Thursday, December 12, 2013

Easy Cream Biscuits


As far as baking homemade bread, nothing gets easier than cream biscuits. They take no time to stir up, there are only 2 ingredients, and you can make them in your muffin pan so you just drop them and they pop up perfect every time. This is my go to for lazy winter breakfast treat. Serve it with good homemade jelly, or butter, or gravy... yum gravy. 

What you need: 

2 cups of Self-Rising Flour
1 cup of heavy cream 
muffin tin
non-stick spray

What you do: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. 
  2. Mix the flour and cream together just until it combines
  3. Drop dollop fulls into a greased muffin tin
  4. Bake for 10 minutes
  5. Enjoy, greedily with coffee and pepper jelly 
As always, much love, many blessings, and happy Christmas!


Homemade Shallot, Currant and Cranberry Sauce


I love cranberry sauce, I love it on everything. This year I choose to dress up mine with some excellent bourbon, shallots, butter, dried currants and of course, cranberries. I love to eat it cranberry sauce but I also love to make it. It is so tootin easy. So, please do make some and enjoy you for your holiday season. 

What you need: 

1 tablespoon of butter
2 shallots diced
1/2 cup of dried currants
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of honey
1 oz of bourbon
salt to taste

What you do: 

  1. Saute the shallots with butter over medium heat until tender and translucent. 
  2. Add the currants, cranberries, and honey. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries burst, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom does not scorch. 
  3. Add the bourbon and cook for another minute or two. 
  4. Let cool off of the heat and enjoy. 
As always, much love, many blessings, and happy Christmas! 




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Barley with Sweet Potato and Andouille Sausage

I am loving this new cookbook One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals. This meal is a fantastic weeknight fall meal. Start to finish it takes about 45 minutes, but much of it can cook while you check your email or empty the dishwasher. I amended some of the recipe based on what I had in the house. 


What you need: 

2 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 green onions
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 cup of pearled barley (also called 10 minute barley)
1 cup of diced andouille sausage
salt
3/4 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of Parmesan 
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1/4 cup of frozen peas
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of half and half 
pepper to taste


What you do: 


  1. Pour the vegetable broth into a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 3 minutes. 
  2. Heat the 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. 
  3. Cook the white parts of the green onion, sweet potato, barley, sausage, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 
  4. Toast the barley and render the sausage.
  5. Add the wine and scrape the bits of flavor from the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Add the hot stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Taste and check doneness, the barley should be al dente. 
  7. Add the cheese, basil, peas, lemon zest, butter and half and half. 
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning garnish with
    green onions and cheese shavings. 
As always many blessings, much love and happy cooking. 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Pepper



Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Pepper

Roasted winter squashes might be one of my favorite parts of fall. This is an easy no fuss and healthy dinner that even you’re most avid carnivores and “carbivores” will enjoy with gusto. While the squash takes a while to roast, you don’t need to do anything while it roasts, and then you can throw everything together in under 10 minutes. It is based on a classic Roman dish Spaghetti Cacio y Pepe. I just replaced the spaghetti with squash... cute huh? 

What you need

1 large spaghetti squash (about 5 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving

What you do


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and put a rack in the middle
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds
  3. Brush the flesh with a tablespoon of the olive oil and add a good sprinkle of salt and grinds of pepper
  4. Put the squash cut side up on a cast iron skillet or a lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast for about an hour until fork tender
  6. Let cool, so you don’t burn your hands, and using a fork scrape out your “noodles”
  7. In a cast iron skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.
  8. Add chopped garlic, salt and pepper
  9. Cook until lightly brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes
  10. Turn off the heat
  11. Add the squash and toss
  12. Add cheese a little in at a time so it melts into the dish slowly
  13. Serve with a nice Chardonnay and an easy green salad for a perfect early fall evening
As always, many blessings, much love, and happy cooking!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heirloom Tomato Pie with Homemade Ricotta




Heirloom Tomato Pie with Homemade Ricotta

Tomato Pie! This is a Old Southern Recipe that I modernized with the inclusion of ricotta and removal of mayonnaise. I call these recipes "Charm Recipes" because that is what they are, charming. Oh... and it is delicious! Think deep dish pizza with juicy chunks of tomato instead of sauce.

What you need:

4 large ripe tomatoes
20 or so basil leaves
8 oz of fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup of ricotta
salt
pepper
olive oil drizzle
pastry dough (store bought or your favorite recipe) 

What you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F
2. Roll out your pastry dough and place in an oiled cast iron skillet or greased pie plate
3. Cut up your tomatoes, basil leaves, and mix in mozzarella, ricotta, salt and pepper
4. Push the pie dough with your fingers into the skillet or pie plate 

5. Prick with a fork, and bake alone for about 10 minutes.
6. 
Place tomato mixture in pie shell and drizzle with olive oil
7. Bake for 35 minutes or so, until the top is brown and bubbly

Bonus Recipe: Homemade Ricotta


What you need:

2 quarts of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
2 Tablespoons of white vinegar
1/2 a teaspoon of kosher salt
1 large saucepan
thermometer
cheesecloth
colander
large bowl

What you do:

1. Heat the milk and cream until it reaches 180 degrees F
2. Take off the heat and stir in the vinegar, and stir for 30 seconds
3. Stir in the salt, and stir for another seconds
4. Set a folded quartered cheesecloth in a colander and set in a large bowl
5. Gently pour the milk into the cheesecloth lined colander/bowl
6. Leave to drip on the counter for about 20 minutes or alternatively you can set in the fridge over night and allow the whey gently to drip out.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Italian Beef Roast and Raw Zucchini “Noodles”


I love me my pasta. But in the summer, I am open to a respite. Something lighter, crunchy, and a great use of garden zucchini. The beef roast was nothing more than a crockpot delight, because also in the summer I am less inclined to heat the house with an oven. The best part of the dinner was that putting it together took less than 5 minutes. And although, I cannot say the entire meal was toddler friendly, my little guy did like the “noodles”

Italian Beef Roast
·         1 Beef Roast (3-4 pounds)
·         3 large tomatoes
·         1 small onion
·         4 cloves of garlic
·         1 cup of red wine
·         Bunch of basil, thyme, parsley, and rosemary tied together with twine so it is easy to remove
·         Salt and Pepper
·         Large Crockpot

What you do:
1   1.      Cut the tomatoes, onions, garlic.
2.     Put all of the ingredients in the crockpot and set on low for eight hours or on high for four             hours.
3.     Keep warm

Raw Zucchini “Noodles”
·         3 small zucchinis
·         ½ lemon
·         ½ cup of basil and parsley mix
·         Parmesan Reggiano
·         Salt and Pepper
·         Mandolin or a sharp knife

What you do:
1.       Use your mandolin or a sharp knife to make long thin match sticks of the zucchini.
2.       Squeeze the juice of half lemon over the zucchini noodles.
3.       Chiffon the herbs and mix into the zucchini and lemon mix.
4.       Top with your Italian Beef Roast, sauce, parmesan, and salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

As always, many blessings, much love!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Watermelon Vodka Cooler

What do you do when your husband comes home with a huge watermelon? Why make cocktails, of course...

What you need:
5 cups of chopped and seeded watermelon
1 cup of vodka
3 Tablespoons of lime juice
1/2 cup of Triple Sec
Special Equipment: Blender and a fine mesh sieve

What you do:
1. Blend the watermelon until completely liquified
2. Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve, and discard the solids
3. Add the vodka, lime juice and triple sec
4. Enjoy with one you love, thankful your little one is asleep

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy cocktails

Shell Cookies


This was my latest Cape Cod baking treat, pink cookies shaped like shells with blue frosting and a yogurt raising posing as a pearl. They are adorable and super easy to make.

What you need:

1 Tube of pre-made sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup of flour plus more dusting
blue and red food dye
yogurt raisins
vanilla icing 
black gel writer
Special equipment: shell cookie cutter and parchment paper

What you do:

1. Mix the cookie dough, a few drops of red food dye to the desired color and 1/4 cup of flour, using your hands to kneed the dough together. Pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to re-harden.
2. Roll out your dough about 1/4 of an inch thick and cut with the cookie cutters.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
4. Place your cookies on parchment paper and place in the freezer to harden for 10 minutes
5. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden, longer if you want a crisper cookie.
6. Cool on a wire rack
7.  Add a drop of blue food coloring to some icing, or as much color as you like. 
8. Put about a tablespoon of blue icing on the center of the bottom cookie. Add a yogurt covered raising and top with another cookie.
9. Gently add two eyes using black gel writer.
10. Enjoy!

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy sea critter baking!

Funfetti Cupcakes and Sea Decorations

I love to cook for my son, actually, making cute food has become a near obsession. Clearly I have not taken it to a Japanese level obsession... seriously, google "bento" and you will understand. Nonetheless, I made (yes, out of a box) Funfetti cupcakes. Which I will not give you the recipe for 1) because it is on the back of the box and 2) because I do not enjoy being sued. But I will share some of our cupcake-adventures. I'm doing a little his and hers. His being my two year-old and hers being me. It is a little unfair as I have a pastry license, but that's life. You need to learn that early.

Sun Cupcakes with Candy Corn

What you need:
2 cupcakes
1/2 cup of prepared icing
yellow food dye
15 candy corns, extra to eat as this is inevitable cooking with me and any member of my family
black and red food gel writers

What you do:
1. Mix the yellow dye and with the frosting. One small drop will do.
2. Frost the cupcakes no special piping bags here... we are on vacation, dagnabit.
3. Add candy corns around the perimeter of the cupcake... I don't know why I used the word perimeter. I feel like that word needs to be reserved for 9th grade geometry or the dirty dozen trying to escape a nazi camp.  But you get the idea, make a circle on the cupcake close the edge.
4. Add the sunglasses and smiles.
5. Enjoy while looking at the beach.

Octopus Cupcakes with Gummy Worms

What you need:
2 cupcakes
1/2 cup of prepared icing
blue food dye
8 gummi worms (and extra to eat... yada yada)
black and red food gel writers


What you do:
1. Mix the blue dye and with the frosting. One small drop will do.
2. Frost the cupcakes as best you can, fingers, butter knife what ever. But you do need a lot of frosting so the gummi worms, I mean octopus arms stick.
3. Perform some gummi worm surgery cutting them in half. Add 8 gummi worm halfs to the octopus.
4. Add the little eyes and smiles.
5. Enjoy


Alas, well I hope you have enjoyed this installment of cooking on the cape... as always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking... cupcake decorating.

Cooking on the Cape... Lobstah...


As is our tradition, every year we make the weary track from Northern Virginia to tip of the Outer Cape in Massachusetts. Or Mass-achoo-sit as my son calls it. This is my first year blogging on vacay... partly because I am an insomniac and partly because this is the first house we have stayed in with a computer and wifi... all the same, here we go. As part of our maiden voyage into cooking on the cape I thought what could be better than starting off with an easy albeit delicious recipe. Clearly, this is more a series of directions in how to properly kill a lobster but you get the point.

Here is what you need:
A huge pot of boiling water
1 two pound lobster per person
a clove of garlic
1/4 cup or 4 Tablespoons of buttah (butter)

What to do:
1. Make sure your huge pot of water has a lid or at least some aluminum foil near by.
2. Conduct a short reenactment of Clash of the Titans, you can try and get your lobster's to race on the kitchen floor. I have never been successful, if you have found a way to accomplish this feat please let me know.
3. Put the lobster in the pot for exactly 9 minutes, if you are put two at a time 10 minutes. If you are putting more than two at a time, you are either very hungry or have an enormous pot. Either way, I don't recommend it.
4. While cooking, smash a clove of garlic and add to small saucepan with the butter. Melt the butter, and take off the heat. You can also do this in a microwave for 20 seconds if you don't mind aliens reading your mind. Which clearly I don't, 1. because I know I'm not that smart and they are not interested in what dumb humans think, and 2. because I blog, so clearly it would be much easier for them to just read my blog...
5. Serve together with baby forks, a hammer, lobster crushers, and a husband to do all the dirty work for you. Quick note, the baby forks are not necessary or helpful but they look cute on the table.

As always, many blessings, lots of love, and happy cooking!



Gel Gigglers: Sea Critters

So these are the popularized Jell-O Jigglers, but slightly, and I do emphasize the slightly, more healthy version. I used unflavored gelatin and organic fruit juice... but let's be true, this is dessert, not a salad.

What you need:
2 cups of fruit juice
2 packets of unflavored gelatin
large shallow dish
cookie cutters or a knife to make shapes

What you do:
1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of juice to a boil on the stove top
2. In the dish, add 2 packets of unflavored gelatin to 1/2 cup of cold juice. This is called blooming, I don't know why. I just said, "Oui, Chef" and I moved on. It is the military in me.
3. Pour over the boiling juice and mix.
4. Leave out until the mixture is about room temperature. Cover with cling wrap and chill over night, you could probably cut it sooner, just make sure it is pretty solid.
5. Cut out with cookie cutters and enjoy. We used lobsters, shells, and sea horses since we are at the beach. But use what every you like. :)

Don't forget to jiggle and giggle. I'm over-weight so I jiggle all the time, but you get the idea.

As always, many blessings, lots of love, and happy giggling. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Oreo Cheese Cakettes


My husband loves cheesecake, my son love Oreo's .. this is a quick and simple recipe that makes both of them happy. Also, If you have never made a cheesecake before this might be the easiest, simplest, and fastest cheesecake you will ever make. 

What you need:
19 OREO Cookies, divided into 12 and then 7 for pieces
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup Sour Cream
½ tsp.  vanilla
2  eggs

What you do:
  1. 1. HEAT oven to 350°F.
  2. 2. PLACE a cupcake wrapper in each pocket in a 12 muffin tin. Put 1 cookie in each of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Take the left over seven (7) cookies and place in a Ziploc bag. Cover with a kitchen towel and beat mercilessly. Or give them to your toddler to break apart... although death by toddler is a cruel death for a cookie. 
  3. 3.BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each just until blended. Stir in chopped cookies. Spoon into muffin cups.
  4. 4. BAKE 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours.
  5. 5. REMOVE cheesecakes from muffin pan. Serve with blue berries, strawberries and whipped cream. You can even add little American Flags for giggles.



As always much love, many blessings, and happy baking. 

American Flag Sheet Cake aka Freddy Cake

On a sweltering 4th of July, I was very 9 months pregnant and fairly certain I was never going to see my feet ever again. My friend Leslie came over to help me make a American Flag Cake because I was going to have this baby, so we needed a birthday cake. My husband made ribs and we made a pepper slaw. After we ate the cake, we watched some of the fireworks and by 9 pm Freddy was one his way. 

My dear friend Leslie only believes in chocolate cake, and for that purpose this recipe is a chocolate cake. You can make the chocolate cake in advance and decorate before serving, which I recommend for two reasons. First, it means you can use real whipped cream and the second reason is you don't want your berries to get all mushy in the fridge and ruin your cream. 

What you need for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cake Preparation:

1. Grease and flour a 13X9X2-inch baking pan; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
4. Put the chocolate mixture and the dry mix into your food processor and buzz until mixed.
5. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Buzz again, the batter will thin.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
7. Bake in a 350° oven about 30 until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

What you need to decorate: 

Whipped cream, cool whip, canned what ever your persuasion
1 pint of blue berries
1 quart of strawberries

Decorations: 

1. Cover your cake with desired whipness. 
2.  Clean and quarter your strawberries. 
3. Using the blueberries, gently press into the cream forming a rectangle in the upper left hand corner. 
4. Make red stripes by lining your strawberries 

Enjoy! 





No Bake Strawberry Pie


This is my new all time favorite Summertime dessert. It is hard to believe that something this easy and this quick could be so darn tasty. It won third place in my office patriotic bake-off. By all means please use this recipe, pass it off as your own, sell it on the black market, but please make it for you and your family. 

What you need: 
Graham cracker pie shell
Quart of strawberries
3 Tablespoons Strawberry Jello
2 Tablespoons  cornstarch 
1 cup of sugar 
1 cup of hot water


What you do: 
1. Unwrap your pie shell and fill with as many cleaned and cut strawberries as you can fill it with. 
2. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, off the heat, mix the Jello, cornstarch and sugar together. 
3. Add the hot water. Cook on medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring the entire time. 
4. When thickened pour over your strawberries. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours until the pie is set. 
5. Enjoy with whipped cream, ice cream, or alone standing in front of your fridge eating it with your fingers. 

As always, many blessings, much love, and happy no-baking pie making. 


Friday, March 1, 2013

Fennel, Apple, Celery Salad


I know veggies in the winter can be a depressing endeavor... but I have a easy, crisp, citrus salad that will put the zip back into your winter menu. This salad is brought to you by the fantastic kitchen gadget the mandolin, if you don' t have one, a knife can do the work, but the mandolin does make it very easy, just be careful and use the guard to protect your finger tips. 

What you need: 

1 small fennel bulb
3 celery stalks
1 small apple
2 Tablespoons of regular olive oil
1 Tablespoon of citrus olive oil (or lemon juice)
1 Tablespoon of tarragon vinegar (apple cider vinegar and some fresh tarragon chopped)
salt and pepper

What you do: 

1. Thinly slice your fennel and celery and lay on a large platter. 
2. Flip the cutter on your mandolin and finely julian the apple and add to the platter. 
3. In a small jar add the oils, vinegar, salt and pepper. Shake vigoursly, and pour over your salad. Toss with your hands. 
4. Enjoy with gusto and crunch. 

As always, many blessings, much love and happy winter!  

Wild Mushroom Risotto



Thankfully, in Virginia the winters are mild and spring comes quickly. But there are some times when a lovely warm bowl of risotto, a fire, and a cold night outside are all you need to find February Happiness. For such an occasion there is nothing more comforting than a delicious bowl of wild mushroom risotto drizzled with the smallest amount of golden truffle oil. The contrast of humble rice and luxurious truffles is delicious and perfect for winter. 

Here is what you need:

6 oz of mixed wild mushrooms, shitake, hen of the woods, chantrelles
6 oz of white button mushrooms 

4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup of arborio rice
1 shallot diced finely
1 Tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of white wine (and more for you)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
shaved Parmesan to taste

white truffle oil 


Here is what you do:


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Slice your mushrooms and lay on sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
2. Set two pots next to each other on the stove. 1 will be to keep the stock warm the other to make your risotto.
3. Warm your stock on low heat.
4. In the other pan add your diced shallot, rice, butter, thyme, salt and pepper and toast the rice on until they are slightly golden.
5. Add your wine and stir until absorbed. I love this part, 18 minutes of quiet, stirring a pot.
6. As the liquid becomes absorbed in the rice, continue to stir while adding another ladle-full of hot stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked, about 18 minutes or so.
7. Once cooked. Turn off the heat, add the hot mushrooms from the oven. They will be tender and easy to mix into your risotto. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil, careful, a little goes a very long way. I serve this with Pinot Grigio. 

As always, much love, many blessings, and Happy Cooking!
Here is what you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Slice your mushrooms and lay on sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
2. Set two pots next to each other on the stove. 1 will be to keep the stock warm the other to make your risotto.
3. Warm your stock on low heat.
4. In the other pan add your diced shallot, rice, butter, thyme, salt and pepper and toast the rice on until they are slightly golden.
5. Add your wine and stir until absorbed. I love this part, 18 minutes of quiet, stirring a pot.
6. As the liquid becomes absorbed in the rice, continue to stir while adding another ladle-full of hot stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked, about 18 minutes or so.
7. Once cooked. Turn off the heat, add the hot mushrooms from the oven. They will be tender and easy to mix into your risotto. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil, careful, a little goes a very long way. I serve this with Pinot Grigio. 


As always, much love, many blessings, and Happy Cooking!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Toddler Pizza Party



We went over to our family friend's house for their spectacular Toddler Pizza Party... It was a huge hit. The crust was made ahead of time, which we all rolled out on to cornmeal. I have never used cornmeal on pizza dough before, but it was so easy. The kids loved it. Also, our friend hid a ton of vegetables in her tomato sauce including zucchini and carrots... I will ask her for her recipe, but until then here is my recipe for tomato sauce with veggies. 

To make the Veggie Tomato Sauce: 

1 can of 14 oz diced tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 cup of baby spinach
2 carrots 
salt and pepper
Italian seasoning 

What you do: 
1. Peel and cut the vegetables in to a rough dice. Add everything including the tomatoes to your food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. 
2. Add to a heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat, bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer. Allow to cook until thickened about 10 minutes. Feel free to add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning as you enjoy. 
In case you need a Crust Recipe here is mine: 
1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of yeast (1 package)
4 cups of flour
3 Tablespoons of olive oil 

Pizza Sauce and Toppings 

What you do:
  1. Mix the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit and get bubbly to make sure that your yeast is still alive. 
  2. Add to your standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Add flour one cup at a time until incorporated.  Add the oil until achieve a dough that pulls away from the sides. Switch your paddle to the dough hook and let the dough be kneaded for 5 minutes. Cover with olive oil and plastic wrap to rest until doubled in size about an hour. 
  3. Preheat your oven to 500. If you have a pizza stone let it heat up as well inside the oven. 
  4. Divide the dough and roll out to the desired size. This dough will make 3 medium size pizzas or 2 large pizzas. You can also store half in the freezer if you like. 
  5. Roll to your desired thickness, my family likes a thin crust. 
  6. Allow your toddlers to dress their own pizzas. 
  7. Top, and cook in your oven for 10 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and toppings are warmed through and the cheese is melted. 
Enjoy. 

All the best, many blessings, much love, and Happy Pizza Making!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Homemade Pizza Crust with Heart Pepperoni


This is one of my favorite Valentine's meals I have ever made. For many years our tradition was to make spaghetti and meatballs and watch the Lady and the Tramp... aka the most romantical movie of all time. But this year I decided to change it up, and I must say, I met with great results. Now, a homemade crust is important, but it does take time to rise, so be patient, or make it the night before and put it in the fridge. This is a mixture/adaption from both Mario Batali's recipe and Bobby Flay's recipe. For the toppings, we made three, a pepperoni pizza pictured above, a margarita with tomatoes, fresh moz, and basil, and a Mexican pizza with taco meat, salsa, guac, sour cream and other toppings. 

What you need: 

1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 Tablespoon of yeast (1 package)
4 cups of flour
3 Tablespoons of olive oil 
Pizza Sauce and Toppings 

What you do:

  1. Mix the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit and get bubbly to make sure that your yeast is still alive. 
  2. Add to your standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Add flour one cup at a time until incorporated.  Add the oil until achieve a dough that pulls away from the sides. Switch your paddle to the dough hook and let the dough be kneaded for 5 minutes. Cover with olive oil and plastic wrap to rest until doubled in size about an hour. 
  3. Preheat your oven to 500. If you have a pizza stone let it heat up as well inside the oven. 
  4. Divide the dough and roll out to the desired size. This dough will make 3 medium size pizzas or 2 large pizzas. You can also store half in the freezer if you like. 
  5. Roll to your desired thickness, my family likes a thin crust. 
  6. Top, and cook in your oven for 10 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and toppings are warmed through and the cheese is melted. 
Enjoy. 

All the best, Happy Valentine's Day, many blessings, much love, and Happy Pizza Making!

Blood Orange Marmalade




I love orange marmalade. I think it because my mother is Spanish, most orange marmalade is made from Sevillian Bitter Oranges. I also love making my own jams and jellies. It is easy, economical, and makes great presents. I had some blood oranges that were past their prime and I thought they would make perfect marmalade… I used Ina Garten’s method to make it without pectin or thickener.

What you need:
6 large seedless blood oranges
8 cups of sugar
8 cups of water

What you do:
  1. Thinly slice your oranges, I used a mandolin which works beautifully.
  2. Add oranges and water to the large pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the sugar, stir until dissolved.
  4. Leave uncovered overnight.
  5. The next day, heat the mixture on high until it reaches a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer uncovered for two hours. Turn the heat back to medium and boil gently until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F.
  6. Test the mixture by putting a spoonful on a plate and refrigerate  It should be cool to the touch and neither runny nor hard. If it is hard add more water, if it runny than add more sugar.
  7. Pour into sterilized mason jars. Seal with lids.

15 minute Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies


I made these last night, and I am practically evangelical about them. They are only 2 ingredients, fat free, vegan, easy, fast, a great use of bananas past their prime, and they are delicious. They taste like an oatmeal banana cookie. I am sure you could mold them into any shape and add peanut butter, raisins, or chocolate chips if you wanted...

What you need: 
2 brown bananas
1 cup oats 

What you do: 
1. Preheat the oven 350. 
2. Mash the bananas and mix the oats in. 
3. Scoop on to a parchment lined baking sheet. 
4. Bake 15 minutes. 
5. Enjoy anytime with milk... viola breakfast cookies. 

Hope you try them... they are awesome.

All the best, many blessings, much love, and happy baking. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine Chocolate Pretzel Bites




Here is what you need:

1 bag of the square bite sized pretzels I've heard them called waffle pattern
1 bag of Hershey's Hugs
1 bag of Valentine's M&Ms
Cute little baggies 

Here is what you:

1. Unwrap a bag of Hershey Hugs (preferably with a friend and wine) My mother always said a burden shared is half a burden thus the friend.
2. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees F
3. Using a rimmed baking sheet also called a jelly roll pan. I lined it with parchment paper just to be safe, although I am not sure you really need it.  Lay out as many pretzel bites as you can without them overlapping.
4. Top each pretzel with the Hershey Hug.
5. Place in the oven for 4 minutes.
6. Working quickly, press one M&M down into the chocolate.
7. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
8. Wrap up in cute little baggies, give to friends and family... 

Hooray for pop-able, Valentines treats!

Happy Valentine's Day! As always, many blessings, much love, and Happy Baking!

Freddy's Valentine Cookies


This was the first year I made Valentine's for Freddy's class. Last year he was only 9 months old and most of his buddies weren't eating solid foods. This year however, we had a bunch of sugar craving toddlers, so cookies were indeed in order. We gave out little baggies, with heart sugar cookies, chocolate chip, and organic lollipops. I tied the whole thing together with a cut out heart and a little smiley face out of construction paper. 

To make the sugar cookies: 
5 cups of flour
5 cups of sugar
2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of cream cheese
Food Coloring 
Food Color Markers to draw the faces

Method:

1. Mix all of the ingredients in your standing mixer, it is a lot to do by hand.
2. Once mixed together separate into two discs, and wrap in cling plastic wrap and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day, or in the freezer up to a month.
3. When ready, roll out the dough, use flour on a board and rolling pin to get the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Cut with your favorite heart shaped cookie cutters and place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just slightly golden. Let cool and use markers to draw your faces.



To make the Chocolate Chip Cookies with the Heart Chocolate Center


½ cup of sugar bowl sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter softened overnight
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
½ teaspoon bakind soda
1 and ¼ cup of all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of best quality chocolate chips Ghirardelli is my favorite
24 Dove Hearts

Here is what you do: 
1. Preheat your oven to 325 F.
2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl (except for the chocolate chips), wooden spoon is fine. 
3.  Place teaspoon dollops on parchment lined sheet pan. 
4. Bake for 18 minutes. ]
5. Place an unwrapped Dove heart in the center of the cookies while they are still warm. Enjoy

There you have it my friends, easy, classic, but delicious cookies. 

Here is a picture of the finished product... 

Happy Valentines'! As always, much love, many blessings, happy baking!

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