What was scheduled to take 2 weeks actually took over a month. For a while it seemed like we were cursed, running into minor and major problems around every turn. Our contractor actually told us he had never encountered so many setbacks in a job. Unfortunately the delays were all due to mistakes that were out of our control. But now that nearly everything is in its place, I can do nothing but rejoice. A sink that doesn't leak! Drawers that aren't broken! Not one but TWO ovens! A dishwasher! Hip hip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I completely underestimated how much not having access to a working kitchen would affect my sanity. Naively I believed that it would be like a mini vacation for me. But it truly tested my patience. Being able to cook something from scratch is such a privilege. Doing dishes in a normal kitchen sink is a gift. Working on an actual countertop and not a slab of plywood is a dream.
This winter has been flying by so fast and the temperature just adds insult to injury. I feel robbed. Though the pace of life has been slower, we have done so much in the past couple of months, thinking about it now makes my head spin. I don't even know where to begin, so suffice it to say we've been moving and shaking...and dealing with some pretty nasty colds and flus to boot. Soon we will begin planting in the greenhouse and before you know it, spring will be in full swing.
It's about time I share a recipe with you because I have a kitchen to cook in now! Today is Mardi Gras and I am always filled with fond memories during this holiday. I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans ten years ago. I wasn't even old enough to drink yet, but I fell in love with the city immediately. It truly is one of the most unique places I have ever been to. The architecture, the people, the music - the food! My god the food. There wasn't a single meal I didn't enjoy. But my trip to Cafe Du Monde at the French Market was by far the greatest dining moment of them all. A plate of hot, fried dough covered in a snowdrift of powdered sugar on the table in front of you and a dark, chicory coffee in hand - what more could you possibly want in a meal?
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
Adapted from Mark Bittman
1 1/4 cups (10 fl oz) whole milk
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) instant yeast
2 large eggs
1 stick (4 oz, 113 g, 8 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1.75 oz, 50 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups - 5 cups (19 1/8 oz, 540 g or 21 1/4 oz, 600 g)
white bread flour, plus extra for rolling
Neutral oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Lightly grease a large bowl for the dough to rest and rise in and set it aside.
Melt the butter and let it cool slightly. Warm the milk and pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk in the melted butter and eggs. Add 4/12 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon. If the dough seems extremely wet, add the remaining flour and stir.
Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer, then knead the doughnut dough on medium speed for about 6-8 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Every couple of minutes, scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and the hook, dust with a bit of flour and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and bounces back when you press into it with a floured finger.
Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface. Shape it into a ball and set it seam sit up into the greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rest for about 1 hour in a warm, draft free place.
Preheat a pot of oil to 350 F. Line a tray with paper towels.
Lightly flour a work surface and gently turn the dough out onto it. The dough will have risen and be very soft with a slight tack to it. Flour the top of the dough lightly and roll it out no more than about 1/2" thick. With a knife or bench cutter, cut the dough into about 3" squares.
Fry the squares for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Take care not to overcrowd the pot, otherwise the temperature of the oil will drop. When the beignets are fried, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on the tray with paper towels. Continue frying until all of the beignets are cooked.
Immediately cover the doughnuts with an obscene amount of powdered sugar and serve.