Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread

To be honest, I didn't really know about "The Pioneer Woman" until about a couple months ago when she had a show premiering on the Food Network. Shocker!! Thank God for Food Network putting her on the Food Network or else I would have never known about her! Her blog is amazing and filled with food I want to try out. First up was Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

About a year ago, I saw tons of posts on Foodgawker with Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Apparently, it was part of the "Daring Bakers Challenge" and everyone made it. Growing up, my family didn't usually buy these types of breads. It was all about "Pan de Sal" which is a Filipino dinner roll. However, every time my family went to the supermarket, I would always see this "Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread" and I always wanted to try it! Luckily, "The Pioneer Woman" had a post about it!

Nows my chance to eat this bread and man is it good! I've been deprived my whole life! ha. I personally ate a couple of slices as is. That's how good it was. Just imagine if this was used for cinnamon toast or.....FRENCH TOAST!! Definitely going to be on the to-do list before this loaf of bread is gone! :D
BTW, check out "The Pioneer Woman" website for a step by step guide to this bread. I found it extremely useful!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Butter
2-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Eggs
1/3 cup Sugar
3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing

Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don't boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it's warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you're going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Add the raisins if desiredStarting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve, or make cinnamon toast or French toast with it.

-Aaron John

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

When you have a craving for food but don't exactly want to go out and spend money, you figure out ways to recreate a favorite food. That was the same exact story with me. Seriously, who doesn't crave pizza even now and then? That yummy, greasy, salty, crispy pizza! :d

When it comes to pizza, people have their preferences. I personally like substance to my pizza, particularly I like the pizza dough to be the right thickness. I don't want any of my pizzas to have a thin crisp crust like a cracker. If I wanted cheese and crackers, I would eat cheese and crackers. However, I want pizza! Having a crisp edge to my pizza yet still have a nice chew to it is what I think is best. Now, to luck out and find a fantastic recipe for a pizza crust on my first try, no more take out pizza for me!

This recipe comes from Ina Garten and she really can't do no wrong. This pizza dough is simple to make and tastes way better than take out pizza. Seriously, go and make this! Since this was all about making things on hand, I threw just enough bbq sauce to cover the dough, topped it with cheese and cooked chicken breast and baked. When baked, topped it with green onions for garnish and eat. No more cravings here. :)

Basic Pizza Dough
Recipe by Ina Garten

Pizza Dough:
1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 packages or 4 ½ tsps dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tbsps Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsps Kosher salt

Garlic Butter:
¼ cup Olive Oil
¼ cup Butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes. (If kneading by hand, knead for 30 min.)

Meanwhile, make the garlic butter. Place 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup butter, 4 cloves garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each parchment-lined sheet pan. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.) Brush the pizzas with the garlic butter, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Top with whatever toppings you like.

-Aaron John

Friday, October 7, 2011

Melt Gelato

Okay, so I have to confess, I haven't been blogging as often as I would like. I'm just so busy that I haven't had a pocket of time to make a post or cook up something good for that matter. I'll try my best and getting to it soon. Until then, another foodie place from San Diego.

After a day of shopping in the Otay Ranch shopping area in Chula Vista, we were def. in need for some food. Knowing me and my sweet tooth, I knew I wanted something cold and sweet because it got so hot! When my bro and his gf came into one of the stores with some gelato, I told my cousin we should get some too.

Melt Gelato was somewhat tucked away in this shopping area. Mind you, it's an outdoor mall so everything looked like clothing stores. If I didn't know any better, I would've went past this thinking it was just clothes. I mean, there was a store right next door that was called "Chocolate" and looking in, they definitely did not look like they sold any chocolates. ha. 

So we got inside and looked at what they had and their selection was tremendous. I couldn't even name off the different ones because they had so many! The most I've ever seen! They also had a variety of sandwiches and crepes to choose from. I being the ice cream lover had to get some gelato.

I decided to get the pistachio and the tiramisu gelato. The pistachio had a plethora of pistachios mixed in. I was amazed at how much there was inside. It wasn't too sweet either which was nice. Now, the tiramisu was another story. I think I have just found my new fav. gelato! It was decadent in flavor; It had chocolate and coffee notes with lady fingers mixed in! It was dense and rich but oh so good! Move over pistachio because tiramisu is in town! Woot!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

2015 Birch Rd
Chula Vista, CA 91915
Neighborhood: Chula Vista
(619) 397-0388

-Aaron John


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