Monday, April 14, 2014

Cream Cheese Danish

Our kids officially started their spring break today, and we celebrated with this delicious pastry for breakfast. The recipe makes 2 loaves and we only ate one today, so we get to enjoy the other one for breakfast tomorrow. I like recipes like that!

This is a good recipe for a late breakfast. You mix up the dough the night before, then it rises in the fridge overnight and you roll it out, fill it, and bake it in the morning. The kids and I really enjoyed it, though one didn't care for the filling. The rest of us loved the whole thing. Because it takes so long to finish in the morning, it's definitely not an everyday breakfast, but worked really well for a special occasion and I want to make it again sometime.

Cream Cheese Danish
(adapted from Taste of Home)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (didn't have any on hand, I just used whole milk soured with some vinegar)
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (I used whole eggs, why separate the eggs if you don't absolutely have to?)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup jam, jelly, or preserves (used grape jelly)
Powdered sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the sugar, butter, eggs and sour cream. Gradually add salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour (the dough will be soft and sticky). Place in a greased bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 2-3 times. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 16-in. x 10-in. oval; place on greased baking sheets.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Spread 1-1/4 cups filling over each oval to within 1 in. of edges. Fold longest sides over filling to meet in the middle; pinch edges to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

 Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Spread jam on top. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Kitchen My World - Belize

Belize was the MKMW country for March. I know that I'm posting in April, but since we made and ate this meal yesterday, technically it still counts for March.

Belize is a small country in Central America, between Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. The food is similar to both Mexican and Jamaican/Anglo-Caribbean cuisine.

One of the basic staples of Belizean cuisine is stewed chicken served with beans and rice. The recipe I found for the chicken does not use recado (a Mayan spice blend), and the beans and rice use coconut milk. This was a delicious meal. My favorite part was the sauce made from the pan drippings. The onions just melted into the chicken drippings, and it all came together to make a very flavorful gravy that I really enjoyed.

Belizean Stewed Chicken
(from Belize News Post)
4 lbs of chicken cut into pieces, drumsticks and thighs seem to work best, bone in (I used two leg quarters)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil, or enough to just cover the bottom of the pot
1 small yellow or Spanish onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water (I used extra water, it was too thick at first)

Mix salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic (garlic powder can be substituted) creating a rub. Season chicken with salt, pepper, thyme and garlic mixture.

Heat two tablespoons (or enough to fully cover the bottom of the pan) of oil in large dutch oven or stewing pot over moderately high heat.

Place the chicken in the pan starting skin down. Brown chicken, turning pieces once, about 5 minutes per side.

As chicken browns, add onions, cover pan and simmer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes so chicken will stew. Recipes vary on the amount of time, many call for 1-2 hours of stewing. Make sure your chicken is fully cooked before enjoying! (Mine stewed for about half an hour before the chicken was done).

After the chicken has finished cooking add a few teaspoons of water to skillet and the flour to thicken the gravy.

Belizean Beans and Rice
(adapted from Belize News Post)
1 large can beans (I used a combination of several types, including black, navy, and pinto)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
2 lbs. rice (I only used 1 1/2 cups, whatever that ends up weighing)

Season beans with black pepper, thyme, and salt. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water. Stir and taste. Let boil.

Add rice to seasoned beans. Stir, then cover. Cook until water is absorbed or rice is tender. If necessary, add more water gradually until rice is tender.