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Thursday, March 31, 2011

New RSS Feed

I am still making changes here, but I wanted to make sure to update you on the new RSS feed.  If you subscribe to Mindy's Mouthful in an RSS reader, please resubscribe to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheWorldInMyKitchen.  Thanks!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Changes Here at Mindy's Mouthful

I am making some changes here at Mindy's Mouthful, including a name change and design change! I'll explain more once it's happened, but I won't be posting for about a week while I change things around. Also, don't be surprised when you don't see "Mindy's Mouthful" in the domain name or on the blog any more! This blog will now be called "The World in my Kitchen"!

Thanks for your patience!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

This blog has set some high standards for me when it comes to visitors. No one really believes that most mornings I eat cereal or an organic pop tart. Most of my friends think that I cook complicated meals three times a day, seven days a week. People even apologize when they serve me meals at their houses because what they cook is not "fancy." I don't always cook intricate meals as I mentioned (and I'll be focusing on this more in the future), but when family comes to visit, I do try to whip up something fun and new.

Enter this Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread. When I saw it on Joy the Baker's site, I knew I had to make it, but it's just time consuming enough that I needed a special occasion to make it. My in-laws' visit last weekend was the perfect excuse. :-)

This bread was impressive--beautiful, unique, and delectable. It took time to make, but I made it up to the end of the first rising the night before to save me some time in the morning. I served it hot with coffee and tea. I can't tell you how to store the leftovers as there wasn't a crumb left. Try this today and thank me later!

**Sweet As Sugar Cookies has asked if I'd contribute this post to her Sweets for a Saturday.  Go by and see what other sweets are posted!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread
from Joy the Baker

For the Dough:
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned (1/2 stick)

In a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter until the butter is just melted. Remove from the heat and add the water and vanilla. Let the mixture stand for a minute or two until it cools a little. If you have a thermometer, it should read between 115-125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a dough hook (if using a stand mixer) or with a spatula. Add the eggs and mix until the eggs are completely incorporated. This will take a little time. Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and stir for about 2 minutes with the dough hook or the spatula. The dough will be sticky.

Place the dough in a large lightly-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place and let rise for about an hour or until the dough doubles.

**After the dough has risen, it can be placed in the refrigerator overnight and used the next day. Just take the bowl out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before the next step.**
While the dough rises, mix the dry filling ingredients (sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Grease and flour a loaf pan. (A 9x13 pan was recommended, but I used a 5x13 European-sized loaf pan, and it worked great.)

Once the dough has risen, deflate it and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 5 minutes. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it measures about 20 inches by 12 inches. I found the dough to be resilient, so I also held it up with my hands to use a "stretch method" I sometimes use for pizza dough.

Once the dough is rolled out, brush the melted butter over the top with a brush. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut 6 long strips. Stack them on top of each other (being careful not to lose too much of the sugar!) and then cut into 6 even squares.
Hold the pan up on its end and stack the dough squares carefully in the pan. Mine didn't completely fill the pan, but that's okay. Just spread them out a little (carefully!). Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place for about 30-45 minutes until the dough has risen to almost double its size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pan on the middle rack and let bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is deeply golden brown. The deep golden brown will ensure that the bread is cooked in the middle.

Remove the bread for the oven and let rest for a few minutes. (The original recipe suggests 20-30 minutes, but I only waited 5 minutes!) Run a butter knife around the edges and carefully invert the pan over a board. Place the plate, stand or board you'll be using to serve it on over the loaf and invert so that it's right side up.


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Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am a luck girl. Yesterday was my birthday, and here's the cake that my husband made for me. He admitted that he had never made a cake before--even from a box! This is a lemon cake with raspberry filling and a buttercream frosting...all from scratch! I'm impressed. :-)

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pool of Butter Wheat Biscuits

I love making my own biscuits from scratch, but I don't always have the time to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, cut them out and bake them. I also don't have a huge amount of counter space in my kitchen, so rolling out dough can be tricky. Along came this recipe for Pool of Butter Biscuits from Big Red Kitchen, and my problem is solved! My adapted version comes together in all of five minutes and tastes earthy and rustic. They're not the prettiest biscuits I've ever baked, but they pass my four year old's taste test. Whenever I bring them out, she cries, "You made my favorites!" Now if that isn't endorsement, I don't know what is. :-)

Pool of Butter Wheat Biscuits
Adapted from Big Red Kitchen
Makes 8 biscuits

1/2 stick butter, sliced
1 1/4 cups flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached white.)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
2/3 cup 2% milk (I've also used 1/3 cup of milk and 1/3 cup plain yogurt.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the butter slices in the bottom of a small baking dish, such as a pie pan or an 8 x 8 dish. Place it in the oven and let the butter melt for one minute.

Meanwhile mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and Kosher salt in a bowl. Slowly pour in the milk (or milk and yogurt mixture) and mix until it just comes together. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of milk. Spread the mixture in the baking dish over the melted butter with floured fingers. Some of the butter will come up over the edges onto the top of the dough--this is okay. Using a buttered and floured knife or dough cutter, cut the dough into 8-9 pieces (depending on the shape of your dish).

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake [Gluten Free]

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner. One of them suffers from Celiac disease, which wasn't a problem since I have several recipes in my repertoire that don't include wheat products, but I was stumped about dessert. A long time ago I baked a Chocolate Valentino that was delicious, but after a long week and a busy Saturday morning, it was a little more work than I was prepared for. I asked around on Facebook, and heard back from several people with suggestions, but my favorite was another flourless chocolate cake that required only six ingredients that I already had on hand. Bingo!

To make a long story short, I ended up having to go to the grocery store for more ingredients anyway because my curious daughter flipped the cake onto the ground while trying to sneak a peak, but it was for the best because the cake didn't want to come out of the pan. I adjusted the baking method the second time around, and voilĂ , a perfect flourless chocolate cake! I served this with an orange whipped cream and some sliced strawberries. For the orange whipped cream, follow the directions for my mandarin whipped cream, but use oranges instead!

This is a very flat and dense cake, but it is delicious. If you have a smaller springform pan, go ahead and use it--it will make the cake taller, but if not, no worries; it still turns out great!

Flourless Chocolate Cake [Gluten Free]
Serves 8-10
Adapted from AllRecipes

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli brand.)
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a springform pan. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and grease it as well. "Flour" the pan with cocoa powder, tapping out all of the excess powder when done.

In a heat-proof bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. Place over a pot of simmering water (making sure that the water does not touch the bowl). Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter is completely melted.

Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Check to make sure the mixture is warm, but not hot. If it's still hot, let it cool slightly. Once the mixture is warm, add the eggs and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake on a cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes or until the edges come away from the side of the pan slightly and the center is no longer jiggly. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove the side of the springform pan. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the cake from the bottom of the pan carefully onto a serving dish if you wish.

Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and serve with orange whipped cream and berries.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

The Week in Review

Happy St. Patrick's Day (a little late)! In celebration, I'd like to post a roundup of St. Patrick's Day foods from the week.

  • The Daily Spud held her St. Patrick's Day Parade, of which I am honored to be a part, and she had a lot of really great entries, from drinks to main courses to breads to desserts. Go check them out!
  • I recently connected with fellow Kentucky food blogger Ken at A Mouthful. He made a mouthwatering Beef and Guinness Pie that I will definitely be trying out in the near future.
  • Next time we host a party, I'm definitely making Nicole's (at The Galley Gourmet) Guinness and Cheddar Spread. (I think I see a theme here...I better start stocking up on some Guinness!)
  • And speaking of which, I might just try my own Bangers and Mash with Guinness Gravy next time!
Did you eat anything special for St. Patrick's Day this week?

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaker Sweet Potato Gratin

My husband and I celebrated our 7th anniversary back in January. We typically splurge on our anniversary meals, but we decided to stick close to home this year. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the country's largest restored Shaker community, is just about 20 minutes from our home. It's a great place to discover history and take walks, but it also has a wonderful restaurant. Typically, they serve meals in the Inn at Shaker Village, but during the winter months, they serve dinner in the Winter Kitchen, a cozy cellar with a fireplace. The fare is simple, yet delicious, and the chefs really spotlight the ingredients (which in the summer are harvested from their own garden). One of the side dishes I had that night was a sweet potato gratin--I loved it so much that I wrote to Shaker Village and asked if they would share the recipe, and they were kind enough to send it to me.

This is simple to make, but only make what you need; the leftovers do not store well.

Shaker Sweet Potato Gratin
adapted from Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill's Winter Kitchen
Serves 6 as a side dish

1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced (Use a mandoline if you have one--you want the slices to be as thin as possible.)
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp dried sage
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbl butter

Heat the heavy cream, rosemary, sage and garlic powder in a small saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not boil.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a small casserole dish with butter. (I use an 11" x 7" glass dish.) Cover the bottom of the dish with the potatoes. Spoon over a couple of tablespoons of the cream. Sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan cheese. Continue this process until the dish is full. Pour any remaining cream over the top and sprinkle on any leftover cheese.

Melt the butter in a microwave in a small microwave-safe bowl. Add the bread crumbs and toss. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes are completely softened. If the bread crumbs haven't browned by the time the potatoes are done, place under a broiler until they are browned.

Serve hot.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Pub Food: Bangers and Mash

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day this week, I'd like to share one of my favorite pub foods: bangers and mash. I've traveled several times to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and it never fails that I eat this dish every time I go. Basically just sausages with mashed potatoes and a rich gravy, it's always filling and warming on those chilly, wet days on the Isles. I never really thought to make them at home until I ran across the Gastronomer's Guide's version. I adapted this recipe slightly and used Marksbury Farm's fresh bratwurst sausages--it was definitely a hit in my household and definitely easy to make on a cold, wet weekday in Kentucky!

I'm also entering this into The Daily Spud's Paddy's Day Food Parade--go check out the roundup of other Irish-related food on St. Patrick's Day!

Bangers and Mash
adapted from Gastronomer's Guide
Serves 4

For the mash:
2 lbs. of yellow potatoes (Yukon Gold, etc.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2-4 Tbl butter
1/2-1 cup heavy cream (You can substitute milk or half and half here if you'd like.)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the bangers:
4-8 bratwurst sausages (depending on size of sausage and appetite of the eaters)
1 Tbl olive oil

For the gravy:
1 Tbl olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade, but if store-bought, get the low-sodium.
1/4 tsp ground dried thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl flour
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the mashed potatoes, place the cubed potatoes in cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of the cream and a little salt and pepper. Mash with a hand masher. Add more cream if the potatoes seem dry. Mash until desired consistency. (I like them a little lumpy, but feel free to mash all of those lumps out!) Taste, and add salt, pepper, or butter to taste.

While the potatoes cook, make the sausages. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and sear the sausages until browned on all sides. Remove the sausages to a plate.

To make the gravy, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan if there isn't much left from searing the sausages. Add the shallots, and cook, stirring often until they are translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape off the bits left on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the sausages back into the pan, turn down the heat, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through, turning once or twice if the sausages aren't completely covered by liquid.

When the sausages are done, remove them to a plate. Increase the heat on the pan and reduce the sauce by about one third. Mix the butter and the flour in a bowl with a fork until smooth. Add to the sauce to thicken, whisking constantly. Continue to cook for a few minutes until it reaches your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the sausages to the pan to rewarm.

Serve the sausages and gravy over the mashed potatoes.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

The Week in Review

There were so many great posts I ran across this week, it was hard to narrow down what I'd list for you here. So without further ado, here is my Week in Review!

  • I've been avoiding as many packaged foods as I have been able to for the past year or so, but I'm always so tempted by those cake mixes...they're just so easy! Luckily, I've been able to resist temptation, but now Robin Sue from Big Red Kitchen has made it easy for us by creating a Homemade Yellow Cake Mix. I'm going to need some more ziplock bags!
  • Katie at goodLife {eats} posted the most brilliant (in concept and hue) Rainbow Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies. I'm totally making these for my daughter...I'd be declared the best mom on the block!
  • I guess I should spotlight something savory after all of the sugar above! Collard greens are something that I had never had until I moved to the south almost 10 years ago, but I've really found that I love any southern green. Stephanie at Fresh Tart has posted the quintessential Collard Green recipe, and I'll definitely be testing it out when I get collards from my CSA this summer!
What have you been reading?

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sesame Brussels Sprouts

I love Brussels sprouts. There, I said it! I really do like all of the vegetables that most people abhor, and so does my daughter. My husband, on the other hand, does not. He's a big veggie person, but just doesn't like the stronger-flavored vegetables like Brussels sprouts and asparagus. A couple of weeks ago I was at a co-op near my house, and I just couldn't pass up these lovely Brussels sprouts. I was determined, though, to get my husband to eat his Brussels sprouts...and enjoy them too!

We ate this version at a friend's house earlier in the winter, so I thought I'd recreate them since my husband swore he liked the sesame oil on them. The result? Something the whole family will eat! The sprouts don't get overcooked like they often do if you're steaming or boiling them, and the sesame oil gives them a depth of flavor that becomes quite addicting...at least for my daughter and me!

Sesame Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

10 large Brussels sprouts
1-2 Tbl toasted sesame oil

Remove any wilted or loose leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Rinse and dry them. Quarter them so that each piece still has a bit of the core attached. Place in a bowl and toss with about a tablespoon of the sesame oil. If there's not enough oil to coat them lightly but evenly, add a little more. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the Brussels sprouts are done marinating, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and spread them in one layer on a baking sheet or in a stoneware baking dish. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts start to brown and caramelize a bit. Turn them over about half-way through the baking time.

Drizzle with a tiny bit of sesame oil and serve hot.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to Liz...the last person to enter the CSN Stores giveaway! Liz, I'll be emailing you soon with your gift code!

Thanks to everyone else who participated!

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Fig and Walnut Spread

During my last days in France, I discovered the most delectable spread--a fig and walnut cheese spread. The cheese was like Alouette or Rondele cheese here in the states, but instead of a savory flavor, this one was slightly sweet. When I returned to the States, I realized that the flavor does not exist here, so I started making my own. Sometimes I blend it with a little milk to thin it out, but last time I made it, I just layered the ingredients (all three of them), and I think I'll be making it this way from now on--it's just so pretty. :-) Serve with crackers, and voilĂ , you have a simple and sophisticated appetizer!

Fig and Walnut Cheese Spread

1 package block cream cheese
1/2 fig jam, or more or less to taste
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped, or more to taste

Heat the jam in the microwave for just a few seconds to slightly warm--you just want to make the jam a little more pourable. Place the cream cheese on a plate or a bowl. Pour the jam over the top. Sprinkle the walnuts over the jam. Enjoy with crackers!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Giveaway to CSN Stores!


As promised, even if it is a little late, I am hosting my very first giveaway on this blog! CSN Stores offered me $30, either to use for myself to review an item or to give away to my readers--I chose the latter! Just enter below in the comments for a chance to win a $30 gift certificate at any one of their 200 stores.** My personal favorites are the Modern Furniture store, All Modern, and, of course, Cookware.com. If I had to choose, I would order the Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone (above)--I'm in the market for a new pizza stone, and this one is just so beautiful (and almost half price on this site)!

How to Enter

Just "Like" Mindy's Mouthful on Facebook and come back here to let me know. (If you are already a fan, just say so in the comments below.) You MUST leave a way for me to get in touch with you if you win.

For extra entries, you can do the following (Create a separate comment for each.):

1) Subscribe to Mindy's Mouthful in an RSS feeder. (Make sure to come back here to let me know that you did this!)

2) Link to this post in a Facebook update. (Make sure to come back here to let me know that you did this!)

3) Follow me on Twitter and retweet this post. (Make sure to come back here to let me know that you did this!)

4) Tell me what you'd order from CSN Stores.

That's a total of 5 possible entries! (Make sure to create a separate comment for each one below.) I will choose a winner with a random number generator. The giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 8th at 10:00pm EST.

**This gift certificate will not cover international fees.

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