Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mrs. Jean's Cinnamon rolls

While on our trip to NOLA, we stayed in the greater Picayune metro area at James' parents house. I was cordially greeted and made welcome immediately. After a long day of work and driving, it was nice to change the pace and relax to share memories and in Mr. B's case, opinions. If you need an opinion, he will be glad to share his.

The hospitality didn't end there. After a restful evening, I was awoken to the wonderful aromas of freshly baked pastry and coffee. Mrs. Jean had made an entire pan of her special cinnamon rolls. They were very light and flavorful. The icing was not overly sweet and rounded out the pastry nicely. The story and history of the recipe was also interesting. It was handed down from Mrs Jean's grandmother. She showed me her cherished original paper. It was well worn and fragile. Many years ago she had copied the recipe to a card and it too was well worn. To show how technology has changed things, she took the card from my hand as I was writing the recipe down and placed it on her multi-function copier/scanner/printer and made a copy for me. 

With her permission, I will share her family's favorite breakfast recipe:

Basic Sweet Dough

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • butter, melted

Sprinkle yeast over water to dissolve. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. On low speed of mixer, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Combine milk, eggs and dissolved yeast. Add to dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Brush with melted butter; cover and chill overnight.

Pecan Rolls

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • pecan halves
  • 1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In a small saucepan combine butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Divide dough in half. Roll each half on lightly floured surface. Roll each half to measure 18 x 12 inches. Brush with butter. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1/4 cup over each. Roll from longer side; cut in 1-inch slices and place on sheetpan. Brush with melted butter. Allow to stand in warm place until double in volume. Pour sauce over the top and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

To get ready to watch the Saints win the conference title game and go to the Super Bowl for the first time ever, I decided to make a batch of Red Beans and rice.

I just happened to be in New Orleans last week for a work conference and stopped by a Winn Dixie in Slidell, LA on the way home. I picked up a some groceries I can't find local: Andouille, Camellia's red beans, tasso, pickled pork, and some Abita that isn't allowed in Mississippi. 

Camellia's red beans are a NOLA classic. They offer the perfect texture and flavor. I used a one pound bag for this recipe. I rinsed and picked through them.

I chopped one medium onion, 2 green bell peppers, and 3 celery stalks. This is known as the Holy Trinity in creole cuisine. I sautéed the Trinity in some bacon drippings for about 6 minutes until they were getting soft. Then I smashed 4 toes of garlic and added to the mix. I mixed that up and let it cook another 2 minutes. I seasoned with salt and pepper while they were sweating.

I then added a quart of chicken stock, a quart of water, a tsp of dried Thyme, about 6 ounces of diced tasso, 16 ounces of pickled pork, a tsp of creole seasoning, and rinsed beans. I stirred while it came to a boil.

Cover and cook for about two hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Uncover and cook slowly until it is the consistency you want, about 30 more minutes for me. I like them creamy, not soupy, but to each his own. Some people smash some of the beans to thicken it, but some people also use dried potato flakes. (Just kidding, I've done both). 

I grilled some Andouille. I ladled the beans over white rice and garnished with some chopped onion, cheddar cheese, and a jalapeño pepper. I had mine with an Abita Pale Ale. 

It must have worked because the Saints (formerly the "Ain'ts") won! Drew Brees owes me for that one. 

A note about pickled pork: It adds a brightness and tang that can't be substituted. If you don't have access or patience to make it, add a tsp of red wine vinegar while sweating the Trinity and add a Tbl just before serving.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rib Roast

  Heather picked up a rib roast from Fresh Market. I wanted to repeat what I did for Christmas last year. I started by making a paste with horseradish, fresh thyme, coarse black pepper, rosemary, crushed garlic, and olive oil. I coated the roast with the paste, wrapped it in foil and let it rest in the fridge overnight.  

 I let it come to room temperature before placing in a roasting pan and roasting it on a low 275 oven until it reached 130 in the middle of the roast. I cooked it slow because I wanted it to be the same amount of doneness throughout. If you are serving for a group that might want different temps, you can kick up the temp. Anything more than medium rare would be sad, but some people just don't understand.


 Heather made a sun dried tomato rissoto and steamed some broccoli. She also made a mushroom sauce.