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Monday, February 28, 2011

Herb Italian Bread

This is the bread I made for the  Italian Feast.  The recipe is very simple and can be made with or without these herbs or  herbs you might like to add.
The recipe was adapted from All recipes. com.
Printable Recipe

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon light brown
1 1/3 cups warm water
(110 degrees F/45 degrees
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup grated asiago cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (.25 ounce) package
active dry yeast
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tsp. minced fresh sage
2 gloves of garlic mashed and made into paste

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Heat water to about 115 degrees, add the yeast and let proof for about 5 minutes.  Add the sugar, salt, oil, herbs, cheese and flour and mix in stand mixer .  Add more flour if needed.  Place in greased bowl until doubled. (about and hr)  Knock down and shape into loaves and place on parchment paper that was sprinkled with cornmeal and place  on a peel or cookie sheet upside down. (that way you can slide it onto the pizza stone very easily.  When ready slice the top with 3 cuts.
About 30 minutes before you're ready to cook the bread, place your pizza stone in the oven and heat to 375.  After 30 minutes put bread in, use a spray bottle and spray the inside of oven and do this again in about 3 minutes. and cook for about 30-35 minutes until gold brown.  The spraying will give your bread a wonder crust and will be tender on the inside.  Cool *if you can wait* and cut and serve.
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful day and Remember to Find the time to do ALL the things YOU love.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Another Toy

Well I got another new toy for the kitchen.   I've been experimenting with pastas,  hopefully you saw the post with the homemade Lasagna Noodles.  Boy was the meal ever so  yummy....As Buddy would say with  his Jersey accent "Forget about it!"  Since I'm now making homemade pasta I needed to be able to do more than just spaghetti, fettuccine,  lasagna noodles, and ravioli.  So I went searching for a good pasta maker.  We have a commercial grade Kitchen Aide mixer so I did some research on their pasta extruder and after days of reading, the attachment for the KA was the best I found.  I also found  that on Amazon. com one of their suppliers had it the most reasonable and there was no tax and no shipping.  Woo Hoo and best of all I had it in 5 days.   The attachment has 6 dies.  Here it is.   Oh grrrr it's $20 cheaper now...What's with that???  :-(
Well it came and I have already made two types of pasta.....Rigatoni and Fusilli.  I will be making a shrimp and pasta dish tonight  with a cream sauce that I will share with you all.
Here are the two pastas I made today.  My daughter was down and helped.  I had made the dough, let it rest and then she put it in the machine and I did the cutting.
This is the Rigatoni

 and this is the Fusilli...
I will let them dry and then bag them and put them in the freezer.  I think one of the dishes we will make with the Rigatoni will be Baked Ziti...oh I can taste that already.
Thanks for stopping by and I'll be back soon with a dish I made with the fusilli.
Have a wonderful day and Remember to Find the time to DO all the things YOU love.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In Shock

I just received an award from Harika over at Harika's Kitchen.  Here is the link, please take the time to visit her blog, lots of good things.
I want to thank her very much for this award.  I will pass it on to the blogs I follow.
And she sent this one too.
I will pass this on to these gals who are so creative in sooooooo many ways.
You must take the time to visit them and see all the wonderful recipes and things about their life that they share.
Again thank you Karika.  You just gotta love this world full of technology.
Have a wonderful day and Remember to Find the time to Do all the things YOU love.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade Lasagna

Last week my daughter and I made homemade Lasagna.  My grandson Josh is joining the Marines and his recruiter and his wife came for dinner.  I think my daughter was originally going to make ravioli but decided they were really time consuming, which they are.  I made the dough the day before and then about 45 minutes before she was ready to start I took it out to rest on the counter.  I had made a larger batch than I usually do and we had more than enough noodles.  As a mater of fact we had some left over and I made Lasagna Roll Ups and put them in the freezer for a future quick dinner.  The recipe we used for the Lasagna was based on Michael Simon from the Iron Chef.  It's funny I never really liked him until I saw him on Paula Deens show one day.  I don't care for her,  mainly because of all the Y'all stuff and that southern twang, makes me crazy.  Wonder maybe it could be because I am a Northerner??  Hmmmm food for thought I guess.  Well anyway back to Micheal, on her show he was doing his Mom's Lasagna and homemade sauce.  My daughter used a sauce from Rachel Ray (can ya tell me both like the Food network Channel?)  I have made Lasagna for many, many years and it always was much better the next day because it didn't fall apart when you cut it.  Mine was always sooooooooooooooooo juicy.  Michael's is not.  First he does not add as much sauce to each layer and the alternates what he puts in it.  When I had made it I always put the Ricotta, meat, mozzarella and sauce on each layer.....But he did a layer of noodles then ricotta, some sauce, layer of noodles, layer of meat,  layer of noodles, layer of mozzarella, layer of noodles, etc. I think we did three layers with sauce.  So that's what we did.  But we did put a bit of sauce on the very bottom before the first layer of noodles.  Didn't want them sticking.  Also the meat was a mixture of Italian Sweet Sausage and ground beef.  YUM!   We topped the top layer with provolone slices and mozzarella cheese with sauce.
Here are the homemade lasagna noodles

5 room temp. eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 tsp salt
extra olive oil (about 2 tsp)
You can make this several different ways.  Put it all in a stand mixer and mix until you dough comes together.  Put it all in a food processor and mix until it forms a ball.  Or put the flour and salt on the counter and make a well inside and put the eggs in the center and slowly with a fork mix the eggs into the flour, when incorporated start kneading until you have your dough together.   When it's ready, whichever way you do it, make it into a large ball and cover with plastic and let it rest or 30 minutes.  You can also put this into the refrigerator until the next day, but be sure to take out at least 45 minutes and let rest on the counter until you're ready to roll it out.
I use my pasta machine (now with the motor) to roll out my pasta.  My daughter did all the rolling and cutting, as shown above.
Put a large pot of water on the stove, bring to a boil and add salt after it starts to boil, add you pasta, DON'T overcrowd, and boil until the pasta floats to the top, take out immediately and place in a large bowl of ice water.  This will stop the cooking, you don't want your pasta overdone...ick!
Ricotta filling:
1 large container ricotta
1 egg
3 TBL fresh chopped parsely
1/4 cup grated parmasen cheese
1/4 cup fontina cheese
Mix all above ingredients, set aside.
Sauce adapted from Rachel Ray:
  3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup  chicken stock or white wine, eyeball it(she uses white wine)
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes plus 1 can crushed tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
Several leaves basil, torn or chopped, a handful
2 tablespoons  butter, cut into small pieces


Heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil,  garlic, and red pepper and let them cook 5 minutes, garlic will be soft and light golden. Remove garlic. Add stock or wine and stir 30 seconds, add tomatoes and combine. Season the suace with salt, to taste, then stir basil in and reduce heat to low.

Now doesn't this look yummy.  Give it a try.  Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful day and Remember to Find the Time to Do ALL the things You love.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Orange Cupcakes with a hint of Grand Marnier (liqueur)

Seems lately a day can't go by that I don't bake something.  Kind of like withdrawls I guess.  I've been on this French Bread kick and think I have made two loaves everyday for the past 3 days.  I have also been craving sandwiches so the bread has worked out great.  I give one loaf to the kids, which they eat in one night.  I will share that recipe with you soon.  They are soooooooooooooooo yummy and a slice right out the oven is just like heaven.  If someone offered me a piece of chocolate or a piece of fresh baked bread, I'd have to take the bread.  A huge downfall for me.
I had some oranges that I needed to eat or make something with so I took one of them, zested it and made these wonderful cupcakes.  You can't really taste the liqueur but it gives it a nice flavor.  I adapted this recipe from Joy of Baking, I substituted yogurt for the milk.  Trying to tell myself they are healthier.  :)  Which I'm sure they are, they say yogurt is good for you, right?
I must admit the Orange butter cream frosting is a bit sweet for me so maybe if I make it again I will cut back on the sugar a little.  If you just frost the center of the cupcake it seems ok, not overpowering.  Again personal opinion.  Everyone else thought they were just fine.  :)
Printable Recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier (can use pure orange extract instead)
Zest of 1 orange
2 segments of orange finely chopped with juice
2 tsp juice from orange
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Place the sugar and orange zest into the bowl of your mixer and blend until moist and fragrant. Add in butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and liquor, add the orange segments and juice.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and yogurt, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.
-Makes 12 cupcakes
5 oz softened butter
7 oz. icing sugar
2 tsp hot water
1 tsp orange extract
1/8 tsp Grand Marnier
Beat all above ingredients until creamy, either frost or put in piping bag and decorate.  Zest a little orange on top of each frosted cupcake.
A photo without the icing.

 Thanks for stopping by.  Sure hope you'll try these and maybe let me know what you think.  Have a wonderful day and Remember to Find the Time to Do ALL the things YOU love.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kolaches (sweet Czech pastries)

The other day I went to our local library in search of some  good cooking books that have pictures.  I really hate to make a recipe when I don't know what it's suppose to look like.  I was in search of some good Italian Cookbooks and found 2 but also found a copy of America's Best Lost Recipes (editors of Cooks Country Magazine).  Woo Hooo.  Well anyway I saw these in there and just had to try them.  All I can say is OMG are they good.  Light and just downright yummy.  I took 4 over to my sister-in-law (she lives next door) and she called me later to tell me how good they were and that she ate all of them.  LOL  The recipe in the book is not correct, they don't have enough flour listed and in the list of ingredients they forgot to mention the vanilla, until you turn the page for hand instructions on kneading the dough. They also mention honey but I didn't add that.  May try it next time though, maybe 2 TBL or so.   Hmmmm makes you wonder who proof read the recipes.  Since I make yeast doughs several times a week I knew the dough was not right so I just kept adding flour until it looked and felt right.  The other things I changed was I used preserves and marmalade for the fillings.  I used a bit of cream cream before I added the fruit fillings.  I made raspberry preserve, blueberry preserve (I brought home from my last trip to Maine)  and orange marmalade.  The raspberry got running as you can see.  But was still yummy.  I added some more after they came out of the oven.

The other thing I will change the next time I make these is their size.  They say to use a 2" cutter,  I thought they came out a bit on the small size but you get 18-20 at that size so I guess if you were making them for a party that would be a good size.  Now for just downright good eating they need to be a bit bigger...don't ya agree?
Bake 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes

1/2 Cup warm milk (110 degrees)
3 TBL sugar
2 TBL unsaled butter, melted
1 large egg yoke, beaten
3 cups of flour
1 tsp rapid rise or instant yeast
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2  tsp vanilla

Cream cheese filling:
4 oz of softened cream cheese
2 TBL sugar
Cream the two with a wisk

To make the dough, grease a large bowl with cooking spray, set aside.  Mix the milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg yoke together in a large measuring cup.  Stir the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  With the mixer on low, add the milk mixture.  After the dough comes together, mix until shiny and smooth, about 5-7 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a heavy floured surface and shape into a ball.  Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Spray 2 nine (9) inch cake pans with cooking spray.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with 2" round cutter or larger and arrange in the pans with 2 in the center and 8 around the perimeter of each pan.  Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  

When ready to bake make an indentation with your finger and put the cream cheese and then the preserves.  About 1 tsp each.  Bake until golden brown. 15-20 minutes

 Hope you try these.  There are several other recipes I will try from this book and will share with you in the upcoming weeks.
Have a wonderful weekend, thanks for taking time from your busy day to stop by.  Remember to find the Time to Do ALL the things YOU love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow ..Snow..Snow......

We had a snow storm last Monday (2/1) and we were basically snowed in for a couple of days.  With being retired this storm didn't bother me at all.  I didn't leave the house for the entire week.  Gave me a chance to try some new recipes.  :-)  Here are some pictures of the snow and my grandson AJ and the dog Gilby playing in the snow.  AJ has such an imagination.  That's him in the kiddie pool covered in a blanket, what he was thinking only he knows.  LOL
As you can see the snow is coming down.  Look at the shed and where the snow is at the door.....
now look at where it is.
 And here's a shot I took just before I went to bed that night, as you can see it's still coming down.
We had snow again last night but not as bad as before, maybe an inch and a half.  I have the fires going and it's nice and warm inside.  Probably won't be going out again, except maybe to take Josh to work.
Have a great day everyone, stay warm and Remember to Find the Time to Do All the things You Love.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Home made Cheese Manicotti

 I told you the other day about the birthday celebration we had.  Well this is one of the food items we ate that night.  Home made Manicotti..oh so delish.  This dish is a bit time consuming and goes a bit faster if you have someone helping.  These are not made like the shells you find in the store.  The outer casing is more like a crepe.  This coming week I will be making Cannelloni which is a pasta noodle that you fill with cheese, or meat or a combo of both.

8 Eggs, divided
3 Cups Water, divided
3 Cups all-purpose Flour, divided
1 ½ Teaspoons Salt, divided

Combine four eggs, one ½ cups of water, one ½ cups of all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon of salt in your blender container. Blend until mixture is smooth. Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl. Repeat using the remaining ingredients.
Add the new mixture to the bowl and stir together.

16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup good fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
*optional you can add 1/4 or less of asiago cheese grated*

Tomato cream sauce:
I extra large can of diced tomatoes
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion
3 TBL fresh parsley, chopped
3 TBL fresh sage, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup of good white wine (something you would drink)
1/4 cup of heavy cream
extra virgin olive oil
In a large pot heat oil, add onion and cook for about 2 -3 minutes until clear, add the garlic, cook for about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and bring to boil, turn down and simmer add the wine and cook for several hours until sauce has reduced and thicken a bit.  When you're ready to assemble, heat another skillet with olive oil, add some onions and garlic and saute, don't brown the garlic or it will get bitter...add about a cup of sauce from your pot and stir, add about 1/4 cup of white wine and simmer, you can add a bit more sauce if it's too thick.  Add the herbs and cook for 2 minutes or so then add the heavy cream and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can if you like add some red pepper flakes at this time to get a spicier sauce.  All up to you.  Spread sauce over Manicotti, cover with foil and bake.

To make crepes:
 Lightly butter a frying pan and then heat the pan for about a minute over medium  heat. Use a 1/4 cup measure and spoon batter into the middle of the hot fry pan.
Quickly and carefully tilt the pan in a circular motion until the batter forms a round, thin layer in the pan. (Similar to a crepe or a very thin pancake.)
Cook about 1 or 2 minutes until the shell surface appears dry and shiny.
Carefully turn the manicotti shell over using a spatula, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Repeat process to make approximately 24 shells.
Stack cooked shells on plate between waxed paper for use later.
You can make your tray and freeze these for up to 6 months,  just like you would do for lasagna.

To assemble, take a good amount of filling and place it in the center of the crepe, careefully roll them up and place in a baking pan that has some sauce on the bottom.
Here they are before the sauce goes on the top.  I also sprinkled a bit of mozzarella cheese over the top before topping with sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until heated through.  
The sauce on this dish is a tomato cream sauce.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blueberry Orange Muffins

 Well it's another winter day in Kansas.  Ugh  I'm so ready for Spring.  It's Monday the 31st of January and we were suppose to take my grandson AJ's class on an ice skating field trip.  Good ole Kansas weather put a halt to that.  We have a three day storm coming in starting with rain, ice and sleet...woo hoo.  Sure am glad I am retired and don't have to go out in what's coming.  Late tonight the snow will start and they predict about 4-6 inches and it will snow for about 2 days and the end result they say will be about 12 inches with snow drifts of about 5 feet.  Here's some pictures of our storm.  I have the fires burning so I'm nice and cozy warm.
When I was a child growing up on Long Island, New York we had severe snow storms every year.  I remember one year we had to dig a tunnel from the house to the mail box.  I didn't like snow then and still don't today.  Oh got off track, what I was going to tell you was when we were snowed in my Mom always baked.  She made cinnamon rolls, cookies and muffins.   We would play cards and board games all day.  All the neighborhood kids would be out sledding. The road in front of our house had a hill so it was the perfect place to sled, as long as the cars stayed away.  On occasion I would go out for maybe 30 minutes, not my thing, would much rather be nice and warm.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (can use frozen blueberries)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from one medium orange
3/4  cup Plain Greek yogurt

crumb topping:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground
2 tablespoons butter, diced
Preheat oven 375 degrees, prepare muffin pans with liners or spray with non stick cooking spray.
In  a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.  In another bowl cream the sugar and butter.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  Alternate the yogurt and flour into the creamed mixture, folding in.  Start with flour that way you'll end up with the yogurt last.  Fold in blueberries try not to over mix.  Fill muffin pans 3/4 full.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top bake for about 20-25 minutes until tester comes out clean.
Here is the mini loaf.  This recipe made 12 muffins with some batter left over so I made 1 mini loaf.  The loaf took another 12 minutes to cook.
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful warm day.  I will be staying in another day or two.  Trying to decide what I want to make.  I have a craving for something different but don't know what that different is.  ;-)  Remember to Find the Time to do ALL the things You love.
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