Crusty, Chewy Sourdough Rolls

We planned to have some leftover Crab Imperial for dinner and I decided to make dinner rolls. I used my sourdough starter to give the rolls a flavorful start and poured a pan of water in the oven to give them a perfectly crusty exterior.

This isn’t a fussy recipe although it does take some time. As my starter has the consistency of pancake batter, the first step only took about 30 minutes but waiting longer doesn’t hurt, just adds a depth of flavor.

If you don’t gobble them all down in a single sitting, the rolls can be frozen once they have cooled completely. Defrost in the microwave on the DEFROST setting for about a minute.

Final result is a nice chew and light tang to the rolls. Delicious accompaniment to dinner or lovely on their own with butter or a little olive oil.

Sourdough French Rolls

1 cup unfed sourdough starter
2 ½ cups to 3 cups bread flour
1 cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon yeast

Combine the sourdough starter, flour, water and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine. The mixture should be a shaggy, sticky dough. Cover and allow to rest for about 45 minutes to an hour to hydrate the flour.

Transfer dough to a bread machine and add the salt and yeast. Set it on dough cycle and hit start. After the bread machine has been running for about ten minutes, check the consistency of the dough. It will be a little sticky, but should clear the sides of the bowl. If it seems too wet, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. Let the machine complete the cycle and leave it in the machine for 30 additional minutes.

Dust a baking sheet lightly with cornmeal. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled in size, place it onto the counter or a cutting board.  Divide the dough into 9 equal sized pieces.

Shape the pieces into rolls by pinching the bottoms and rolling on the counter to smooth out. Place on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Rub the tops with flour and then make a slash into the tops with sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Bring the oven to 450 degrees F. Place an empty, rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack to get hot while the oven preheats.

When the oven has come to temperature, pour 1 cup of water on the hot baking sheet to create steam (the pan may buckle – this is okay). Place the baking sheet with the rolls on center rack and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown and they sound hollow when thumped.

Cool rolls on wire rack.

 

Grilled Charbroiled Shrimp

Mmmm, grilled shrimp.

I was able to grab a bottle of Drago’s Butter Garlic Charbroiling Sauce at my local grocery store but, if you can’t get it at yours, you can find copy-cat recipes for the sauce on the internet (NOLA Cuisine has a good one). If you’ve never been to the New Orleans area restaurant, their charbroiled oysters are legendary.

Frankly, this recipe was born from my laziness – I didn’t want to have to skewer 2 lbs of shrimp but I still wanted the smokey flavor of the grill. Cast iron to the rescue! Use a large skillet as you want the shrimp in as close to a single layer as possible so you don’t overcook them.

The end result is basically a grilled version of scampi. If you have a lemon, cut it in half and place it on the grates while the shrimp is cooking. Squeeze it over the final dish for a hit of citrus.

Quick and delicious! The use of fire adds a complex flavor and the bottled sauce is a nice shortcut to a delightful dish.

Grilled Charbroiled Shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ bottle of Drago’s Butter Garlic Charbroiling Sauce or make one recipe of the sauce

Set up your charcoal fire for direct heat. When the coals are nice and ashy, place a large cast iron grill on the grate. Add oil to skillet and sear the shrimp on one side until golden brown, 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Close the lid during the cooking so the shrimp picks up a lovely smokey flavor.

Mix in the butter garlic sauce and cook until aromatic, stirring constantly. This will take about 2 minutes.

Bring the skillet inside and transfer shrimp and sauce to a serving plate. Serve with plenty of crusty bread for dunking.

Oaty, Chocolately, Peanut Buttery Bars

I wanted to munch on something with chocolate and peanut butter but Dad is trying to eat healthy so I looked for a recipe that could qualify. These no-bake oat bars were just the ticket! Okay, so maybe they aren’t actually good for you on any measurable scale but they sure are rich and tasty.

You want to use quick cooking oats or the old fashioned that only need 5 minutes. This is not the recipe to try out steel cut or instant!

These are yummy with lots of chocolate – a great recipe with which to start the new year.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Oat Bars

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
3 cups oats
1 cup bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips

Butter an 8×8 or 9×9 square baking pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar. Add oats. As these are no-bake bars, you need to soften the oats. Stir for the amount of time recommended on the container (1 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

Place two cups of the oat butter mixture into the prepared pan and use a piece of wax paper or a spatula to press down.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter. Once melted, pour over oat layer and smooth out. By spoonfuls place the remaining oats on top. Place the saucepan back on the stove and melt remaining chocolate chips. Drizzle the chocolate over the top.

Place pan in refrigerator to solidify for at least 4 hours. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.

Bars are best when brought back to room temperature before eating.