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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sourdough Starter

It's getting close to bread making time.
Here's how to make a sourdough starter.
Sourdough "starter" is a batter of flour and water,
To make sourdough bread, you blend the starter
with some flour and make dough.
The yeast propogates, and leavens your bread.
This is how you make your starter:

Select a wide-mouthed glass jar, Blend a cup
of warm water and a cup of flour into the jar.
That's the whole recipe!
If you want, you can add a little commercial yeast but
there should be enough 'natural' yeast in the air.

You should keep the starter in a warm place;
70-80 degrees F.. This allows the yeast already
present in the flour (and in the air) to grow rapidly.
In a week or so you should start getting lots of bubbles,
and a pleasant sour aroma. The starter may start to puff up.
This is a good thing. When your starter develops a bubbly froth,
Refrigerate the Starter and use it by adding one half of it into
your baking bread recipe and adding in an equal amount of
flour and water to the starter to keep it alive and growing.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner

This is a good meal to make on a cold day,
it's not to complicated if you go one step
at a time and the whole family likes it.
Some recipes call for using a can of beer in this,
don't waste your time, the beer adds nothing to this,
drink the beer, and cook the beef at a simmer.

1 packaged corned beef
8 cups cold water, approx.
1 head fresh cabbage, chopped
6 white potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and sliced

Remove corned beef from ppackage and
place beef in a large soup pot.
Cover with cold water by two inches.
Bring to a boil on high heat then lower
heat to a simmer for at least 3 hours.
In the mean time peel potatoes and carrots.
Place the potatoes and carrots in a seperate pot,
and cover with water then cook to fork tender.
When beef is done remove to a serving platter,
cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Place cabbage in the juice that you cooked the corned
beef in and cook on high heat 10 minutes or until tender.
Remove cooked cabbage to a serving dish and put in
the pot the potatoes and carrots just to heat through,
remove to a serving dish and enjoy your boiled dinner.
I like to serve with prepared mustard on the side.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Home Made Soft Pretzel's

The first time I made soft pretzel's
I couldn't believe how easy it was to do.
And they taste really good warm and salty.
Make these at least once in your life.
Just to say yup, I made home made pretzel's.

1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package of active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil for pans
10 cups cold water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, beaten
salt for toping pretzel's
prepared mustard for dipping

Combine water, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl.
Sprinkle in yeast and let sit for five minutes
until the yeast gets foamy/bubbly.
Add flour and butter and mix until well combined.
Mix/knead until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl.
This should take approx 4-5 minutes.
Oil a clean bowl, return the dough to the bowl and let
sit in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat over to 450 degrees F.
Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper
and coat lightly with vegetable oil.
Bring water and the baking soda to a rolling boil.
Divide dough into sixteen pieces.
Roll each piece of dough in to a rope
and form each rope into a pretzel shape.
Place each pretzel on parchment lined baking sheet.
Place pretzels into boiling water for thirty seconds.
Remove from the water using a spatula or slotted spoon.
Place on the parchment lined pans and brush
each pretzel with the egg wash, then sprinkle with salt.
Bake until golden brown for about 12-14 minutes.
Cool on a rack before serving warm with mustard.

Red Bell Pepper Salad

This salad is simple to make and tastes great.
When fresh red bell peppers are in season,
I like to make this colorful salad.

2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 dash ground black pepper
1 tablespoon frozen corn kernals

Slice the red bell pepper into thin strips.
Mix water, salt, sugar, and vinegar in a
small saucepan and bring just to a boil.
Add sliced red pepper and kernals of yellow corn
to the boiling water, cook about a minute until
they begin to slightly soften, and remove from heat.
Let stand, covered, to cool until just lukewarm.
Pour off the water and add olive oil,
cover and shake to coat, add a dash of black pepper.
May be served warm or chilled.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grilled Cheese BLT Sandwich

I couldn't decide which sandwich to make
so I made both into a gourmet treat.
A butter toasted grilled cheese with
bacon, letuce and tomato in the middle.
I use white bread but any bread will do.

For each sandwich:
2 slices bread
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices American cheese
2 slices of red ripe tomato
2 pieces iceburg lettuce
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 slice cooked bacon

Directions: Heat a skillet on medium heat.
Butter one side of two slices of bread,
place one slice buttered side down in skillet.
Place on one slice of cheese on bread,
one slice of tomato, one lettuce leaf,
some mayonnaise, and cut up bacon.
Then another luttuce leaf, tomato, cheese
and top with the other slice of bread,
buttered side facing up in skillet.
Cover and cook until bread is browned,
use a spatula to flip the sandwich.
cover and brown the other slice of bread.
remove from skillet and cut in half.
I serve this with a crispy dill pickle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mama Mancini's Meatball Sliders

I'm Italian and know about meatballs.
Mama Mancini's are found in the
frozen food secton of grocery stores,
they taste just like my own homemade.
I admit I add a little more Italian
spices when I make beef meatballs but
for a frozen food meatball these are great.
I like to make meatball sliders using these.

1 Package of Mama Mancini’s meatballs
Small supermarmet bakery buns
1 small fresh mozzarella cheese
Iceberg lettuce
Mama Mancini's tomato sauce

Fresh basil leaves

Heat meatballs and sauce as instructed.
To make the best tating meatball sliders,
slice each Mama Mancini's hot meatball in half,
place the flat side of the meatball down
onto a slice of mozzarella cheese.
(the hot meatball will melt the cheese).
Place meatball and cheese on a half of the bun
and top with the lettuce, tomato sauce,
and other top of supermarket bun. Enjoy!

Chicken Soup with Egg Noodles

When I have the time to make this chicken soup,
I remember my Grandmother and how she made this.
Making a chicken and vegetable flavored broth and
then cooking up more fresh vegetables takes time,
but believe me this is a satifying soup on a cold day.
Thats the secret to making a good tasting soup,
make a broth with vegetables and discard them.
Cook up fresh vegetables for serving in the soup.
I cook up egg noodles and serve them seperately,
cooked egg noodled don't freeze well at all.
Freeze any leftover soup to serve on another
cold winter day with freshly cooked egg noodles.

2 pounds chicken parts, bone in, skin on
2 celery stalks, cut into 1" pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut up.
4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 additional celery stalks, peeled and cut up
2 additional carrots, peeled and cut up.
1 additional onion, peeled and cut up
Additional salt and black pepper to taste.
1 pound cooked dried egg noodles

Place in a large soup pot the chicken, celery,
carrots, onions, water, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and the simmer for 1 hour.
Remove chicken to cool for removing meat.
Remove vegetables and discard them.
Add to soup pot additional celery, carrots,
and onions, simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.
Add in chicken meat and serve with cooked egg noodles.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eggplant Capanata

The first time I tasted this capanata relish
was from a store bought can made by Progresso.
Then I found a recipe in a Progresso cookbook
for making it with fresh ingredients.
It's a little work to prepare but well worth it.
This will last for a week or more refrigerated.

Ingredients: 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, peeled and diced
4 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, to serve

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan,
and add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
Add the olives, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, and oregano.
Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.

Buttered Fresh Kale

So easy to prepare and tastes so good.
This side dish goes well with anything.
The first time I tested this recipe out
I added a teaspoon of sugar thinking that
kale could be a little bitter and sugar
would balance the tartness, bad idea,
the sugar made this dish too sweet,
but the butter makes this fantastic tasting.
You can season with salt to taste and
add more butter to your liking.

1 bunch fresh kale
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Prepare kale by cutting into bite size pieces,
removing thick part of stems or as desired.
Place water in a sauce pan, add kale and salt.
Cover and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer
for about 15 minutes until kale is tender crisp.
Serve cooked kale with a pat of buuter on top.