Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Halloween Weekend

Friday evening: On our way to the little preschool Halloween party at my youngest granddaughter's school. Photo snapped from inside the car, towards downtown West Palm Beach... Let me be your guide...follow me!




Yummy appetizers for lunch, from Cafe Sapori...hope you all had a safe and 
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Carrot Cake

October is such an all time favorite month for everybody. The beautiful fall colors of the season, Halloween of course, but than there are birthdays...and not just any birthday. My granddaughter, the second oldest of my 4 grandchildren Sophia's 9th birthday. I mentioned in my "Tagged" answer that I had to learn from "Betty Crocker" to cook, and I did not mention, also, to bake, as well. At that time, a hundred years ago...(actually, in the seventies)...Betty Crocker recipes were very popular, as were Better Homes and Gardens. Seems like everybody had a cookbook from one, or the other, as I did. This recipe is really so easy, and your family will love this, especially the beautiful fall colors, even in the frosting, which is just a nice creme cheese frosting with a few drops of yellow, and red food color, to make it a pumpkin, orange color, few pieces of M&M's a fancy cake pan, or just one 9" pan, or a spring form pan, will make it fancy looking. So much nicer than a 13x9 which the recipe calls for.

adapted from Betty Crocker
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (I use 1/2 evaporated milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
3 cups shredded carrots (about 5 med. carrots)
do not use pre shredded carrots-they are too thick

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9 8 inch or 9 inch round, or spring form pan, with shortening, or cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vegetable oil with an electric hand mixer till combined for about a minute or 2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, and add them slowly to the wet mixture. Add the milk and vanilla to it, and beat on low, till all combined. Fold in the shredded carrots, and pour batter into pan. Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees, and lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Check by inserting toothpick into middle of the cake, to see if it comes out clean. Cool completely, before frosting, at least 1 hour.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package 8 oz. creme cheese softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp of milk
(add about 7 drops of yellow food dye and 4 drops of red dye to the milk to make orange color)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and velvety. Frost cake, and immediately chill in freezer for about 20 minutes before decorating.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Marshmallow Frosting

 
This frosting always puts smiles on every one's faces, The kids line up to take spoonfuls of it, and licking the bowl and beater. I remember when my children were the same ages as my grandchildren, and we're talking over 30 years ago This was the first frosting that I learned how to make, besides the famous chocolate frosting, with egg, and butter in the cream. This particular frosting is also referred to the 7 minute frosting, and is made with pure egg whites, and only one cup of sugar. Zero fat. This is the consistency that is required, thick, and fluff, and ohhh so good. Your family will want to spoon some out from the bowl, lick the beaters, and the bowl like mine does. It actually resembles marshmallow fluff, but this is so much better, lighter, and less sweet than the one you buy in the jar. Recipe follows
.
Marshmallow Frosting...or 7 minutes
1 cup of granulated  white sugar only...not powdered
4 egg whites
1/3 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium saucepan, bring the 1/3 cup of water, the sugar, and the cream of tartar, and bring it to a boil, until you see thick clear bubbles, which should only take about 5 minutes. Be careful not to boil even 1 second longer, soon as it comes to a rapid bubble, because it will turn amber, and than you would have to quickly make a different recipe, and add heavy cream, which would be "caramel sauce"
In a metal bowl, add all the egg whites, and beat the egg whites first until it turns white, and starts to get a little thick. Now, add the sugar syrup only drop fulls at a time counting down the 7 minutes. After about 5 minutes of constantly beating, add the vanilla, and beat another 2 minutes, maybe 3 more. You have enough to 2 nine inch round cakes. I would have had enough for my cakes on the side but I was way to generous with the grandchildren liberally spooning it out from the bowl. It really is contagious. I have given and actually showed how to make this frosting to neighbors, friends, even relatives in Italy, and Hungary. You can also add a drop of food coloring for a different effect. Be careful not to add juice instead of the fruit coloring, that will thin out the consistency.
 
I was going to post my simple version of an easy carrot cake which I made for my granddaughter's 9th birthday yesterday...instead, I decided to re-post my marshmallow frosting recipe that was from several months ago before I joined Foodbuzz, and made friends with so many wonderful people from all over the world.

One particular person, who became such a nice friend is a lovely young lady, called Joanna (Jo) from chicgorgeous whom I tagged last week and was such a good sport to answer the questions I posted, and came up with her own, and tagged 8 other bloggers. First, and foremost, you should check out her beautiful blog...not just because she linked to me, but because of the beautiful Pink Velvet cupcakes she made in honor of "Breast Awareness Month."

We all have someone in our family, relative, or friend, who died from this terrible disease, or a mother, sister, aunt, cousin, or a friend, that is a survivor of breast cancer. Sad to say, I lost my mother, my aunt, years ago, but happy to say that my younger sister is a "breast cancer survivor for the 5th year. I would love to scan a photo of my sweet sister if I could, but my scanner does not work at this time. I do not have anything "pink" at this time to post, but please DO check Joanna's blog at: chicgorgeous

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Broccoli Rabe with Mushroom Gnocchi

I know many of your anti-broccoli haters will take one look at this dish and say YUK...UGHH!...Oh, common, this is not your ordinary broccoli, and yes, it's in the same family but this is the Italian version of it. It is pungent, bitter, crunchy, and so good, healthy for you.The gnocchi is imported from Italy, and it is vacuum sealed. This particular brand is a wild mushroom one that pairs so well with the broccoli rabe

Having lunch at Cafe Sapori, in my neighborhood in West Palm Beach, surely encouraged me to make the same dish for dinner. I did not adapt this from any recipe, I just know the simplicity of this dish.

Broccoli Rabe with Mushroom Gnocchi


1 bunch of broccoli rabe, washed, stems cut, and chopped coarsely
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 17. oz pkg. of gnocchi, or orecchiette
salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese


If you don't have a steamer basket (which I couldn't find, when I needed it)...In a large skillet, pour about 1/2 cup of water, and place the coarsely chopped broccoli rabe. Cover with a lid, or a large piece of aluminum foil, and on a high heat, steam for a few minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water. In the same large skillet, saute garlic,  in the olive oil...add the crushed red pepper flakes and  the broccoli rabe. Add the salt and pepper, and combine it with the cooked gnocchi, or the orecchiette pasta. Serve immediately, and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Simple, and delicious!

Note: Please click on the link for the broccoli rabe, to further assist in explaining what it is. Also, mushroom gnocchi, is simply a pasta dish with wild mushroom added inside the dough. You can see the specs of the mushrooms, and certainly taste the goodness of the wild porcini mushroom flavor. It really balances out the flavor of the bitter broccoli rabe, or as they call it in Italian, rapini, or broccoli raab.Whichever name, or if it its all bulbs, then it would be broccolini.
Fabulous lunch a Cafe Sapori, encouraged me to go all the way with the broccoli rabe!



Beautiful beet salad with goat cheese, from Cafe Sapori
 

 
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick and Easy Waffles

This is how they looked this summer...slimmer now!
It's been a long weekend!
Waking up Saturday morning to the sound of the little voices of my two grandchildren, and the  Chihuahuas,Luigi and Stella... the smell of fresh home made waffles. How can anyone not want to be a part of that. Did I mention the glorious Caffe Latte too? I feel compelled to brag about the waffle iron that the wonderful waffles were made in, because while my family was vacationing in Italy this summer I was house and dog sitting, so every chance I got I stopped at Goodwill nearby to see what treasures I can find. I did find this waffle iron, still brand new with the warranty book in the box, at $5.99, retail price starting at $17.99 and up.
Also, found this cookbook that I've always been wanting to buy...this paperback was also like brand new, just tucked away with all the other books, that I happen to spot. Paperback books of any kind, any size cost...are you ready for this? $.79...seventy nine cents...holy, moly! The hardback, which is the same exact size, costs. $29.99...no kidding! The recipe for the waffles is in this book, and I'm so grateful that my daughter found it useful enough to constantly want to make homemade waffles, and homemade pancakes, also any kind of good and basic recipes that are found in the wonderful "bible" of a cookbook....and mom could not be happier than to find a gift that keeps on giving, for way under $10.00. Now, that's what I call THRIFTING!
Recipe for the waffles from How to Cook Everything
Quick and Easy Waffles
 
Canola or other neutral oil for brushing waffle iron
(we use cooking spray)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
4 Tbsp.  (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and plug in to heat it. Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together the milk and eggs. (If you have time, separate the eggs and beat the whites.)
Stir in the cooled melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. If the mixture seems too thick, add a little more milk. Spread a ladleful or so of batter unto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Serve immediately, or keep warm for a few minutes in a low temperature oven. Serves 4 to 6.
note, from Elisabeth:
You should use up the whole batch, even if you don't need it, because you can freeze waffles real nice, in a freezable baggie, and take it out to heat up in the microwave or in a toaster, or toaster oven. This is what I do, and never have to buy the frozen kind from the store. It tastes even better, when frozen, and toasted.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

I've Been Tagged

Lizzy, of  thatskinnychickcanbake said...
You've been tagged, Lizzie. Answer these 8 questions in a new post, and tag 7 bloggers with your own questions (I'm having trouble coming up with 7 bloggers I know!!).
OK Lizzy, here are the answers, from the other Lizzie...here goes, don't be too shocked!
My questions:
1. Who taught you to cook?
I'd like to be honest about this...really! Actually not one particular person. All the women in my family were amazing cooks, my mom was a professional seamstress, her baking was superb! I actually self taught from "Betty Crocker" cookbook!
2. Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I like to do both, but I have more patience for cooking, because I could be more creative, and adapt the recipes to my way, but in baking you have to follow much closer, any recipe you make.
3. What is your favorite meal to cook for company?
Gotta be shrimp! Buy lots of it, and have fun with it. You can cook it so many different ways. Living in South Florida also helps too. Good shrimp is very affordable here.
4. Are there any foods you will not eat?
You bet! Will not eat any kind of "intestines" of beef, or pork, especially, certain parts of animals, ie. pig's feet, beef tongue, etc.
5. Who is your favorite TV chef?
I already knew I wanted to pick Tyler Florence, but for sure he is my favorite. I did a little "bio" search on him, and saw he graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary of Arts College...so prestigious! He was also born on March 3rd. which happens to be my dad's birthday too...which I did not
6. What famous person/people would you love to dine with (dead or alive)?
No doubt, Meryl Streep. My all time favorite actress. She played in so many roles, so many different character. I just loved her in the role of Julie and Julia!
7. Was your favorite meal ever eaten at a restaurant or someone's home? Tell us about it.
My favorite meal ever, was eaten at the original "Olive Garden" in Cleveland, Ohio where I grew up!
8. What dish are you still trying to master?
SUSHI!

Here are my 8 questions to 7 bloggers, that I will be tagging.
1. What is your all time favorite comfort food?
2. What kind of foods did you take to school, for lunch? (any grade)
3. What is your favorite all time cooking show on T.V... past or present...and why?
4. Which  celebrity, famous person, or famous chef,  would yo invite to your next holiday party in your home?      
5. Which  holiday you love the most?
6. If you won an all expense paid trip for ten days to the choice of the official Top 3 wine regions
    which of the 3 would you pick?  1.) Bordeaux, France, 2.) Tuscany Italy,
    or Napa Valley, California  (these are in their actual order on the top 10 favorites)
7. What kind of food you absolutely hated, growing up, as a young child, or teenager.
8. What was the most dreaded dish that you prepared and said you would never prepare it again?
Finished my Links, and will be tagging you good people!
Any one that would like to jump on the "bandwagon"...please, do so!
 1.  spoon-and-chopsticks
 2.   dreams of sugarplums
 3.  brenda's canadian kitchen
 4.  food fun freak
 5.  susi's kitchen
 6.  patty-a day with me
 7. deba roo roo
 8. chic gorgeous




Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oatmeal Apple Muffins

Just as I have mentioned, I did make these yummy Oatmeal Apple Muffins, that I adapted from Monet,
on her anecdotesandapplecores blog. I did not have any pears on hand, so I used Granny Smith apples instead.
Also, I got tagged by my friend, Lizzy, from thatskinnychickcanbake  and will answer the questions and hope not to bore you good people  out there. First, on with this delish and easy adapted recipe. Thanks Monet, and I want you to know that I actually made this as a tribute to you! I know you are in Tampa now, with your sister Susanne. Our prayers, and love go out to you...for Baby Ryan's healing.

Oatmeal Apple Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
(or 1 Tbsp. white vinegar add to 1/3 cup milk)
2 Granny Smith apples peeled, diced
and juice of 1 lemon squeezed on it

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices together with a large spatula or spoon. In a medium bowl, add eggs, and sugars, and whisk by hand for a minute or two. Add more milk to the buttermilk or the "mock" mixture of the vinegar and milk, to make 1 cup total. Whisk that in with the sugar mixture Add the sugar, and egg mixture, folding it into the flour mixture, and fold in the diced apple with the excess juice from the lemon.
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, and divide the mixture evenly. Top with the Oatmeal crumble, on bake for 18-20 minutes, till top gets nice and crunchy, and golden brown in color.

Oatmeal Crumble Topping

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpuse flour
4 Tbsp cold butter

In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together, and cut butter into little dice pieces. Add them into the mixture, and carefully mix them with a pastry cutter, or fork until it resembles crumbs, and all pieces are combined, but not overmixed. Sprinkle evenly on all the 12 muffin batter tops, and bake. This keeps very nice for a few days, if there's any left over. It will still tastes fresh, and light.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York Style Cheesecake

I decided to re post my New York Style Cheesecake from this summer, just about when I started my blog. The actual reason I'm posting it is, because I lent my digital camera to my daughter, so she could upload her photos that she took with my camera. Yesterday, I made my good old fashioned meat loaf, and a yummy apple SALSA...

 
Recipe...adapted from the JOY OF BAKING
New York Cheesecake:
Grease, or spray with Pam, a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan.  Place the springform pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.
For Crust:
In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the springform pan.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.
For Filling
In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.  Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan
to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).
Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.
Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauces.
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cheesecake.
To freeze
Place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze, uncovered, until firm.  Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.  Seal and return to freezer.  Can be frozen for several months.  Thaw uncovered cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
Adapted from Cheesecake Extraordinaire by Mary Crownover.

Crust:

2 cups (200 grams) of graham wafer crumbs or finely crushed vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (process whole cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (114 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
32 ounces (1 kg) (4 - 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Topping:
1 cup (240 ml) sour cream (not low fat or fat free)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Tips:  Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks.  To help prevent this from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar. 
Another reason for cracking is overbaking the cheesecake.  Your cheesecake is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet. 
Also, make sure the springform pan is well greased as cracking can occur if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools. 
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Curried Potatoes and Eggs Scramble

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I've been so intrigued with all the beautiful and This morning was such a beautiful morning, that I decided to make a nice breakfast treat, focusing on using what I had in my frig, but intent upon using curry powder. I did not want to add curry powder or other spices in the scrambled eggs, and did not want to make them on the side, so I came up with this cute little idea to make a little "nest" in the middle of the curried potatoes, when they were completely done. Eggs only take a minute or to to scramble up, and being careful not to get it mixed up with the potatoes, just concentrating on leaving it in the inside. I must say it was quite a success...better than breakfast out, and I could go on my Saturday grocery shopping.
There are so many different dishes out there on my foodie friends' blogs, and especially with all the wonderful spices to kick up the flavors of foods and make them colorful and healthy, at the same time. The funny thing is, that I have most of those spices, sauces, and condiment on hand. I am, what you might call a "spice freak", and "freezer happy"...99% of my dry spices are kept in the freezer...not that I would want to keep them in there forever, the longest I keep them is 1 year, and they still smell fresh. 
 Curried Potatoes, and Eggs Scramble

1 large russet Yucon gold potato
2 large eggs, lightly scrambled
1 small onion diced
10 grape, or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon red curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
!/2 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

In a large non stick skillet, saute onions, until translucent. In the meantime, cook the potato in the microwave until it's almost soft, slice them in half, and peel them, if you prefer. Dice them in small pieces, and saute them with the onions, on med, high. Sprinkle all the spices on them, and add the cherry, or grape tomatoes.(these small tomatoes keep their shape, they are better, than the diced tomato)...Just keep stirring the potato mixture till it gets nice and crunchy, and a golden color. Clear the vegetable to the side, and leave a portion of a circle to drop the eggs in. Lightly stir, but do not mix up too much, lower the temperature, and let it cook for a minute or two, till it sets. Sprinkle some lime on it to give it a nice flavor. Serves 2.
I love Halloween decorations, it's so much fun... our local supermarket always has decorations for every holiday. Just makes it that much more enjoyable to shop. Could not resist taking a picture, and not getting escorted out of the store. Last year I took some beautiful photos at our local Green market, and was asked to delete the photos...what a "bummer" and embarrassment that was. That's when I lost my grocery cart too. While I was sneaking photos, someone took off with my cart, and realized halfway across the huge football" field size of the store, and abandoned my cart. I finally had to ask the manager to announce on the loud speaker about the lost cart with certain groceries in it...more embarrassment. My daughter refused to walk out of the store with me...kept telling me. "I don't know you"...so no more paparazzi...have to be less noticeable when taking photos out in public.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vegetable Stir Fry, with Shrimp

Yesterday was such a dreary day, so my daughter and I went thrift shopping for books, of course they would have to be cookbooks, or some kind of great novels for women. I am open to all kinds of other books as well, and buy them on Amazon, but when I could find some real good books in the thrift stores which are the best, in our area, I kid you not. I will get back on that subject, later.
 The main thing I should be talking about is another quick shrimp dish. I only had about maybe a dozen shrimp leftover in my freezer, and knowing I will devour that amount by myself, I better make it light. I bought this wonderful bag of fresh mixed veggies at my local supermarket, in the Asian section, and I wanted to make spring rolls, the same day that my friend Sabby made hers, but did not have the patience to roll the little suckers, plus the fact that I would have to fry them, so this was my next best option...vegetables stir fry, with shrimp. Mind you, even the little bag of the sauce came with it, but of course, I spiced the shrimps up even more for extra flavor.

Vegetable Stir Fry with Shrimp
1/2 lb large shrimp cleaned and deveined, with tail on
1/2  bag of 16 oz. LEASA mixed stir fry vegetables
1 bunch scallion, outer leaves discarded, and sliced 1 inch.diagonal 
1 clove garlic sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon of a good quality ginger
1/2 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil


Place shrimp in a medium bowl, and sprinkle all over with the juice of 1/2 of the lime, and  the spices. Heat a wok, or a large heavy skillet with  1 Tablespoon of the oil, on high. Stir fry the the shrimp with the sliced garlic for about 2 minutes, till almost pink. Remove from the wok, or skillet, and set aside. Wipe wok, or skillet clean with paper towel. Add the 2 Tablespoon of the remaining oil set it high again, and stir fry the scallion, and the vegetables for a few minutes. add the packet of the sauce from the bag, which is (teriyaki sauce. If you are using different vegetables, you can add your own splash of teriyaki, or soy sauce on it.) Add the remaining juice of the other half of the lime, and add the shrimp back into the wok, or skillet. Stir for another minute or 2 until it turns completely pink, and heated through. Vegetables should be nice and crispy. Serves 2.
Just look at all these books. Daughter browsing through for herself and finding great cookbooks too. Price range from 95 cents for paperback, to $1.95 to $2.95 for hardcover books...and these books are most of the quite recent.The entire bottom shelf is loaded with childrens' books. I think we just about picked up all the best ones.
 


 
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home made Pizza

I should really be calling this a Sunday Pizza because that's the only day I get to make this for a quick bite for the family, and it's a great little satisfying lunch with just salad on the side...perfectly even cut little squares on the one side, as you can see, it's just plain, with organic tomato sauce topping, and  (not so organic) shredded mozzarella cheese. On the smaller side, is topped with sauteed, sliced onions, pitted kalamata olives, and pepperoni (my favorite...sorry, not so light and healthy, but oh, so good! The crust is the best part made with the most awesome flour, even better than bread flour for the pizza, called, Eagle Mills, all Natural all Purpose, unbleached flour...a wholesome blend of white, and ultra grain flour. Pizza was devoured, within a few minutes.
Home made Pizza  Dough
1pkg active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of warm water
3 cups of unsifted Eagle Mills all Purpose unbleached flouror 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour,  and 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the 1 cup of warm water, with sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture with fork, stir until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl all around the surface, with the olive oil. Place the dough into the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a plastic wrap, or a towel, and place in a draft free place for about 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and place the dough on to the floured surface, cover it by placing the bowl over it, and let it rise again, for an additional 1 hr. Now, you can roll the dough out with a rolling pin,  and place it on a 12 in round pizza pan, or you can make a rectangular form, and place it on a 9x13 flat baking sheet. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and pre-bake for 10 minutes, so when you put the topping on it it won't come out soggy, underneath the topping. Top with basic sauce, and cheese, or with your favorite toppings, and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes until dough get nice and crunchy, and cheese is melted, and bubbly. Serves 6
note:
click on the highlighted portion of the Eagle Mills flour to get more information, regarding this wonderful flour.

Basic Pizza Sauce 
1 can of 28 oz. organic tomato sauce
or tomato sauce of your choice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
dry herbs of your choice, or leave plain
( I just used 3 large whole fresh basil leaves in the sauce)
Fresh basil leaves for decoration (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat ingredients till simmering, Cook stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, or until thickened. Cool before spreading on pizza dough.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three in One Salad

After all those ooey-gooey cheesie comfort food dishes, it's time to get down to real serious salad eatings. I created this salad at my daughter's (you can see, the blue plates are hers, not a thrift find,..a perfect lunch, yet comfortably pleasing with Greek pita bread she purchased, and the wonderful Greek yogurt from our local Middle Eastern market. The avocado was from the local Cuban produce market, so is this Greece, meet Cuba, in South Florida. Not too shabby!

Three in One Salad

Top Layer: Tzatziki

1 large cucumber peeled, halved, and cut into thirds,
 insides scooped out and  cut into 1/4 inch small slices. 
1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt
small amount of fresh snipped, or dried mint, or dill, or oregano (I used dried oregano)
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of rice vinegar (very mild)

Mix all the ingredients together, and serve it on top of the salad, (or on the side if you prefer)
Serves 2

Middle layer: Avocado and tomato salad

2-4 small mature, just ripe avocados,
skin removed, split in half and diced into cubes
2-4 plum tomatoes, cut in half and cubed
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 jalapeno peppers diced
juice of 1 lime 
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together all the ingredients, in a medium bowl, and save it for the middle layer of the salad, along with the dressing in it. No additional dressing needed.

Bottom layer: 1 bag of European mixed salad

1 6 oz can of imported Italian light  tuna in olive oil (or your favorite brand)
Start out on a dinner plate, with a nice portion, or half of the bag of salad, next, divide the tuna into nice chunks and scatter it evenly on 2 dinner plates, with oil in it..(don't drain liquid, or oil)...next, divide, and layer the avocado tomato salad including the dressing. The top portion is the tzatziki, just scoop that on the top, and serve it with pita bread, or naan, or bread of your choice. A hearty, healthy, satisfying lunch. Serves 2-4, if smaller portions are to be prepared.
















Can you believe it? 12 limes for $1.00. Can't beat this price!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baked Broccoli and Cheddar Rice

Half the time, I am just "brain dead" when it comes to making new stuff, so I stay with the "old" and try to make it more healthy and lighter. Unfortunately, this is kind of obstructed with the cheddar cheese. I got this idea from an Uncle Ben's already mixed in the box a few, or maybe more than a few years ago. I really liked the boxed idea, but did not want to deal with all that sodium and mysterious ingredients, so just from that, I wanted to re-create my own. My family loves this, and they can't remember that I also made my polenta the same way, with the broccoli, and cheddar, which again, have not made it in a long time. For this dish, I made Panko crusted oven baked chicken breast. They paired up very nicely.

Baked Broccoli and Cheddar Rice

1 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the water for the rice adding the olive oil,(or butter) if you prefer. Do not cook it all the way. Takes only 15 minutes with this method. Steam the broccoli florets, and mix the rice and broccoli together, season with salt and pepper, and mix half of the grated cheddar. Bake in an oven proof ceramic dish, for about 15 minutes on 350 degrees, and top with the additional grated cheddar cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes, or until cheese gets nice and bubbly, and golden. Serves 4.

Oven Baked Boneless Chicken Breasts

2 nice large boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp real mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 flour
1 cup Panko
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Cooking spray for moisture

Generously massage chicken breasts with the mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and mix the flour and Panko together in a large baggie. Drop the chicken breasts into the baggie and give it a good shake. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, pat the Panko base well into the chicken breasts. Smear the oil on the aluminum foil, and with the cooking spray, spray the top of the chicken breasts. (this will assure you for a nice crisp baking, without drying it out.) Bake in a 350 degree oven, for a good 25 minutes, till it gets nice and crunchy on the top. These large pieces serves fro 2-4.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stuffed Artichokes

I've been wanting to make stuffed artichokes for the longest time, but was not quite satisfied with the looks of them. They have to be large, firm and a beautiful deep green color, in order for me to buy it. This pair was a perfect match for stuffing and steaming, and served with a olio, aglio sauce...in our language, a nice dipping sauce with easily made with the combination of your best mayo, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar.

The proper way to call these artichokes is Poached Stuffed artichokes. They are poached in a large pot, in small amount of boiling water for about 45 minutes. Make sure you cut the core off almost all the way to the bottom, so they can stand up. Snip the prickly leaves all around. They are no use. Also, with a serrated knife, cut the top off, about 1 inch, to expose the "heart". Wash well in water, and immediately rub with cut lemon, or lime juice, or white vinegar. After they're cooked, it's such a fun way of eating them, they have superb flavor. You simply peel off leave one-by-one, and dip them in the accompanying sauce, and the best part is, when you get to the heart, which has a rich, soft, butter flavor. Yumm!
Recipe, to follow.

Stuffed Artichokes (Poached)

2 nice large artichokes
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
salt and pepper to taste 
juice of 1 whole lemon, or lime
a handful of fresh parsley chopped
or (1 container of Tabbouleh...fresh, store bought)
( I used fresh parsley, and leftover Tabbouleh, from the 

In a small bowl, mix together all your ingredients, if not moist enough add a little more oil, or small amount of water, for a pasty effect. Stand artichokes upright, make sure you rub all over with the lemon, or lime, stretch the leave out, being careful not to tear them and lightly pack them with the stuffing...no special way, just wherever you can pack the stuffing lightly, all around. Now, drizzle a little more oil on top, and  place them in a large pot, just the way you see it in my photo, on top. Add water, 1/4 way up, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, and gently simmer, over medium to low heat for about 45 minutes. You might have to add more water, as it cooks down. With a tong, gently remove to a platter, and make the dipping sauce for it. Serves, 2-4..depending how many persons want to try it.


Olio Aglio Sauce, or American version of Garlic and Oil 

1 cup of excellent quality, Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients, except the olive oil, With a whisk, carefully drizzle the olive oil, whisking well after each addition. Adjust the seasoning, and serve it on the side for the artichokes. Very good dipping sauce for the stuffed poached artichokes.



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Friday, October 8, 2010

Shrimp with Tomatoes Feta and Ouzo

Here we go again! ...yet, another shrimp dish...my bag of shrimp goes a long way!  This one is with fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh mints, laced with a 1/2 cup Ouzo...all I can say is, OPA!

 Shrimp with Tomatoes, Feta, and Ouzo

1 1/2 lbs large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails on
10 plum tomatoes diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
a pinch of snipped fresh mint (or dry)
a pinch of snipped fresh oregano (or dry)
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 lb Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup Ouzo (Greek liquor)

In a large heavy skillet, over medium high  heat, saute onions, garlic, pepper flakes, (the dry herbs) in the olive oil, and butter, till onion is nicely transparent. Add the shrimp to it and saute only, until they turn pink.. Now, add the ouzo, and let the alcohol cook down, for just less than a minute. (Don't ignite it, unless you have experience.)
Remove shrimp to a platter, and keep on the side. Add the tomatoes, the tomato sauce and cook for about 15-20 minutes, till it gets nicely thick, but tomatoes not overcooked to a mush. Season with salt, and pepper, and add the fresh herbs, now, at the end of cooking. (Actually, you can use fresh, and dry, together, but dry has to be added in he beginning.)
Add the shrimp back into the skillet, gently mix it together, and sprinkle with the feta. Put under the  broiler, till the cheese melts, and sauce gets bubbly for about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the cheese. Serve over spaghetti, or just by itself, with nice crusty bread, and a mixed salad. Serves 4.
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