No more goodness than no-knead rolls

No more goodness than no-knead rolls

March 21st, 2012 in Life Entertainment

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Good morning on these golden days of now-official spring. We're pulling out our spring recipes and tableware and soon will be pulling out all the stops for special-occasion spring meals.

The challenges today are half a dozen: Southern Star's white layer cake and caramel icing, Cheddar cheese and raspberry jam appetizer mold, grilled artichoke and Remoulade sauce and, finally, two from Bojangles': chicken spice mixture and biscuits.

Loretta (we don't know which Loretta, but simply Loretta) "got so excited when I saw a picture of the white layer cake with caramel icing on the front page of the Life & Taste section of the paper. I thought for sure the recipe would be inside the paper but it wasn't. Will Southern Star Restaurant share the recipe for the icing at least?"

Pamela (first-name basis is great, but sometimes probably accidental, as your email address may not give your last name) wrote: "Several years ago I attended a wedding reception that served a cheddar cheese/raspberry jam dip. As I remember, the cheese base had been shaped or put into a mold and the jam was on top, served with crackers. It must have had cream cheese in it also. I would love to have that recipe."

I am remembering an event long ago where such a dish was served -- a huge ring with mountains of strawberry preserves inside. Perhaps these recipes are one and the same, or at least adaptable.

Trisha Evans is hot on the trail of "the recipe for the grilled artichoke and Remoulade sauce served at J Alexander's." And J.L.E., whose favorite restaurant on earth is Bojangles', wants to know "how to make the seasoning mixture they put on Bojangles' chicken, and how they make those crusty, light biscuits."

As spring follows winter, so A follows Q -- or should I say A's follow Q's. Montie Shipley recommended this yeast roll recipe, describing it as "easy to do. You can make cinnamon rolls with the dough." Ah, to master the homemade cinnamon roll! That just might be the capstone of a cook's repertoire, to wake up family and guests with the aroma of cinnamon yeast rolls baking ... and the delicacy of cinnamon rolls tasted.

And here's one more question: The first ingredient below is active dry yeast; is there such a useful thing as inactive dry yeast?

No-Knead Rolls

2 packages (1/4-ounce each) active dry yeast

2 cups warm water (110 F to 115 F)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

6 to 61/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (plus more for greasing pans)

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and shortening and mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (do not knead). Cover and refrigerate overnight or all day.

Remove from refrigerator and punch down dough. Work with dough in thirds, shaping any way you want. Place rolls on a greased baking sheet; cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush rolls with butter. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Approximate yield: 4 dozen rolls.

The following instructions, which originated with Martha Stewart, should work for the no-knead rolls. It is important to note that these directions require a much longer baking time than the Shipley version, as one pulls apart the rolls to serve.

One Way to Prepare No-Knead Yeast Roll Dough

Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, roll dough into a thick log. Cut into 18 equal pieces (halve log, cut each half in thirds, then cut each piece into thirds again).

Brush a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with butter. One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, pressing to secure, until a smooth ball forms. Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up (you should have 3 rows of 6). Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.)

Heat oven to 400 F. Remove plastic wrap; brush rolls with butter. Bake until golden and rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Pull rolls apart, and serve warm.

The request for vegetarian entrees brought these two offerings from Yeast of the Ridge. The first recipe is from "Food for Thought"; the second, from her own collection.

Vegetable Tourlou (Greek Vegetable Casserole)

3 yellow squash, sliced in rounds

4 zucchini, sliced in rounds

2 onions, sliced

2 green bell peppers, sliced

4 red potatoes, cubed

1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms

1 (12-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon salt

Crushed dill, to taste

Crushed parsley, to taste

Crushed mint, to taste

Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Slice and chop fresh vegetables (first 6 ingredients) and arrange them in mixed layers in a large (11- by 15-inch) casserole.

Mix together all of the remaining ingredients (except cheese) and pour them over the prepared vegetables. Bake, covered, at 400 F for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F, uncover and bake an additional 45 minutes or until vegetables are done. Sprinkle with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Spinach Soufflé

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach

3 eggs

4 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup melted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (16-ounce) carton small-curd cottage cheese

1/4 pound (5 sandwich-size slices) American cheese, cubed

1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, cubed

Cook frozen spinach in boiling salted water just until thawed. Drain well. Beat eggs, add flour and mix well, then add melted butter, salt and pepper and mix. Stir into egg mixture the drained spinach and all three cheeses. Mix well and spoon into a buttered casserole dish. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour in a preheated 350 F oven.

May be prepared 24 hours in advance and refrigerated.

On that light and cheesy note, we're out of time and space. But we will return, in time and space, next Wednesday, watching for you. Please come.