Parker House rolls (my variation)

Parker House rolls (my variation)

I learned about the famous Parker House rolls sometime ago while watching one of the many food shows that I use to waste my time.  This morning since I was up at 4 AM due to jet lag, I decided to try my hand at them (also because I didn’t think we had anything in the house for breakfast except for eggs and I figured that some bread would go well with eggs).

I ended up loosely following a recipe from King Arthur Flour, but made some changes based on what I had in my pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I used a mixture of bread and AP)
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used rice drink as that is all we have in the house)
  • 1 large egg (mine was more of a medium sized egg)
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter

The overall recipe was fairly easy.  Mix all of the above ingredients save for the last 3 Tbsp of melted butter – that was for later.  I did slightly warm up the rice drink with the egg whisked in to get it closer to room temperature.  Initially (maybe due to lack  of sleep), I only used 2 cups of flour and couldn’t figure out why the dough was so wet and seemed to be more consistent with a cake mixture.  I eventually realized my mistake and added the extra cup of flour and it still came together okay though was a very wet dough (I suspect from the all the butter).

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Forgot to add the 3rd cup of flour so it was a mushy mess.
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Much better with the 3rd cup of flour

I popped the dough into a lightly greased bowl and placed it in my oven’s proof setting for 80 minutes (originally it was set at 90 minutes but I took it out a little early).  The dough rose quite nicely.

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The King Arthur recipe calls to shape the dough into the orginial recipe shape  (as seen here).  I decided to do my own thing.

I spread the dough out into a roughly 8″ x 12″ rectangle.  I took some of the melted butter and generously brushed it over the entire dough rectangle.

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I then divided the dough into 16 pieces.  Each piece was then individually rolled into more or less a ball like shape and placed in some cast iron pans.

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I then let it rise for abour 40 minutes (the recipe says to let them puff up and not double at about 45-60 minutes).

In a 350  F pre-heated oven I popped both the cast iron pans into the center of the oven.  The original recipe called to bake for 20-25 minutes until brown but mine ended up taking closer to 30 minutes (maybe like 29 minutes).  I then brushed the top of the bread with the remaining melted butter.

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Overall I was impressed with how they came out.  The inside dough structure was soft and pillowy and there was a bit of crunch from the outside of the bread.  This is definitely something I can do again in the future.

-StewsCat

 

Cruise – Day 3-4 (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Cruise – Day 3-4 (Edinburgh, Scotland)

We anchored in a waterway near South Queensferry.  This is the closest place that a large cruise ship could get people to Edinburgh.  South Queensferry is about 10 miles from the middle of Edinburgh.  Since we had to anchor offshore, we needed to take tenders (small boats) to the port.

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Tenders

We woke up and got ready a little later (we were on vacation after all) and by the time we reached South Queensferry, it was already later morning.  You had 3 main options to get into Edinburgh: bus/shuttle, taxi, and train.  The train ride required a bit of a hike up a hill to get to the station.  That first day we decided to take the bus into town, which took about 25 minutes.  The weather was overcast with some light sprinkling.

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The bus dropped us off at St. Andrew Square in the New Town.  From there I figured that we would make our way into the Old Town and could start at the Palace of Holyrood house at one end of the Royal Mile and make our way to Edinburgh Castle at the other end.

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Holyrood House I learned is where the Queen (Elizabeth II) stays when she visits Scotland.  No pictures were allowed inside so I have some pics from outside the Palace.  The inside had some neat architecture along with some cool furniture.

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Continue reading “Cruise – Day 3-4 (Edinburgh, Scotland)”

Cruise – Day 1 & 2

So, somehow my entire post did not save and I lost a fully completed post.  I’ll re-write it but suspect it won’t be close to the same.  In my frustration, I may also shorten it and just throw in a bunch of pictures.

My parents wanted to take D and I on a vacation this year and we eventually settled on a cruise to Iceland.  My parents are world travelers and we wanted to find somewhere they haven’t been so the options of places that we wanted to see and they haven’t been were limited.  My parents are also pretty big cruiser takers and they suggested a 2 week cruise.  I have had some experience with cruises, having been on 6 different ones to various places (Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean, Mexico) and various cruise lines (Carnival, Princess, NCL).  All the previous cruises I’ve been on were 7 days or less so a 2 week cruise was new to me.  Also we would be cruising with Holland America, which is known for an older demographic (think retirees).  D had never been on a cruise so this was going to be her first experience.

Our itinerary would start in Amsterdam and take us to Scotland (2 ports), Iceland (3 ports) and Norway (2 ports) before returning to Amsterdam.  We decided to stay a few extra days in Amsterdam since D hadn’t been there before either.  To not be too rushed/stressed about making sure we arrived in time to board the boat, we decided to head to the Netherlands a day early.  We had one connecting stop in Seattle and I managed to get a decent shot of Mt. Rainier (I think it was Mt. Rainier).

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Our flight from Seattle to Amsterdam was smooth enough though I was stuck in a middle economy seat so wasn’t the most comfortable.  I was glad they had individual monitors and I was able to watch a bunch of movies since I couldn’t sleep that well.  On arrival, my mom surprised us by actually waiting outside of customs and accompanying us to our hotel for the night (Hyatt Place Airport – actually in a nearby town called Hoofdorp).  After getting checked in and taking a quick nap, we walked over to Hoofdorp to get some dinner.  We managed to find a Chinese restaurant (which is a cuisine I know my parents are comfortable with and I figured that we wouldn’t have much opportunity for Chinese food while on the cruise).
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The walk through town also revealed a quaint little main street area with shops and restaurants.  The houses were also quite cute.

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Hoofdorp
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Downtown / mainstreet Hoofdorp

Continue reading “Cruise – Day 1 & 2”