Saturday, January 19, 2013

Orange Rolls

The following is the recipe I use for orange rolls, it sure isn't healthy, but they are so delicious you have to indulge every now and again. Make sure to read the recipe entirely first as the amounts are split up into different sections of the roll whether it be the dough, the 'filling' or the glaze. A few tips when making any rolls, (1) I always use bread flour, it makes them lighter and fluffier (2) when it says "beat well" it means it, don't just beat until mixed, by beating the flour and liquids together you are creating long "rubber bands" of gluten, these bands of gluten are what allow the dough to rise and hold its shape as well as create a nice fluffy and airy product, so by beat well, you should be beating with an electric mixer (preferably, although you can do it by hand, it will just take a lot longer) on a medium speed for at least 3-5 min AFTER everything is well mixed. Enjoy!

Orange Rolls
1 package active dry yeast (about 3 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (divided)
1 cup sour cream (divided)
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup melted butter (divided)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 orange

Stir yeast into warm water. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream, eggs, 6 tablespoons melted butter, salt and approximately 2 cups flour. Beat well. Gradually add enough more flour to make a soft dough that may be kneaded. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased clean bowl,cover, and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Knead dough to remove excess air. Divide into 2 parts. On a lightly oiled surface roll each part into a 12-inch circle. Brush each circle with 1 tablespoon butter. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with grated rind from 1 orange. Sprinkle orange sugar on dough circles. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end of each circle roll each wedge into crescent roll. Place on greased baking sheet and allow to rise 10-15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Prepare glaze while rolls are baking. Pour glaze over rolls after removing from oven.

Glaze: Combine 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons orange juice in sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Pour glaze over roll immediately after removing rolls from oven.

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 Inauguration brought to you by...

If you live in DC, this is about the 1001 blog you have probably read about inauguration and by this time you are getting sick of it, well this blog is dedicated to the second most popular thing found on the Mall at inauguration (the first being millions of tourists). Yes I am talking about the porta-potty. According to one news source there were some 5000 (another source lists the number at 7000) put on the National Mall, here are just a few for your viewing pleasure.

Don't be trying to get in them early! They are locked with a zip tab--I guess these porta-potties are for inauguration day use only!

Some were back to back

I saw some being unloaded....I think that is probably a better job than loading them up afterwards

Even more being unloaded, they just kept on coming!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Last Door

For two years of my life I was a missionary for my church, a lot of time was spent talking to people on the street or knocking on doors searching for someone that would listen to the message that we had to share. Many weeks were spenting knocking, knocking, knocking. You never knew what to expect behind each door. Doors might be slammed in your face, you might be invited in, you might get someone arguing with your beliefs, or perhaps no one answers at all.

Then, one day it happened. The last door. The last door that you knock. The last chance. To me it was the symbolic end of one time period, and the beginning of something new. The last door was more than just the average door. Suddenly my life was no longer going to be a missionary, what would the future hold? What would be behind the new door of life that in essence I would be knocking on the next day? Would it lead to something argumentitive? Perhaps I will be invited in? Or maybe, like the final door that I knocked on my mission no one will answer. Looking forward to what lies behind the next door.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Antietam Luminaries

Every year, usually the first Saturday in December, luminaries are set up at Antietam National Battlefield for every casualty of the battle, which was the bloodiest day on American soil. Over 23,000 soldiers were killed, injured or missing in a single day. This year, four of us made the trek to Antietam to experience the beauty and remember those that gave their lives. The photos below don't really express what we saw, but they are the best we could do under the circumstances.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cross Country Ski Race

So I am sitting here folding clothes, and I just folded a free t-shirt that I got. It was made by Sundance, and whoever designed it, wasn't thinking very clearly, it is a dark green with a silkscreen on it with black ink...yeah pretty much unreadable unless you are way too close. The shirt says, "Free your heel, and your mind will follow." Well the story of just how I got this shirt is a funny one...

At the time I was working in a laboratory on BYU's campus. One of my fellow lab mates told me of an upcoming cross country ski race that was happening at the Sundance Nordic Track up in Provo canyon. She knew that I cross country skied and suggested that I go up and enter the race. I asked her if the race was both skating and touring.

At this point, if you don't know much about cross country skiing, you need a quick lesson. There are two VERY different types. Skate skiing is more similar to rollerblading on snow with really long blades. You push out on your skis as you go creating V lines as you go along the trail. In order to skate ski, you must be on groomed trails, it doesn't work on snow that you "sink" in, so if the trail isn't groomed the snow must be firm and not powder. The other type of cross country skiing is referred to as Classic or sometimes touring. This is the type that most people are familiar with--parallel skis going forwards and backwards (see nordic track). This type of skiing can be done on either groomed or in back country, anywhere there is snow really. These two types are so very different that you don't skate with touring skis, and you don't tour with skating skis. As you might guess, skating is MUCH MUCH faster if you know how to do it properly.

So back to my friend assured me that there would definitely be classic skiers as well as skaters. This put my mind at ease since I only owned classic skis and never learned to skate (someday, someday). So I thought about it, and decided to go--with the assurance that my friend would be coming as well. The morning of the race arrived, I think you can guess what happened. Yeah, I was one of like 3 people on classic skis, surrounded by skaters. This wasn't going to be pretty. And my friends? Oh wait....I was there Ok, I can do this, I mean what have I got to lose besides ALL of my dignity.

The skaters were off, I could see them for the first few yards, but soon...well soon I was just enjoying a lovely little stroll through the snow all by myself--which on a regular cross country ski day is wonderful, but on a race day, somewhat humiliating. However, in these circumstances I usually say, who cares, no one here knows me, I'll likely never see any of these people again...and just laughed it off as I crossed the finish line LONG after the leaders. Naturally, Murphy wasn't done with me yet, as I was nearing the finish line there was one of the staff from my high school..."Hey there! I know you..."

Well, at least I got a free t-shirt at the drawing afterwards.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall 2008

So where was I this last Monday to take such wonderful fall pictures? Maybe I was in Maine? New Hampshire? Vermont? Nope, the middle of northwest DC. In fact these pictures were taken just 5 miles from the White House. One of the things that I love about DC is the parkways that we have, particularly the Rock Creek Parkway and Rock Creek Park (where these pictures were taken; and coincidentally made famous nationwide when Chandra Levy's body was found in the park). You can be right in the middle of the city and you feel like you are miles away from civilization. What's even better is that my two favorite parkways are the Rock Creek Parkway and the George Washington Parkway...and from where I live the two fastest ways to get to the DC temple is by using one of those two parkways.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Pavlova is a meringue based dessert that was named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who was considered the greatest ballerina of her time. The dessert is reminiscent of a ballerina is that it is very light and airy. Traditionally the dessert consists of a meringue base, then whip cream, and then fruit on top. I have modified how I make it however in that I fold whip cream in with vanilla pudding and use that as a second layer. This gives the dessert a bit more depth than just whipped cream. Any fresh fruit can be used, let your imagination guide what you think would work.

Meringue Base

4 large egg whites
1 cup supferfine (castor) sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Also you should be able to rub the meringue between your fingers and not feel any grainy sugar. If you are still feeling grit, continue beating until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites. Sprinkle the merinuge with the vinegar and corstarch and fold in.

The merinuge must be then transferred to a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and shaped into your base making sure to keep the side higher to hold in the "filling." If you want more of a marshmallowy textutre in your meringue you will want to work more to create height to your meringue. If you want more of a crispy texture you will want more width. Generally the typical area you will want is about a seven inch circle.

Transfer the cookie sheet to the pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. The outside should be dry and the meringue should have a pale color. Turn the oven off and let the meringue cool in the oven with the door slightly open. The meringue can then be removed and stored for a few days if needs be. Remember that it must be stored in a cool and DRY place. Meringue exposed to moisture will quickly fall apart.

Vanilla Pudding

1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 C milk
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp vanilla

1 Cup cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar

Combine sugar cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Add milk and cook on medium high heat. Cook the pudding stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken up and starts to boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and the vanilla. Let the pan cool for 5 minutes and then apply plastic wrap to the top of the pudding (so that it doesn't develop a skin) and transfer the pan to the refridgerator and let it chill completely.

Beat the cream vanilla and sugar together until soft peaks form.

Remove the chilled pudding from the refridgerator and whisk a bit to make it smooth. Then fold in the whipped cream. This will create enough for approximately two pavlovas, so the recipe can be halved, or you can use the pudding and/or pudding whip cream mixture for other items.

Assembling the Pavlova

Fill your meringue base with half of the pudding/whip cream mixture. Top with fresh fruit such as: strawberries, peaches, blackberries, kiwi, passionfruit, etc.


NOTE!! Pavlova will quickly disintegrated as the moisture from the pudding will dissolve the meringue base. This is a dessert that once it has been assembled it must be eaten within a few hours before it is just a mushy mess.