Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Birthday dinner - On a roll

We were finally able to have Hubby's birthday dinner tonight. I let him pick whatever he wanted. He chose chicken cheese-steaks. No, he doesn't forgo his vegetarianism for a day, and I don't ignore Kashrut for one meal... These are made with fake chicken and fake cheese! Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips are great, and Veggie Slices "cheese" actually melts pretty convincingly! Add in sauteed peppers, onions and garlic and you have a great filling. But for a steak sandwich, real or imitation, you need bread, right? Usually I buy sub rolls for these sandwiches. But for Hubby's birthday, I thought it might be nice to try my hand at homemade rolls. I have made bread in the past, and successfully at that. I have even made rolls before. But never sub rolls (or hoagie rolls, or torpedo rolls, or whatever other name you might have for them!). After looking around for some new recipes, I decided to use one I was familiar with and just adapt the shape. I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks; Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I used the Fast French Bread or Rolls recipe, substituting whole wheat flour for some of the regular. I also let it rise a little longer, allowing for a more complex flavor, as he explains in the book. After the dough rose in a bowl, it was time to shape the rolls. I don't think I did it quite right... They looked kind of like flattened footballs... (Plus the two mini-rolls I made for Little Girl...!) I could have rerolled them and tried again, but I figured it didn't matter too much, right? After one more rise it was time to bake.
The rolls came out of the oven smelling great and looking nice and crispy. They didn't get quite as fluffy as I had hoped, but they were still puffy and round. They had a nice crunchy outside and a chewy, soft crumb. Not bad! The shape was not exactly as I would have liked, but that can be worked on. It was nice to use a tried-and-true recipe I could rely upon today. I knew the taste would be good, even if the aesthetics weren't exactly right!
All things considered, though, once they were sliced and stuffed, and set alongside some yummy homemade oven fries, they worked out perfectly!
Oh yeah - the birthday desserts from yesterday were great! The Bundt cake looked pretty inside and out! And the oatmeal bars were even better than I had hoped! One more time, happy birthday, Hubby!!

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