Very Pinteresting: Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Yum. This ends up being like… pumpkin cinnamon roll in bread form. And this recipe I followed almost exactly to the letter!

The difficulty came up when rolling out the dough. I don’t really have a large enough or adequate enough space to work in, and couldn’t get it to roll into a nice rectangle, so some of my pieces where shorter than the others. I ultimately don’t care that I failed at making it “Pull apart” because it is just so delicious! I saw one version that used rum in the glaze, which I would have tried if we had any rum. Next time!

I worked in a commercial bakery for almost two years, and while I wasn’t a bakery, I definitely missed that industrial equipment! It would have been so nice to have a sheeter and a proof box (and a boos block!) when making this bread. Also, in the pictures the “pull apart” consistency looks like it was more of a chop bread style instead of a slice and stack style. But what do I know? I suppose this could be braided challah style as well.

I have so many pumpkin recipes pinned, I plan to work through them all (we shall see!). This recipe was a great first start (and makes me so glad I bought yeast on a whim a month ago!)20140907_17512320140907_175035

And you know? I know I’m not the best photographer (sometimes to my determent) but in cases like this I want to make sure my finished product looks “real” because I’m creating things at home in my cramped kitchen with none of the fancy tricks food photographers use. I’m sure a very skilled baker could get a more “picture perfect” bread, but this is what baking looks like (and why I decided to skip culinary school, I’m not aesthetically oriented enough)

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Very Pinteresting: Personal Naan Pizzas

20140905_175305This barely counts as following a recipe. I took inspiration from this recipe for Naan Pizzas and this one for Flatbread. We picked up a two pack of naan at Wegmans, froze it til we were ready to use, and then we crafted our own pizzas. While both have a 6 cheese mix (thanks, Sargento!), pepperoni, and olives, he used Alfredo sauce on his and I just poured some olive oil over mine. We tried to use these as a full meal and they were a little small, but they were incredibly delicious. It’s great because you can literally make these however you want. We used garlic naan for extra flavor.

Using store bought naan (pita bread would probably work as well) is handy because you don’t have to deal with dough prep, but I think that overall these were enjoyable enough to make me want to try to make actual pizzas for the two of us.

Very Pinteresting: Roasted Mushrooms with Garlic and Thyme

It’s too early to tell, but the theme of these posts may turn out to be: I find a recipe and then tweak it until it is a mere shell of itself! I suppose I did follow this recipe pretty closely, but I deviated in some noticeable ways.

The first challenge I had with this recipe was that when I pulled my mushrooms from the refrigerator they were frozen. Nothing else in our fridge is frozen, so I don’t know why the mushrooms were. It didn’t seem to affect the finished product, but it made some of my mushrooms a little browner before I even got started. Second Challenger was the realization that I don’t have  a mushroom brush (I thought my mother had given me one), so I had some difficulties getting my mushrooms clean. I was also missing lemon juice and straight thyme (let alone fresh thyme). The recipe also called for mushrooms of about the same size, I just used all the ones in the pack I bought, variances be damned! Still, everything turned out delicious.

I cut the stems level on my mushrooms then fried them in olive oil. Make sure you push them around a little every now so they don’t stick. I actively fried them for about two minutes and then turned off the burner but left them sitting there in the oil, where they sizzled away while I mixed up the filling. This didn’t burn them or anything, and made me feel a little better about the internal temperature of the frozen ones.

I though I had a jar of thyme when I started on this recipe (which calls for fresh thyme but I knew I didn’t have that). I didn’t. What I did have was an “Italian Spice Mix” which included thyme, basil, oregano, garlic, rosemary, and marjoram. I also threw in some fresh dill because it’s my favorite. I DID dice up a clove of garlic (recipe calls for two but this was a big clove) but left out the extra garlic it calls for because there was some in the spice mix. Whipped that up with the butter, dolloped it on, and then pressed in the bread crumbs. I lined my baking dish with my bff tinfoil which is could because by the time I was finished the mushrooms were swimming in a butter sauce, but I was able to make a little tinfoil butter boat and save some congealing on my pan.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

These mushrooms were delicious and Manbeast and I both loved them. Were I to make them again I would make it a point to get fresh herbs, because the dried ones stayed a little bit chewy in the butter sauce. I believe the lemon juice was just for preservation purposes, they came out a bit wrinkled and brown after baking, but we certainly didn’t care. So far, I think this is the biggest Pinterest success I’ve had, and would definitely make this recipe again.

Very Pinteresting

(Long weekend means going out of town to visit family. I’m attempting to queue something up but this may be my last post of the week. If it is, then I hope everyone gets a long weekend and gets to enjoy it!)

Pinterest is a strange place, at the same time practical and fantastic, full of great ideas and really stupid ones. It’s also, despite it’s very intention, where inspiration goes to die. I, like most people, pin away in great binges and then never try anything. Not being a crafty person, the forgotten ideas tend to be recipes. I love cooking and baking, but I also might be the laziest person ever. I’m trying hard to make more real meals, and less “it came from a box/the freezer aisle” meals. That means I’m finally using the ideas on my damn “recipes” board, and I’m here to tell you all about it. Here’s the verdict on two recent recipes:
The recipe I pinned for “sliced baked potatoes with herbs and cheese” from diywithmenow.com is not accessible because the link is blocked for being dangerous. “Oh well,” I said to myself “It can’t be that hard.” I did find another Pinterest reference recipe though, as I have no idea how long a potato should actually be baked for. I basically just referred to the comment under the pin for this particular recipe which said “bake at 425 for 40 minutes” As you can see, my potatoes didn’t unfurl quite the way they do in the picture. They were also rather hard in the middle so they probably should have baked longer. I also think I needed to but them through more but didn’t have any handy tricks to gauge my depth. We peeled the spuds and then I sliced them and rubbed them with olive oil, sprinkling them with regular table salt because I’m out of sea salt. We baked them for 30 minutes and then I pulled them out and added the cheese. We then baked them for another ten. They were served with a side of sour cream mixed with herbs de provence. Tasty, I just need to work on getting them well baked the whole way through. I bet they’d also be great with some chives and bacon. Oh, and the biggest tip I think I could possibly give you: bake them on tinfoil! We had some runaway cheeses in the sprinkling process, and there was just no way to get them to all stay on their spudly steeds. The tinfoil was great because it caught all the extra olive oil, salt, and baked on cheese and I could just wad it up and toss it and not waste time scrubbing my pretty baking sheet.

 

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Next was the meatball sub casserole. Nothing I have ever made in my life has made me feel so Midwestern, and I once made a green bean casserole (I had to hand-sautee the onions because the entire fucking world sold out of those French’s Fried Onions that you’re supposed to sprinkle on the top, making that green bean casserole one of the most gourmet things I’ve ever crafted). This also might be the most unhealthy thing I have ever tried to make, and I’m an avid pie baker. The recipe is pretty simple, make your meatballs (it recommends making actual real bread crumbs and herbs meatballs, but we just rolled up some plain old hamburger). Pre-bake the meatballs while you prepare the rest of it. I used some fresh Italian bread to line the bottom of the pan. Then, here’s the part I had trouble with. I read this recipe in advance, I knew what was coming, I prepped all the ingredients and I was not prepared to be as absolutely revolted as I was by the act of mixing cream cheese and mayonnaise and then spreading it on a food I was supposed to consume. I’m not a mayo person to begin with, I make sure it never touches my sandwiches and only like it in a few select recipes. This recipe tasted great, Manbeast loved it, but I merely poked at my few meatballs and felt starved because having made it I could not bring myself to eat it. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, as Manbeast returned to the kitchen as I was pouring the sauce on, maybe not seeing the delicious Italian bread slathered with an unholy mixture of regular mayo and low fat cream cheese made this meal edible to him. The world may never know.

If I make it again, I would skip that step. Just bread, cheese, sauce and meatballs. No mayo, no cream cheese, maybe some garlic butter. I’d also like to try it “upside down” with the meat and sauce and some cheese on the bottom and then put the bread on top (with some cheese of course) so it gets toasted. Next time. Just no more mayo.

 

I can’t complain too much though. I got two recipes that, while not amazing stand alone successes, are worth tweaking to my own desires and trying again. No Pinstrosities here!