Sunday, August 31, 2008

THE ECLAIR: A Daring Baker Journey

Well I must say that it is so much fun to be a part of the Daring Bakers. What a great bunch of people. "Hanging out" with them on the blogosphere has taught me many things! So much talent in this group. The hosts this month were Tony Tahhan and MeetaK . The chose Chocolate Eclairs by Pierre Herme from the book: Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé.

I just recently made Cream Puffs a few months ago. I liked them as Profiteroles. But I never really liked cream puffs, pastry cream, custard (unless its ice cream) or eclairs. Just not my thing. I certainly ate a few but was not tempted to eat the entire batch, thats for sure.

I filled mine with cannoli cream. I really liked this recipe for canoli cream. It was creamy and tastey. It was also firm enough to stand up in the eclair.

My five year old sure enjoyed the eclair and the sprinkle part. And my two year old enjoyed the sprinkle part so much that she ate mainly the sprinkles.

My recipe for the cannoli cream can be found here.
Please visit the hosts for the recipe on their posts Tony Tahhan and MeetaK.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A DARING BAKER BACKWARD GLANCE

The overachievers are at again. This time it is Tish Boyle's Chocolate Cake. And wow, if your in the mood for a little chocolate, I mean a LOT of chocolate, this is your cake. Rich to the enth degree. If your cholesterol is high, this is NOT the cake for you.
While I appreciate the chocolatey goodness, I do not require so many calories and so many grams of fat. Sorry Tish, its a great cake but I want something with chocolate intensity and not so much fat. A little, not 3 sticks of buttah! YIKES. For all of you out there who do not mind the fat and want to impress your friends with this chocolatey rich cake, this IS your cake!

Update: Having said all this without having a piece was real poor blogging on my part. I still agree with everything I said, dont get me wrong but man I just had a piece. It's so good. Pure fudge without the sugary taste of fudge. WOW.

Chocolate Intensity
from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book
makes one 9-inch cake or two mini 4 inch cakes

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 62% cocoa), finely chopped
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brewed coffee
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment round and butter the parchment. (If you’re using a pan with a removable bottom like a springform, make sure to wrap the pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil.)

Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir butter, sugar and coffee until the butter is melted and mixture is boiling. Pour the hot mixture over your chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup hot chocolate mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. (Tempering the eggs with a little bit of the hot chocolate mixture will prevent “scrambled eggs” when combining the two mixtures.) Add the egg mixture to the hot chocolate mixture and whisk to combine well.

Strain the batter through a sieve (to catch any cooked egg bits) and then pour batter into prepared pan. Set cake pan in a large roasting pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is shiny and set but still a bit jiggly. Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack and cool for 20 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a cardboard round on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. Remove pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before glazing with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute then gently stir until chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Gently stir in the vanilla. Transfer glaze to a small bowl and cover the surface of the glaze with plastic wrap and let cool for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

To glaze the cake:

Place the chilled cake, still on the cake round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Slowly pour the hot glaze onto the center of the cake. Smooth the glaze over the top and sides, letting the excess drip onto the baking sheet.

Scrape the extra glaze from the baking sheet and put it in a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners. Gently squeeze the bag over the top of the cake to drizzle the glaze in a decorative pattern. Refrigerate the cake at least one hour before serving.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

IT'S SO CHILLY TODAY

Here in Western NY, near Lake Ontario it is about sixty five degrees out. This is not a complaint. I love the chilly weather. After living in Phoenix for three years, I have come to appreciate the cold. I moved out there to get away from the cold and dreary days that we have here (not so much anymore, Global Warming). When you live in a climate with blue skies nearly everyday and temperatures reaching 110 or so, you come to appreciate clouds and cool weather.
One of the great things about cooler weather is of course the cooler weather food. But I guess that is one of the great things about summer too, the food. Hmmm. All relates to food. Today was a day that called for chili and fresh corn muffins. This is no guilt chili. A big pot of it, roughly ten cups or so contains 8 points or so, translated to calories, about 500. Lots of fiber brings the count down. Add some sour cream and a little cheese along with a corn muffin and you have a nice meal thats pretty low in calories. I am in the camp that you should use the real thing as much as possible and use less of it. I like full fat sour cream and full fat cheese, I just dont use as much. It's more filling and satisfying that way.

VEGETABLE CHILI

3 zucchinis, coarsely chopped (about 7-9 inches long)
2 green peppers, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons leaves of the celery
6 medium tomatoes, chopped (you can use canned as well)
1 can of tomato paste
1 can kidney beans
1 teaspoon of garlic or two garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
2 tablespoon parsley
s and p
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter

Melt butter with olive oil in large pot or Dutch Oven. Saute onions, celery, carrots and peppers until soft. Add zucchini. Cook until zucchini begins to soften. Add tomatoes and cover, stir occassionally. Add all the seasonings, beans, and s and p to taste. After this cooks for about fifteen minutes add tomato paste and stir in to dissolve.

The corn muffin recipe can be found here at Epicurious.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

THAT'S ONE HOT TAMALE

That is what my husband said upon tasting my tamales. You see I have these PROLIFIC Hungarian peppers growing out back. I said to myself, "Self, get your butt in the back and pick those peppers, gather all the ones in the fridge and roast away." I thought that was a good idea (of course I know your thinking that you need to call the guys with the straight jacket). But hey talking to yourself is normal. Talking to the other selves with in your own mind is a whole 'nother story. Anway, the roasted peppers were mild when I tasted them, for the most part. I added capers and chopped turkey to the mix. I know capers aren't exactly Mexican traditional but they seemed right at the time, and really they were.
Now, you may think this is a little crazy too but I have been wanting to make tamales for about twelve years now. I have been so afraid to do so. It's funny because I think the L'Opera cake from Daring Bakers was much harder than this. These tamales were actually quite easy. They also had that "mud pie" factor going on. Put your hands in the bowl and mix up that masa, then add the lard. Mix that up with your hands. What fun! What? Yes, I said lard. I purchased the real lard for these bad boys. Now when you think about it, the ratio goes something like this. 3/4 cup of lard to 3 cups of flour. Is that any worse than butter in a cake? No. Not to mention that lard has less saturated fat than butter. And that amount makes quite a bit. Just have one, you can freeze the rest. They freeze very well.
I highly recommend quartering the amount of the recipe. Unless you are making them for a bunch of people. A quarter of this recipe is plenty for a family of four with some left over to freeze. Make them, you will so enjoy them. They are so worth it. Don't be like me and wait twelve years to do it.

Thank you Debyi of Healthy Vegan Kitchen for picking this fine recipe. You gave me the initiative to finally do it!

Here is the link to get all the recipes and possible fillings (although the possibilities are endless for the fillings. You can even go sweet.) Go and check out the other tamales that people are cooking up on Recipes to Rival!

I did include the halved basic tamale dough recipe here. You can check for the whole enchilada, I mean tamale (recipes and pics), on The Recipes to Rival blog. We have so many talented individuals in our group. Check them out for inspiration!

Basic Tamale Recipe by Chef Jason Wyrick of The Vegan Culinary Experience – Education, Inspiration, Quality * www.veganculinaryexperience.com
Type: Main Dish Serves: 24 Time to Prepare: 1hour
(mine was not Vegan- sorry)

6 cups of masa harina flour
5 cups of water (I used turkey broth)
1/2 tbsp. of salt
11/2 cups of lard
24 dried corn husks
Water to soak the husks
1/2 tbsp. of baking powder

1. Warm the stock. Combine the masa harina flour with the salt and baking powder. Stir the lard rapidly until it is creamy.
2. Pour the stock into the masa mix and stir until it is thoroughly combined. Beat the moist masa mix into the shortening until you have a paste that will spread with a knife without breaking apart. You should end up with a semi-thick paste. If you do not have this, you can add more stock in ¼ cup amounts to the mix until you have the right consistency.
3. To check the consistency, spread the masa on a corn husk and if it spreads easily while staying together, you have the right consistency.
4. Soak the corn husks for at least 2 minutes. (Some husks may still have the silks in them, make sure you remove them before using)
5. Spread masa paste over the top half of a corn husk (the top half is the wide half.) Spoon a line of your filling of choice in a line on one side of the masa paste. Roll the tamale from the filling side to the other side. You will end up with one half of the roll that has masa paste and one that does not. Fold the half that does not have the masa paste against the tamale, folding it in towards the flap of the roll.
6. Repeat this process with the rest of the ingredients.
7. Steam the tamales for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how large you make them. If you have a lot of tamales and a tall steamer, you can place the tamales vertically in the steamer.

Stock to steam by:

I used a little turkey broth that I had left over and added two cloves of garlic.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A KISS AND HUG TO YOU ARGENTINA

Some day I would love to go to Buenos Aires. I have relatives there. Of course many of them do not know me. When my Grandmother, Rose, migrated to the US from Italy, her sister, Asunta, ended up in Buenos Aires. There was a quota and she was unable to get into the US. She settled there and raised her family. She and her family came once to see us. They were so cute! You could not go and take out the garbage without a kiss hello and goodbye. This is by no means an exageration. That is one thing that I think Italians and Spanish speaking peoples have in common: loving, demonstrative families.

This is one of those recipes that has been on my docket for quite some time. I guess I was put off by the number of components. Who knows. Oh so glad I made it. I made one for lunch without the roasted peppers for my friend and I to enjoy. I made the other half with roasted peppers for dinner. Frankly it really doesnt need the peppers but it is a nice touch. What really makes this "pizza" is the chimichurri.

Argentine Black Bean Flatbread with Chimichurri Drizzle
recipe adapted from
Erin Mylroie for Cooking Light


Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup warm water (100-110F)
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups Black Bean Spread
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 roasted jalapeno
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic

Preheat broiler. Slice pepper in three large slices; discard seeds and membranes. Place peppers on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, skin side up. Broil until blackened. Place in a paper bag or a saucepan with lid; seal or close lid as you add the charred peppers. Let stand until cool. The steam will help the skin seperate from the pepper. Peel and cut into 16 strips. Set aside.

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup water, flour, and salt to yeast mixture, stirring until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic- about 10 min. Place dough in a large covered bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts., 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Place half of dough on a sprayed cookie sheet. Flatten and spread across cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough. Spread 1 1/2 cups Black Bean Spread over dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Place roasted peppers all around. Bake at 425F for 13 minutes on bottom rack of oven. Bake until crust browns around edges. Let cool 10 minutes. Enjoy.


Combine parsley and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle parsley mixture over cheese. Cut bread into 16 squares; garnish each square with 1 bell pepper strip.

Yield: 16 servings- serving size 1 square


Black Bean Spread

1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 (15-ounce) can 50%-less-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) salsa of your choice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Yield: 3 cups

Sunday, August 24, 2008

FARMERS MARKET FIND: FIGS


I love when I find some stellar deal at the market! Saturday we found a flat of figs for five dollars. I had to get them. We ate half the flat on the way home. How often do you get to eat a fresh fig? I knew I was going to make a tart with the remaining figs. I can not get enough of fruit tarts in the summer.

The crust was very good. It was light and flakey. I really enjoyed this recipe. The recipes came from a bunch of resources. I take what I like the best from each recipe. The result was really delicious.

FRESH FIG TART

filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt

crust:
5 1/2 oz all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 oz. chilled butter
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

glaze:
1/3 cup orange marmalade

figs, sliced

To make the crust:
In a food processor combine flour, salt, and sugar and whirl to combine. While processor is running slowly add ice water one tablespoon at a time until the sound of the machine changes and a ball of dough begins to form. Stop the machine. Gather onto plastic wrap, form a disk,cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll to a quarter inch. Lay in tart pan, fixing any patches as needed. Press up sides. Prick with the tines of a fork about seven times. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 F. Bake for 2o minutes or until golden.

To make the filling:
Process cream cheese, lemon zest, sugar and salt. Add sour cream. Set aside.

To make glaze:
Melt orange marmalade in saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it melts remove from burner to cool.

Assemble tart:
Spread filling on cooled tart. Place sliced figs in concentric circles. Brush figs with the melted and cooled marmalade.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

PINK PANCAKES

More beets, more delicious beets. I love them this year. They are so sweet. This particular beet is called a Cloud Beet. The beets from my garden are a little bitter right now. I don't know why. The farmer said she thinks it might be my soil. I will wait until later in September and try them again when they are a little bigger. The farmers market is a great place to get produce but it is also a great place to ask questions about growing things in your garden. Hey, they're the experts. So far, any of them that I have asked are happy to answer my questions.
Here are those mammoth sweet, "cloud beets". They are about five inches to six inches in diameter.

And finally, here are those little pink pancakes with some freshly made blueberry jam smeared on top. Delicious!

PINK PANCAKES

1/2 cup beet puree
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of milk (more or less)
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine the egg and the beet puree and whisk until combined. Throw in flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Whisk once more. Add milk until you have a nice soupy batter. It should be the consistency of heavy cream. Pour onto a hot, buttered griddle. Put heat on medium to medium high. Flip when you see bubbles burst through the top.

Spread jam on top! YUM.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'M JAMMIN'


Goin' to the beat just jammin'
Canning up the summer harvest while it's slammin'
Oh yeah baby just jammin'
smellin' raspberry's and jammin'
Can you feel the beat baby?

Ah, just do it. There is nothing like your own homemade jam on cold Winter's day. So yummy, reminding you of the day you picked them. It's a piece of cake to make jam. The Ball cannign site make things real easy. Check it out here. Or you can just do plain old jam. Just buy the Ball liquid pectin or Certo. Directions are right inside.

Basically all you do is wash your jar and rings. Hot water. Dishwashers are great for this. Mash up around five cups of raspberries (directions will give you specifics) in a large stock pot. Add around seven cups of sugar . Bring to a boil. Once it is at a full rolling boil, add pectin and let it stay at the full rolling boil for one minute. Turn it off. Dip measuring cup in and pour into jars. Wipe of rims. Place on lid, screw on ring tightly. Turn upside down for fifteen minutes. Cover with a towel to keep in the heat. After fifteen minutes place right side up. Keep covered until they have fully cooled. You will hopefully and most likely hear the tops go ping. Then you know a vacuum has been created and they are sealed. If for some reason the tops do not depress, then just put it in your fridge and use.

The directions will probably tell you to "cold pack" them. My Mother and I never have. They seal fine and stay sealed with out any problems. If by chance during storage a lid pops up. Do not eat. Throw it out. They store for a long time. If you have any questions just email me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LEMON BLUEBERRY BABYCAKES

Have you noticed a trend on my blog with blueberries? Ah, yeah. Tons of frozen ones in my freezer and tons of them in my fridge. This kind of stuff can keep me up at night worrying that they will go bad before I have a chance to do something with them. Yeah a little obsessive. The more I worry about the economy the more pack rattish and obsessive I get. Need to let that go.

LEMON BLUEBERRY BABYCAKES
my recipe

1 1/4 c sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temp
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest of a lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 F for glass/ 350F for metal. Grease desired pan.

Cream butter and add in sugar. Blend until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add almond extract. Add zest and lemon juice.

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk. Pour into prepared pans.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BLUEBERRY MADNESS

So funny I have now seen these blueberry crumble bars in several places. The first place I saw them was Smitten Kitchen. Today I saw them at Equal Opportunity Kitchen. And even on Equal Opportunity Kitchen they will direct you to yet another blogger that did these fine bars. How funny is that? So now if you have seen them in any of those places you get to see them one more time (at least).
I have to say that these melt in your mouth. They are sooooo good. My kids liked them for breakfast (with milk).

I made a mistake when I did the recipe I put the lemon zest in the blueberries. Next time I will just put it in the dough like your suppose to.

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE BARS
Allrecipes

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and cinnamon, if desired. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.


In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.


Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
(If you can wait).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

ONE HUNDRED POSTS OF FOOD ON THE BLOG...

If one of those posts should happen to fall... You know the rest.

I can hardly believe it, really. In a few short months this blog has been filled with 100 recipes. I kept thinking what special thing could I make or do? Then I thought well I already do special "dishes" because of Daring Bakers and Recipes to Rival. So I am going to celebrate with a new feature to my blog. Cooking Cross Country. You see my mother gave me this lovely cookbook that was published in 1940. It has recipes that are popular in each state. I will post on them each month, one state at a time. The only problem is that Hawaii and Alaska were not part of the US at that time. But I will fill in a recipe regardless. The book is called, AMERICA COOKS and it is by The Browns, Cora Rose and Bob. How cool is that? I am excited about this book as there are lots of interesting ideas and recipes in it. I am sure you will find it interesting as well. So stay tuned, the recipes will be starting September 15th.

On with the recipes at hand. This lovely "pink" pasta is Martha Stewarts recipe for Beet Pasta. I had bought some beets from the Farmer's market last week and wanted to do something different. I think these fit the bill. It was a little labor intensive but worth it. I got my kids to eat beets. No, I did not try to sneak it in. I have been saying that I would be making beet pasta all week. Whether they knew exactly what that meant, I have no idea. But was I going to argue with my kids getting bonus nutrition?
My two year old, proud of her "pourple" pasta (her favorite color).
My five year old, lovin' her "pink" pasta (her favorite color). She ate that entire bowl.

The filling that I made for the ravioli's is as follows:

21 oz ricotta, part skim
1/4 cup peccorino romano, grated
2 oz extra sharp cheddar
2 teaspoons dried dill, if you use fresh use less
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chives,chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 egg

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, place in the refrigerator until ready to use with the pasta.

The lovely cake at top is the chiffon cake from Use Real Butter.

lemon chiffon cake
makes 2 11×17 sheets or 2 9×3 rounds (you need only one round)
this recipe originally intended for baking at 5300 ft.

14.5 oz cake flour
8.75 oz confectioner’s sugar
6.75 oz whole milk
6 oz canola oil
3.25 oz eggs
4 oz. lemon juice
1teaspoon baking powder
13 oz egg whites
9.5 oz granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven 375F. Butter pan. Place parchment in pan and butter the parchment.

Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and confectioners sugar into a large bowl.

Mix wet ingredients: eggs, oil, milk and vanilla in the large bowl until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet.

Whip whites and granulated sugar to medium peaks.

Fold the batter gently into the whites. Fold until completely combined.

Bake until set, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and remove from pan. Let cool on a rack. When cake is cooled, remove the rounded top and cut into 3 layers.


The filling between the layers of cake is as follows:

1 (8 oz.)package fat free cream cheese, room temp
1 (8 oz.)package regular cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (I have super strong almond extract)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Whip the cream cheese until creamy, add whipping cream. Stop mixer, pour in confectioners sugar, and start the mixer back up slowly until the confectioners sugar is incorporated. Pour in extract.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BAKED EGG ROLLS

What to do with a lot of cabbage. You know I find these big heads of cabbage for a dollar sometimes. Or small ones for 50 cents. Who can pass that up? Then I'm like staring at it for a week in my fridge. Just what will I do with this cabbage that will get eaten up right away? Sometimes I really love cabbage and sometimes, well, I dont know, I get sick of it. But I always buy it. Money talks people.

One of our favorite things to eat is baked egg rolls. I make my own duck sauce. I would share the recipe with you but I am not happy with it yet. When I find the perfect "duck sauce" I will pass it along. Of course I am always open to suggestions if you have them.
A brand I really like.
If you are in Weight Watchers. These babies are one point a piece. How can you go wrong? You can eat five of them, feel satisfied and not have blown your points. How often does that happen? Ah, not very. Cabbage is very nutritious to boot.

So first, chop cabbage really small. As thin as you can get it or use a box grater. Here is a big important step. Salt the cabbage and place in a collander to drain. Salt liberally you will rinse it off after about 30 minutes or so. Check and see if there is liquid in the bowl you are draining into if there is, rinse and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

Place about a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan. Saute shredded cabbage (about 8 cups) and shredded carrot (two carrots). Saute until wilted. Add a bout a teaspoon of ginger and one teaspoon of dry ginger or about a tablespoon of fresh. Place back in the collander and let drain again. This will literally make or break you egg rolls. If you do not get as much moisture out as possible your egg rolls will become soggy and break apart during the baking process.
After the cabbage is squeezed and cooled off, Place about a half of a cup in the egg roll. Your egg roll square should be place in front of you as a diamond.
Fold up the corned and tug a little towards you to compact the cabbage.
Fold in the sides and roll towards the other pointed end.
This is what the end/sides should look like before the final roll to the other end.

Add anything to the filling, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, mushrooms, so many possibilities.

Coat eggrolls lightly with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turn and bake for about ten minutes more until golden. Enjoy.

Update: Brush on egg white to give it a little golden color.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

THAT'S A TANGY MEAT-A-BALLA!

After I heard about Sher, I checked out her site. I felt so bad and kept thinking about her for days. I had seen her site, What did you eat? before and checked out a few recipes. I saw several people had put up recipes from her blog in her honor and I am doing the same. This one's for you kid!

These meatballs were outstanding. I can't really say enough good things about them. You can find her original recipe here. The following is what I did when I made them because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. Also I already had some currant puree in the fridge. It had a little sugar in it but otherwise was very tangy. I can so see this with small meatballs as an appetizer.

Herbed Turkey Meatballs with Currant Sauce

for the meatball:
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 egg
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon into a bowl and let cool. Set the pan aside.

Add the turkey, bread crumbs, egg, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the cooled onion mixture, and mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Shape the mixture into small meatballs and fry lightly. Set on paper towels to absorb any grease.


for the currant sauce:

2 cups currants (cooked and pureed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup apple juice (unsweetened)
1 tespoon cornstarch

Place two cups of currants, water and sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the currants become tender. Puree. Add back to pan with applejuice. If mixture seems to thin, make a slurry of cornstarch and water. Add to juice until desired consistency is achieved.

Friday, August 8, 2008

PECANS AND BLUE CHEESE?


What? A bread made with blue cheese and pecans? Oh yeah. And it is so good. Even my Mother who is not big on blue cheese, loved it. She couldn't wait to have a piece with her coffee. I kept telling them the whole week that I was trying out this recipe and they kept giving me the look. You know, the "oh-my-goodness-what-strange-thing-are-you-making" look.

I will definitely be making this again when grapes are in season. Some apples, pears, grapes and this bread and definitely a glass of wine. Okay I am in a daydream, kids with my parents, me and my hubby on a picnic eating this wonderful lunch. Do your daydreams include food like mine?

BLUE CHEESE PECAN BREAD
adapted from Martha Hill Foose's book, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea

4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, chilled
2 oz. blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans, roasted
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 lg egg

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Add cheese and nuts. Toss. Make a well in the center and add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and the egg. Stir until you have a soogy dough.

Lightly knead on floured surface. Form into six inch round. Place on parchemnt. Brush with buttermilk. Sprinkle freshly grated pepper on generously. Cut "X" in top (shallow).

Bake ten minutes then reduce oven temperature to 375 F Bake 35 minutes more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

CORN FREEZE

This past Winter we enjoyed corn that I froze last summer. I was aprehensive about it when I did it as I thought it would be terrible. I froze late summer corn. It was on the tough side and I thought, well in the dead of Winter I will be grateful for this taste of summer. I was right. It froze really well.

There are two dozen ears in this pot waiting for their destiny.
That's about six ears there. All told it made about 14 cups of kernels. A serrated knife works excellent. I place a huge stainless steel bowl in the sink. Hold up an ear and slice downward. It cuts like butter.
I place the corn in freezer bags and suck the access air out. You can use a plastic straw for this. Once the air is out I smooth out the bag. I lay them individually in the freezer so that there is even freezing.

Then in the middle of winter you can have a corn salad. Or you can have a fesh one now.

Corn Salad

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, I prefer red
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 cup of corn
1 avocado chopped
1/2 cup hearts of palm, chopped
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

TEA FOR TWO

My friend and I took our kids to a place here in Rochester called La Tea Da. It's a very beautiful tea house that is decorated to the nines. You can have a regular lunch there or have traditional tea. This is the second time I have been there and have been wowed each time. The first time I had the traditional tea. It was complete with this scrumptious mile high creamy dream scone, tea sandwiches, small quiches, and pastries. The scone came with jam and devonshire cream. My friend and I were in heaven. MUST FIND THAT SCONE RECIPE! This time I had the Waldorf salad (above). It was very tastey and made me reconsider my opinion of Waldorf salads.
This is my daughter. She insisted on wearing this outfit (which is a dress up outfit for playing). At first I told her that it might be a little over the top. Then I reconsidered and said, ah wear it. How often do you get to do things like that? So I can be a little uptight sometimes (I am working on that). Have fun, sweet daughter.
I think it is so cool that my friend and I had daughters around the same time. I hope that they are blessed with a friendship like my friend and I. She is my loyal friend that I have done so much with over the years. A precious gem she is, so elegant and refined.

Great place, La Tea Da. I highly recommend it. (They have hats and boas for grown ups too). Oh yeah, I wore one.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A LONG AWAITED CAKE


I have been wanting to make this cake for years now. Literally. Every year there is some reason why I don't. I won't go into what has happened each year that has prevented me from making this cake. I will tell you that I FINALLY made it. It may have not been the same cake that inspired me in the first place but the results were amazing anyhow.

There has never been a shortage of blueberries at our house. I drive about one hour to pick at a farm that I absolutely love. I use to live near there but now that i have moved can not find a place comparable in size and price. And boy it is the land of plenty. It's Russels Blueberry Farm, North of Buffalo. I love it. It's affordable. Now with the price of gas it is actually comparable to a very expensive pick your own farm nearby. But hey look, I pick upwards of 25 pounds of blueberries. Oh yes, that was nto a typo. Blueberries turn into many things at our house. I freeze them on cookie sheets and then put them in baggies. The kids eat them half frozen, semifredo, in the middle of winter. They go into smoothies. I love to slab a tablespoon of sour cream on them when they are half frozen, it is like I am having some wicked dessert when really it is a low cal indulgence. Okay the list goes on.

Lori's Long Awaited Blueberry and Lemon Luscious Cake

Components:
Lemon Curd
Whipped Cream
Lemon Chiffon Cake (click here for original recipe)

Lemon Curd:
5 yolks
1 cup sugar
juice and zest of 4 lemons
1 stick of butter (4 oz.) cut in eight pieces

Combine yolks, sugar, juice and zest of lemons in a stainless steel bowl. Whisk until combined. Place bowl over boiling water. (You could also use a double boiler). Stir with whisk constantly. You want to heat it until it sticks to the back of a spoon. When you run your finger through it, it makes a trail. This usually takes anywhere from eight to ten minutes.

Take off the heat and whisk in pieces of butter one at a time until melted. Place in a glass or ceramic container and refrigerate. You can store this for about a week. It freezes well and defrosts rapidly.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In mixer, whip cream and sugar until peaks form.

Lemon Whip

Mix small amount of cream into curd to lighten it up then slowly fold the lemon curd into the cream. Refrigerate to set.

Lemon Chiffon

I used Jenyu's recipe from Use Real Butter. The only thing that I would like to say is that the batter filled 3- 9 x 3's for me. Other than that I loved everything about this cake. Divide cakes in two. I froze 1 1/2 and used the other 1 1/2.

Lay lemon cream mixture on first layer. Sprinkle about a cup of blueberries over the cream. Lay next layer on top. Repeat with all layers. The only thing that I would try next time I make this is to use cream cheese or mascarpone whipped up and then fold in the lemon cream. It would set much better. However I did like the creaminess of this lemon cream and it was a melt in your mouth experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

NO BAKE GRANOLA AND A MUSIC MEME


How great is no bake granola when it is steamy hot outside. THe last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. So here it is. Must warn you that it is so good you will not be able to stop eating it.

NO BAKE GRANOLA
Adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 cup brown sugar ( I leave it loose to cut back on the extra sugar)
1/2 cup peanut butter (you could do soy nut butter)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 tablespoons flax seed (toasted and ground)
1 1/2 cups brown rice cereal (crispy)
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl, cover and place in microwave for about two minutes or until it boils. Take out and throw the remaining ingredients in the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pat into a nine inch pan. Let cool. Cut into 12 bars.

Depending upon the amount of chips you use, they are about 225 Calories. Not bad for a nutritious sweet. Way Way Way better tasting than an energy bar. You can really play around with this. Like skip the chocolate and add craisins or dried bleberries. Oh the possibilities.

And now the music...

I can't get enough of this song. I heard it while driving one day. I was surprised it was Springstein. Not because of his sound but because I didnt know it. How did that happen. It can so lull me to sleep. I sit in front of my computer and rock back and forth. Very meditative.

The Girls in Their Summer Clothes

The next one here is one I have been listening to for about six months. I also find it to have a meditative quality. Again, it is one that is not played very much. Those tend to be the ones I like. It's a great one to listen to while you are driving.

Shut Your Eyes

This lady, I never tire of her. I just love her voice. She sounds like an angel. If you like her, and ever get the chance to see in her in concert, she is well worth the price of the ticket.

Scarborough Fair

Here's a classic. Wow has that much time gone by that you could call this a classic. This band has always been my favorite and I have been into rediscovering them lately.

Still Loving You

and this one, I love.

Send Me An Angel

And now this one I have been getting into with the kids. I have been playing all different kinds of music for them. Here they come, they heard the sound... too funny.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

And this one... And yes I can do that little pop with my cheek. THe kids love that! My cheek gets so sore.

Lollipop

There you have it, pretty much my recent favs.

I name whoever would like to do this. I dont like to point fingers either for memes. If you want to do it, do it and then let me know.

Friday, August 1, 2008

CIABATTA

WoW. I cant believe how easy Ciabatta is to make. The taste is so good and the crumb is so nice. Chewy, crusty exterior with soft chewiness inside. An excellent sandwich that was just waiting to be made.
I have made all kinds of bread but I have never made Ciabatta. What an amazing dough. I found the recipe on the The Fresh Loaf. It stays in the mixer for anywhere from ten to 30 minutes. That is a really long time. The consistency is that of pancake batter but it is extremely sticky and gooey. It's a challenge to move this glop around. Feels kind of sci fi ish. An excellent texture for children to play around with.
The recipe makes three good sized loafs. It was a meal for three days. There are so many things you can do with this bread. And such an excellent base for a quick pizza. On the second night I put onions, ham and swiss cheese on it and melted it under the broiler. Amazingly quick and easy dinner. I could picture it with some fresh tomato salad (tomatoes, olive oil, salt, basil SO simple, so good)from the garden. A few more days and they will be getting red. Oh I can not wait!

Jason's Coccodrillo's Quick Ciabatta Bread
I modified the instructions a little but you can go to the site for more info and an alternate flour arrangement.

500g bread flour
475g (~2 cups) water
2 tsp. yeast
15g salt

  1. In Kitchen Aid style mixer: Mix all ingredients roughly till combined with paddle, let it rest for 10 minutes.
  2. With the paddle , beat the batter, it will start out like pancake batter but in anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes it will set up and work like a very sticky dough. if it starts climbing too soon, then switch to the hook. You'll know it's done when it separates from the side of the bowl and starts to climb up your hook/paddle and just coming off the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Place into a well oiled container and let it triple.
  4. Empty on to a floured counter, cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Spray with oil and dust with flour. Let them proof for about 45 minutes, and turn the oven up to 500F.
  5. After 45 minutes or so the loaves should be puffy. Pick up the dough and stretch into your final ciabatta shape (~10" oblong rectangle) and flip them upside down (this redistributes the bubbles, so you get even bubbles throughout), and onto parchment or a heavily floured peel. This is not easy but have faith, they will be just fine.
  6. Bake at 500F until they are 205F in the center (about 15-20 minutes), rotating 180 degrees half way through.

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