Feather Rolls for Holiday Meals

Rolls for a special dinner should be soft and buttery and have you wanting at least seconds if not thirds. They should also be served warm. That’s just how it is. Now, I’ve posted Aunt Annie Rolls before and those are super good. We make these for holiday dinners all the time. However, when my friend made these Feather Rolls with me on the boat one year, I fell in love.

Feather Rolls

Thank you to my friend, Glen Rines, and the women in his family, for passing this recipe down through the generations. May our holiday meals always be as delicious as yours were.

Feather Rolls

Feather Rolls

6 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast; about 2 packages of yeast or 1 large yeast cake
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup melted salted butter

Put water, sugar and yeast into a large bowl and add salt. Add 1 cup of flour and beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs, unsalted butter and beat for another minute. Add the rest of the flour and stir until dough is firm. Let rise 1 hour. Remove from bowl onto a floured counter top. Roll the dough out to about 3/4-inch thick and cut into rounds with a large biscuit or the outside of a doughnut cutter (without the hole). Brush both the top and bottom of the rounds with butter and fold in half. Place them on a rimmed 12 x 17 inch baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until they are doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes or until the rolls are cooked through and golden brown on the top. Serve warm.

Makes about 25 rolls

Here’s to passing down recipes!

Sun-dried Tomato, Artichoke and Spinach No Knead Bread

Let’s be honest, there is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread in your own home to make you feel accomplished and cozy all at the same time.  This is a no knead version, so it’s super simple.  Mix, wait, shape, wait, bake, wait.  Eat.  With butter.  What could be better?

Sun-dried Tomato, Artichoke and Spinach No Knead Bread

5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 cup artichokes, drained and broken into pieces
1 cup lightly packed spinach, de-stemmed, washed and well-drained
1 to 2 cups of warm water

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. With your hands, mix in the sourdough starter, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Begin to add water until the dough just barely forms a ball and there are no little dry bits hanging out in the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a layer of plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight, until the surface of the dough has risen and is flat, not rounded. For those who have worked with traditional kneaded dough, this will look like a disaster. Just wait, it will be fine.Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 1

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a heavy (empty) pan or skillet in the bottom of the oven (you’ll use this when you put your bread in the oven to create steam). I use a cast iron skillet, filled with rocks I’ve picked from the garden and scrubbed clean, to create a sauna of sorts. It just stays in the oven all the time. The addition of moisture into the oven air helps the bread rise more and then creates a terrific crust.Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 2

Shape the dough into the loaves of your choice – 3 baguettes, 2 batons or 1 large boule. Do this by turning the dough onto a floured surface, cutting into the number of pieces you need and gently turning the edges under to form the desired shape. Sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal or rice flour and place the loaf/loaves on the baking sheet.Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 3

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 4

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise again for another 20 to 45 minutes depending on the size and looseness of your loaf/loaves.

Slash the tops of the loaf/loaves with a sharp knife, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and immediately pour a cup of warm water into the pan on the bottom of the oven to create the aforementioned steam. Be extra careful with this step and quickly remove your arm from the oven once you’ve poured the water.

Bake until the exterior is golden brown and the bottom is firm, from 25 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaf/loaves.

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 6
Happy that the house is warm and my belly is full


Cocoa Dipped Sugar Wafers – Boarding Cookies

They look like Snickerdoodles, but they aren’t. These delicate wafers are thin, buttery, crispy bites of goodness and perfect with coffee or tea in the late afternoon or early evening.  They are an alternate to my usual Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Served with fresh strawberries picked from the garden, they are an elegant treat to our boarding ritual.  Welcome aboard.  And if you can’t come sailing with us this year, at least you can have the cookies that begin our good times together!

Strawberries & Snickerdoodles Boarding Snack

The recipe is inspired by a friend, Nancy Seibert, who used to make boarding cookies way back in the day for another boat on which both Jon and I worked.  Her bakery was called Baggywrinkle Bakery and I’ve loved her Almond Sugar Cookies ever since my first bite.  These are a riff on her yummies.

Cocoa Sugar Wafers – Boarding Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For Rolling:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and then the salt and flour.  Mix until just combined.

Combine the cocoa and sugar for rolling in a small bowl.  With a number 40?? scoop or two teaspoons, form 1-inch balls of dough.  Roll in the cocoa and sugar and place onto a baking sheet.

With the flat bottom of a glass, gently press the cookies flat.  Dunk the bottom of the glass in the rolling mixture if it begins to stick.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Serve with coffee and tea on a night that you are welcoming your own guests or with and ice cream and fresh fruit combination.

Makes about 30 cookies

Breads – To Knead or Not to Knead

Spinach, Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke No Knead Bread 5

I’m a fan of them all, kneaded and no-knead breads.  They are all my children and I love them, different though they be.  This week’s column is on ways to use sourdough starter in breads for flavor rather than as a leavener.  I know, I know, sourdough IS a leavener, but not for someone who has limited space and time, say someone who cooks out of a boat galley.  Therefore, because sourdough isn’t a fail proof method for me on the boat, I’ve developed my own ways of using it that don’t require so much tending.

There are also a number of other sourdough breads that I’ve posted in the past should you get super excited and find yourself on a bread roll….  Ha!

Still ‘Ha!’

Maine Today! – Thank you, Susan

The venerable Susan Axelrod of Maine Today and the blog Spoon and Shutter visited us for our Camden Windjammer Festival trip. The skies were a perfect blue and the winds gave her a wonderful romp on the bay.  We had a great time together and she left with elderberry stains on her hands, a host of words on her pad, and sun/wind-kissed cheeks.

Thank you, Susan (and Maine Today!), for your lovely words and even lovelier company.

Since we were into jam making that day, I shared our Jammin’ Bars recipe with Susan which she included in the article.

Susan adding to the elderberry hoard.
Susan adding to the elderberry hoard.

Many thanks to Susan, The Awesome

Dawn’s Raspberry Squares

When E needs a little chocolate pick-me-up, this is one of the recipes she turns to.  I never knew.  Until last week.  The combination of buttery shortbread crust, tart raspberry jam, crisp almonds and rich chocolate is an unbeatable one.

Great, now I have another chocolate recipe to turn to as well.  Oh sigh, what’s another mile or two of running in the whole scheme of things?


Dawn’s Raspberry Squares
This recipe is inspired by Dawn, a former schooner chef, who got it from the Brown Bag a long while ago.  This is my own iteration of this deliciousness.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and then add the egg.  Mix until well incorporated.  Add the flour and mix using your fingers until the dough is a coarse crumble.  Transfer 2/3rds of the dough to the pan and press flat with your fingers.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the remaining dough over top of the jam.  Layer with the chocolate chips and then almonds.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Cool in the pan and lift out before cutting.

Makes 24 squares

You’ll be happy you tried them

Chocolate Orange Pound Cake – A Bake Ahead Dessert

On the Riggin we serve orange/citrus wedges decorated with other fruit at some point during the trip.  Occasionally we have leftovers.  We used to save them, wait until the end of the week and then throw them out.  Every week.  Not only were we wasting the oranges, but the zip-lock bag as well.  Now we use the leftovers in two ways.  Marmalade is one.  The other is combining the juice of the oranges with the herbal teas and remaining breakfast juice to give us special lunch drinks.

To make the drink, squeeze the citrus juice into water and then add the fruit to the water to steep.  Combine with concentrated teas such as mint or lemon balm and add honey and lemon juice to taste.  Serve ice cold or really warm.


Chocolate Orange Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
2 1/2 cups sugar
7 large eggs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a bundt pan.  Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Cream them together at medium speed, then slowly add the eggs, marmalade, extracts, sour cream and milk.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder and beat on low speed until just combined stopping occasionally to scrape the bowl.  Add the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center, approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.  Cool the cake upright on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.  Tap the sides and invert the cake onto the cooling rack.  If you plan to freeze your dessert, cool completely and wrap well.  When you are ready to serve remove the cake from the freezer and let sit on the counter to bring to room temperature.  Follow the below instructions for glazing.

In a small pan, blend together the glaze ingredients and heat over medium heat to a simmer until the sugar is melted.  Use a pastry brush to brush the surface of the warm cake with the glaze.  Allow the glazed cake to cool completely before serving, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

Makes 12 large or 16 smaller servings


Yea, oh happy smelling home!

Cook the Book: Zucchini and Genoa Salami Deep Dish Pizza

Zucchini and Genoa Salami Deep Dish Pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 zucchini, roughly chopped
2 summer squash, roughly chopped
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Genoa salami, cut in medium-thick slices
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

1 Crusty Peasant Bread dough recipe.  You can also use the pre-made bread dough you can find in most grocery stores – you’ll need 2 bags.

Olive oil to brush over the crust
Dried basil, Italian seasoning, oregano – whatever you like – to sprinkle on the crust

Oil a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, summer squash, salt and pepper. Sauté until tender. Divide the dough roughly in half; make one part slightly larger than the other. Either roll or use your hands to stretch the larger piece until it’s big enough to overlap over the sides of the baking pan by about 1 inchSpread half of the Parmesan cheese evenly over the dough. Add layers (in order) of half each of the salami, mozzarella, ricotta, zucchini and summer squash.  When you transfer the squash to the pizza, use a slotted spoon to drain the excess liquid.  Repeat. Stretch the remaining half of the dough out enough to overlap the top of the pan, then pinch the two layers of dough together neatly. Brush the crust with the olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs. Preheat oven to 350°. Let the pizza rest and rise for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown (about an hour).  Cool 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 8-12.

Signs of Spring – Maine Windjammer Style

Ahh, the sounds, sights and smells of spring – Maine windjammer style.  The constant drone of a sander, the bustle of crew trekking into the house on a cloud of sanding dust and the pungent odor of paint thinner wafting through the air.  Blowing paint dust buggers, chapped and hardened hands, Carharts so dotted with paint that it obscures the original color and honor of all honors, so well-worn that they sport a hole or two in the knees or butt.  Rainy days spent in the barn with the music cranked while telling stories of our winters.  Sunny days spent down on the schooner, warm under the cover, sanding and sanding and sanding.  Sanding until your brain turns to mush and your arms, even after the sander has been turned off, still feel the vibration.  Hands that are temporarily set in a claw shape that looks normal when holding a sander but appears either gruesome or intimidating when you’ve put the sander down.

This is the time of year when I’m just as likely to yearn for something grilled as something simmering on the stove top all day long or baked in a warm oven, sometimes feeling the exuberant energy of spring and sometimes still hankering for a good cozy on the couch.  It all depends on what the weather is doing outside, what I want inside my belly.

Today it’s a breezy, bright but chilly day and I made these scones for the crew when they took a break from the drone of the sander.

Stilton Blue Cheese, Canadian Bacon and Chive Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 ounces crumbled stilton blue cheese, about 1 1/4 cups
6 ounces diced Canadian bacon, about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup minced chives
3/4  cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450°.  Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles a fine meal. Do the same with the cheese.  Mix the bacon and chives into the mix.  Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and eggs into flour mixture just until the dough binds together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently until combined, about 10 turns.  Pat the dough out to 1-inch thick round.  Cut into 8 wedges and transfer  to an ungreased cookie pan.  Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, about 20 minutes.

Makes 8

Dusting off flour dust and sanding dust…

Gifts from the Kitchen – Yummy Cookies or Granola

It’s only taken thirteen years, but I feel as if our household has finally gotten the hang of a simple Christmas, planning ahead, not taking on too much and really enjoying the days of baking and making gifts.  The girls helped me make a slew of cookie dough which we then wrapped in plastic wrap and then parchment paper, added a label and called them gifts.  The idea being that these sweet logs of butter and flour are frozen until such time that the recipients deem they need a sugar fix.  One, two or lots more slices later and freshly baked cookies emerge from their ovens – after the holidays when the baking blitz has died off.  Your favorite cookie recipes will most likely be forgiving enough to work well, as will one’s that I’ve posted before:  Annie’s Butter Cookies, Grandma’s Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies, and the Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal Cookies that are part of this week’s column along with Raisin, Molasses Granola and Cranberry Ginger Granola.

Happy baking!