I wanted to start off by thanking all those who commented on the last post with words of encouragement, support and love. It has been difficult lately as the atmosphere every where is one of uncertainty. Violence, hate and suspicion are running rampant and I have to say, it makes me quite sad and afraid.
For the first time ever, I fear the scarf I wear on my head may bring harm to my children. They do not look foreign, my girls and my son are all fair skinned. I wonder if they are treated differently once they see I am their mother? They haven’t mentioned any negative incidents and I pray they don’t encounter any hateful actions towards them.
I have never been worried about my scarf because it has never mattered before. I have, maybe in total, encountered about 4 negative attitudes and comments about my appearance. Even after 9/11, when other Muslim women were taking off their scarves, I decided to put mine on. People asked me back then, “Aren’t you afraid?” I answered “no” because what happened then didn’t represent me or my faith. I wore my scarf proudly.
What’s happening now doesn’t represent me or my faith either, but the atmosphere is different this time. I still wear my scarf proudly but at the back of my mind, there is this nervousness for my children.
What happened at the restaurant last week was definitely a wake up call; a nasty reminder of the reality these days.
However, I will say again, I haven’t encountered anything else other than that one incident. My experience with coworkers, clients and regular people I encounter day to day, has been nothing but supportive and encouraging. I like to concentrate on these people; the ones who make an effort to smile and make conversation.
Last week, a snow fall that was predicted as “just a few inches” dumped close to a foot of snow. I was woken up at 5:30 am with my cell phone buzzing and upon answering it, found out it was the school district issuing a Snow Day. Through the sleepiness, I pull the curtain aside and see something short of a blizzard! Snow was coming down hard, swirling in all directions in a frenzy. I was really happy that I didn’t have to get up and drive kids to school in that snow storm. My husband ended up staying home too since it would’ve taken him 2 hours to get to work. The roads were bad, the motorways were piled high with snow and the snow plows were not effective.
He and I worked side by side from home sitting at the dining table. It was really nice to have him home unexpectedly. Of course, Snow Day meant that all the kids were off from school so they all went off to hang with friends. Trace and I decided to get some lunch at our local Pho place. Went down a treat with the cold weather.
The snow makes everything so festive; like gingerbread houses with a dusting of powdered sugar. Though ours was more than a dusting! One of these evenings we headed to the Denver Botanic Gardens for their Blossoms of Light festival. They decorate almost all their trees and shrubs with LED lights; SO, so beautiful. A cup of hot cocoa in one hand and a bag of roasted nuts in the other, we were quite cosy and mesmerised by the lights glittering on the trees. The cold air was invigorating and the hands did get a nip, but it was worth the little bit of cold to enjoy such a beautiful sight.
These rolls are fantastic. They are a big favourite at my class demos, and one of my most requested recipes. I haven’t had a chance to post them until now. I have made these with different cheeses and fillings. Usually, I serve these as the appetiser with sides from the olive bar or a fresh salsa. The guests enjoy these with a glass of wine before the class begins. I am always asked for the recipe and I have promised it to many wonderful folks and finally have a chance to post it.
These rolls are amazing out of a steam convection oven. If you’ve thought about getting one, my recommendation, GET ONE! They are simply great for many, many things but especially for breads.
Some variations: Piquillo Pepper and Asadero Cheese (this one is a favourite), Cheddar and Pickled Jalapeños, Roasted Red Peppers and Mozzarella, the combinations are endless. They are incredibly easy to make as well.
- 4 cups all purpose or bread flour
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 12oz/340g jar grilled Piquillo peppers
- 10.5 oz/300g goat's cheese
- 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter for brushing (optional)
- Mix the flour, yeast,salt and sugar in a bowl of a mixer.
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer and run through the mixture to aerate a little.
- Add 1 cup of warm water and mix on low.
- If the mixture looks too dry, add more water a little at a time.
- You may use all the water and need a bit more, or you may not use all the water.
- I used exactly 1 ½ cups but Colorado is dry so our flour runs dry as well.
- If you live in a humid place, you may need less.
- Just gauge the consistency; you want a nice soft, pliable dough, not sticky or dry.
- After the dough has kneaded into a ball, drop it on the counter and hand knead for a couple of minutes.
- Knead the dough into a nice smooth ball and place in a greased bowl to proof in a warm area of your kitchen.
- This will take about an hour at high altitude or 1 ½ -2 hours at sea level.
- While the dough is proofing, prepare the filling.
- From the jar, chop about the 8-10 peppers into small dice.
- How fine you want the peppers is up to you, but I don't keep the pieces too large.
- Smaller bites of the Piquillo pepper helps to roll better and your get more per bite.
- I used 10 peppers but you could use more, or less.
- Grease a 9" x 13" pan, a cake pan works great, you need something with sides.
- I have used a 10" round ceramic quiche/tart pan with 1.5" sides before as well with good results.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean counter.
- Knead a couple of times to slowly deflate.
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 11" x 15" (the size of a ½ sheet tray)
- Sprinkle the chopped Piquillo peppers evenly over the rolled out dough.
- Drop crumbles of creamy goat's cheese evenly over the peppers.
- Sprinkle the parsley and drizzle the olive oil over the filling.
- Slowly lift up the long side of the dough and begin to roll up like a Swiss roll.
- Slowly roll the dough up evenly and making sure all the filling is tucked inside.
- When you get to the end, pinch the edge of the dough together in a long seam.
- Carefully cut the dough roll in half using a serrated knife.
- Cut out six pieces from each half to make total of 12 rolls.
- You can make bigger rolls by cutting in 6 or even 4.
- Carefully place the rolls into the greased pan, leaving a little space between them.
- Keep in a warm corner to rise a second time, about 20 minutes.
- Once they have puffed up a little and are touching each other, they are ready to bake.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to:
- Conventional oven : 375F
- Convection oven : 350F
- Steam Convection oven : 350F
- For a conventional oven or a convection oven, place a small cake pan filled with ice cubes on the bottom rack.
- Place the rolls on the rack above the ice cube pan.
- Bake the rolls:
- Conventional oven : 40 minutes
- Convection oven: 30 minutes
- Steam convection: 30-35 minutes
- Check to see if they are brown, if they are to your liking, remove and cool on a rack.
- If you'd like them a little more brown, add a couple more minutes.
- The filling will make a difference in the time as well.
- This filling isn't too wet, so it took 40 minutes to brown nicely.
- Different cheeses and other wet fillings will add to the time.
- Just add time in increments until browned and also done in the centre.
**JennAir Steam oven: Use Steam Convection mode and manual entry, set the temperature to 350F, steam level to medium and time for 30 minutes.
**Wolf Steam Oven: Use Auto Steam Bake for bread and set temp at 350F
I would like to end by wishing all my readers and friends very happy holidays, a Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year. I am thankful for your support of this blog and me. I am also very thankful for your friendship and hope that it will only grow stronger in the coming year. Wishing you all the very best this holiday season, filled with much joy, happiness and prosperity from my family to yours.