5/29/09

6 Marvelous Meatballs!

Marvelous Meatballs 
















These meatballs are soooo good.
They are easy to make.
They freeze well for a quick appetizer, sandwich or pasta dinner.

Are you sold yet?

Years ago, when I tried to make my own, I would become frustrated with rolling the balls and trying to fry them in a pan.
They would fall apart and make a mess.

As a result, I never made meatballs until these freezer ones came along.

So easy. Just pop 10 of 'em in the microwave for 3 minutes and they were ready!

In this economy, I am determined to make as much as I can from scratch....




















I made a big batch of meatballs,

froze them

and we have been enjoying them since.

My father in law came over today for a quick visit and I asked him if he wanted some spaghetti and meatballs.


He raved over the meatballs. Couldn't get over them.

That's quite a compliment! And he's half Italian!




I learned a couple of things about making a good meatball.

A cookie scoop comes in real handy....the large 2 T. size.

Sausage plus hamburger is an awesome combination!

And frying them?

Fugetaboutit!

Baking 'em is the way to go!





Pair these moist meatballs with your favorite spaghetti sauce...










Or maybe in a crusty bread for a meatball sandwich,









Or as an appetizer....

Anyway you want 'em, they are simply...

Marvelous.




Marvelous Meatballs
(4x6 printable recipe)    (full page recipe)

5/26/09

5 Homemade Hamburger Patties!

Homemade Hamburger PattyI am making a determined effort to make as much as I can from scratch. I have always plopped a frozen patty on the grill and sprinkled some sort of seasoning on it. When I saw the pre-made frozen hamburger patties in my freezer, I knew what my next project would be.

A moist, flavorful hamburger patty with flavor all the way through...not just sprinkled on top.


This is a really good hamburger patty...think of savory, flavorful meatloaf served on a bun....

As I was entertaining a Memorial Day crew, I decided to double my recipe.

I started with lean hamburger, added beaten eggs and milk.





You can add onions,

or in my case, onion powder.











Some of your favorite mustard, yellow, brown, or whole grain.

Whatever tickles your fancy.






Garlic.

Tip: I freeze my garlic. They last longer and the skin is very easy to peel off. Just double bag them and break off what you need.

I put 'em through a garlic press that I love...





I added about three leftover slices of my homemade wheat bread.

I heard somewhere that if the bread is torn instead of ground finely, you get a moister meatloaf...thought I'd try the method in my patties.

It worked.







Then I add some freshly ground pepper.











Real sea salt. It's the best kind.









Then squish the mixture with the handiest kitchen tool of all...

my hands.

Try it.






Then, to make all my patties the same, I actually weighed them.

I made them all quarter pounders.

A kitchen scale really does come in handy.






I then resurrected a tool that I had long forgotten.

This is my Tupperware patty press.

Cuisinart makes one that costs quite a bit less.

I cover the meat with plastic wrap to make it easier to remove.





This picture is pretty self-explanatory.

Just push and twist.







And look at what you get.

Perfect, round, even patties!

I put plastic in between the patty layers and freeze them until I was ready to grill them.

I guess I can make a bunch and freeze them with my Foodsaver...





Earlier in the day, I made my famous Hamburger buns with my Feather Wheat roll recipe.

I shaped them into rosettes.









And then flattened them down.










Don't worry, it'll keep its beautiful shape.










See?

They are beautiful!








Toast your buns and assemble your burger.

Your way.

Enjoy!

Hamburger Patties (4x6 printable recipe)   (full page recipe)

5/20/09

2 Feather Wheat Rolls: Step by Step

Wheat Rolls Step by StepI have had many people try my recipe for Feather Wheat Rolls and tell me that they didn't turn out quite the same as mine.

Even when the recipe is followed. Exactly.

Somehow, they were more dense....not quite as soft.


So, I decided to do a step-by-step post.

Hopefully, yours will turn out soft and light!

I start with 4 c. freshly ground white wheat flour. I like the texture and mild flavor that I get with white wheat. I also believe that you can't beat freshly ground...


If you can't grind your own flour, I would suggest buying a high quality wheat flour and freezing it once it's opened.

My freshly ground wheat is aerated. To measure store bought wheat flour, sift it or stir it with your measuring cup. Too much flour in your dough can contribute to a heavy, dense bread.

In my wheat bread recipes, I add 1 T. of vital wheat gluten.
This is totally optional.
You don't HAVE to do it.

Try making your bread with it.

Then try making it without.

See if you find a difference.

I add 1 T. active dry yeast straight to my flour and stir it right in.

I wouldn't recommend using instant yeast with wheat breads. Instant yeast is only good for one rise. I believe wheat bread doughs do better with sponging (1/2 total flour, yeast, sugars + wet ingredients mixed and allowed to sit for 10-30 minutes).

When the wheat flour soaks in your liquids, it softens the bran,

therefore making your bread less 'heavy.'

Don't ever, ever, forget the 2 t. of salt.

I did it once.

My bread tasted bland.

Blah.




I try to use powdered milk whenever I remember to.
Read the directions for conversion.

It's easier to get the milk out of the fridge, but then you would need to warm it up...

Powdered milk saves this warming up milk step.



For this powdered milk, I add 1 T. and increase my water an additional 1/2 c.

Or, you can just use 1/2 c. of warm milk instead.

(recipe calls for 1 c. water + 1/2 c. milk)




I like to use canola oil whenever possible.

If you use olive oil or butter, it will change the taste of your bread.

Here's 1/3 c.







I add my honey directly to my oil


Here's 1/4 c.






add water and mix it right in.









After I pour in the honey/oil mixture to my dry ingredients, I fill up the measuring cup again with water...

Stir it up good to get every last drop of oil/honey.






I mix everything up really well, even scraping down the sides.

Then I cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it sit (sponge) for 20-30 minutes.





This is what is now looks like.

The dough looks softer (the flour has broken down in the liquids)

and there are teeny, tiny, bubbles on the surface.

Bubbles are good. That means your yeast is working.



This recipe calls for UP TO 1 c. of all purpose flour. You can use wheat flour, but be careful not to add too much...

Tap in a little at a time (1/4 c.) and let it mix in well.

If you use wheat flour, let the mixer knead for 2 minutes between additions of flour.

Watch for the dough to cling to the dough hook...

Take a look at the sides of this bowl.
Most of the dough is on the hook.
About 5% is on the outside of the bowl.

Stop adding flour at this point!!!

(See how lumpy my dough is....fast forward 3 pictures)



Here's another test to see if your dough is ready.

Touch it lightly.

The dough should feel tacky, but not super sticky.





Look at my finger.

There's not much dough on it. That's okay.
That's what I want.

If your dough is oooey gooey sticky, even after letting the mixer knead it for 3-5 minutes, you need to add a little more flour, 1/4 c. at a time.



I let my mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Wheat dough NEEDS more mixing/kneading time to get it smooth, soft and silky.

It's okay if there is a little bit of dough on the sides.



Bread dough needs a warm, not hot (85 degree) place to rise.

I put this in a greased 6 c. measure, oiled the top and put plastic wrap on it.

Put it in your UNheated oven with a pan of HOT water under it.
Close the door.
Wait.


Now this dough only took about 30 minutes to double.

It may take longer where you live because of altitude.
Or temperature. Cooler temps slow the rising of your dough.

It may take up to an hour.




I take my dough out and divide it into 2 piles on a lightly oiled counter top and cover them with plastic wrap.

See my dough scraper and serrated bread knife?

Cant' live without those.

Wait 10 minutes.


Why?

If you let your dough 'rest' before shaping, it will be easier to roll out.

It will be like putty in your hands...

I like to roll each pile into a circle.




And cut each circle into 12 wedges.

Or you can check these other roll shapes.

I like to use this dough for hamburger buns. This recipe makes 12 large, nice lookin' buns!







To make these crescent shaped rolls, I start with the wide edge and roll towards the small point.






I then place them POINT side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.

If you put them point side up, your rolls will UNroll during the baking process!

Then I curve the ends inward for a nice shape.



I like to space my rolls out a couple of inches apart, so they keep there nice shapes.

It's okay to have Siamese rolls once in a while...

I cover the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap, put it in my UN heated oven with a hot pan of water, and wait 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, my rolls have doubled.

Here's another way to see if your rolls have doubled.

Give 'em a slight squeeze. Like squeezing Charmin.

It should feel soft and squishy.




Bake them until they are golden brown.

Slather with loads of butter and enjoy!
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