Thursday, January 29, 2015

Char Siu with Scallion Potato Waffles and Five Spice Apple Compound Butter

When offered the opportunity to adapt an exclusive recipe from Donna Currie’s new cookbook Make Ahead Bread, I wanted to honor Donna’s original, yet create something different enough to expand its versatility on a menu. The compound butter recipe appealed to me because I felt I could turn it into something that could work in a savory application as well as a sweet one. The warmth of Chinese five spice powder lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes, and is the cornerstone of many Chinese dishes. Pork and apples is a natural pairing, so what better dish to bridge this butter but Chinese Char Siu?

The idea of a fruity, melted butter also conjured up images of breakfast, so why not create a new breakfast pairing? Move over, Chicken and Waffles, here comes Char Siu and Waffles, with pork reclaiming its rightful place on the breakfast (or dinner) table! Donna’s Potato Pancake Waffles recipe is sheer genius, with a simple puree of potatoes, onions and egg. I added scallions to boost the Asian theme, but the possibilities for adapting this recipe are truly endless.

This recipe was fun to put together, but I invite you to try each element on its own, adding your own spin. Please check out Donna Currie’s cookbook, available now: Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, and her blog, Cookistry.

Char Siu with Scallion Potato Waffles and Five Spice Apple Compound Butter
by Gary
Adapted from Potato Pancake Waffles and Apple and Sage Compound Butter by Donna Currie
Serves 4-6

For the Compound Butter:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, divided use
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, cut into small dice
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) cream cheese, at room temperature

For the Char Siu:

3 pounds country style pork ribs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 Tablespoons rice cooking wine
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided use
2 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar, divided use
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, run through a press

For the Waffles:

2 large (uncooked) Russet potato, peeled, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, peeled, cut into small chunks
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt, more as needed
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/3 cup chopped scallions

For the compound butter:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apple and five spice powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are cooked through and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove apples from the pan, spread out in a shallow dish, and allow to cool completely.

Place the stick of butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth (or use a hand-held mixer in a medium bowl). Add the cooled apples, white pepper, salt, and cream cheese. Blend until combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired. If the apples are too chunky, continue processing until it reaches desired consistency.

Form into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Thirty minutes before serving, slice serving portions into 1/2” coins. Place on a plate and bring to room temperature.

For the char siu:

Place pork in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk together wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 Tablespoon honey or agave nectar, sambal oelek, five spice powder, ginger, and garlic. Pour over pork. Turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare broiling pan by lining bottom with foil. Replace rack and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining hoisin sauce and honey and set aside.

Place pork on rack of broiling pan. Baste with hoisin/honey mixture. Roast on center rack for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler to 425°F. Broil for 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Watch carefully to be sure pork does not burn. Turn down the heat to 375°F and continue to roast for 10 minutes more. Turn pork, broil at 425°F until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and baste with hoisin/honey mixture. Repeat until surface of pork is evenly browned, and lightly glazed, about one hour total (whisk up more of the hoisin/honey mixture if needed.) Internal temperature of pork should be 140°F. Remove from oven and let rest.

To serve, slice pork in 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Drizzle with any pan juices left in the pan. Keep warm while making waffles.

For the waffles:

In a blender, combine potato, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and flour. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thin (you're looking for pancake batter consistency) add more flour as needed. Stir in scallions.
Pour the batter into waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions until nicely browned.

To assemble:

Place waffles and sliced char siu on individual plates. Top with compound butter and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sundried Tomato, Bacon & Cheddar Mini Epi Rolls

These little two bite pull-apart rolls make a great party appetizer, and the sophisticated wheat stalk appearance is much easier to create than it looks.

Sundried Tomato, Bacon & Cheddar Mini Epi Rolls
by Sarah
Adapted from Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Loaf in Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day by Donna Currie

3/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1/4 cup semolina flour
3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
3 strips bacon, cooked till crisp and crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons fat reserved from the cooked bacon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4.5 ounces old cheddar, grated

Combine all ingredients except cheddar.

Knead until the dough is and elastic and stretchy, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Prepare two half-size baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into two pieces.

Roll out each piece of dough into an approximate 10" x 14" rectangle.

Spread the cheddar over each piece of dough, then roll up. Place each roll onto a baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheets loosely with plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the fridge, or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake, take the pan out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 400°F.

Just before placing into the oven, cut the dough at a 45 degree angle in 1 1/4" intervals with kitchen scissors, leaving the bottom 1/4" intact and laying each cut piece to each side as you go, alternating sides.

Bake for 15 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes before removing the rolls from their trays.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Spent Grain Slider Rolls

Do you have any microbreweries near you? Chances are that you do. They seem to be sprouting up all over the place. Aside from making some amazing beer (which is a beverage that I happen to be a fan of), they are a great source for a delicious by-product: Spent grain. Spent grain is malted barley (sometimes roasted, too) that has had most of its sugars extracted for use in the fermenting process.

Any brewery will likely be more than willing to give you spent grain. You'll want to get it soon after it's done being used in the brewing process. I've read that it may begin to produce off-flavors if it sits too long. Your local brewery should be able to tell you when they are brewing so you can pick some up when it’s nice and fresh.

It's a shame to let this grain go to waste. It has tons of flavor left after it's steeped and can be used in cooking and baking. I finally got to try this for myself using a recipe from Donna's new book, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, which you can buy on Amazon! I adapted her Honey-Potato Buns into slider rolls using spent grain from Wild Heaven Craft Beers, a local Atlanta brewery.

To store your spent grain, put a few cups in a freezer bag, squish out the air, flatten the bag and put it in the freezer. This makes it easy to store and easy to break off a chunk when you’re ready to bake. Baking the rolls in an 8 x 8 glass baking dish makes 9 perfect slider rolls, ready to use for serving mini hamburgers or your favorite sandwich, with a beer of course!

Spent Grain Slider Rolls
by Jennifer
Adapted from Honey-Potato Buns in Donna Currie’s book Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day

2 ounces (1/2 cup loosely packed) spent grain
4 3/4 ounces (1 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons) bread flour
2 Tablespoons potato flakes
2 Tablespoons dry milk
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup water, room temperature
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

The day before you want to bake the bread, process the two ounces of thawed spent grain in a food processor until finely ground and set aside. Mix the next 6 ingredients (flour through the salt) in a medium bowl. Add the processed grain to the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Place the flour mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, stir in the water on low speed. Depending on the water content of your spent grain, you may need to add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Switch out the dough hook for the paddle and knead on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the butter and knead until fully incorporated into dough, about 2 more minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand 45 minutes.

Spray an 8 x 8 glass pan with non-stick cooking spray. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 9 equal portions. Roll each into a ball and lay the balls in three rows of three, evenly spaced. Cover pan with plastic wrap and put pan into refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, remove pan from the refrigerator and heat the oven to 350°F for one hour. Whisk egg with one teaspoon water and brush mixture over the tops of the dough balls. Bake rolls for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Candied Jalapeno Pineapple Cream Cheese Buns

 Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a "Baker". I Love to get into the kitchen, mess things up, and come out with a fantabulous meal. But baking kind of scares me. It's so precise, almost an art form. And I'm not really good at it. I like to put my own spin on things, not follow a recipe word-for-word... My sweet friend and co-cook, Donna Currie, however, is a Master Baker- dare I say that she's the Bread Queen! Truly, she is! She's so awesome that she even has her own cookbook that was recently released, "Make Ahead Breads". Please check it out and if you like what you see, go ahead and order it! This book Rocks!

Let me begin by saying that we (the most awesome online cooking group ever, 37 Cooks) were given a small preview of Donna's book. We were asked to choose ONE Sneak Peek recipe of hers and to play around and have some fun. I Loved this idea. So I stepped outside of my comfort zone, big time... I somehow converted "Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest" (Donna's recipe) into "Candied Jalapeño and Pineapple- Cream Cheese Buns with a Pineapple Glaze and Bacon". And they were Wonderful. I did all of the prep work on a rainy Saturday night while watching a football game. Woke up on Sunday (we had a couple of friends stay over that night), pulled these out of the fridge, turned on the oven, and voilà! Instant Brunch. Loved that!

But what I loved most about this recipe was the fact that it was very easy and also proved to be so very versatile. As I said, I don't follow directions as I should, and I like to substitute ingredients with "whatever I have on hand". This method worked so well with this bread! And I loved the "make- ahead" factor. I would actually bake a lot more bread if I knew that I could prep it the day before and simply cook it off when I needed it. So, again, please check out the book, "Make Ahead Breads". It would make a great gift for any baker, and is an awesome addition to any cook's collection!

Candied Jalapeno Pineapple Cream Cheese Buns with a Pineapple Glaze and Bacon
By Chris H.
Adapted from Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest, found in the book,  Make Ahead Bread:100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day by Donna Currie

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon candied jalapeños, chopped and drained
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon crushed pineapple, drained
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 small packet (approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 Tablespoons butter, warmed
1/4 cup water, room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar
8 ounces cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel), softened
1 Tablespoon pineapple juice
Splash of lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
1/4- 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (to taste)

Place the candied jalapeños and crushed pineapple into a piece of cheesecloth or a strainer of any sort and allow the juices to drain for at least 2-3 hours, up to overnight. These need to be as dry (liquid-free) as possible.

Combine the two egg whites with enough pineapple juice to make 1 1/4 cup, total. Place the egg and juice mixture, bread flour, brown sugar, yeast, potato flakes, dry milk, vanilla, salt, butter, and water into a stand mixer and mix (using a dough hook) until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough holds together well. You may need to add a bit more water, but do so in small amounts, as the dough should not be too wet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours, until it has almost doubled.

While dough is rising, combine the sugar, cream (Neufchâtel) cheese, 1 Tablespoon of pineapple juice, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well (a fork will work), as it will be lumpy at first but will eventually reach a smooth consistency. Oil or grease a 9x13x 2" baking dish and set aside (I used an olive oil spray, but any cooking spray would work).

When dough has risen, flour your work surface and roll out your dough. You want to make a rectangular shape, about 12x16" in size. I trimmed one long side and one short side, so that when the buns are rolled and cut, they are "pretty" on top... Once dough is rolled, spread (as evenly as possible) with the cream cheese mixture. Leave about an inch of dough (on the long, cut side) uncovered by the cheese. Sprinkle the jalapeño and crushed pineapple over the cream cheese layer.

Beginning with the long, uncut side of the dough, gently roll the dough, jelly roll style, toward the cut (uncovered) end. When you are finished rolling, your dough should look like a log and is ready to be sliced. Starting at the rougher end of the log, gently slice into 12 even sized "disks" and place in the oiled baking pan. The buns will not touch one another, but that is okay. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight (or up to 24 hours).

The next day (or when ready to bake the buns), remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and allow to sit out for about 30 minutes (up to an hour is okay). Preheat your oven to 350, remove the plastic wrap from the top, and bake for 40-60 minutes. Begin checking them at the 30-40 minute mark, as ovens do vary. The original recipe called for approximately 40 minutes of cooking time, but mine took about 55 minutes to cook in the center. While the buns are cooking, make your glaze.

Simply combine the 1 cup of powdered sugar with the 2 Tablespoons of pineapple juice and whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside. Also prepare your crumbled bacon if you have not done so yet. When buns are cooked, remove from oven and drizzle half of the glaze evenly over the top of the entire pan. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the glaze, and, if desired, again drizzle the second half of the glaze over the bacon (or use all of the glaze, then finish with the bacon, if you prefer). Allow buns to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Acorn Squash-Raisin Monkey Bread

Ever wonder what you're supposed to do with leftover squash or raisins? Well, thanks to Donna, here's a fantastic idea!

Don't know about you, but I always have raisins sitting in my pantry, getting rock hard. I also make acorn squash a lot and always seem to have some leftover since my 5 year old eats like a bird.

I've never been great at making bread. It usually comes out hard, or flat, or hard AND flat. But this bread is idiot-proof. If you're a first-timer (like myself) this is a great recipe to get started with. It's an easy-pleaser and is good to serve whenever. I served this recipe initially as a snack bread on the weekend. But, I also changed it up a bit the second round and used a large diced Gala apple instead of the squash and made it a breakfast delight. I sent it off with my husband to work and needless to say, it was gone in minutes.

This is a fun and creative recipe to do with the kids. I used a bundt pan, but you can use any round, square baking pan you like.

Acorn Squash-Raisin Monkey Bread
by Holly
Adapted from Sweet Potato Monkey Bread from the book Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day by Donna Currie

For the dough:
1/2 cup cooked acorn squash, cooled
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup room temperature water
3 cups bread flour
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cups raisins

For the coating:
3 Tablespoons almond meal
3 Tablespoons vanilla sugar*
3 graham crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In an upright mixer, combine all dough ingredients with a dough hook. Mix on medium-low until dough is stretchy, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a large bowl greased with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in warm area and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend together the coating ingredients with a fork.

Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray. Separate dough into balls, about 18-24. They don't have to be even. Roll balls in the coating and drop into pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 12-24 hours.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator, heat oven to 325°F. Place pan in heated oven, on middle rack. Cook bread about 45-50 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, and let cool a few minutes. Remove the bread and let cool another 15-20 minutes on a baking rack.

Serve plain or with butter.

*Vanilla sugar, can be bought at the grocery store. Or to simply make your own, place a vanilla bean in a mason jar, fill with sugar, cap, let sit at least 24 hours to absorb the bean flavor.

Other links to follow Donna Currie:

Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day

Twitter: and
Blogs are: Cookistry and

*Please also "like" Taunton Press, the publisher's Facebook page: Taunton Books

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hatch Chile and Cheddar Bread – Takes Your Sandwich to the Next Level

This challenge was very exciting because I got a sneak look at Donna Currie's cookbook, Make Ahead Bread, which will be released on November 4, 2014. Donna is a member of 37 Cooks, so it was fun to change up one of her recipes in her new book. I pre-ordered my copy months ago and I am anxiously awaiting its arrival. You, too, can order Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, available on Amazon. This would make a great gift for anyone who loves to bake, so you need at least two! There was substance to the texture of this bread. It was slightly chewy; it made me wish I had sandwich makings. Instead, Mark and I had to make do with two buttered slices each! My dough was so “alive” it came out of the pan in the refrigerator so be sure and use the correct size loaf pan. I could have trimmed the dough on the side, but I opted not to. It’s homemade and it has character!