Monday, April 6, 2020

Michael's Pasta with Meat Sauce Part 2

Of course, we had leftovers from our meal on Saturday night, Michael's Pasta with Meat Sauce.
As soon as I realized there would be leftovers I knew what I was going to make. Baked Macaroni with 3 kinds of cheese.  Ricotta, Parmesan, and Mozzarella.

I tossed the leftover pasta with the 3 kinds of cheese, even used the same pan and topped the pasta with some breadcrumbs, parsley, and more Parmesan. Into a 400˚ oven for 20 minutes and dinner was ready.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday Dinner...

Well. Here we are.
Watching Palm Sunday Mass on YouTube.
Eating dinner like it was any other Sunday.
I did do a quick, socially distanced Meat Pie drop off at my Sister's and my Brother's. My sister gave me 2 homemade facemasks in exchange for the Meat Pie. Usually, we have dinner at my Sister's house with my brother and his wife. I decided to make one of my favorite Springtime dishes,  heck any time of the year I can find them, Stuffed Artichokes. I love the recipe I use, It tastes the closest to my Mom's recipe that I have found. Thank you FoodBlogga for sharing this one.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Michael's Pasta with Meat Sauce.

During this quarantine, Chris and I have started watching daily videos posted by Chef Symon. I first heard of him from the show The Chew. I actually made a recipe of his from the first episode.
We had his Mac and "Cheese" the past 2 nights for dinner. Tonight we made his Meat Sauce.
I have to admit his technique was very different from what I learned from my Mom. But I will try anything once.
What an amazing sauce we ended up with. Okay not breaking up the meat first is a good idea. Adding the onions after the meat is browned seemed to work too. Chris loved this sauce.
We also had it with homemade bread, always a nice addition. Click Here for Recipe!

Mom's Pizzagaina and Some Bread

I did not make my Mom's Meat Pies last Easter. I was to busy or whatever but I had to make them this year. I did not double her recipe and I still ended up with 3 regular pies and one small pie.
Again I used the Pate Brisee recipe and added Black Pepper. This crust never fails me.

Pate Brisee - (this recipe is for 2 pies, top, and bottom crusts)
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
22 Tbsp sweet butter, chilled

12 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1 cup of ice water

Sift the flour, salt, and pepper together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture is like a coarse meal.
Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
Turn dough out onto your work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Eleanor Lombardi's Pizzagaina
2 pounds baked ham, diced
1 pound pepperoni, skinned, diced and boiled, drained (boiling removes excess grease)
1 pound sweet sausage, fully cooked, drained
1 pound basket cheese, diced

Mix all ingredients. Roll out a quarter of the dough. Place the crust in a pie dish. Use a pie dish with handles if you have one. You will want to check the bottom of the pie to see if it is browned. Add half of the meat and cheese mixture to the dish. Break and mix 3 eggs (each pie requires 3 eggs) and pour over the top of the meat. Roll out another quarter of the dough. Place on top of the meat. Crimp edges. Cut 3 slits in crust. Bake 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. (I baked mine for an hour and 15 minutes). Repeat this for the second pie.
With the meat recipe, you may end up with enough for more than the two pies. Let just say it is one of those Easter miracles. I usually make enough dough for 6 pies just in case.  The crust recipe above is only for 2 pies. I prefer to make the crust in small batches. Making enough for 6 pies at once is more than my kitchen or I can handle.  The crust can go in the freezer so it is "like money in the bank."

When the pies are in the oven keep an eye on overflow. The egg might spill out the slits. It may be a good idea to put some foil under the pie dishes on the lower rack. As long as the egg does not spill over your house will smell amazing.

The bread was my go-to recipe for Italian Bread. The dough is amazing to work with and the Crust and the crumb are always perfect.
Interestingly I got a text from my nephew today asking if I had my mom or my Aunt Marie's Spinach Bread recipe. Sadly I did not but I think this dough would probably work. 
The recipe is from Noshtalgia. The recipe is called No-Knead French Bread but we use it as Italian bread. I let the dough rise longer than the recipe calls for. That is usually, because I have other things going on than just making the bread. The dough is beautiful to work with. Click here for the original recipe.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stuffed Shell with Meatballs

Wow! What a nice dinner. I just boiled the shells and added the filling. The filling was ricotta, egg, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. I had the meatballs and sauce in the freezer. There were 2 shells left which will be my lunch tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Black Bean Soup

This is a go to recipe for me. I found it in a magazine ad when we were first married. We also had some of Rocco's Loaded Steak Stuffed bread. Nice.

Black Bean Soup

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cans (15 oz.) Black Beans (drain liquid from 1 can)
Black pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and pepper in hot oil for five minutes.
Stir in cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Puree one can of beans (the can that was not drained) add to the pot. Add remaining can of beans, the can that was drained. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add black pepper to taste.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Parmesan Risotto

Tonight I had my first Vodka Gimlet since this whole virus situation started.  Both Chris and I are still going to work every day so we are not experiencing the #stayhome way of life. We get up, go to work, come home and hunker down.

Grocery shopping has taken on a new life. If the parking lot is not crowded I will go in. Twice this week I have pulled into Bishop's Market and did not stop because I know the size of the store and there were too many cars in the lot to be sure there would be a 6 ft social distance between other shoppers. Crazy times! Next week I will order my produce online from Bishops and sit in the pick-up line.
Tonight for dinner I made what has to be my favorite Saturday night dinner. Breaded Pork Chops. I pan fry them and finish them in the oven. Always moist!

But the star tonight was the Parmesan Risotto. The recipe is from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook. Spot On Risotto.

2 1/2 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion chopped or 2 shallots chopped
salt and pepper
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Bring water and broth to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove heat, cover and keep warm. 
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until grains are translucent around edges, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups reserved warm broth. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed about 12 minutes.
Stir 1/2 cup reserved warm broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat with additional broth 2 or 3 times, until rice is al dente, you may have broth leftover. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and parmesan.

Friday, March 27, 2020

A Friday Night in Lent

No mass on Sunday, now including Easter Sunday, but it is still Lent. And that means No Meat on Fridays. Chris suggested the same thing we had last Friday night for dinner. And Eggplant Pie from Roccos off Wooster. Perfect.  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pastine in Chicken Broth

We can all use a little comfort right about now. When I was little one thing my Mom would make for me was Pastine in Chicken Broth. Actually, she also made Pastine in milk with butter. That will be another post at another time.

I made the soup when I got home from work and we heated up some "Loaded" Steak Stuffed Bread From Roccos off of Wooster. It was so damn good!

Pastine in Chicken Broth
4 cups homemade or store-bought chicken broth.
1 2-inch piece of Parmesan cheese rind
1/2 box pastina pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt to taste

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth and Parmesan rind to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the tiny pastina and cook until the pasta is tender for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the Parmesan rind and discard.
Stir in 1/2 of the cheese.
Season with sea salt to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, if desired.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Rye Bread

I started this bread last night in the midst of the Friday Night Baking Event. This is too easy not to make. Just mix the ingredients and let it rise for 18 hours. The recipe is from the Jim Lahey book, My Bread. The week we will be having Corned Beef and Cabbage so this bread seemed to be the perfect match.

Like I said it is simple -
Mix together in a large bowl -
300 grams Bread Flour
100 grams Rye Flour
8 grams Table Salt
2 grams Dry Yeast

Next, add -
300 grams cool Water (55˚ to 60˚)

Stir using a wooden spoon until you have a wet sticky dough, about 30 seconds.
Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. The dough should double in size and the surface will be dotted with bubbles.

Generously dust a work surface (a wooden or plastic cutting board is fine) with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough onto the board in one piece. Use lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula to lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

This is where I differ from the "recipe". I shape the dough into a boule and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, making an indentation about 1/4 inch deep, it should hold the impression. If it doesn't, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third position, and place a covered 4 1/2–5 1/2 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Very carefully place the dough seam side up into the pot. (Use caution—the pot will be very hot.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly. Don't slice or tear into it until it has cooled, which usually takes at least an hour.