UPDATE: Giveaway is Closed
Stay tuned to learn about and enter the #CookbooksandCalphalon giveaway as well as the #CouplesCooking sweepstakes going on through September 1 over at the Calphalon site. I have not received any compensation for writing this post. Just so you know. Any Amazon links are affiliate links.
Cookbooks and Calphalon (#CookbooksandCalphalon)
The lovely Colleen from Soufflé Bombay recently had a thought. She wondered what specific cookbook it was that made her fall in love with cooking. She then decided to ask the same question to a number of her foodie friends, myself included, and #CookbooksandCalphalon– was born! We each tell our stories of our love affair with cookbooks and cooking and share a wonderful recipes. With seventeen of us participating, you are sure to find many dishes–and book recommendations–to savor!
This wouldn’t be complete without a fun giveaway for you to enter…you can’t cook without cookware and you can’t use cookware unless you can cook…right?
So take a moment to enter our awesome Cookbooks and Calphalon Giveaway at the bottom of this post. Check out the fantastic prizes! I am thrilled to participate partly because I love the topic Colleen chose and partly because I own and love the majority of these cookbooks from Page Street Publishing. I don’t own the panini press but I adore my Calphalon roaster. Also, now through September 1st, Calphalon is celebrating couples with their #CouplesCooking social media promotion! From the first meal they create together in their new home to the meal they share on their 25th anniversary, couple cook up memories! The cookware they choose serves as the foundation for which these “Couples Cooking” memories are made. Calphalon wants to recognize these #CouplesCooking moments by asking couples to share pictures of the meals they cook together for a chance to win $1,000 in Calphalon cookware! Calphalon is inviting couples to post photos of the meals they prepare with their significant other on Calphalon’s Facebook page. To enter, couples will be asked to share why the dish is unique or special to them and use the hashtag #CouplesCooking on twitter. Pretty cool contest, huh? Follow the #CookbooksandCalphalon fun on social media for great recipes, tips and more. Good luck in both the giveaway and the sweepstakes!
My Love Affair with Cookbooks
I grew up in a home with a mother who, apart from some staple meals–huge vats of spaghetti sauce that were then frozen in original Tupperware containers to be thawed on the counter for hours–cooked from books. For the first five years of my life, my father’s mother lived with us also, but I honestly don’t recall her cooking. I do recall drinking tea with milk and sugar with her though.
My mother was always game to throw a dinner party or have my dad’s boss or out-of-town coworkers over for dinner. She would cook all sorts of interesting meals, all from books. I think it was the way she traveled. She majored in languages in college and had hopes of being an interpreter at the UN one day until her father’s magazine tanked and she had to leave school. While she never made it to France, she made sure to make a Chocolate Charlotte Russe or a Pot de Creme for dessert when company came.
When I began collecting cookbooks in the early 1990s, my first goal was to buy books that had a billion recipes in each one. I was in the market for Compendia. 1000 recipes for cookies? Sign me up! 789 recipes from the backs of cans and stuff? I want it now. Later I tried to focus on books that were “Bibles.” I have The Bread Bible, The Chocolate Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, The Cheese Bible, The Cake Bible… All the Bibles! Most of them really are, too. Focused and encyclopedic volumes about one slice of the huge baking and cooking pie. Eventually, I began to realize that across a wide array of recipes, the instructions were all similar. Lots of baking instructions started with “Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.” Many savory recipe instructions began with “Heat oil. Saute onions, carrots and celery together until fragrant.”
Once I began to see the pattern, I began buying technique books. Cookwise. Bakewise. A great one called How to Cook Without A Book. I wanted to learn the techniques behind the recipes. And I have for the most part, but that’s another story altogether.
I did go through a particularly expensive phase of buying Beautiful Cookbooks. Cookbooks that, even though full of great cooking information, would be more at home on a coffee table than in a messy kitchen. I love my beautiful cookbooks, and on occasion, I drag them into my messy kitchen so they can remember that they are cookbooks and not travelogues. Get them back in touch with their roots, as it were.
Beirut Tahini Swirls
I chose today’s recipe from one of my Beautiful Cookbooks, Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. I made these Beirut Tahini Swirl buns years ago, before I really knew what I was doing in the the kitchen. Back before I learned techniques and just followed recipes and hoped for the best. They turned out well, and I have always wanted to revisit them. This post was the perfect opportunity! Hooray!
I hope you’ll be inspired to try these, especially if you are a fan of sesame.
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- about 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup tahini
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Place all the ingredients (start with 2 cups of flour) in the bowl of your stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and mix on low until a shaggy dough forms. Increase the speed and knead for several minutes.
- The dough will most likely be pretty soft at this point and sticking in the bottom of the bowl in a large circle. Add flour, a bit at a time, until the dough is only sticking in about a 1" circle. The dough will still be somewhat sticky, and that's okay. Knead for about ten minutes.
- Test the dough by lightly oiling your hands and then pulling on a piece of the dough. It should stretch out quite a bit before it tears. You can also try the windowpane test, but with all purpose flour, it doesn't always work so well. You should be able to stretch it fairly thin before it tears.
- Again with lightly oiled hands, form the dough into a ball, lightly oil it and let rise in a warm place, covered, for 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375F about an hour before you'll be baking. Put a rack in the center of the oven and put your baking stone on it to let it get good and hot.
- Stir the tahini and sugar together until smooth. Keep at room temperature.
- Press out the gases from the dough and divide into 6 pieces. My dough weighed 596 grams when finished, so I scaled my dough at about 99grams per portion.
- Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap.
- Roll the first ball into a rectangle (it will be a fairly rough shape, so don't be sad) about 5"x10". Spread the tahini filling all over the rectangle, coming pretty close to the edges.
- Roll each rectangle up into a cigar, starting with a long side. Pinch the seam to seal.
- Set that cigar aside and do the same with two more balls of dough. You'll work with the other three later.
- Gently stretch and roll each cigar of filled dough into a rope about 20" long. Coil each rope into a snail, tucking the end under and pressing down gently. Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Alternating among the three snails, lightly roll each snail out into a 6"-7" circle. It might take a little finessing, so just go with it. Be gentle and take your time.
- Bake the three rolls on the preheated baking stone for 15-20 minutes. 18 minutes was perfect in my oven. The rolls should be lightly golden brown.
- Roll, fill and shape the remaining three balls of dough and bake them once the first three are done. Cool on wire racks.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- These guys are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.
Please take the time to read all the other bloggers’ wonderful stories and mouthwatering recipes. It is quite a feast we have here for Cookbooks & Calphalon!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Please do go check out all the other delicious recipes, and good luck in the giveaway! Have a lovely day.