Staff Picks: What's Your Favorite Quick-and-Easy Lunch?

I'm from California. As a kid, one of my favorite sandwiches was mashed, salted, avocado with mayo on Wonder bread. Still is.

Sloppy Jessica, or Mac-and-Cheese-Chili Pizza on a Bun

The perfect dish when you get tired of Spaghetti Tacos. ;-)

Easy Pie Dough

Let's do a Baker's Percentage on this and
also list the weights in grams:
12.5 ounces (354 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) (284 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold water
Baker's Percentage
100% all-purpose flour
7% sugar
1.1% kosher salt
80.2% unsalted butter
24% cold water

Rapid Rolls From 'Kitchen Confidence'

I would add the butter last, after kneading is finished and the gluten is developed. Otherwise the butter will soak into the dry flour and interfere with gluten development.
This recipe uses a lot of yeast because there is 22.6% honey in the recipe. When a recipe has more than 12% sugar, it competes for moisture with the yeast and slows down dough rising.

Rapid Rolls From 'Kitchen Confidence'

You can substitute whole wheat flour for the all purpose one for one. Whole wheat can be a little more thirsty than all purpose flour, so the recipe may need a couple of tablespoons additional water.

Rapid Rolls From 'Kitchen Confidence'

Rapid Rolls From 'Kitchen Confidence'
Ingredients with weights in grams:
3 (.25-ounce) (21 grams) packets active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups (397 grams) warm water (105º to 115ºF)
1/2 cup (170 grams) honey
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
2 large eggs (100 grams) , beaten
2 teaspoons (10 grams) kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 cups (750 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Baker's Percentage
100% All Purpose Flour
53% warm water (105º to 115ºF)
13.3% eggs, beaten
22.6% honey
15% unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
2.8% active dry yeast
1.3% kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Help! Gluten free baking smells like the metal pan

If your baking powder is causing the smell, try Argo Baking Powder. It does not contain aluminum.

Perfect Banh Mi Baguette?

Google Tangzhong roux.

We've used a Tangzong like roux for years but haven't called it that. Heating the flour to around 150-F in water gelatinizes the starch, creating a translucent, unflavored pudding. A cornstarch pudding is similar, it is heated in milk until the starch gelatinizes.
What have we added pudding to for years, to make it more moist? Cakes! Pudding cakes!
Adding a Tangzhong water roux to a bread recipe is similar to adding pudding to a cake recipe, and the result seems to be the same. A more moist, light and fluffy product.

What are the measuring rules for recipes in Serious Eats

Measure twice and cut once?

What are the measuring rules for recipes in Serious Eats

I would at least measure out a cup of water (8 oz) and then weigh it to verify that the measuring cups are correct. Some are off, I owned a few of those. To check your scale for accuracy, weigh nickels. A U.S. nickel (5 cent coin for non-Americans) weighs exactly 5.000 grams according to the U.S. Mint.

I feel a little dirty...but oddly, not guilty.

I buy plain Chicharrones (pork rinds) as treats for my chihuahuas. At least I know they are eating good, safe treats and not some imported poison chicken treat.

In search of a good old fashioned cake donut recipe

You can use one of those Mott's or Alpine Cider flavored powdered drink packets as a flavoring packet. I use them in baking and salad dressing recipes to add cider flavor.

How to Fix my KitchenAid Stand Mixer

KitchenAid tilt head Hinge Pin Adjustment - YouTube video how to repair:

How to Fix my KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Go to YouTube and search for Kitchenaid mixer repair. There are many videos showing how to fix various things on a Kitchenaid mixer.

Varieties of Pasta

Armenian Rice Pilaf

4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup orzo pasta, broken up vermicelli, or broken up angel hair pasta - uncooked
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2-1/2 cups boiling hot chicken broth
Salt to taste

-Melt butter in heavy bottom 2-qt saucepan, over medium heat.
-Break pasta into small pieces (about 1/4 inch, if needed), add to pan and saute until pasta is golden brown (the darker the better, without burning the pasta - sort of toast color - it adds some flavor to the end product), stirring constantly.
-Add rice and stir for a few seconds until rice is well coated with butter.
-Add boiling broth and season to taste with salt. Stir for a few seconds to make sure rice and pasta are not forming lumps.
-Simmer, covered, over low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
-Stir and fluff lightly with fork. Let stand in warm place 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Campfire Cooking

Sweet Potatoes with Apple Pie Filling

1 (29 oz) can Princella Cut Yams in Light Syrup, drained
1 (21 oz) can Comstock Apple Pie Filling
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Mix drained yams, apple pie filling, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a covered dutch oven.

Bake in dutch oven, covered, about 1 hour until mixture is heated through.

Uncover, add marshmallows, cover for 5-minutes to give marshmallows time to melt.

one ripe avocado??

As a kid, one of my favorite sandwiches was 2 slices of Wonder Bread, mayonnaise, salt and slices of over-ripe avocado. That still sounds good.

My Food Channel

The 3 videos on YouTube start out with someone throwing up into a toilet, someone spitting out food back into a spoon and someone spitting out food onto a tablecloth. Need I say more. Gak. Don't waste your time. Sorry I did.

Eating Well When You're Broke

I save a lot of money baking my own bread. A loaf of bread costs $2 to $4. If you don't have a stand mixer and don't want to knead by hand, look up the "stretch and fold" or the "no-knead" methods of making bread.

Secrets? Tips? Your best Garlic Bread

Usually garlic is just sprinkled or smeared on the bread. Try baking garlic bits or garlic powder into the bread. The garlic will slow the rise down some, so be patient, it might take twice as long to rise, but the garlic bread has a garlic flavor through and through.

Perfect ham

Pineapple Brown Sugar Sauce for Baked Ham
It seems there is never enough sauce to go with the
baked ham. This recipe will solves that problem by
making extra sauce to serve on the side with the ham.
Makes about 2 cups
1 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp cold water, mixed well
1 cup brown sugar
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, with juice
2 tbsp lemon juice, bottled ok
1 tbsp prepared plain yellow mustard or dry mustard
1/8 tsp salt, optional
Add cornstarch and cold water to a cup and stir until a smooth paste forms.
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until well mixed.
Set burner heat to medium and stir constantly while heating, to prevent scorching. Continue heating and stirring mixture until it comes to a boil.
Simmer for 2 minutes still stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
If mixture is not thick enough, mix another 1 tbsp of cornstarch with
2 tbsp cold water, stir into pan and simmer for a minute or two more.
Pour finished sauce into a serving bowl with ladel and serve with sliced baked ham.

Cheeseburger pizza crust

If you had a nightmare about pizza, this would be in it. ;-)

DIY - Dough Mixer- . . . large bowl

Get a used bread machine and use its dough cycle only.

My Homemade Bread Dilemma

I use a Tangzhong roux (flour and water roux) in my bread dough to make a moister, lighter, longer lasting loaf. Also, I use a digital probe thermometer to detect when the loaf is done. About 190-F center temperature is done for most breads and baked goods. Artisan breads are done at 200-F to 205-F.

Sourdough- almost got it right!

I've used Carl's Friends Oregon Trail starter for about 5 years. It's really good, very vigorous. But I wanted to try something else.
I tried several times to create a starter from wild yeasts, even using the pineapple juice method. Either it wouldn't work, or I would get a really weak non-usable starter. Frustrating.
In desperation, I decided to try something else. I read years ago in Sunset magazine about a pure yogurt starter. That sounded interesting, but I didn't want to use a pure yogurt starter that required feeding with yogurt.
Here's what I came up with. I have started this sourdough starter twice, as an experiment, and each time, within 5-days, I was baking sourdough bread.
I use buttermilk, yogurt, a little rye flour, a pinch of yeast and all-purpose flour to get the sourdough starter going, but I only feed the starter all-purpose flour and water to sustain it. I give it all of these cultures to start with and let them fight it out. ;-) In the end, it makes a starter as good as Carls Oregon Trail starter.
Buttermilk Yogurt Sourdough Starter
1 cup Buttermilk, make sure the label says live cultures
3 Tbsp Plain Yogurt, make sure the label says live cultures
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Rye Flour
pinch of Instant Yeast
Mix well. Allow to sit on counter in loosely covered container for about a week.
Feed daily 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour and 1/4 cup Water. Mix well. Discard excess, if needed. It will bubble up and overflow sometimes, so I keep the container sitting in a pie tin to catch any overflow.
After about 4 or 5 days of feeding, the starter will smell sour and be very vigorous.
I use 1/2 a cup of the starter to make a sourdough bread.
When active, bubbly and sour smelling, store covered in the fridge if you are not going to make some bread.
Revive Sourdough Starter and make a loaf of bread at least once a week.
Remove starter from the fridge, stir in 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup water. Bring to room temperature and allow starter to get bubbly. Use 1/2 cup to make bread.

Study Finds Dangerous Levels of Lead in Hot Sauces From Mexico

Story from NBC Los Angeles - Jul 24, 2013
Four of the 25 sauces studied contained more than the FDA's standard for lead in food
The four brands of Hot Sauce from Mexico with high lead levels were:
-El Pato Salsa Picante
-Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero - El Yucateco
-Salsa Habanera
-Bufalo Salsa Clasica
I had 2 of the 4 bottles in my fridge. They just went in the trash.

Water Roux Makes Bread Extra Soft, Tender and Fluffy.

Water roux makes bread extra soft, tender and fluffy.

This works for any yeast bread recipe. Bread machine or oven baked. I've used it on white bread, sour dough bread and wheat bread (half white flour & half wheat flour).

What's the secret to a high rising, soft, tender, fluffy loaf of bread?

Just add a flour and water roux to your wet bread ingredients.

The flour and water roux helps the bread to retain moisture during cooking and afterward. The roux traps moisture and retains it. This also makes a tall, fluffy, tender loaf with a longer shelf life.

You will really see and taste the difference

You heat the flour and water in the microwave for 45 seconds to make a flour and water paste (roux) and stir the flour and water paste back into the wet ingredients. This is only heating the roux to about 150-F - (65-C).

Here's how you do it.

Water roux ingredients.

You take some of the original recipe ingredients to do this, you don't need to add extra.

1/2 cup (120 gm) of water (from original recipe ingredients)
3 Tablespoons (25 gm) of bread flour (from original recipe ingredients)

Mix the 1/2 cup (120 gm) of cold water and 3 Tbsp (25 gm) of bread flour in a Pyrex measuring cup. Make sure the flour is mixed well into the water with no lumps.

Microwave 25 seconds. Stir well. (I use an 1000-watt microwave)

Microwave 10 seconds. Stir well.

Microwave 10 more seconds. Stir well. The roux should be thick and creamy, kind of like translucent mashed potatoes.

Stir the roux paste into the other recipe wet ingredients and mix well.

Now just continue the recipe as you normally would. That's it!

This process was developed in Asia. For more info just Google "Tanzhong roux."

Dulce de Leche caramel in a Slow Cooker

Dulce de Leche caramel in a Slow Cooker.

Here's a really easy way to make caramel in a slow cooker. A south American caramel called "Dulce de Leche". This is similar to the jars of caramel that are used as ice cream topping. But I think Dulce de Leche has a richer flavor. It is also thicker than the ice cream topping.

You will need a sealed can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (like Eagle brand, Carnation, La Lechera etc.). Evaporated milk will not work, it must be sweetened condensed milk. You may prepare several cans at once, if desired.

Place the sealed can on its side in a Slow Cooker.

Add water to Slow Cooker until sealed can of Sweetened Condensed Milk is completely covered with water. (Placing the cans on their sides allows hot water to reach all sides of the cans, cooking the caramel more evenly and it takes less water.)

Set Slow Cooker on "LOW" and cook for 8 to 10 hours. (Depending on how dark and thick you like your caramel.) I like my caramel thick and rich so I cooked it for 10 hours.

After cooking for the desired time, place the cans in cold water until they are room temperature. Don't open the cans until they are room temperature or hot caramel may spray out.

Open the cooled can and you have a dark brown, wonderful tasting caramel called "Dulce de Leche".

Store, covered, in the fridge. It will keep for several weeks, but mine disappears from the fridge long before that.

Use Dulce de Leche caramel on ice cream, in hot or cold drinks, spread it on muffins, use it as a baking ingredient, etc.

What unusual pizzas do you make or order?

What unusual pizzas do you make or order?

I make a Chinese takeout flavored pizza. My family challenged me to make a Chinese takeout flavored pizza, so I did. The sauce has the flavor of a Chinese steamed pork bun filling.

The sauce is flavored with 5 spice powder, Hoisin Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Toasted Sesame Oil, Honey and Seasoned Rice Vinegar in a tomato sauce base with a hint of garlic.

The toppings are Shredded Pulled Pork, finely diced cabbage coleslaw mix, Water Chestnuts, French's French Fried Onions (yes the ones from the green bean casserole), La Choy Chow Mein Noodles, and Fiesta Blend cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, Queso Quesadilla, asadero cheese).

As weird as it sounds, my family asks for this frequently. It's like Chinese takeout on a pizza.

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