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Good news for Tucson's south side shoppers

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The newish Spectrum Mall in Tucson, which is located just west of Interstate 19 going south off Irvington Road, has had a Target store ever since it opened, I believe. I have shopped there off and on, but my wanderings don't often take me to department stores, so I will admit I haven't been there recently.

Imagine my delight when I stopped by the other day and discovered that they are now a Super Target, in that a new section has been opened on the south side of the store that carries a grocery department. The significance of this is the quality of products that they feature, which I first learned to appreciate when I visited the existing Super Target on Oracle Road north of the downtown area.

Organic brands are represented strongly at Super Target, with in-house labels for such things as jam and jelly, tea, baking needs and coffee. I also found some hard-to-find ready-made brands such as P. F. Chang's entrees and appetizers, my favorite brand of Chinese food.

The fact that the store has been expanded this way in the southern half of Tucson is very encouraging to me. The Spectrum Mall is located generally in a neighborhood called Midvale Park, which is an established middle-class area of the city that is predominately Latino. I like it because it reminds me of Guam, with its multi-ethnic culture. Recently I have met several Filipinos working there as well, and it is always a pleasure for me to run into someone from my old neighborhood. Mabuhay, cababayans!

At the Super Target on Oracle, I found a package of cherry Danish pastries that were the best I have ever found on a store shelf. If you like Danish you can also find some of the best at Costco, which is off Interstate 10 near its junction with the Kino Parkway. The baked goods at Costco tend to be excellent.

I believe that having the Super Target open its expanded facility close to the Walmart on Valencia Road (to its south) is good for everyone in the area. It will tend to hold prices down and provide some competition for quality food products. At least I know that I tested out the Paula Deen line of deli pastries a couple of years ago at Walmart, and I am never going to be tempted to buy them again; they are not very good. In fact, if I had Paula herself or her son Bobby over to my house, I wouldn't dare serve them her own line of pastries.

If you have ever wondered how to make a Danish pastry, what you do is make a recipe of sweet yeast dough, and then let it rise the first time. When it is ready for the final rising, you shape the pastries by rolling the dough as thin as you can get it and then forming it gently into a long spiral log.

Slice the log into rounds and place a Tablespoonful of jam or jelly in the center, let the rounds rise until double in size, and bake them normally. Most Danish pastry is drizzled with an icing glaze after it has cooled.

This recipe can be used for dinner rolls, fruit and/or cinnamon tea rings, stollen, cinnamon and pecan rolls, coffee cakes, cinnamon twists, monkey bread, filled coffee braids, kolacky, cinnamon frosted soft pretzels, sticky buns and more. You can form this dough into any shape and add any filling. The original recipe was published in a Fleischmann's Yeast booklet during the Sixties; many bakers have been using it ever since.

BASIC SWEET ROLLS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil such as olive oil
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
4-1/2 c all purpose flour

Heat the milk to just above body temperature, 105-115 degrees as given above. Stir in the sugar, salt, and butter. Transfer it to the mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hooks.

In a large bowl mix warm water and yeast. Stir until dissolved. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture, beaten eggs, and half the flour. Beat until smooth using the bread hook attachment.

Add the remaining flour gradually, mixing as you go. You may need a bit more or less than the total 4-1/2 cups called for in the recipe, depending on the humidity and other factors. Your dough should be elastic and slightly stiff but not dry.

Butter the inside of a large mixing bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and turn it over a couple of times to coat it all with the butter.

Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place so it can rise. It will take about 1 hour to double in bulk. At that time punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured board to shape. At this point you can shape and fill as desired.

Cover prepared pastries and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, again about 1 hour. (A little more rising will occur during baking.)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees when pastries are about 10 minutes from being ready for baking.

Place the rolls in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter immediately when removed from oven. Allow rolls to set for at least 10-15 minutes before eating. If you are going to glaze the pastries, wait until they are room temperature so that the glaze will not melt into them and disappear.

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