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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Icing

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

After making those delicious roasted eggplants with buttermilk sauce last week, I was left with a lot of leftover buttermilk. During a brainstorming session of what to do with buttermilk (fried chicken? ranch dressing? chicken gravy? blueberry pancakes?) my brain and my stomach remembered these delicious cinnamon rolls that I made once upon a time from Cook's Illustrated.

Growing up, cinnamon rolls were a special treat when we were at the mall (I mean really, who can't resist the smell of Cinnabon?) or behaving particularly well at the grocery store. It never occurred to my family to make them from scratch, mostly because the best recipes for cinnamon rolls had yeast in them, which would require lots of cooking time.

A few years ago, I came across a cinnamon roll recipe from Cook's Illustrated that could be ready to eat in 45 minutes. Hooray! Leave it up to the geniuses at Cook's Illustrated to make cinnamon rolls an achievable regular breakfast staple.

The results are absolutely delicious. Warm gooey cinnamon rolls topped with buttermilk icing--it's a match made in heaven with your morning coffee. I brought in my extra cinnamon rolls to work and they disappeared within three minutes. You can be a work superhero too and bring these in for your next early morning meeting.

Zach, take note: I fully expect these as part of a regular breakfast in bed routine.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Icing

From Cook's Illustrated
Makes 8 rolls

1 tablespoon melted butter, for the pan
Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Biscuit Dough:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional flour for your work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Icing:
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter into a round 9-inch cake pan, and brush to coat evenly. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

For the filling, combine sugars, spices, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with a fork or fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside. 

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter together in a small bowl. Add liquid to the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed and the dough looks shaggy (about 30 seconds).

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it is just smooth and no longer shaggy.

Pat dough with hands into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Press filling firmly into the dough.

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Using a metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at the long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal. 

Roll the log so the seam-side is down. Cut evenly into eight pieces. Using your hands, slightly flatten each roll to seal open edges and keep filling in place. 

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Place one roll in the middle of the prepared pan, and then place remaining seven rolls around the pan. Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. 

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 23 to 25 minutes. Use offset spatula to loosen buns from the pan. Without separating the buns, move them to the wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes. 

Quick and Easy Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set rack of buns over baking sheet. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk together until thick and smooth (it will look like cottage cheese at first!). Sift confectioner's sugar into the bowl, then whisk together until a smooth glaze forms. Spoon glaze over buns and eat immediately.

Enjoy!

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Travel Guides: New York City and the Peninsula

Today, I am sharing two new travel guides with you! One covers New York City, while the other one focuses on the Peninsula, just south of San Francisco.

When traveling or eating out, I look for welcoming and delicious restaurants that fail to disappoint. In my mind, there is nothing worse than spending your money at a restaurant and leaving less than satisfied. Whether it's the latest trendy small plates restaurant or the corner deli, you should feel as if your meal is worth every penny. 

New York has been one of my favorite places to travel to since I was a child. We spend a few Thanksgivings in New York/Connecticut, and I fell in love with the theater (what child wouldn't love Beauty and the Beast on Broadway?), restaurants, and the Plaza Hotel (I think some days I still secretly wish I was Eloise). Zach and I celebrated our one-year anniversary in New York, and it was the first trip we took together. 


The San Francisco Peninsula includes many of the wonderful cities just south of San Francisco like Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, and Redwood City. Despite being a collection of suburban cities, there is great food and wonderful places to visit, like my alma mater, Stanford. The Peninsula is definitely worth a visit next time you are in the Bay!
To not miss any updates on these travel guides, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. Also, you can check out my San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. guides here. I'd love to hear what your favorite travel spots are!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Reading


Happy Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend planned. Lately, I have been day dreaming about leisurely days spent lingering over brunch in wonderful outdoor spaces--kind of like this picture! For me, there is nothing better than great food, weather, and friends. 

Here are some great finds to get you through Friday and into the weekend!

Get some burger inspiration from the DC Burger Bash... {link}

What every trendy restaurant menu looks like, courtesy of Eater {link}

Chocolate is getting more and more expensive, even for mass-produced companies like Mars {link}

PSA: Kale shortage may be coming soon {link}

Excited to try this new fast casual Greek restaurant {link}

What makes feta feta? Thoughts on EU's new initiative to protect food names {link}

So sad I won't be in SF for this ultimate foodie event {link}

For all of the coffee fans, this event is for you! {link}

Dinner Lab is temporarily closing its doors to new members due to its skyrocketing popularity {link}

Image via

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

Roasted eggplant

Since 2010, I have been eyeing Plenty, a vegetarian cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi. Every time I went into a bookstore, I would flip through it, thinking to myself, "I NEED this book." Yet being a college student with little to no time for cooking, I refused to let myself buy it. I just couldn't justify buying a cookbook when I had no kitchen to even cook in.

This year I finally managed to get myself a copy of Plenty (thanks Dad!). I was pouring through the book, and I kept getting drawn back to the recipe on the front cover. Roasted eggplant, tangy sauce, and sweet pomegranate seeds...it sounded like summer dinner party heaven.

Ottolenghi calls this recipe "rustically elegant," and I couldn't agree more. Serve this with pita or bread as a starter for your next dinner party (whether its two or four people).

Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce

From Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

2 long eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
Pomegranate seeds
1 tsp za'atar
9 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, cutting straight through the green stalk. Use a small sharp knife to make three or four parallel incisions in the cut side of each eggplant half, without cutting through to the skin. Repeat at a 45-degree angle to get a diamond-shaped pattern.

Roasted eggplant

Place the eggplant halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil--keep on brushing until all of the oil has been absorbed by the flesh. Sprinkle with the lemon thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavorful, and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down completely.

To make the sauce, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, olive oil, garlic and salt. Taste for seasoning, then keep cold until needed.

To serve, spoon plenty of buttermilk sauce over the eggplant halves without covering the stalks. Sprinkle za'atar and plenty of pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with lemon thyme. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted eggplant

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekend Reading

Happy Friday! I will be spending the weekend catching up with friends, playing tennis, and trying to enjoy as much time in the sun as possible. 

Here's a round up of interesting food-related things from the week.  Enjoy!

I love this NYTimes interactive cocktail generator--it's making me want a Paloma!{Link}

A look at Fenton's Creamery, a Bay Area ice cream classic. {Link}

7x7's Big Eat Live event is this weekend! Basically, it's an all you can eat event from some o of the best restaurants in the city. If I lived in SF, I would definitely be there! {Link}

An interesting piece from NPR on throwing out leftovers and it's impact on the global food supply. {Link}

Why it's okay to share food at a restaurant, from Bon Appetit. I totally agree! Why eat one meal when you could try two (or more)? {Link}

Important PSA: Uber is delivering ice cream today in DC between 1pm and 5pm. You're welcome. {Link}

And since I can't be at the 7x7 event in SF, I will definitely be at this ice cream tasting event in DC! {Link}

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemon Thyme Chicken Breasts

DSCN2298 Life sure has been busy lately! I have some BIG news coming your way soon. My to-do lists keep getting longer and longer, but I am excited for the changes coming my way. I promise I will share soon!

When days are busy, I want the easiest of easy dinner recipes. I need a recipe that I can throw together quickly, but is filling and delicious. Bonus points if it gives me delicious leftovers to bring for lunch the next day.

This lemon and thyme chicken recipe is a perfect post-busy day meal. The chicken breasts turn out perfectly roasted with a delicious lemony pan sauce that takes less than 10 minutes of active cooking time. Just add some brown rice and a salad, and you have an essential weeknight meal.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Breasts

Recipe from Ina Garten
Serves 4

1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Warm the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and cook for 1 minute (but don't allow it to brown). Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour the sauce into a 9x12 baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into 8 wedges and and tuck them in among the chicken.

DSCN2295

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't golden enough, you can put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Breasts

Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Favorite Finds: Food52's Provisions

It should come as no surprise that I love Food52. It's a wonderful community for home chefs that provides so much inspiration through delicious recipes and contests.

Recently, they launched an online store, Provisions, filled with all sorts of new and vintage goodies. From linens to bakeware to specialty foods, they have it all! Their sourcing is impeccable--everything looks clean and simple, but incredibly well-designed. My particular favorites are their vintage finds. I love the idea of having one-of-a-kind serveware or glasses to place on my own table.

Below are some of my favorite pieces from Provisions!






1. Vintage Pie & Cake Server {http://bit.ly/1kVDXTb}

2. Vintage Menu Print: Cliff House {http://bit.ly/1rbiltx}

3. Vintage Champagne Coupes {http://bit.ly/1maHPPT}

4. Parisian Hard Candies (perfect for Basille Day!) {http://bit.ly/1yhsky7}

5. 52 Stripes Tea Towel {http://bit.ly/1zBMvIv}

6. Ice Cream Bowls {http://bit.ly/1kUNpLb}

Friday, July 4, 2014

All-American Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes
Happy 4th of July! I will be spending the day with friends here in Washington, DC. Though the District gets so crowded this time of year with tourists, it is such a magical and wonderful place to be. I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing three-day weekend.

To kick off my long weekend, I wanted nothing more than a luxurious breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (probably because it's socially acceptable to eat sugary, dessert-like things in place of a meal), but during the week I rarely have time to eat a hot breakfast.

I was reading the Smitten Kitchen cookbook (thanks Dad for the great birthday gift!) when I saw this recipe for Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes. Though my favorite pancakes are typically thin, Swedish-inspired ones, these fluffy and thick peach pancakes were calling my name. I knew they would make a perfect for a perfect three-day weekend breakfast!

Like all recipes I feature here on Hilary Stone Soup, this one is quite easy to make and takes very little prep time. It's a great dish to impress house guests who are visiting for the weekend. No need to tell them how simple the recipe is!

Enjoy the 4th, and these delicious pancakes!

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Butter, for pan
1 peach, halved, pitted, and sliced very thinly (about 1/8-inch slices)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Whisk the egg, sour cream, vanilla, and sugar together in the bottom of a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold dry ingredient into wet, mixing until just combined and still a little lumpy.

How to make peach and sour cream pancakes
DSCN2261

Heat your skillet or sauté pan to medium-low. Melt a pat of butter in the bottom of the pan, and ladle in 1/4 cup batter at a time, leaving at least 2 inches between the pancakes. When the pancakes are dry around the edges and you can see bubbles forming on the top, after about 3 to 4 minutes, flip the pancake in one quick movement.

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes

Cook for another 5 minutes, until the pancakes are golden brown on both sides and the peach slices are nicely caramelized. Transfer the pancakes to a tray in your warm oven as they cook, which will ensure they fully set and stay warm until you are ready to eat!


 Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes
 

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