Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homemade Noodles

Homemade Noodles
Chicken Noodle Soup
My neighbor Maxine made noodles last week.  She graciously agreed to share her recipe and directions.

1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
In a mixing bowl combine egg milk and salt.  Stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  

On a floured board, roll the dough into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Roll up loosely.  Cut into 1/4" slices.  Unroll and cut into desired lengths.  Spread out and let dry 2 hours.

Maxine cooks a package of chicken thighs (with the skin on) in water with seasonings of choice.  When cool enough to handle, pull the chicken meat apart.  Return the meat and the noodles to the broth and cook until the noodles are tender.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
This soft dough is easily shaped, and makes tender aromatic buns, ready for an icing cross on top.

1/4 cup apple juice or rum 
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • topping
  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above 
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • icing
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, 
  •    pipe able icing
1) Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan. 
2) Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid. 
3) When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

4) Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

5) Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

6) Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. 

7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns. 

8) Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool. 

9) Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stollen Loaf

Stollen Loaf

Stollen is not just for the holidays.  
It is great anytime of the year.
Yields 2-4 loaves
3-4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cup (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, for dusting
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup almonds, sliced
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1/2 cup orange liqueur or warm water
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoon orange zest, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl

Soak raisins, ginger and almonds in orange liqueur in a medium bowl for at least 30 minutes (up to 8 hours) and set aside.

Warm milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until just about to boil. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter and salt.

Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm, then transfer to a large bowl or mixer.

In a small bowl, mix together yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar until liquid. Add to the milk, butter, and sugar mixture. Stir well.

Add eggs one at a time to mixture, then vanilla extract, and beat well.

Mix in orange zest, cardamom and nutmeg, then add 2 cups flour and mix until dough begins to come together.

Continue adding flour until dough ball forms. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. 

Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and add raisin nut mixture. Knead until completely incorporated and smooth.

Lightly grease a baking tray and shape dough into desired amount of loaves. Cover again with a clean towel, transfer to a warm, draft-free place and let rise for 1 hour.

Press loaves down in center and fold over lengthwise.

Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes (for smaller loaves) to 50-55 minutes (large loaves).

Remove from oven, melt remaining 3/4 cup butter and brush it onto loaves, and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. 

Optional: wrap loaves tightly in plastic wrap and let sit for 1 day before serving to maximize flavor.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Remove Hard Water Crusting

Remove Hard Water Crusting

Here’s how you make it:
  1. Fill about half a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  2. Add in 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
  3. Fill the majority of the remaining space in your spray bottle with the dish soap of your choice.
  4. Shake the bottle to mix together ingredients.
  5. Use your solution on hard water stains! Spray it on liberally and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then scrub away the grime. Rinse, dry, and marvel at the glorious results.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Replace 1 Can of Soup

If you are not familiar with Penzy Spices, check Penzy.com.  The line of spices and blends are pure and have no filler and are reasonably priced.  Most come in 1/4 cup sizes.  Mail order is easy and free shipping with a $30.00 order.  Sign up for the free catalog which is mailed frequently with coupons for a free item to try.  You will never use another brand of spice.
Replace 1 Can Of Soup
When the recipe calls for 1 can of soup undiluted this is a tasty solution with less sodium.
For each can of soup required make a "gravy" of 
2 tablespoon oil or butter, 
3 tablespoon flour, 
2 teaspoons PENZY of Fox Point (or your favorite blend OR 1/2t salt), 
1/2 cup stock (or water with a dab of appropriate soup base)  
1/2 cup milk.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Creamy Potato And Cauliflower Stuffed Flatbread

Creamy Potato And Cauliflower Stuffed Flatbread
Potato and Cauliflower Filling
large baking potatoes
1 large yellow onion
1 head cauliflower
Salt and Pepper
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter
Potato and Cauliflower Filling
Peel and boil the baking potatoes until tender, then shred.  Cut the onions into small strips and caramelize.  Break the cauliflower apart and chop into small pieces.  Bake the cauliflower for 10 minutes at 400^.  Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl combine the shredded potatoes with the caramelized onions.  Once combined, mix the cauliflower with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper until all ingredients are incorporated.  In a separate bowl blend the Greek yogurt and olive oil together.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a soft dough forms.  
Separate  the dough into six equal sized pieces.  Roll in to a ball.  Roll each into a 6" circle and spoon equal portions of filling into the center of each dough circle.  Fold the outer edges of the circle into the center forming a pocket around the filling.  Roll the pocket flat.  Pan sear each flatbread with butter until golden brown and filling is hot.  Serve with sour cream and a Greek salad.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Great Wall

The Great Wall
If you noticed the blogger was MIA. The reason, I took a trip to Beijing and Shanghai.  The biggest accomplishment for me was waking the Great Wall.  I was one of two women to accomplish the feat.   Steps are uneven, irregular and built into the terrain,  coupled with altitude making them difficult to climb.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bourbon Flambeed Filet Mignon With Smoky Bacon Sauce

This is a recipe from the cooking class I took this week.
Serves 4.
1 1/2 cups dry red wine 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 cups beef broth
1 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 T. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1/2 lb. thick cut smoky bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces 4 (6 to 8 oz.) filet mignon steaks (1 1/4 inches thick) 2 T. softened unsalted butter
2 T. flour
2 T. bourbon
2 T. chopped Italian parsley

1. Boil wine and garlic in heavy medium saucepan, watching that it doesn’t scorch, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Add beef broth, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaves and thyme and boil until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Set sauce aside or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. Season steaks with salt and pepper and add steaks to hot bacon fat in skillet and brown 3 minutes on each side. Spoon out any fat left in the pan and add Bourbon; tilt pan into gas flame or ignite with a long match. Shake pan until flames extinguish. Transfer steaks to a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare to medium.

3. Whisk reserved wine sauce into skillet drippings and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Mash together the butter and flour and whisk into sauce in bits, boiling sauce to thicken.

4. When ready to serve, rewarm sauce and stir in bacon; adjust seasonings to taste. Spoon sauce over steaks and garnish with parsley. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Makes 12

There are three secrets to great popovers.  Make sure the pan is hot before you pour the batter, fill each section not more than half full, and no peeking while they're in the oven.  They're much easier than you expect, and they make any meal feel festive.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing the pans
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Generously grease aluminum popover pans or custard cups with softened butter.  You will need enough pans to make 12 popovers.  Place the pans in the oven for 2 minutes to preheat.Meanwhile whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth.  The batter will be thin.  Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes.  Do not peek.

Serve hot! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fennel Pollen-Crusted Albacore Tuna With Piperade

Fennel Pollen–Crusted Albacore Tuna with Piperade

This is a classic Basque stew of peppers. You can make it heartier by serving with crusty bread, polenta or roasted potatoes. Christian loves to put a big dollop of garlic mayonnaise on it as well.

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bulbs fennel, cut into thin strips
Salt, to taste
1 sweet yellow onion, cut into thin strips
1 pound of sweet peppers, cut into thin strips (the more variation the better)
6 cloves garlic, cut paper thin with truffle slicer or sharp knife
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon chives
1 teaspoon mint
1 teaspoon basil
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into small chunks
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
4 (6-ounce) pieces wild albacore tuna
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fennel pollen1 cup wild arugula
Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Pour ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil in the pan, then add the thyme, fennel, salt and onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and cook for 1 minute. 
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce by half. Once the liquid has reduced, remove from heat and set aside. Add the parsley, chives, mint and basil. Then add the other half of the olive oil, tomatoes and the citrus zest. Season with salt and let marinate.

Salt and pepper the tuna and coat heavily with the fennel pollen, then reserve on a dry towel. Place a medium-size sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is very hot, add a little oil, then sear the fish on all sides until crispy. Be careful not to overcook fish. Reserve fish on a new dry towel.

To assemble:
Place the piperade in 4 shallow bowls. Place some arugula on top of the pepper stew. Place the fish on top. Eat and enjoy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

De-Ice Your Steps And Sidewalks

De-Ice Your Steps
For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures,
mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid,
1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol,
1/2 gallon hot/warm water
Pour over walkways.

They won’t refreeze. No more salt eating at the concrete in your sidewalks.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Passion Fruit Tropical Skewers

Makes 4 skewers
This juicy accompaniment is so simple and so delicious. If you can find fresh passion fruit, try adding a bit of the pulp to the glaze after it cools.

½ cup passion fruit juice
1 tsp. agave nectar
¼ small pineapple, cut into 8
1-inch chunks
½ small mango, peeled and cut into 8 1-inch chunks
1 small banana, peeled and cut into 8 chunks
1 kiwifruit, peeled, quartered, and each quarter cut in half

Prepare a sauce with passion fruit juice and agave nectar.  Prepare fruit according to recipe.  Place fruit on skewer and brush with sauce.  Place on grill.  

Place remaining to thicken.  Serve with fruit kebobs.