King Crab Rolls

King Crab Rolls

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

King Crab Rolls just might be my very favorite special occasion food.  While King Crab is expensive, it is spectacularly delicious.  Alaskan King Crab is a wild caught (never farmed) product, and is sustainably harvested.  I feel much better about splurging on a pricey ingredient if I know my purchase is not harming the environment.

Everything about this recipe, from the decadent seafood to the homemade rolls toasted with real butter, shouts “Special Day!”  Whatever you happen to be celebrating, King Crab Rolls will make your mealtime grand!

picture337AIngredients (makes 4 large rolls)

1 1/2 pounds shell-on King Crab legs

1/2 pound bay scallops (optional)

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning blend

1/4 cup real mayonnaise

picture3481/4 cup finely chopped celery, including leaves

1 loaf of fresh Simple Bread

1/4 cup butter

Directions

picture337Step 1) Drop crab legs into a large pot of boiling water seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of seafood seasoning blend.  Leave crab legs in boiling water for 3 minutes if they were fresh, or 10 minutes if they were frozen (typical).

Step 2) Drain crab legs and crack with a hand held nutcracker or clean picture338Apliers.  Extract meat using a small fork (a fondue fork works well, if you have one).  King Crab legs are spiny – hold them with a potholder to avoid hurting yourself!  Be patient with this step.  It may take 30 minutes or so to extract all of the meat.  Your effort will be worthwhile!

picture351Step 3) If using bay scallops, sauté them in a saucepan for 3 – 5 minutes until they are a milky white color.  Drain.

Step 4) Gently combine crab meat, scallops, mayonnaise, celery, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning blend.  Try not to break up the crab meat.  Refrigerate.

Step 5) Cut four generous, 2 inch thick slices from your loaf of Simple Bread.  Then, cut through the middle of each slice from the top, stopping 1 inch from the bottom crust.  Your slices should open in narrow “V” shapes, as shown above.

Step 6) Place 1/4 cup of butter on a baking pan with low sides, and melt by placing in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.  Watch carefully, and remove pan when butter is just melted!

Step 7) Place each of your four “V” shaped bread rolls down on the melted butter, then flip over so that each of the two outsides are buttered.  Return pan to oven to toast your bread rolls for five minutes.

Step 8) Remove your toasted bread rolls, and carefully fill with equal quantities of your seafood mixture.  Serve right away, while the rolls are warm and the seafood is cold.

Enjoy your special occasion!

Cocoa Yeast Rolls

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When I was a child, I enjoyed reading Little House on the Prairie books.  I found it peculiar how Laura Ingalls enjoyed bread and butter sandwiches.  “Just bread and butter?” I wondered.  After all, a slice of plastic-wrapped supermarket bread with butter isn’t all that special.  However, thinking about it now, I imagine a slice of Mrs. Ingalls’s homemade bread, no doubt made from freshly milled whole grains and slathered in farm-fresh butter, would be quite spectacular.  While I can’t take us back in time, I can assure you that today’s addition of cocoa powder is enough to make this bread recipe sing with just a dab of butter.  You could just as easily form the dough into a loaf of bread, but I prefer rolls for tucking into lunchboxes.  Go ahead, have a Laura Ingalls day.

Ingredients (makes 14 rolls)

2 teaspoons yeast

1 cup lukewarm (not boiling hot) water

1 tablespoon soft (not melted) butter

1 egg

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups white flour

1/4 cup finely ground pecans

Cornmeal (for dusting the baking pan, optional)

Directions

picture169Step 1)  In a large bowl, combine yeast, lukewarm water, and sugar.  Stir, then let sit for a minute or so to allow the yeast to “bloom.”  The surface of the water will look a bit frothy.

Step 2) In a small bowl, combine butter, egg, cocoa powder, salt, and ground pecans.  Mix well.

Step 3) Add butter mixture to yeast and water.  Stir gently until well blended.

Step 4) Add flour.  Stir together and dump out the contents of the bowl onto a floured table or countertop.  Your dough will look like a mess at this point, and that’s OK!

picture760Step 5) This is the fun part… knead your bread dough for five minutes.  Don’t just use your fingers, but really put some muscle into it by using the heels of your palms.  Turn the dough over a few times, sprinkling the table and the dough with flour if it becomes sticky.  After five minutes, your dough should look like this:

Step 6) Grease a large mixing bowl – rubbing the paper wrapper from a stick of butter along the inside of the bowl works well.  Place your kneaded dough in the bowl, and set aside in a warm place for 60 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.  Hint:  If you turn on your oven for one or two minutes (no longer), then turn it OFF, your oven will be just warm enough to provide a cozy place for your bowl of dough to rise.

Step 7) After dough has doubled in size, use a serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 – 14 equal size pieces.  Gently pull the top of each piece of dough to smooth the roll, tucking the dough into itself underneath.  Each piece should look smooth and round.

picture761Step 8)  Set your rolls 2 – 3 inches apart on a large cookie sheet (with shallow sides) that has been greased and dusted with cornmeal.*

*Cornmeal is optional, but it helps keep the rolls from sticking to the pan and also helps create a pleasant bottom crust.

Step 9) Begin preheating your oven to 375 degrees after your rolls have been shaped and are resting on the pan.  They don’t need a full “second rise,” but will benefit from the few minutes of resting time it will take for your oven to preheat.

picture764Step 10) Bake your rolls at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the top with your fingernail.  Let cool, and enjoy with a simple pat of butter.