I’m calling this a special party for more than one reason……..
You see it is a special party for a special group of Specialists (try to say that ten times fast!). Let me explain what I mean. Several years ago, after many years of school administration, my husband decided to return to teaching music, his first love. This career change has given him the opportunity to re-connect with and influence kids on a daily basis. He now also has the time to compose music, a skill which had laid dormant for many years due to the intensity of public school administration.
An unexpected bonus of his current position is the friendships and camaraderie he has enjoyed with a close group of his co-workers; the other educators at the school who teach specialized subjects – art, physical education, technology, media, science, etc. In our school system these teachers are called Specialists. They share a daily lunch hour together and have become a tight knit group, encouraging and supporting each other in myriads of ways. I have enjoyed watching these wonderful friendships develop over the past three years.
Today is a day of meetings for the teachers in our county as they are getting ready to kick off a new school year. We decided it was the perfect opportunity (since they have a more flexible schedule today) to have the Specialists over for a lunch party to celebrate…………..well, just to celebrate THEM! I have been cooking up a storm and thought it would be fun to share some of these recipes with you this week. The menu for the party is:
~Smokey Korean Pulled Pork on Sweet Potato Sandwich Rolls with Fresh Corn Relish
~Chicken Salad – Best Ever! on focaccia alle Herbe
~Herbed New Potato Salad with Applewood Bacon
~Mango, Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing
~Indescribably Delicious Banana Bread/Cake with Ridiculously Easy Caramel Sauce
~Cotton Tail Punch
The recipe I’m sharing today is for the Sweet Potato Sandwich Rolls I’ll be serving my Smokey Korean Pulled Pork on (recipe later this week). These delicious rolls can be made ahead as they freeze well. They also can be made in a smaller size to make fabulous dinner rolls – I like to serve these to guests with honey-butter. If you have an stand mixer, they are a breeze as the dough hook does all the work. Give these unique rolls a try, I think you will love them! Oh, and keep checking The Café this week for more of these fun recipes!
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 tablespoons soft butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (1 medium)
- 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup 1 1/4 ounces sesame seeds (optional)
- To make the dough: Place all of the ingredients (except 1/2 cup of the flour) into the bowl of your mixer. Mix with dough hook until you've form a soft, but not sticky dough. Add more flour until dough forms a ball and cleans side of bowl. Continue to knead with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, then place it in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour; it will almost double in size and look puffy.
- To shape and finish the rolls: After the first rise, deflate the dough and divide it into 8-12 pieces, depending on how large you want your rolls. You can roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it to make it 3/4-inch thick (this give it a large enough diameter to fit your sandwich on after baking). Or you can roll each piece into a 12- to 14-inch rope, and form into a Kaiser roll shape. For a great tutorial on shaping Kaiser rolls see this web site. Place the rolls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise for 25 to 30 minutes, until almost doubled. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg.
- Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 17 to 19 minutes, until the tops are a rich golden brown color, and the centers read above 190°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Remove the rolls from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes, before removing from the pan and returning to the rack to cool completely. Yield: 6 large sandwich rolls.