Sunday, March 15, 2009


I was playing around online this weekend and saw a recipe for Kolaches. I was curious about them because I had seen a recipe for Kolaches in Rebecca Rather's, The Pastry Queen cook book The first comment on the blogger's site mentioned The Pastry Queen cook book and I took this to mean I HAD to make these babies for breakfast Saturday morning. So at 10pm Friday night I got started making the dough.

When I told Alex I was making this recipe he told me it was a Polish recipe his family used to make when he was a kid. I told him the recipe said it was a Czech recipe so we agreed to call it an Eastern European recipe. It is fun to find family history in food!

The original recipe says it yield 16 to 18 buns, but I have found these recipes make nearly double what the recipe says it does so I halved the recipe. I have included the full recipe...but I am warning you in advance!

2 cups milk
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup luke warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoons salt
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Peach Filling:
2 cups pitted, chopped peaches
1 cup good quality peach jam - we used my spiced peach jam
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
To make the dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until it begins to steam and form a skin; do not boil. cool for 10 to 15 minutes until it registers 110 to 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Dissolve the yeast in the luke warm water and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Melt the butter. Let cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Add the cooled milk and yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour to the batter, 2 cups at a time. User your hands or a wooden spoon to mix the flour with the wet ingredients. Keep adding the flour until it is completely incorporated and the dough begins to hold together. use a light touch; don't pound or overwork the dough or you'll get tough kolaches. The dough will be sticky, moist, and light.
Lightly grease a large bowl with vegetable oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, 1 or 2 hours (a dent should remain when the dough is touched lightly). Leaving the dough in the bowl, punch it down until it deflates. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

I am not a born baker and I am a VERY slow learner. See this picture. This is what my dough looked like the next morning. It didn't rise at all for me in the 1 1/2 I let it rise in a warm oven. I was worried I destroyed the recipe because I am not friendly with yeast...but the recipe is VERY forgiving. Thank goodness!!!

For the peach filling: combine 2 cups pitted, chopped peaches with 1 cup good quality peach jam in a medium bowl.

Grease a 12 by 17 inch baking sheet with butter or cooking spray. With lightly oiled fingertips, shape the dough into 2 1/2 inch-diameter balls, about the size of small limes. arrange the balls evenly on the baking pan.

To fill the kolaches, user your thumb or finger to make a generous indentation in the middle of each dough ball. mount about 1 heaping teaspoonful of peach filling in the indentation. Cover the rolls with a clean tea towel and let the rolls rise in a warm, draft free place until almost doubled in size. About 1 hour. THIS is where the recipe was forgiving of me. I put the kolaches in a warm oven and the DID double in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the streusel topping: user your hands or a food processor to mix the flour, sugar, and butter until crumbly. Scatter the topping over the kolaches just before baking.

Bake the kolaches until lightly browned on top 25 to 30 minutesCook the Kolaches for 20 minutes before serving.

Rebecca Rather includes several variations to this recipe at the end of the recipe. Once of those variations is for cheese-filled Kolaches. I used a combination of the cheese and peach filling for my Kolaches.

For cheese-filled Kolaches: combine 1 14-ounce carton dry-curd cottage cheese (I used cream cheese) with 1/4 cup sugar, the grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 egg yolks.

This recipe was pretty dang good. I liked it because it sounds pretty decadent, but it turned out to be a great combination of sweet and bread. Alex LOVED these babies!!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Love of Cookbooks

I tell you is the BEST website! I have scored something like 7-10 cookbooks on this site for 50% off the sale price when all is said and done. My most recent purchase was Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer. This is a fun Cajun cookbook by a chef from New Orleans. I found a pretty sweet recipe for Caribbean Crab Pilaf with Coconut Milk.

The flavors in this dish sounded awesome together. I'd like to say it was everything I thought it would be, but the flavors weren't as strong as I would have liked them to be and it was DEFINITELY better the next day after the flavors had an opportunity to meld together.

Caribbean Crab Pilaf with Coconut Milk:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups medium- or long-grain rice
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and diced - we didn't peel it...that's too much work
1 pound lump crab meat, picked free of shells
1 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
Hot sauce
1 /4 cup finely sliced scallions
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and/or cilantro, optional

Heat the oil and butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then add the curry powder and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Add the rice and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato, crabmeat, coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water, bitters, lime juice, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand covered for an additional 10 minutes. Stir the rice and season it with the salt and hot sauce. Serve garnished with scallions and herbs.
O.K. here are the pointers you REALLY should not miss out on. 1 teaspoon of salt is no where near enough to make this flavorful. I took leftovers to work the day after we made this and I had to steal salt from the nasty restaurant downstairs. :) Also, the recipe says the basil or cilantro garnish is is NOT optional. Next time I am going to use chicken stock instead of water for some added flavor.

I definitely think you should try this out. It has a great mesh of flavors.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I love to collect cook books. Every time I travel I like to pick up a new cook book that will remind me of the area. Six ago I visited San Francisco with some friends and spent a day in Sonoma wine tasting, of course. At one of the winery's I found by dream cook book. 'Potatoes, from mash to fries.' I LOVE potatoes! The funny thing is I have only ever made this recipe from the book.

This recipe is AWESOME! It reminds me of living on my own because it was cheap to make and really yummy. I used to make this with nutritional yeast when I was vegan. :) This recipe has a lot of memories for me and I hope it it creates memories for you too.

1 medium potatoes, cut in 1/4 inch dice
3 scallions
3/4 cups canned corn kernels, drained
1 or 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
3 oz. queso fresco
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Cuban Chorizo diced - this isn't a part of the original recipe, but you can add anything you want!


I don't like the recipe the book has for pastry dough because if you have been reading my blog you know I sucked at making pastry dough until I scored a sweet recipe from my friend Jen.

Parboil the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain well, and let cool. Combine the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl, stir in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Follow instructions for the pastry.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch think, the cut out 16 rounds, 5 inches in diameter, using a small saucer as a guide. Knead and re-roll any trimmings. Place 1 tablespoon filling on each round a little off center. I made mine a little bigger and use more filling.

Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little water and fold in half over the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges together to seal them.

The recipe calls to fry these babies in a deep pan filled 1/2 way up with oil at 375 for about 3-5 minutes until brown. That is too much oil for me so I bake these at 375 for about 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

These make great snacks or a yummy meal.

I never used up all the filling so I used the leftovers to make a breakfast burrito with them. YUM!!!!!!