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Foodie Giveaway: Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn

 18693752I’m Swedish, which makes me sexy, and I’m Irish, which makes me want to talk about it.

So starts Kathleen Flinn’s entertaining foodie biography about her family, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good. I’m halfway through the book and it’s pretty good so far. Here’s the publisher’s excerpt:

A family history with recipes, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good offers a flavorful tale spanning three generations as Flinn returns to the mix of food and memoir readers loved in her New York Times bestseller, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. From a Route 66 trek to San Francisco to their Michigan farm to the shores of Florida, humor and adventure define her family even in the worst of times. You’ll savor Uncle Clarence’s divine corn flake-crusted fried chicken, Grandpa Charles’s spicy San Antonio chili, and Grandma Inez’s birthday-only cinnamon rolls. Through these flavors, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories and cooking can be communication. Brimming with warmth and wit, fans of Luisa Weiss’s Mr. Berlin Kitchen, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones and Butter, and especially Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will delight in this revealing look at a family that just might resemble your own.

The publisher loves this book so much that they’re shipping one copy to one lucky reader. To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment. I’ll randomly pick a winner on August 28th. The contest is limited to readers in the United States. Good luck.

The contest is closed! Thank you all for entering. The lucky winner has been contacted.

cookbooks, Cooking, Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking: Donuts!!

14618917My son, Oliver, begged me for weeks to make donuts. We’ve made cookies, cakes, and even cinnamon rolls before but never donuts. Last weekend, I reluctantly agreed. Oliver downloaded a sample of Jessica Segarra’s Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your “Hole” Day and went to work. Even though he’s only ten, he refused to let me help him. These donuts are so good, I couldn’t help but say “oh my God,” when I took my first bite.

Glazed Fried Mini Donut

            Yields 26 Mini Donuts and 26 Mini Donut Holes or 14 regular-sized donuts

Prep Time: 2 ½ hours  Cook time: 2-5 minutes

For Donuts

2 tablespoons warm water

1.25-ounce envelope fast-rise yeast

¾ cup warm whole milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

3 tablespoons shortening or lard

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying

For Glaze

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if you are going to knead the dough by hand), mix together warm water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Add milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening, and 1 cup of flour. Mix on medium-low for 2 minutes, then switch to the dough hook. Slowly add the remaining 1 ½ cup of flour, ½ cup at a time. Once you have added all the flour, knead on medium for 2-3 minutes, until dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Turn up the speed to medium-high, and continue to knead dough for 3-4 minutes, until dough is smooth. [Keep some extra flour on hand in case you need it like we did.]

3. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. Place bowl in a warm area (or in an oven preheated to 200˚F and then turn off) for about 1 hour. Dough is ready when it has doubled in size.

4. Transfer raised dough to a lightly floured surface, and carefully roll out until it is ½” thick. Cut out donuts with a floured 2” biscuit cutter, and then cut out the center of each donut with a floured 1” biscuit cutter.

5. Place donuts and donut holes on a lightly floured cookie sheet, and cover again with a slightly damp tea towel. Place in a warm area (or in an oven preheated to 200˚F and then turned off) for about 1 hour. Dough is ready when it has doubled in size.

6. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet or a deep fryer to 350˚F.

7. Once oil is hot, working with 4 to 6 donuts at a time, carefully drop donuts into oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown; flip each donut and fry the other side.

8. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towel or newspaper. Continue this process until each donut has been fried.

9. Place wax paper under a wire rack to collect any drippings for any easy cleanup. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together milk and vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar, whisking until smooth.

10. While the donuts are still warm, dip the top of each donut and donut hole into the glaze, transfer to a wire rack, and let set for 5 minutes. Serve immediately; donuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days but are best served fresh.

Note: Oliver didn’t like it the glaze, so we ended up dipping the warm donuts into cinnamon and sugar. We used 1 stick of melted butter, ½ cup of sugar and 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon, dipping the donuts into the butter than the cinnamon and sugar mixture. We used a mason jar top to cut the donuts out and the tip of a piping bag (you know, the ones used for icing cakes) to make the donut holes.

cookbooks, Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking: Spotlighting The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Weekend Cooking is a weekly meme hosted by Candace over at Beth Fish Reads. Have a food-related posted this week, why not join the fun?

One of my goals for this year is to cook something with my daughter every week. She’s ten and has decided that she wants to be a chef when she’s older. So each week, we’ve been in the kitchen fixing some of our favorite meals together.

I recently found out about The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day. I love looking through cookbooks but I love cookbooks that focus on sweets more, so I was pretty interested. The book is expensive and my library doesn’t have a copy, so I decided to wait before I bought it. My waiting paid off because the cookbook was featured as a Nook Find just a few days ago. I hurried and bought a copy.

I’ve been reading the cookbook and there are many recipes that I want to try like the Cinnamon-Sour Cream Coffee. Or maybe I’ll try the couple’s Ham and Cheese Pastry Puffs. What I really like is that in the beginning of the book, the authors explain the importance of temperature and gives readers a list of the spices used throughout the book. Readers can easily go from one recipe to the next without worrying if a certain spice is in stock. Another great thing about this cookbook is that a picture is included with each recipe. I hate trying to figure out whether or not my creation looks like it’s supposed to.

Have you discovered any new cookbooks this week?