A New Start

Why hello again,

I know it’s been quite a long time since I’ve written, and I think it’s time to get back in the swing of things…

or maybe I should say the “spring” of things.
I don’t know what it is about this season, but it’s inspired me to focus more on myself and the things I love.

A lot of my writing recently has been for things that I’m required to do. The Bachelors program at the Culinary is heavily based upon writing, which isn’t a bad thing, considering that it’s made me a master at cranking out two-to-three page papers in a minuscule amount of time. Besides my school work, I write for several other publications that take up a decent amount of my time.

So now it’s time for me to write for me. And say whatever it is I feel like saying!
Like…

“oh hey, it’s ramp season here at the CIA…
except people caught on and now they’re all gone…”

or

“I’m so glad I’m back to blogging again…
and by the way I’ve also started a business
that is attached to my blog! Check it out, yeahhhh!”

But enough of that. Let’s get to the food:

Today’s recipe features a specialty that appears right around this time of year in the nearby woodland areas of the Hudson Valley… wild ramps! As I mentioned earlier, they go pretty quickly, so I was fortunate to enjoy this delicious meal with some close (and very talented) friends. It took only 20 minutes to prepare, and was the perfect thing to enjoy in the newly-emerging springtime.

Fettucine with Wild Ramps, Asparagus, and “4-Minute-Poached” Egg

1 pound Fettucine pasta
8 ounces wild ramps, cleaned and cut
1 pound asparagus, tips only, cleaned
two tablespoons butter
3 eggs
salt, parmesan cheese, and truffle oil to taste

- Cook fettucine in boiling water that has been generously salted until al dente (about 4-5 minutes)
– Place eggs in a separate pot of simmering water and set your timer for 4 minutes. If the timer goes off before you are ready to serve, hold the eggs in warm water until needed
– Meanwhile, saute the asparagus and ramps in the butter until tender.
– Once Pasta is finished, drain and add it to the asparagus and ramp mixture. Saute to combine, adding a spoonful or two of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
–  When ready to plate, portion pasta and crack one egg over each portion. Finish with shaved parmesan cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Enjoy!!!

A great accompaniment to this dish is some toasted bread with fresh tomato, a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of sea salt, YUM.
—–
Take an afternoon and enjoy all of the bounty springtime has to offer you!

Stay hungry and curious,

Blayre 

Gooey Pecan Sticky Buns

Let’s Face It:

I looovveeee brown sugar.

No really, I’m serious. I will eat the stuff by itself, right out of the bag. When I was young, I would eat so much of it while my Mom and I were baking, that she would tell me that worms would grow in my stomach if I ate too much!

Clearly, that didn’t stop me, since Brown Sugar and I are still quite in love.

So, for my first blog post ever, I thought I’d indulge you. One of my favorite ways to pay homage to this lusciousness is to throw it in with some cinnamon, add some pecans, a little heavy cream, and of course, some butter, and toss the entire thing over an egg and butter-enriched dough. oh. baby. I went there.

Pecan Sticky Buns

Taken from the Culinary Institute of America's 
Breakfasts and Brunches Cookbook

Sticky Bun Dough:

2 1/2 tsp Active Dry yeast
3/4 cup milk, warmed to 110F
4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans

Cinnamon Smear:

1/2 cup bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 large egg whites

Pan Smear:

1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Combine yeast and milk in an electric mixer bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
2. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and salt.
Mix on low using the dough hook just until the dough comes together.
Add as much of the remaining flour to the mixture as needed so dough is no longer sticky.
3. Increase the mixer speed to develop the gluten within your dough. For my bakers out there, you’re looking for improved gluten development (the dough should form a pane, but not be too elastic). For those making this recipe at home, you want the dough to be able to stretch without easily breaking, and not be too sticky. This should take about 5-7 minutes of mixing time on a higher speed.
4. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 2 hours. Punch down and allow to rise again until double, about 1 hour.
5. While dough is rising, prepare the pan smear:

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat to 200F,
using a thermometer and stirring constantly.
Once up to temperature, let cool to room temperature.

6. and the cinnamon smear:

Mix all ingredients but the egg whites on medium speed with the paddle attachment until combined.
Add egg whites one at a time until the mixture becomes a paste.
Set aside.

7.  Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 8 x 14 inches, using extra flour to keep it from sticking to the table. Brush a one-inch strip of egg wash along the edge closest to you. Spread cinnamon smear on the rest of the dough.
8. Roll the dough starting on the side opposite of the egg wash. Once rolled, seal the seams together and cut into about 12 equal rolls.
9. Pour the room-temperature pan smear in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle the pecans on top, followed by the rolls. 10. At this point, the rolls can either be refrigerated overnight, or even frozen (make sure they come back to room temperature before baking). Otherwise, bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to one hour, checking periodically for doneness during baking. As soon as the Sticky Buns come out of the oven, invert immediately onto a sheet pan and remove the 13 x 9 pan to reveal Brown Sugar goodness!!!

Happy Baking :]