Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cherry Blossom Breakfast Roll

Cherry Blossoms at the tidal basin

Now that spring has arrived in town that can only mean one thing, tourists. Well they are only part of it to me best part of spring it's Cherry Blossom season. Thongs of wide eyed tourists arrive to view the trees and the other sites along the tidal basin.  The Cherry Blossom Festival lasts about two weeks. Peak bloom only lasting a few days so it can be tricky finding time to see them while dodging tourists and bad weather. During these few weeks there are lots of festivities-fireworks on the water, the tea lighting ceremony, 10 mile run, the parade but of course the star of the show of course are the trees themselves. I like to go down to watch the sunrise. As the sun comes up the tidal basin is washed in a soft pink glow. The trees are saturated with all hues of pink. The best part only the die hard tourists are there that early. 
I wanted to create a treat to honor the blossoms so I created a Cherry Almond breakfast roll. I wanted to save time so I chose to use the Pillsbury pastry sheet but you could use any breakfast roll dough for this.  It doesn't need to be cherry blossom season to make this big roll but it doesn't hurt.

Almond Schmear:
1 cup of blanched almonds
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoon of unsalted butter. softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg white

Put almonds, sugar, and butter into food processor. Process until almonds are finely ground, scrap the bowl if necessary. Add the almond extract and egg white. Process until mixed. Store in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before using. This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a about a week.

Breakfast roll Glaze:
1 cup powered sugar
2 tablespoons of water (you may use less) you want to able to drizzle it over the roll
red food coloring (optional) don't use too much you want it to be pink.
Mix the powered sugar and water to get a consistency that makes it easy to drizzle. Add the red food coloring to get a light pink color.

To assemble the Cherry Blossom Roll:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pastry sheet or what ever breakfast roll dough you want to a  approximately 8 x12. it may be larger if you use homemade dough. Spread the almond schmear on the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of dried cherries over the schmear, pressing them into the almond mixture. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut the dough into even sized strips. Take your first strip and roll it up and place in the middle of a greased pie pan. At the end of the first strip place the second strip and coil the strip around the roll. Continue with the rest of the strips around and around until you one big breakfast roll.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool about 15 minutes before glazing.
Mix the glaze and drizzle over the roll. Serve warm.
Roll out the dough and spread the almond schmear

Add the dried cherries

Coil  the strips around and around

ready for the oven

Drizzled with pretty pink icing

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sights and food of Seattle

My time was short for my trip to Seattle. I was attending IFBC 2013, a food blogger conference. This year I did not have a lot of time before or after to do a lot of sightseeing. I had to try to pack in as much as I could in a few short days.
Of course I went to the Space Needle, a Seattle landmark since the sixties. I rode the historic monorail as well. The Chihuliy Gardens are there as well. But were closing for a private function the day I tried to visit. 
I was desperate for a cup of coffee that was not Starbucks, so I let social media help me and someone recommended Top Pot Hand Forged Doughnuts they serve Zeitgeist coffee. So it was up and out early one morning for doughnuts and coffee. On my way back to the hotel I had to stop at Dalhia Bakery for their famous cookies and they did not disappoint nor did they make it home! 
Of course there is the famous Pike Market all the vendors and the famous flying fish. I did find a local brewery in the market so on a rainy Sunday afternoon I had a pumpkin ale and mac & cheese loaded with Dungenss crab meat and gilded with bacon.
Since I did miss the Chuily Gardens it's on my to do list for next year. The conference is back in Seattle so am I and just maybe I can sneak in a extra day.
Dahlia  Bakery 

Top Pot Doughnuts and really great coffee!

Dahlia's famous cookies that did not make it home

The famous Space Needle landmark

View from the top
The Pike Place Market
Dungeness Crabs
Pumpkin Ale from the PIke Place Brewery
Loaded Mac & Cheese with bacon thrown in for good measure

View of downtown

Saturday, November 16, 2013

IFBC 2013 Seattle Conference Swag

Suitcases overflowing with free goodies. If you have ever attended a conference you know what I am talking about. SWAG! Attending a food conference is just like any other conference for the swag but I think that it's possibly the best kind of conference to attend. Can you say lots of food samples! 
I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) again this year and I can tell you the freebies did not disappoint. I have a confession to make- I may be a little addicted to the swag. 
Last year I learned the hard way and had to mail the swag home so, this year I brought an extra suitcase (thanks Southwest for no baggage fees) to check my swag bag. I also brought wine bags and bubble wrap, just in case. 
Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors to this year’s conference. Looking forward to next year? Perhaps,
maybe I’ll attend two conferences just so I can compare swag! (Of course I always meet really cool foodies and learn a thing or two in the process).
Live tweeting session. Sponsored by Amazon Grocery

Sponsors of the conference

Just a small snapshot of the swag