Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green Cloverleaf Rolls for St. Patrick's Day

... Although I must admit, non-green rolls (of whatever shape) are more appetizing. I recommend apple butter on the green rolls, because strawberry jam just looks too gruesome.
In each batch of 24 cloverleaf rolls, I like to include one four-leaved clover. Can you see it in the picture?
This recipe, except for the green food coloring, is the dinner roll recipe from my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. They tell you how to make a variety of shapes of roll, and how to include wheat or rye flour.

2 cups white flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, margarine, or shortening (I use butter)
about 13 drops green food coloring
¾ t salt
2 beaten eggs
1 ¼ cups wheat flour
an additional 1 to 1 ½ cups white flour

In a large mixing bowl stir together the 2 cups white flour and the yeast. Put the milk, butter, sugar, food coloring, and salt in a medium saucepan. Turn on low heat. Stir occasionally; meanwhile, grease a bowl, and in a separate bowl or cup beat the eggs. When the butter is almost completely melted, add milk mixture to dry mixture. Add eggs.
Stir slowly with a wooden spoon until mixed. Stir vigorously for 3 minutes. I alternate hands every 30 seconds so my arms don’t get tired. Stir in the wheat flour and as much of the additional white flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape the dough into a ball. Place in the greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour). I cover it with a damp paper towel (a damp tea towel also works) and put it in a cool oven, then place a pan of hot water underneath it.

Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover, let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease 2 muffin tins.

For each half of the dough, divide it in half again. Divide each half into six little balls of approximately equal size. (I find that the dough rises better if I don’t divide each quarter until I am ready to use it.) Each ball will become one roll. Take each future roll, divide it into three, and with greased hands roll each of the three parts into a ball. (The dough stays together better if you squeeze each bit before rolling it.) Place the three balls together on the counter, pinch them together on the top, then invert the whole thing and put it in a muffin cup with the pinched side down. Repeat. This will make clover-shaped rolls.
When each muffin tin is filled, cover it with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place till nearly double, about 30 minutes. I do the first 15 minutes of the rising time in a cool oven with a pan of hot steamy water in it. Then I remove the rolls and the pan, and let the rolls continue to rise on their own while the oven preheats.

Remove covering from rolls and bake in a 375 F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or till the tops of the rolls start to brown slightly. Immediately remove rolls from muffin tins. Cool on wire racks. Makes 24.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Frito Casserole

Fritos are a thick, crunchy corn chip made with corn flour and oil and salt. You know, your basic American junk food. Better than many. You can make the casserole without topping it with Fritos, but I have a feeling that is what made it really popular around here.

1 cup cooked brown rice

meat mixture:
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 t garlic salt
2 t paprika
1 t chili powder
1 ½ t cumin
1/8 t black pepper

1 20-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 15-oz can kidney beans, with liquid
1 15-oz can whole sweet corn, drained
1 green sweet pepper, chopped
¼ cup black olives, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ bag Fritos

Pre-cook brown rice. For prep work, you can also pre-chop the sweet pepper and olives, and pre-grate the cheese. Preheat oven 350 F.
In a large frying pan, brown the meat. Meanwhile, put the spices in a small bowl and blend them together. When the meat is browned, sprinkle the spices over it, stir around, and allow to fry for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and stir it around to allow the spices to come off the pan and into the juice.
Place the rice in a 9x13 glass baking dish. Add the kidney beans with their liquid, corn, sweet pepper, and black olives. Mix. Transfer the warm meat mixture from the frying pan to the baking dish, and mix everything together. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour at 350 F. If necessary, the temperature can be reduced and the mixture can be left in a warm oven until serving time.
A few minutes before serving time, crunch up the Fritos by squeezing the bag with your hands. Remove the aluminum foil from the casserole, and sprinkle the Fritos evenly over the top. Bake another 5 or 10 minutes.
Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with salsa.