Day-o, day-o, daylight come and me wan’ go home… or…Cooking with Cookie, again

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Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Work all night on a drink a rum
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Stack banana till the mornin’ come
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
(Daylight come and me wan’ go home)

A beautiful bunch, a ripe banana
(Daylight come and me wan’ go home)
Highly the deadly, black tarantula
(Daylight come and me wan’ go home)

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
(Daylight come and me wan’ go home)

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Day-o, day-o,
Daylight come and me wan’ go home,

Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day-o

Daylight come and me wan’ go home

Every time I hear Mr. Harry Belafonte belting out that most classic Jamaican ballad, I can’t help but think of one my favorite weird movies of all time…that most bizarre 1980’s Tim Burton classic flick, Beetlejuice. Maybe it was just so quirky. Maybe it was right up Salvador Dali’s ally. Maybe I can’t look at a banana any longer without hearing that tune echoing through my head…..

And so it was yesterday morning when I noticed the three remaining bananas sitting in the bowl of fruit looking forlorn and forgotten…and mostly spotted……Day-o, day-o…

You must know that I am not a banana fan. Yes I realize that the banana has been in the running for Mother Nature’s best food—-it’s compact, travels relatively well, that is if you don’t mind the bruising, it’s healthy and very good for you—why do you think that muscle cramping athletes are force fed bananas…

If I eat bananas it must be when they are just barely ripe with a bit of a green tinge still remaining at the stem. If there is a single dark spot, out it goes. I do not like overtly ripe bananas as they are simply too mushy with both taste and smell exceedingly, well, bananaish.

So imagine my shigrin when I read about a recent study conducted on bananas by a Japanese University regarding the cancer fighting properties of overtly ripe bananas.
According to the latest Japanese Scientific Research, a full ripe banana with dark patches on the yellow skin produces a substance catted TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells. The more darker patches on a banana’s skin, the higher its immunity enhancement quality– Hence, the riper the banana the better the anti-cancer quality. A yellow skin banana, with dark spots on it, is 8x more effective in enhancing the property of white blood cells than a green skin version.

Now if we are prone to believe everything we see out there on the internet then I suppose this banana business has some merit. And yet this supposed study may be just a bit fishy…did Chiquita fund that little study, ehh? Either way, I do realize that there are indeed health benefits to eating not only bananas but a variety of fruits and vegetables.

So when I find that my barely ripe bananas have waited on me a day or two too long and have suddenly turned against me with their dark brown spots, overtly yellow soft skin and overpowering banana fragrance that’s when it’s time to make banana bread. But I’m not talking just any run of the mill banana bread—this recipe is special. It calls for dark brown sugar, oats, spices such a cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg—this is some good stuff.

Cookie’s Spiced Banana Bread
You will need:
2-3 ripe bananas (those of the spotted variety)
1 cup uncooked oats (good ol Quaker)
1/2 milk (guess what, I use coconut milk–cup for cup it is the same)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (the real deal stuff–softened to room temp)
splash of vanilla (Cookie’s homemade vanilla— for the more exact minded–1 teaspoon–or more if you like that sort of thing)
2 eggs (room temp)
2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon salt (I just shake once)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I like to fresh grate my nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon cardamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ᵒ
–Spray a 9 x 3 loaf pan (or two smaller sized pans) with Bakers Joy
–In a small bowl mash the bananas
–In a med bowl mix the 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together.
–In a small bowl mix the oats with the 1/2 milk (remember the coconut milk, think healthy)
–In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and eggs with vanilla till smooth
–Beat bananas and remaining ingredients into the creamy mixture (I alternate between the oats and flour, ending with flour mixture)
–Pour into the pan
I then sprinkle the top with a bit more brown sugar and dried oats
–Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.
test it at the hour’s end with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean–if not, allow 5 to 7 additional minutes.
allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then carefully invert on a cooling rack.
I like to slice a piece while it’s still warm and spread with a little butter.

This is a healthy banana! Day-o, Day-o, day light come and me wan’ go home…..

Here we are, fresh out of the oven….
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Now slice and add a touch of butter (you can use cream cheese but why would you?)
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Whoa, wait a minute, who took a bite?!
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Butter to my bread

“You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life”
― Julia Child
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(Photograph: fresh artisan loaves of bread from Rose Cottage Bakery / Pine Mt. Georgia / Julie Cook / 2013

When I retired last year from my life at school, I fretted about where I would turn my newly freed attentions. My dad was the given, as was helping out my husband with his business, but my son really didn’t need me anymore as he is basically a fine grown man… So what to do as far my passions and my energies were concerned was what had me worried.

Teaching is a fast paced, non stop sort of stress producing vocation that runs as a day in and day out event. Rarely does or can a teacher “turn it off”….Multiply all of that by 31, which in turn meant I was basically a top wound as tight as one could get. I had to constantly be on the ready for whatever came down the pike– being ready to always hit the ground running each and every day for 31 years.

Such is the life of a high school teacher—add the other duties acquired over 31 years…coaching, working with after school needs based kids, Department Chair, various committee chairs, team leader, mentoring, trainings, more schooling, summer trainings—throw in being wife, mom, daughter…and you are one overwhelmed individual.

The question begged where was I going to pour some of that energy. Where was I going to dump so much of that “constantness” until I could learn to decompress somewhat. I had lived life as a Pavlov dog, as anyone who has ever worked in education will testify…bells and clocks controlled my life. And seeing that I’ve been in a school setting since I was 5 years old, we are looking at almost 50 years in school—–that is entirely too long!!

So suddenly the idea of time standing somewhat still was exciting but yet also very frightening. I knew all about the importance of “transition” as that is a current educational buzz word. I knew I needed a seamless transition—or at least the best transition I could manage. “I know!!”– I exclaimed while attempting to convince myself that I had a really good idea, “I’ll bake bread”–I’m talking fresh from scratch artisan breads.

I’ve written a post on this before so I won’t rehash all of it again but just know that I bought all of the latest books, the special pans, the proofing bowls, the drying cloths, the special flours…I was going to do this and do it 110% to the best of my ability like any good teacher worth her salts, oh and I bought the good special salts too….

The start of school this past August marked my first complete year of retirement and
I have made all of two loaves of bread and one batch of decadent cinnamon rolls. What is wrong with this picture you ask….

They were wonderfully good–heavenly in fact–loaves, or actually rounds, of delicious bread and yeasty delicious cinnamon buns…..but they were laborious and time consuming. There’s that whole making, rising, punching, kneading, rising, kneading..on and on…. Flour was everywhere and not being as confident in baking as I am in cooking, I always fretted the loaves would never rise and I would have worked like a dog for flat hard hockey pucks…..

Plus I probably would be weighing as much as a freight train right about now if I churned out loaves as I had intended. We all know that there is nothing better than hot bread with cow cream fresh real deal butter—-yummmmmmmm!! I’ve got a post about that too—as there is, to me, nothing better than the real deal butter…..

I visited a bakery today whose job is to churn out the wonderful breads that I thought I should be making. It is their job, their life, their passion, their mission to make really good bread. And they do so very successfully as they take their breads from the sleepy little west Georgia town of Pine Mountain up to the big city of Atlanta to sell their breads at the various city markets to ravenous crowds.

My job and passion, and I suppose my bread and butter, for 31 years was kids….other people’s kids. My job and passion now is a different type of bread and butter, it is simply the components that make my life truly that, my life. I’m good knowing that I finished the one job, the job of school. Now I’m tending to the job of family and home which is equally deserving and needing of my time—I’ve learned that I don’t have to nervously find something, anything to “fill the gap” —Dad’s doing a pretty good job of that all by himself….which is all good—

So whereas it was initially my misguided angst filled need to think I needed to make real bread, it is now my joyous epiphany, what Julia so eloquently waxes poetically, that my life is now here for my dad, my stepmom, my husband, my son, my godparents, my dear friends, and even for you my blogging friend ….and that is indeed the butter to my bread……….

Cooking with Cookie or Vanilla Extract Part II

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But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Robert Burns

Oh Robbie Burns, you smooth talking Scot you, you’re singing my song. Or better yet, this is the story of my life. I suppose you could say that my life is a single strand of small cliches strung together over the course of almost 54 years….with my time in the kitchen being no exception…hence the best laid plains of mice and men…or actually the best laid plans of Cookie….

I love to cook and I’ve written a previous post on the art of baking verses cooking— with my inclinations leaning more toward the cooking end the spectrum as this is the area that allows me to be most creative and not as dependent upon the chemical reactions of fats, sugars, yeasts, heat, etc… My pilopsophy is add a little of this and a little of that…and if that doesn’t do the trick… add something else—and when in doubt, perhaps, throw it out.

So I thought it may be nice to have a bit of a diversion today…nothing too heavy, historical or controversial…something more along the lines of taste and of tasting good. And mind you that doesn’t necessarily mean uber healthy rabbit food…..but homemade, perhaps homegrown and soul satisfying….

Do you remember the post Vanilla Extract or is Cookie a Lush…written back in May? Well, it was time to taste test the maturation of the alcohol and beans…ummmmmm

Here the bottles were back in May ready to head to the dark corners of a forgotten cabinet.DSCN0069

and here they are today…bronzed with time….
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I don’t know what I was expecting. Heady vanilla goodness? Sweet, luscious and decadent?
I pulled the bottles out of their dark hiding place, the tomb, aka cabinet, where they’ve been allowed to “do their thing” for these past several months. They have been pulled out from time to time in order to get a healthy little shake—always fighting the desire to pop the cork for a quick whiff of that heavenly amalgamation of vanilla and alcohol—in this case your choice of either vodka, bourbon, honey bourbon, spiced dark rum, Tahitian beans or Madagascar beans…this is hard core extract making.

I pulled out a little silver teaspoon–only the best for this virgin tasting. I placed all the bottles on the counter, and deiced which one I wanted to “test” first. Ooooo, a little shiver ran down my spine, my first decanting…too exciting! I give the bottle of choice one last shake, pop the cork, and I’m suddenly greeted by the unmistakable scent of vanilla which fills the air, but there is also a faint sterile whiff of alcohol….hummmmmm…..

I pour a little of the glistening brown liquid into the spoon, I raise it to my lips and let it fill my mouth. At first millisecond, there is a warm sensation, then suddenly…. AAAGGGHHHH, cough, cough, cough…..yewh…oh God, do I swallow, do I spit…AAGGGHHH…hot, hot, fire….oh dear lord, oh my gosh what was I thinking… a cordial, a cloyingly sweet liquor? AAAGGHHH… what’s in my mouth is on fiiiirrrreeee!!

Now granted I am not one to drink my liquor straight. I’ve just never been that kind of girl. I may be a southern girl who grew up at THE University of Georgia back in the day, who may have had my share of bourbon and coke–of which I no longer seem to desire as I think I had my bait of that oh those many (35ish) years ago…whoops,digressing I do go…. Now give me a little tonic and a lime, a splash of this or that… but straight, no thank you….

My dad has been a Scotch drinker his entire life. One Christmas I spent the most money I’d ever spent on a gift for my dad and that was simply a single barrel, 25 year aged bottle of Scotch from the Speyside area of Scotland. He drinks it neat, or over ice and it’s usually a double to a triple…geeze… I thought there really had to be something to this Scotch business. Sophisticated men (and I’ve only known one woman to do so) have always seemed to drink Scotch. There is an air of sophistication associated with it—tweeds, crystal glasses, driving caps and delightful accents. The whole mist of the moors mystique. I stupidly think that I too need to add this to my repertoire.

Big terrible mistake!!! One taste of Scotch was enough to last me a life time. Liquid burnt peat, that’s all it is. It’s a fiery taste of burnt rubbish. They say you have to acquire the taste for Scotch…if I have to practice to enjoy tasting it, forget it—I’m a love at first taste sort of gal. But don’t tell that to a Scotch drinker. No wee dram here—no sir. Give me my antispetic vodka, the tofu of alcohol –meaning it’ll take on the flavor of whatever you may pair it with—in this case, vanilla beans.

I taste the bourbon extact, the honey bourbon extract, the spiced rum extrat, and the vodka extract—all with similar flair and fire. Ugghh… I pull out a store bought bottle of extract from the cabinet and give it a go just to compare… am I on the right tract or I have created poison?!

Thankfully– the store bought has similar characteristics of my concoctions. Fiery alcohol with some sort of spicy note….just call me the sommeliers of extract.

Time for the true test…to bake a little something in order to see if these bottles are ripe, or still need a little more time to cure…….

Hummm…I need to do something quick as my son and his fiancee were coming over for supper. The need for something streamline nixed the bourbon and rum based extracts as I wasn’t thinking chocolate—I know, who doesn’t think chocolate, but it was a hot day, I needed something light.

Ahhh, meringues…brillant

The smaller meringues, the Boccone Dolce or sweet mouthful in Italian– or even the more showy and larger cousin the Pavolva—are the quintessential vehicle for visually stunning deserts…billowy crisp outer shells with a soft chewy marshmellowesque interior. These are sold, a bit larger than what I make, by bakeries all over Italy and France as a quick pick up go to desert show stopper. One may fill them with mounds of decadent whipped creams and luscious fruits…which is more along the traditional lines of a Pavlova or they may be filled with your either your choice of sorbet and fruit or ice-cream complete with shaved chocolate bits, drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce and sprinkled with a few roasted nuts or toasted coconut, it will appear as if you have labored for hours.

They are easy to make as long as you follow a few precautions—humidity being the first real kill joy. The other being any unsuspecting egg yolk that drips down into the bowl of whites as you’re separating the eggs. Here is a quick recipe for Boccone Dolce or simply put filled meringue shells:
you will need to”
— preheat your oven to 225ᵒ F
—Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I also spray the parchment with Baker’s Joy)
— 3 eggs separated, allowed to come to room temperature (I use 4 and I find that if I crack them first
separating the eggs then allowing for the whites to reach room temps, the shells are not as prone to
shatter sending small shards into the whites)
—a small bit of cream of tartar 1/4 teaspoon–remember I don’t measure, I just give a little
sprinkle)
–3/4 cup granulated sugar
–1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (here I am a bit more liberal–I use a splash, more like a teaspoon and
a bit more
–Using a hand held mixer I begin whipping the whites and cream of tarter fist just still the whites get a little foamy. Continuing mixing, I slowly add, a little at a time, allowing for it to be incorporated, the sugar. Still mixing I add the vanilla. I mix until the whites are think, shiny, and can hold up stiff peaks if I pull up on the mixer.
–I then gently scoop out 6 mounds onto the parchment lined baking pan. Using the back of a spoon I gently form a nest by hollowing out an indention in the center of each mound.
–Pop the the sheet into the oven and bake for about and hour and a half.
–Once time is up–turn the oven off, leaving the meringues in the oven for at least one more hour as this dries them out.
(now I have found that my meringues cook best in my regular oven verses the convection oven as they tend to cook too quickly-the meringues should not brown but remain a lovely pale off white. You want a nice crisp exterior and a soft mellowly interior.
–here is where you can be creative filling them with decadent goodness topped by more of the same.

These particular meringues cooked and cooled while I prepared supper. As I didn’t have ample time to pull out all the stops for these little puppies, I simply filled them with peach ice cream, topping them with freshly cut peaches. I have been known to sauté the peaches in a tad of butter, sugar, cinnamon, a squirt of lemon till a nice peachy syrup develops ladling this over the ice cream and shells….
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The vanilla was spot on, I could actually taste a very nice hint of warm vanilla laced throughout every heavenly bite of meringue–boccone dolce –truly

I’ve got to share this!!

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Simply put, I must share!! Finding myself in two separate airports during the course of the past couple of days, I wandered into a book/ magazine shop in search of something fun to “flip” through while waiting for my flight, then flipping nervously through during my flight (you know that whole “flying thing makes me a little nervous” issue I possess—and yes I do bring along a book, sometimes even two—never been one to pack too light, I still need something to occupy my nerves…besides reciting the rosary or saying the Jesus Prayer on my chotki)…

I bought a CookFresh Magazine (from the Best of Fine Cooking). Flipping through during my heightened state of nervous panic, I spy a delightful apple dish that immediately screams, “Julie, (maybe not literally) Fall is coming…apple time.”

I love cooking with apples in the Fall (“but Julie, it’s just August!”—“don’t wander off the subject”). Once home, I’ve tried my hand at this most tantalizing recipe, finding that I simply must share……

Below you will find my rendition as I am famously known for tweeking any recipe and running drastically off course—makes things better that way….

Individual Apple Charlottes

I wanted to make just 4 so I pared this down…I’ll give you my pared down version.
You’ll need 4 ramekins
For the filling:
–about 4 to 5 medium size apples—jazz, pink lady, golden delicious ( I used a mix of Royal Gala and a new comer in my neck of the woods- Envy from New Zealand (it’s not time for you to fuss that I’m not using local—it’s August for crying out loud, no really good apples quite yet—trust me, these turned out just fine)
–1 lemon—strip the zest with a peeler and mince—being careful not to get any of the bitter white pith
–1 nice moist plump vanilla bean—you’ll be cutting it in half to scrape out the seeds
–1/3 cup of a mix of golden raisins—I always use more than what’s called for—be liberal—in cooking only 😉 )
–5 Tbs or 2 ½ oz of unsalted butter (Plugra is the bomb)
–1/4 cup granulated sugar
–I threw in some cinnamon
–I also used about 6 crushed cardamom pods—little black seeds only
–and of course I had to add some freshly grated nutmeg—(who cooks with apples and doesn’t use the holy spice trinity aforementioned!!)
–1 Tbs of Calvados (apple brandy—blessed Normandy!!)

For the crust:
–1 loaf sliced white (I know, I know…) Suggested and what I used is the Pepperidge Farm Classic White—since I just made 4, I used 8 pieces of bread)
–1 cup unsalted butter (Plugra!!)
–3/4 sugar—trust me, you’ll need more

–add Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or cream fraiche and enjoy.

Make the filling—
Peel, core and dice the apples into ¼ little cubes—place in a bowl and squirt a little lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown while you’re preparing everything else.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off of half a lemon—-give or take half. Make certain you didn’t get any of the bitter white pith. I minced the zest and added it to the bowl of apples but the recipe calls for just strips that will be removed later—why remove? When chopped finely, the zest is just such a nice addition. Add zest to bowl.
Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds—add the seeds and remaining bean to the bowl with the apples. (Once you’re done with the pod, pull it out to dry then add to a jar of sugar to impart a delightful fusion creating vanilla sugar–add to tea, coffee….ummmm
Here is where I added the cinnamon, the ground cardamom seeds, and the nutmeg.
Add the raisins
Toss the apples, zest, vanilla bean seeds, the pod, raisins and spices—set aside till the skillet is ready.
I’m thinking Fall flavors…….
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Look at those vanilla specks…

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In a 12 inch skillet (or dutch oven) melt the butter over med- high heat and add sugar. When the sugar is fully moistened, add the apple mixture and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the apples start to release liquid and look soft on the outside (but still slightly crunchy on the inside—about 7 minutes or so)—aren’t things smelling heavenly—ummmmm
Take the skillet off of the heat and set aside, you can pull the pod out at this time. Add the Calvados—*****if your day has been hectic, pour yourself a wee dram while cooking but best to keep your wits about you as the more complicated step is yet to come.

Prepare the crust
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 475° . Trim the crust off of 8 slices of bread. I sprayed the ramekins, at this point, with some PAM and brush the sides with some of the melted butter. Cut out 8 rounds from the bread ( I used a cup measure to cut the circles), which will fit in the bottom of the ramekin. Now the recipe called for just bread rounds cut for the bottoms of the ramekins–however, I cut tops out as well as I wanted a “top crust”
You will need to have long rectangular pieces cut which will wrap the inside of the ramekins.
In a skillet, melt the butter and place the sugar in a shallow dish. Dip a round at a time in the melted butter, coating both sides, then dredge in sugar—coating both sides. Place a buttered sugared round in the bottom of the ramekin. Next dip and dredge the long rectangle pieces fitting them inside along the edges of the ramekins. Finally dip and dredge the tops and set aside for a moment.

Assembly and Baking
Fill each ramekin with a gracious amount of the apple mixture, pushing down to insure no airspace—the mixture will shrink down while cooking so fill away…
Now top each filled ramekin with a top. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. I used a baking sheet I covered with foil because there will be a bit of bubbling and boiling over. Cover all with a top layer of foil to seal. Place in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Talk about a heady aroma wafting its way through the house—ummmmm

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If serving immediately, use a thin paring knife cutting along the outer edge to help release being careful not the burn yourself, using a dish towel to help, place a desert plate on top of the ramekin then invert—the bottom, now the top, should have a nice “caramelization”. If wanting to serve later, cover, once cool, with plastic wrap and store in fridge. I made mine late in the afternoon and just set them aside until a while after supper, I reheated in a 450° for about 8 minutes–being careful to watch them as you don’t want them to burn.

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A great precursor to Fall—smell those warm spices—ummmmm

Ice cream, where’s the ice cream? This thing is absolutely divine—it’s a gracious serving worthy of splitting with someone special…..

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A redemptive faux pas kind of day

I have decided I must redeem some part of this day…first it was my husband walking in the house, in the wee hours this morning, having been to survey the rain saturated garden before leaving for work. In his hand he carried a green club. “Oh my gosh, how in the world?!” I had scoured those plants the day prior. It was a zucchini—a huge zucchini—like the zucchini that ate Manhattan kind of zucchini.

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He just shook his head. “I’m telling you I went over every inch of that garden, I have no idea where that one was hiding!!” He just shakes his head with that annoying little grin like “sure you did” kind of grin–which annoys the crap out of me…..”shirking on the job are we?”, he asks as he makes for his coffee and keys….ugghhh….

Of course he thinks it funny but I’m actually annoyed with myself. The excessive rains this summer are making for a poor poor crop—vegetables bursting before ripening due to all the water, plus you need a little sun to make things ripen and blooms to open before just rotting off the vine…so any little veggie I can pluck before it gets ruined is pretty precious. How I managed to let a zucchini get past me long enough to mature into a small mallet is beyond my soul.

I call them zucchini clubs and there is just one thing they are good for—not unless you have some cows who don’t mind being hand feed a nice tasty green club every once in a while…..our neighbor a couple of years ago kept some cows in the pasture behind our house. On the evenings I’d be out working in the garden, the cows would amble over to the fence and if I found the baseball bat zucchinis, especially if we’d been out of town for a few day with the garden getting ahead of us, I’d hold out the zucchini and they’d eat it all gone 🙂

A Chocolate Zucchini cake—that’s the answer!

Now that won’t fix my stupidity this morning for accidentally clicking the “like” button on my own post—who does that?? So Julie seems to like Julie’s post—hummmmm… No, not exactly but how do I take that back…one of those computer savvy questions no doubt. Then there was the conversation with Joanne who I referred to as Katherine—the name of her post….I know she is Joanne, and yet…my feeble brain jumps to the blog name instead—what’s up with that brain??

I blame it on the rain—I’ve had a sinus headache for the past two days—the kind that Motrin or Advil does not touch. So I wisely decided that before going to bed last night I would take half a pain pill (a whole one is just too potent) to make my head and sinuses stop hurting. Makes sense, right? These little goodies are left over from my husband’s oral surgery on a tooth…..
Maybe I was a little groggy this morning….

Anywhooooo, here is what I am offering in the way of redemption for all of you out there—those who think cookie suddenly got a little full of herself, for Joanne who thinks I’m turning into my dad, and to my husband who thinks I am no candidate for master gardener…….please find the recipe below…..

Chocolate-Zucchini Cake

2 eggs
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons Coca (Hersey’s special dark for a really rich chocolaty taste)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups flour
1 package of Instant vanilla pudding mix (I use the 3.4 oz. box)
2 cups finely grated zucchini (grate into a dishtowel and ring out the excess moisture)
1 cup mini chocolate chips (or whatever kind and type you have on hand, even white chocolate is nice)
Optional ½ to 1 cup nuts—I don’t do the nuts, as I’m not a fan of nuts in sweets….

Cream together the first 5 ingredients. Sift together the next 5 ingredients—then add to the creamed ingredients. Add pudding and zucchini, mixing well. Pour into a greased and floured (Baker’s Joy spray) 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle chips and nuts on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 40-45 minutes—until a toothpick come out clean.

Serves 14-16
Perfectly easy

here it is in the pan before heading into the oven
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and here it is…missing a piece…how did that happen 😉

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Please make this and enjoy my faux pas apology!!! Add a little ice cream if you think I’ve been really stupid 🙂

Feast and Fellowship

I confess. I love to eat. Let me clarify. I love to eat good food. I enjoy eating said good food, surrounded by those I care about, those who are family and or friends, or simply those who equally enjoy good food and good company. Maybe it’s a quiet evening at home with a well planned out home cooked meal. Maybe it’s a festive time out at a Michelin Five star restaurant. Maybe it’s an unctuous cup of Gelato enjoyed on a street corner in Italy on a hot summer day—good food is often the highlight of the day no matter where or when it is enjoyed. And yes, the blessing of being able to have food, good or bad, is a graciousness that does not go unnoticed. As gratefulness and thankfulness abound.

I put as much planning into where to eat during a travel trip as I do to which hotel I choose for a stay. Often times the well-laid plans of mice and this woman will fall away to a need for spontaneity, leaving way to finding a special place for a special meal on a wing and a prayer. Almost always experienced with memorable results.

I’m reminded of the most delightful little restaurant in Florence. My dear friends the Papinis, who run a very old Florentine leather business (http://papinileather.com/), suggested a very small restaurant just around the corner from their business. My aunt and I wandered in, or I should say down, into a tiny dinning room of an ancient building in an alleyway just off of the small Piazza del Pesce right by the Ponte Vecchio. Realizing that, due to the small dinning room, reservations were a must, as the restaurant’s popularity with locals and tourists alike was abounding—we made reservations for later that evening.

By the time of our reservations, the small dinning room was filling quickly. A husband and wife team, along with a small array of cooks and waiters, ran the restaurant. There was a group of raucous ladies from Texas sitting at a table across from us. A quiet couple form Spain sat next to us. I tend to lean towards Pappadelle with boar sauce as a main course when in Florence, so this particular evening was to be no different. I’m not certain as to why that is—I just find it indulgent as well as most satisfying.

The highlight, however, was the plate of fried squash blossoms. Light and delectable. Reminiscent of fried okra (a “southern thang”). They were so divine that we ordered one more plate prior to ordering desert. There was good reason as to why I ate a bottle of Tums before going to bed that evening as I have never been so “stuffed”…. just thinking about it makes me smile, as well as a little queasy…

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And then there is the velvety smooth warm tomato flan I had in Cortona, Italy. Cortona is home to the University of Georgia’s Visual Arts summer abroad program. It is also home to Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun fame. Cortona is a quaint and ancient hilltop medieval town in southern Tuscany.

Perched atop the main piazza in town sits a small yet delightful restaurant, La Grotta. My aunt and I had a table sitting along the ledge overlooking the Piazza della Republica, which is the location for our friend Marco Molesini’s wine shop. His family runs a deli/grocery store and he runs the wine shop—shipping wines, vinegars, olive oils, cheese and meats all the world over (http://www.molesini-market.com/). Much to my surprise when I walked into his shop, he was sporting a Georgia Bulldog T shirt—seems Marco attended the University of Georgia and is an official Bulldog just like me—an instant friend bound by the Dawgs found an ocean away!

It is here that on a warm summer’s evening one my sip fruity Tuscan Chianti wines while watching the swallows (chimney swifts) darting about the courtyard like Japanese zeros honing in on an unforeseen target. The peace that settles in over this small town is heavenly. Families, with their young children in tow, gathered below us, meeting together before deciding where to head off for a fine meal. I was completely content in this moment.

I had ordered the tomato flan and my aunt the Burschetta. Both prepared with the freshest vine ripened tomatoes, freshly picked aromatic basil and the peppery local olive oil that Tuscany is so famous for.
Not only were they both strikingly vibrant with vivid color stimulants for the eye, the taste buds were equally rewarded with the bursts of fresh flavor. The flan arrived in a small dish sitting is a puddle of warm basil infused olive oil. The first bite was nothing short of magical. The setting also helped add to the magically surreal moment.

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If it is a sweet one seeks, Zurich is home to Sprungli’s Chocolates/Café (Lindt Chocolates). It was here, this past September, while on the “Great Retirement Adventure”, that my aunt, my friend Melissa and I all found out what chocolate is truly all about.

We had just arrived in town after a long overnight flight. It was still early morning and we were hungry. Who says you can’t eat chocolate for breakfast? Of course there was coffee ordered so that may qualify our meal of Chocolate mouse cakes, our first breakfast meal in Switzerland, as acceptable. One bite of this light, tongue coating smooth concoction of cream, sugar, chocolate, vanilla–an amalgamation of goodness—one will never be the same.

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We were in Zurich for a day and a half and visited Sprunglis’ multiple times. They do offer “real” food as well, besides the myriads of pastries, pies, cakes, macrons, and chocolate, but why bother?! Oh I could go on but there will be a posting later on such treats……….

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And then there is the fellowshipping.

I have always believed in good company with a good meal. I also prefer being the one whose preparing the meal. I just feel more comfortable doing all of the work I suppose—not that I’m a martyr by any means—just enjoy cooking for those I care for, or for those I don’t really know.

All during my tenure as a teacher, it always seemed as if we were having some sort of shower or party after school celebrating something, anything. There were showers to celebrate the impending marriage of either a teacher or the grown child of a teacher. Showers for a young pregnant teacher or for the coming of a grandbaby for an older teacher.
We had “parties” for the faculty if we, as a school,were to be receiving some honor or accolade. We welcomed new administrators with cake and punch and said good-bye to our retirees with a luncheon. You name it, we gathered together to celebrate at any possible opportunity. And I was always happiest when working behind the scenes of these events.

When the time came for my own good-byes, it was to be no different. I had to be the one cooking and preparing. I told the ladies of the school that we would “feast and fellowship” at my house once school was finished for the year. Of course we had the end of year luncheon at school where I was truly humbled by the display of “good-byes”, but it was the feast and the fellowship shindig at my house, with all of the school’s ladies, that was most memorable. In order to protect the identities of all involved, I will say no more 🙂 Trust me, however, when I say that a good time was truly had by all. My salad niçoise and muddled peach juleps—marvelous…. but I digress.

A few years back, when scoping out my Bon Appetite Magazine, I always enjoyed reading the back page. On the back page, the Magazine always highlighted some famous person, always asking about their idea of a good meal, what were the 3 most important things in their refrigerator, and my most favorite question, “what 3 people from history would you invite to dinner?” I’ve always thought about this question wishing someone would ask me the same thing.

Well since you’ve asked, I’ll tell you.

I’ve thought about this question for years. At first I thought about asking some really big name world changer…. Gandhi. But then I thought better of that as he would most likely be on a hunger strike and not interested in feasting or fellowshipping. I couldn’t ask Mother Teresa as she would admonish me letting me know in no uncertain terms that I should be feeding those in need in my community rather than preparing a special meal for her (now I’m rethinking this whole idea).

There is, however one individual, who I know would not only enjoy feasting on a good meal, but he would enjoy taking center stage of conversation, taking the fellowshipping to an all time high. My hero, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. I would also have to ask my other hero. Father Karol Wojtyla, otherwise known as Pope John Paul II. Two vastly different men but two men I would love to listen to in person, basking in the knowledge and blessing received by being in their presence.

But who will be my third dinner guest? Julia Child? No, her vivacious personality would sway all of the attention of my gentlemen guests in her direction. I would hate being jealous of Julia. What about my hero Margaret Thatcher? No. I fear she would dominate conversation with Winston regarding policies of Great Britton during both of their respective times in office leaving me to feel left out. No fun being left out at your own dinner party.

No, I won’t ask another female. I’ll be selfish. But who…. hummm…Ahhhh…what’s a fine meal without a little good French food and wine? Who would most appreciate French Food (besides Julia)? Napoleon Bonaparte—the little Corsican general and self crowned French Emperor! Who, oddly enough, I so admire. A ladies man to be sure. Charming and polite. However, upon meeting Churchill, that genteel demeanor would most quickly vanish.

Winston and Fr. Wojtyla, will no doubt, talk about the War (remember the War is always WWII). But once Napoleon shows up for the evening, Winston will be in rare form. He will parley with the “little general” taunting him with his study of Wellington and of Russia. Playing up the eventual defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo to a crushing crescendo to my dinner guest’s dismal dismay—and loving every minute of it.

But knowing Napoleon, he will not remain silent, fighting to the end. It will be at this moment that I will ask Fr. Wojtyla if he would like to leave the military campaign behind in order to depart with me to a quiet room, only to enjoy a last glass of wine and discus his latest views of the plight of man. I would sit in rapture and in awe of this bigger than life man, mystic and soon to be saint. That would be a most special evening indeed.

I cannot leave you pondering the joys (and sometimes the tragedies) of feasting and fellowshipping without leaving you something a bit tangible from today’s discourse. You must have a recipe. It is an almost fail proof recipe for a country round loaf of delightfully rustic bread. Now I have had some measured success with a recipe that included the whole yeast, rise, knead, rise some more boule type round…but to be on the safe side we’ll go with this William Sonoma choice. I usually make this for Easter as it has the light hint of Rosemary, the herb of “remembrance” and lemon, which harkens to the renewal of Spring and warmth.

No better ingredient to a true feasting of fellowship then the breaking of the bread, together. The ancient and time honored tradition of hospitality, sacrifice and everlasting Hope…

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Rosemary-Lemon No-Knead Bread
This bread is almost effortless to make because it requires no kneading. Instead, the dough is allowed to slowly rise over a long period of time. Then it is baked in a preheated covered cast-iron pot, which helps produce a crispy, bakery-style crust on the finished loaf.
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. chopped lemon zest
Cornmeal as needed
Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

Birthdays, cats and cinnamon buns

Ok, so a couple of months ago on a cold, wet winter day (I’m beginning to denote a trend here—is it always wet, cold and dreary this winter—YES!!) I celebrated another birthday.  Now I don’t mind the whole “another year older deal”, no problem with the aging process.  So it’s not that I dislike birthdays.  On the contrary I like birthdays—just other people’s birthdays.  I like to “do” and give to others.  It’s what I “do” and I do it with love and joy –for them.  But as far as me being on the receiving end—that’s hard.

I don’t know why that is really.  I think it must go back to the whole adoption issue…and of course I tend to blame everything on the adoption issue (that’s for another day).

For my birthday, as well as for the couple of days leading up to the big event, I get all flustered on the inside.  Kind of nervous, kind of depressed.  It’s not that I think the day is a national celebration—Heavens no…nor do I believe that I deserve some huge big deal made of it all. What I do believe and feel is that it is all a bit awkward.  Maybe I don’t feel as if I deserve any of the “hoopla.”

I find it a little crazy however that a large number of people, particularly this younger generation, think of birthdays as another word for National Holiday.  I had countless number of students who would actually lay out of school on their birthday as if all business and normal activity should cease in observance.  I even had colleagues (the younger ones again) who would get a substitute teacher to come in on their birthday or a family member’s birthday.  Why I wonder.  What’s the big deal?

Yes, by all means it is a day that should be acknowledged, as it is a day of celebration….. the celebration of you becoming you.  And I have been known to make a big fuss for my family and friends on their “special” day….but the world does need to come to a complete halt on a birthday—if that were the case, everyday would be a “holiday”.

Birthdays are nice diversions for the otherwise mundane day of work or classroom activity, giving everyone something to look forward to.  It allows for some fun and even silliness in both the workplace and the classroom.  Birthdays allow colleagues and/ or students an excuse to bring in a cake and ice cream.   I can remember when I was in elementary school when it was time for a classmate’s birthday.  Moms would bring in a cake, and those wonderful little individual ice cream cups—could life get any better than that at age 7?!  Celebrating and integrating the joy of birth and life into everyday life…now that’s what’s special!

But right around my special day, I get out of sorts.  And so this year was not different.

I wish to share with you what transpired on the eve of my special day—my birthday eve if you will.  I had a college roommate who extolled the virtues of birthday eve.  She said that on birthday eve, one could stay up or out until all hours doing as one pleased…I think this was her excuse to be able to come in at 3 in the morning on a school night, but I digress….

Here is a recount of my gloom and doom, looking back from my birthday to what was an interesting birthday eve………

“What a mess yesterday was!!”……. I had felt defeated by my okra pods—- Okra pods you ask??….the ones I was painting as Christmas ornaments– dried okra pod Santas, have you ever tried painting wee details on a dried okra pod??    Then there were my made from scratch, yeast and all, cinnamon buns (which as the Fates allowed turned out really good)…The disaster all began around 4 PM. I had decided to cut my losses after spending most of the day making cinnamon buns. That whole flour, water, yeast, knead, wait, knead some more kind of day.

The kitchen was covered in flour, dirty bowls, measuring cups, sugar, spices, etc.  I had left the buns covered on the counter to rise but they were looking exceedingly flat.  I was feeling pretty flat and defeated myself, as my “buns” were looking more like pancakes.  Spending all day on something just to have them not have the “magic” necessary to rise I saw as one more confirmation that baking was never going to be my thing.  It was a gloomy day and my mood was just as gloomy—and unfortunately now I needed to clean the d@*n kitchen so I could next start supper.  UGH!

What I really needed was to make some tea to settle my nerves. Unfortunately I glanced at Peaches (one of my most precious cats) making her way into the laundry room.  The tea must wait as I figured I’d need to go clean out the litter box when she finished, as I believe in keeping our world clean and fresh.

As I made my way in to do the dirty work  (scoop the poop as it is called) I noticed she had “missed” the box.  S*#t!!!!  Literally. Quite upset I clean up the mess and go back to clean the kitchen, by now almost salivating for my nerve calming tea, when all of a sudden Peaches goes flying past me literally dragging her butt on the ground like her a** is on fire. What the heck??!!

I had to chase her, in order to catch her, pick her up and for the love of God if she isn’t covered in poop……as is now my floor!!  AAGGHHH!!!  EEEooooo!!!!!!

I run to the bathroom holding her at arms length–mind you she’s certainly in no mood to be “handled” as her bottom is a mess and I’m now screaming and holding her like she’s a live time bomb.  I panic not knowing what the h#*l to do–had it not been raining I’d have taken her outside to the hose…. the tub, the tub will have to do!!

I’m holding her, screaming, turning on the water, shoving her under the running water, she’s not at all pleased, I’m screaming, and now searching for paper-towels, soap…anything to help get rid of all the poop—and I’m not talking just a tad as you should know she’s a freaking long hair…..AAGGHH!!

I’m holding her by the scruff of the neck waving her around like a rag doll trying to reach soap and kleenex, anything to help knowing I can’t dare let go as a wet, pooped covered cat would take off making more of a nasty disaster—-all the while as Percy (my other most precious baby cat) is sitting there on the side of the tub intently staring most likely praying “God please don’t let me be next”.  What is this act of bizarre baptism he must be wondering?

In and out of the steam of warm water she goes with me scrubbing her butt and tail—by now we are all soaked—she’s growling and panting— but oddly I know she knows it’s best because she could have bitten and scratched the living loving life out of me.  My 5 lb ball of fluff and fur comes out looking like a wet noodle—I go through 4 large bath towels trying to dry her enough to be able to finally let her go.

After the wash and rinse cycle of Peaches, I immediately go for the Clorox and scour the bathroom, disinfect the tub, launder towels, go all over the house looking to clean poop streaks on the floor, throw away rugs in the laundry room….  Needless to say the roast I was going to cook for supper had lost its window of opportunity.  Supper had to be a quick plan B—and now, knowing my time for nerve calming tea had passed because my husband was about to come home, I dissolve into tears…

I throw the d@#n cinnamon buns (which I must remind you I had labored over, working from scratch all day long) in the oven and hope for the best—

Blessed be—-after all of the disasters, the gloom, the nasty mess, they, my beautiful cinnamon buns, rise and bake to a luscious golden sparkly sugary hue of light brown…..there is a God in Heaven 🙂 (but I knew that fact already).

After all of that, I decided maybe my nerves could use something a little stronger than say, tea but I couldn’t even indulge in that area as thanks to the d@*n  “kill everything in your guts” pills I was having to take because of a previous virus which strictly forbid any alcohol…UGH!…Plan B, again, finally, time to have my tea…  and a plate of sugary glazed balls of yeasty goodness.  Yes, balls as my buns rose up quite nicely in the oven.  The magic of baking at work once again!

Was the birthday good?  Yes. Were the cinnamon buns wonderful? Yes!!  Did Peaches survive—yes and I chalk up such moments of bedlam to being a parent—be it human or animal, our “children” will always throw a kink in any day—and actually this particular kink helped to get me out of my birthday funk on this particular birthday eve!  Ode to a diversion!

Here is the recipe for the cinnamon buns taken from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

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Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon

–6 ½ tablespoons                 (3.25 ounces)              granulated sugar

–1-teaspoon                         (.25 ounces)                      salt

–5 ½ tablespoons                 (2.75 ounces)             shortening, unsalted butter, or

margarine at room temperature

    (I use butter of course)

–1 large egg                         (1.65 ounces)                  slightly beaten

–1 teaspoon or either           (.17 or .1 ounces)          lemon extract or grated lemon zest

(I used the extract)

–3 ½ cups                                (16 ounces)                   Unbleached bread flour or all-purpose

           (I used all-purpose)

–2 teaspoons                            (.22 ounces)                  instant yeast

–1 1/8 to 1 ¼                           (9 to 10 ounces)             whole milk or buttermilk at room temperature

or 3 tablespoons                  (1 ounce)                                powdered milk (DMS)

or 1 cup                                  (8 ounces)                                    water

    (I use buttermilk)

–½ cup                                     (4 ounces)                         cinnamon sugar (6½ tablespoons granulated

sugar plus 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon)

 (I throw in raisins– soak in a little rum for a little kick)

Extras *White Fondant Glaze for Cinnamon Buns or caramel glaze for Sticky Buns

*Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts

*Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries

1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening. On medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and missing bowl and do it by hand)  (I just used my hand mixer)

2. Whip in the eggs and lemon extract until smooth.  Then add the flour, yeast, and milk.  Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball.  Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes. (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes  of which I did—knead), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky, but not sticky.  You may have to add a little four or water while mixing to achieve this texture.  The dough should pass the windowpane test (meaning when stretched it should be almost translucent) and register 77˚ to 81˚ F.  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment (or in layman terms let it rest and rise) at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

4. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter, shaping and rolling out the dough into a rectangle by using a rolling pin.  Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin.  Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 13 inches wide by 12 inches long for large buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don’t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft the plump.  Next sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll.  With the seam side down cut the dough into 8 to 12 even pieces each about 1-¾ inches thick for large buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 ¼ thick for for smaller buns

5.Proof (in layman’s term, let rise some more) at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly double in size.  You may also retard (aka stop the rising) the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 day pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof. (I just wouldn’t recommend this thought)

6 Preheat the oven to 350˚ F with the oven rack on the middle shelf for cinnamon buns

7.  Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes

8. Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes then steak white fondant glaze across the tops while the buns rare warm but not too hot.  Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack.  Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

White fondant Glaze

Shift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and between 6 tablespoons to ½ cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved.  Ad the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

*****If this all sounds too complicated, here is a link to the Joy of Baking’s recipe for Cinnamon buns, which includes a short video.  I did prefer however the Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe as compared to the Joy of Baking but it’s whatever makes you happy

http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/CinnamonRollsBuns.html

and I apologize for the odd format of the hard to read recipe as I couldn’t get my word doc to look right here in post form