So, now that I’m finally settled in the apartment where I am for realsies living now that I am down in Chicago, I figure it’s time to break in the kitchen. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing kitchen. Big fridge, gas range and oven and microwave, undermounted sink, lots of cabinets, a pantry, it’s everything I’ve wanted in a kitchen, ever. 

It’s been a damn long week, and these were already on the docket for me to make in the near future. But last night, I decided to move it up because it’s been a REAL shitty week at work, and I wanted something nice for me and the boyfriend to wake up to. This recipe is going to need some tweaking for the future (imagine this with brown butter!), but for a first try, this was a real good thing to have for breakfast while cuddling and playing Borderlands 2. 

Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemon Glaze
Makes appx 10 – 12 buns, depending on how you cut them

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast (appx 2.5 t)
  • .75 c milk, warmed
  • .5 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4.5 c flour
  • .5 t salt
  • .25 t nutmeg

Sticky Lemon Filling

  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T (half stick) unsalted butter, very softened, but not fully melted
  • .25 t ground ginger
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice

Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c powdered sugar

Take your milk and microwave it for about 45 seconds, so that it’s warm, but not scalding hot. Mix it together with the packet of yeast, and let stand for a few minutes, until it’s nice and foamy. Then, in a large bowl, mix together your softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1 c of the flour, until you have a nice, sticky dough base. Then, add the salt and nutmeg, and slowly, the rest of the flour, until you have a good sized sticky dough ball.

Then, take your dough ball, lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on, and knead the dough for five minutes, until you have smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit for about an hour, until the dough doubles in size. 

While the dough rises, make your lemon filling! For this, be sure that your butter is very, very soft, but not to the point of melting; my butter was partway melting, which is probably why my filling didn’t quite turn out perfectly, I think. Anyways, start out by rubbing the lemon zest and sugar together, until well combined. Then, slowly mix the butter in, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Then, add your nutmeg and ginger in, followed, slowly, by the lemon juice. The lemon juice will thin out the mixture, but it should still be creamy. (As you can see in pic 4, this didn’t happen for me, but it still worked.) Toss the filling in the fridge, and be sure it chills for at least a half hour; ideally, you work on the filling immediately after you start the dough rising, and let it chill for that full time. 

After your dough has doubled, take it and use a rolling pin to roll it out to roughly a 10 x 15 rectangle on a lightly floured surface (see pic 5). Take your lemon filling, and spread it evenly over the dough. Start rolling from the top long edge of the dough, and work your way down, rolling it as tight as possible and pulling the dough taut to keep the filling in. If your filling is too thin, it’ll leak out the ends, like mine did (see pic 6). Then, take a pan (I used a round cake pan), and cut your roll into twelve even pieces (I only got ten out of mine), and put your rolls into them, nestling them together (see pic 7). If you end up having the mixture leak out the ends, just brush it over the tops of the buns. 

At this point, if you’re me, you cover the pan with a towel, and throw it in the fridge over night. The next morning (or right away, if you decide to make it all at once), let the buns rise for at least an hour, until they’re puffy and doubled in size (see pic 8). While the buns finish rising, preheat your oven to 350. Then, put the buns in the oven for 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown (see pic 9), and a toothpick inserted into the doughy parts comes out clean. 

While the buns bake and cool, combine the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy, and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar, until you have a nice smooth glaze.

Once the buns have cooled a bit, but are still warm, spread the glaze over the buns, cut into them, and enjoy the glorious lemon goodness!

I picked up a ham for cheap from my school’s butchery program recently, and was looking through my recipes to see if there was something else I could try besides my mainstay ham recipe. I came across this recipe in my Pinterest, and I had all the ingredients on hand, so I thought, meh, why not?  I chose to stud my ham with cloves for this, but the recipe does not require it.

Dr. Pepper Glazed Ham 
Depends on the size of your ham; 5 lb ham lasted about a week for me

Ingredients

  • ham 
  • cloves to stud ham, to preference
  • .75 c packed dark brown sugar
  • .5 c Dr. Pepper
  • 2 T lime juice (original called for orange juice, didn’t have any to hand)
  • 2 t dijon mustard

Preheat your oven to 250. Take your ham out of the packaging, stud it with cloves, put it in your roasting pan, and tent tightly with aluminum foil. (The pictures you see are after having removed the foil tent). Roast the ham for about 17 minutes per pound (this was a 5 lb ham, so it was roasted for about an hour and a half). Ideally you should have a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, but I didn’t, so I mainly just guessed.

When it gets down to the last ten minutes, combine the brown sugar, Dr. Pepper, lime juice, and dijon mustard in a pot, whisk together, bring to a simmer over medium high heat, and then simmer for about 8 minutes, until it reduces and thickens to a syrupy consistency. 

As soon as the syrup has thickened, take the foil off the ham, pour off any juices that have collected in the pan (if applicable) and brush the glaze over the ham. Return to the oven and bake for another half hour, until the glaze is sticky. Brush the collected glaze over the ham, let it rest for about a half hour to cool, and then enjoy your delicious labors!

This ended up being something I threw together pretty quickly, as I wanted to use the fish while it was still fresh, and I was originally planning on being out tonight (short story, didn’t end up happening, yay for sleep debt and introversion overcompensating for being social the night before).  Either way, simple flavors and quick prep time, combined with a quick pan sear, make this pretty spectacular.

Japanese Glazed Pan Seared Salmon
Lasts 2 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon
  • olive oil
  • .25 c soy sauce
  • .25 c brown sugar
  • 1 T rice vinegar

Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a bowl, stirring until the brown sugar is dissolved, and then place your salmon in the bowl, marinating for about five minutes on each side.  You could probably go for longer, if you wanted more flavor infused.  

Heat your olive oil over high, and then sear your salmon, cooking for three minutes on each side, enough to turn it lighter pink, but not enough to cook it all the way through.  While your salmon cooks, take the remaining marinade and bring it to a simmer over medium high heat, simmering for five minutes. Then, pour the glaze over the salmon, and enjoy!