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The Knead for Bread

21 Feb

I like to have a goal and about 3 years ago I decided that my cooking goal was going to be to learn how to make bread. Needless to say I did not accomplish that goal, until the other day! Yup, it took 3 years.

IMG_0126And guess what? It was so much easier than I thought it would be and it was good, really good! Of course I started out with a very simple recipe with just 5 ingredients, couldn’t jump in with something crazy like sour dough or rye.

If you haven’t tried it yet yourself thinking it would be a long process of kneading and rising, this is the recipe for you. Give it a whirl and I’m betting you’ll impress yourself and your family just like I did!

Thank you to The Sparrow’s Home for the recipe! One Hour Breadyeh5k7hBRnW7AVC7XeiCdwIngredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water

 

1 Tbs honey

1 Tbs active dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 1/2 cups to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flourIMG_0124.jpgDirections:

  1. Combine water, honey and yeast in a mixing bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt into the mixing bowl with the liquids.Using a dough hook on your stand mixer start slowly mixing the ingredients together, adding the additional flour slowly until the dough is not sticky to the touch, this should take about 5 minutes. *I used my hands to mix the dough, didn’t feel like getting out the mixer and it worked just fine, soooo you don’t have to have a mixer to make this.
  3. Scoop the dough out onto a baking sheet or baking stone, form into a long loaf. Cover the loaf with a clean towel and let sit for 20 minutes while you let the oven preheat to 400 degrees.
  4. Using a sharp knife cut slits across the top of the loaf. I also added some freshly chopped rosemary for a little flavor and prettiness. You can also brush the top with melted butter either before baking or after for added flavor too.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice and enjoy! It was so good warm and it was still good the next day, moist and delicious. TMe6Ed9BSrKgbAm7csgNlw

Peace and good eats!

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Open Sesame…Noodles that is!

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day! This post has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day other than that’s when I’m writing it. Although now that I think about it, I will dedicate it to livestock animals, as this post is a recipe for a vegan dish.

Asian food is a favorite of mine and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to recreate what I have eaten in restaurants…restaurants in China. Yes, I have been to Shanghi, China many years ago when I was working in the world of fashion. Truth be told I was terrified to go and not for the reasons one might think (there was no Corona Virus scare then either). It wasn’t fear of going thousands of miles away to a strange country by myself, it was a fear of starving. My co-workers had told me horrid stories of the food and how bad it was. I was told about monkey brains, snake and the like.

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Well, I didn’t see any monkey brains on the menu but I did see snake, duck tongue and noodles. Oh yes, the noodles that were oh so good! And everything I ate was delicious, I most certainly did not starve.

This is a quick recipe that tastes great and easy to make. You can add* protein to make it more a of complete meal or serve it as a side dish, either way it is sure to please. Another great thing about this dish is that it can be served warm or cold. I like mine room temperature.

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Ingredients:

1 lb noodles **see note

1/2 cup scallions or green onions, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

1 tbs sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

1/4 cup light soy sauce or tamari

2 tbs rice vinegar

2 tbs sesame oil

2 tsp freshly grated ginger or 1 tsp powdered

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbs peanut butter

1 tbs light brown sugar

2 tsp sriracha  or chili paste (more or less to your taste)

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, julienned

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain when done cooking and rinse with cold water briefly to keep them from sticking together.
  2. While the noodles are cooking place the remainder of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl except the cucumbers and red peppers. Mix well with whisk.
  3. Once the noodles are drained, toss with sauce mixture until well coated.
  4. Serve with red peppers, cucumbers; sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

Serves 4 as main dish, 6 as side dish.

*Add-ins can be shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, edamame, tofu, shredded chicken, etc.

**You can use just about any type of noodle: egg noodles, spaghetti, rice noodles or ramen.

Peace and good eats!

Rustic Stuffing with Mushrooms and Leeks

1 Dec

Stuffing (or dressing, as it is not cooked in the turkey) is always a favorite at holiday meals and as much as I love traditional, I’m always on the lookout for something new.  Well, for Thanksgiving I made this version that I found in the Williams-Sonoma catalog and it is definitely a keeper. I always love getting that catalog, especially for the holidays, it is so beautiful and I’ve found several recipes over the years that have become favorites. This recipe is great not just because it is delicious, but it is also vegan.

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Now, the recipe calls for wild mushrooms, I used button mushrooms and baby portobellos, that’s what my grocery store had and with everything else I had to get done I didn’t feel like driving around to find wild mushrooms…I’m sure you can relate. And one other thing, I forgot to take a photo of my final product so the image is from Williams-Sonoma…oops!

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter for greasing (I used plant based)

1 large loaf rustic country bread, cubed (about 9 cups)

7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary

1 1/2 lb. mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large leeks, thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and the rosemary. Toss to coat the bread evenly with the oil. Spread the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until dry and firm but not browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour (the amount of time will vary depending on the type of bread and how fresh it is). Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the bread cool to room temperature.

3. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.

4. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and salt to taste and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

5. In the same sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the leeks, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste and sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the leek-onion mixture to a very large bowl. Add the bread cubes and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the stock 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed into the bread cubes and does not pool in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a bread cube, it should be moist throughout but not mushy. You may not need all of the stock. Fold in the mushrooms.

6. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with a buttered sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes more. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Peace and good eats!

 

“Jersey” Panzanella Salad

30 Sep

Why Jersey Panzanella? Because Jersey tomatoes are the best! We had such a great season this summer. I planted one red and one yellow heirloom pant; we are still getting tomatoes and tomorrow is October 1st! We were getting so many and in my search to make something new I came across an Insta post from my friend and fellow blogger Stacey Snacks (no, she is not the pita chip lady) of a beautiful panzanella salad. Perfect for a light dinner on a hot, summer night.

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And just to let you in on a little something, I don’t like tomatoes. I like tomato soup, ketchup and pasta sauce but not tomatoes. I only eat tomatoes, raw, in the summer that are grown here in New Jersey. And I happen to know that the chef at our favorite restaurant is the same way.

Now I know that you are supposed to use stale bread, but I wasn’t anticipating making this so I didn’t happen to have a stale loaf of bread around. I bought a nice loaf of rustic Italian bread from a local Italian bakery, cubed it and toasted it in the oven…it was perfect! As with many of my recipes, I searched several and then use what I like from two or three to get the recipe that I will like and here it is, simple and delicious!

Ingredients

1 Small loaf of Italian bread, cubed

1 Small red onion, thinly sliced

3 Medium tomatoes, diced

1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 Clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbs Red wine vinegar

1/3 Cup Olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp Freshly ground pepper

Several leaves of fresh basil, torn into pieces and a few left whole for garnish.

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cubes of bread on a baking sheet, bake for about 5 minutes and then toss and bake for another 5 minutes or so to make sure they are evenly toasted. I like them very crispy so they don’t get too soggy.

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For the onions, slice thinly and soak the slices in water with a teaspoon of vinegar for at least 30 minutes, this will ensure they are not too strong.

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In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, toasted bread cubes and basil.

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Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mined garlic, dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper to make the dressing.

Pour the olive oil dressing over the vegetables and bread, stir to combine and coat well. You may want to adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves.

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Peace and good eats!

Savory Summer Tart

17 Jul

I’m always looking for a new recipes that use artichokes, I just love them. I found this recipe on Pinterest for a Spinach, Artichoke and Caramelized Leek Tart, I prefer my name, it’s shorter and easier to say. We were going to our friends for dinner, so I made it but didn’t bake it, covered it with foil and off we went. I popped into the oven when we got there, served it up and there wasn’t a crumb to be found. Everyone agreed it’s a keeper!

There is a real depth of flavor between the sun-dried tomato spread, the caramelized leeks, artichokes and spinach that you get in every bite. It is a delicious appetizer that you can make ahead and pop in the oven when your guests arrive that will be ready in just 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Tart:

1 Tbs butter

2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only)

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry

4-5 cups fresh spinach

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

Kosher or Sea salt

Ground pepper

Water

1 Sheet of puff pastry, thawed but still cold

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sun-dried tomato spread

Ingredients for Sun-dried Tomato Spread

1 Tbs olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

1 1/2 Tbs tomato paste

1/4 red wine vinegar or red wine

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Heat butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and stir to coat with butter. Allow the leeks to sweat for about 8 minutes and the turn the heat up to medium. Allow the leeks to slowly caramelize, stirring frequently. As a brown glaze forms on the bottom of the pan add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water at a time, stir to incorporate the glaze back into the leeks. Once they are nicely caramelized (about 10 to 15 minutes), add the garlic, artichoke hearts and thyme. Cook for another 3 minutes, add the spinach. Cook until spinach is nicely wilted, season with a bit of salt and pepper. Turn off and set aside.

To make the Sun-dried Tomato Spread:

3. Add 1 Tbs olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Sauté  the onion, stirring occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer mixture to food processor. Add red wine vinegar, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

4. Roll out the puff pastry until it is approximately 11 x 15 inches. Place the dough on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll the edges slightly and crimp. Spoon the sun-dried tomato mixture over the puff pastry evenly. Place the artichoke, leek, spinach mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.

5. Bake the tart for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges are golden and firm.

Let sit for about 10 minutes to set until serving…peace and good eats!

 

 

 

 

Potato Salad, Blue Cheese Style!

27 Jun

With the 4th of July coming up next week, here is great twist on classic potato salad, the addition of blue cheese. I know not everyone loves blue cheese but for those of us that do, this is a real winner! Just as easy as the old stand by but with great flavor. Make sure you use a good quality blue cheese. And for the peas, I like to use fresh, but you can use frozen if you need to.

This potato salad goes particularly well with grilled steak and bbq chicken. It’s a family favorite at all of our summer get togethers. And for those who don’t care for blue cheese it’s easy to cook some extra potatoes and make the old classic; two are better than one.

Ingredients:

3 lbs new potatoes (I like to use the fingerling potatoes that come in the different colors)

1 1/2 cup peas

1 cup blue cheese

1/2 cup chopped scallions or green onions

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut potatoes into small chunks, boil in a large pot of water until desired tenderness. Add peas to boiling potatoes for the last 2 or 3 minutes then drain in colander and rinse with cold water.

Mix the blue cheese, mayo, sour cream, scallions, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add potato and peas to wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Sprinkle some chopped scallions on top and it’s ready to serve!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

Artichoke Tapenade…that Ain’t no Choke!

13 Feb

In my last post I wrote about cookbooks and mentioned David Lebovitz, well this recipe is from his cookbook My Paris Kitchen. As I was reading it (yes, reading a cookbook) I saw this recipe for an Artichoke Tapenade with Rosemary Oil, there are few things that I enjoy more than a good artichoke dish. I don’t like rosemary oil though, so I used regular olive oil. This is my new favorite, easy to make and delicious!

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Ingredients

14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1/3 cup olive oil + more for drizzle

1 Tbs capers, rinsed and squeezed dry

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt or kosher salt

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the artichoke hearts, olives, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, garlic and cayenne pepper until smooth. Taste, and season with a bit of salt if necessary. (I did not add any salt, the olives and capers did the trick.)

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Serve drizzled with olive oil or rosemary oil if you prefer, along with toasted baguette, crackers, toasted pita or flat breads for dipping.

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Serves 6 to 8. Will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

 

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