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Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Chile Cornbread

This cornbread has a nice kick to it and is great with soups or stews. 

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1-4 oz. stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2-7 oz. cans of whole green chiles, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat over to 400° F (200° C).  Grease a 8x12 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soada.  In a separate bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar.  Beat the sour cream and eggs to the butter-sugar mixture.  Add the milk and the dry ingredients, a third at a time and alternating wet/dry.  Mix in the green chilies and shredded cheese.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35 minutes, until top is browned and a toothpick insterted into the center comes out clean.  Serve.

Makes 12 serving pieces.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chili Con Carne

Our family enjoys this chili served with Green Chili Cornbread. It´s full of flavor and easy to put together. If allowed to cooked according to the directions below, the meat will be perfectly tender.

Makes 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon water

4 oz. (125g) bacon
1 lb (450g) chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeño chili pepper, stem removed, seeded, and minced

1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1-2 cups water
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup tomato ketsup

1 14-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water

In a small bowl mix the chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme and coriander. Mix in water until a light paste forms. Set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet on medium high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Pour bacon fat from pan into a separate container, and reserve. When the bacon cools, crumble it into smaller pieces and set aside.

Increase heat to medium high, add back in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Working in batches so that you don´t crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides, lightly salting as you cook the beef. Remove beef from pan, set aside.

Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more.

Add beef, bacon, chopped tomatoes, water, lime juice and tomato ketsup to the spice and garlic mixture. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

Mix the cornstarch powder with water to dissolve and add to the chili to thinken. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with shredded cheese, cornbread, tortilla chips or rice.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pasta with Meatballs

This a fantastic and classic dish! The meatballs have a wonderful flavor, thanks to freshly grated nutmeg. 

Serves 4-6

For the sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh basil, leaved picked off and stalks chopped
1 fresh red chili, pierced with the tip of a knife
2 x 14 1/2 oz (400g) cans chopped tomatoes
a dash of red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meatballs:
1 lb. (450g) lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili pepper
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 a fresh nutmeg, grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)

16 oz (450 grams) dried pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the sauce, add the olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Gently saute the garlic, basil stalks and the whole chili until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and gently simmer for half an hour.

Combine all the meatball ingredients together and form large marble-sized meatballs.  When rolling the meatballs, run your hands periodically under cold water - this will help make them dense and hold their shape.

Heat up a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs.  Cook until they have a nice brown color and then add them to the tomato sauce. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, until al dente.  Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water for later use. 

Add the pasta to the meatball sauce and toss until the pasta is coated.  Add a handful of parmesan cheese and tear over the chopped basil leaves.  Add some of the cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. 

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cream Sauce

This cream sauce is excellent with ravioli, tortellini or any filled pasta.  It´s quick and easy and is great for when you´re in a hurry.  Only a little bit is needed to moisten the pasta.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of nutmeg
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Combine the butter and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat (be carefully it doesn´t boil over, this can happen very quickly).  Reduced the cream slightly, stirring occassionally.  Add the parmesan cheese and mix.  Add a dash of nutmeg and parsley, stirring gently to combine. 

Serve with desired pasta.

Tip:  Additional ingredients can include frozen peas, thawed and proscuitto or baked ham, thinly sliced. Just add them prior to adding the nutmeg and parsley and heat through.   Then add nutmeg, parsley and serve.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bran & Apple Muffins

These bran muffins are nutritious and delicious.  You can mix them together in about 10 minutes while the oven is heating up. 

Make approximately 18 muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 cups plain yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and shredded

Preheat oven to 425° F (220° C).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, wheat bran, salt, baking soda and sugar.

In a larger bowl, combine the yogurt, egg, honey and butter.  Add the dry ingredients and fold in until everything comes together.  Be careful not to overmix.  Gently fold in the shredded apple.

Fill each cup of a greased muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until muffins are golden on top and cooked through. 

Tip:  If using paper muffin liners, the muffins will really stick to the paper.  I use silicon muffin cups or grease the muffin pan prior to use.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oatmeal & Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are very moist with an addicting flavor.  Don´t gasp when you see how much sugar it has! (That´s probably why they´re so addicting.)

Makes approximately 3 dozen

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture.  Mix in oats.  Mix in the cranberries.

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).  Place parchment paper on the cookie sheets.  Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes in a preheated oven.  Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Asian Noodles

This is a great main course or salad dish.  You can make the sauce a week ahead and add it to the pasta just before serving.  I also mix in grilled chicken when using it as a main dish. 

Serves 6 to 8

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, sliced diagonally
1/2 pound grilled chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces (optional)

Place the garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the vegetable oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, chili sauce, sesame oil and ground peppers.  Purée the sauce.

Add a splash of oil to a large pot of boiling salt water and cook the spaghetti al dente.  Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with three-quarters of the sauce.  Add the red and yellow bell peppers and scallions, toss well.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  The remaining sauce may be added to moisten the pasta, as needed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cinnamon Honey Butter

This is my husbands favorite spread for freshly baked bread.  It´s easy and delicious!

Makes 3/4 cup

1/4 pound (110 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons good honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the butter, honey, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl with a fork or with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth.  Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Honey Oat Bread

This is a sweet, moist and pleasant tasting bread. It only requires 15 minutes to mix together and then goes straight in the oven.  We love it with homemade soups or flavored butters or jams!

2 tablespoons plus 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat milk

Position rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375° F (180° C).  Coat a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with oil.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon oats in the pan.  Tip pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom with oats.

Thoroughly stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Using a fork and in a separate bowl, beat 1 cup oats, yogurt, egg, oil and honey until well blended. Stir in milk.  Gently stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture just until thoroughly incorporated but do not overmix (excess mixing will cause the bread to be tough).  Immediately scrape the batter into the pan, spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon oats over the top. 

Bake the loaf until well browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. (It´s normal for the top to crack.)  Let stand in the pan on a wire rake for 15 minutes.  Turn out  on to the rack and let cool for about 45 minutes before cutting. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken Korma

I love Indian food and have wanted to make it myself for many years.  The thought, however, of spending the whole day in the kitchen just didn´t appeal to me.  Then, I discovered you can make many wonderful Indian dishes that are tasty and in a short timeframe.  This recipe was my first success!

Serves 4-6

3 cloves garlic
1 inch (2.5cm) piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 oz (50g) almond flakes
1/4 pint (150ml) water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
8 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
4 whole cloves
1 inch (2.5cm) piece cinnamon stick
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
3 tablespoons cream
3 lbs (1.5 kilo) chicken pieces (legs, breast, thighs, etc.), skinned and cut into serving portions

Put garlic, ginger and almonds into a bowl of a food processor.  Turn on the food processor and pour six tablespoons of water through the funnel and blend to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a wide pan over high heat.  When it´s very hot, add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick and stir for ten second.  (Be careful as the oil will probably pop when you add the spices.)

Add the onion and cook for several minutes, stirring, until medium-brown in color.  Reduce the heat to medium-high once the onions begin to brown.  Add the paste from the food processor and stir.  Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.

Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the tomato puree and stir for a minute longer.  Add the salt, garam masala, cream and remaining water and stir together.  Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat them with the spice paste.

Bring to a simmer, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Turn the chicken several times during cooking.

Serve with any Indian bread, chutneys, rice or vegetables.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Indian Rice

This is a very tasty side dish that goes with most Indian meals.  It´s delicate in flavor and not overpowering.

Serves 4-6

8 oz (250g) basmati rice
2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
4 green cardamom pods
1 inch (2 1/2 cm) piece cinnamon bark
2 garlic cloved, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups water
chopped fresh chives (optional)

Put the rice in a bowl and wash in several changes of water.  Drain and leave in a strainer set over a bowl.

Put the oil in a heavy based saucepan and set over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot and beginning to bubble, put in the cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cinnamon.  Stir once or twice and put in the garlic.

As soon as te garlic turns medium brown put in the rice, turmeric and salt.  Stir gently for a minute.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cover tightly, turn the heat down to very, very low and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir with a fork to separate the grains and serve garnished with chives, if desired.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tabbouleh with Chicken

This recipe can be made with the chicken as a main course or without it for a salad or starter.  The flavors will improve as it sits.  Remember, fresh lemon juice is a must to get the best results.

Serves 6 to 8

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
Olive oil
Chicken breast, skinless and boneless (8 oz. or 250 grams)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and medium-diced
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).

In a heat-proof bowl, pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat.  Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the bulgur to stand at room temperature for about an hour.

Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub it with olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20-25 minutes, until just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Cut the chicken into medium dice and add to the bulgur wheat.  Add the chives, mint, cucumber, tomatoes and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Taste and add additional seasoning as desired.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Note: Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern dish generally served with pita wedges.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Chips and salsa are one of my favorite things to eat.  As a result, we eat Mexican food at least once every 10 days.  This salsa is so easy to make and gives you the flexibility to make it chuncky or smooth with just one flick of the switch.

1 (14.5oz/425g) can whole or chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 jalapeño chile, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 (14.5oz/425g) can peaches or mangos, drained

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend on low speed for 1-4 seconds, depending on desired consistency.  Adjust flavors as needed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Banana Muffins

Okay, I couldn´t stop eating these the other day when I made them.  I thought they were scrumptious!  I added crunchy granola to give them an extra flavor, but you can add anything your heart desires to kick things up a notch (shredded coconut, banana chips, chopped walnuts or pecans).

Make 18 muffins

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2  teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (225g) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup crunch granola

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the melted butter and blend.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas.  Add the banana mixture to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well.  Don´t overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, granola and any additional items into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one 3/4 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly, removed from pan, and serve.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Basic Meatloaf

I discovered this recipe a few months ago and it was a big hit.  We had it again this weekend and everyone couldn´t get enough.  I knew it had to be posted!

4 servings

1 pound (450g) ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
14 teaspoon ground black pepper
Few dashs ground red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 ounces (350g) crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup rolled oats

For the topping:
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375° F (180° C).

Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish.  Shape into a loaf.

Mix topping ingredients and spread on loaf.  Bake for 1 hour.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

This biscuit is wonderful right out of the oven!  Served with cinnamon apples, jam or butter and honey - it doesn´t matter, everyone will love them.

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425° F (210° C). 

Combine the flours, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Add the oil and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until a course meal is formed.  Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.  If the batter is too dry add more buttermilk.  Roll out between two pieces of wax or parchment paper with a rolling pin until about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out circles with a cookie cutter and place in a lightly greased or parchment lined baking pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden browned. Serve immediately.

*Makes approximately 10 biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta with Mushrooms & Pancetta

I tried this dish for the first time recently and it was a big hit, even with the rucola.  I try to slip in something green and leafy whenever I can!  The rucola adds a nice flavor to this dish.

Serves 3-4

8 oz. (250g) spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. (125g) pancetta, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 oz. (250g) mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup (80ml) apple juice
1 cup (200ml) crème fraîche

Cook the spaghetti in lightly salted water for approximately 9 minutes.

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and add the pancetta and garlic.  Cook until the pancetta is slightly browned.  Place cooked pancetta and garlic in a bowl and set aside.

Add the quartered mushroom to the same pan and saute for approximately 5 minutes.  Do not over cook.  Add the pancetta and garlic to the mushrooms.  Pour in the apple juice and crème fraîche and simmer on low heat until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the spaghetti and add the sauce.  Mix in rucola and serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a very nice tomato soup.  My kids love it and it´s so easy to make. 

Serves 6 to 8

Tip:  If you like onions, but they don´t like you, omit them. This soup still tastes great without them. 

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, sautè the onions (if using) and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes, until the onions start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Place in a blender or food processor and blend for just a few seconds.  Adjust the seasoning.  Serve.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cherry Pie

This pie is the most requested in our family.  I remember my mom making 2 or 3 at a time just so we had enough to go around at holidays and birthdays.  Now, my kids request it for their birthdays and special occassions.

For the Crust
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons cold water

Cherry Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can sour pitted cherries packed in water
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the crust, mix the flour and salt together. Add the oil and cut into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Sprinkle with water and mix with a fork.  Add more water if too dry.  Separate into two parts and rollout each part between two pieces of wax paper.  Place one crust into a 9" pie plate.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and undrained cherries.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constanstly, until it boils and thinkens.  Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.  Pour into crusted pie shell, top with butter pieces and cover with second pie crust.  Pinch together crust edges and make 4 small cuts in the top to allow pie to breath during baking. 

Bake at 425° Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the top cuts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Take-out pizza or store bought pizza just isn´t in our vocabulary anymore.  Our family enjoys this homemade pizza and it gives everyone a chance to make their own! 

Makes 6 pizzas

For the dough
1 1/4 warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour, plus more for kneading (I use 2 cups of whole-wheat & 2 cups of white flour)
2 teaspoons salt

For the toppings (choose 6-8)
1 pound shredded mozzarella
Beef, pork or turkey sausage, cooked
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Basil leaves, julienned
Chives, chopped
Pineapple chunks
Ham, chopped
Red onion, thinly sliced
Mild goat cheese, sliced
Red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
Crushed red pepper flakes

For Prep
1 jar tomato pasta/pizza sauce, warmed
Olive Oil

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix.  While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough.  Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.  When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a dozen times.  It should be smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball.  Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.  Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Roll and stretch each ball into a round 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.  Two pizzas will fit on each 18 x 13-inch baking sheet.

Brush the dough with pasta/pizza sauce and add any toppings you wish.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Useful Equivalents

This list of useful equivalents will help those of you living across the globe.  Post it in an area of your kitchen for quick access...it will save you the time of making your own calculations.

Volume and Weight
1 cup butter = 8 ounces = about 250 grams
1 cup flour = 4 ounces = about 125 grams
1 cup powdered sugar = 5 ounces = about 150 grams

Additional Measurements
1/8 teaspoon = 0.5 ml
1/4 teaspoon = 1 ml
1/2 teaspoon = 2 ml
1 teaspoon = 5 ml = 1 theelepel

1 Tablespoon = 1 eetlepel

1/4 cup = 2 fluid ounces = 60 ml
1/3 cup = 3 fluid ounces = 90 ml
1/2 cup = 4 fluid ounces = 120 ml
2/3 cup = 5 fluid ounces = 150 ml
3/4 cup = 6 fluid ounces = 180 ml
1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 240 ml

2 cups = 1 pint = 1/2 litre
4 cups = 1 quart = 1 litre

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oven Temperature Equivalents

For convenience, below is a list of oven temperature equivalents.  I use this almost daily...my memory just isn´t what it used to be:))).

Fahrenheit       Celcius
225° F                  110° C          
250° F                  120° C
275° F                  135° C
300° F                  150° C
325° F                  160° C
350° F                  180° C
375° F                  190° C
400° F                  200° C
425° F                  220° C
450° F                  230° C

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Whole-Wheat Bread

I make on average four loaves of bread a week.  I have been trying to perfect my bread making abilities over the last year, but must admit I´m not quit there yet.  This bread recipe is one of my favorites and I often substitute different grain flours for the whole-wheat flour, including: rolled oats, kamut flour, spelt flour, etc.  I always use at least 4 cups of whole-wheat flour and then replace the additional 4 cups with a combination of the above substitutions.  Have fun creating your own!

2 packages yeast
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup luke warm water

1/2 cup oil
1/2 honey
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups hot water
2 tablespoos freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups whole-wheat flour
4 cups whole-wheat flour (or combination of other grain/flours)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.  Set aside.

Mix honey, oil, salt, lemon juice, 4 cups of whole-wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups of hot water together in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, until combined.  Add the dissolved yeast to the bread mixture and mix for 7-10 minutes to get the gluten working.

Gradually add the additional 4 cups of flour.  Knead for an additional 5 minutes.  If the dough seems too sticky, add enough flour to get past the sticky point.  Remember too much flour causes bread failure.
Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, divide and shape into 2 loaves.  Place in greased bread pans and let rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Four Cheese Lasagna with Sausage

My family really enjoys this lasagna recipe!  It´s lighter in texture than other recipes I use and we like the distinct flavor added by the goat cheese and fresh herbs.  You can assemble this a day ahead and bake it right before dinner.

Tip:  To make ahead, refrigerate the assembled, unbaked lasagna.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sausage, with the casing removed (I use turkey sausage)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
12 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded or thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, thyme, crushed red pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water.  Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain. (Or use noodles which don´t need to be pre-cooked.)

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 x 12 x 2-inch rectangular baking dish spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish.  Then add the layers as follows:  half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the sauce.  Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta mixture, and finally, sauce.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 8