Posts made in March, 2012

Granola By Any Other Name

Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Breakfast and Brunch | 3 comments

 

Gone Nuts Granola.  When our children were small, I bought granola at Mothers Market in 25-pound boxes.

In preschool, Cole's favorite lunch was a juicy ripe cantaloupe halved and filled with plain tangy yogurt topped with crunchy granola.

Granola lost its luster when it turned into a candy bar.  Amazingly enough, Granola can be loaded with sugar and floating away with oil.   In recent years, gourmet granola has gone all exotic.

 

Deep-fried oatmeal could be a treat at the county fair!

We moved on to oatmeal because of the amazing health benefits. Still, the clumpy toasted oats mixed with heart healthy nuts and dried fruit is a treat.

I set out to make a granola without any oil.  Frankly, it is possible. It is all about the process.

SONY DSC

Launch by assembling the ingredients.

3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats.  This becomes the base for the granola.  The great thing is you can select which ever nuts and seeds you prefer.  I love coconut.  You may not.

Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pepitas are my choices for the nut and seed additions, although I am thinking pistachios too.  Raisins, dried cranberries, and sliced apricots finish the star-studded anytime pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix together the oats with the seeds and nuts.  I don't chop the walnuts. They get dusty. Toasted walnut halves are just too noble to diminish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All those prep bowls look cute and fancy, but I use a scale and save myself the dishes.

I use a scale for everything.  This has always fascinated my children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread the mixture on to a lined baking sheet.

Product Details

I use a Silpat.

Bake the oats for 15 minutes.  This step dries the oats out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the oats from the oven and put them back into the bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour a blend of pure maple syrup, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon into the oats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir until they glisten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pile them back onto the baking sheet and bake another 30 minutes or so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to stir them after 15 minutes to make sure they thoroughly brown and toast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your kitchen will be fragrant with vanilla, cinnamon goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the second 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet to cool.

Pile on the gemstones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool completely before packaging.

Hide it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, devour it by the organic, nutty, rustic silver spoonful!

Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats 9 oz.
  • 1 cup raw walnut halves 3 oz.
  • ½ cup raw slivered almonds 2 oz.
  • ½ cup shredded coconut 2 oz.
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds 1.25 oz.
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 1.25 oz
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup raisins 2.50 oz.
  • ½ cup dried cranberries 2.50 oz
  • ½ cup diced dried apricots 2.50 oz.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Mix oats, coconut, nuts and seeds in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven return to the bowl. Stir together the vanilla and cinnamon with maple syrup and pour over oat mixture; stir well.
  4. Return oat mixture to baking sheet; continue baking for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Gently stir after 15 minutes during baking and again at 30 minutes.
  5. Makes about 1 ½ pounds
  6. © Copyright 2012 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  7. All Rights Reserved
  8. http://cococooks.net/
http://cococooks.net/granola-by-any-other-name/

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Pizza with a Purpose

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 in Pizza | 3 comments

Twenty years of pizza.  We have been making our own pizza for at least that long.  Once a week we make pizza.  When the boys were home it was usually on Fridays after a matinee at Big Newport.

Now it has become a sporting event.  On Sunday nights after church, MP makes a pizza from the lean, spicy wild game sausage he constructs a couple times a year.  It is either wild boar or venison.  I am not much of a meat eater.  I love this sausage!  He grinds the meat and adds fresh garlic, parsley, pepper flake, fennel seeds, cheeses and red wine.

What a savory, zesty, goat cheesy delight we know will come out of the oven on any Sunday.  Feel free to click on any pizza to take a big bite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your own pizza night with our granddaughters has been standard issue for sleepover fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The challenge for me currently is to create the second pizza out of whatever is left from the weeks provisions.  The toppings come from the refrigerator or garden.  In summer when tomatoes and basil are thriving, Margarita pizza is always a winner.  I have made pizza from beets.  I have made pizza with clams.  How about Pear and Blue Cheese topped with Arugula Salad?   During the holidays Turkey, Cranberry and Brie is on the menu.  Deep Dish Ricotta Pizza with Caramelized Onions is a pie to die for.

We have had some fairly strange pizzas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All have been edible.  The remaining pizza goes with MP to the office on Monday mornings.  I have heard Cole won’t touch my pizza.

Whatever you top your pizza with-- it all begins the same way.  The dough becomes a palate for the time honored toppings or the remnants from the week.  No cheating!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin with the best.  High gluten.  All purpose flour works too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water, olive oil, yeast, sugar to feed the yeast, Kosher salt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use a stand mixer with a dough hook but used my food processor for the first century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flour and salt in the bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tepid water, yeast and sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bubbles mean the yeast is proofed and ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to add the olive oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour the proofed yeast mixture over the flour and begin turning the dough.

The only tricky part is how much more water you need...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the machine is running, begin adding anywhere between 4 and 6 ounces more water.  It sorta kinda depends.  The dough should from a clean clump around the dough hook or a ball if using a processor.  If it is too wet add a little more flour.  You will get the hang of it.  I count to 50.  Works for me.

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.  Turn the machine back on and count to 50 again.  This takes care of the kneading.  Of course you can do this by hand.  It is therapeutic to handle the pizza dough too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil your hands and shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl to rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover and let it rise for 20-30 minutes depending on the weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bravo!  Divide the dough in half.  This makes two pizzas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can roll it out or press it out.  I have never thrown it in the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dock my crust only because I found this cool tool at the restaurant supply. It is not necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MP's pizza palate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home made Marinara.  Trader Joe's makes a great pizza sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venison Sausage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goat Cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mozzarella

Into the oven to bake.  If I was Italian I would have a pizza oven in my terraced garden.

On this occasion,  I raided the remainder of our St. Patrick's Day dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porter Spicy Brown Mustard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corned Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrots and Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chopped Cabbage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerrygold Skellig 100% Natural Cheese~~ a Strong Cheddar with an appealing bite

Imported from Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Root Vegetable Pizza with Irish Cheddar.

Let it rest... oh my, tangy but subtle flavors of a warm corned beef sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Venison Sausage Pizza with Goat and Mozzarella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it Sunday yet?

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dry-active yeast
  • 1/2 cup tepid water (not over 110 degrees F.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups bread flour or All Purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Add the yeast and the sugar to the tepid water and let bubble for about 5 minutes to proof the yeast.
  2. Add the oil into the proofed yeast mixture. Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Turn on the machine and process the yeast just until the dough collects on the blade of the food processor (40-50 seconds) adding extra water as needed. This can also be done in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. The dough will be soft. Let it rest 5 minutes and process 30 more seconds in the machine.
  4. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap in a warm area free from drafts until double in volume (20-30 minutes).
  5. Divide the dough in half (if making two pizzas) and let rest while you prepare the pans.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Oil the surface of two 16 inch pizza pans (if making two pizzas). Form each piece of dough into a disk and transfer into prepared pans. Shape to fit.
  7. Top pizzas and bake 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese topping is hot and cheese bubbling.
http://cococooks.net/pizza-with-a-purpose/

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allóra

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Pizza | 8 comments

One of the very first expressions I began hearing over and over in Italy commencing in Emilia-Romagna into Liguria was allóra.  

MP and I arrived in Bologna to exchange homes with a couple, both attorneys, and their two children.  Stephano, Corinna, Frederico, and Laura were already comfortably settled in our home.

After finding our way to Reggio Nell Emilia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where we established base camp, the first thing on our agenda was of course, food.

Navigating the streets with the locals on our quest for, Pranzo was when I first began hearing the musical interlude of a common expression, allóra.  A clue to what it meant was in listening to the intonation of the voice who sang it.

A mother would pause, sigh and say, “Allóra” gathering her wandering children to her.

A waiter would carry a cappuccino to us and start with, allóra as he gave us the occasion to immerse ourselves in the moment.

If yelled, it could mean, Watch out!

Speaking it with raised eyebrows, indicated a question quite possibly followed by pursed lips.

I finally determined it may possibly, calmly mean okay, relax have a pizza.

I love the greeting because it gives me chance to collect my Italian memories…

Allóra.  Alrighty then!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tJGk4ofc18

An invitation to learn how to make bread and pizza in Italy is a precious and fond memory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner at Paulo and Essee's home.  Keep in mind, we did not know these kind people.

The person who invited us to the party wasn't able to be there that day.

We spoke no Italian and they spoke no English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alberto and Poppy watched the Summer Games together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

while Essee taught me how to make Tuscan breads and pizza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approval came quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technique?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuscan Rosette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside to light the fire in the pizza oven...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and to prepare the pomodoro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annalisa and I shaping the little pizzas.  Everyone made one or two!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had baked a Tuscan loaf as a gift (on the left) not knowing I was to be treated to Essee's lesson as a gift to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the sun set over the terraced grounds, more people began to arrive.

It was an all day affair.  While the girls simultaneously proofed and kneaded, we heard collective shouts of  USA, USA, and Italia from the men.  We shared aprons, flour, yeast, water, oil, tomatoes, wine, friends, and laughter without common language.  We shared a universal love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allóra, then the photos began to get blurry.

Would you like to learn how to make a simple pizza dough?

I  can show you step by step.  No kneading.

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Six Weeks of Cupcakes

Posted by on Mar 25, 2012 in Desserts | 2 comments

Cupcakes.  Sweet little cupcakes.  Why did I tarry for so long?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Mocha Peanut Butter Cup with Peanut Butter Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Velvet with White Chocolate and Mascarpone Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mocha Caramel with Marshmallow Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla with Strawberry Whipped Cream Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Coffee  with Whiskey Whipped Cream Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Espresso White Chocolate Chunk with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...an enduring love affair.

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Lighten up!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in New | 7 comments

Frittata is an Italian word for omelette.  I don’t know about you but omelettes can be tricky to make.  Well, not if there is enough butter floating in the bottom of the skillet.  That makes it easy to fold the fluffy eggs around a filling.  I also seem to overstuff omelettes.  Messy and not pretty.

A frittata is sort of an open-faced omelette or almost a crustless quiche.

It is a go to dinner for me to prepare for many reasons.  I always have eggs in the refrigerator and something to add to the canvas of bubbling eggs in the skillet.

Who doesn't love eggs for dinner now and again?

I can also lighten it up.

Here is how I do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin by collecting the basics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use extra large eggs. 4 whole eggs and 4 whites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2% cottage cheese adds salty, cheesy volume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlike Ina and Ree, I use a "little" butter and a "little” olive oil in the bottom of a heavy skillet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toss in a chopped onion and as much or little garlic as you like.

Salt and pepper.

Sauté the onion until it has softened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used ripe tomatoes.  A frittata is especially good when the tomatoes come from the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini.  Summer squash, broccoli or mushrooms are delicious too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now is the time to add which ever herbs you like.  They can be dried.

I don’t care much for fresh oregano.  I always use dried.  Spice it up by adding crushed red pepper to your taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the vegetables are sautéing, whisk together the eggs and cottage cheese with any fresh herbs you may have  around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When most of the liquid has evaporated and the zucchini is tender crisp, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.

Reduce the heat; cover and let the frittata cook just until the eggs are set.  Uncover and cook until the eggs are dry and fluffy.  Look for a little brown around the edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is where you add cheese.  This time it was Parmesan.  I am a huge fan of soft goat cheese too.  I use puffy little chunks of goat cheese with Broccoli  Frittata.  If you like a browned top, place it under the broiler or torch it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try this in any light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh baked sourdough bread and a salad makes it dinner.

 

 

 

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