A Fresh Slate
My list of New Year’s Resolutions remains a moving target as we approach mid-January. I’m likely over-thinking what to include but the simple act of documenting a list and perhaps sharing it with others makes it a daunting task.
By definition, a New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or to stop doing something bad. In reality it’s our opportunity to envision ourselves as being different than we are today. With the fresh slate of the New Year, we most often see ourselves as being healthier, exploring more hobbies, being savvy with money and spending more time with family. Some may resolve to do more lofty things like run a half-marathon, lose 25 pounds or organize the storage room.
So after some consideration, I have a few I’m willing to put in ink! My list is simple and includes achievable goals.
First, I resolve to try more types of cheese. I admit my cheese adventures rarely stray from the simple block of mild cheddar. There are more than 650 types of specialty cheeses from 60 countries. Dutch Gouda cheese was on our menu this week. Authentic Dutch Gouda is one of the world's most popular cheeses. Gouda cheese accounts for more than half of all cheese production from Holland. The cheese is named after the town of Gouda in the Netherlands. Getting a seal of approval from the Sutton household is the Gouda smashed potato recipe.
Second, I resolve to inventory, organize and replace where needed my baking stock. We moved into our home six years ago and I’m certain those upper cabinet shelves harbor some long expired spices that need repurposed to the potpourri bowl. While I’m at it, I think I will also pledge to order and explore more exotic spices in our dishes. I use a lot of cinnamon so I’m guilty of running out and then grabbing the moderately-priced jar at the local grocery. I ordered Extra Fancy Saigon Vietnamese Cinnamon which is the strongest type of cinnamon with a rich, sweet taste. Gaining the seal of approval at the Sutton household is the cinnamon roll recipe included this week. If you use the Vietnamese cinnamon you may wish to use a bit less until you taste test it.
My third resolution will make my children very happy. I resolve to make pies, cakes, cookies and candies that are “just to eat.” My kids look longingly at the multitude of goodies that are prepared, packaged and shuttled to various bake sales, church potlucks and events. They ask with hopeful faces, “Is this for us to eat?” Instead of the usual answer, I will say yes at least once a month in 2016.
These resolutions may sound relatively simple with little real impact but the underlying result is more family time around the kitchen island. Best of all was the big smiles when I said, “yes, these cinnamon rolls are for us to eat!”
Gouda Smashed Potatoes
3 lbs. Idaho potatoes or Yukon Gold, peeled and cubed
6 Tbsp. unsalted sweet cream butter
¾ c. half-and-half (heavy whipping cream, sour cream or milk can substitute)
2 c. smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place potatoes and 1 tsp. of salt in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and return potatoes to saucepan. Cook over low heat about two minutes, stirring often, until potatoes are dry. Add the butter, cream and cheese. Mash the potatoes. Add salt and pepper and fold until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve warm. One variation is to fold in six strips of chopped bacon and reserve ½ c. of the cheese. Spread the mixture into a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish and top with reserved cheese. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls
2 c. whole milk
½ c. unsalted sweet cream butter, melted
1 c. hot tap water
2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, room temperature
2 c. mashed potatoes (can be made from instant)
3 to 4 Tbsp. active dry yeast
10 c. flour
3 Tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ c. granulated sugar
Scald milk and pour in to a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter, water, sugar, salt, eggs, mashed potatoes and yeast. Mix until combined. Start adding flour slowly until a soft dough forms. Knead six to eight minutes (by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook). Shape into a ball. Place in a clean, lightly greased bowl, turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about one hour). Punch down. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll dough out into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on dough. Roll up from one of the long sides. Seal seams. Slice dough into 24 pieces. Place in greased baking pan with ends facing inward. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly and remove from pans. Drizzle with powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting.