Sunday, January 31, 2010

Midwinter's dinner

I've been feeling a bit blue all weekend (compliments of the icy weather/cabin fever) and so I decided to make a nice dinner tonight.

There has been a frozen rack of lamb in my freezer for weeks now. The mutton sighting took place @ Trader Joe's in Nashville. Due to a healthy combination of its insanely good price and my inordinate love of lamb, it found its way into my cart, my freezer and now, on my counter top thawing out. I've never cooked an entire rack of lamb before. This one has been Frenched and seasoned and everything, so it seems like it's good to go. Probably just going to get the oven good and hot and pop it in there for about 25 minutes.

Before the lamb goes in, however, I've got to bake the rolls I made to accompany it. There's nothing like fresh, homemade bread on a cold, cheerless day.

The Edible Rabbit's Basic Bread Recipe

1 packet yeast
4 cups flour (I use a mixture of half 'n half, half white, half whole wheat)
2 tablespoons butter (or oil. Any kind of fat/shortening will do)
4 tablespoons sugar (white, brown or honey)
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups water

Make sure your water is around 110 degrees (or a little warmer when the weather is cold). Place water in the bowl of your electric mixer with the yeast packet and one tablespoon of your sweetener of choice. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the yeast can come to life. Your next step is to add the flour. Put the mixer on low speed and add one cup at a time, adding no more than 3 cups. Add the butter, salt and the rest of the sugar. Mix until the dough forms at very sticky ball at the bottom of your mixer. Dump onto a well floured counter top and slowly begin adding the last cup of flour. Let the dough remain as wet as you can possibly stand. Remember: you can always add more flour, you can't take it out. Be especially careful when you are working with whole wheat flour. You may yield to the temptation to dump quite a bit in at once, but being a whole grain, it can soak up a LOT of liquid, leaving you with dry, hard dough. So just be patient.

Knead your dough for about five minutes. Place the ball of dough into a well greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until it has doubled in size, probably about and hour to an hour and a half. Punch the dough down again, knead until all air bubbled disappear. Place in a loaf pan, shape into rolls...whatever your little heart desires. Let rise for a second time.

Hey, be patient. No one said this was a quick process. Good things come to those who wait.

Bake until golden brown and delicious!

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