mint

Cheesy Garlic Rolls with Radicchio & Mint

8965492020 d4f89ddb76 z Cheesy Garlic Rolls with Radicchio & Mint

You know those days where everything goes right? You turn on the radio and your favorite song comes on. You take a drive and hit only green lights along the way.  You arrive at the office and realize someone brought donuts to share, which is a good thing any day but doubly good on this day since you rushed out the door without breakfast. Monday was not that day.

I woke up to find my internet service was out, which was problematic because I had to link up my SRC post at some point that morning. Somehow, someway, the lady in front of me at the post office locked the bin where I needed to put my package. Since we were using the automated machine in the lobby before the lobby was open for business, I was just out of luck. I spilled coffee on my shirt only to realize my Tide pen was completely dry. Sometime during the night my skin went absolutely nuts, and its lovely red speckles seemed to increase exponentially every time I looked in the mirror. The refrigerator went on the fritz. Suffice it to say, things did not improve as the day wore on.

So I went to yoga. If my laundry list of woe-is-me inconveniences did not already give you pause, that statement should clue you in that my problems are by no means earth-shattering. I am privileged enough to have things like high speed internet and a yoga class package. Yes, I work hard to earn the money for those things, but I work hard at a job I really enjoy with people I truly like.

In the past, a friend of mine who is new to being a manager had to give a few young employees new to the workplace a bit of a talking to. They did not like the work, but the work had to get done. He politely made the point that yes, while the work was tedious, there was plenty of coffee and air conditioning to go around. No one there was working in a chicken processing plant was, I believe, how he put it.

8965491654 af1446d0a6 z Cheesy Garlic Rolls with Radicchio & Mint

When I think I have it bad, I remind myself of that little gem. One of the many things my work as a hospice social worker taught me was that pain is subjective. Maybe you do not work in poor conditions like many people across the world, but if your job is miserable for other reasons, you can still find yourself in a pretty bad place. Still, I try to remind myself of all the good things that go right when I spiral downward into a “nothing is going right” mindset.

Now, back to that yoga class. I think 20 percent of the reason I go to yoga is to hear the little stories the teachers tell at the beginning of class. (The remaining 80 is so I can get my pants to fit.)

As we warmed up, the teacher told us she was a bit aggravated earlier in the day when she called her mother but was unable to reach her. The teacher wanted to consult with her mother about what she should buy her brother (teacher’s brother/mother’s son).  The teacher was in the store, and it was rather inconvenient to not know what to purchase. How dare her mother, who always answers the phone, not answer the phone!

It turned out the teacher’s mother did not answer the call because she was huddled under a stairwell as a  tornado passed overhead. Moral of the story: we usually don’t have things as bad as we think we do.

8964297825 aa083320cd z Cheesy Garlic Rolls with Radicchio & Mint

A homemade dinner roll – both the making and the consuming – is the perfect pick me up for a bad day. When I was younger, nothing made me happier than the buttery crescent rolls that would sometimes accompany dinner. Now that I am older, I like to carve out a few hours on a weekend to bake my own rolls.

Yes, I did mean a few hours. Like any yeast roll, these take a decent amount of time to come together. However, let me assure you, there is something inherently therapeutic about kneading dough. It is one of the few things I do that makes me feel as though I’ve not a care in the world. Looking up at the stars on a peaceful night is another.

I was highly skeptical of both the radicchio and the mint, but along with the feta, the flavors just work. I had never before used mint in a savory application. It was a bit of a surprising taste, but one I came to enjoy. That aside, you can always omit the mint, the radicchio or both for a cheesy garlic roll. If there is a way to go wrong with that combination, I don’t know what it is. Enjoy!

Cheesy Garlic Rolls with Radicchio & Mint
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Dough
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope yeast
  • 1¼ cups milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • For the Filling
  • 1 cup finely sliced radicchio
  • 14 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅔ cup feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast, milk, sugar and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside for five minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve.
  2. After five minutes, whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the liquid yeast mixture, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure no yeast is left behind.
  3. Stir together until a dough begins to form, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface to knead. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticky and holds together in a smooth ball. If needed, add a bit more flour as you knead to achieve this consistency.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Allow the dough to rise for one hour.
  6. While the dough rises, start the filling. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in the radicchio. As soon as you drop it in, pour it right back out into a mesh sieve or colander. The idea is to blanch the radicchio for mere seconds. When the radicchio is cool enough to work with, slice it even more finely.
  7. Beat the butter, garlic, mint and pepper together. Cover and allow to sit until the dough is ready.
  8. After one hour, turn out the dough and knead it a few times before rolling it out into a rectangle that measures approximately 16 x 20 inches (40 x 50 cm).
  9. Reserve ¼ of the garlic butter mixture, then spread the rest across the dough (it will be a very thin layer).
  10. Sprinkle the dough with the radicchio and the feta.
  11. Working from the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder.
  12. Wrap the dough in plastic warp and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut through the dough.
  13. When the dough has stiffened a bit, remove it from the plastic wrap and cut it into slices that measure about 1 to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) thick.
  14. Arrange the rolls in a 9-inch (24 cm) round pan that is lightly greased. The rolls will be packed in tight.
  15. Melt the reserved garlic butter mixture and brush it on top of the rolls.
  16. Allow the rolls to stand for a final 15 minutes before placing them in the oven.
  17. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Notes
When blanching the radicchio, take care not to leave it in the water for more than just a couple of seconds. It will turn brown and flimsy if left in too long.

 

Candy Cane Kisses

December 053 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

I am in a slump. I don’t feel like working, cleaning, baking, packing my bags to go on a trip to see people I really want to see or anything else remotely productive. As I was flipping through the radio stations in my car yesterday, I heard DJs  talking, ironically, about slumps. Their conversation centered around how the suggestions given to someone in a slump often involve the idea to just push through it. The DJs were convinced this is terrible advice. They believed sometimes you’ve just got to sit in it and let it pass.

Outside of work, the only thing I have been pretty consistent about during my slump is getting my butt to yoga. Tonight marked my sixty-second yoga class since November 1. Actually, it was my sixty-fifth class since October 29, but that is little more than a technicality. Suffice it to say, I am sick and tired of asana.

As I was stuck in a yoga studio for weeks on end, I wanted to get outside and go for a run. Oh, all right. It was a stroll in the sunshine more so than a kick-butt run I craved. For the past five months, I have paid my bills by writing nearly every day. I started this blog as much to exercise my writing muscle as I did to plow through a stack of recipes, so I no longer look forward to writing blog posts as much as I once did.

In case you had not yet noticed, the ever elusive butterfly in my life is finding a sense of balance. When we commit to balance, we often find we can lighten the load more so than we thought in one area while at the same time taking on more in others. I need to figure this out.

December 060 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

I had no idea what I was going to write for this post until I sat down and starting pecking out words, but a new theme of balance and a continuing theme of light seems to be taking hold. My heart still feels a little heavy, yet these cookies are as light as air. The photo of those baked-in air pockets up there come from my third attempt at meringue cookies, so they were also an exercise in patience.

This recipe for Candy Cane Kisses came from one of the prettiest cookbooks I have ever seen, Masala Farm. Its pages were full of color, and I liked the short stories found throughout the book. It was just overall nice. The original recipe  suggested adding one teaspoon of pulverized dried lavender to the meringues in place of the peppermint when baking outside of prime candy cane season.

Some believe the world will end tomorrow. Which is already today in some parts of the world (as I write, it’s just after 3 p.m. in Sydney). I would like to bring up two very good points I have heard (though I don’t remember where) about this theory. 1). If the Mayans were so good at predicting the end of the world, then why couldn’t they predict the collapse of their own civilization? 2). The Mayan calendar fails to take into account leap years, so technically, the world should have ended sometime in October.

Regardless, what we can all agree on according to the calendar is tomorrow marks the darkest (shortest) day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of us will also likely agree the darkest day came a week early this year. After the dark, the days must get light again. Enjoy.

December 054 Edited Candy Cane Kisses

 

 
Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cram of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons crushed peppermint
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
  2. Add the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites and increase speed to high.
  3. Beat until soft peaks form, then add in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. (If you fail to add the sugar slowly, you will end up with a very grainy cookie.)
  4. When the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks, use a rubber spatula to very gently fold in the peppermint and chocolate chips.
  5. Place dollops of meringue onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 250 F until the tops begin to crack, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on wire racks.
Notes
To make red meringues, I suggest adding food coloring along with the vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Folding it in with the crushed peppermint and chocolate chips tends to deflate the egg whites that were beautifully whipped into shape just seconds earlier.

 

Marchocolate – Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

IMG 2823 Edited Marchocolate   Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

If someone asked my 8-year-old self to name my favorite ice cream flavor, I would have immediately shouted, “mint chocolate chip!” My love of mint chocolate chip probably had a lot to do with the fact that my childhood friend Molly loved mint chocolate chip ice cream, and by default, I did too. (As an aside, the lunches Molly brought to school regularly contained a peanut butter and mint jelly sandwich, which I also coveted.)

Since the end of March typically signals the end of my month-long Thin Mint binge (thank you/darn you girl scouts), and it’s Marchocolate, I wanted to make a mint-chocolate dessert of some sort. In the past, I have experienced very little success baking with mint extract. The flavor always seems to come across too strong and too artificial for my tastes.

Fortunately, I finally found a recipe for mint chocolate chip cupcakes that did not disappoint. The mint flavor in both the mint chocolate chip cupcakes and the mint frosting was enough to taste yet light enough to work with the chocolate.

IMG 2813 Edited Marchocolate   Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I halved the recipe and baked 11 cupcakes, though I’m confident the recipe would yield an even dozen if the cupcake papers were filled just under the brim (instead of to the brim), and the baker limited batter samples to no more than one spoonful (instead of two or three). I added only 1/4 cup of mini-chocolate chips, and in hindsight, I wish I would have added 1/3 cup or even 1/2 cup as I only got a chocolate chip about every two bites. I topped off the cupcakes with a garnish of mint leaves from the wild mint that grows in my neighbor’s back yard (it’s okay – she knows I use her mint).

Like baking with mint? In need of more minty recipes? Check out my Mint Condition board on Pinterest. Enjoy!

IMG 2821 Edited Marchocolate   Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 11-12
Ingredients
  • For the Cupcakes
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3 ounces buttermilk
  • ¼-1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
  • green food color, if desired
  • mint leaves and chocolate shavings, if desired, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Continue to mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add half of the dry cocoa powder mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  5. Pour in the buttermilk, mix until combined, then add the remaining dry cocoa powder mixture.
  6. Mix until just combined, then fold in the mini-chocolate chips.
  7. Fill each well of a muffin pan lined with paper liners with the batter; fill to slightly under the rim of the well.
  8. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with just a crumb or two.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting, cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar together.
  11. Add the cream and peppermint extract and continue to mix at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  12. If desired, color the frosting with green food color and garnish the cupcakes with mint leaves and/or chocolate shavings.