A Lil’ Oven Baking

Well, I promised an announcement on Monday, and I’m here to deliver.  Care to see what I’ve got baking in the oven?

Cinnamon Bun 4


Yes, the Humble home is gaining another mouth to feed.  Shawn and I are expecting our first child in May 2014!  We are over the moon, couldn’t be more excited.  We had started trying to get pregnant at the start of the year, and then with all of my health complications, we had to put the whole baby train on hold.  But, in June, my doctor gave us the go-ahead to start trying again, and now here we are!  

I know the picture above is a literal cinnamon bun baking in the oven, but I thought what better way to announce a pregnancy on a cooking blog?  Besides, this cinnamon bun is scrumptious (adapted from The Farm Girl recipe) and you will want to bake it for yourself, with or without baby.

Cinnamon Bun 3


For those of you who are curious (because a lot of people are), I’ve been feeling pretty good.  Some nausea, some morning sickness, but very little.  I’ve had some pretty crazy reactions to food though.  Early on, I grabbed a handful of kettle corn for a snack (normally a favorite), and nearly spit it right back out.  It tasted like pennies.  SO disappointing.  Since then, my normally over-active sweet tooth has been seriously depleted, and all I want is cheese, pickles, and all things salty.  I had about 3 weeks where all I wanted to eat was Shawn’s spaghetti (he makes the BEST spaghetti sauce; I will post a recipe sometime for you!) cold, with cornichons.  Weird combo, I know, but it tasted amazing.  I always thought the pregnancy cravings thing wasn’t totally real, but you really do get turned off of foods and combinations you normally love and develop obsessions with other foods.  Very bizarre.

So, that’s my news.  We’re chugging along just fine with our little HB (baby’s in utero nickname: stands for “healthy baby”), and now that we’ve passed the first real milestones, we’re giddy to start sharing the news with all of our family and friends (and you of course!).  I’ll post updates as they happen, and definitely once our little bundle is here, but this will remain a food blog.  I may delve into kid and baby friendly recipes as time goes on (especially if there seems to be a lot of interest), but I’m still here, posting recipes with tons of chocolate, butter and cheese for us all to drool over.  I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have about our lil’ announcement (leave them in the comments).

Thank you for sharing in this exciting news with us.  Now, let’s eat some cinnamon buns!  THG

Cinnamon Bun 1


Giant Cinnamon Bun
Yields 1
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  1. 3/4 cup warm buttermilk
  2. 6 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 4 1/4 cups (21 ¼ ounces) flour
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  7. 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. 8 Tbsp. melted butter
  2. 1 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  4. Zest of 1 large orange
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 tsp. orange zest
  3. 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  4. 1 Tbsp. milk
For the dough
  1. Whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in a large measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs. Mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still overly sticky, add a tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but has a slight tacky feel when pressed between your fingertips.
  2. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl until well mixed and set aside. Grease 1 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. When the dough has risen, gently punch down and roll into a roughly 24X6-inch rectangle. Brush the melted butter evenly over the entire surface. Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture, evenly pressing the sugar mixture gently into the butter. Starting with a shorter side, roll the dough tightly into classic cinnamon roll form, pinching the edge to seal. Gently take the rolled dough and coil it around in one of the prepared baking pans. The layers will want to fall apart a bit, but they will come back together during the baking process. Lightly cover the cinnamon roll with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Bake the roll for 45-50 minutes, until lightly golden on top and cooked through. While the roll is baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Remove the cinnamon roll from the oven and using a spatula, nudge it out of the pan onto a cooling rack set over waxed or parchment paper. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon roll. Slice the cinnamon roll into pie-shaped wedges and serve warm.
Adapted from The Farm Girl
Adapted from The Farm Girl
The Humble Gourmet

Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche

Apple Arugula Quiche 1
Do you feel it?  The change in weather?  The darker mornings and shorter days?  The crisp, cool smell in the air?

It’s fall.

Oh, how I have waited for fall!  I like mild weather; not too hot, not too cold.  I like sweaters and coats and hot coffee and boots and warm stews.  I like candles lit in the fireplace, snuggly blankets on the couch, the smells of roasting squash and cinnamon and rich, hearty soups.  I like the feeling of looming holidays, the harvest festivals, the general sense of mischief and merriment in the air as Halloween approaches.  I like fall.

Apple Arugula Quiche 3

 I did cheat a bit.  I made this quiche in the summer.  It’s light and lovely and worked well for a backyard picnic lunch.  But the flavors work well for the fall too.  Apples and arugula.  The zing of the goat cheese.  A little salad on the side, and you are ready to enjoy the season.

Apple Arugula Quiche 6

 Most of my blog cooking gets done on the weekends.  With getting home late, and it getting darker earlier now, it just makes more sense.  So, Shawn and I do our best eating on the weekends (this quiche included).  There’s something really satisfying about spending your Saturday surrounded by food; farmer’s market in the morning, some baking, some eating, dessert, a nice dinner.  Weekends work well for those slowly prepared foods; braising, roasting, stewing.  Your whole house fills with the scents of dinner at home; there is no cozier feeling.

Apple Arugula Quiche 4


I mean, just look at that quiche!  You can bet the whole house smelled like apples and cheese, the peppery crust.  We were salivating by the time it was ready to eat, just wanting to dive in headfirst.  Yum, yum, yum.

How will you be welcoming in the fall?  THG

Apple Arugula Quiche 5


Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche
Serves 4
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For the crust
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, in 1/2" cubes
  3. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  4. 1 tsp. black pepper
  5. 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
  1. 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced 1/8" thick with a mandoline, seeds removed
  2. 6 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 5 oz. Chevre goat cheese, softened
  6. 2 cups fresh arugula, finely chopped
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, pepper and sea salt. Add cold butter and work with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time and mix until dough just begins to come together. Form into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 6.5 by 16 inch rectangle (12 inch round if you are using a round tart pan). Carefully fit dough into a 4.5 by 14 inch tart pan (or 9 inch round), pressing gently along the sides to fit to pan. Pierce the bottom with a fork and refrigerate 20 minutes to set.
  4. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes in center of oven; remove parchment paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes until bottom has just cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk eggs until thick and ribboned. Whisk in cream and milk. Add goat cheese and arugula and mix well to combine.
  6. In the cooled tart shell, lay apple slices long ways (or in concentric circles), overlapping until pan is filled. Carefully pour egg mixture over the apples up to just under the edge of the crust. Bake 30 minutes at 375 F until egg mixture has set.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet

Sunday Brunch

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls

First things first, I must apologize for my absence last week. Shawn and I got our loan pre-approval (yay!) and have been hitting the “we’re-buying-a-house” work pretty hard. It’s been almost 2 years since we moved in with my parents to begin saving for a home; WE ARE READY. So, I apologize for the neglect last week, and also any future neglect that may happen in the coming weeks/months while I try to balance this work/blog/home buying/life thing.

Last Sunday, we had a brunch. My cousin Mike and his family were up from Bakersfield visiting his wife Jen’s grandparents, and they stopped by on their way back down Sunday morning. I love brunch (doubt that I’m alone in the sentiment). There is so much bread and cheese and powdered sugar involved in brunch, am I right? I generally don’t really like breakfast too much (typical breakfast food is much to heavy for me first thing in the morning), and yet I love brunch. Go figure.

Pancetta and Cheese Strata
Spiced Potatoes and Peppers

My mom and dad decided that the best course of action would be for everyone to make a different dish. My dad made strata, a baked casserole-like dish consisting of egg, pancetta, cheese and crusty French bread. Insane. So, so good, especially the crunchy, toasted bread on top. Yum. My brother Ryan made a dish of potatoes and peppers; incredibly flavorful and just a little spicy. Really great savory dish considering the amount of sweet we had going on.

My mom made Dutch pancakes. These are, and I cannot understate this enough, THE GREATEST BRUNCH FOOD YOU WILL EVER EAT. A spongy, very eggy baked pancake filled with fruit and eaten in slices. So insanely delicious, like a bite of pure happiness. She made one with fresh strawberries (my favorite) and one with apple compote for the filling. Mike and Jen’s 2 little kids, upon seeing the Dutch pancakes, both proclaimed “breakfast pie!” and immediately dove in. Super cute kids.

Strawberry Dutch Pancakes

I decided to go with a brunch classic: cinnamon rolls. Who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls?

I had made a batch of these the day before as well. Emily and I decided to have a Scarlett O’Hara marathon by watching Gone With The Wind and the first half of the mini-series Scarlett. We both went through simultaneous Scarlett O’Hara obsessions recently, with me reading the original book and Emily seeing GWTW for the first time and reading the sequel. Such an iconic and classic story, though we both agreed that the mini-series sequel was laughably bad. Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler? Clark Gable you are not, my friend.

So, I made a batch on Saturday and then made two batches on Sunday. Yes. 3 batches. It’s amazing I’m not currently in a bread and sugar coma right now.

I based the recipe on the Neely’s. I decided to forgo the nuts and instead I added orange zest and orange juice to the rolls and the glaze. Orange-cinnamon rolls are such a great combination, with the heavy spice of the cinnamon and that little zip of freshness and tartness from the orange. Yummers.

What’s your favorite brunch food? And, more importantly, Clark Gable or Timothy Dalton?  THG

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls

Mike’s Cheese and Pancetta Strata (adapted from this recipe)

6 oz. pancetta, cubed

1 loaf crusty sourdough French bread

1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

8 eggs

3 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 pinch pepper

Butter a 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  In a frying pan set over medium-high heat, fry pancetta until brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature.

Cube bread into 1” pieces and put into prepared baking dish.  Add pancetta and cheeses, mixing with hands to distribute evenly.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, Tabasco, Dijon mustard and pepper.  Pour mixture evenly through baking dish.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, or overnight.

Bake at 350ºF for 1 hour until strata is set and crispy on top, golden-brown.  Serve immediately.

Serves 10-12

Laura’s Dutch Pancakes (from the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook)

4 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp. butter, softened

3 cups strawberries, sliced

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs.  Sift in flour and salt together in a small mixing bowl.  Add flour mixture to eggs, alternating with milk, until a smooth batter has formed.  Butter the bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet.  Pour batter into skillet.  Bake in the middle of oven for 20-25 minutes, gradually reducing heat to 350ºF.  The pancake should puff up along the sides and be crisp and golden-brown all around.  Remove from skillet.  Fill with sliced strawberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Cut into slices and serve.

Serves 8-10

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from this recipe)

1/2 oz. (2 packages) dry active yeast

1/2 cup warm water

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

zest of 1 large orange


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast and warm water.  Let stand for 5 minutes to soften yeast.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and salt until well combined.  Whisk egg mixture into bowl of yeast until well combined.  Whisk in 1 cup of flour, then melted butter until smooth.  With the mixture set on low, add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is completely combined.  Mix well until strong dough is formed and springs back when tapped.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size in a warm place, about 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest.  Punch down raised dough and dump out on a floured surface.  Roll into a 12×15” rectangle.  Brush dough with melted butter.  Pour sugar mixture evenly over dough.  Working on the longer end, roll somewhat tightly into a log.  Cut off the ends.  Cut log into 8 even pieces.  Place slices in a greased 9” round baking pan.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, about 1 hour.  Bake at 400ºF about 30 minutes, until rolls are puffed up and golden brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk in orange juice until smooth and at a good, thick consistency.  Pour over cinnamon rolls.  Serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 rolls