Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Overnight Soft Herb Rolls

This is one of the best dinner rolls I've ever tasted.  They are a heavy roll, hearty, tasty, and unique.  The recipe is from the November 2008 issue of Sunset Magazine.  The rolls are the brainchild of Chef Bradley Ogden, who created them at the Lark Creek Inn, Larkspur, California, in 1995. You can use fresh herbs or dried, but if using dried, use slightly less, since the flavor will be stronger.  The rolls are much better with fresh herbs, though.

The recipe calls for 15 minutes of kneading, and I followed the recipe religiously the first time I made them, kneading for 15 interminable minutes.  But the second time (tonight), I decided to see what would happen if I only kneaded for 5 minutes.  Also, this time, I refrigerated them.  I'll bake them tomorrow morning, and will let you know the results, but I expect the kneading (or lack thereof) won't make a noticeable difference.  Either way, I'll update  this post with the results after I bake them tomorrow.  (UPDATE:  Surprisingly, the rolls raised a little in the fridge overnight.  After taking them out of the fridge, I let them rise on the kitchen counter for an hour. Then I brushed them with egg and sprinkled them with coarse sea salt and popped them in the oven. They came out just fine.  The shortened kneading time doesn't seem to have made a difference.  I think you could also use a bread machine for the kneading.)

Overnight Soft Herb Rolls

1 pkg active dry yeast (about 1 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp each flat-leaf parsley, fresh dill, chives, & rosemary
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 large egg
1 c milk or half-and-half
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 c all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp lightly beaten egg
About 1 Tbsp coarse salt

1.  In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 c. cool (70 degrees) water.  Let stand until dissolved, 5 minutes.  Stir in sugar, table salt, herbs, butter, 1 whole egg, and milk.  Add 3 1/4 c. flour and stir to moisten.

2.  Knead dough on a lightly floured board until elastic and not sticky, 15 minutes.  Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Shape into 12 equal balls.  Place in a well-buttered 9x13" pan.

3.  Let dough rise in warm place until doubled, 45-60 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.  Brush rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake until deep golden, 25-30 minutes.

Make ahead:  Prepare through step 2.  Immediately wrap airtight (do not let rise) and chill up to 1 day.  Proceed with step 3.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who Loves Ya, Baby!

I was playing around with my camera a couple of days ago, taking pictures of myself to fool around with in Photoshop.  It's hard to take a picture of yourself.  I kept getting my eyes and the top of my head, or my chin and chest.  I was being silly and making faces.  These are two of my favorites.  They make me laugh every time I look at them.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Newsletter!

I'm working on my Christmas newsletter.  Yes, I know.  Christmas is done, but my newsletter isn't.  You see, I write BIG newsletters.  As in huge.  As in 18 pages.  My annual letter has been 18 pages for years, and for some peculiar reason, people actually read the thing.  Not only that, I get new people every year begging to be on my mailing list.  Go figure. 

But I do try to make it appealing to the eye, and chock full of amusing stories.  That's my life--one big amusing thing after another.  I'm serious about that.  My life is funny, and funny things happen to me.  So I like to share.  But these newsletters take months to produce.  I got a bit behind recently, and never mailed out a 2007 one.  So I decided to combine it with 2008.  I worked on it some more, and soon Christmas 2008 had come and gone.  Sooooo . . .

I'm putting the finishing touches on my gargantuan 2007/08/09 Christmas newsletter.  I hope to have it out by Valentine's Day.  *g*  In the meantime, I have to cut many, many pages, because I'm over my self-imposed 18-page limit by 12 pages.  Yes, it's 30 pages long.  I've managed to cut 5 pages tonight and gotten it down to 25 pages, but I'm still cutting.  So many good stories on the cutting room floor!  But if I go over 18 pages, the postage goes up.  If you're on my mailing list, you will eventually get the Christmas newsletter. 

Maybe by Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mom! The Cat Wants In--Again!

A week or so ago I posted a picture of Asterisk, my Boxer, standing at the slider, with my cat, Christopher the Assassin, on the other side of the slider.  I hung a bell on the handle of the slider, and trained Asterisk to ring the bell when she wanted to go outside.  Asterisk has taken it a step farther, and trained herself to ring the bell when she sees the cat at the door wanting in.  Here's another picture of her, doing just that.  I snapped the picture just after she rang the bell.