Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kitchen boredom, Popcorn Balls & Pepperoni Rolls

It felt like one of those days where I didn't feel like sitting in the living room in front of a screen. This happens quite a bit, and I just venture my way into the kitchen. I hate the house we're in, because it's so old. But I love that it's BIG and old, and I have a large kitchen. So it makes me want to spend time in there. Most places around here have bigger closets than they do kitchens. No wonder nobody cooks homemade anymore. There's no room to!
The first thing I did was take 2 loaves of Rhodes bread out of the freezer to thaw & rise. It's a must in the freezer. They take a couple of hours to thaw, so you want to do this in the morning.

I work in a movie theater, and have access to mass amounts of popcorn. I brought half a garbage bag full home last night. My agenda? Popcorn balls. Pour some sugar into a saucepan, and melt it til it boils. I didn't use a candy thermometer, but I got somewhere around hard ball/soft crack stage. (I'm terrible sometimes in the kitchen, I don't time things or measure a lot of the time, but it always comes out pretty good.) Then I poured it over a bowl of popcorn. I should have worn gloves as it was way hotter than when I made Rice Krispies Pumpkins. I used to work in a coffee shop and got to the point where I didn't bat an eyelash when hot coffee splashed on me. But this sugar was pretty hot (somewhere around 255-270 degrees). So wear gloves when you form the popcorn into balls. Place them on a cookie sheet to cool. You'll (quickly) get to the point where it won't want to form balls, and you'll kinda just end up with caramel corn. I had to melt sugar twice, but I also made a dozen balls & a half gallon bag of caramel corn.
There's a sweet trick to clean up. Fill your saucepan with dish soap and water, and put back on the stove to boil. You can also put in the spoon you used. It melts the sugar down and makes for really easy (and hot) clean up!

Next on the menu... I've been aching for sweet potatoes. I can't wait until Thanksgiving. I usually make my sweet potatoes mixed with bananas and cream, but I had neither. So I mixed them with cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves. Then added mini marshmallows to the top. Bake uncovered on 350F for ~20 minutes. Yum!
My bread was done thawing and rising. Bake 1 loaf on 350F for 20-30 minutes. I love really doughy bread, so I shoot for 20 minutes. It goes great with butter and honey. Didn't I say I had 2 loaves? This is the best recipe in the world for pepperoni rolls! I'm not kidding. They're better than the donut shop in Buckhannon, WV too (I know some of my readers know how good theirs are. Mine are BETTER!)

Pam's Super Awesome Pepperoni Rolls
1 thawed Rhode's frozen bread loaf, cut into 8 sections
4-6 oz of sliced pepperoni
6-8 oz hot pepper cheese, sliced or shredded
4 fresh jalapenos, minced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Slice bread into rolls, set aside. Add pepperoni slices to food processor, blend until smooth. Slice or shred 1 block of hot pepper cheese. Toss pepperoni, cheese and jalapenos. Take a section of bread and flatted to a disk resembling a square. Add 1/8th of cheese mix, evening out flat. Leave about a half inch on one end uncovered. Roll dough towards uncovered edge, fold the ends under. Don't flatten these too much, the stuffing will rip them when you roll them up. Once you make this recipe a few times, you can do it by feel and not look. Flatten them a little bit before you place them on a greased cookie sheet, the bread still rises in the oven and they will pillow up. Bake for 20 minutes. Cheese & oil will seep out of these, so be careful to use a cookie sheet with raised edges. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place on a paper towel to absorb more oil before eating.

So that was my day in the kitchen! The boys loved the popcorn, of course. There's times when I come home from work, and they're happier to see popcorn than Mommy. Oh, boys!

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