Spicy Brussels Sprouts

Spicy Brussels Sprouts

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a recent convert to Brussels sprouts. When you think of this vegetable most often you think of dull, tasteless and boring, but they really don’t have to be! This version is a spicy twist that makes a fabulous side dish, or even a really good meatless main course paired with a salad. They are easy, tender, spicy, healthy and delicious. What’s not to like?

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of Brussels sprouts
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes

Cut the stem end off of the Brussels sprouts and cut them into slices. Place in a large glass bowl:

Spicy Brussels Sprouts: Sprouts

Mince garlic and add to the Brussels sprouts:

Spicy Brussels Sprouts: Sprouts and Garlic

Next add coarse sea salt (I like the Celtic variety), freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes:

Spicy Brussels Sprouts: Salt and Peppers

How much you add is according to taste. I like things spicy so I add a lot of both varieties of pepper. If you’re not a spicy person use less.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat:

Spicy Brussels Sprouts: Tossed and Ready to Cook

Preheat pan over medium to high heat. You want your pan screeching hot! Add a thin layer of olive oil and cook, stirring often until Brussels sprouts are tender and slightly browned in places:

Spicy Brussels Sprouts

Serve immediately.

Notes: No notes for this one.

Homemade Donuts

Homemade Donuts: With Chocolate and Sprinkles

When my parents were here over the holidays we happened to be over in Columbia, MD and my sole thought was “I’m going to get some Kripsy Kreme donuts!” When we arrived however it was only to find that the Krispy Kreme store there had closed. Talk about bummer! And of course once you have something on the brain you can’t get rid of that thought for the most part, so I’ve had donuts on the brain ever since.

I’ve always been curious about making my own donuts, but again it was one of those things that seemed daunting to me. I decided to do a little research and discovered that yes, they can be a bit time consuming, but they aren’t that hard to make and believe me the work is worth the end result! It’s not something you will be making every day for obvious reasons, but so worth the effort when you want a little treat!

Another thing that you will see in this recipe that you won’t see often on Dianne’s Dishes is the use of vegetable shortening. I want to try making them with butter in the future, but the overwhelming majority of donut recipes I came across used shortening, or lard, and really I wasn’t going there! ;oP So on my first round I decided that shortening was the way to go.

Homemade Donuts

These donuts turned out just perfect! They were airy and satisfying and the glaze was just fabulous and so simple! Even dipped in chocolate and topped with sprinkles you have the perfect all around donut. You can’t go wrong with that!

So it’s time to make the donuts! (Yes I went there!) ;oP

What You’ll Need for the Donuts:
1/4 cup of warm water
3 teaspoons of yeast
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1/4 cup of half and half
1 egg
1/4 cup of shortening (Note: Look for a trans-fat free version)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, divided
Oil for frying

In a large glass bowl mix water, yeast and sugar and let sit for a few minutes until it starts bubbling:

Homemade Donuts: Bubbling Yeast

Next add half and half, egg, shortening, sea salt and 1 cup of your flour:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Mix

Mix with a mixer until well mixed and fluffy:

Homemade Donuts: Ready for More Flour

Slowly add flour until dough forms:

Homemade Donuts: Dough

You may need all of the remaining flour, or just some. When the dough starts forming and isn’t sticky you know you’re good.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a bowl that has been buttered:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Rise

Let dough rise for an hour and then punch down and roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Cut

Now it’s time to cut your donuts! They have handy dandy cutters, but I don’t actually have one so I used a glass and the top of a water bottle.

First cut your big circle:

Homemade Donuts: Cut

Next cut your hole:

Homemade Donuts: Holes Cut

You can leave the donuts hole to rise or incorporate them back into the dough to cut more donuts. The choice is yours.

Place the dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Homemade Donuts: Ready to Rise

Let rise for an hour or until they are slightly risen:

Homemade Donuts: Risen

When the donuts are almost risen prepare your glaze and/or chocolate for dipping. (See below)

Homemade Donuts: Glaze

What You’ll Need for the Glaze:
1 cup of powdered sugar
4-6 tablespoons of cold water

In a large bowl mix sugar with enough sugar to make a slightly thick glaze. You want it to drip, but not quickly. You want a consistency close to honey, but not quite as slow.

Set aside until donuts are fried.

Homemade Donuts: Chocolate

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Gaze:
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of half and half

Place ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave on 20 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir well between each interval.

Set aside until donuts are fried.

Homemade Donuts: Fried

Frying the Donuts:

Preheat oil to 375 F. You want a clear oil…Vegetable, safflower, light live oil, peanut oil. etc.

Once the oil is heat drop donuts down into the oil one at a time. Fry on each side until browned (1-2 minutes per side) and then place on a baking pan that has been lined with paper towels to drain:

Homemade Donuts: Fried

Repeat process until you are done with your donuts and then it’s time to glaze!

Place fried donut face down into the glaze:

Homemade Donuts: Dipped in Glaze

Next flip the other side into the glaze:

Homemade Donuts:Glazing

Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper:

Homemade Donuts: Glazed

At this point you’re ready to eat if you want to! Or you can go on and add a little chocolate, because well, you can’t go wrong with a little chocolate!

Take your glazed donut and place it face down in the chocolate glaze:

Homemade Donuts:Dipping in Chocolate

Unlike the glaze you are only going to do one side in chocolate. Return the donut to the baking sheet:

Homemade Donuts: Dipped in Chocolate

Again at this point you’re ready to eat, or you can add a few sprinkles!

So dig in!

Homemade Donuts: The Inside

And pretty soon you’ll be down to your last delectable bite!

Homemade Donuts: A Bite

Verdict? I wish Jamison could have had one of these! Alexis and I love them!

Makes 4-6 donuts depending on the size you cut.

Notes: I think it would be fun to play around with a citrus glaze instead of using water with the powdered sugar. Also you can use any type of chocolate chip that you want. I used milk chocolate this go around because it was all I had on hand.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies

First up, before we start talking about cookies I wanted to let you know that the fabulous Melissa, who has guest blogged for me before, has started her own blog and I’m so excited for her! So be sure and stop by and say hello!

Now let’s talk some cookies!

This year for Christmas I put together gift baskets for the adults in the family. Basically I baked a lot of stuff, threw in some candy, gave them each a gift card to a favorite restaurant and topped it with a bow. (Well not literally a bow, but you know what I mean.) We really don’t need anything, so why not give them something they can enjoy and not have to keep up with! I baked pecan pie bars, gingerbread cookies, Hello Dollies and lemon sugar cookies. I then added in some coffee, candy and the gift card and it made a nice little bundle.

When I was living in Knoxville back in the day I always loved the lemon cookies from Ham and Goodys. Sadly it has been years since I’ve had one, and in fact the last time I was in Tennessee I stopped in only to find out that they were sold out that day! I remember them being lemony and just perfect and for years I’ve thought I’d try to make something similar. It took me a while, but at Christmas I finally got around to just that!

In all honesty I have no idea if these cookies are even similar to the ones I remember so fondly from Ham and Goodys. It’s literally been over a decade since I’ve had one of those cookies (How is that possible?), but I can tell you that they are some really fabulous lemon cookies! I’ll definitely be making them again.

What You’ll Need:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
The juice of one lemon
The zest of one lemon
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Cream together butter, eggs, sugar and sea salt until creamy. Add lemon juice and zest and mix until incorporated. Slowly add flour and mix until dough forms.

Shape dough into a ball and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place dough on a floured surface:

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Chilled Dough

Cut dough into quarters:

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Dough Cut Into Quarters

Roll each quarter out flat:

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Dough Ready to Cut

Cut into desired shapes and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly golden.

Cool and store in an airtight container.

Oh and I have it on good authority that Santa LOVES these cookies! ;oP

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Ready for Santa

Notes: The Ham and Goodys cookies are glazed. I had intended to glaze these with a lemon topping as well and then sprinkle them with a little silvery sanding sugar, but I ran out of time. Next time I think I’ll combine a cup of powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to make a nice icing and see how that turns out. Also you could do this with limes or key limes in place of the lemon for a lime cookie.

Whole Grain Bread

Whole Grain Bread

I love to make bread and for a while now I’ve been thinking about coming up with a bread recipe for Alexis and I so that I could stop buying bread at the store and dealing with all those plastic bags and things that bread is inevitably packed in. I already make Jamison’s gluten free bread each week, so why not make one Lex and I can enjoy too?

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t see the point. They are easily made and easily broken, but I see nothing wrong with making a few goals. Goals are much easier to focus on and aren’t as daunting to me. So last week I set out with the goal to come up with a really good whole grain bread that both Alexis and I could enjoy and this is what resulted. It took two tries, but on the second it really came together!

So goodbye store bought bread! This version is delicious and easy. You can’t get better than that!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 cup of oats, processed until smooth
1/3 cup of flax seed meal
1/3 cup of vital wheat gluten (Note: You really need to add wheat gluten if you’re making a whole grain bread. It really makes a BIG difference!)
1 2/3 cups of white whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups of whole wheat flour
2/3 cup of corn flour (Note: Corn flour is NOT corn starch.)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of honey
1 cup of orange juice (Note: You can use freshly squeezed or out of the carton.)

Mix yeast and water together and let sit for 5 minutes or so or until foamy:

Whole Grain Bread: Yeast

While yeast is proofing place oats in a food processor and process until relatively flour like in consistency:

Whole Grain Bread: Oats

Next mix processed oats, flax seed meal, gluten, flours and sea salt in a large glass bowl until completely incorporated. Add water/yeast, olive oil, honey and orange juice and stir until dough forms.

Now here’s where I do things a little differently…You ready?

Instead of putting the dough on a floured surface and kneading, I just sprinkle the dough with white whole wheat flour and knead it right in the bowl! Works perfectly and saves you the steps of having to clean the counter after you’re finished.

Knead for 1-2 minutes until dough is elastic. (Note: That means when you poke it it bounces back.) Place dough in a bread pan that has been brushed with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray:

Whole Grain Bread: Ready to Rise

Place in a warm place (I like to put it in the oven with the light on) and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until you can see a noticeable rise:

Whole Grain Bread: Risen

Remember that with whole grain breads the rise is very subtle. It’s not going to double in size or anything of that nature while in the rising period, but you will be able to see a slight enlargement.

Once the dough is risen turn oven on to 400 F with the loaf in the oven. Close the door and when the oven is preheated THEN start counting time. (In other words you’re going to preheat your oven WITH the loaf inside. The loaf will continue to rise a bit more as the oven preheats.)

When the oven is preheated you will bake from 35-45 minutes until loaf sounds hollow and is browned all over:

Whole Grain Bread

You might have to cover the loaf with foil in the last 10 minutes or so if it gets really brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Store in an airtight container once completely cooled.

Notes: No notes on this one.

Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies

When I was growing up these cookies were often made around the holiday season. My dad loves them. In all honesty I don’t care for them, but I usually make them for him as part of his Christmas gift and this year was no different. We always called them holiday cookies, but they sort of remind me of what fruit cake might be in cookie form. Not my cup of tea, but I thought I’d share them with you none the less. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of natural brown sugar
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup of buttermilk
3 1/2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of chopped nuts (Note: I like walnuts, but pecans work well too.)
1 cup of red candied cherries, cut in half
1 cup of green candied cherries, cut in half
1 cup of candied fruit, chopped
1 cup of dried dates, chopped

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugars, salt, soda and eggs until smooth. Add buttermilk and stir to mix. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Stir in fruit and mix until fruit is throughout the dough. Chill dough for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

Holiday Cookies: Dough

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Scoop chilled dough out by rounded tablespoon on to a baking pan that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper:

Holiday Cookies: Scooped

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are golden brown:

Holiday Cookies: Baked

Cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies.

Notes: The original recipe called for only candied cherries and dates, but I like to mix it up a bit.

Easy Sour Dough Bread

Easy Sour Dough Bread: The Inside

Making your own bread is really easy, not to mention a lot of fun! Sour dough is sometimes conceived as difficult, but it really isn’t. You make a “starter” and let it do it’s thing. The longer you let it sit the more “sour” it becomes. You can even make a loaf the day you begin the “starter” as I did with this loaf. Or you can store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks at a time. As long as you feed it (i.e. add flour from time to time) it can go on indefinitely in the fridge.

This version is a quick start. You whip up the “starter” in the morning and by the afternoon you’re making dough. Or if you don’t want to make it that day you can as I mentioned above store it in the fridge in a glass jar and feed it right before making the bread. The directions below are for making the day the “starter” begins, but trust me it’s a good loaf of bread either way!

Easy Sour Dough Bread: "Starter"

What You’ll Need for the “Starter”:
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour

In a large glass jar mix together water, sugar, yeast and flour and stir to mix. (Note: Use wooden utensils and avoid letting metal or plastic touch the “starter”) Let sit for at least 1 hour to overnight to proof.

As you can see above my “starter” got a little happy and crawled right out of the jar. That doesn’t usually happen, but sometimes yeast just has a mind of its own.

What You’ll Need to Make the Bread:
1 “starter”, proofed
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of warm water
2-3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

In a large bowl add starter, salt and water. Stir to mix. Slowly add flour until dough ball forms. (Note: You made need some, all or possibly even just a bit more flour. It all depends on humidity and such. You want dough you can handle without sticking to your hands.)

Once dough is formed turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until dough is elastic. Shape into a ball, place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper and score the top of the loaf:

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Ready to Rise

Let rise for 30 minutes to an hour or until the loaf has risen:

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Risen

Set oven to 400 F.

Add risen dough to the oven as it preheats instead of waiting for the oven to preheat. Bake for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped and is golden brown.

Easy Sour Dough Bread: Baked

Notes: I haven’t tried this yet with whole grain flours, but I plan to do that the next time around.