.

Spread the 1/3 cup of butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle with the sugar evenly over the surface of the dough.
Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.

Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. You can also use floss to cut into slices, as seen in the video. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing by mixing all the icing ingredients and beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth.


Delicious Spinach and Cheese Strata (2018 Holiday)

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 75 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes, plus at least one hour to sit in the fridge

1 pound bag chopped frozen spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces (3/4 pound) Italian sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 11 slices or 8 cups)
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) coarsely grated Gruyère
2 ounces (2/3 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
9 large eggs
2-3/4 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained spinach and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.
Butter a 3-quart (or 9×13-inch) baking dish. Spread one third of the bread cubes in the dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. (Try to break it up as much as possible so there are no huge clumps of spinach.) Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice, ending with cheeses.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the half-and-half, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk until well combined. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the strata. Cover the strata with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake the strata, uncovered, until puffed, set and golden brown all over top, 70-75 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Note: The cook time is based on the strata going immediately from the fridge to the oven. If it sits out at room temperature before baking, the cook time will be 10-15 minutes less.

Shortbread in a Pan

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour (unsifted)
1/4 tsp. salt

Using the back of a large spoon, cream the butter until it is light (or use mixer). Cream in the powered sugar, then the vanilla. Now work in the flour. Knead the dough on an unfloured board until nice and smooth. Spray the shortbread pan very lightly with a non-stick vegetable oil spray. Put the ball of dough in the middle of the pan, and working out from the center, firmly press the dough into the pan. Prick the entire surface with a fork, and bake the shortbread right in the pan at 325 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. Be sure that the middle is thoroughly cooked and doesn’t look slightly opaque or the shortbread might stick in the pan.

Let the shortbread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before you loosen the edges with a knife and flip the pan over onto a wood cutting board. If the shortbread does not come right out, hold the pan upside down over the cutting board and firmly tap one edge of the pan against the board. This should loosen the shortbread and it should drop out. Cut the shortbread into serving pieces while it is still warm.

Let the pan cool before washing it in the sink or dishwasher.

Goat cheese ice cream with red wine syrup

For the ice cream

3 cups whole milk
2 T cornstarch
2.5 oz goat cheese, softened (this is high in casein proteins which gives the ice cream body)
pinch of sea salt
1.25 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon

For the Red Wine Syrup
1 750-ml bottle red wine
1 cup + 1 tbs. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

For the ice cream
Mix a couple of tablespoons or so of the milk with the cornstarch to dissolve. Add the rest of the milk, cream, and sugar into a pot and heat until boiling. Boil for a few minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the cornstarch. Stir slowly for about a minute, until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the goat cheese, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and stir until smooth. Chill the mixture and when cold, churn in the ice cream maker.

For the red wine syrup
Bring wine, one cup sugar, and cinnamon to boil in large saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the mixture reduces to one cup, about 18 minutes, and then cool the syrup completely. Drizzle over the ice cream. Yum!

Beef and lamb meatballs in tomato anchovy sauce

1 pound ground lamb and beef (1/2 each, or any combo)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 T chopped parsley
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup wine – either red or white work!
1/2 cup broth – beef or chicken
1 cup tomato puree
3-5 anchovies, depending on your preference

Mix the ground meat mixture with the breadcrumbs, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Form into 1 inch balls. Saute in olive oil until just browned and transfer to a plate. Heat a small swirl of olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped garlic, onion and sweat for several minutes. Next add anchovy. Marvel at how the anchovy just melts into the pan. Add the wine and reduce by about half. Add the tomato and broth and remove from heat. In a blender or food processor, whiz sauce until smooth. Return to skillet, adjust seasonings if you need, and add the meatballs. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes. Serve.

Stuffed piquillo peppers with quinoa y Manchego cheese

1 cup uncooked quinoa – we love using red quinoa, or a combination of colors
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
sea salt, pepper and olive oil
a squeeze of lemon, if desired
1 16 oz tin piquillo pepper
1/2 pound manchego cheese, cut into 1/8 inch strips about as long as the piquillo peppers

First off, sweat the onions and garlic in a saute pan. When just beginning to impart their flavor, add the quinoa and cook for about half a minute. Then add 1 3/4 cup of water and cook until perfect – it shouldn’t take long – about 15 minutes or so. Season with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of parsley and a little squeeze of lemon if you are so inclined. Scoop filling into the piquillo peppers, and stuff in manchego. Serve sprinkled with a little parsley.

Jamon y Queso Empanadas

These mini-empanadas are lovely for a party – easy to make in advance, freeze, and heat in the oven to order. Our favorite wrappers are called “La Saltena” and are specifically for empanadas. To simplify life, use round potsticker (wonton) wrappers that you can find at Asian markets and many grocery stores. Some students like to use puff-pastry dough that they roll out and stamp into circles with a drinking glass. This yields a flakier-pastry empanada. Depends what you like – flaky pastry or thin and crunchy pastry.

For the empanada filling
(combine the two ingredients in a bowl)
1 cup grated cheese, like emmental, grueyere, mozzarella or even a shredded quatro formaggio mix
3-4 slices of jamon serrano (or even just plain old ham in a pinch)

An alternate empanada filling
(combine the two ingredients in a bowl)
1 cup grated cheese, like emmental, grueyere, mozzarella or even a shredded quatro formaggio mix
1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion, cooked in pat of butter and hearty splash of cognac, until soft. Cool.

Fill empanadas and seal. If you are using La Saltena wrappers or puff pastry, then prick each empanada with a fork, and throw in the oven. For wonton wrappers, lightly brush with an egg wash (an egg beaten with 1⁄4 cup water) before baking to ensure a nice toasty-looking empanada. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees until brown.