Thank You Ina

How not to overcook anything. Just the facts. From Ina Garten. Great article on Yahoo Lifestyle. Click here for the whole article.

Baking

For baking, the tests are fairly straightforward and the same for almost all cakes. First, lightly press the rounded top of the cake. Does your finger make a mark or does the cake bounce back? If it bounces back, it’s probably done. Next, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two attached, the cake is done. If you’re testing a cake that has ingredients like chocolate in the batter, you should test the cake in several places; if you hit a puddle of molten chocolate your skewer might come out wet even when the cake is done.

Meat

Testing meat is a little more complicated because its temperature will continue to rise during the resting period, as much as 5 to 10 degrees, depending on the size of the piece of meat. (Larger roasts like standing rib roasts hold more heat and will continue to cook longer.) To make sure the meat doesn’t go past the target temperature after it rests, you need to take it out of the oven (or off the grill) a little before it’s done. That’s why in my recipes the recommended internal temperatures indicate the temperature you want before the meat rests under foil. 
It’s important to note that guidelines for cooking meat have changed in recent years. At one-time people were afraid that rare or undercooked meat might carry diseases, particularly pork, which was associated with trichinosis. To ensure safety it had to be cooked to 180°F, which resulted in overcooked, dry meat. Now that trichinosis is no longer a danger, I cook pork to 137 or 140°F and it comes out rosy, moist, and delicious.
Beef: 125 to 130°F for medium rare
Chicken: 140 to 145°F for chicken breasts / 155 to 160°F for thighs or whole chickens
Pork: 137 to 140°F for medium rare
Lamb: 125°F for medium rare
Duck: 120°F for rare

Seafood

Seafood is generally judged for doneness by a visual test. Cooked fish will flake easily with a fork when it’s done, and shrimp will be just firm and pink. The exception is lobster, which should reach 140°F when tested in the tail with an instant-read thermometer.

New Year, New Pizza Pan


For Christmas, I received a T-Fal Air Bake Pizza Pan. It has holes in the bottom. The pizza looked just like a takeout pizza. I did not use my usual crust recipe. I used the recipe from How to Bake Everything by Mark Bittman. I love Mark Bittman but I prefer the Jim Lahey pizza crust recipe.


The toppings were what made this an over the top delicious pie. I used up things leftover from the holidays. Salami, Proscuitto, Bacon, and Vegan Pepperoni from the Three Vegan Girls Creamery.
Wow! What a combination. The picture above is of the first 3 slices I ate. Yes, I went back for seconds!

Beef Wellington

Happy New Year!

I can scratch another meal off of my bucket list. Beef Wellington. Or as I am now referring to it - what we are having for dinner next Christmas Day. The recipe can be found on the Delish site. Click here for the recipe and video.

Was it a difficult recipe? No. Was it labor intensive? A little but nothing over the top.
I have watched enough episodes of Hell's Kitchen to know what mistakes could be made.


I prepped by watching videos and reading different recipes. I found the recipe I was comfortable with, made some adjustments and went with it. The results were an amazing dinner. Meat you could cut with a fork. And it looked picture perfect.

Beef Wellington, My Way

Ingredients-
1.5 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for greasing
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
shallot, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
thin slices prosciutto
Flour, for dusting
14 oz. frozen puff pastry, thawed
large egg, beaten
Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Method -
Using kitchen twine, tie tenderloin in 4 places. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Over high heat, coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Once the pan is nearly smoking, sear the
tenderloin until well-browned on all sides, including the ends, about 2 minutes per side (12 minutes
total). Transfer to a plate. When cool enough to handle, snip off twine and coat all sides with mustard.
Let cool in the fridge.



To skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add red onion, white onion, and shallots cook until
Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping so that it’s twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on the plastic wrap into a rectangle that’s big enough to cover the
whole tenderloin. Spread the sauteed onions evenly and thinly over the prosciutto.



Season tenderloin, then place it at the bottom of the prosciutto. Roll meat into prosciutto-onion
mixture, using plastic wrap to roll tightly. Tuck ends of prosciutto as you roll, then twist ends of plasticwrap tightly into a log and transfer to the fridge to chill (this helps it maintain its shape).



Heat oven to 425°. Lightly flour your work surface, then spread out puff pastry and roll it into a
rectangle that will cover the tenderloin (just a little bigger than the prosciutto rectangle you just
made!). Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and place on bottom of puff pastry. Brush the other
three edges of the pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll beef into pastry.

Once the log is fully covered in puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp edges with a fork to seal
well. Wrap roll in plastic wrap to get a really tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap, then transfer roll to a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle
with flaky salt.


Bake until pastry is golden and the center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.

I sit here tonight having one more glass of wine and eating what I swear will be the last Christmas cookie of 2018. 2018 has been an amazing year. I found a new job working for a really amazingly nice guy. Both Chris and I are in good health. The cats are as good as cats can be. Bring on 2019.








Steak Pizzaiola


Yes, I think I have a food blog! Where the hell have I been?  Lots going on and unfortunately, this blog has not been a priority.


Anyway, tonight I picked up a Steak from Ferraro's. The butcher said it would be perfect for Steak Pizzaiola. He was right!



I sauteed onions in olive oil. Then I added the steak and seared it on both sides. Next, I added the tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes. Seasoned the pan with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and added a splash of red wine. I covered the pan and simmered the sauce for about 10 minutes. The meat was cooked perfectly and the sauce was amazing! 



Roasted Sausage, Potato, Shallots and Bread

Today was not Black Friday at our house. It was Flour and Sugar Friday. I mixed and froze cookie dough for 6 cookies. There are 2 more that need to be made. I will bake the cookies probably the weekend of the 15th. Needless to say I needed a hands free dinner for tonight. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. And there were no leftovers so I guess it was a hit! This was a twist on a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I think Chris was glad I did not add the Arugula!

I cut potatoes and shallots. I put them on a baking sheet and tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I roasted them at 425˚ for 10 minutes. Then I added sausage links, brushed with olive oil, and some cubed ciabiatta bread. The pan went back into the oven for 25 minutes. I adjusted the salt and pepper and it went directly on the table where it quickly disappeared!!

Fresh Market Chicken Pot Pie

This was the best Chicken Pot Pie I have had in a long time. It has been a while since I have made one of my own but damn this was so good! It may have been that it had the top and bottom crust that gave it the over the top taste. Next time I will try it on my recipe. This was not bad at all for a store made meal.

Mom's Baked Macaroni




The best. Just the best Baked Macaroni recipe ever!

The recipe -
Boil 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
Grease Pyrex loaf pan.
Alternate layers of macaroni and American cheese starting with the macaroni.
Break 3 eggs and pour over macaroni. Fill baking dish with milk to almost cover macaroni.
Top with bread crumbs, and parsley. Bake 350 degrees until set, usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Honestly that is the way the recipe was given to me.
It is pretty forgiving. Just boil macaroni and add cheese. I have used what ever cheese I have in the house. Mom used American. It is a good basic recipe you can build to fit your taste.

Steak Marinara

On a Tuesday night!! Yes! This is an under 30-minute meal. Delicious! I found the recipe on the All Recipes site. Rave reviews from the chorus. And easy as pie.

Your cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steaks. Serve with noodles and a nice bottle of red wine.

Steak Marinara

Ingredients-
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 top sirloin steaks, not too thick
1 1/2 cup chunky pasta sauce
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper

Method-
Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the steak, turning so that all sides get browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, red wine. Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes, or until the steak is cooked through.



Classic Osso Buco

Yesterday I was out shopping with my sister and on the way home, we stopped at Ferrarro's Meat Market. I was hoping to pick up sandwich steaks for tonight's dinner. What I got instead was Osso Buco. Wow! What a fantastic dinner! I found an easy recipe on the Cooking with Nonna site. So good!

Classic Osso Buco from Rossella’s Cooking with Nonna.

Ingredients-
4 veal shank steaks approx 1 inch thick
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
3 carrots diced
2 potatoes diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion diced
3 bay leaves
all-purpose flour for dredging meat
salt and pepper


Method-
Preheat oven to 350˚F
Dredge shanks lightly with flour and fry in olive oil until browned on both sides, place in a roasting pan.
Saute all veggies in the same pan until slightly soft approx 8 minutes.
Add sauce and wine and cook an additional 5 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour veggies over veal shanks in roasting pan and add the bay leaves.
Cover and place in oven for approx. 1 hour.
Remove cover and roast for 25 minutes.
The osso buco should be fork tender with a thick sauce and tender veggies.

I made Roasted Brussel Spouts and Aborio Rice as sides. Perfect dinner!

For breakfast, I made Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones. Loved these!! I have been looking for Cinnamon Chips at every local store I go into. I can never find them. Until I checked Amazon. Yup. Found them!

I was going to make just Cinnamon Chip Scones but then I noticed the apples on the counter. What happened next resulted in the best scones I have ever made.

Brown Sugar Apple and Cinnamon Chip Scones

Ingredients-
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda, sieved
0.5 tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 c diced apple
1c cinnamon chips (see note)
1 egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c buttermilk
raw sugar for dusting

Method-
Combine the flour, baking powder, and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Stir in diced apple. Combine the egg yolk, the vanilla, and the buttermilk; stir this into the dry ingredients until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flowered surface and knead for 6-10 turns. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a 6-7 inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Brush each circle with lightly beaten egg white, dust it with sugar and transfer the wedges to an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack; after 5 minutes, cover loosely with a dish towel until completely cool.