Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time for Linzers!

Linzer Tarts! Or as my mom called them Linzies cookies.

These are probably my least favorite cookie to make, but they are one of my most favorite cookies to eat! They are a real yummy treat, and a favorite in our family.

When my mom made these she would make them a little smaller and she'd also double up on the dough  so she'd have plenty to give away on her famous cookie trays.

Everyone, from the girl in the bank to the butcher at the supermarket got a cookie tray from my mother for Christmas.  She would start baking the day after Thanksgiving and continue to bake right up to Christmas. It's the only time of the year if we wanted to stay home from school and were faking an illness that she gave in and let us stay home,  hey, she had 2 more hands to help bake!

I have many fond memories of the baking episodes at night when my mother would get together with a few friends mainly Margie, Marie and Tommy, and they would start to get silly and form the Italian cookies into balls ;) . They would laugh and so would we!

But during the day it was all business and no time for fun and games. My mother's cookies were a work of art. Everyone looked forward to getting a beautiful cookie assortment from her.

Linzer tarts were a big hit. The ones pictured are the ones I made. They may not be Santa's favorite, but they are one of mine.

Linzer Tarts

1/2 pound butter
3  cups flour
1 cup sugar
grated lemon peel

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon Arrow Kirsch

Raspberry seedless preserves/jam
or jam to your liking

Mix the first 4 ingredients well as you would making a pie crust.  Add 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of sour cream and the Arrow Kirsh. ( Here's what I did, I used greek yogurt instead, because I didn't have the sour cream and I used a Strawberry Liquor instead of the Kirsch because...I didn't have any!)
Wrap the dough in Saran wrap and chill for at least an hour.
(If you can make the dough the night before and then work with it the next day, even better!)
Cut the dough into 4 pieces and working with chilled dough roll out to approx. 1/4 ".  (I can't get it any thinner than that and still keep it's shape while transferring the shapes to the cookie sheet.)
Using your favorite cookie cutter, cut out the form you want to use. I made them in circles this time, but also love making them into hearts or stars.
These will be the bottom of your cookie.
Cut out the same  number of cookies with the shape you are using and with a smaller cookie cutter, cut out the center. If you want to get fancy you could use a star shape to make the center cutout. It looks so pretty! I wish I had remembered to do that! lol
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a preheated  375 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes.
Let the cookies rest 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer them to a baking rack. Let them cool completely.
Spread a little jam on the bottom cookie, cover with the top of the cookie and then sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Make extra, in fact go ahead and double the dough. You are going to wish you had more!

Yum! Yum! Yum!
Buone Appetito

Monday, November 11, 2013

Making Pasta with Friends

Cooking with the Goomahs. Episode 1!

Please do not take offense. Goomahs (pl), or as we say, now sound it out  Goo ma ahs is not a bad word. It doesn't mean what you think it means!   The word actually comes from the Italian word Comare which means Godmother. So when my girlfriends and I get together we call each other the Goomahs. We are the Goomahs. We are Godmothers to each others daughters!

The other day we got together and decided to make some pasta together.
I don't know how much Mariann really absorbed of the process since she was busy making cardone, 'scarole and beans, and stew. I should also mention that we were consuming alcoholic beverages. Let's just say it was a fun day.  At the end of the day, we all ate well.

This is the pasta recipe I have that has been in my family for many years. It is the recipe we use as our dough for our  homemade ravioli.

When we make ravioli we make 400 dozen. The following recipe over the years has been  accommodated to our needs. We work with 5 pounds, 8 pounds or 10 pounds of flour at a time.
Feel free to adjust to your own needs.

Pasta Recipe

10 lbs flour

6 cups  luke warm water or more as needed
8 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
olive oil  (1/4 - cup to 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons salt

mix all ingredients together until the dough starts to form adding the water a little at a time. The dough should be more on the dry side then on the wet side.

8lbs flour

4 1/2 cups warm water or more as needed
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
olive oil (1/4 cup )
2 1/2 tablespoons salt

5 lbs flour

2 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
1 Heaping Tablespoon Salt
3 cups warm water or more as needed
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil*
* This is an estimate, we don't measure, we just eye ball.

Once every thing is mixed divide your dough in sections and using a damp cloth cover what you are not going to work with.

Run your dough through a pasta machine so it is smooth. I usually will work the dough between the numbers 5 - 6 on the dial depending on the type of pasta we want to eat. We like it very thin, light and fluffy!
For more pictures of homemade pasta look here, here and for an actual video of pasta making while I was in Rome click here.

Buon Appetito

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

We love pumpkins! Pumpkins can add so much flavor and moisture to whatever you are baking. Did you know that you can substitute a can of pumpkin puree for the oil and eggs in a cake mix? The outcome is a rich and moist delicious cake! Did I mention that it also has less calories? Amazing.

I found this recipe the other day while looking for recipes for pumpkins. Scones. I've never made scones. However, I know I like to eat scones! Not being a fabulous baker, I didn't know if they were difficult to make. I tend to look for easy recipes when baking.  So when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Harvest Scones  by King Arthur Flour I gave it a thumbs up and I put it on my list of things to try to bake.

I'll be bringing a big basket of these to our family gathering for Thanksgiving Dinner!

I adapted the recipe from the King Arthur Flour Harvest Pumpkin Scones recipe. For the original recipe please follow the link I have provided.  I didn't have cinnamon chips, or crystalized ginger chips. On my next shopping trip I'll pick those up.
These were easy enough to make.  We were eating them hot out of the oven. Delicious!

Pumpkin Scones

2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup cold butter cut into pats

2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs

1 cup dried cranberries (choc. chips, cinnamon chips, raisins, etc)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and work into dry ingredients. Your mixture will be uneven and crumbly. Do not over work. It's ok if you see pieces of butter that haven't been fully incorporated.
Add dried cranberries/raisins.

In another bowl whisk pumpkin with the 2 large eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.
With a spoon mix in together. Do not over mix, or the scones will become tough. The dough will be lumpy,  and sticky.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and flour the parchment paper.

Divide the dough in half and form 2 circles each  about 5" - 6 " round and 3/4 inch thick.

Brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Using a knife cut into 6 pieces/wedges and gently pull apart so that the pieces don't touch each other, about 1/2 inch apart.  Freeze for 30 minutes uncovered.

While the scones are in the freezer preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bake scones 22 - 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out of the center clean.


If you have any questions, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

Boun Appeitito!
Hot and out of the oven 
Circles brushed with milk

cut into 6 wedges
Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon

into freezer for 30 minutes

Another batch of yumm!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is an Italian Pasta dish from Rome that is based on eggs, cheese, bacon (or pancetta) and black pepper.
While these ingredients are few and the dish sounds simple enough this dish has always been difficult for me to make.

Many times I have thrown this into the garbage because the egg mixture became scrambled. While the taste is still there it just doesn't look that appealing. Curdled eggs just don't look good.

The other day while I was making this I decided to try to add some of the hot pasta water to the egg mixture. It's a technique I use while I'm making Avgolemono Soup, a very tasty Greek egg and lemon soup to prevent the eggs from scrambling. I thought if it works with the soup, maybe this will have a chance.
I was extremely happy with the outcome. My dish was perfect! It was creamy, smokey from the bacon and peppery just the way it's supposed to be!
This is a rich hearty dish, full of flavor.
If your looking for a wine to pair with this try a White Wine.  Try an Italian wine from the Roman Hills called Frascati. You'll love the way the wine and the dish compliment each other.

1/4 White Onion thinly sliced
4 slices of Thick Cut Peppered Bacon (Burgers Smokehouse preferred)
Pancetta may also be used in place of the bacon
2 egg yolks
fresh cracked black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese-freshely grated
1/4 cup pecorino ramano - freshly grated
2 Tablespoons sweet unsalted butter
approximately 1 cup of reserved pasta water
1 pound spaghetti

In a skillet on medium heat cook the onion until transparent. Add the bacon and cook until bacon is cooked and fat is rendered but not crispy. Set aside.

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a rolling boil. Salt the water to taste. Add spaghetti and cook as instructed. Do not over cook.

While spaghetti is cooking beat two egg yolks with a fork and add the cheeses. This will make a very thick paste.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

While the spaghetti is cooking, using a ladle remove some of the pasta water and a little at a time add it to the egg mixture. You do not want the eggs to scramble. Keep adding the pasta water until your mixture is loose.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the water.

Add the egg mixture to the spaghetti a little at a time until all is mixed in, toss with the bacon and onions. If too thick add a little more of the pasta water.

Top with some freshly grated cheese and another turn or two from the pepper mill and serve.

Buon Appetito

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hey, remember me?

I do remember you!

I do apologize for not keeping a steady flow of new recipes and ideas coming your way. I do promise to be a little bit better about it.

There are many days that we sit down and enjoy a fantastic meal. Some days it's something new and exciting and some days it's just a repeat of a family favorite. When it's something new and it's really good, someone will say, "why don't you write about that?" The answer is really so very simple.  I didn't document a single moment in preparing the meal, nor did I take a picture of anything before the plates were completely swiped clean! So there, you have the reason why I haven't been posting. Like the Rod Stewart song says, "Every picture tells a story don't it"? I may not be able to clearly express myself through my words all the time but if I have a picture....well, sometimes it's all I need!

Tonight was perfect. I found myself alone in the house, getting ready to make dinner for myself. (Yes, I do cook for myself. I enjoy good food. It's more fun to dine with others but hey, if I'm going to eat alone its got to be good!)

I spent a huge amount of time on the computer today researching some places to stay in Cabo and started yearning for those tastes that come from across the border. There was a dish that I shared with my daughter Zoe on a trip a few years back, a delicious seafood soup, and decided to play with those flavors. Lucky for me, I always have an extra bag of shrimp and calamari in the freezer. My camera was ready to go and I was all set up.

I started by chopping an onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 2 bunches of green onions (we also call them scallions) and on medium heat cooked them until they began to sweat. At this time I added one jalapeƱo pepper which I had finely diced.
My friend Bobby is so good to me. He sent me this fabulous seasoning from Mexico and I added 2 tablespoons of the seasoning to the garlic and onions and then added just enough tequila to make the mixture move a little.
I let the tequila cook off a little, and if you would like you may also add some wine at this time. Give the wine enough time for the alcohol to burn off before adding the squid or shrimp. I added about 2 pounds of squid, which were cleaned and the tubes were cut into rings. Italian plum tomatoes were then hand crushed, about 2 pounds, and mixed in. Protect yourself! It's a messy job hand squishing tomatoes. Without an apron my shirt gets zapped with tomato juice!
Next add the 2 pounds of shrimp, I like to use the size 12-16 to a pound , they are nice and plump and can be cut into a bite size and still have a clean fresh taste. I clean the shrimp, devein them and remove the tails. They are big enough to cut into 3 pieces each.
Add a handful of fresh chopped cilantro, fresh sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste. and Cook for another 5 minutes - 10 minutes. You do not want to over cook the shrimp or the calamari.
Ladle the soup into a nice big bowl,  give it a squeeze of some fresh lime juice,  garnish with a few slices of avocado and chopped cilantro, serve with a Tostadas, and enjoy!
Buon appetito
Lorraine ❤

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Almost Monday

Has it already been a week?
Time really does go by quickly when having fun!

I'm leaving on a Mexican adventure. I plan on coming back with plenty of photos of the delicious cuisine offered in Baja Mexico!

In the meantime, I have entered a pizza that my family and I love to make  (and eat) into a contest. It's the Cavit's 8 annual pizza contest offered on facebook. So...if you have access to facebook, I sure would love it if you would be kind enough to vote for me.  Please tell some of your friends too! I really appreciate the votes!

The recipe for this yummy pizza is posted on the contest page! Enjoy!

Here's the link! Thanks so much!
Nona's sun dried tomato and pepperoni pizza

Have a great week!

Buon Appetito

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Brand New Year

I can't believe that it has been so long since my last post.
Looking back on this past year has been full of many wonderful moments to reflect on.
There have also been some very emotional raw moments that have taken the wind out of my sails on some days.
I've let my sails flap a little too long without direction.
It's time for me to make a move so to speak and take charge, so, I'm back!
I may not post every day, but I would like to make a commitment to post a recipe at least once a week. Hopefully, for those of you who haven't given up on me you will look forward to seeing my posts come every Monday.
As always I love to hear from you. If you would like me to post a recipe that you have seen me post a picture of on pinterest or facebook, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to share the recipe with you!

Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

8 Chicken Thighs on the bone with skin on
salt and pepper
2 lemons, juiced
2 tsp capers 
4 cloves garlic, smashed
5 cups baby spinach leaves
1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup liquid (water or chicken stock)
1/2 cup white wine * optional

In a pan that is large enough to cook all the chicken heat up enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  I cook the chicken on a medium heat level.
Season each piece of chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary leaves.
Place the chicken skin side down in the pan and let the chicken skin get nice and crispy. Let it cook. Do not try to turn it right away.  After about 10 minutes, when it is ready, the chicken will kind of release itself. The skin should be nice and crispy and you should have a beautiful golden brown color on each piece of chicken. Turn each piece of chicken over and continue to cook. Add the smashed garlic to the pan.  Add the juice from the 2 lemons, scraping the bottom of the pan to help it deglaze. Add a little bit of water at this time if needed. Add the capers, wine and artichoke hearts and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. Depending on the size of the chicken thighs, usually about another 15 minutes.  If you need more liquid add some chicken stock or some water. 
You don't want the chicken to be covered with the liquid, you just want there to be some liquid in the pan.
When the chicken is done, (clear juices runs by the bone) spoon the chicken and it's juices over the spinach. The spinach will wilt, and you will have a delicious tasting dish. It's so easy to make and everyone will enjoy it. 
If you would like to use chicken breasts rather than thighs please adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Buon Appetito