Sunday, October 19, 2014

We Do Love Pizza

Was that pizza last Sunday a fluke? Well, one way to find out is making it again! Even made it in the heart shape.

One pie was onion, pancetta and bacon, guess who's pie that was. 
And the other was hot and sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and olives. Both had Mozzarella and Parmigiana cheese. They were both delicious. So we will be making our pizzas using this recipe from this day forward.

Being Sunday I had to do some bread baking. Kept it simple and used the 18 hour recipe. This is a no fail bread.

Last night we ate dinner with Lenore and Ralph. Ralph has a few fig trees that he got from my Dad. They were small and probably in coffee cans he received them. Last night Ralph gave me a bag with some figs from these trees.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of. As I bit into the fig I was back in my parent's yard standing next to my Dad who was waiting to see if I liked the fig. It was delicious and perfectly ripe. A lovely food memory.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chicken, Pancetta, Apples and Leeks

Before I get to dinner, I want to say Happy Birthday to my sister Lenore.

I know I have told you all about the restaurant that Chris and I worked in when we met, Nancy Lee's. There was a dish on the menu, Chicken with Leeks and Bacon. It was delicious. Well, I took it up a notch tonight. Bacon, no I used Pancetta. Pancetta always wins out over bacon. And the apples were a nice addition

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Anniversary Heart Shaped Pizza

Have you seen this month's Bon Appetit? The photo on the cover is a of a pizza baked in the type of pan that I use. A rectangle baking pan. That is how my mom did it and that is what I do. Now in the article they describe a step that I remember my mom doing, but I have not up until tonight. Put the dough in the pan and let it rise again. Okay, this was the missing link in why my pizza did not match what my mom put on the table. I was not doing that last step. There was a snap to crust. It was crisper than before. Chris agreed this was the way to proceed in making pizza. A note to my nephew Nicholas- you have to try this! And I added some Parmesan cheese to the crust before the sauce. I followed the Bon Appetit recipe for the sauce, minus the anchovies. This was the best pizza I have had since I was little and eating my mom's pizza on a Sunday night. I still used the Jim Lahey recipe for the crust. I was not about to stray from that recipe.

And the heart shape was because today is our Wedding Anniversary!

And while we are on the subject of Jim Lahey I made his Pane Integrale, Whole Wheat Bread recipe.

We had our egg and cheese sandwiches on it for breakfast this morning.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pork Chops and Homemade Apple Sauce

I made an amazingly delicious apple sauce to accompany tonight's breaded pork chops. The moist and delicious pork chops. The Apple Sauce was Alton Brown's recipe.

This is my version of his recipe, I just used different apples.

6 Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
2 tablespoons cognac 
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a sealable microwave-safe container, combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender or potato masher, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I found the recipe for Spicy Sausage Pasta on the blog, Kevin & Amanda. Loved this dish. One pan to wash. Perfect for a Friday night. The spice level was not too much. The sauce was delicious. I used some of the homemade Chicken broth that I had in the freezer. And I used Al Fresco Chicken Sausage, with Roasted Pepper and Asiago.
1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb smoked sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 cups diced onion

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 (10 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 oz Campanelle pasta

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

1. Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

And 23 years ago tonight was our wedding rehearsal dinner. It was held at the Guilford Tavern, which sadly is no longer open. Today I received 2 dozen roses from Chris.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beef and Barley Onion Soup

Remember the Braised Short Ribs? Well, there was stock left over. I do believe that is what made this soup over the top delicious. I found this recipe, Beef and Barley Onion Soup, which I was pretty sure Chris would like.

I made a few changes in the original recipe. I did not use the mushrooms. And I did not add the slice of bread and place the bowl under the broiler. I do not have soup bowls that can go under the broiler and they do not have them in stock at Bed Bath Beyond, yes, I stopped on my way home to see if I could pick up 2 bowls. So we just sprinkled the cheese on top.

Wow Wow Wow. This was delicious. I am sure it would be just as good with a canned beef broth, but I was happy to be able to use the stock up.

This is my version of Beef and Barley Onion Soup-

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) lean boneless sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch strips
4 cups water
2/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
10 1/2-ounce beef stock
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallots, and ginger; sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the sugar, and beef. Sauté 10 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add the next 4 ingredients (water through consommé); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
Sprinkle bowls of soup with shredded Swiss Cheese.

This Note is from the original recipe. Note: This soup will freeze well for up to two months. Pour into an airtight container, leaving enough room for expansion (usually an inch or two at the top). To reheat, thaw completely in the refrigerator; then place contents in a saucepan over low heat, adding some liquid if necessary.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One Tray Bake

Who doesn't love Jamie Oliver recipes? Super easy to follow and the results are always delicious. This is such a good recipe. The flavors were perfect. Even the burnt on pieces at the bottom of the pan were enjoyed.

Small ciabatta loaf
8 chicken thighs or drumsticks (I used a whole chicken cut into parts)
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
Bunch of basil, leaves picked
1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves, skin on
Handful of black olives, stoned
Olive oil
1 dried red chili
8 slices of pancetta, or thin-sliced smoked streaky bacon

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.  Get a deep roasting tray big enough to fit all the chicken in one layer. Rip the ciabatta into medium-sized chunks and place in the tray with the chicken, tomatoes, basil, garlic cloves and olives. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the chili. Toss to mix up well, then reposition the chicken on top. Bake in the oven, turning the chicken after 30 minutes.

2. After another 30 minutes, drape the pancetta or bacon on top of the chicken and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and falling off the bone.