Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunflower Basil Pesto

The way I feel about basil is the same way I do about my fruits; you can never have enough. The freshness of the basil is just so intoxicating. It's perfect for pizza, pasta, salad dressing, tomato basil bread, and of course pesto. I make pesto every year and freeze into ice cube shapes. Just add the cheese when you have defrosted whatever amount you want to use.  There is a recipe that I follow and it calls for pine nuts. These expensive little nuts that can run from $36-$45 per pound.  I only buy them once a year and every year I cringe at the price.  This year I decided to try something new. Sunflower seeds.  I buy them in 50lb quantities for my bread and salads.  So it's not like I don't have any on hand.
PS- I know you can make it also with walnuts... but I despise walnuts.

~4 cups of packed fresh Basil
2/3 cup Sunflower seeds
6 cloves of garlic
~1/3 - 2/3 cup of Olive Oil
1 cup of Parm or you favorite hard cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse your basil leaves and place them in your food processor.
Add in the sunflower seeds and pulse till everything is nicely chopped (not pureed).
Add in your garlic and pulse a few more times.
Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Turn on the food processor and add in the olive oil while it's running.
Scrape down the sides once more and add your salt and pepper.
I started with 1/2 tsp of salt and few cranks of the pepper mill.
Puree till you have the consistency you desire.
If you are eating it now or keeping it in the fridge, stir in your cheese.
If you are freezing it then don't add the cheese just yet. Place inside ice cube trays or container of your choice. If you do the ice cubes trays then you pop them out after a few hours and place inside a freezer bag.
They are easy to defrost and keep all winter long.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Frozen Banana Bites

This is the perfect snacking summer time treat. It almost taste like a banana split. A little bit healthy, a little bit chocolatey.  Who could go wrong?

Your favorite Chocolate
Sliced almonds or your favorite nut


Find a plate or tray that will fit nicely into your freezer without tipping. Slice bananas into chunks on a piece of parchment paper on tray/plate.  Melt chocolate in either double boiler on stove or in microwave. I opted for the microwave but had to add in a bit of milk to help the chocolate melt. Spoon or dip banana chunks into chocolate. Press almonds/nuts on top of banana bites. Freeze till hardened and transfer to a freezer bag or container. These are sooo good. I think you could get really creative with the toppings too.


Pizza Combos

Last night was a pizza night and I think it may have been our best yet. The garden is producing broccoli, basil, eggplant, and onions. What better way to enjoy a pizza than with your own garden fresh toppings?  Also I made my standard pizza dough, but substituted in 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and the dough was perfect-crispy bottom and soft crust.  Here is the link for the pizza dough recipe. 

Pizza #1: White Broccoli/Eggplant
Prep work:
Grill eggplant with olive oil till tender (add salt to taste).
Saute broccoli in cast iron pan with butter till tender (add some salt to taste)
Chop onion and saute them in butter till caramelized
Chop fresh basil and mix into Ricotta cheese.
Chop garlic, lots of it. You can either saute it or put on pizza as is.

Assemble time:
Spread ricotta mixture onto pizza dough. Layer on eggplant, broccoli, garlic, and onions.

Place in oven till the crust is turning a golden color and enjoy!

Pizza #2 Peach Basil Balsamic
Prep work:
~ cup or more of Balsamic Vinegar in a sauce pan on medium heat till thickened. Stir every so often, and don't let it burn.
Shred mozzarella cheese (make sure to get the good stuff)
Grill peach slices with olive oil (about 2 minutes per side grill on high)
Pick Basil

Assemble time:
Drizzle olive oil and evenly coat the dough. Layer the pizza with basil (don't be shy). Next put on heaps of mozzarella (definitely don't skimp or go with the cheap cheese either). Finally add the peaches. Place into the oven till crust is golden brown.  Drizzle balsamic reduction sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Broccoli Slaw

Summer has arrived and along side it... fresh veggies from the garden.  Nothing beats baskets overflowing with summer squash, snap peas, scapes, sage, oregano, swiss chard, and raspberries.  If you don't have room to grow your own garden, make sure to check out your local farmers market.  Talk to the vendors and find out what their favorite varieties are to grow and how they grow them.  The slugs have won out this year on our broccoli (well, at least till we plant our fall crop of it), but I was able to barter some of my bread for broccoli and chinese cabbage with the vendor next to me at the market. I seriously love bartering food with food or beer for food. Anyway I had 3 large crowns on broccoli to turn into something delicious. I came across this recipe from smitten kitchen and it was incredible!!!

2-3 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
~1/2 cup or more dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

This is not required, but I prefer to blanch my broccoli first.  Boil water on your stove, and add your broccoli for 30 sec- 1 minute. This softens the broccoli just enough for those who don't like it raw and it also brightens the green coloring of it.
Chop up your broccoli heads first and then your stalks into small pieces. Place those into a bowl with your cranberries and chopped onions.
If you have sliced almonds place them in an oven at 350 for about 5-10minutes to toast them. Toasting really brings out the flavor in the almonds. Add the almonds to the broccoli mixture.

Mix up the dressing ingredients, and add to the broccoli mixture. If you didn't use 3 heads of broccoli you might not need all the dressing.

Voila! Refrigerate and enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Parmesan Risotto Cakes

I was at a Bridal Shower a couple of months ago and it was catered with fantastic food.  There were these delicious round tasty patties with CHEESE! I of course had to find a recipe to make these at home and I stumbled across this site.  This recipe is easy with ingredients you can find at any grocery store.  Plus it makes about 24 cakes, so great for: a party/gathering, leftovers (just reheat them in the oven 10 minutes), or to freeze (haven't tried this, but I think they would hold up).
2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for sautéing cakes
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice
2-3 Tbs. white wine (optional)
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, heated
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan 
Pepper, to taste
2 cups cornmeal, or more as needed
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened almost caramelized. Add garlic and cook till browned. Add rice and stir to coat. If using white wine, add it to the mix to deglaze the pan and let liquid evaporate.

Ladle in chicken broth a small amount at a time, stirring constantly until all of the broth is absorbed before adding more. Continue cooking, maintaining a slow boil until all the broth is incorporated and rice is al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan (or your favorite cheese). Season to taste with  pepper.

Let sit until cool enough to handle, or spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil or grapeseed oil in a nonstick skillet, enough to just coat the bottom of the pan. Working one at a time, portion and mold risotto into one-inch balls and lightly dredge in cornmeal, pushing down to form a flat cake. (If risotto is not sticky enough to hold together, you can stir in a few teaspoons of cornmeal to help bind the rice.) Gently drop cakes into pan and cook each side until golden brown, about one to two minutes per side.

The cakes can warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes before serving time.

Brown Sugar

Have you ever run out of Brown Sugar? Here is a simple easy recipe that may surprise you.  I bake bread as a side business and one of my top selling breads is Cinnamon Raisin.  I got tired of having to buy brown sugar in those little packages. So here we go.... are you ready?

1 cup of regular sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses for light brown sugar or 1.5-2 tablespoons for dark brown sugar

Take the two ingredients and mix them.
You can use an electric mixer, a bowl and fork, spoon, your hands (I don't really recommend this), etc.
I prefer to use my mixer and do about 3 cups at a time.

Store it in an air tight container.  This is a nice way to have soft fresh brown sugar that you don't have to take a hammer to in order to use. 

***Tip: if you do have some rock hard abs brown sugar, place a piece of bread in the bag and it will soften it up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shrimp Tacos

TortillasI am a big fan of Pioneer Woman, if you haven't heard of her check out her website (awesome recipes w/photos, give-aways, and more).  She recently posted a Shrimp Tacos recipe .... and even though I am not one to mix seafood and mexican, It looked absolutely delicious. I exchanged the Pico de Gallo for fresh mango salsa and did a little bit different of a coleslaw recipe.


1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
4 carrots
1 onion sliced thin
~1/4 cup Mayonnaise
6 Tablespoon Rice or White Vinegar 
~2 Tablespoon Sugar (to taste)
Salt to taste

Chop or slice thinly the cabbage, carrots, and onion. Place them into a large bowl and mix in the vinegar, mayo, sugar, and salt. If you prefer a more creamy slaw then add more mayo, if you like a more vinegary slaw then less mayo and more vinegar.  Place in fridge and let it chill. It's a good idea to do this either the night before or at least an hour before dinner. 

Mango or Peach

Chop the ingredients of your choice and mix together.  I made a list of what I like to put in my salsa, but you really can't go wrong.

2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1-1/2 pound Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined, Tails Removed
1 can (6 Ounces Approx) Mexican Tomato Sauce Or Enchilada Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Heat up oil in a large frying pan and add in shrimp. Once they have turned pink and are cooked, add in the Tomato Sauce and cumin. Cook until the sauce is bubbly.

Grab a plate, place a tortilla down, then add your shrimp w/sauce, the coleslaw, salsa, sour cream, and then a slice of avocado.  Enjoy!

PS- My next post will be making your own Tortillas!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

I love pulled pork. Dinosaur BBQ out in Syracuse, NY was one my favorite places to eat. They know how to do BBQ! Since we do not own a smoker, the crock pot is the next best way to make pulled pork. This recipe puts a different spin on the traditional BBQ pulled pork.  Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.

Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce

One 2 lb boneless pork loin, cut into 4 pieces
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1/3 cup prepared teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

For Serving:
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
2 limes

  1. Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Put the pork, bell peppers, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and garlic in the cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW until the pork is fork-tender, 8-9 hrs

  1. Remove the pork from the cooker and coarsely chop.  Add the peanut butter to the liquid in cooker; stir well to dissolve the peanut butter and blend with the liquid to make the sauce.  Return the pork to the sauce and toss to coat the meat evenly.

  1. Serve in shallow bowls over hot jasmine rice, and sprinkle each serving with some of the green onions and peanuts.  Pass the lime wedges.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maple Syrup Dressing

Who doesn't love Maple Syrup? In our house you can catch people drinking it straight, putting it in coffee, or sweetening up the homemade yogurt. I seriously buy it by the gallon. I also use it in my Maple Oat Bread that I bake for the markets.  So try out this dressing and I know you'll become a fan. 

Maple Syrup Dressing

3/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 clove of garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix them in the order listed at enjoy over your favorite salad (with goat cheese of course)!
So I've been working on a quilt for my bedroom for a while. I am new to quilting, but really having fun with the whole process. I am not one to necessarily follow a patter, but get an idea in my head and develop it as I come across different fabrics. I have just finished the top part and now I have to figure out what to do with the back (cream muslin or another color?) and how to actually do the quilting.  In the meantime, here are few photos of my creation and any comments would be appreciated. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Honey Poppy Seed Dressing

How tired are you of the same old salad dressings from the store? Over-priced, filled with bad for you (and tasting) oils, or lack any flavor type dressing. Nothing like warmer weather that sets in the craving for delicious garden salad and it is up the dressing that can either have your taste buds dancing or drown it in a pile of hydrogenated oils. I am here to rescue your salads and taste buds with a series of fantastic, simple, and delicious salad dressings.

Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
1/4 cup of honey (preferably local. one of these days we'll get some bees of our own)
3 tablespoons of Cider Vinegar (or something fruity)
2 teaspoons of your favorite mustard
2 teaspoons of poppy seeds
1 small shallot or 2 tablespoons of minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil (preferably Extra Virgin, First Cold Press)

Whisk the honey, vinegar, and mustard together till thoroughly mixed.
Continue to whisk in the poppy seeds shallot/onion, and salt/pepper.
Lastly, whisk in the olive oil.

You'll probably want to double this recipe because it is sooo good.


tomorrow I'll post one that contains Maple Syrup ( I buy it by the gallon)

Monday, April 23, 2012


Have you tried the Graham Crackers yet? Good, now you are ready for the Marshmallows. I found this recipe through King Arthur Flour, but modified it to include Maple Syrup instead of Corn Syrup (one of those "ingredients" that I try very hard to avoid).  I started making these 2 years ago when I was pregnant and had my daily fix of hot chocolate w/ marshmallows of course!

To begin you will need:
A tall pot
Candy Thermometer
No distractions or multitasking 

3 packages (1/4-ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cool water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cool water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Combine the sugar, maply syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup cool water in a small, deep saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. 
Here comes the tricky, pay attention part: 
Raise the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. You may have to tilt the pot so you'll have more liquid to get a more accurate reading. Also use your nose and do not let it burn!! I know I have removed it before it reached 240°F and it still turned out great. Remove from the heat.

With mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin. Increase the speed to high, and whip until the mixture is very thick and fluffy, and has cooled to lukewarm, 8 to 10 minutes. (It should be cool enough that you can spread it into the pan without burning your fingers.)

Spread the marshmallow mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan (glass or ceramic is best). Use your wet hands to smooth and flatten the marshmallows. Sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the top, and let sit for several hours (or overnight) before cutting. Use a greased knife or cookie cutters to make squares or other shapes. Yield: about 100 1" squares.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Graham Crackers

       I have been slacking with my posts. My darling little Rosalie recently turned 1 and man does she keep me busy.  Where once I was able to make 50 loaves of bread with her home (thank you Johnny Jump-up), now I can barely get the dishes done.  But I really don't mind, she is my little explorer and refuses to be left out of the kitchen!
      I came across a recipe for Graham Crackers in a Fine Cooking magazine. Chris and I were in an airport heading out to California for my brother-in-laws wedding and of course you have to check out the magazines while you are stuck with a layover. This is when I came across Fine Cooking for the first time. Let me tell you, this magazine is by far my most favorite; few ads, seasonal recipes. beautiful photographs, and great tips.  I use to be a big fan of Bon Appetite (this is where I learned how to cook), but then the advertisements really piled up and their recipes just seemed strange or filled with too many ingredients that were hard to come by. Anyway, Fine Cooking I highly recommend it. They also put out Fine Woodworking, Fine Gardening, and Fine Homebuilding. 
      So... Graham Crackers. This tasty, sweet, s'more buddy goodness is not that hard to make and will have you making them for a party because you can't bring yourself to buy them from the store. So beware, I warned you.

5 oz. (1 cup) whole-wheat graham flour
5 oz. (1 cup 2 Tbs.) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbs. milk
3 Tbs. honey
1-1/2 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Put both flours, and the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk the milk, honey, molasses, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and pulse (do not hit the ON button and walk away) until a dough begins to form.

Remove the dough from the food processor and transfer to a large piece of parchment.  Roll the dough into a ball and then roll it out till it's about 1/8-inch-thick. You may need to add a bit of flour to keep it from sticking.

With a pizza cutter, divide the dough into 2-inch squares (press just hard enough to cut the dough and not the paper). With a fork, prick each square 3 or 4 times (or even more fun, make smiley faces or your initials). Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on the sheet.

Next up: Marshmallows

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Every year I make sure to plant sugar pumpkins so we can have pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies (w/cream cheese frosting of course), and pumpkin spice muffins. In the fall, once the pumpkins have turned their gorgeous orange color I roast them in the oven.  I take the soft fleshy inside to puree it and freeze in ziplock bags for just this purpose.  It's really a nice reward, when it's February and you aren't going to find any sugar pumpkins in the grocery store.  Sure you can go with the canned pumpkin, but I really prefer the homegrown kind.  These muffins are so tasty that you might want to double the recipe because they really disappear that quickly.  You can add a cream cheese frosting to these, but I don't think they really need it. Also these are fantastic snacks for your little ones. Miss Rosalie absolutely loves them (10 months old). 
                                                    Rosalie contemplating how to eat her muffin

1 cup All-purpose Flour or Organic Bread Flour (which is what I always have on hand)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter soften, cut into pieces
1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla 

Preheat your oven to 400.
Take the soften butter and whip it in your mixer.  
Add in one at a time, mixing after each addition the sugar, eggs, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla.  

Mix the rest of your dry ingredients in a separate bowl before you add them to the pumpkin mixture. Do not over mix, but make sure it's all incorporated.  

Grease your muffin tins or use paper ones. Fill up the tins 1/2-3/4 of the way. Bake for about 20 minutes depending on the size of the muffin tins. 


Yes, she ate the whole thing!

    Tuesday, January 31, 2012


     Whenever there is any sort of question of what to do for dinner at dinner time and you're hungry... breakfast seems to be a great answer whether it's pancakes, waffles, frittata or quiche. I have tried many pancake recipes and this one I found through King Arthur, and it's my absolute favorite.  So toss out your Bisquick and pull out some flour, you won't be disappointed!


    2 large eggs
    1 1/4 cups milk (buttermilk is even better)
    3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups All-purpose or bread flour
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    2 tablespoons sugar

    Place eggs and milk in a mixer and place on high speed for about 3 minutes. You want it to be nice and fluffy/airy.   Stir in the oil/butter.  In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until they are incorporated. Scrap down the sides if necessary. Do not over mix! Let it rest for 15 minutes. Perfect time to fry up some bacon. Cook on a griddle or frying pan with butter.  Enjoy with some real deal pure maple syrup!

    Variations: Add in blueberries, chopped apples, sliced bananas, strawberries, pumpkin puree, pecans, and/or spices.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012


    Who doesn't love pizza? This food group (yes I consider it be to a food group) can be so versatile with it's toppings to mix and match, and types of crust. Pepperoni, sausage, basil, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, peppers, goat cheese, apples (yes I said apples), onions (caramelized of course), olives, etc. It doesn't matter what we have in the house, we can always find some combo to make a pizza. Here is my basic dough recipe and some photos of the masterpiece classic marinara and mozzarella pizza.
    Also I have to say that I'm partial to cooking pizza on stones in the oven. There is really no other way to get the perfect crust.

    1/2 cup of water
    1/2 cup of cold milk (local milk)
    1 tbsp yeast
    1 tbsp  olive oil
    3 cups of Organic Bread Flour (Westport, NY)
    2 tsp salt

    Mix the ingredients together with dough hook. The dough should be soft and pull away from the sides of your mixer.  Let it rise for 1 hour.

    Preheat your oven to 500 F.  Roll out your dough with either corn meal or flour.  Place it on a pizza peel (my husband makes gorgeous peels if you would like to place an order for one, send me an email). Add the toppings of your choice: Mine were a homemade marinara sauce and homemade mozzarella. Slide onto a pizza stone and cook for about 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pizza, the timing will depend on how thin you rolled out your dough.

    Say Cheese .... 30 minute Mozzarella

    I Love, Love, Love Cheese.  Cabot's Hunter's Seriously Sharp Cheddar, Munster, Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, etc. I could just keep going.  A few years ago I purchased Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll.  My recommendation is start with the soft cheeses because:
    1. They are easier
    2. You don't have to wait that long to eat them
    3. The equipment is minimal (no need for a cheese cave, although it would be really cool.... if you had a cheese cave what would you name it?)

    1 1/2 level tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup of cool water
    1 gallon of pasteurized milk (no ultra pasteurized-won't work)
    1/4 tsp liquid rennet (animal or vegetable) diluted in 1/4 cup of cool water
    1 tsp of salt (optional)

    Heat milk up over low/medium heat.  When the milk reaches 55F, mix in the citric acid solution.
    Once the milk reaches 90F stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion and heat till the milk reaches 100-105 F.
    Turn off the heat.  The curds should be pulling away from the sides of the pot (3-5 minutes).  The curds should look like thick yogurt and have some shine to them.  If the whey (liquid) is still milky white, let it stand a bit longer.

    Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon into a microwaveable bowl. Pressing the curds, pour off as much whey as you can.  (reserve the whey).

    Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute. Drain the whey, and gently kneed/fold over the cheese with your hand or spoon.

    Microwave the curds two more times for 30 seconds following the same directions above.  You can add salt after the second time you microwave the cheese.
    As you kneed the cheese, it turns into a smooth texture.

    Now you can either consume it immediately (very hard to resist),  or you can shape it into balls and put it in cold water to cool it down and then refrigerate. 

    The whey you have left over is perfect to use as soup stock. You can either use immediately, put it into the fridge for a week, or freeze it for future soups.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Perogie, Pierogi, Pierogy, Pyrogy

    No matter how you spell it, this Polish style dish is delicious. The word pierogi is plural since no one only eats one pierog (the singular).  Who can resist mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese stuffed inside sour cream dough fried with caramelized onions.  If you really have the energy and extra hands available its really fantastic to make a few dozen to throw in the freezer for those nights you really don't want to make dinner or have nothing to take for lunch. I typically end up making pierogi when I have extra mashed potatoes on hand or use leftover mashed potatoes from the pierogi for potato bread.

    2 cups flour (Westport, NY)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup sour cream (Cabot VT)
    1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces (Cabot, VT)
    butter and onions for sauteing

    I go with the classic potato and cheese. You can do any combo: sauerkraut, meat, bacon, etc.
    Prepare the potatoes as you would for mashed potatoes. Add in milk, butter, salt, pepper, and don't forget the cheese. I am a big fan of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar I buy it in the 2lb size.

    Place the flour and salt into a food processor or into a mixer with a dough hook. (I prefer the food processor for this recipe).  Add in the egg, sour cream, and butter. Pulse the food processor, keeping an eye on the dough.  Do not over mix the dough. You want most of the ingredients to be incorporated and you can finish kneading it by hand. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge from 20 minutes to overnight.

    Roll your dough out either with a rolling pin or my preferred method the pasta roller hooked up to the Kitchen Aid ( I swear there isn't a day that goes by that I don't use my Kitchen Aid).  I'd roll the dough to about 1/8" thick or number 4/5 on the pasta roller.

    Place the dough on a floured counter.  Use a tablespoon to place the potato mixture onto the dough and place them about 1/2" apart staying on one side of the dough. Once the row is filled, fold over the dough sealing the ends.

    Take a pizza cutter to cut them into individual pierog and use a fork along side the edges. If the pierogi are not sealing, then use a bit of water to help (and less flour next time). Place them on a cooling rack while you are making the rest of them.

    Once your pot of water is boiling, gently place in several pierogi so they do not touch each other.  They might sink to the bottom initially, but should then float to the top.  Cook them till the water reaches boiling once again (5-10 minutes) and remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse with cold water and place back on the cooling rack.  Repeat til all the pierogi are cooked.

    Next you can either fry or bake the pierogi. I opt to fry with butter. You want low heat and to flip often so they do not stick.  It also nice to caramelize onions before you fry the pierogi so you can throw them back in with the pierogi and everything will be ready all together.

    Serve with ketchup, sour cream or by themselves.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Heart and Dove Shaped Pasta w/ Chicken Soup

     Heart and Dove Shaped Pasta with Chicken Soup

    Christmas and New Years have come and gone.  Every year it sneaks up and is over in a blink of an eye. Chris and I traveled to New York again to spend the holidays with family.  This year was different since we were traveling with Miss Rosalie who is now 8 1/2 months old.  She did fantastic with the car ride and being passed around, it was just the whole sleeping part. I think the excitement of the gifts and family and her 1st cold played a part. Finally at home, she is sleeping much better, although I think I have caught her cold.  Nothing horrible, but just enough to want to curl up on the couch and eat soup.  So I scoped out my freezer and found turkey broth, a whole chicken, and carrots from the garden. Instead of doing noodles that are tough to slurp up, I thought it would be fun to try out new shapes. Grab your favorite cookie cutter and get stampin'!

    Pasta Noodles

    2 eggs (local farm)
    1/2 salt
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1-2 cups of Organic Bread Flour (Westport, NY)

    Mix together ingredients in your Kitchen Aid mixer, but don't add in all the flour just yet. I typically start out using the flat beater and once all the dough is incorporated I switch over to the dough hook. Add enough flour for the dough to be soft, but not sticky. Lastly I will finish kneading it by hand to get the best consistency. Make sure not to over knead it, otherwise it will be tough and not int a good way. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stick it in your fridge for at least 1/2 hr.
    Take out your dough and run it through your pasta maker. Once you get it to your desired thinness (~ number 5), select your favorite cookie cutter shape. Cut out the pasta and lay on a cooling rack to dry(~30 minutes). Boil some water with salt (so your water boils faster) and olive oil (so the pasta doesn't stick together) and throw your pasta in. It should only take about 3-5 minutes to cook. You can see the color change from a yellowish to a whiter color. Remove pasta shapes and add to your favorite soup.

     Chicken Soup
    1 whole chicken (Chestnut Farms Hardwick, MA)
    3-4 carrots (frozen from our garden)
     4-6 cups of Turkey Stock (from a local turkey Oakham, MA)
    Salt to taste
    Spices to taste

    Roast Chicken at 350 F for 40 minutes (depending on size). Cut into pieces and add to turkey stock and carrots. Add salt, spices, and pasta noodles.