Last year, the holiday season was overshadowed by all things Covid leaving many of us longing for gatherings with family and friends. This year, with the aid of vaccines and a clearer understanding of how the virus spreads, we're able to reach out and touch our loved ones once again and appreciate the little things in life.
One of those little things is pumpkin-shaped yeast rolls. It's good to try new recipes. These dinner rolls will create a little whimsy and magic at the dinner table. Even more exciting is the extra effort behind this little project is incredibly easy. The only drawback is a little time waiting for the dough to proof. No big deal. If you're ready to try it, I've got the recipe complete with tips and a video.
Direction and Ingredients needed for Pumpkin-shaped yeast rolls.
Two packages of yeast
Two cups warm water
One Tbs. of sugar
Mix and let sit for 10 minutes
Add to the following:
½ cup sugar
Two tsp. salt
¼ cup of extra light EVOO
1 egg (beaten) and at room temperature
Five to six cups of all-purpose flour
Four cinnamon sticks cut in thirds. If making smaller dinner rolls, you'll need eight cinnamon sticks.
A one minute video on how to wrap the dough balls with kitchen twine to create pumpkin-shaped yeast rolls.
After the yeast has dissolved, add to other ingredients. Start with four cups of flour. On medium speed, mix until smooth. Side note: I used a Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus Food Process with a dough setting. I've had this machine for close to 20 years and have never used it for bread. There's always a first time. At this point, add another cup of flour and mix. The idea is to have a stiff dough. If you need to add more flour, do so at this time.
Once the dough is a good consistency, begin to knead it on a surface that’s been floured. Knead the dough for approximately six to seven minutes. The dough should be pliable, flexible.
Next, add the dough to a large bowl that’s been greased. Place the dough ball in the bowl and flip it one time so the entire dough has some grease on it. Cover the dough and place in a warm place. It may take an hour or less to proof. Check it after 30 minutes. After the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough. Begin dividing the dough into 12 round balls. If you want smaller dinner rolls, cut into 18 - 24 rolls.
After forming the dough balls, set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. Now, it’s time to wrap twine around each ball. Cut 12 – 32 inch strings from the kitchen twine (adjustment to the length of the twine is needed if making smaller dinner rolls). Each ball will be wrapped like a present and rotated until the ball is cut into eight pieces, like a pie. Be sure and pull the string tight enough to make small indentions in the ball.
Next, brush each pumpkin with egg whites for browning with a little shine. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. The pumpkin rolls should brown. After taking the rolls out of the oven, cut the strings off each roll. After the string is off, add the cinnamon sticks to each pumpkin roll.
Iron skillet chicken with fennel, onion, jalapeno and an herb-based sauce drizzled across the top of the chicken. Fresh roasted corn will be added to the skillet after a quick sauté.
It was a rainy Friday and not much to do other than eat. After opening the freezer and seeing the three chicken breasts alongside three hamburger patties; I chose chicken. Most of the ingredients were available in my pantry and refrigerator except the fennel. If you've tried roasted fennel, it's a sweet treat with a bit of a licorice flavor. It's not overpowering and more flavorful than celery.
There's a particular marinade that I make that's a go-to for many of my grilled meats. I decided to add a few more dried herbs to the special marinade to pour directly over the chicken before roasting in the oven.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in cupboards and refrigerators. If you're missing one or two items, you may always improvise. Let's get to it!
3 chicken breasts
3 T. olive oil
A pat of butter
A medium onion
A fennel bulb
3 ears of fresh corn on the cobb
A large jalapeno (seeded and membranes removed)
2 T. lemon juice
Tsp. lemon zest
Tsp. of oregano
1/2 tsp. of dillweed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cloves of garlic (chopped and crushed)
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts and sear in the iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Go ahead and sear both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Make the herb olive oil with the remaining oil (two tablespoons), salt, pepper, 2 T. lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, dillweed, and garlic. Whisk together.
Slice the fennel and onion and chop the jalapeno. Place in the iron skillet. Add the seared chicken breasts. Drizzle the herb olive oil over top the chicken.
Shuck the corn and cut off the cobb. Heat a pat of butter in a small skillet. Add the corn, salt and pepper to taste, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Once sautéed, add the corn to the skillet with the chicken.
Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and place in a 400 degree onion for 30 to 40 minutes. Halfway through the roast, spoon some of the liquid over the chicken. Once chicken reaches 165 degrees, take the skillet out of the oven to sit for 10 minutes. Serve.