Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread


I had a craving for French toast made with old-fashioned cinnamon swirl raisin bread. After a few minutes in my local market looking for the bread all I found was this tiny loaf with skinny little slices. I checked out the bakery and they didn’t make what I was looking for either. I wanted a big hearty loaf of buttery sweet bread with spirals of cinnamon and big fat plump raisins. I wanted to be able to cut thick slices when I was making French toast, so I decided to bake my own. Here is the recipe I developed. I hope you will try it some chilly fall day, it is so good.

Dough:

4 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

¾ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

1 package active dry yeast

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup salted butter

¼ cup sugar

¾ cup raisins

1 large egg

Filling

¼ cup salted butter

½ cup sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine flour and salt in a bowl and set aside. Place water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a small bowl stir and set aside.


Using a small sauce pan scald milk (do not boil).

You should just start seeing tiny bubbles on the side of the pan. Remove pan from heat then add butter, sugar and raisins to the pan.

Stir until butter melts. Allow milk to cool until you can comfortably stick your finger in the pot. Then whisk egg into milk mixture. At this point retrieve the yeast mixture; it should have a layer of foam on top if your yeast is good. Strain milk mixture into yeast mixture. Reserve the raisins on the side.

Whisk yeast and milk for 1 minute to combine. Pour liquid into bowl of a stand up mixer (use paddle attachment) set on low and gradually add the flour until fully combined. Remove dough from bowl to a floured counter and knead for 5 minutes adding more flour if dough is too sticky.

Spread out dough on counter to a 10 x 10 square.

Top the dough with the reserved raisins.

Fold dough in half onto itself and then fold in half again.

Knead dough a few more times to incorporate the raisins. Roll dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. Roll out the dough to 9” x18”.

Melt butter and brush ¾ of the melted butter on the top of the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle ¾ of the cinnamon mix on top of the buttered surface of the dough.

Starting from the 9” end, roll the dough like a jelly roll. Place roll in a buttered 9” bread pan (seam side down).

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. After 1 hour remove plastic wrap, and brush top with remaining butter then sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake the bread for 35 minutes then remove from the oven. Remove bread from the pan and allow the bread to cool on a rack for 1 hour before slicing.

To make French toast I slice the bread the day before. The next day I dip slices of the bread into an egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla mixture and pan fry in butter until golden brown. Nothing says “Good morning” like French toast made from scratch. The Raisin bread also tastes great toasted with butter.

Advertisements

ARROZ CON GANDULES (Puerto Rican style rice and Pigeon Peas) and PERNIL (Puerto Rican style Roast Pork)


It’s that time of year again when friends and family will be coming to visit. That can only mean one thing, it’s time for me to cook the national dish of Puerto Rico. A gathering wouldn’t be complete without the unmistakable aroma of rice and roast pork cooking in the kitchen.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Sofrito

1 large green pepper coarsely chopped and seeded

1 medium onion coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic finely diced

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Place all of the above ingredients into a small food processor and pulse until smooth to make sofrito. Set aside 1/4 cup of the sofrito mixture to prepare the rice. Reserve remaining 2/3 cup of mixture to make pork marinade (mojito).

Pernil

5-8 pound pork butt (bone in optional)

2/3 cup sofrito mixture

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup orange juice

Place above ingredients into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag. Sealed bag and rub marinade into the pork.

Place bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Turn bag and rub in marinade a few times during the 24 hour. Remove the bag from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking and allow to sit on counter to reach room temperature. preheat oven to 325° place pork into a large Dutch oven fat side up and pour the excess marinade over the top of the pork.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place in the center of the oven. Cook the pork for 3 1/2 hours. DO NOT REMOVE LID WHILE COOKING. When pork is removed from the oven let it cool 15 minutes before opening lid.

Puerto Rican Style Rice with Pigeon Peas

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup sofrito

One 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons of capers

One dozen Manzanilla olives

One can pigeon peas do not drain

2 cups long grain rice

Place oil and sofrito into a large oven proof pot and sauté over medium heat for three minutes. Then add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, capers,olives and pigeon peas to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice to the pot and cook uncovered until the water level drops below the level of the rice. remove the pot from the stove and cover the pot and place into a 350° oven for 20 minutes. When done remove pot from the oven and let it rest covered for five minutes. uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.

2015 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado / Red Kidney Beans with Calabaza Squash


HHabichuelas con Calabaza

Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado is a  popular Puerto Rican side dish made with red kidney beans and a Caribbean squash called Calabaza. It is a hard skinned squash with orange flesh similar to Acorn or Butternut squash, either of which may be substituted in this recipe. The Calabaza squash, which is easily found in Latin markets, adds a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the beans. Serve over cooked white rice to create a perfect a side dish for grilled, roasted or fried meats. 

Ingredients:

1/2 pound chunk of Calabaza

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped Cubanelle pepper (Italian frying pepper)

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 – 16 ounce cans red kidney beans (or if you have more time on your hands than I do, feel free to soak some dried beans)

1 – 8 ounce can  tomato sauce

Method:

DSCN0974

Peel, remove seeds and dice the Calabaza into 3/4 inch pieces.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza

 

Place the diced Calabaza into a sauce pan with enough water to cover the cubes add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain the Calabaza reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

DSCN0977

Place onions, green peppers, garlic and olive oil into a small food processor and pulse a few times until a coarse puree is achieved.

DSCN0981

Place puree into a large thick bottomed saucepan and sauté for 5 minutes over low heat.

DSCN0982

Add remaining ingredients plus the cooked Calabaza  and the reserved 1/2 cup of cooking liquid to the sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza

No Need to Knead Pizza Dough


photo_2

This is the easiest pizza dough recipe you will ever try because the mixer does the kneading for you and it is also completely fool-proof. If you enjoy making pizza at home get your favorite pizza sauce and toppings ready to impress your family and friends. 

 

2 3/4 cups bread flour

1 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp dry yeast

2 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

2 tbsp. olive oil (plus 1 tsp. for coating dough)

 

Place flour and salt into bowl of stand mixer with a dough hook attached.

sausage bread

Place yeast, sugar and water into a large measuring cup and stir. Set timer for 10 minutes.

sausage bread

After 10 minutes add 2 tbsp. of oil to yeast mixture then pour it into the flour and with the mixer on #2 setting and set timer for 10 minutes.

Then remove dough from bowl and pour remaining 1 tbsp. of oil into the bowl. Then roll the dough into a ball  on the counter then roll it around in the bowl to coat the dough with oil ( this keeps the dough from drying out while proofing).

sausage bread

Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

100_2149

Allow the dough to proof (rise) for 1 hour or until doubled in size in a warm place in your kitchen.

After 1 hour remove the dough from the bowl and you are ready to create your masterpiece.

This recipe will make 2 – 10″ thin crust round pizzas or you can roll out the dough into a 9″ X 13″ sheet pan and allow to rise for an additional 10 minutes before you begin topping for 1 thick crust pizza.

Traditional Puerto Rican “Pernil Horneado” – Roast Pork


pernil2

Pernil, Puerto Rican Style roast pork is a typically served for the Holidays, with “Tostones” (fried green bananas) and “Arroz con Gandules” (rice and pigeon peas) on the side. The whole trick to a perfect roast is low and slow cooking. Also do not cover the roast while cooking or the skin will not get crispy. Buen provecho.(enjoy)

 

1 – 8 to 10 pound picnic pork shoulder – (bone in)

3 tbsp. salt or 1 tsp. / pound

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried cilantro

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

6 cloves garlic peeled

1 large green pepper (coarsely chopped)

1 medium yellow onion (coarsely chopped)

1 lemon or lime (juiced)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

 

Wash pork shoulder under cold running water. Dry with paper towels and place on cutting board skin side up. Using a sharp knife cut through the skin to create a diamond pattern. Place remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. (This marinade is called Mojo and is also used on steaks, chicken and fish) Place pork into a large Zip-lock plastic bag and pour the marinade from the blender into the bag and seal. The pork shoulder should then be marinated in the refrigerator for 2 days for maximum flavor.  Turn over the bag occasionally to move the marinade around.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove pork from bag and shake off excess marinade and discard. Place the pork shoulder on a rack with the skin side up in a deep sided roasting pan. Wipe marinade off the skin using a paper towel (this keeps the marinade from burning while roasting the pork). Add 1 inch of water to roasting pan to keep pan juices from burning.

Prenil

Pernil

Place the uncovered roast in oven and cook for 5 hours (30 minutes/pound) or if using a probe thermometer until roast reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. To test the pork for doneness I use a fork to pull away a piece of meat, it should shred easily. Now check skin for desired crispness. If skin is still too soft you can get crisper skin by raising temperature up to 400 degrees but watch it closely because it will  burn quickly if not watched. When desired crispness is achieved remove roast from oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Irish Soda Bread Revisited


This is an heirloom recipe that my mom makes every year for St. Patrick’s Day. Now this recipe has been handed down to me by my mother and it is my job to make sure this tradition stays alive in my family. This recipe was given to my mother by a neighbor and friend Rosie Redmond over 30 years ago. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I am reposting this recipe in memory of my mom who passed away 9/11/2013, she would always have a few loaves of bread on the kitchen counter to give away to family members come St. Patrick’s Day. That is an “Heirloom Memory”.

4 cups un-sifted All Purpose Flour 

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1+1/2 cups Buttermilk

2 eggs

1 stick Butter-softened

1 cup Raisins 

1+1/2 Teaspoons Caraway seeds  (optional but I think it adds a great flavor to the bread)

2  – (8) inch round cast iron fry pans or cake pans, greased and floured

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, toss flour mixture with hands (this give bread a light and airy consistency).

Cut in softened butter to flour mixture, using hands or a pastry cutter.  Until evenly distributed.

Add raisins and caraway seeds. Toss with hands to mix thoroughly. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add buttermilk and blend well.

Pour egg/buttermilk mixture into flour mixture. Blend well with a spoon. The dough should be heavy but not too wet. (If it seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk) If too tacky to handle, add a little bit of flour, so that you can mold it to shape.

Divide batter between 2 prepared pans.

Dust hands generously with flour and mold dough into a round loaves. Dust top generously with flour. Using the wrong end of a fork cut a deep cross “X” into the dough. This is the cross of St. Patrick. This will prevent the bread from cracking, and will give it a traditional look.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until well browned (knife comes clean). Cool on a rack.

Note** By chance, I found out, that when I baked this bread in a cast iron fry pan, the bread rose higher than the one baked in the cake pans.