Wreathed by images of family and life events colored by food, the cover page of a slim volume for my husband and our two adult sons from Christmas 2011 is inscribed:
“For my boys. My love for cooking and many of these recipes were influenced by my mother. The best is sharing them with you.”
Month-by-month a la Peter Mayle, the recipes and family photos were a labor of love and a definite hit in our home. I’ll share them here for your palate and table, perhaps inspiring your own collection and memories.
From an aging 80s Los Angeles Times Food Section clipping, these perfect baseball-sized gems have satisfied for years. They’ve celebrated, consoled, comforted, and surprised family, friends, and coworkers.
The combination of hearty whole wheat and aromatic, textured filling qualified these buns for this month!
They’re perfect hot from the oven, on a picnic, or redeemed from the freezer in a pinch. If I am very clever, I make a double batch.
They seem to go fast.
1 envelope dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm H2O
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups flour
1 # hot Italian sausage
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 pound spinach
1 cup ricotta
1 egg, beaten
Dissolve yeast in water & let stand till foamy, about 10″. Add olive oil, salt & enough flour so dough can be handled easily. Turn out onto generously floured surface & knead until shiny & elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover with towel & let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove sausage from casings & crumble meat into skillet. Saute over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Drain well & transfer to large mixing bowl. Wipe out skillet.
Using same skillet, cook pine nuts in olive oil until golden. Add garlic and cook briefly. Add to sausage along with spinach, ricotta & egg & mix well. Season with S&P.
Punch down dough & divide in half. Roll each half into 15×15″ square. Cut into 5″ squares. Place about 2T filling on each square. Gather edges of dough around filling & press together to seal. Place buns pinched side down on ungreased baking sheet. let stand in warm place for about 15″.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush buns with egg mixture (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon milk or cream).
Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Serve at room temperature.
Yield 18 buns.