Friday, February 5, 2016

Passionfruit Curd

I love passion-fruit.  It doesn't grow around here.  I usually buy the puree from the frozen section, Goya sells it.  It works great.  This here passion-fruit puree was painstakingly and lovingly picked by my brother and brought from TN to NY.  How lucky am I?

I used half the juice when he arrived that summer and the other half I froze.  I just made the curd after finding it in my freezer.  Was in perfect condition saved there int he little Mason jar!

I realized I had not ever blogged about passion-fruit curd so I had to share it with you.

Passion-fruit Curd

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup passion-fruit puree
12 tablespoons of butter, cut into 6 pats (6 ounces)

In a double boiler*  combine yolks, sugar and juice.  Whisk together and then switch to a wooden spoon.  Keep stirring until it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until completely melted.  Refrigerate.  Once it is set, it is ready for slathering on toast and  biscuits and whatever your little heart desires.

*If you dont have one then place a metal bowl or a glass bowl over a saucepan.  You just dont want the bottom of the bowl to touch the water.  So choose with that in mind.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Crock Pot Pot Roast

So many years since I made this certain type of pot roast that requires cans and packets of prepackaged stuff.  I wanted that pot roast.  I haven't made it since, seriously, November 2001.  Yup, you heard me.  The reason why I remember it so vividly is because I made it for my husband before he was my husband.  It was the first meal I ever made him.  Straight for the stomach I went.  Of course, you know the old adage, " a way to a mans heart is through his stomach".  Honestly, on our second date I had given him pumpkin muffins.   Really, I was not trying to hook the guy, I merely thought he is a bachelor, let me give him something homemade.

Fast forward to the other day,  I totally had a hankering for this.  I decided to make it again.  True confessions I bought a can of mushroom soup.  Yes, of course, I could have made it myself but I wasn't in the mood. The rest I did myself.

I will tell you exactly what I did, this way when I want to remake this I will know how to do it.

I served it with some freshly baked loaves of bread.  Great for dunking into the juice!

Crock Pot - Pot Roast

3-4 pound pot roast
large can of condensed mushroom soup
4 cups beef broth*
1/2 cup dried minced onions
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 large potatoes, diced
5-7 large carrots, diced ( I like a LOT of carrots in mine)

In crock pot combine mushroom soup, minced onions, garlic and beef broth.  Mix well.  Place roast in crock pot.  Turn on high for 2 hours then add in carrots and potatoes.  If you are not going to be home for a normal work day put the roast on a lower setting and add everything in.  I like to add my carrots and potatoes later as they become less mushy.

*If you dont have beef broth, beer makes an excellent replacement.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cheesy Mashed Potato Waffles

These are the most amazing waffles I have ever eaten. I have made them three times before but sadly was unable to take a decent picture.  They were consumed so fast and so completely.  But alas, these were made early enough to take a picture.

Cheesy Mashed Potato Waffles

4 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs plus 1 yolk
2 cups Swiss Cheese or cheddar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Fluff up mashed potatoes with a fork to loosen it all up if it has been in your refrigerator.  If you freshly cooked it, then no worries.  Once you have fluffed a little, add in the eggs. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and pepper.  Combine with mashed potato mix.  Finally add in cheese.

Scoop by 1/3 cup heaps onto waffle iron.

Note:  I found five minutes in the waffle iron was the perfect amount of time for a slightly browned waffle. All the more tastier when it is a little browned.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Yellow Lentil Squash Soup

Have you ever heard of alternate day fasting?  Well, you know I was doing the 5:2 Program.  Which worked really well for me, I lost 24 pounds.  It was totally doable for me.  But then I hit a plateau.  A three month plateau.  Then the Holidays were here.  I had to cook meals for company, entertaining, stuff like that made the 5:2 very challenging for me.  I decided to give it up in December.  I gained 15 pounds back.  Ugh!  Not surprising.

Considering the oh, so many diets I have tried before, this si the thing that worked best for me so I am doing it again.  This time I am not doing the 5:2, I am doing Alternate Day Fasting.  If you know about the 5:2, Dr. Mosley did some research on the whole fasting thing.  Not real hard core research but rather asking around kind of research.  He came up with the idea of five days of eating and two days of fasting as a way that he could lose weight,.  Dr. Varady, who he interviewed, has been scientifically researching the Alternate Day Fasting idea.  You can read more about it in this interesting article by Healthista.

Dr. Varady has written a book about Alternate Day Fasting called The Every Other Day Diet.  She hosts a Facebook website as well.  Dr. Varady has been doing some serious research with alternate day fasting in Chicago.  She has studied many obese adults and followed the alternate day fasting routine.

Anyway, long story short I am switching to the Alternate Day Fasting routine.  My husband has been doing it since the summer.  He has lost about 35 pounds.  It works.  The nice thing about it is that you can pretty much east what you want to every other day.

On his fasting days my husband prefers to eat beans.  Which is great because I love beans.  Here is a fabulous lentil soup recipe.

Yellow Lentil Squash Soup

1 tablespoon oil or ghee (clarified butter)
2 cups yellow lentils or red lentils
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger
6 curry leaves
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 onion
1 can lite coconut milk
6 cups water
4 cups chopped squash, I used kabocha here but you could use butternut, acorn, etc
1/2 jalapeno chopped tiny, seeds and rib removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Saute onions and bell pepper in oil. Add ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Cook one minute.  Add in the remainder of ingredients.  Cook with gentle simmer until lentils are tender and falling apart. With the back of my wooden smooth I smashed most of the pieces of squash.  I like it because the squash melting into the soup gives it a more creamier texture.

Speaking of creamier texture.  A dollop of yogurt would be great in this soup.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chocolate Italian Love Cake

Why do they call this Italian Love Cake.  Here's my take.  Italian because it has ricotta in it.  The ricotta layer which is on the bottom is cannoli filling like.  The love part, well, lets just say you will love this cake!  Creamy and delicious.

Continued after the jump.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns

Did anyone ever tell you that raising kids is the hardest job in the world?  No one told me that.  I wonder if it would have made a difference if they did.  No, I know, it would not have made one damn bit of difference in deciding to have children.  I still would have had them.  Matter of fact, knowing what I know now, I would do it over again.  But that doesn't make it any easier.

Just getting them to wash, dress appropriately, wear deodorant can be a chore.  Why?  I really just don't get it.  I love taking a shower.  It makes me feel refreshed and renewed.  It is one of my pleasures of the day.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to take a shower ever day.

In the morning the battles to get my youngest moving... Or how to get my oldest to complete jobs or put things away...  But really.  I should not complain.  These really are minor things.  Annoyances yes, but problems, well, not really.  I need to switch into gratitude mode. Rant over,

Now. this dessert.  My kids really do not have any idea how spoiled they are when it comes to homemade food.

This night that we had this.  Everyone inhaled their piece (or pieces),  It was such a treat.  The last time I made cinnamon buns was almost three years ago.  Wow.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns

2 (1/4-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda


1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened


1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
a little milk- about a tablespoon

Place ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Place all the dry ingredients in bowl. Mix for a moment. Add water, buttermilk, butter and sweet potato puree and mix until dough ball is formed. Add in more water one tablespoon at a time if too dry. Add flour one tablespoon at a time if too wet. Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size.

After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16 x 21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Potato Bread

Over the holidays I was going to try making an old family (Polish) classic, sauer kraut peirogies. Most people think pierogies, think potatoes and cheese.  But pierogies do come in different varieties of fillings.  Including strawberry, blueberry...  But sauer kraut pierogies actually have a different dough, are stuffed with sauer kraut and then are deep fried. The dough is made with mashed potatoes and flour.

But I digress.  Anyway, I had mashed potato leftovers to use.  Enter potato bread.  With company here, we gobbled it all up. Its always a good treat to have fresh baked bread.  My kids are spoiled, its the norm for them.

Potato Bread

1 1/2 cup mashed potatoes*
1-1/2 cups water
2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°) for proofing if you do not have instant yeast.
1 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

In the microwave heat the milk or in a saucepan.  You want it to be around 110F when you add it to the flour.  But no worries, mix it with the water to cool it down a bit.  A good rule of thumb is that you can stick your finger in the milk/water comfortably for 15 seconds, then it is close enough to 110F.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, yeast**, sugar.  Mix.  Add in salt. Mix water, milk, potatoes and butter.  Add to the flour and combine.

Once it is fully incorporated then you can either add flour or water, depending if it is too moist or too dry.  It is just right when it forms a nice smooth ball.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover.  Let rise for about an hour or until doubled in bulk.  Split dough in half and place in greased loaf pans and let rise again for about 45 minutes.

Place in a 375F oven for 35 to 4o minutes.  Internal temp of bread should be between 190 and 200F.

Dump baked bread out of loaf pans and let cool on a rack. I know it is difficult but it is always best to let it cool before slicing.

*If you dont have mashed potatoes already, then make a little and save the water from boiling the potatoes.  Its especially good if you use that water.

Amazing, smashed avocado with smoked salmon on top.

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