Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I was looking again for a simple easy dinner and came up with this one tonight. It was quite good and both simple and fast to make. I made the gnocchi fresh as it's very easy to do but you can substitute store bought if desired.
4 boiled potatoes mashed (skinless)2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1-2 cloves minced garlic
You can substitute fresh potatoes with instant potatoes as well to speed things up. Bring two cups milk to a simmer, add 1 1/3 cup potato flakes and stir until smooth and mashed like.
Gnocchi instructions from scratch
To make the gnocchi, place mashed potato into mixing bowl, add in eggs and salt and combine until smooth. Slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until very well combined.
Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth, (about 10-15 times). Cut sections from the dough and roll into a snake like ribbon.
Cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces, flip through the flour and press a fork into each piece to flatten a little bit.
Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a boil. Add the gnocchi to the water and stir occasionally. Boil approximately 5 minutes and strain into a colander. Place cooked gnocchi into a large serving bowl.
In the meantime while gnocchi is boiling, melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Bring to a simmer, add the garlic and basil and simmer while the pasta is boiling. Pour over gnocchi in the serving bowl and mix to combine. Serve immediately topping with Pecorino or Parmagean cheese.All told this dish took about 45 minutes to make from scratch, start to finish. If using premade gnocchi it can be ready in about 10 minutes. Served with Caprese Salad it make a lovely, substantial but light tasting dinner.
Friday, August 21, 2009
This recipe is all mine. I tinkered with variations over time and this one hits the mark. They are gooey and delicious and best served warm. You can pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to rewarm them. I have an uncle with a standing order whenever I make them.
Dough from basic bread recipe found Here , prepare the dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup crushed pecans
Mix the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium size bowl until smooth and easy to spread.
Cream cheese icing.
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
Whip butter and cream cheese together with salt using a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup icing sugar and beat well, add vanilla and beat again. Add final cup of icing sugar and beat well for approx 3-5 minutes until well whipped. Set aside. Whip it another minute just prior to spreading over baked buns.
Prepare the dough. Remove from breadmaker and roll out on a floured surface to approx 6-8 inch by 15 inch shape as follows
Combine sugar, butter and cinnamon in a seperate bowl. Spread the mixture evenly over the rolled dough. Sprinkle pecans over mixture evenly.
Roll the dough starting along the longest edge.
Cut the dough slicing approximately 1 1/2 inches in width and place in a prepared 9 x 12 pan (parchment paper lined or very very well buttered). Leaving plenty of space between the rolls to allow for rising (as illustrated below). Sprinkle additional pecans over top if desired.
You should have enough to make an addition 9 inch round cake pan as well. This recipe really works best lining the pans with parchment paper.
Cover with clean tea towel and allow to rise until about doubled in size (as illustrated). Approx 45 minutes
After rising bake at 425 F for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately cover with cream cheese Icing.
My dear husband bought me a new cookbook this past weekend. Sadly I have been sick and unable to delve into the pages until today. He knows my passion for pasta and this book did not disappoint. Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentis.
Given that I'm just getting over a stomach bug I didn't want to make anything too heavy so I found a recipe that I felt fit the bill. The wonton wrappers vs homemade pasta were nice and light and certainly cut down on prep time.
This recipe is delightful. I made some changes to it however as it was actually a little bland. I added a little lemon juice to the butter mixture to give it a little more infused flavour. The lemon added another dimension to this recipe.
My husband has suggested adding some shredded chicken as well which I think would be excellent and will incorporate next time.
From start to finish this recipe took only an hour to prep and make. If you prep ahead of time the actual cooking time was only about 5 minutes. This makes a nice light pasta dinner.
1 tub whole ricotta 454 grams
1 Package frozen spinach squeezed and drained of water
4 oz thinly sliced proscuitto chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg yolks
48 square wonton wrappers
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp dried oregano leaves. (I used 3 tbsp fresh finely chopped oregano)
juice of 1/2 small lemon (my own addition)
Grated parmasean or pecorino cheese.
Combine the ricotta, spinach, salt, pepper, egg yolk and ricotta to form a smooth mixture. I throw it all into the mixer to combine.
Place 1 tsp full of the mixture onto each of the wonton wrappers. Moisten the edges of the wrappers by brushing with a little water and close to form a triangle. Pinch or flatten the edges to ensure they are sealed. Place onto a cookie sheet as you proceed. You can do this step ahead of time and refrigerate the raviolis, covered for several hours until you are ready to use them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and working in batches boil the wontons for about 4 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place, drained into a large serving bowl or platter.
In the meantime melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the oregano and simmer to allow the flavours to infuse (about a minute or two). Add in lemon juice if desired. Pour the butter over the cooked wontons, top with shredded parmagean or pecorino cheese and serve.
My kids LOVED it, as did I, and my husband. I will add some shredded cooked chicken to the next batch as I think it will be delicious.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I went up to visit my parents this past weekend who run a bed and breakfast in Cottage Country. My mom had this lovely cookbook for breakfasts "Do Breakfast", by Jane Donovan.
I decided to pull some of the recipes and try them out. This one is involved but I was feeling adventurous and decided to give it a try. I've never made croissant before but I also had never made bagels either and they turned out so well I though why not?
The milk once the yeast has become foamy.
Ingredients (makes 24 croissants)
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 package dry active yeast
3 - 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 egg with 1 tsp water for glazing
Confectioners sugar for dusting
almond paste ingredients
2/3 cup blanched almonds
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces and softened
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp almond extract
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and half of the sugar over low heat until very warm. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle the yeast and 1 tbsp of the flour and mix by hand until dissolved. Allow to stand until foamy (about 15 minutes). With a hand whisk, beat in 1 cup of the flour, the salt and remaining flour.
Fix the mixer with a dough hook and gradually beat in 2 cups of flour on low speed. Beat on high until dough comes together and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. if the dough is very wet, sprinkle a little more flour into the mixture; Beat until smooth. Scrape the dough into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in volume (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly until smooth, about 4 to 5 times. Wrap in a dish towel and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
While the dough is cooling prepare the butter.
Place the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll the butter into a rectangular shape. Fold the butter in half and roll out again. Repeat until butter is smooth a pliable but still cold. Flatten to form a 6 x 4 inch rectangle.
Roll the dough to a 18 x 8 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface, keeping the center third thicker than the two outer ends. put the butter rectangle on the thicker center of the dough, and fold the bottom third of the dough over the butter. fold the top third of the dough over the bottom to enclose the butter; with the rolling pin press down the "open edges" to seal the dough and create a neat dough "package"
Turn the dough package to that the short open edge faces you, the folded edge is on the left and it resembles a closed book. Gently roll the dough to a rectangle about 18 inches long, keeping the edges straight; do not press out the butter. (tip: if the butter squeezes out of the package, or the dough becomes sticky at any time, slide it onto a cookie sheet and chill until easier to handle.) Fold the rectangle in thirds, as we did for the butter, and press down the edges to seal. Press your index finger lightly into one corner to mark the first turn clearly. Wrap the dough in plastic warp and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Repat the rolling and folding, or turns, twice more, wrapping, marking and chilling the dough between each turn. After the third turn, wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the almond paste. Put the blanched almonds, flour, cornstarch and sugar in a food processor, and process until very fine crumbs form. Sprinkle over the butter, the egg, egg yolk, and almond extract, and process until a smooth paste forms. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate.
Lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets. Allow the dough to soften at room temp about 5-10 minutes for easier rolling.
Roll the dough to a 1/8 inch thick rectangle about 13 inches wide on a lightly floured surface. Trim the edges straight. Cut the rectangle in half to form 2 long, narrow strips. Cut each strip into triangles, 6 inches high and 4 inches wide at the base. With the rolling pin, roll gently from the base to the point, stretching each triangle lengthwise.
Place 1 tbsp of almond paste about 1 inch up from the base of each triangle. pulling the base slightly to widen it, roll up the dough from the base to the point Arrange point side down on the cookie sheets, curving the ends to form a crescent shape. Brush each croissant with a little egg glaze; cover and leave to rise in a warm place until almost tripled in volume, about 2 hours. (At this point the formed croissants can be refrigerated overnight and baked the following day, be sure to refrigerate the egg glaze until ready to bake the croissants)
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Brush each croissant again with the egg glaze, then sprinkle each with a few flaked almonds. Bake for 2 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375 and bake until a light golden colour, approx 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Dust lightly with confectioners sugar, and serve warm with fresh coffee.
Here are my horrible looking Almond croissants. You will note, the almond paste was oozing out of the dough while they were rising. These are prebaked. Once baked they puffed up a bit. They are chewy as opposed to flaky. They taste good, but definately not light and flakey
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
2 slices fresh white bread
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.
In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.
Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.
Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.
3 ripe bananas