Quick Apple Sticky Buns

Quick sticky buns

Over 20 years ago, a young woman traveled to Sedona and stayed, on recommendation, at Don Hoel’s cabins. They were a cluster of small cabins near Oak Creek, looking a bit tired, but still cozy and homey, each with a kitchen, fireplace and a separate bedroom.

12 years later, she returned to Sedona and the first lodging she considered was Don Hoel’s. She was disappointed to learn she couldn’t reserve a cabin – the owner was selling and the cabins were closed. She stayed just down the road at Junipine, at a place that was neither cozy nor homey. During that trip, she drove past Don Hoel’s and saw the large “For Sale” sign across the closed gates. Even then, she daydreamed about buying it. The place was big – over 20 acres, with 20 cabins and a market. Her thoughts on the matter stayed in the daydream world.

The woman is back again. The place is now renamed, owned by a young couple for the past 5 years . They’ve polished the place up, adding the much needed character, and turned it into a little gem. The woman, who is not so young anymore, is envious. Again, she thinks “I could do that” and this time she doesn’t consider it just a daydream.


Quick Apple Sticky Buns

I don’t usually use packaged or pre-made products and call them my own, but sometimes busy mornings call for shortcuts. Adapted from Real Simple Quick Sticky Buns.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 10 pieces
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 7.5 ounce tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop a piece of butter in the bottom of 10 muffin tins. Divide apple among tins and sprinkle with pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Top each with a biscuit.
  2. Bake until golden brown, 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with a baking sheet and flip the tin over. Tap the bottom to release the buns.
  3. Combine powdered sugar with enough water to make a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze on still-warm sticky buns. Serve warm.

Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

Lemon Sweet Cheese Pastry Squares

She hikes along the path, entreating the universe, “please let me find an arrowhead, please let me find an arrowhead.”  She even makes ridiculous pledges like, “I swear if I find one, I won’t keep it…I just want to see if I can wish it into existence.  I’ll bury it once I find it.”

Many years ago, she found another arrowhead, quite by accident, near an abandoned homestead on a cattle ranch outside Galconda, NV.  She placed it in the back pocket of her Levi’s for safekeeping.  After a long, dusty and bumpy ride back to the ranch in the bed of a pickup, she was astonished to find her pockets empty.  While disappointed, she decided her possessing it wasn’t meant to be.

Now, for a reason that she doesn’t understand, she’s on the hunt to locate one again.  For four days, she’s hiked with her eyes fixed on the trails in front of her.  She’s picked up a dozen of pieces of flint for closer inspection. Nothing.

She’s driving out of town today, on her way back home, leaving a little early to fit in one last brief 45-minute hike on a hill she’s never hiked before.  The day is hot, 93 degrees, under a blue and cloudless sky; time slips by quickly.  As she heads back to her car, she spots it on the path, dusty and damaged, most likely from being stepped on by hikers – a black flint arrowhead.

Decisions, decisions. She promised the universe not to keep it, but now it’s in her hand and the location and timing of her discovery convince her this was predestined.  This town is her magical place, after all.  She stops to consider her choices.  After a few minutes, she slips the arrowhead in her back pocket, concluding, if it’s still in her pocket when she arrives home, she was intended to keep it, at least for a while.


Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

These use the same dough as the Almond Pockets, substituting a cream cheese and lemon filling. Of the two pastries, these were the crowd favorite in the office.

Ingredients

  • Danish Pastry Dough
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons raw sugar

Directions

  1. Follow the instructions for making the dough.
  2. Make the Cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, yolk and zest together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Make the squares: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the cheese filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 all corners with egg, fold each corner over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.
  4. Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

arrowhead

Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Meatloaf

Turkey Meat Loaf

This kitchen has been turning out a plethora of pastries and desserts lately.  I attended culinary school to become a better chef, not a pastry chef.  I’ve always been more comfortable around flour and sugar recipes than meat, vegetable and starches.  My recipe books are chock full of recipe clippings that have languished for years without being tested.  I’ve decided for the next two months to make at least two new non-pastry dishes per week.  These aren’t necessarily ground-breaking meals – I won’t be testing  my sous vide skills in the near future, but my goal is to reduce the number of recipe clippings in the “to try” pocket of my recipe book while adding a few new staples to my repertoire.

Recipe #1

Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Meatloaf
(adapted from Real Simple magazine)

½             onion, chopped fine
2              cloves garlic, chopped
½ c.        panko bread crumbs
1              egg, beaten
½ – ¾ c. grated parmesan
2 T.         Dijon mustard
7 oz.       jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
½ c.        flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 t.          dried basil
Salt and Pepper
1 ½ lbs. ground turkey

Heat oven to 400 F. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a bowl until well combined.  Add turkey.  Mix well but do not over-mix.  Shape into an 8-inch loaf and place in a baking dish (do not use a loaf pan).  Bake until internal temp registers 165 F, about 45 minutes.  Sprinkle additional Parmesan across top and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

The result is a moist and flavorful meat loaf with less calories than the standard meatloaf.  I inhaled three slices for dinner and warmed up another two for lunch today.  It would also make a delightful sandwich.

Sweet

The question on everyone’s lips for 2010 has been, “what ever happened with that lemon tart?” Well, perhaps not everyone’s lips – most likely the question remains merely in my head, but I’d like to offer an update regardless.

On the Sunday before last, I finally had the opportunity to bake the tarts for the restaurant. Like a culinary Field of Dreams, I made them and the customers bought. Even Big D and his girlfriend finished their night with one – and this couple is not the type to indulge in culinary naughtiness. Last Sunday, a few of the servers asked me if I would be making them again. Poco de Chile says they’re too labor intensive, but Big D wants to put them on the menu permanently. They are slightly labor intensive, but not too bad if I’m allowed to focus on making them. I’m tired of pushing the tarts with Poco and Big D. They have the recipe and the next step is theirs. For me, they were a small triumph – my first recipe for public consumption.

Big D also wanted to add a biscotti and vin santo pairing to the dessert menu. The other night, I made a trio of biscotti – apricot/white chocolate, cherry/walnut/dark chocolate and milk chocolate/orange. We gave a few samples to the customers and the feedback was positive. Big D approved of my presentation and flavor. I finished them late on Sunday so we didn’t have a chance to sell them that night. I’m curious if they’re selling this week.

He’s asked me to create a Valentine’s Day dessert. I’m honored to be asked. I’m playing with ideas in my head, but I already have a clear image of what I want to try: A thin dark chocolate genoise on the bottom, a layer of raspberry filling, a light chocolate mousse, another layer of genoise and raspberry, chocolate ganache on top with fresh raspberries. I’m pleased with the overall concept, but I feel like it’s missing something – a little surprise inside, like a hazelnut layer or another surprising flavorful pop besides chocolate and raspberry. Whoever my testers are, I think they’ll be happy with the assignment.

Now that I’ve given the restaurant a taste of my talent (literally – I give samples), it seems the gum chomping servers are a little nicer these days.