27 November 2006

Notes on Thanksgiving recipes

For Thanksgiving this year, I volunteered to bring dinner rolls and a vegetarian entrée. I figured since I was taking the week off, I would have all day on Wednesday to do the cooking.

I got the recipe for the dinner rolls from the New York Times Dining & Wine section online – Wheat & Cornmeal Cheese Rolls. It sounded interesting and calls for fresh sage. Since I still have sage in the garden, I couldn’t resist trying the recipe.

Here are a couple of observations. First, this dough is very sticky when kneading it. I’ve had similar experience with other bread dough that uses cooked cornmeal as an ingredient with the yeast and wheat flour. I kneaded in way more white flour than the recipe calls for, and it still was sticky when I put it in the bowl for raising. However, after raising, the dough was nice and soft and not too hard to work with.

Secondly, as noted, I made the rolls on Wednesday, then I stored them in plastic bags for transport to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving. When we ate them on Thursday, I felt that they were tough. I should have freshened them for five minutes in the oven, and I think they would have been better. In fact, I have been toasting them for breakfast this week, and they turn out very well. (When I split the rolls for toasting, there’s a nice spiral of cheese and sage in the middle. Very fun.) So if you make the recipe and don’t eat the rolls when you make them, try warming them in the oven, or toasting them, and I think you’ll like them better.

Finally, I made the rolls with cheddar cheese. It works very well, but I wish I would have made one batch with goat cheese, as the recipe recommends. I think it would be an interesting flavor.

The vegetarian recipe – Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables – came from Giada De Laurentiis show, Everyday Italian on the Food Network. I’ve had the recipe since she made it on a show that was aired last May. Instead of using zucchini and summer squash, I used a butternut squash, peeled and cubed.

The dish strongly resembles a lasagna recipe I’ve made with roasted vegetables. I felt that it needs more cheese (and that would make it even more like lasagna). I think you could double the quantity of the fontina and mozzarella.

So here are the recipes:

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