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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Croatian Cinnamon Walnut Swirl Breakfast Bread

Bread or cake? Who knows. I got this recipe from Saveur and LOVE it. We often had cinnamon bread for breakfast when we were growing up and there's nothing like cinnamon toast soaked with butter. This bread is almost like a pastry and the nuts in the swirl give it a little extra something. It's a fairly hassle-free bread - two rises, each for an hour...

For the dough:
1 1/4-oz. package of active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk, heated to 115 degrees
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour

For the filling:
1 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 egg whites

1. Combine yeast, 1 tbsp sugar, and half the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Let sit until foamy, about 10 mins. Add the remaining sugar, milk, salt, butter and egg. Blend, then while still blending, add flour and beat until smooth. Cover with plastic and put in a warm place for an hour and doubled in size.

2. Puree the walnuts, sugar, butter, milk, and cinnamon in a food processor until smooth. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into walnut paste.

3. Grease a 9x5x2.75" loaf pan with butter. On a floured surface, roll dough into 10x4" long oval, about 1/16" thick. It won't be a firm dough - at all. Spread the walnut mixture over the dough, leaving about 1/4" of dough around borders. Starting at the narrow end, roll dough tightly. Trim ends and place in loaf pan. Set in a warm place until doubled in size - 1 hr.

4. Heat oven to 350 and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about an hour.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

For a girl who never ate a bean until college, I sure do love me some beans. Baked, sauteed, pureed...whatever. I had roasted chickpeas at a restaurant a few years ago, they were served at the table instead of bread and I loved them. I only recently made my own and they're really easy. And a really yummy, healthy snack.

2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450.

2. Pour the drained chickpeas onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels and pat dry. Let them sit for another 15 mins or so - make sure they're dry.

3. Transfer the chickpeas to a bowl and mix with olive oil and your seasonings.

4. Pour the chickpeas back onto the baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes or so that they're evenly roasted. Make sure they're crunchy before they come out...err on the long side, you don't want them to be mushy or gummy.

Crispy Spiced Chicken Thighs with Hummus and Pine Nut Raisin Relish

Chicken thighs get a bad name. I guess you either like dark meat or you don't, but I happen to love thighs and the extra fat doesn't bother me at all :) This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine and is a flavorful way to dress up another night of chicken. Don't forgo the bones or the skin - you need both to make this crispy and juicy. (You can skip #2 and buy hummus already made...)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1.5 tsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper
1 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
2.5 tbsp lemon juice
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water 30 mins, then drained
1/4 pine nuts, toasted
Small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Splash of white wine vinegar
1/2 plain Greek yogurt

1. Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken and coat, refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice and salt and pepper. Process until smooth and add a little water if it's too thick.

3. Preheat the oven to 450. Heat a cast iron skillet. Remove the chicken from the marinade and scrape off any solids. Add chicken to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until skin is browned and crispy. Turn the chicken over and put the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

4. In a bowl, combine the onion, raisins, pine nuts, cilantro, vinegar, and the rest of the lemon juice.

5. Heat up the hummus so that it's warm - you can microwave it for 30 seconds or so. Place a mound of hummus on the plate, top with a dollop of yogurt, the chicken and the relish.