January 2, 2009
I know that my negligence of this blog, for the month of December, will probably result in my lynching, but I implore you to hear my plea: I was lazy. December was a blur of co-worker goodie baskets, quick bread gift baskets, and our Annual Family Dinner party (which contained many a stories that will be shared later). And while I have pictures to remember it all including pictures of the glorious, mouthwatering, talked about for days food, I just could not bring myself to sit down infront of the computer and share it with you. Instead, I slept. December and the holidays were filled with merriment and joy but mostly sleep.
I do have a post for you today though, to start the year off right. And while you are virtually lynching me, I will try to pacify you with the strife these doughnuts caused.
My family, aka Alex (my husband) and Cindy (my sister), are very supportive of my blog. They think my OCD nature in regards to my pictures and food is “cute” (I hate that word) and are quite proud of their cynical chef. They enjoy reaping the benefits of my labor and are usually quite content with waiting the extra few moments to dive in. Usually.
However, there are some meals like the aforementioned doughnuts, where their calm and appreciative demeanor melts away and they morph into a four year old that has just had their lollipop snatched away.
The promise of fresh yeast dougnuts was made early in the week. Thinking back that might have been where it started; the anticipation was too much. After days of thinking about the doughnuts, they were drooling with glee yesterday morning. Then, they realized that these were yeast doughnuts which meant rising time. It was then I saw the first signs of annoyance. Then, the doughnuts were cut and place on a sheet tray; “Surely, they have to be ready soon”, I saw the words of their thoughts floating above their heads. Nope, time for another rise. This time, I was met with mild irritation.
Then, the precious, airy rings of dough were fried and then cinnamon/sugared and were left to cool on an upside down cooling rack (thanks Alton) and I went to get my camera. I came back to find the little one (my sister) hovering over them. She had a look of maniacal destruction on her face. I stopped dead in my tracks and said “Not yet. I need to get the pretty ones”. She looked at me with crazy in her eyes and goes “Ohhhhh your FOOD BLOG! Too bad”. She then picked up one of those suckers, shoved it into her mouth and laughed with glee.
I am still scarred from this incident. Cindy will tell that I have used creative license on this story but I promise you this is exactly how my mind remembers it. Infact, I am not even sure how many doughnuts this recipe made (I halved it) because by the time I got back with my 3 photography doughnuts, the rest were gone. It was a New Year Day Doughnut Massacre. I think I need to think twice about my livelihood when I choose what to cook from now on.
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups very warm milk (120º to 130º)
1/3 cup shortening
Mix 2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add milk, shortening and eggs. Beat on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place 50 to 60 minutes or until double. (Dough is ready if indentations remain when touched).
Turn dough onto generously floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Push together scraps and gently knead 2 or 3 times. Flatten dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with floured 3-inch doughnut cutter. Cover doughnuts and let rise 30 to 40 minutes or until double.
Heat oil (1 1/2 to 2 inches) in Dutch oven to 350º. Slide doughnuts into hot oil with wide spatula. Fry about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove carefully from oil (do not prick surfaces); drain on paper towels. Roll or shake in sugar. (My note: Or alternatively you can also dip the tops of the doughnuts in glaze. See recipe below).
White Doughnut Glaze
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons milk (depending on your desired consistency)
Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl with a fork. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. If the glaze is too thick, stir in a little extra milk.
We were having trouble making the inner hole. I had three biscuit cutters and the little one was just to big; so in a moment of genius, Alex suggested one of my piping tips (the circle part of course) and it worked perfectly.
November 15, 2008
My sister has a little problem. She is a food sprayer. It is true, when the right forces align i.e. light and airy food, laughter, and an open mouth; my sister sends food flying across the room at any surface or person dumb enough to be in her way. She is not discriminatory either; whether it is corn bread, chocolate milk, birthday cake, salad or almost anything else, it has the potential to become airborne.
Many have fallen victim to Cindy’s perishable missiles. One of my best friends almost lost his eye when she took aim with chocolate chip cookie crumbs. And in high school, I lost a friend to embarrassment when she showed this trick off in public. We have tried to find a support group for this disease with no luck. The best thing we can do to help curb this behavior and support her recovery is make food that does not fly.
That was the plan tonight. The menu consisted of tacos with all the fixings complete with puffy taco shells. Heavy food enclosed in fried tortilla goodness and one of Cindy’s favorite meals, we were good to go. Then, Alex started talking about the Justin Timberlake skit- Blank in a Box (more on that soon) and that is when it happened. He was singing the song and Cindy lost it. Taco meat, tomatoes, cheese; it all went flying to different parts of the living room. Clearly, I underestimated the staying power of tacos. It is just another thing to cross of the list.
Tonight’s recipe is more of a technique. Taco making is pretty easy but the shells have the potential to bring it home
Puffy (Fried) Taco Shells
Flour Tortilla Shells– You can also do this with corn but you need to lay it over something to get the U shape; I use burrito size but again you can use whatever you want.
Vegetable Oil (Or other Flavorless oil) enough to go up 2 inches in the frying pan
Block Cheese– Cut into 3″ by 1″ inch slices- to go in the middle. This is optional
1. Pour the oil into the frying pan so it goes about 2 inches up the side. I usually put the burner on Medium/High and let it heat for 5 minutes. A small piece of the tortilla should dance when placed in the oil when it is ready
2. Put the tortilla into the oil. Let sit for 15 seconds or until brown and flip over.
3. If you are using the cheese, lay the cheese on the browned tortilla side (not submerged in the oil).
4. Fold the tortilla over onto itself to form a half moon shape.
5. Make sure the tortilla is brown on both sides. If not flip over, until browned.
7. Repeat steps 1-5 with the other tortilla. When moving to the landing pad after you are done, cover the other tortilla with a layer of paper towels and lay the new tortilla on top. You are making a tortilla high rise.