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.