Cinnamon Brown Sugar Tortilla Recipe

Actually, I hesitate to call this a recipe.

It’s so simple.

On the other hand since my metabolism is through the roof with all the cardio I do, I sometimes need a snack NOW! at odd hours and this is perfect for that.

As prepared, this is only 95 calories.  Your counts can vary depending on the size of things but here we go!

And it’s so easy it’s one of those kid friendly things you can do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Six Inch Flour Tortilla
  • 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • A Dusting of Ground Cinnamon to taste

Preparation:

  • Take a six inch flour tortilla out of the package and place it on the rack of the toaster oven.
  • Dust the tortilla liberally with Ground Cinnamon to taste.
  • Pour the Brown Sugar on top of the Ground Cinnamon and mix it evenly.  I use my finger (don’t tell!).
  • Slide the rack back into the toaster oven and toast until tan and crispy.
  • When done, allow to cool and slice into pieces as needed.

Yep!  That’s it.  Like I said, I hesitate to call this a recipe.  More of a snack, and something after a workout to boost my blood sugar back to normal so I don’t fall asleep in the chair.

Enjoy!

Water Roux Or How Wallpaper Paste Can Help Your Bread Baking

This really is a very easy process.

Since I am not doing a video here, but text, I am going into deep detail.  I’m probably overdoing it, and once you do this once, you will remember it forever.

Besides, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to video and a bit camera shy so lets dive into text!

Perhaps it’s a bit silly to call the result of this “wallpaper paste” but it’s the result of an Asian technique for pre-baking some of your flour to get it to retain water.

Flour and Water in the right proportion can stick paper to the wall, make papier mache, and will make your breads and pastries wonderful!

There are various names for the process:  Water Roux, Tangzhong, and others.  The process locks up extra water in the dough, gelatinizes it, and gives extra lift to the breads.

When that is used in baking, it allows your breads to rise taller, last longer, and the resulting loaves are softer and more tender.  I did not notice a difference in the taste however the texture was definitely changed.   Until you get the hang of this, you are going to be more hands on and manual than usual.

Intrigued?  I was, and I tried it.  The best hint I can give you about this is to take your time while mixing.

I can’t say about the longer life because the rolls I made today were the first using this process.  Allow things to “come together” on their own until you get used to the new proportions.

I can say that they were interesting and I certainly will do this again.  Obviously there are times where this process is inappropriate.  For Bagels this would be wrong because you want them to be chewy.  The resulting dough from this process is soft and pliable so it’s best for sandwich rolls and I can see it in pastries as well.  Burger Rolls definitely will be improved by this.

I am using this recipe for the bread dough, Pat’s Pizza Dough.  I have been using it for years, decades really.  I know what the rolls and dough should be like so I was able to tell right off that this technique has its place.

First, that specific recipe uses 10 ounces water, 3 cups of flour.  Since you are going to pre-cook part of that, keep those numbers in mind as you will adjust your normal recipe downward for this process.

Second, of those three cups of flour, you will want to reserve a quarter cup of it.  The Water Roux process absolutely changes the texture of your dough.  Since the dough is changing, you will have to add in either more water at the end.

If you overshoot and end up with a dough that isn’t smooth and silky, adjust as needed.

Third, to make the paste:

  • In a small mixing bowl, I took all 10 ounces of the water from the recipe and added in 2 ounces of flour.
  • I then whisked the flour into the water for 5 minutes by hand.
  • Then warm the flour to 140F/60C (in the microwave) in bursts.
  • Whisk that mixture again until smooth.  You will notice a thicker “gel” forming in the bottom of your mixing bowl.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to 105F/40C or cooler before making your dough.  After all, you want to give your Yeast a chance to thrive!

Fourth, Make your dough.  Add your salt, sugar, yeast, oil.  Mix the roux into the flour slowly, watching how the dough comes together.

Overview: What you just did was to release the proteins in the two ounces of flour.  Those proteins bound to the water in the mix.  Now you really don’t have 10 ounces of water any longer since some of it is bound up, you now have to add back an appropriate amount.

What is appropriate?

For the Pat’s Pizza Dough Recipe, I added in an extra ounce of water to a total of 11 ounces.  For our Metric Audience, each ounce is two tablespoons or 28.3 mL.  283 mL originally plus another 28 mL or so.

Its an adjustment not a whole re-do of things.

The dough is in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, and it was now too “wet”.  Adding in one tablespoon of the reserved flour “tightened” the mix back up to where I could make rolls and allow it to rise and bake.

The dough was silky smooth and very easy to work with.  The usual recipe tends to be on the sticky side and a bit rubbery due to my all purpose flour.

You will want to take your time with this process.

What happens is that while baking some of that “extra” water gets released in the form of steam and your dough gets taller.  It acts as Leavening to make for a lighter and more fluffy roll.

At least that was what I found.  Those rolls were sliced open, and had with some tuna salad.  Quite good!

Cream Biscuits Recipe or How It Took Me Three Weeks To Make A 10 Minute Recipe

The recipe is straightforward.

2 Cups Self Rising Flour

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon Sugar.

To large mixing bowl
Add 2 Cups Self Rising Flour.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon sugar on top and stir a little bit.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of Heavy Cream on top.
Stir until it begins to form a dough.
Continue to mix with your bare hands until it forms a “Play Doh” consistency.

The dough will go through phases where it is:

  • “mealy”
  • dry and lumpy
  • dry on the outside but one ball
  • slightly tacky and moist on the outside – STOP HERE!

Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness, about the thickness of your thumb, palm down.

Use a 3 inch (about 8CM) drinking glass to cut into circles.

Cook the biscuits on a foil lined cookie sheet at 500F until tops are brown – about 10 minutes

Make sure that the biscuits are cooked fully, give them the time they need in the oven.

 

So my own long winded story.

I was out skating, because that is what I do.  Some of my best ideas come when my heart rate is ticking along at 173 BPM, I’m sweating like I just walked through a car wash, and I’m on eight or ten wheels.

I was thinking about getting home and having something “special” and Biscuits and Gravy came to mind.

Biscuits are one of those things that every “Good Southern Lady” has been taught how to make, and if they are successful, they do it this way because “That’s How Momma Taught Me!”

Usually it takes “cutting in ice cold butter” in pea sized chunks so that the steam from the butter will help to give it height.

I’m neither Southern, nor a Woman – not that there is anything with that, nor not that there is anything wrong with not being that.

I also tend to look for shortcuts in the kitchen.

That Southern Recipe is kind of fussy and really does take practice.

The recipe up top there?  It’s easy.  You just have to be patient in the oven.

That night when we went shopping I remembered I wanted the heavy cream to make these biscuits.

Since I was going to be left alone for a couple weeks, I also had to get some ground beef for Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM).  I ended up getting 30 pounds of ground beef which basically ate my freezer’s extra space.

I never bake just one of something, and the biscuits would serve me a week of breakfasts.  But with Mr Dog’s food ingredients squatting on the prime real estate in my freezer, I had to wait until the freezer drained of “extra” food.

So I watched.  Every time I opened that freezer and took something out, I did a little mental Happy Dance to think I was getting closer to being able to have those biscuits.

In later shopping trips, I did manage to over fill the house, and get some jarred gravy.  If you are reading this from outside of the US, this is not brown gravy – it’s something called Red Eye Gravy, which is a white Bechamel Sauce cooked with Sausage Chunks and some black pepper to make it all savory.

This stuff is not light, it’s not healthy, and it may not be something for every day, but some people do it daily, and I have seen pictures of an English Breakfast and was amazed at just how much food was on that plate!

Having been on a training diet since 1979, nobody who regularly eats an English Breakfast (Or Irish, Or Canadian, or …) has any room to point fingers.

Once the freezer had finally been “eaten down” to creating the space for seven biscuits to go back in there, I decided it was time.

This Morning.

I made the recipe, and had the results in that picture.

I am impatient when it comes to Biscuits.  I tend to pull them too early, and this was no different.  I did not allow them to cook the full 10 minutes, and they were raw inside.

Back in the oven you go, I ended up giving them three more minutes at 500F to get them almost perfect.

Served in a bowl with 1/4 cup of steaming hot Red Eye Sausage Gravy on top, I was in heaven.

3 weeks to get them, they had better be good!

Hotteoks Or Korean Donuts in the Park for After An Inline Skate Workout

Yeah.  I’m an Outlier.

One of those people who enjoys something you personally don’t or something you don’t expect that person should.

You know, the one person who listens to Classic Obscure Disco but not Bee Gees or Donna Summer in 2019.

Who is inline skating and regularly has workouts that burn a measured 1600 calories.

I’m the guy who prefers food from other cultures as well.

Heck, I’m driving a 16 year old Manual Transmission Jeep Wrangler because I LIKE it!

I could go on but I wear that Outlier tag with pride.

The thing is that I went out skating and found that while I was burning all those calories, I needed something to bring my blood sugar back to normal quickly.

So I made Korean Donuts again.  Hotteoks.  Again.

I think it is safe to say that I was probably the only person in my city plus some of the surrounding cities who makes these things.

I had “extra dough” when I was making Pizza for Memorial Day, so I thought this would be a perfect time to tame the Post Workout Blood Sugar Crash.  After all, food left in the car has to be temperature stable, won’t spoil, won’t spill, and so forth.

“Energy Bars” would work but they’re usually chock full of weird preservatives to make them “Shelf Stable”.

Hotteoks could sit on my Jeep’s passenger seat inside a plastic bag with my Skates and Pads while I go to my workout, and wait for when I need them there or inside my pack.

If you reduce it to the absolute minimum it’s a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar filling inside of a dough ball that is pressed into an oiled skillet until it is cooked, then flipped.  Two ingredients.

Sure, the dough has to be a good one.  Like almost everything here, I use my sister’s Pizza Dough recipe that is linked here.   I made that recipe on the dough cycle of my bread maker with 10 ounces of water.

The filling was a “common” teaspoon of packed Brown Sugar plus 1/2 measured Cinnamon. Cinnamon Sugar is traditional but you can use Jelly or Custard if you wish.

Consider it a way to make a Hot Pocket and stuff it with Pizza Fillings or your favorite Sandwich Fillings.   PB&J anyone?

I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Process:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Oil the cookie sheet so that the dough balls will not stick.
  3. Prepare your Pizza Dough.  Pat’s Pizza Dough works well in a Bread Machine.
  4. Divide the Pizza Dough into eight pieces.  This was 90 grams or about 3 ounces measured.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten to a palm sized disc.
  6. Spoon into the center of each dough disc One Teaspoon of Brown Sugar.
  7. Spoon on top of the Brown Sugar 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon.
  8. Turn the Hotteok into a dumpling by pinching the sides closed and rotating.
  9. Set the Hotteok onto the oiled cookie sheet with the pinched side down.
  10. Oil a skillet generously and heat to Medium.
  11. Put the Hotteok down onto the oil and press down with an oiled spatula allowing it to spread out.
  12. Cook the Hotteok until it is golden brown, then flip and repeat until both sides are done.
  13. Re-oil the spatula and skillet as needed and repeat for the rest of the Hotteoks.

Enjoy while warm or reheat in the microwave!

Oh and have a good workout, meet me on the trails and I’ll tell you the story of when …

Skip The Stone, You Really Need a Pizza Steel For a Crispy Crust

I’m on a pizza “jag” lately.

Yesterday, Saturday, I made a pizza.  That in itself isn’t all that out of the ordinary.  It was so good that I was requested to make yet-another one.

I tell people that I make the best pizza on the island, and that is not me breaking my own arm by patting myself on the back.  Of course it is a bit of a Co-Evolutional comment – I make what I consider the best pizza because it is what I like.

But.

I have also been making this since I was a teenager and constantly refining the results.  The first meal I ever made for someone else after moving out of Mom’s House was a pizza for my then college roommate in the dorms at the university.   It’s been onward and upwards ever since.

The crust and the sauce have their own recipes here on my blog.  A proper Neapolitan pizza is simple.  Crust, a sauce made of reduced tomatoes with minimal seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and cooked in a high temperature oven until the cheese just begins to toast.

Anything else is embellishment to your own personal standards.

But that temperature is important since you have to get the heat up high enough to basically toast the bottom, even fry it, and get a crispy bottom.

I hate a soggy bottom.

I have tried Pizza Stones and they don’t stand up to my own abuse.   Since they are usually an un-glazed terracotta, the second time you use them, the water you used to clean it the last time begins to boil, expand, and it will begin it’s journey to cracking.   I get about 3 uses out of a stone.

Living in Florida, keeping anything sterile is imperative since you don’t want creatures coming in and dining off your cookware.   Ants, and worse.

So that Pizza Steel?

Yeah, that.

If you don’t have one, or have an idea what it is, you can substitute an old school cast iron skillet.  I would say a minimum of 9 inches, 22 CM or so.

If my math is right.  Bigger if you have it.

The skillet must not have anything other than bare metal and “seasoning”.  Plastic, Wood, non stick coatings are all forbidden.   You will be cooking your pizza as hot as you can get the oven, 500F/260C or more.   Even a backyard grill can be used.   Anything THAT hot will catch fire, burn, scorch.

Leave the “Teflon” and other coatings alone.   Oil your surfaces well.

But what is a Pizza Steel?

Simply put it is a cookie sheet sized sheet of cast iron that is as thick as grandma’s cast iron skillet.   It is “bigger” than the skillet and that is the benefit.   It gives you the room to grow.    Room to roam and roll out your dough.

They are flexible, this isn’t just a kitchen gadget that sits rusting in a corner until you want a pizza next month.  If they are large enough, a proper pizza steel can be used to make eggs, pancakes, and other items as a griddle.   They even benefit from the use since they need to be seasoned like any other cast iron implement with oil.

How I use mine?

First, I cheat.  I lay out aluminum foil on the steel to give me a work surface.   Removing the foil that is now marked up to size, I oil up the steel and the foil.  It’s a bit overkill but I want to make sure the bottom of my crusts are nice and crispy, like a cracker.  If I have done it right, the pizza and the foil slide off the steel when I need them out of the oven, then the foil will allow the pizza to simply slide off the oil and corn meal like a cushion.

Second I use corn meal.   I dust the oiled aluminum foil with a generous layer of corn meal to give it a nice non stick surface.  That allows the pizza to roll off the foil like it is on a bed of ball bearings.

Third, I roll the crust out to size.  This is important because since I use a yeast-risen dough I have to give it time to rise.  Once to size, I slide the foil and crust back on top of the steel, close the oven and turn on the light.   Yes, cold oven.  One or Two hours later, the yeast has risen, the oven is a warm day by the sea for them, and you get a nice thickness.

Finally to cook the thing.   Slide the risen pizza crust onto an inverted cookie sheet and build your pizza.   Sauce, Cheese Mix, and Toppings.  My cheese comes premixed but I add more freshly grated Parmesan and a little Feta for sharpness.   Typically I add only Mushrooms and some chopped Basil on top but that varies.

The Pizza is now done, waiting to cook on the cookie sheet and foil.  The oven is closed and heated as hot as I can get it.  500F is the marking on the oven, but the oven’s thermostat stopped being accurate well before we bought the house in 2006.

Allow the oven time to come to temperature, and the thermal mass of all that cast iron in the Pizza Steel will take time to warm.   Allow a little extra time since you want that steel to be “good and hot”.

When you are ready, you can put the Cookie Sheet next to the Steel and pick up the “leading edge” of the foil.  Slide that soon to be pizza onto the very hot pizza steel making very sure not to burn your hand.

At this point I have found in my own oven that 6 minutes at 500F Plus will give me the results I want – slightly caramelized and toasted cheese, a crispy bottom, and a wonderful meal.

Yes, I’m obsessed, but I do make the best pizza in town.  Yes, better than that shop.  And the one on the corner.  Oh and the sauce is better too.

So there.  Good luck.  It just takes prep work.

 

 

Thanksgiving? Why not Pot Pie Black Friday?

How do you take all the dried out pieces of the Thanksgiving feast and make them edible?

How about if all you needed was some gravy, veg, and a pie crust?

Yep, Pot Pie.

I have had enough bad turkey, overcooked beef roasts, and desiccated chicken at Thanksgiving dinner to actually look forward to this hack.

To be fair, I don’t generally eat vegetarian or vegan, but this process is so simple that the gravy and protein ingredients can be switched with alternatives if you wish.

With planning, all you have to do is make is a Pie Crust and you can even buy that in the frozen section of the supermarket.

A pot pie uses the gravy you made for the Mashed Potatoes that was leftover.  It could be even jarred.

I will say that since we’re having roast beef, my gravy will be Port Wine Beef Gravy.  Just reserve some of the gravy.

A pot pie always has vegetables.  Traditionally, at least in my own experience, it has Peas, Carrots, Potatoes, and Corn.  If you served all that, reserve it.  I was at the market Monday Night and bought a … CAN!!!!

Mind you, the Amateur Nutritionist in me says always get the can with the lowest Sodium.  You may not to need to watch your salt intake… now, and you won’t miss it.

Now, the Meat… Reserve the dried out bits, and some of the better cuts of meat.  Roast Ends, Wings, that top bit of the breast that wasn’t exactly moist… that sort of thing.

Once you have made the Pie Crust (Recipe Below) or have bought one, it’s time to assemble the meal.

This is all by preference.  Not mine, yours.  I usually add 12 ounces of Meat, 12 ounces of Veg, and enough gravy to make things appealing.

Process:

  • Add the can of vegetable medley to the Pie Crust.
  • Add the finely chopped meat to the Pie Crust.
  • Add enough gravy to the mix in the Pie Crust.
  • Mix it until everything looks “even” and “wet”
  • Bake at 350F (Medium Oven) until the crust begins to brown.
  • Slice and enjoy.

The Easy Pie Crust Recipe is as follows:

(Pretty much lifted word for word from this link so I can refer to it later)

For comparison, a traditional cold water/butter pie crust is at this link, but it would need to be doubled so you have a top for the pie.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Milk
  • 1/4 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour.

First, add Shortening, Salt, Milk, Boiling Water to a mixing bowl.  Whip with a fork until smooth and creamy.

Second, add 2 cups of Flour to the mixing bowl with that fork until the flour is incorporated and smooth.

Finally, This will make a crust for a double crust pie, top and bottom.

P.S.  Save the scraps from the pie, roll it thin, and put a bit of jelly in the middle.  Fold over, crimp closed, and bake with the pot pie.  Makes a nice dessert.

Espresso Brittle in about 10 Minutes

I have always said that if you don’t have a good Ethnic Market near where you live, Move.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I would shop Asian Markets heavily.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai.  That also went for the markets that specialized in Latin Groceries.

Go to the source.

As a result, I have a taste for “weird” candies.  One in particular is a small hard candy that is made in Japan that tastes like coffee.  Not too strong, not too sweet.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly easy to find this in South Florida.  I’ve found a good Asian Market that sells my Japanese Candy, as well as Durian, Porcelain, Kitchen Ware, and of course, my Oolong Tea.  I may have to go to North Miami Beach on NE 163rd street for it, but it’s worth the trip.

What does that have to do with my Espresso Brittle?

This candy tastes exactly like it.

I was making a pot of it, someone “repossessed” it and took it to his office where he reported that “The whole damn office is buzzing on this stuff”.  I have to laugh because the entire batch has about the caffeine of 1/4 cup of coffee.  If you eat an entire batch, it’s less than 1000 calories.  You’ll be sick of it before you put on weight or get buzzed on anything but the sugar.

The trick is that you use either decaf or half caff for the candy.  If you want high test, go for it there really isn’t a lot of coffee in it.  For the recipe you only use 1 tablespoon of the stuff.  One Scoop of grounds – your choice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup (238mL) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (5 grams by weight) Finely Ground Coffee Grounds (your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons (1/2 ounce or 14g) of ROOM TEMPERATURE butter
  • 2 Ounces (59mL) water

Prepare Ingredients: 

  • Butter is room temperature and cut down into small pieces.
  • Coffee grounds are fine to espresso grind.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet or line with aluminium foil that has been oiled or greased.

 

Process:

  1. Place 1 cup of sugar into 2 quart/liter or larger sauce pan
  2. Add to sauce pan 2 ounces (59mL) of water and stir until sugar is evenly dissolved.
  3. Turn on heat to medium high.
  4. Continue to stir or slosh the mixture while it comes to a boil.
  5. Cook the mixture until it turns an appropriate tan color.
  6. Add the butter and the coffee grounds quickly and stir the mixture until it is even.
  7. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and pour onto the cookie sheet evenly.
  8. Allow to cool and break apart before serving.

 

Resulting candy, I have found, to be quite thin and shatters into pieces for easy eating but the pieces will be sharp.

Enjoy!