Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pork Scaloppine with Olives and Celery

Pork Scaloppine with Olives and Celery, or Scaloppine di Maiale con Olive E Sedano. Another recipe from Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian.

I wanted to make something really nice and rather easy for New Years Eve dinner. This was the perfect meal. I had the celery, and olives chopped and all the other ingredients set up so it took no time to get this on the table. The pork was moist. The sauce was perfect. We had a green salad as a side dish. This has been a week of a lot of carbs.

Speaking of carbs, I made some bread today. Yesterday I filled our freezer with Chicken Stock and today I loaded it up with bread. Two loaves of Olives and Rosemary Bread and two loaves of just plain Rosemary bread. And yes the house did smell amazing today!

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year right now because midnight is past my bedtime.

2017 - My Favorite Dinners

This was not a really good year for my blog. Lots of stuff was going on and posting was not a priority. That being said I picked out a few dinners that were personal favorites.

The first was from January, Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup. I am still surprised that it was not a heavy a soup as I thought it would be. It is a recipe we have had a couple of times since January.

February would definitely be my birthday dinner at Quattro's. As my sister says you never get a bad meal there.

My favorite dinner from March was the Crockpot Corn Beef and Guinness Beer. I love  What's Cookin' Italian Style blog. This was quite good and we will probably have it in 2018 for Saint Patrick's Day.

April? Well, nothing really stood out to me.

But May was a different story.  My favorite dinner of 2017. Clam Castle. Soft Shell Crab. Really do not need to say anything else. I can not wait until next summer!!

Also in May was the 100th Anniversary Saint Lawrence School Tea.  I was fortunate to be on the committee for the tea and I met women that I would want on my Cookie Swap Dream Team. I am a self-professed cookie snob. My sister's cookies are the only ones I really like. (But this Christmas Eve Steve brought some pretty darn good cookies to the table.) Anyway, the cookies from the tea really blew my mind. OMG. They were fantastic!

June brought the first post for a pasta recipe that I have made so many times this year. The Zucchini Sauce. I have altered it every time I have made it and it is still my favorite.

In August there was a tie for favorite dinner.
First up was Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata. Put the word Burrata on a recipe and I am sold.
The other favorite was Pasta Martinelli. Veggies from my sister's garden and a few things in the fridge resulted in an amazing pasta dish.

September, October, November... Like I said a lot of stuff was going on this year.

Finally, we are in December. Any guesses for favorite dinner? Another tie! Christmas Eve Dinner and the Christmas Day Cupalets.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and hope that 2018 is a healthy, peaceful and prosperous year for all.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ziti with Pork Rib Guazzetto

New cookbook time! Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian. Chris does know what to get me for Christmas. There are a number of recipes that will be appearing on this blog. We started with Ziti with Pork Rib Guazzetto. Let me start by saying I made only 1/2 of the recipe. We had enough leftovers to make a Baked Macaroni casserole, added some Ricotta to the pasta and sauce. Also was able to freeze 1/2 of the ribs.
While I had this on the stove today I also made 2 large pans of Chicken Stock. I picked up 2 Fowl yesterday and made my sister's stock recipe. I ended up with 24 cups of chicken broth. Yes, I froze it.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Cookies. Day One.

Let me start by saying I mixed the doughs for all the cookies that I baked today two weeks ago. I put all the dough in the freezer. Even the dough for the Snowballs. Not sure I would freeze that dough again.
The Snowballs (aka Rolly Poollys, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Cakes) are traditionally the first cookie I bake every Christmas. Why? They were the first cookie my Mom baked every Christmas. This year I decided to freeze the dough. The jury is still out on the taste but I thought they took longer to bake and a couple of them lost their shape while baking. I know I am nitpicking but I also know what the cookie should bake like.

Snowballs (makes 36 cookies)

1 c. Butter
1/2 c. Sifted Confectionary Sugar
1/2 c. Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 c. Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 400˚.
Combine butter and sugar.
Mix in all ingredient for cookies.
Roll dough into small balls.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Coat cookies right out of the oven with additional Confectionary Sugar.

The Striped Cookie recipe is from a Martha Stewart magazine dating back to the early 90s. This is my husband's favorite cookie. You make a vanilla dough and then a chocolate dough. You can shape them in bars for the striped cookies or in bullseyes. I did both but for the bullseyes, I made the dough into square.. I think they look pretty cool!
The original recipe called for the dough to be mixed together and then divided and that just got too messy. I mix the doughs separately. I tried to find a link to the original recipe but could not.
The Vanilla Dough -
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Confectionary Sugar
3 3/4 c. bread flour 

The Chocolate Dough-
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Confectionary Sugar
3 3/4 c. bread flour

Place butter, vanilla, sugar, and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until well combined.

For the Chocolate Dough add 1/3 cup of Dutch-process Cocoa Powder to the ingredients and mix.

Now for constructing the cookies-
1. Divide both doughs into 4 equal pieces. Place each piece between two 12x14 inch pieces of parchment. Roll into 3 1/2x12 inch rectangles. Transfer to baking sheet; chill 30 minutes. Repeat process with all the chocolate and vanilla dough.

2. Remove the top piece of parchment from all the rectangles. Using the bottom piece for support, invert one vanilla rectangle onto a chocolate one; remove parchment. Repeat, for a total of four layers. Wrap. Make a second brick with remaining four rectangles. Chill at least 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 375˚. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Unwrap bricks; trim evenly by 1/8 inch. Slice into 1/4 inch thick rectangles; place on baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart.

4. Bake until barely golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Bake or freeze remaining dough.

This year's new recipe is the Orange Cranberry Shortbread. Wow. New favorite cookie. Loved the smell of these in the oven. The recipe is from Mom On Time Out blog. Here is the link.

Next week I will make the rainbow cookies and maybe one or two more recipes.

About dinner. All this baking and we still have to eat dinner. Picked an easy recipe for tonight. Yes, ordering pizza would have been easier. We had Chicken Cutlets and Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe.

First, the oven was preheated to 350˚. The Chicken Cutlets were added to a bowl of beaten eggs, chopped parsley, Parmesan Cheese. Next, the cutlets were then dredged in a mixture of breadcrumbs (I used 1/2 plain and 1/2 plain Panko), flour, Parmesan Cheese, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. I placed the cutlets on a baking sheet, covered with parchment, and drizzled olive oil over both sides of the chicken. The temperature of the oven was raised to 450˚.  They baked for about 20 minutes until the underside started to get toasted. The cutlets were flipped and baked for about 5 more minutes.

The chicken was moist and the breading was crisp.

The Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe was a nice side after the Christmas Party Carb overload from last night. The squash was split. PLEASE be careful if you try this at home. The seeds were scooped out and discarded. Yes I know I could have roasted them but I had a lot going on already. I put the squash in a roasting pan, cut side down and put about an inch of water in the pan. The squash was roasted at 375˚ for about an hour. Using a fork I pulled the squash away from the shell.

I heated up butter in a saute pan. The cooked squash was added to the pan, along with the zest of 1/2 a lemon, chopped thyme,  and ½ cup Parmesan, stirring to combine, until squash is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in pepper and season with salt. Serve topped with more Parmesan.

The Answer to Where Have We Been And What Have We Been Having For Dinner

We have been right here. And we have been on Instagram. It is so easy to post photos. Give the photos a little title and add hashtags.

I recently or since before the last blog post added ads to the blog. I might make a little cash for writing the blog. Imagine that. It seems after adding the ads the load time was slow. I am a busy person and if I go to a blog or website and it takes too long to post I am gone. So with that being said the ads might disappear soon. Make money from blogging? But what is the real cost?

Excuse me while I step off my soapbox.

The last post I did was back in October. I have some half written posts from the time in between then and now that I will be reworking and get posted. We have actually had quite a few amazing meals. And it is getting about time to do some baking. That's right Christmas Cookie time is upon us.

So for those of you how actually read this blog - We Are Back! Fasten your seatbelts, but not too tight, there is a lot of food coming your way.