Easter time! Easter is of course a big holiday and with it comes big expectations of being around family and friends. There’s also an expectation of eating great food and having a “feast”, but sometimes gathering in large groups becomes overwhelming especially if you are the one hosting! If you are anything like me, you love gathering with friends or family to enjoy some great food and have good conversations, but there is a lot of pressure to make all the food yourself AND provide the entertainment.
I think the best entertainment actually just is the cooking! So how do you get everyone involved in the cooking process? That is a great question, and one that I try to ask myself every time I have a cooking class or people over. I like to refer to a good group of people cooking together as “community cooking”!
Where to start with community cooking? Well I think about meals that get multiple people either; using a cutting board, rolling dough, or doing some sort of other prep.
Easter Sunday at the Ranch was a great community cooking day! All of the clients got in on the feast that we had at the ranch, and what says Easter more than a good Easter brunch with hot cross buns! Our “community meal” was a potato veggie hash with eggs and bacon. Enough veggies for everyone to be able to lend a helping hand! Plus we always have some great conversations when everyone is involved in the cooking process. Yes there was even time to make some great lemon raspberry cake!
So the next time you are hosting a group of people at your house, or just having a casual get together with friends, think of ways that they can cook with you! You never know what great things you will talk about!
Yes!! We are eating food from the greenhouse! Our farm to table cooking is back! We are now harvesting enough mixed greens just from our greenhouse that we don’t need to buy anymore greens from the store!! How exciting!
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Hot Cross Buns
Makes about 15 buns
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Rising/down time: ~1.5 hours
- 2 ½ cups of warm water
- 2 teaspoons of yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- ½ of a stick of melted butter
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- About 3-4 cups of bread flour
For the icing
- ¼ cup of milk
- 2 cups of powdered sugar (or add powdered sugar to texture)
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer add the warm water and yeast. Let the yeast dissolve for about 1 minute.
- Add in 1 cup of whole wheat flour and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit until you see bubbles start to form or about 5 minutes.
- After the five minutes are up, add in the bread flour, melted butter, dried cranberries, and salt. Stir/mix to combine. If you are using a stand mixer, mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl (you may need to add a little bit more flour depending on what flour you are using).
- Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl; “knead” the dough until smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer, the kneading process will only involve turning up the mixer to speed 3-4. If you are mixing by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and push the palms of your hands into the dough and stretch it. Repeat this motion until the dough is smooth/elastic.
- Once kneaded, put your dough back in the mixing bowl and wrap it with plastic wrap or put a wet towel over it.
- Let your dough rise/ferment for about 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- After the dough doubles in size, divide it into 4 ounce balls by weight (or about the size of two golf balls).
- Roll your “dough babies” into nice round balls then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lay a wet towel over your dough after shaping. After you have rolled all of your dough, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Let your dough sit again for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size again.
- When the dough has doubled, place it in the oven for about 15-18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
- While the buns are baking, work on making the icing! Icing is super easy to make, just combine the milk and the powdered sugar. If your icing is too runny, add some more powdered sugar. If your icing is too thick, add some more milk.
- When the buns are done, take them out of the oven and place on a cooling rack. Eat them hot with the icing or allow them to cool completely and then make a “cross” with the icing on top!
Have a fun and clean month everyone!
- Chef Henry
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