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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coffee Gelato buzz buzz new and improved

I am so happy because I am the new owner of a Lello Simac Il Gelato maker circa 1980's or 90's.  A powerhouse!  So now the request come in daily, "we want...gelato or sorbet".  So I need to catch up and add the apricot gelato, apricot sorbet and the new and improved vanilla gelato to the blog.  Coming up next the return of pistachio gelato.  Time to go through the huge stack of ice cream, sorbet and gelato cookbooks I just picked up from the library for more inspiration.
Warning do not eat at night, unless you have late night plans.

Coffee  Gelato
 Base Recipe from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto
F.W. Pearce & Danilo Zecchin
makes about 1 quart 

2 cups organic whole milk
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 1/2T or more finely ground espresso coffee beans
1/2 t vanilla paste
4 large organic egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

~ in a heavy bottom sauce pan combine milk, cream, 1T ground coffee beans and 1/2t vanilla paste
~ place over medium-low heat
~ stir occasionally until temperature reaches 170 degrees  and tiny bubbles start to form
~ meanwhile put egg yolks in a round medium size pyrex and whisk until smooth
~ add sugar to yolks and whisk until thick and pale
~ temper your egg yolks by taking about 1/2 cup of hot milk/cream mixture and slowly pour into yolks while whisking yolks...keep it moving or you will end up with scrambled eggs
~ continue adding about 1/2 cup at a time slowly until you have added about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
~ pour egg mixture into remaining milk/cream mixture in pan
~ cook over low heat stirring frequently until mixture reaches 185 degrees (do not boil)
~ pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer back into pyrex
~ add remaining ground coffee beans
~ cool and place in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight
~ pour into ice cream maker and use as directed
~ eat it right away or for more developed flavors freeze for 2 hours

Amazingly Wonderful!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Home Made Cheese Filled Tortellini Tortelli di Erbette

So many pictures and so little time...lost between the dance recital and the bridge construction I finally unearthed these tortellini's.  My youngest helped out and became a pasta master and eater.

 step one: make the pasta dough - best way in your food processor
 step two: divide the dough into four equal parts

 step three: flatten dough and roll on #1 in pasta maker

 step four: fold rolled dough and repeat steps three and four about four times
step five: roll dough on numbers 2 through 5 one time each 
cover dough with damp dish towel until ready to cut

 step six: sprinkle dough with flour

 step seven: dip cutter into flour and cut

 step eight: make filling

 step nine: plop in filling (I always tend to over fill)

 step ten: fold over and press to seal

 step eleven: fold around finger and pull down top like a cape

Tortelli di Erbette
Pasta Filled with Ricotta and Swiss Chard
from Carol Field
Celebrating Italy

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
a little cold water

~ set the four and salt in the bowl with the steel blade and pulse several times
~ with the motor running pour the eggs down the feed tube
~ mix only until the dough has come together loosely around the blade
~ if the dough is too stiff, add a little cold water
~ remove and kneed on a lightly floured surface
~ gather dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap and let rest 15-30 minutes

2 bunches of swiss chard
3/4 pound fresh whole milk ricotta (whirled in a food processor)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

~ trim chard removing thick stems and wash leaves very well
~ put the chard leaves in pot using only the water that remains on the leaves
~ cook until tender 5-9 minutes
~ drain and squeeze out
~ chop fine
~ mix the chard, ricotta, parmesan, butter, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper
~ cool before use
~ can be refrigerated 4 to 8 hours

Making the tortellini

~ roll out the pasta
~ using a pasta machine
~ take a piece of dough about the size of an egg and roll up through the first setting
~ follow directions above in pictures
~ cook tortellini in a large pot of boiling water add 1T salt to water
~ cook 3-5 minutes

from our garden -  Swiss Chard

Friday, June 17, 2011

blind ambition part two: caramel apples

So there we were in Costco when we spied a most unique sampling, caramel apples!  Coated with Oreos - birthday party coming up, I can do that!

After all my apple trees are bursting with apples.

What a mess!

I read a trick to getting the caramel to stick is sand paper.  Well of course my sand paper got displaced in all of the birthday paraphernalia and my caramel dripped and had a hard to sticking but eventually did.  Difficulty hit me at every juncture.  I purchased craft sticks and crammed them in the apples only to find the stick in my hand and the apple floating around in the caramel so I dug out some bamboo skewers, ah success.  I copied the recipe from  Your Homebase Mom and her apples are perfection, mine not so much; however, they did taste most wonderful.

Caramel Apples
from Your Homebased Mom Blog
for great detail visit her blog

2 C brown sugar
1 C corn syrup
1/2 C butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk

~ combine the first 3 ingredients
~ after butter is melted stir in the milk
~ cook to soft ball (230degrees).
~ stir constantly.
~ stir in  1 tsp vanilla.
~ remove from heat
~ dip apples into the caramel, then roll in nuts if desired
~ let set up on a cookie sheet
~ place in refrigerator if needed
~ after completely cooled you can drizzle with chocolate and cover with toppings

Suggested toppings:  sprinkles, crushed Oreos, mini M & M’s, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, crushed candy bars.

from our garden: apples

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

blind ambition part one: hand dipped drumsticks

Another birthday party and of course we must break the cupcake trend and tickle the young pallets with a cool treat.  I plowed through my cookbooks and came up empty handed and resorted to the internet.  I found my pot of gold on  Baking Bites blog.

I still remember my first cone in Europe, so different then the American version.  The chocolate inner coating and plug delighted me.  How ingenious!

So I come up with these wacky ideas and truly think I can throw them together quickly and they will be easier then the tradition cake.  After all don't they do just that on all of the cooking shows?  However, what we do not see are all the people behind the scenes prepping. Ummm, something to do over the summer make my kids sous chefs and dish washers.  I will buy them fancy aprons and dish washing gloves.

Fun, yum, fantastic...I would like to make the outer shell thinner and had some difficulty getting the chocolate to stick after the first dozen (add more butter to the chocolate).  I made three dozen.  The biggest feat was making room in my freezer (junky french door refrig.).

Hand Dipped Drumsticks
from Baking Bites

1/2 gallon ice cream (any flavor), slightly softened
8 sugar cones
1 1/4 cups semisweet/dark chocolate chips (trader joes are great!)
5+ tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted/salted peanuts, almonds, nerds, sprinkles........any thing your heart desires

~ melt about 1/4 cup of chips in microwave working in 30 second increments
~ using a mini tiny whisk plop a chunk in the bottom of the cone and swirl chocolate around inner cone (see most fabulous picture)
~ use a butter knife to fill each of the cones with ice cream, then top off with a rounded scoop of ice cream ~ ~ place each ice cream cone in the freezer as you finish, either placing them inside the narrow glasses (or other stand) to hold them upright or laying them on the parchment-lined baking sheet
~ freeze for at least 3 hours.
~ melt the remaining chocolate chips with 3 tbsp of butter in the microwave, working in 30 second increments
~ choose a small bowl because it makes dipping easier
~ stir in remaining butter
~ chocolate should be smooth and relatively thin
~ working with one ice cream cone at a time, dip the frozen ice cream scoops in chocolate, rotate to coat quickly dip chocolate into topping
~ return to freezer
~ chill at least 1-2 hours before serving
~ store in airtight bags.

 everyone loved them 
Happy Birthday B

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Corn Tortillas

One of my favorite college food memory, fresh tortillas slathered in butter from a local restaurant. Well with my love of gadgets, I knew I had to have a tortilla press.  

 getting ready to press

flattened and ready to go

dinner is served...Fish Taco's

Corn Tortillas 
from Food and Wine Annual 2009
 Jessamyn Waldman

2 cups masa harina
1 1/2 cups water 
1T fresh lime juice

~  in a large bowl, combine the masa harina with the water and lime juice stir until moistened
~ on a sheet of plastic wrap, roll the tortilla dough into an 8-inch log and cut the log into 16 pieces
~ roll each piece into a ball, transfer to a large plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap
~ heat a griddle or a comal (a flat, round griddle) until very hot.
~ line a basket or a wide, shallow bowl with a clean kitchen towel
~ cut a sturdy, resealable plastic bag at the seams or cover tortilla with plastic wrap
~ set 1 ball of dough between the sheets of plastic
~ using a tortilla press, a skillet or a rolling pin, flatten the tortilla to a 5-inch round
~ peel off the plastic and set the tortilla on the hot griddle
~ cook the tortilla over high heat until lightly browned in spots, about 1 minute. Flip and cook about 30 seconds longer
~ wrap the cooked tortilla in the towel. Press, cook and wrap the remaining balls of dough, keeping the stack of tortillas covered
~ serve the tortillas warm  

Corn on the Cob via Pressure Cooker

Perfect corn in 3 minutes! Thanks to my most wonderful pressure cooker.  Simply fabulous crunchy yet yielding moist kernels of perfection. If you don't have a pressure cooker yet, get one.  I have a Fagor Duo and it's clearly the best.

Corn on the Cob
cooked with a pressure cooker

~ undress corn by removing husk and silk
~ add water to pressure cooker about an inch
~ place steamer basket in pressure cooker
~ add corn to pressure cooker
~ lock on lid and bring to high pressure
~ maintain high pressure for 3 minutes
~ quick release steam
~ remove and enjoy

Soba Noodle Salad with Thai Green Curry Sauce

 How do they do it?  Those other blogs with their perfectly styled pictures.  I once read one blogger spent hours arranging their pictures.  I can do that.  I just need to set my alarm for 3am, after all who needs sleep?  Me!  Food stylist not a future career for me.  At our house, we eat with our mouths and I remind them daily just how lucky they are to have such terrific food.  They nod in agreement and tell stories of poor eating experiences around town.  I enjoy their school lunch descriptions; something they will not let pass their lips.  How we wish for Revolution Food school food service.  We were lucky enough to participate in a lunch tasting over a year ago and my kids are still talking about just how wonderful the food was.  They service California, Colorado or the Washington D.C. metropolitan area schools.  Perhaps your school is able to breakaway from the bureaucracy of the school districts food service strangle hold and your kids can have real food.  Click on the link above and check out this wonderful program.

As salad month winds down, the foolery begins.  If the main ingredient is noodles can it still be called salad?

Soba Noodle Salad with Thai Green Curry Sauce
from Dale Gartland
Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon green Thai curry paste (beware very spicy)
One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes—drained and chopped, juices reserved
3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
3 baby bok choy—stems thinly sliced, leaves coarsely chopped
6 ounces soba noodles
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup roasted cashews  
1 scallion, thinly sliced 

~ bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil
~ in a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil
~ add the red curry paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds
~ add the tomatoes and their juices and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes
~ add the chicken stock, coconut milk and brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 7 minutes
~ remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice and fish sauce.
~ line a plate with paper towels
~ add the bok choy stems and leaves to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute
~ using a slotted spoon, transfer the bok choy to the paper towels and pat dry
~ add the soba to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente
~ drain the soba and rinse in a colander under cold water
~ let stand for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until dry
~ transfer the soba to a large bowl
~ add the  sesame seeds, 1 cup of the red curry sauce and all but 1/2 cup of the bok choy leaves and toss well
~ arrange the soba salad in shallow bowls and drizzle with the remaining sauce
~ garnish with the cashews, scallion and the remaining bok choy and serve

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Home Grown Tomatoes

three types of tomatoes

If you purchase your tomatoes at the grocery store you may never know the goodness of this fruit.  Tomatoes are one of the easiest things to grow.  My favorite so far this year is the small round cherry.  So sweet with a crunch when you bite through the skin.  Several of my plants sprouted from tomatoes gone bad and tossed in my garden.  In fact, today I noticed one just plant growing through my asian pear tree and it was almost 6 feet tall.  About half of my plants this year are in pots as a experiment to see if they would remain free of those nasty tomato horn worms.  So far, only one very large one found that I picked off and disposed of in the trash can.  I read that some squish them but I don't have the stomach for that, yeeeccchhh!

Grab a pot and grow a tomato plant

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Elizabeth's Chicken Salad

Another wind storm and the peaches are gone from the front yard.  Lucky for us more are ripening in the backyard. For this great summer salad, I replaced the grapes and added freshly picked peaches.  A fabulous switch.

During the past week I have tried out a variety of organic chicken and have been less then impressed.  I am back to Empire Kosher organic chicken - worth every penny.  Best of all it doesn't have the funky bits shoved in it.  Ugh!  I hate having to dive into the carcass to pull out the inners.

Elizabeth's Chicken Salad
from The Fiddlehead Cookbook

Poached Chicken
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 sweet onion quartered
2 organic carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1 organic celery rib cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 lemon
5 parsley springs
1 garlic clove lightly crushed
1/4t black peppercorns
4 springs fresh thyme
2 large whole kosher organic chicken breasts

~ place all ingredients but chicken in pot over high heat
~ place chicken on top of vegetables
~ when liquid comes to a boil reduce heat to low and cover
~ simmer gently until meat is cooed through 15 to 20 minutes
~ remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool
~ you can toss the stock or strain and save for another use
~ cut chicken into 1/2 cubes
~ cover and refrigerate until ready to make salad

Chicken Salad
4 cups cubed chicken
4T extra virgin olive oil
4T raspberry vinegar
2T low fat sour cream
2t dijon mustard
4 freshly picked peaches or organic peaches
1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
sea salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce

~ in a large mixing bowl add chicken
~ whisk olive oil, vinegar, sour cream and mustard in a small bowl
~ add to the chicken and mix 
~ add salt and pepper to taste
~ plate 1/2 cup lettuce per plate
~ top with chicken mixture
~ sprinkle nuts and arrange peaches

from our garden: peaches, thyme, parsley, lemon

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dehydrated Peaches

A day of rest and catching up after two weeks of non-stopping fun filled, exhausting, kid fueled activities...aahhh.  Stepping back prior to the craziness, I had my moment of zen in the form of dried peaches.

Our cup (bowl) runith over unfortunately, they don't just pop open into perfect halves like apricots.  So the juice ran down my hands, swirled around my arms and sprayed my counter.  Next time I will device a better way.

 Another helpful hint I forgotten, cut everything the same size.  Impossible!  I am not that persnickety.  Although it makes timing that much easier, oh well live life and don't let odd sized peaches muddle your day.

Dehydrated Peaches

4 cups of water with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it

~ pit and cut peaches into equal size portions (is that even possible?)
~ place peaches into water solution - this is suppose to stop discoloration (works ok and is easy enough)
~ drain peaches
~ place on drier leaving space for air flow
~ dry in dehydrator on dried fruit setting (120-140 degrees)
~ should take 6-20 hours (mine took 18 hours)

storage: I place mine in a freezer zip lock bag in the freeze.  I should have used my plastic bag air sucking device (brain fart can't remember name...that is what kids do to you), but I was too too lazy and the easy way is just fine.
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