Sunday, August 1, 2010

D for Donut

This morning was primed to be a true toddler's delight, featuring mommy and me homemade donut making. Isabella had gone over to Mumsie's (my mother) last night for a sleepover, and in order to ease Josephine's disquietude at being left behind, Daddy promised her donuts. Now, this is a very "daddy thing", taking the children out for donuts on special mornings, and as every parent needs to carve out memorable rituals for their children, I overlook this. But invariably the girls always pick the bright pink and multi colored concoctions that I know will leave them with a sugar high until dinner time. I decided that there must be a better way, a homemade way, to indulge in sugary fried dough. So I did what any savvy mom would do- I one upped my husband. "Since Sissy is gone, wouldn't you like to have special time in the kitchen with Mommy and make our very own donuts?".... Worked like a charm. Except that it backfired. Or really misfired is more like it. I woke up early to have all of the ingredients apportioned out and at the ready, and the poor thing woke up with a fever and cough that made even the position of chief donut maker sound unappealing. I attempted to hold her while I assembled the dough so that perhaps she would get some sort of vicarious excitement, but instead she threw up. I felt SO bad. After setting Josephine up in the living room with blankets and a movie (ah, the perks of illness), I reconvened in the kitchen to finish off the donuts. Ordinarily I would have scrapped the whole enterprise, but since Isabella was also expecting donuts upon her return, I figured it better to not have two disappointed little girls (and Josephine could have some later if she began feeling better). So I finished the fried confections with fair enough results- the first batch in the oil cooked a little too quickly on the outside leaving a overly dough-y center, but that was easily enough rectified by turning the heat down a notch. After a slight cool down period and a dunk in cinnamon sugar, they were good as golden, and didn't last long! As for Josephine, she began feeling better after a day of rest and a dinner of homemade chicken soup.

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

vegetable oil for frying
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBS baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup apple juice
2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

-heat 1 inch of oil in a large pot to 375 degrees on a deep fry/candy thermometer
-meanwhile whisk together the dry ingredients (excluding the cinnamon-sugar) in a large bowl, and the wet ingredients in a medium bowl
-add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until thick
-transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead a few times (the dough will be loose and sticky)
-roll or pat the dough into a 1 inch thickness and cut the donuts with a floured donut cutter (roll scraps back together and cut out again)
-carefully fry the donuts a few at a time 1 minute or 2 per side, until golden (reduce the heat as needed)
-remove and drain on paper towels, paper plates, or a wire rack
-coat in the cinnamon sugar and enjoy!

Visit the Confections & Confessions page on Facebook for the step by step photo diary.

'Whatever You've Got, Put It In The Pot' Chicken Soup

the essentials:
rotisserie chicken
olive oil
an onion, chopped
some carrots, chopped
some celery, chopped
salt and pepper

garlic (pretty important, but it is still chicken soup without it)
small pasta shapes
greens (spinach, chard, kale), washed and chopped/torn
tomatoes, chopped
fresh herbs (thyme, sage)
parmesano reggiano or pecorino romano cheese, for serving

Shred the meat off of your roast chicken and reserve in a medium bowl. Put all of the bones and scraps in a large pot and cover with water. Add celery scraps, carrot scraps, and onion peelings to the pot, along with some herb sprigs if you like. Bring to a simmer, and cook for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours (obviously the longer you simmer the stock, the more flavor it will have).
Using a slotted spoon or sieve, remove everything that is not liquid from the pot and discard. Then transfer the broth to another large bowl or pot and reserve. Add a few TBS of olive oil to the soup pot over medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft and fragrant. Then add the celery and carrots and cook until soft, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Put the stock back into the pot, along with the reserved chicken meat, any greens you are using, the the tomatoes if you like, more salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium low, cooking for at least 20 minutes before serving. During this time you can cook rice or pasta to package directions and then add to the soup pot. Ladle into bowls and serve with parsley or cheese sprinkled on top, if you have it. : )

On a personal note (really this blog is just one big personal note, but what the hey)...
As I sit here at my laptop, eating my very vanilla ice cream that I laced with leftover chocolate crackle cookies, I am reminded of why I began this blog, 6 long months ago (my, so much has happened since then!). To connect. To connect to other moms/foodies out there in need of comic relief and inspiration, and to connect back with myself for largely the same reasons. Thank you for giving me that platform. Thanks for reading.


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