Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls

Delicious yeast rolls packed full of cinnamon, sugar and plump raisins!

As a kid, I knew that cinnamon rolls were something that my Mom generally made during the holiday season. Early in the morning, I’d stumble into the kitchen and find her standing there with a piece of dough that covered our entire countertop (it was a pretty big countertop). Once she had it all rolled out, she’d cover it with a light layer of butter, sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar and then precisely scatter the raisins on top. Then seemingly with an effortless ease, she’d roll up the dough and slice it into generous rolls. Then the rolls would have a nice warm rise before they were baked to golden perfection in the oven.

Although my opinion is quite biased, I must say that my mom makes the best cinnamon rolls. This recipe is a close second but let’s face it, nothing is as good as mom’s.

 

 

Here’s the recipe:

Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls

     Recipe by: EE Winkler

For the dough:

  • 3 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBSP sunflower oil or melted butter +1 tsp for greasing the bowl (for the dough to rise)
  • 2 TBSP white sugar
  • 3 – 3.5 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:

1/2 cup butter (softened) + 1 TBSP for greasing the pan

2/3 cup sugar

2 TBSP ground cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins (rehydrated for 5 minutes in warm water, then drained)

For the topping:

  • 2 TBSP softened butter (to brush the warm rolls)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 TBSP milk

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Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, egg, oil (or melted butter), sugar and stir well. Then gradually add in the flour (NOTE: you may not need all of it, so add it gradually. This is something that can vary). Add enough flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Then turn the dough over onto a floured work space and knead it for about 7-10 minutes.

Then place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to rise for 60-75 minutes.

Once the dough has risen (it should have doubled in volume), remove it from the bowl and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop.

Roll the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch (approx. 1.5 cm) thick.

Then spread the softened butter evenly over the dough with your clean hands and/or a pastry brush.

Then combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top of the dough.

Scatter the raisins evenly on top of the cinnamon sugar.

Then starting from the longest side of the dough, push the edges up and begin to gently roll the dough, being sure to not have too much slack dough and that the roll is tight and stable.

Once the dough is completely rolled up, cut the dough into slices about half an inch (approx. 1.5 cm) thick.

Grease a deep baking pan with the remaining butter and then place the rolls in the pan so that they are touching, side by side.

Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and place in a warm area to rise for another 60 to 90 minutes.

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The cinnamon rolls before they rise…

Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 175C/350F.

After the cinnamon rolls have risen, they should have doubled in size.

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The cinnamon rolls after the rise

Remove the towel and place the cinnamon rolls in the oven and allow them to bake for about 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Then take them out of the oven and brush with the 2TBSP of softened butter.

Then to make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and milk adding the milk gradually until the glaze it the consistency of a thickened syrup.

Immediately drizzle the glaze on top of the cinnamon rolls.

Serve & Enjoy warm (they’re soooooo good when they’re warm)!

 

Bon Appetit!

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©All Rights Reserved Wink of an Eye 2019

 

Italian Homemade Lasagna with Ground Beef

Layers of delicate noodles, tender ground beef, rich ricotta cheese and savory marinara sauce make this lasagna a flavorful dish for any night of the week.

I grew up eating a lot of Italian food and I’ve found that it has shaped and impacted my cooking in such a positive way. Lasagna was definitely a meal that we prepared at our home and I remember always wanting to eat it right out of the oven, but we always let it set for 15-20 minutes in order to ensure that the lasagna doesn’t fall apart as you cut it.

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This recipe is my variation of Mom’s classic recipe. I make it with homemade ricotta cheese and it really adds such a nice flavor to the dish.

Here’s the recipe:

Lasagna

  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 48 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 c shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To make the marinara sauce: sauté the onions with olive oil until tender. Then add the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Season with half of the dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat.

To make the ground beef: place the ground beef  in a large pan and sauté until it is browned. Then add the garlic and the rest of the dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

To make the lasagna: Place about 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Then layer the noodles.

Then add more marinara sauce, ground beef and top with another layer of noodles.

Add some more marinara sauce on top of the noodles and then add the ricotta cheese.

Layer with another layer of noodles and add some marinara sauce the remaining ground beef.

Add another layer of noodles and cover with the marinara sauce and mozzerella cheese.

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Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese on top is melted.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Note: This can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator to bake later.

 

 

 

German Meatballs in a White Caper Dijon Sauce (Königsberger Klopse or Kochklopse)

     Tender & flavorful German meatballs, boiled in a seasoned broth and doused in a delicious dijon mustard and caper white sauce. Paired with boiled potatoes, this is one of my favorite German comfort food dishes. 

I love that there are so many practical and yet delicious recipes in German cooking. The more I learn about this beautiful cuisine, the more I am delighted to cook it.

This recipe just so happens to be a favorite of my hubby. He doesn’t always make requests for certain meals, but this one, I noticed he liked it a lot. That makes me even happier to make it for him. And you know what, I like it too. I hope you do as well.

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Here’s the recipe:

German Meatballs in a White Caper Dijon Sauce or Kochklopse or “Königsberger Klopse

For the stock:

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • salt (to taste)

For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion (finely diced)
  • 3-4 T dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3-1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

For the gravy:

  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • cooking stock (that the meatballs cooked in)
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 15-20 capers 
  • salt & pepper  (to taste, if needed)

Preparation:

Start by preparing the stock: Fill a large stock pot with water. Then add the bay leaves, capers, onion and salt. Place on the stove and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, prepare your meatballs. 

To prepare the meatballs: Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Add the onion, dijon mustard, eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, salt and pepper. 

Then mix together the mixture using your hands until it is well combined.

Then shape the meat into large balls and gently drop into the boiling stock.

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Allow the meatballs to cook for about 40-45 minutes, monitoring the water levels occasionally to ensure that there is sufficient liquid (if not, then add some more water).

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Pre-cooked…
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The meatballs are done boiling & it smells so good!

Once the meatballs are done cooking, remove them from the pot and place them on a plate.

Then place a colander in a bowl and drain the stock. Set the stock aside for the gravy.

To make the gravy: Start by making a roux. Melt the butter in your stock pot and then add the flour and whisk constantly until it comes together. Then add the stock liquid while whisking constantly until smooth.

Bring to a boil and add the dijon mustard, capers, salt and pepper and whisk for anotherr minute or two.

Then add the meatballs back into the gravy.

Serve with boiled potatoes and enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

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Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Creamy, comforting and delicious homemade macaroni and cheese! Comfort food at its finest and a throwback to childhood.

Macaroni and cheese in my household was an art. In fact, I never knew about the box version until I went to my best friend’s house at the age of 5. Her mom was making a the box version of Macaroni and Cheese and our conversation went a little something like this:

“What are you making?” I asked.

“Macaroni and cheese,” replied my friend’s mom.

“But you’re making it from a box and on the stove. That’s not how you make it,” I replied.

“It’s how you make it at our house,” replied my friend’s mom.

Kudos to my friend’s mom for giving a sassy answer to my sassy question, lol! But seriously, the way I learned to make macaroni and cheese always involved an oven. It was BAKED macaroni and cheese the Southern way (if ya’ll know what I mean).

Anyway, although there is NOTHING quite like my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese (passed down from Grandma’s recipe, hello!), my version of a stove top homemade mac and cheese is a close second for me. Plus… it’s really quick and simple to prepare so that’s a bonus. Especially since this recipe was curated from my old NYC apartment when I was super hungry and in need of some comfort food. Just a few basics and voila, deliciousness! (Is deliciousness a word? Hmmm, I don’t know but you know what I’m saying).

Here’s the recipe, it’s love at first bite (seriously, it’s legit!)

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Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

  • 1.5 c dry macaroni (pre-boiled)
  • Bechamel sauce (per my recipe–find it here)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 c cheese (your favorite of course –cheddar, provolone, mozzarella or even all 3! Let’s get crazy, lol!)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Follow the instructions for the Bechamel Sauce Recipe.

Bechamel STEP 7 Final Whisk

Then add 1 cup of milk to the bechamel sauce and bring back to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese and keep stirring until it’s melted. Then add the cooked macaroni and stir thoroughly until it is well coated with the cheese sauce.

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Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper (as needed).

Serve and Enjoy!

Mmmmmm….

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Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Creamy, smooth and so delicious — there’s nothing like mashed potatoes made from scratch!

Mashed potatoes is one of the most quintessential foods of my childhood. Thankfully, in my house it was not just reserved for holidays but also for Sunday suppers or even for weekday dining. I learned how to prepare mashed potatoes through watching my mom. She doesn’t have a recipe but rather she simply knows when it’s right, and it always is. Thanks mom for teaching me how to make mashed potatoes and many other dishes.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • 1 c milk
  • 3-4 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt (to taste).

Peel the potatoes and chop them into even size pieces.

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Rinse the potatoes and then add them to the pot of boiling water.

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While the potatoes are boiling: add the milk and 3 tablespoons of butter to a small sauce pot and cook until just warmed through but not boiling.

Cook them until they are fork tender and then drain and rinse the potatoes.

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Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl or back in the pot and set aside.

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Pour the milk and butter mixture over the potatoes, half at a time, and mash with a whisk, a masher, or even a fork. (Note: I like my mashed potatoes a bit chunky but if you don’t then you can mix them together in a hand mixture or stand mixture).

Once the potatoes are fully mashed, pour them into a bowl. Top with a tablespoon of butter right in the middle.

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Serve and Enjoy!

 

Shepherd’s Pie

Don’t let the name fool you; this pie is anything but sweet. A savory delicious blend of meat and veggies and topped with fresh mashed potatoes and then baked to perfection.

Technically, this was the first home cooked meal I made for my husband. I had a limited amount of time but I wanted to make something really good. This meal was a good choice. He really liked it and it’s still a great meal that I keep in my cooking rotation.

I love Shepherd’s Pie because it’s a great meal to make when you’re not sure what people like to eat. It’s meat, potatoes and vegetables all packed into one dish. Plus, it’s a natural comfort food. You just take a bite and your taste buds will dance with glee. Creamy mashed potatoes with savory ground beef, Mmmm. It’s so good and uncomplicated.

For My Vegetarian Friends, here’s my proposed vegetarian version:

Sautéed mushrooms instead of ground beef. True, you’ll need a lot of mushrooms. But, I think mushrooms make the perfect meat-less alternative and they will undoubtedly taste amazing with the veggies and mashed potatoes.

Here’s the recipe:

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 c milk or cream
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation: 

To make the mashed potatoes: peel and chop the potatoes. Boil them until they are tender and then drain and rinse them. Heat the milk or cream with the butter in a saucepan until hot. Then pour over the potatoes and mash thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

To make the meat & veggie base of the Shepherd’s Pie:

In a large frying pan, cook the ground beef until browned. 

Add the olive oil and the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is tender.

Then add the carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

Then in a small bowl add 2 TBSP of water to the flour and whisk until smooth to create a little roux. Pour it over the beef and veggies and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

Using a large baking dish, pour the beef and veggie mixture in one even layer.

Then top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them evenly over the meat and veggies.

Bake in the oven on 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

Serve & Enjoy!

Turkish Okra Sauté (Bamya Tavasi)

The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds.

In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned.

The ground beef is seasoned with cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper. Then pistachios and almonds are added to create a unique and delicious texture to the overall dish.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 25 zucchini
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 c white rice
  • 3 TBSP pistachios
  • 2 TBSP almonds
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 c sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Clean the zucchini and cut into thirds. Core the inner part of the zucchini and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan with sunflower oil. Once hot, fry the zucchini in batches until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place them on a cooling rack.

Rinse and drain the rice. Set it aside for later.

In a small frying pan, sauté the ground beef in 2 TBSP of olive oil.  Add the rice and stir.

Then add the cinnamon, saffron, salt, pepper, pistachios and almonds and stir for 2-3 minutes more until well incorporated.

Remove from the heat.

Using a tablespoon, fill the zucchini until it’s two-thirds of the way full. Press the top together and place in a large stock pot.

Cover the zucchini with a large ceramic dish (to weigh them down in the pot) and add about 2-3 cups of hot water.

Cover and cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website