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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