Sunday, July 10, 2011

Victorian nouveau

I hate myself for loving the quasi-steampunk aesthetic that Trader Joe's has going on its packaging*.

This juice went into Hawaiian rolls. The recipe from which I adapted these inexplicably didn't say how much salt to use, so I took a wild guess. I also made the decision to knead the dough in order to smooth it out--shaggy dough equals lumpy rolls--and reduced the yeast and sugar.

As you can see, these were for spicy black bean plantain sliders with kale chips. I really loved the flavor and zing of this slider. It could have benefited, however, from the addition of some Cheddar or Monterey Jack, or maybe a spicy lime mayo; the sweetness of the burger and bun needed salt and fat.

Spicy black bean plantain burgers
10 oz black beans, cooked until soft
1 ripe plantain
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp finely minced habanero pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp cornmeal, plus more as necessary

Slice the plantain and broil it until it's soft and slightly browned. Chop half of it roughly. Mash the rest with 8 of the 10 oz black beans. Mix in the reserved beans, chopped plantain, and the rest of the ingredients. Put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to firm up somewhat. Form into patties and cook as you wish, either by pan-frying or baking until the outside is crispy.

Hawaiian rolls, adapted from here
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup melted butter, plus more for brushing
2.25 teaspoons dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

Mix the melted butter, water, juice, sugar, and yeast; wait until the yeast is foamy. Add the egg and vanilla, then stir in the flour until it's evenly incorporated. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes, then stir in the salt. Knead until smooth; the dough will be very sticky, so if you can't knead it by hand, stir instead. Allow the dough to rise for 2 hours or until doubled. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter, canola oil, or nonstick spray. Divide the dough into 16 balls of about 1.5 ounces each. Shape them into smooth balls and put 8 in each pan; allow to rise for about 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, brush the rolls with melted butter. Bake until they're golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. They're best eaten the day of baking.

*Actually, I hate myself for loving steampunk in general.

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