December 15, 2009

Red Lobster-ish Biscuits

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

It's been a while since I've actually eaten a real Red Lobster biscuit so I can't promise these biscuits are exactly like them. Imitation factor aside, these are delicious and so simple to make. I relied on my go-to biscuit recipe (straight off the back of a Clabber Girl baking powder can!) and added necessary touches from many online copy-cat recipes of the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit. Dough should be wet enough to be scooped but not runny. Enjoy!

Red Lobster Wanna-Be Biscuits (Muslim Wife adaptation)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter (cut into cubes)
3/4 cup milk (more as needed)
2 tablespoon melted margarine or butter (for brushing tops)

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp parsley (for brushing tops)

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2.In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Stir in shredded cheese. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the milk all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir just till moistened and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (dough will be sticky).

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out biscuits onto a non-stick or lightly greased baking sheet, 1'" apart.

5. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. After removing, immediately brush with melted butter and parsley flakes .

December 13, 2009

Ooey Gooey Pinapple Goodness

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

What do you do when life gives you pineapples? Make cake of course! This version of the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake has a delicious brown sugar caramel that soaks into the cake as it cooks. Absolutely delicious!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2000

Taken from SmittenKitchen (alcohol omitted, of course)

1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (I didn't have enough from my pineapple, used OJ instead and it was still awesome!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in pan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into prepared cake pan and arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.
Make batter: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet five minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet.
Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.
Do ahead: Cake may be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Double Duty

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If there's anything I love more than a simple recipe, its a simple recipe that can work for more than one meal. My favorite example is my pizza dough recipe. I always make sure to save at least 1/3 of the dough and immediately throw it in the freezer. That way I always have dough on hand to make one of these quick go-to meals:

1. Bread sticks
Super easy and the perfect side to a hearty pasta dish or a steaming bowl of soup. Simply roll out dough into roughly 6" logs, brush with butter and garlic powder and bake at the same temperature as your pizza.

2. Calzones:
Similar enough to pizza to ensure everyone will love it yet different enough to keep things exciting! Roll out dough to a 6" circle. Spoon pizza sauce or ricotta cheese in the center and pile toppings. Make sure to leave a 1/2" border from the edge. Fold over and press seams together. Make sure to cut a few slits on top to let the steam escape or else you'll have leaky calzones. Bake the same as pizza and make to let it cool for at least 5 minutes before chowing down.

3. Plaited and Stuffed
This is my version of a dear friends recipe (her dough recipe is great!). Again, I'm trying to present as many examples of using one recipe for multiple things, but feel free to make a seperate dough for this if you like. The best part of this recipe is the presentation factor, make sure to try it out next time you have company! (her page has illustrated directions to fill and fold the plait, make sure to check it out!)

4. Focaccia
A rustic and light accompaniment to any meal; you can personalize this any way you want but traditional focaccias are simple and thin. Make sure to drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving. Roll out dough to 8"x12" square (or whatever will fit your pan) and brush with olive oil. Top with tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, etc. Sprinkle with salt and basil and bake at 400 until lightly golden.