Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bagel Dough, Bread Dough, Cookie Dough

To quote Homer Simpson, "Doh!" Sorry I had to do that. Today was a perfect day for me. I baked most of the day. Besides the Bagel Dough, Bread Dough, Cookie Dough, I also mixed Pie Crust Dough and Pizza Dough for tomorrow.

The bread dough was my usual Italian Bread recipe for 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.

The cookie recipe was a nice surprise.  I was flipping through a cookbook, The Silver Palate Cookbook, which is where the Pate Brise recipe can be found. Inside one of the pages was tucked a handwritten recipe of my Mom's. The Ice Tray Cookies. I have made these before and the recipe is already on the blog but I was thinking of making cookies so the timing was perfect. I cut the recipe in half so maybe by next weekend they will be gone and I can try another cookie recipe.

I tweaked the recipe a bit. I used 1/4 cup of chocolate shots. I forgot to pick up nuts at the store this week. Also, when the cookies were in the pan I sprinkled them with a little Raw or Turbinado Sugar and a little Fine Sea Salt.

1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup nuts
3/4 vegetable oil
1/1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Turbinado Sugar
Fine Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat eggs, add sugar, oil, flour, vanilla, and nuts. Grease ice cube trays.

Fill 1/2 full, and 
sprinkle the top of the cookies with Turbinado Sugar and Fine Sea Salt. 
Bake for 30 mins.

Slice on an angle when cooled. 
Bake again for 10 minutes or until toasted on top.

On to the Bagels. A girl I work with asked me this week if I ever made Bagels. She sent me this recipe and OMG it is amazing. No yeast. No boiling. Just easy bake Bagels. The recipe has suggestions of all sorts of toppings, but I am a plain bagel person. 
I made this tonight and I will report back on the taste tomorrow. Here is the link to the original recipe. They can also be made in an Air Fryer. Maybe if I get one for Christmas...

Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar

Scaloppine All'Aceto Balsamico or Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar can be found on page 64 of  La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy. The recipe can also be found at the end of this post. It is a recipe from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
The recipe calls for Pork Loin. The Pork Chops were sliced nice and thin and the price was friendlier. I still pounded the Chops to make them thinner. This dish came together in a flash and the flavor was perfect.

Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar

1 lb pork loin, sliced
All-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Pound the slices of pork to make them very thin, then flour them lightly.
Heat the olive in a pan, add the pork, brown on both sides.
Salt and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.
Serve immediately while the heat is still making the vinegar give off all its fragrance.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Second Friday of Lent

Braised Cod and Potatoes or Baccala Con Le Patate Nel Sugo. That's right I have turned to La Cucina, The Regional Cooking of Italy for tonight's recipe. And the Cod was on sale at Shop Rite. This recipe comes from the Compania region of Italy. Yes, that is the region that my family came from. I was very excited to make this. It sounded like something my Mom would have made.

Of course, there is the issue of the frying the fish. I will have to bake cookies or bread or both the defeat the smell of the fish.

Below is my version of the recipe from La Cucina. I reduce the amount of oil, 3 cups in the original recipe!! I enjoyed this a lot. Chris thought it was not bad. I had seconds, I think I saw Chris go back for more but I could not swear to that.

Braised Cod and Potatoes


1 lb cod
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 28 oz can of plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 bay leaf
chopped parsley


Cut the cod in pieces roughly 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long and dust them with flour. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan until hot and fry the cod until golden: remove the cod from the pan and set aside on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and as soon as they are translucent add the potatoes.
After about 20 to 30 minutes of cooking, (check the potatoes for doneness), adjust for salt, then add the tomatoes, and bay leaves Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the cod and cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lasagna Rolls

The other day I got a notification that the Tasting Table was live on Facebook from Don Angie Restaurant, in New York, making the famous lasagna for two!  It looked amazing and I realized I had similar ingredients in the house. The restaurant used a Bechemel sauce instead of the ricotta.

It was a simple dish to put together. The boiled Lasagna noodles are dried and ricotta is spread over them. Next sauce goes on top of the ricotta, I left the meat to the side and just used the tomatoes. Then a sprinkling of shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan goes over the sauce. A little sauce is added to the bottom of a baking dish. The noodles are rolled up and placed in the baking dish, standing up. More sauce is added to the top of the lasagna. The meat from the sauce is placed around the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top, cover the dish with foil, and place in a 350˚ preheated oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Delicious!!!

And of course we needed Italian Bread.

What Did You Have For Breakfast?

Don't you love the weekends? I do. I usually sleep in, getting up around 8-ish. My usual wake up time is 5AM. After a leisurely cup of coffee, I like to make breakfast. We have eggs on the weekends. Scrambled, fried, sandwiches with cheese, poached... You know the usual suspects. This week Chris posted a video on my Facebook page. That video would be our Sunday breakfast.

Saturday - 
Early yesterday morning I came across a video of a Japanese Ham and Cheese Rolled Omelet. That is what we had for breakfast yesterday.

Chris said this was the best omelet he has ever had. My work was done. Thank you, goodnight everyone.

Here is a link to the video on Facebook - Click Here. It is easy to make once you see it on the video. I do not have a Japanese rectangular omelet pan so I used my regular omelet pan. This was such a light breakfast, it didn't feel like we were eating more than one egg each.

Sunday -
Today we had Omelet-in-the-Hole. When I saw the video the first thing I thought was Brioche. I made the Brioche Loaf yesterday. Found a super easy recipe at the blog Simply Delicious.
Here is a link to the Facebook video of Omelet-in-the-Hole - Click Here. I think any bread will work. I actually think Italian would be nice. But the Brioche tasted like French Toast. This was an exceptional breakfast. I made one with onions, celery, jarred roasted red pepper and chopped ham. The other one I left out the ham and added sauteed zucchini leftover from last night's dinner.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Happy World Cat Day

What do you do when you realize that it is World Cat Day? You change your planned dinner menu of course. We were supposed to have Lasagna Rolls tonight and Roasted Chicken tomorrow night. Guess we will be having the Lasagna Rolls tomorrow.

Archie, our 17-year-old cat, loves chicken. I have a recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken that is so darn easy and delicious. It is a pretty basic recipe.

I had a few other things going on in the kitchen at the time, making Brioche bread for tomorrow's breakfast, making Italian bread for this week, the Lasagna Rolls, and making Stuffed Artichokes for during the week. 

I put everything in the Slow Cooker Chicken recipe in the slow cooker and set to low and moved on to my next kitchen task. After an hour I looked at the slow cooker and thought, "Wow it looks like is not cooking." Yup, I forgot to plug it in. Sigh. I plugged it in and changed the setting from low to high. It was done on time and tasted amazing. I made sauteed zucchini and mashed potatoes for us humans along with gravy using the drippings.

Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Salt and Pepper
2 carrots, cut into thirds
2 celery, cut into thirds or quarters
2 1/2 to 3 -pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel, neck, and gizzards removed (if any)

Gravy (optional but too good not to make!)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
Drippings from Chicken
salt & pepper

Chop vegetables and add to a 6 to 7-quart slow cooker.

Prep the chicken
Bend the wings back around the neck of the chicken.
Use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat. Rub half of the butter under the skin and the other half on top of the skin. Season with salt, pepper.

Lay the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables. (No need to add water or broth). PLUG IN THE SLOW COOKER. Turn slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Remove chicken and place into a baking dish and broil for 4 to 6 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Keep an eye on the chicken under the broiler it can brown up pretty fast!

Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables from the slow cooker if desired.

Remove vegetables and pour chicken broth from the bottom of the slow cooker into a fat separator or use a spoon to remove any extra fat. Strain the liquid.

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon to cook the flour. Whisk in 1 to 1.5 cups of the strained chicken broth. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 30 to 60 seconds. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and season to taste.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The First Friday of Lent

It is time for Meatless Fridays. I was thinking of making fish but it is a little pricey, especially at this time of the year. I was lucky to have egg and spinach fettuccini in the freezer. I opted for my favorite pasta dish, Fettuccini Alfredo. Pasta, butter, and cheese. Keep it simple. My go-to recipe is from Epicurious. I apologize for the crappy photos tonight... not sure what happened there.

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
Dried egg fettuccine
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Method-Melt butter in a large saute pan.
Cook fettuccine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain fettuccine in a colander.
Immediately toss the fettuccine with butter and salt in the sauté pan, then slowly add 3/4 cup cheese, tossing constantly and adding enough of cooking water to keep pasta moist.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with remaining cheese

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lasagna alla Vodka

Happy Valentines Day! And welcome to the season of Lent. Not meat today or for the next few Fridays. Tonight's dinner was really quite good. Only one complaint about the spinach. Other than that we both went back for seconds. The recipe called for heavy cream in the sauce. I decided to omit the cream, I even had it in the fridge. I thought with the ricotta and the mozzarella the added cream was not needed. The sauce was fine without it. I found the recipe on Delish. I recently subscribed to that blog. Here is the link for the original recipe - Click Here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Little Baking

A perfect vacation day! I made Molded Cookies. No, not moldy, molded. A number of years ago,  Chris and I were in Vermont and I saw a ceramic cookie mold of cats. I thought it would look cute hanging on the kitchen wall. I did not even think to use it for baking. That was back in our first house. I was cleaning out a cabinet in the kitchen and found the cookie mold. Why not use it to make cookies? I looked for recipes on the internet and found on for Beautiful Brown Sugar Molded Cookies on Simple Bites Blog. The directions for using a cookie mold were most detailed in this post.
What a fun batch of cookies to make. I got exactly 2 dozen from the recipe, that never happens.
My only problem was the baking time. The cookies were thicker then I think they should have been. The next time I make them I may roll them out thinner.
The finished product was the cutest cookies! The flavor was very mild for a brown sugar cookie. Will I make the recipe again? Yes! Here is the link to the recipe - Beautiful Brown Sugar Molded Cookies.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Donut Crazy

I got to work today and was greeted by a decorated cubicle. My birthday is Saturday. I am taking tomorrow and Monday off so today was my office birthday party. I had mentioned that I wanted to go to the new Donut Crazy that opened in Branford on my birthday. My co-workers decided that instead of a cake we would have donuts from Donut Crazy.  A perfect surprise! I think these were from the store in Shelton.

OMG!! Amazing donuts. I usually have oatmeal or avocado toast for breakfast. I had 1/2 of a Birthday Cake Donut and 1/2 of the Movie Night Donut (I update theatre movie sites at work so that was the perfect donut for me!). I had such a sugar high by 10 AM. I was going to skip lunch because I was full but I was glad I brought leftover Zuppa di Orzo for lunch. Of course, after lunch, we divided the other donuts up so we could taste them all. My favorite was the Cafe Mocha. The only one I was not crazy about was the Maple Bacon. And the Sundae Funday was, dare I say, too sweet! This was so much better than cake.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Zuppa di orzo (Italian Barley Soup)

There are certain food blogs that bring back memories of the food my Mom would make for dinner. One of those blogs is Memorie di Angelina. The writer's Nonna is from the Campania region of Naples. My Nonna was from the Benevento region. That is so exciting for me. I feel like the recipes on the blog are as close to cooking like my Nonna as I can get.

Tonight we had Zuppa di orzo (Italian Barley Soup). This is comfort food at it's best.
Click here for the recipe. And spend some time reading through the other recipe s at Memorie di Angelina. You will be bookmarking quite a few of them.