Vegetarian Series – Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings

A few months ago, I stumbled across a vegetarian dish that was quite inspiring : Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings. I   was initially daunted by the number of ingredients the recipe called for (walnuts, sage, cranberries, cheese (I recommend Gruyere), maple syrup etc) but after completing the dish, I was impressed with how each ingredient played their part in making this dish so memorable. There was a mix of

  • flavors : the sweet from the cranberries and sharpness of the cheese)
  • and textures : crushed nuts and quinoa go surprisingly well together alongside the soft roasted squash

It was delicious and had a sophisticated flare to it.

If you try this recipe, don’t skip any ingredient no matter how small! And get a good knife for cutting the squash. Unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for how long it took to cut the rings and as the gallery below will show, there were a few ‘uniquely-shaped’ ‘rings’ 🙂 All in all, I look forward to trying this recipe again.

Of course, my go-to recipe for quinoa was used.

Here’s how it went :

Ten steps closer to perfect tennis rolls

Today, I’m thrilled to report that our second  round of attempts at making tennis rolls produced  very encouraging results : an order of magnitude better than our first try! Let’s compare, shall we?

Attempt 1:

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  • the rolls were rock hard apon leaving the oven
  • the rolls had cracked across the top
  • the rolls were almost void of color. This couldn’t be fixed by longer baking since the bottoms of the rolls were already quite dark and the outer shell of the rolls had become quite ‘crusty’

Attempt 2:

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  • The rolls have great texture right out of the oven
  • The rolls have a beautiful brown color
  • The rolls rose evenly in the oven resulting in a smooth top – no cracks or seams in sight!

So what changed?

Well, after pestering family and friends for tennis roll recipes, I received a recommendation to drop the eggs from our previous recipe and use coconut milk instead of regular milk. In keeping with this suggestion – I used the recipe we followed during our first attempt with the above substitutions and omissions. I was also a lot more liberal with the orange zest since that flavor, in concert with vanilla extract, really makes this bread shine. The most important change however was patience. Last year, we were so eager that we rushed through certain parts of the recipe. Although, it took several hours ( 7 to be exact!), I took the time to assess whether or not it really was the right time to move on to the next stage. This meant letting the dough rise for three hours instead of the recommend two and taking pictures of the dough so that it would be easy to recall what it is supposed to look like (and feel like) at every stage.

Some important lessons

  • the kneading stage is extremely important and cannot be rushed. I bought a mixer with a dough hook which allowed me to knead the dough mercilessly (:)) for  more than 15 minutes. The difference between a lightly kneaded and well kneaded dough are obvious both before and after it is set aside to rise. After rising, the dough felt more stretchy, smooth and pliable than it did last time.
  • Making breads is an all day endeavor and tennis rolls are no exception. Although the end result is more than rewarding, setting aside the time to patiently knead the dough, and allow for various dough rising periods is exhausting.

More to improve on!

Of course, there will be more that I will be adjusting in the future. With this recipe , the tennis rolls came out of the oven with a lovely texture however by the end of the second day they got a bit tough. This seemed quite quick even for baked bread. I stored them in a ziplock back on the kitchen counter during this time so at this time, I am unclear about whether the storage of the rolls or something in the recipe caused the quick hardening. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!

Some recipes call for using parchment paper on a flat baking pan when baking the rolls. I prefer to use regular baking pans. I baked half of my rolls on parchment and the other half in baking pans and the ones baked on parchment had very burnt bottoms while the others were golden brown. Again, my technique and tools could have been at fault here but in my next round, I’ll be sticking with baking pans.

Finally, this time around, I made rolls of a smaller size than I would normally – this was mostly because I didn’t want a huge batch of rolls that came out like the last ones :). Next time, I will stick to traditionally sized rolls even if it means making less of them.

As always, here is how everything went :

I was reminded of the fact that the key to my memories about tennis rolls really is the citrus zest – something I haven’t really tasted in any any bread I’ve eaten in any other country I’ve lived in. This is what makes tennis rolls so unique and I can’t wait to try even more variations of the recipe. Feel free to share if you have one and believe me, I will try it!

…good to know someone somewhere is having luck with this! hopefully soon we will be too!


Tennis Roll

Let me start this post by saying, that this was my 3rd attempt to make tennis rolls. The first time, the rolls didn’t taste close to tennis rolls. The second time, it had the flavor but was raw on the inside. Finally, I got it to taste right and cook all the way through. The top did get a bit browner that I wanted it to, but I will adjust this the next go around.

Now for the story… Tennis roll, I will assume started out as a dinner roll. But if you’re Guyanese you know it’s an anytime roll and most often eaten with extra sharp cheddar cheese from New Zealand (Anchor cheddar cheese is the best cheddar cheese hands down). As a kid, I used to go to the local neighborhood shop and buy a tennis roll and cheese for $20 (about US 10 cents). Some like their…

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Vegetarian Series: Orange Chocolate Cheesecake (Vegan)

We were wrongDSC09404

We were wrong when we pitied vegetarians and ESPECIALLY vegans for not being able to partake in our oh-so-often omnivorous spread of devilishly delectable desserts! We were wrong when we dismissed the thought of going vegetarian or vegan because we simply couldn’t do without dessert!  And we were wrong when we thought that all vegans ever eat are dry, characterless seeds and roots and leaves!

Just when I started thinking that this vegetarian series was going to be boring and personality-less, I googled “vegetarian desserts” on a whim and, as if by kismet, I was led to this picture on this Pinterest page. I followed the trail and eventually came across the recipe here, compliments of fettlevegan (check out her blog and try some of her recipes… such insight, such innovation!).

Anyway, since then, my life  hasn’t been the same!

Somehow, in the blender, DSC09379the individual cashews died and were collectively resurrected as a smooth, creamy, thick, rich ‘batter’, that, with a splash of OJ, orange extract and agave syrup, and just a breath of cocoa powder, attained the gastronomical equivalent of sainthood.

It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before! Next time I make this -because, there will be a next time- I think I’m gonna replace the cashews with hazelnuts, or at least toss a couple of ’em in there. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up inventing my own vegan ‘nutella’ cheesecake recipe! In fact, you know what, I think I just might do that!

As it turns out, vegans aren’t necessarily missing out on all the fun!

Calling All Tennis Roll Lovers!

A few months ago, my sister and I attempted  to make  traditional Guyanese tennis rolls. The result? Near perfect taste with the texture, density and weight of a rock bun! It was a great learning experience but we know that we’ll need to practice more to get it right.

But here lies the problem : how can one practice without a guide? How can we know where we went wrong and how we need to adjust?

Finding tennis roll recipes and step by step preparation tips are impossible to find in print and sparsely available online. This iconic Guyanese dish is missing from the renowned What’s Cooking in Guyana Cookbook and we were able to find only one tennis roll recipe online (at the Guyana Outpost website) which has inspired several customizations,  like this blogger’s adaptation and this one published by Cynthia Nelson in the Stabroek News. Even Cynthia, an accomplished food writer, admits that making these deliciously unique rolls at home is a special art that goes beyond a mere recipe on a page.

In light of the above frustrations, we’re looking to start a group of men and women who are interested in sharing their tennis roll recipes and expertise with others and learning and carrying on this tradition no matter where we live. So…

Calling all tennis roll makers! Calling all those looking for tennis roll recipes! We know that we are not the only folks who know how rewarding a fresh Guyanese tennis roll can be and are struggling to make it at home.

If you know how to make tennis rolls, want to know how to make tennis rolls or are just curious about why we’re making such a big deal about a roll,  would you consider emailing us at sistersizzle AT or commenting on this post? Our goals are to

  1. find more tennis rolls recipes 
  2. learn techniques about how to make them (both in terms of taste and texture)
  3. if possible, find out where tennis rolls came from and why they are native to Guyana (aren’t you curious about where the name ‘tennis’ rolls came from? I know I am)

I have full faith that we can all learn from one another and serve picture perfect (texture and all) tennis rolls at our own breakfast tables in no time. Thanks in advance.