Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sour to be Sweet

Blood orange peels
One of the things I love most about being in business for myself is going around the country and meeting new customers. Last month, Leslie and I went to San Diego California for the Celiac Awareness Tour event. We sold out of product, met lots of wonderful folks, made new friends, and spent a few extra days touring around. It was on a "Touring day" that this story begins:

In a San Diego farmer's market I tasted the best raisins I'd ever put in my mouth. They'd been sun-dried by R & L Farms, and if you can get your hands on some, by all means do. I wish right now that I had more - but alas they were all consumed before I ever got on the plane to come home.

A short time later my wife and I stopped at a farm stand on the way to Safari Park. A farm stand is a magic kingdom and I can't pass by. There I bought the smallest, yet tastiest, blood oranges, some of which did make it all the way back to New Jersey.

Ingredients for Easter rolls
Roll additives. No chemicals here!
The morning after we were home I flipped open the paper and came to this article about Easter bread. Interesting, I thought, somewhat jolted by the realization that Easter and Passover were upon me. I put the paper aside. I had 'way too much inventory to re-build after the success of the Southern California C.A.T. to think too deeply about holidays, religious or otherwise.

And then it was Palm Sunday. My in-laws wanted to go out for dinner. I wanted to make some dinner rolls. The deadline was tight -  I'd slept in. And with that, everything came together and I knew what to make. Scrounging around in the 'fridge I came up with raisins, a blood orange, some rather old dried apples, a small chunk of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, a few walnuts and a partial package of Classic Sourdough bread mix. (I'd kept this latter chilled for biscuits. See recipe in an earlier blog post)

Easter fruit-and-cheese rolls
I used a variety of "dustings".
In a few minutes I'd chopped the walnuts, apple chunks and orange peel, carefully diced the cheddar and measured the flour. Knowing the results needed to be done by 1:00 (it was already 10:00) I opted to make small-ish rolls. I formed them with a 1 1/4" trigger scoop and baked them with the "turkey roaster" technique.

And did the in-laws love them!

Easter rolls with tooth marks

Yes, that's a bite mark! Indeed, they (the rolls) were such a fun combination of sweet, sour, crunchy and fatty mouth sensations I could barely keep my own hands off them.

I'd like to suggest some of these for your next meal. They're fast, easy and rather good. Feel free to substitute different dried fruits, cheeses and nuts. Just be careful not to overdo the cheese. It likes to expand and then drool in the oven, and too much will make your rolls into hole-filled messes. That warning aside, rolls like these give you lots of leeway. They're a fun and seasonal twist to gluten-free sourdough.

The Recipe

about 10 small dinner rolls.

1 package Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread Classic Sourdough bread mix
3 TBLS raisins
1 1/2 TBLS coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 TBLS chopped, dried tart apple (I used Lodi)
3 tsp chopped fresh blood orange peel
1 cup warm water (100 - 110 F)
1 1/2 TBLS  extra-sharp cheddar cheese, chopped into 1/4" cubes
Gluten-free flour, chia seeds, sesame seeds or similar for topping.

Medium bowl
Stirring spoon
Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread support sheet or piece of aluminum foil, about 8" X 12", lightly oiled
Roaster top or similar oven-proof cover (see "Rolls and Buns" website page)
1 1/4" to 1 1/2" trigger scoop
Cookie sheet

1) Chop walnuts, apple and cheese. Peel orange and chop. Measure flour into bowl. Add raisins, orange peel, walnuts and apple. Stir well. Add water and stir until all flour is wet. Set aside.

2) After about 5 minutes, return and stir dough vigorously about 50 strokes. Gently fold in cheese. Lay the support sheet or aluminum foil on the cookie sheet. Dip the trigger scoop into water. Scoop up a hemisphere of dough, push the dough firmly into the scoop with the back of a wet spoon, and drop the hemisphere onto the support sheet/aluminum foil. Continue scooping and placing hemispheres, allowing at least 1" on all sides of each, until all dough is used.

3) Using the back of a wet metal spoon, gently smooth each roll. Sprinkle with gluten-free flour, chia seeds, sesame seeds, other seeds or nothing. Cover cookie sheet with roaster top and place on middle rack in the oven. Turn oven to 400 F.

4) When oven is fully heated set timer to 40 minutes. Rolls will be done and moist at 40 minutes, done and slightly dryer at 50 minutes. They should be a dark buckskin color. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool at least 20 minutes before eating.

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