Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Years And Making Stock

Is 2016 finally over? I decided to end the year by getting ready for next year. I ordered 2 fowls from Ferraro'ss Market. I made two pots of Chicken Stock, using my sister's recipe. I ended up with 32 cups of stock in the freezer. Bring on 2017!
Our New Year's dinner was a slow cooker recipe. Yeah one of us had some work to do today so a hands-off recipe was required. Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Pasta from Bon Appetit. I had this idea of making pasta but when I was at the store I remembered the reason why I opted for a slow cooker meal.  When I got home I asked Chris to pick the pasta he wanted. Thankfully he picked the Rigatoni!

Happy New Years!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sticky Sesame Chicken

Whoa. This is a good as take-out! The post that I found this on, Creme de la Creme said it was even better than take-out. Well with take-out there are no dishes so...  But we did love it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Stuffed Calamari and Pasta

Yeah! Dinner at my sister's house. She has really good leftovers. We had pasta with leftover Stuffed Calamari. Can life get any better than this? Did I mention that it was homemade pasta?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas! A fairly easy feast this year. I was off on Friday and Saturday so prepping for dinner was not rushed situation. It was relaxed and rather enjoyable.

It was just 4 of us for dinner. Drinks were enjoyed with some rather tasty appetizers.
We started off with this Rosemary, Olives, and Mozzarella Wreath. Really pretty and really easy. I found this on Pinterest.

I was so happy when I re-found this recipe. Oven Baked Spinach and Rice Arancini. I made these for book club once and for the life of me I could not find the darn recipe.  I made this batch with Aborio Rice that I was planning on using for regular fried Arancini. This was a healthier and lighter appetizer. The sauce, of course, Marcella Hazan's Tomato, Onion and Butter Sauce.

This Bruschetta was a new recipe. I found it on SaveurCavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta. Another light and packed with flavor appetizer.

As any regular reader of this blog knows, this is my FAVORITE thing in the world. My sister's Cappelletti in her amazing Chicken broth. So damn good.

But as it is Christmas we had a Christmas roast. This year I opted for the same roast and recipe as last year. This year it was cooked perfectly. And for the first time,  I think ever, I finished my whole slice of meat that was on my plate!
The recipe was from the Fresh Market site. Herb Crusted New York Strip Roast. I purchased the roast at Robert's. Why break with tradition? It was melt in your mouth good. I was very proud of how this turned out.

Another Christmas tradition, Thyme Popovers. I like making extra to freeze!

Another new entry for a potato dish. Loved this one. Healthy Potato Gratin with Herbs. No dairy, just chicken stock, thyme and rosemary.

I had to have something green on the table. My choice was Broccolini and Peas. It had seared lemons on top but they were really not necessary.

Merry Christmas to all. Peace and Love.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Twas The Night Before Christmas

And there was a lot of fish in the house. I am not even going to try to capture in words what this meal was like. If you have seen any of my previous Christmas Eve posts you know this is my favorite meal of the year.  Once again Lenore and Ralph blew us away with the dishes and the flavors and the wine. Enjoy the photos.

 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Steak Pizzaiola on Ciabatta

I love Steak Pizzaiola. I should say that I loved my Mom's Steak Pizzaiola. I have been trying forever to replicate her recipe. I have given up. But tonight we found a recipe that could find its way onto our table in place of the endless search for her recipe. Steak Pizzaiola on Ciabatta from Cooking Light. Only 379 calories per serving!

It was so easy and quick to put together. I had spent most of the afternoon doing prep work of Sunday's Christmas Dinner and this was a breeze to prepare. And rave reviews were coming in throughout the entire meal.

1 pound boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 (28-ounce) can unsalted whole tomatoes, undrained
4 (1-inch-thick) slices ciabatta bread (about 5 ounces)
2 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

Preheat broiler to high.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Combine steak and 1 teaspoon oil in a large bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add steak to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove steak from pan.
Reduce heat to medium-high. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Add oregano, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes, mashing tomato mixture with a potato masher. Return steak to pan, and toss to coat.

Place bread on a baking sheet; broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Spoon tomato mixture evenly over bread slices; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Sprinkle with basil.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Potatoes, Onions, and Hot Dogs

One of my favorite food blogs is What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine. About a week ago there was a post that looked like a meal I had when I was little.  I reminded me of my grandmother's house on Morse Street in Hamden. I had a meal like this either at my Grandparent's apartment or at my Aunt Marie's apartment, she lived upstairs from my Grandparents. When I saw the blog post I knew I had to make this for dinner. Tonight we had Potatoes, Onions, and Hot Dogs. This is true comfort food. Simple ingredients but the flavors were perfect together. So simple and so delicious.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

White Castle Burgers - Homemade

Have you ever had a White Castle Hamburger? I finally tried one in October. Let me just say I am not a raw onion fan. Chris liked the burger so when I saw a video on Facebook showing how to make White Castle Hamburgers at home I had to try it. Chris was very excited about this dinner. First thought was I would try sauteing the onions. Chris wanted raw onion but suggested I chop them up finer than what the video showed. So half the pan had sauteed onions and other half had raw. The mixture for the meat was 1 pound of ground beef mixed with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Of course, I did not use a whole teaspoon of salt. 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and 2 eggs. All the ingredients were mixed together and placed on top of the onions. Next, you take 2 straws and poke holes in the meat. You can probably use just one straw but I tried to follow the video. The pan goes into a 400˚ oven for 20 minutes. The house smelled amazing. After 20 minutes you place sliced cheese on top of the meat and it goes back in the oven for 2 minutes.

Not bad at all. Quite good actually. I did like the sauteed onions and Chris was happy with the raw onions. I am sure the any die-hard White Castle fans would enjoy these burgers. But of course, I had to bring the dinner up a notch. Homemade Brioche Rolls. Not easy making square rolls but I did a passable job.

The recipe was from the New York Times.

Light  Brioche Rolls

1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Strawberry and Fig Jam

Today was the 4 year anniversary of my Dad's passing. This morning we had a mass said for him at St. Lawrence Church in West Haven. After mass, a friend of our family came up to my sister and I and said she had something for us. It was 3 jars of jam that a fellow parishioner had made using the figs from the fig tree my Dad had planted in the Church yard. It was such a sweet thing. The jam was delicious. It's nice to know my Dad's gardening is still bringing people joy.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Homemade Pasta with Chorizo Sauce

Homemade pasta + homemade sauce + homemade bread = Delicious!

The pasta recipe is from Tide and Thyme. Once you find a recipe that works for you stick with it. I love this recipe. I have tried others but this is still my favorite.

Homemade Pasta-
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
1½ cups semolina flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon water, plus more as needed

Combine the flours and salt in a bowl or on a work surface, creating a well in the center.  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using a mixer or by hand, slowly mix, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture a little bit at a time.  Once you have a dry, shaggy dough, mix in the olive oil and water and knead by hand until the dough is fairly smooth and homogeneous.  Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes.  At this point, proceed with thinning and cutting as desired, depending on equipment available.

To cook, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until al dente.  Drain well and serve immediately.
The sauce, well do you have to ask? Marcella Hazan's Tomato, Onion, and Butter Sauce. I sauteed some chopped up Chorizo Sausage and added it to the sauce after I blended the sauce. I hate the idea of throwing out the onions. The sauce was perfect. Just enough spice to make you want one more bite.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter-
2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste

Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.
Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
Taste and correct for salt. Before tossing with pasta, you may remove the onion (as Hazan recommended) and save for another use, but many opt to leave it in. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for the table. 

The bread was in the freezer from my Monday vacation day when we had a little snow and I baked four loaves of bread. Okay, I really like carbs! The recipe is from Noshtalgia. I have not made this recipe in a while, not sure why.  It is a perfect bread, the no-knead variety.
No Knead French Bread
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. soft shortening
4 c. sifted all purpose flour

Measure flour into a bowl, add water, then yeast. Let yeast dissolve thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let set 10 minutes, then cut through dough with a wooden spoon. Do this 5 times at 10-minute intervals. Turn dough out onto a floured board and divide in half. Let rest for 10 minutes, then roll each ball into a loaf. Make several diagonal slashes across each loaf. Let rise double. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Roasted Sausage and Peppers

This was such a delicious dinner. Chris kept asking where the sauce was from. It was crazy easy to make. I worked from home today. At lunch I prepped the meat and veggies and around 2:00 I popped it in the oven.

The peppers and onions were sliced as was the sausage. Those ingredients went into a roasting pan and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. I opened a can of crushed tomatoes and mixed that into the sausage, peppers and onions. The oven was preheated to 375˚. Roasted for 20 minutes. Stirred the ingredients in the pan and back in for another 20 minutes. Covered the pan with foil. Back in the oven for 20 minutes. Then another 20 minutes uncovered again.

It was delicious. We ate almost a half loaf of Italian bread. The bread and a couple glasses of wine made this a perfect meal for the end of a long work week.

Looking forward to the weekend!