Thursday, April 18, 2019

Easter Hot Cross Buns


Martin's once a year special!

Hot Cross buns
For the buns
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
75g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium eggs, beaten
120ml warm full-fat milk (I used 2%)
120ml cool water
150g sultanas
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the crosses
75g plain flour
75ml water
For the glaze
75g apricot jam
1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and scatter the sultanas and cinnamon on top. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour.
5. Fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place, fairly close together, on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or silicone paper.
6. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rest for 1 hour, or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425°F/220°C.
7. For the crosses, mix the flour and water to a paste. Using a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Warm the apricot jam with a splash of water, sieve and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze. Cool on a wire rack.

From my quilting friend, Claudine!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rockin Robin: Burrito Pie

SPANISH RICE: GUACAMOLE: TACO SEASONING: Burrito Pie Feel free to customize it with your favorite toppings. Ingredients: 2 lbs. ground beef 1 yellow onion, super fine dice 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 15 oz. cans of refried beans 1 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes, blended in blender 1 4 oz. can of green chiles 3/4 cup of store bought salsa 3 Tbsp. of Rockin Robins taco seasoning 4 - 5 cups of spanish rice 1 lb. mild cheddar cheese, grated 6 to 8 flour tortillas Optional Garnishes: sour cream guacamole sliced olives salsa chopped jalapeno Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make the spanish rice a head of time. In a large frying pan, brown the ground beef and onion until no longer pink. Break up the ground beef as it cooks. Drain excess grease. Add the garlic, fire roasted tomato, salsa, taco seasoning, and green chiles. Stir until well combined. Add 1/2 cup of water if the mixture seems dry and you need moisture to dissolve the taco seasoning. Add the refried beans and stir until combined. Simmer for 20 minutes. Use an oven proof 9 x 13 dish or larger. Place a thin layer of bean/beef mixture to cover the bottom of dish. Place a layer of flour tortillas on top of it. It's fine if they over lap a bit. Cut small pieces of tortilla to fill in any gaps. Next place a thin layer of spanish rice over the tortillas, followed by another layer of the bean/beef mixture. The add a layer of cheese on top of the bean/beef mixture. Now repeat the layers until you fill the dish. Always end with the bean/beef layer topped with a final layer of cheese. Place a bit more cheese on the final layer so it's nice and cheesy. Place in the oven at 350 degrees F., uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes or until everything is pipping hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with your favorite garnishes like sour cream and guacamole! Enjoy! Thanks for watching and sharing! Rockin Robin P.S. Please help me spread the word about my channel and website by sharing my content on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus and any other social media you like to use. It's as simple as copying and pasting this link:

I made a version of this with things I had in the house. Tried to make half the recipe - got probably 8 or 9 servings - so many I had to package to freeze them.  Hope they will eat before it gets freezer burn.

1.2 lbs. carne asada (left over from party) 2 cups onion, super fine dice (left over from party, not sure what type onion) 2 T cloves garlic, minced 1 15 oz. cans about 12 oz of refried beans (left over from previous meal this week) 1 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes, blended in blender (see below note on the rice)
1 4 oz. can of green chiles 3/4 cup of store bought salsa 3 Tbsp. 2/3 packet of Rockin Robins taco seasoning 4 - 5 2 cups of spanish rice (I made with pre-made Costo rice added 1 small can of tomato paste, about 1/3 of the taco seasoning and 1/2 c of trader joe's buschetta sauce - which I have been using in salads too! Great stuff.
1 drained can of black olives 1 lb. about 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated and about 1/2 cup left over jack cheese (from the party) 6 to 8 flour 4 corn tortillas each about 4 inches in diameter.

Served with sour cream , guacamole, salsa

My son especially said he liked it.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


From Julia:

adapted from “Cooking For Mr. Latte” by Amanda Hesser

Cooking notes: mise-en-place is very important here. Make sure everything is prepped in advance, as this pasta cools down quickly and thus must be eaten immediately upon preparation. It makes a great first course. I can also imagine it going very well with chicken.

1 pound of linguine
a chunk of Parmesan (to be grated)
2 Meyer lemons
3 large handfuls of arugula, cleaned and roughly chopped (Jen:I  use six handfuls)
1/2 cup crème fraîche*(Jen: Trader Joe’s inexpensive and no making, so fast)
freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in a large pot. When the water is boiling rapidly, add salt (generously) and then the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, grate a handful of parmesan into a large bowl and zest the two lemons into the bowl. Add the arugula to this bowl as well. Juice one of the lemons and reserve the juice**.

When the pasta is cooked (make sure it’s still al dente), quickly drain it and add it to the serving bowl that’s holding the cheese and lemon zest. Don’t worry about getting the pasta completely dry. It should be slicked with water, as that will help thin out the cheese and the thick crème fraîche to a tossable consistency.

Next, add the lemon juice and toss again. Last, add the crème fraîche and continue to toss well, until the sauce is well-distributed, the arugula is wilted, the cheese is melty. Grind some pepper into all this and toss once more. 

Serve immediately.

Author:   Commercial  *crème fraîche is expensive! If you want to make your own, at a slightly better price and with the satisfaction of do-it-yourself, here’s a recipe. I confess I’ve never tried it, but it does sound nice and simple. Jen: forget making, use Trader Joe’s, good price, too.  Julia:  I used to make my own Creme fraiche when in Amherst.  I used to make cold strawberry soup as served at the Deerfield Inn in Deerfield Mass, home of Deerfield Acadamy and a lovely colonial town with museums.  The Inn served this cold strawberry soup only when local strawberries were being harvested.  They were absolutely delicious, the soup was, and after I made it a few times, I added a bit of Grand Marnier and it was (in my opinion) even better.

The linguini is so easy (six ingredients if you include the pepper), and it is so delicious!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pi Day 2019: Blueberry Pie

Great recipe and directions here:

Our pie took twice as long to get to the "filling bubbling eagerly" stage.  Tasted great.
Looked "perfectly humble and homemade" just like the article said it would.  Well, more so....  my post here:

Easy, Homemade Blueberry Pie Recipe

  • PREP 
  • Blueberries shine in this pie. The pie is lightly sweetened with a touch of spice from allspice and cinnamon. To top the pie, we like to add a lattice crust. It is simpler than it may seem, we’ve provided instructions below for you. If you prefer, you can also top the pie with a full sheet of pastry, just be sure to cut a few slits to allow steam to escape before baking.

The pie is finished baking when you see the juices in the filling bubbling eagerly. If you remove the pie before the filling bubbles, the filling will be too thin and will run out of the pie onto your plate once sliced. Also, we like to use our Flaky Pie Crust recipe for this. Use ours, your favorite recipe or store-bought pie crust.
One 9-inch pie, 8 slices


Pie dough for top and bottom 9-inch pie, chilled (see our Flaky Pie Crust Recipe)
2/3 cup to 3/4 cup (130 to 150 grams) granulated sugar, adjusted according to sweetness of berries
1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds (900 grams) fresh blueberries (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small squares
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for garnish


  • Roll out half of the pie dough to fit an 8- or 9-inch pie dish. To prevent the dough from sticking and to ensure uniform thickness, roll from the center of the dough outwards and keep lifting up and turning the dough a quarter turn as you roll. Check for the correct size by inverting the pie dish over the dough. The dough should be about 2 inches larger than the dish.
    Being careful not to stretch the dough, fit into pie dish then trim dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge of the dish. Refrigerate while you make the pie filling.
    • Stir sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add blueberries and gently toss to combine. Transfer blueberry filling to prepared pie crust. Refrigerate while you prepare the lattice crust.Blueberry-Pie-Recipe-Step-1
      • Roll out second half of dough to a similar size as before. Cut into 3/4-inch strips. Lay five strips over filled pie, parallel and equally spaced from one another. Carefully fold back the second and fourth strips then lay another strip of dough perpendicular to them. Unfold second and fourth strips over new strip.
        Fold back the first, third and fifth strips then lay another strip of dough perpendicular to them. Unfold the first, third and fifth strips over the new strip. Repeat until pie has been covered with a lattice crust. (Watch our video for how to make a lattice crust).
        Trim dough strips to 3/4-inch of the edge of dish. Fold edges of strips and bottom dough underneath itself, creating a thicker border that rests on the lip of the dish. Crimp edges. Dot butter over the open areas of the lattice.
        Make egg wash by whisking egg yolk and cream together then brush over pie dough. Sprinkle tablespoon of coarse sugar over crust. Refrigerate pie 20 minutes or freeze for 5 minutes before baking.Blueberry-Pie-Step-3
        • TO FINISH
        • Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven then place a baking sheet on rack. (The baking sheet will catch any drips from the pie while baking).
          Bake chilled pie on hot baking sheet for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees F then continue to bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and juices in the filling are bubbling eagerly. (If, while baking, the crust begins to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil and continue to bake until done).
          Cool 2 to 3 hours before cutting to allow filling to set.

Louise's Crockpot Recipe: Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

I got this recipe and a selection of other ones too, from an online quilting friend, Louise, a few years ago.  I'm just now finally pulling out the slow cooker to give them a try!  Before this I had only used the slow cooker to keep previously cooked food warm for gatherings.

This was totally a success, and will be something we make again.

Moroccan Chicken and Lentils

4 carrots, washed and sliced into coins
1.5 cup dry lentils
1 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (frozen)
2T minced garlic
.75 tsp salt
.75 tsp ground turmeric
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 tsp ground red pepper
29 oz fat-free chicken broth or mix of broth and plain water

Add carrots, uncooked lentils, frozen chicken, garlic, salt, the spices, and then the chicken broth, in a slow cooker and cook for 5 hours on high (or 1 on high and 7 on low).  Serve over rice.

Louise’s Crockpot Recipe

It turned out my frozen chicken was a package of 2 pounds, so I increased several things to even things out...

7 carrots, washed and sliced into coins

2 cup dry lentils
2 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (frozen)
2T minced garlic (thought I had more but had to make due with 2 cloves)
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground red pepper
36 oz fat-free chicken broth or mix of broth and plain water

I think it will end up being 10 servings.

calories per serving
Matched Ingredients
 9 Ingredients
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