It sure doesn’t feel like Autumn, yet. Maybe Los Angeles didn’t get the Starbucks PSL memo, but over the last couple weeks, we’ve been experiencing days of 100+ degree weather and nights camped out in front of the air-conditioning. The term “Indian Summer” doesn’t seem to do it justice; it’s more like a triple-digit desert hell. Sure, I can spend my weekends
walking sweating along the Venice Beach boardwalk, but I would trade it all for a little sweater weather and knee-high boots.
Last Friday, in a spell of wishful, Autumn thinking, my friends and I decided to pick up pumpkins from the nearest patch and carve jack-o-lanterns. Ana even committed to wearing flannel and boots… in this heat, that’s a show of real committment. All the wishful thinking in Los Angeles didn’t help us however, and when we arrived at Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, we found that we were one of only a handful of people perusing a very, very empty pumpkin patch. Pumpkin fail?? Turns out we visited the pumpkin patch on opening day, so not necessarily a pumpkin fail. And, with a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some dark chocolate-covered pretzels and a bottle of wine, we had quite the successful girls’ night in.
With pumpkin carving festivities put on hold until the weather cools down (no one wants a baked jack-o-lantern), my pumpkin cravings had to be satisfied some other way. I’m a sucker for any recipe with pumpkin; pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, my mom’s Korean pumpkin soup made with sweet rice … I love them all equally. So when Marta recently bought some roll-and-bake pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Trader Joe’s, I obviously helped myself to
one a few rolls, and decided that I should take a stab at recreating the recipe.
I created these with a little help from Hailey and my favorite blog inspo, and the best part is that you can do most of the prep work the night before! I’ll definitely be making these sometime soon.
Anyone have any other pumpkin recipe suggestions?
Overnight Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
1 Cup of Pumpkin Puree
2 Tbsp. of Brown Sugar
1/4 Tsp. of Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp. of Salt
1/3 Cup of Milk
2 Tbsp. of Butter
1 Egg, beaten
1 Package of Instant Active Dry Yeast
2 1/2 Cups + 3-4 Tbsp. of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. of Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. of Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp. of Ground Cloves
1/4 Cup of Raisins
3 Tbsp. of Butter
1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp. of Milk
1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar
Dough: Using an electric mixer, combine the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt until completely mixed. Meanwhile, warm your milk and butter in a microwave for approximately 30 seconds. You want to make sure that the butter is slightly melted and that the milk is lukewarm — not hot. Add milk to the pumpkin mixture and mix fully. Using a lower speed on your electric mixer, add the egg, yeast, and 1 cup of the flour and mix for about a half a minute. Raise the mixer’s speed and beat the mixture for a full five minutes. Add the rest of the flour and mix until all the four is incorporated into the dough. Turn the pumpkin dough (it will be very soft) into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place for 1 hour to 1.25 hours.*
*Note: I followed Sally’s tip to help dough rise. I pre-heated my oven to 200 degrees and turned it off just before I put my dough into the oven. This gave my cinnamon roll dough the environment it needed to double in size.
Now my favorite part. Once the dough doubles in size, remove it from the warm place and punch it down to deflate the dough. Turn it onto a floured surface and kneed with you hands so that the dough comes together. Be careful to only use enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll dough to approximately a 16 X 10 inch rectangle and set aside.
Filling: Melt the butter in the microwave. Combine all dry ingredients together, pouring the butter in last. Mix fully. Spread filling evenly over the dough.
Cut the dough into even strips, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Roll tightly from one end to another and place the finished, uncooked roll into a greased pan. Now the hard part. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight!*
*Note: When you are ready to bake your cinnamon rolls, Sally suggests letting the rolls come to room temperature and then letting them rise on the counter for 1 hour. I didn’t have time to do that before work on Monday, but found that the rolls increased in size (though didn’t double) while resting in the fridge overnight. Good enough for this hungry girl!
Bake in 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cover the rolls with foil, and unwrap them for the last 15 minutes of baking to help prevent burning.
Once done, remove from the oven and drizzle with glaze.
Glaze: Combine maple syrup, milk and powdered sugar in a small bowl.
Last Thursday my friend and I had a fantastic “date night” cooking dinner, watching the food network and drinking wine. My friend has lived in NYC for a couple years, and is unfortunately as much of a foodie as me, so we’ve been feasting together way too much. We decided to cook something light…but nothing is ever too light with us. We started out thinking fresh seafood and roasted vegetables. He lives right next to Chelsea Market, which is extremely convenient as The Lobster Place has some of the freshest seafood in the city, albeit pricey. We decided on some fresh scallops. But can you really have scallops without bacon?? I think not…at least not with us.
Bacon it is. We fried up a few slices to the perfect crispiness (yes, perfect bacon skills Mike- I’m not great with meats), and tossed it with some onions, garlic and spinach to serve as a bed for our scallops. To even out the meal I threw some asparagus in the oven tossed with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. It ended up being a pretty filling meal, but at least it was carb-free, right? And delicious.
I proved myself wrong that occasionally I do have time and the willpower to cook a full meal in NYC…as long as I have a cooking buddy.
Scallops with Bacon Spinach and Asparagus for two
3 Slices Bacon
8 Medium-sized Scallops
3-4 Handfuls Spinach
1/2 Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, separated
Salt & Pepper
1 Bunch Asparagus
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon, 1/2 of the chopped garlic and salt & pepper. Place the asparagus evenly on a tray. Once the oven is heated, place the asparagus in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until done.
While the asparagus is in the oven, cook the bacon on a stove top fully and set aside on a paper towel. Leave about 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease in the pan, and discard the rest. Salt and pepper the scallops, and sear them on high heat, about 2- 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Set the scallops aside, preferably covered in tin foil to keep warm. Sautée the onions and garlic together for several minutes on medium heat. Add the spinach, and continue to stir until done. Crumble the bacon into the mixture and turn off the heat. By this time the asparagus should also be ready. Lay a bed of the spinach on a plate and place the scallops on top. Side the plate with asparagus.