Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Avocado Berry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

 
Our lettuce is doing beautiful in the garden.  That means fresh picked salad for lunch.  Today I departed from the normal chopped salad and went with a more bistro type fare with a dressing I don't normally make.  I like poppy seed dressing, but I've been playing around to come up with a version that has enough tang to balance out the sweet, and not too sweet overall.  I am happy enough with this one not to fiddle anymore.  This is a very satisfying lunch salad because of the pecans and avocado, but it would make a fabulous dinner salad, just by adding some sliced, herb grilled chicken on top, or salmon.

Salad for One
increase servings as desired

2-3 leaves fresh butter lettuce
2-3 leave fresh red leaf lettuce
4 strawberries, sliced
small handful blueberries
small handful pecans
1-2 tbsp chopped red onion
1 green onion, chopped
½ ripe avocado, sliced
mandarin oranges for garnish

Layer ingredients as desired.  You can make a pretty presentation or toss it all together if time is of the essence.
Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of dressing right before serving.

Poppy Seed Dressing
makes 1 cup

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp honey
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried onion flakes
¾ tsp sea salt
½ cup oil - if you can find it, use ¼ cup lemon infused olive oil and ¼ cup regular olive oil or sunflower oil
pinch fresh lemon zest (optional)
1½-2 tsp poppy seeds

Add vinegar, juice, honey, mustard, onion, salt and lemon zest, if using, to a blender.  Blend until the onion is broken down to little pieces, about 30 seconds.  With the blender running, stream in the oil slowly and steadily.  Add poppy seeds and give a pulse to combine.  Transfer to a serving bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.  Keep in the refrigerator.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Epic Sticky Buns with Sourdough Starter


I have previously posted a recipe for sticky buns in tribute to an awesome lunch lady from my youth.  Today I tweaked her recipe just a bit, combining it with a KA recipe for sourdough buns.  The result was a sticky bun worthy of my memories!  Even better than the original batch.  They were light, fluffy, tender and perfectly flavored with just the right amount of sticky.  The kind of bun where you unwrap it slowly from the outside and savor each round closer to the center.  Sticky perfection.  Yes, I am super happy with this recipe.  Partly because it is yet another way to use my awesome new sourdough starter from the Gold Rush.

Sourdough Sticky Buns
makes 12

Dough:
½ cup sourdough starter (fed or unfed)
3 cups light spelt flour
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1¼ tsp salt
1 egg
4 tbsp softened butter
½ cup water (use 2/3 c if using all purpose flour)

Filling:
3 tbsp butter, very soft
2-3 tbsp sugar

Sticky layer:
6 tbsp butter
5 tbsp honey
¾ cup light brown muscovado sugar

Melt and stir together the ingredients for the sticky layer in a saucepan until mixture is fully incorporated together.  Pour into the bottom of a 9x13" pan and set aside.

Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl or mixer and knead to make a soft and slightly sticky dough.  Let rest for 5 minutes and knead one or two more times until smooth.  Allow to rise, covered, for 1½ - 2 hours until almost doubled in bulk.

Knead a couple times to deflate the dough and place on a lightly greased work surface.  Use your fingers to gently push and pat the dough into a rectangle about 12x16".  Spread the dough evenly with the very soft butter.  Then sprinkle with a light coating of sugar.

Roll up the dough from the long side into a log.  It will be soft, just work carefully.  Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and place, cut side down, onto the sticky layer in the pan.  Cover and allow to rise for about an hour.  The dough will be very soft and puffy and they will have expanded to touching.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF when they are almost ready.  The dough is forgiving, I had to pop mine in the fridge for 20 minutes to run up and get the kids from school so it wouldn't over rise.  It still had terrific oven rise as well.

Bake the buns for 22-25 minutes until lightly browned.  They won't brown quite as much as regular buns because of the sourdough, but still a bit more than other sourdough recipes because of the extra sugar in the dough.


Remove pan from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then invert them onto a platter or lined board.  While they are amazing slightly warm, don't give yourself a sugar burn digging in to them too fast!  Store tightly covered.
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