Thursday, April 29, 2010
What an interesting two years it has been trying out new recipes, some with great success and some not so much, but all great learning experiences. I have tried to expand my horizons, work on my writing, photography, as well as food styling while cooking new dishes which sometimes pushed me beyond my comfort zone. More than a few times I have thought to myself (or screamed aloud from the kitchen) "Why am I doing this?" yet I just keep going with no sign of letting up.
I celebrate my blogiversary by again making something for the annual food drive bake sale and I must say that this recipe certainly challenged me. The recipe for these "Fauxtess" Cupcakes can be found all over the Internet and I have thought numerous times how fun they would be to try but have always been a little turned off by the number of steps involved. Instead of writing out the entire recipe today I will direct you to an absolutely great food blog called Annies Eats. Her recipes and pictures are always fantastic. I doubled the recipe and made 18 cupcakes instead of the 9 in her recipe.
Thanks to all of you who check in on my blog faithfully and leave such generous comments and thanks to The Husband who so patiently tries out my dishes and supports (particularly his computer tech skills) this blog of mine. Here's to another year!!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Malted Milk Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup malt powder (found in your grocery section by the chocolate milk powders/coffee)
6 large egg yolks
2 cups malted milk balls, coarsely chopped in the food processor (or with a sharp knife if you don't mind malted milk balls flying all over your kitchen!)
Warm the milk with the sugar in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, stir together the cream, vanilla and malt powder until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
When the milk is warm, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the entire mixture back in the saucepan. Stir this mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
This is definitely a meal unto itself with all the traditional components of chicken, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, avocadoes and whatever else one might choose to make it unique. I added a bowl of bite sized roasted asparagus pieces and another of olive slices. Put everything out on a big platter along with a large bowl of greens and let everyone mix and match toppings as they want. Along with some warm buttered French bread, Arnold Palmers (1/2 part ice tea and 1/2 part lemonade) as our beverage and delightful conversation, it was a quite a lunch.
No recipe today as one really isn't needed but I will give you my previous post for the homemade dressing that topped this magnificent salad: Bleu Cheese dressing.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Off to the trusty Playboy's Bartenders Guidebook I went and I found an old fashioned sounding drink called a vodka gimlet. It is made with three simple components; the lime juice, the vodka and simple syrup. Simple syrup is a mainstay in bars and it consists of 1 part sugar to 1 equal part water, heated until the sugar dissolves completely and then chilled. This will stay in the fridge for a very long time.
The gimlet was delightful. Very limey with just the nicest hint of sweetness and of course, the nice neutral kick of the vodka. Now what to do with the other limes??
(This recipe can be made in any quantity by just following the ratios of ingredients listed)
4 parts vodka
2 parts lime juice
1 part simple syrup
Put all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 or 40 times until well chilled and then pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of lime and enjoy.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Fagioli E Tonno (White Beans and Tuna Salad)
2 cans of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed well
1 5.5 oz. tuna, drained
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp. finely slivered red onion
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. parsley or basil finely chopped
Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a bowl. Combine vinegar mixture with beans, tuna, onion and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for 2 hours before serving.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This is the Neapolitan classic from Rome, pizza margherita. A very simple pie with a few simple, excellent ingredients: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, olive oil and fresh basil leaves. Because tomatoes are less than optimal at our stores currently, I used canned San Marzano tomatoes from Italy and they were delicious. The ones I had were infused with little pieces of basil which added to their rich flavor.
I invested in a pizza stone a couple of years ago and let me tell you, it makes a huge difference in obtaining that pizza parlor, crisp, slightly charred crust. It does take some preheating in a 500 degree oven for at least a half hour before sliding your pie onto it. I also have a pizza peel so I don't have to risk burning myself during the transfer of the pie to the oven.
My quest will continue for the perfect pizza pie crust and when I find it, I'll let you know.
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water in a large bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Combine flours and salt in a small bowl. Add 1 cup flour mixture to yeast, stir well until combined, stir in 1/2 cup water, then another cup of flour and continue to stir. Add remaining 1 cup flour, gradually stir in 1/4 cup water and mix well.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until it has a smooth, uniform texture, 10-12 minutes. (I did this with my Kitchenaide mixer and a dough hook and it only took 5 minutes.) Divide dough into 2 even balls. Coat insides of 2 medium bowls with 1/2 tsp oil in each, put dough in bowls, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until dough doubles in bulk, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
1 large can of San Marzano tomatoes (or 2 lbs. very ripe fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
16 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Drain tomatoes well in a colander to remove juices. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl and add oregano,chili flakes, and olive oil. Adjust seasoning, stir and set aside.
Put pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 500 to 550 degrees. Sprinkle pizza peel with cornmeal. Punch down 1 dough ball and flatten it on peel. Stretch dough into a thin 12 inch circle with a slightly raised edge. Spread half the topping over dough, top with mozzarella slices, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.