Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mr. Hawthorne Makes Oyster Stew.

It's that kind of weather.

So it's oyster stew for today.

We're working on our second bushel of oysters for this season.
It's a tough job.  I know.  But somebody has to do it.

I've made any number of topped oyster preparations.


Oysters Hawthorne.
Sautéed spinach and shallots
with panko and Parmesan
 and unsalted butter.
Sometimes I drop a fennel seed or two
in there for a little surprise.

Oysters Paprika.
Parmesan, paprika, sugar, melted buttah.

Oysters Olé.
Crumbled cornbread, 
homemade salsa, Monterey Jack cheese.

So many ways.
So little time.

Mr. Hawthorne finally stepped in and made Oyster Stew.

Mr. Oyster's Hawthorne Stew
In a medium pan, melt 1 TB unsalted butter until it's almost browned so it's nutty-flavored.
Add in a finely chopped carrot and cook for a minute or so, moving it around in the pan.
Add in finely chopped celery, onion, and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring for a few minutes until nice and fragrant.  Pour in a quart of skim milk, then a cup of cream.  Heat through. When concoction is hot, drop in about 3 dozen shucked oysters with their likker and just heat through.  Never bring to a boil.  Turn off heat when you see the first wisp of steam.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Ladle into bowl and at this point Rosie likes to swirl in a bit of dry sherry and a pinch of cayenne flakes.  Serve with oyster crackers.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rosie Makes Sticky Buns.

 This is the way to start out your morning -
with a delicious sticky bun, a cup of coffee, and a view.

Doesn't get much better than this.

I make these on a lazy Saturday afternoon so I can enjoy them on a leisurely Sunday morning.

Now, let's get down to business.  The pecan sticky buns start out with a basic sweet dough, then a caramel glaze that goes on the bottom of the baking pan (which becomes the top of the buns), a cinnamon and sugar filling that gets rolled up in the dough, and finally a pecan caramel mixture that gets poured on top.

 Pecan Sticky Buns

For the dough:
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1/4 sugar

1 tsp kosher salt
1 package yeast
4 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour plus more for dusting the work surface (I use King Arthur.)
6 TB unsalted butter, melted (I prefer Plugrá butter.  And the only place on the Outer Banks I can find Plugrá  is at Fresh Market.)

In a stand mixer:
Whisk eggs.  Whisk in buttermilk, then sugar, salt, and yeast to combine.  Add in 2 cups of flour and the butter, stirring slowly until evenly combined.  Add all but 1/4 cup of flour and knead with the dough hook at low speed for about 5 minutes.  The dough should be soft and pliable.  If it's wet and sticky, add more flour.  Knead another 5 minutes.  The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for a minute or so to ensure the dough is uniform.  If it sticks to the work surface, add flour a tablespoon at a time.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled.  About 2 hours.

Before dough.

After dough.

For the caramel glaze:
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
6 TB unsalted butter
3 TB light corn syrup 
2 TB heavy cream
pinch kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, until butter and sugar melt and mixture is thoroughly combined.  Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread evenly.

For the cinnamon-sugar filling:
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch kosher salt
1 TB unsalted butter, melted

For the filling, combine all ingredients.

Now, for the assembly.
 To assemble:
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Shape and roll it into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle. 
 Brush the surface with 1/4 cup melted butter.

Sprinkle the filling mixture over the buttered rectangle.

Pat the cinnamon mixture into the dough.

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder.
Pinch the seam to seal and place seam side down.
Gently stretch the cylinder to form an 18-inch length with even thickness.

Slice into fourths.

Slice each quarter into thirds.

Place buns into prepared baking dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise - about 2 hours.

Like this.

Place baking dish in a 350° oven and bake buns about 25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 180°.

Let cool slightly on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rimmed platter.

While cooling, prepare the pecan topping.
For the pecan topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 TB light corn syrup
3 TB unsalted butter
pinch kosher salt
3/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
1 tsp vanilla

Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to thoroughly combine.  Remove from heat and stir in toasted pecans and vanilla, evenly coating the nuts.  Ladle a spoonful of the topping over each sticky bun.  

Let cool in pan on wire racks about 10 minutes while you prepare the topping.
Invert onto rimmed platter.

Ooooh.   Look at that syrupy goodness.

Spoon the nutty caramel topping over each bun.

And serve!

Bon appétit, indeed!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Welcome To The Mind Of Rosie. And Coconut Cream Pie.


The other day, Rosie was trolling on Facebook, chatting up her imaginary friends, and one friend... let's call her... "Debbie," asked Rosie, "Rosie, do you have great recipe for a delicious coconut cream pie you would share?"

Well, no I didn't.  But now I do.

As you know, Rosie loves a challenge.
So she had to come up with a coconut cream pie recipe.

 A good pie starts with a good crust, and I got that in spades.
 Pie Crust
1/2 pack graham crackers (Use Nabisco, not Food Lion.  There is a difference.  Rosie Note:  There's a BIG difference in chocolate chips, too.  Use Nestle's!  Not Food Lion.)
1 dozen ginger snaps  (I use Murray's.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
Process well and press into 9" deep dish pie pan.
I use plastic wrap and a mini rolling pin to get an even crust.

Lightly toast 2 cups coconut flakes. 

For the pie:
 I'm calling this my "Coconut Pudding Pie" because of the consistency.
And after some Monday morning quarterbacking, I think I know what should have been added to give the pie just a bit more body.  Not that anything is wrong with this pie.  It's delicious.  But some people may want something a little sturdier.  Not to worry.  Rosie's got your back.

Rosie's Coconut Pudding Pie
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat over low heat, stirring, until boiling.

4 egg yolks, beaten

Slowly drizzle about 2 cups of the hot cream mixture into the beaten yolks, whisking constantly.
This is called "tempering" the yolks.  You want to slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs without scrambling them.  Pour yolk mixture back into cream mixture and stir in:

1/3 cup homemade vanilla pudding mix

Rosie Note:  I happened to have a zip-lock bag of homemade pudding mix (recipe below*) in my fridge and thought this would be an ideal time to use it. 

Another Rosie Note:  Now here's where my Monday morning quarterbacking comes in:  In addition to this homemade custard mix, I would whisk in:

1/3 cup cornstarch

I think the additional cornstarch would give the pie the extra thickening quality and tighter consistency which some might desire.

Bring mixture to simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture starts to thicken.  Be patient and keep whisking.  Maybe 10 or so minutes.  Until pudding starts to boil.  Whisk faster for another minute.

Remove from heat.

Stir in:
1 TB vanilla
2 TB unsalted butter 
1 cup toasted coconut

Pour into prepared crust.  Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent a film forming on the pudding.  Refrigerate overnight.

Sprinkle remaining toasted coconut over top.

*Rosie's Homemade Vanilla Pudding Mix
 Vanilla pudding mix:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
2 whole vanilla beans 

Whisk together the sugar, dry milk powder, cornstarch, and salt.
Split open vanilla beans and scrape seeds into sugar mixture, whisking to combine evenly.  
Cut pods into pieces, place in airtight container, and add sugar mixture.  Mix well to combine.
Store in fridge.

Now, if you want to know why I keep homemade vanilla pudding mix in my fridge, wonder no more.
Rosie makes a kick-ass Rum Cake, which uses said pudding mix.

And an even kicker-ass Rummy Fruity Bundt Cake


Now, for the step-by-steps.
Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks.
You don't want to cook the eggs.  Just heat 'em up.
 Return the yolk mixture to the pan and whisk in the vanilla pudding mixture and the cornstarch.

 Cook to thicken, whisking constantly.
Stir in some toasted coconuts.

 Pour hot mixture into prepared crust.

 Cover and refrigerate.
 Try and wait 24 hours for it to set.
Patience, Little One.  Patience.
 And here's your reward!

Thanks to "Debbie" for the inspiration!

And if anybody else has any requests, please meet me on Facebook or e-me at  Thanks!