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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Almond and Orange Biscotti




I love nothing more than a good steamy tumbler of coffee in the morning.  I love pastries and sweet things with my coffee...This particular recipe for Almond and Orange Biscotti I got from a "follower of a follower" on Twitter. Check it out-

INGREDIENTS-

2 cups raw, unpeeled almonds

2 eggs, plus 1, for glaze

3 egg yolks, plus 1 if needed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Zest of 1 orange

2 1/2 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, for glaze

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 (.5 ounce/16 g) package Lievito Pane degu Angeli (vanilla-flavored Italian leavener)

Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS-

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet until fragrant, about 8 minutes, watching to ensure they don’t burn.

In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat 2 eggs, 3 yolks, melted butter, orange zest and 2 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light in color and smooth in texture.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, package of Lievito Pane degu Angeli, and a pinch of salt. Then slowly, one spoonful at the time, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until the dough forms and starts to come away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. The dough should not be too wet, if it crumbles, add an extra egg yolk to bind the ingredients.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the almonds by hand.

Butter 2 cookie sheets and, using your hands, separate the dough in two equal parts. Stretch each piece of dough into a long cylinder, about 2-inches thick and 8-inches long, and place on each sheet.

In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons sugar and one egg, then with a pastry brush glaze the cookie dough evenly and place the sheets in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it has expanded by at least half in size. Remove from the oven and rest on a cooling rack for 1 hour. Using a bread knife, slice the cookies about 3/4-inch thick and let rest on the cookie sheets, uncovered, overnight to help ensure a proper crunchiness.

The next day, toast the cookies in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes on each side to complete the twice-baked process. Store in an airtight container

Turn oven up to 350 degrees F.


Makes 45 cookies...Enjoy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cardamom-Crumb Coffee Cake





Happy Easter or Resurrection Day Everybody!  Let me say that first off..I don't suspect that this being Easter Sunday, many of you will be reading blogs...but if you happen to be reading this blog...I thought this would make an excellent dessert. It's called Cardamon-Crumb Coffee Cake.

Cardamom's distinctive floral and spice aroma makes for a very delicious and unique coffee cake. A member of the ginger family, it is widely used in the baking of Scandinavia and the dishes of Eastern India. If you prefer to go more traditional, cinnamon also works wonderfully in this cake. So check this out-

INGREDIENTS:

Oatmeal Crumb

6 tablespoon(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar

1 cup(s) old-fashioned rolled oats, divided

1/4 cup(s) white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cardamom or cinnamon

1/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts

Cake

2 cup(s) white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoon(s) baking powder

1 teaspoon(s) ground cardamom or cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda

1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar

1 cup(s) nonfat buttermilk (see Tips & Techniques)

1/4 cup(s) canola oil

1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1.To prepare oatmeal crumb: Combine butter, brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats, flour, and cardamom (or cinnamon) in a food processor. Process until mixture is crumbly. Turn out into a bowl and add remaining 1/2 cup oats and walnuts. Combine with fingertips or a fork until blended.

2.To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.

3.Sift flour, baking powder, cardamom (or cinnamon), baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until well blended. Gradually whisk in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring each time to thoroughly blend ingredients together.

4.Spread half batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle half oatmeal crumb evenly on top. Spoon remaining batter over crumbs and gently spread in an even layer. Top with remaining oatmeal crumb.

5.Bake coffee cake until browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Extra Tips & Cool Techniques- (check the technique!)

No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make "sour milk": Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup milk.

Make-ahead Tip: Prepare through step 4, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day; add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lexington Style Grilled Chicken






It's Spring....Here is a healthy and nice meal idea for a spring afternoon..

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cider vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons dried crushed red pepper

4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) cut-up whole chickens*


DIRECTIONS:

Stir together first 6 ingredients until blended.

Place half each of vinegar mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal.

Repeat procedure with remaining vinegar mixture and chicken, placing in a separate zip-top plastic freezer bag.

Chill chicken at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.


(*8 skinned and boned chicken breast halves and 8 skinned and boned chicken thighs may be substituted for whole chickens.)

Chill in marinade at least 1 to 2 hours, turning occasionally.


Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done.


Serve with Ice Tea , a nice salad and cranberry sauce....Enjoy! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Asian Broccoli Slaw Salad



From time to time...The support staff at my office has a pot luck lunch in which everybody brings a dish that they prepared themselves.  Last week one of our newest employees (She's only been with us a week) brought this delicious dish that was the big hit of the pot luck...Thank You Karen for allowing me to share this with my readers.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag of Broccoli Slaw

1 half cup of slivered almonds

1 fourth cup of diced scallions

1 third cup of white wine vinegar

1 cup of oil

1 third cup o sugar

2 packages of ramen noodles (Oriental flavor)

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together vinegar,oil ,sugar, and ramen noodle flavor packets together, set aside.

Salad: 

Put broccoli slaw, almonds and diced scallions in a bowl, toss with dressing and chill for one hour. (Or you can put the dressing on right before serving.)

Break apart ramen noodles into little pieces..

Toss in salad right before serving, otherwise noodles get soggy.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The New York Strip Steak

 
I can think of two times that I had a really good well prepared New York Strip Steak. One time was when I was in Austin, Texas...I went to a place called "You Are Cooks" , where they give you the cuts of meat and let you prepare it yourself on a steam table....The other time was when I was in New York City. It was years ago and I can't remember the name of the place now.  It wasn't any big time place...it was actually a little bar and grill, but I had the best New York strip steak ever... That experience has never been recreated for me here in Philly unfortunately...but I'm going to give you some tips about how to cook yourself a great New York Strip
and hope that it helps you.

II-

Your first task is to pick the best possible cut of New York Strip Steak you can afford. The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, grades meat based on its age and degree of marbling - the white fat found in beef. The younger and more marbled the beef, the better its flavor and texture. Prime, Choice, and Select are the meet cuts available to the general consumer with Prime being the best cut of meat.

Shop carefully. Not all grocery stores carry USDA Prime beef. Look for the actual title of "USDA Prime" and not a lower USDA grade disguised with a brand name. If you can't find Prime at your grocery store, try a local butcher or purchase from a reputable online source. You can get some of the best cuts of meet online and have them delivered to your door often at a discount to your local options.

Look for a New York Strip steak that is at least 1 1/2 inches thick. Steaks thinner than 1 1/2 inches will dry out more easily.

While Choice and Select grade meat can be prepared nicely at home, do not expect them to have quite the same flavor and bite as a steakhouse steak. Knowing how meat is graded, however, can help you find the best cut of these grades. Look for those with the most marbling and test the meat's age by pressing it gently with your finger. The younger the beef, the more tender it will be when pressed.

Now...Here are the instructions-

Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator and let them sit on a clean plate or pan for an hour before grilling. An even meat temperature will make for more even cooking.

When the hour is up, rub the New York Strip Steak with cooking oil (do not spray cooking oil on your grill) and follow with salt (kosher is best) and pepper (fresh, cracked). Do not put the seasonings on before the coating of cooking oil as it is believed salt will draw moisture out of the meat. For even more flavor, make a steak rub recipe using your own spices.

A marinade can also be used to add unique character to a steak. I've included some marinade directions and recipes further down this page. If you use a marinade, you should remove the steak from the marinade before letting it come to room temperature. When your steak hits the cooking surface, it will cook more evenly if it is dry.

Follow these instructions and enjoy yourself a nice steak with a baked potato and a glass of wine. As always , Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Butterscotch Oatmeal



Think there is only one way to eat or serve oatmeal ? Think again! Here is a very simple recipe that spices up a very simple , yet healthy breakfast dish. (Plus, I want another photo on this blog to make up for the very un-appetizing photo of my last recipe...Probably why none of you guys commented!)


INGREDIENTS:

•1 and 3/4 cups milk

•1 cup rolled oats

•1 egg - beaten

•1/2 cup brown sugar

•2 Tablespoons butter

•raisins

DIRECTIONS:

These are really simple and easy!

In a medium-sized sauce pan at medium-high heat, combine milk, egg and brown sugar. Stir in the oats. Cook until you get a rapid boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until thick. When you get your desired consistency, stir in the butter until melted and mixed.

Serve with milk. If desired, sprinkle raisins over the top of each serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Crock Pot Pork Roast (with apples and sauerkraut)

Here is something a little different to spice up your afternoon.

INGREDIENTS:

A pork roast (sized to fit your crock pot)

1 (27 ounce) can sauerkraut

2 small onions, sliced thin

2 -4 tablespoons caraway seeds

2 sliced green apples

8 small red potatoes


DIRECTIONS:

1. Layer 1/2 of the sauerkraut, 1/2 of the onion slices, sprinkle 1/2 of the caraway seeds and 1/2 of the apples on the bottom of the crock pot.

2. Brown (optional) the roast on top of the stove and place on top.

3. Layer the remaining ingredients (including the juice from sauer

kraut).

4. Wash and pierce potatoes once and arrange around the roast.

5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.


Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Liver and Onions

The first thing my wife ever cooked for me ,way back when ,when we first met was Liver and Onions and Mashed Potatoes...It was to die for.  I haven't had any really good Liver and Onions since then.  Oh I had it once or twice when I was in the Air Force...but it didn't hold a candle to my wife's.

The thing is..people frown on eating organ meat now of days..but I don't think a little liver and onions every once in awhile will hurt anyone too much...Here is a nice easy recipe.


INGREDIENTS:

1¼ lb calves liver (be sure to use calves or veal liver, not mature beef liver), thinly sliced

½ to 1 cup of flour, seasoned with
Salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard to taste

3 teaspoons bacon fat

2 yellow onions, sliced thin.


DIRECTIONS:

1 Dredge the calves liver in seasoned flour. Set aside.

2 Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of bacon fat. Sauté the onions until translucent, a couple of minutes. Remove onions from pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside onto a serving dish.

3. Add a couple more teaspoons of bacon fat to the skillet. Add the calves liver slices, working in batches. Fry until browned on both sides.

4.Serve with sautéed onions (and ketchup!).

Serves four.   Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Secret of the Avacado

Psst! Hey, can I pull your coat about a little known secret?  a certain fruit is good for your love life! No, for real.

Before heading to the bedroom to get it in with your partner, try dining at your local Mexican restaurant and ordering a side of guacamole.

Avocados contain vitamin B6 (a nutrient that increases male hormone production) and potassium (which helps regulate a woman's thyroid gland) -- two elements that will enhance the sex lives of both men and women.

HISTORY

The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) gets its name from the Latin American Nahuatl word ahuacatl meaning "testicle," an obvious reference to the shape of the fruit. It was discovered in Mexico approximately 291 B.C. The more easily-pronouced name of avocado is attributed to Sir Henry Sloane, who coined it in 1669. The word itself first appeared in American print in 1697.

Spanish explorers discovered the Aztecs enjoying avocados, but it was long considered a tasteless food. The Aztecs also used avocados as a sexual stimulant. It was the Spanish explorers who brought the avocado to the English.

The first Florida crops are credited to horticulturist Henry Perrine who planted groves in 1833. However, avocados did not become a commercial crop until the early 1900s. Except in California, Florida, and Hawaii where they were commonly grown, most consumers shied away from the fruit. Finally, in the 1950s, the avocado became popular as a salad item, and consumption became more widespread.

Okay cool...but you don't come to this site for a history lesson.  I just thought I'd give you a little back up on the history of this fruit.   Did I tell you that Avocados lower cholesterol too? They do!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara



Good Morning Everyone....Here is a special recipe that will impress any guest....When you're done, they'll think it took you all day to fix this...when in reality, it only takes about thirty minutes to prepare! Check it out!

Ingredients

1 pound(s) spaghetti

8 ounce(s) (8 slices) bacon, cut 1-inch-thick crosswise

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs

3/4 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/2 cup(s) half-and-half

Directions

1.Set a large pot of water to boil (for pasta). In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes; transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

2.Salt boiling water generously; add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.

3.Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and half-and-hal

f. Set aside.

4.Drain pasta, leaving some water clinging to it. Working quickly, add hot pasta to egg mixture. Add bacon; season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese.

Total Time: 30 min

Prep Time: 30 min

Enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Raisins





It's Sunday Morning and I just had some warm Banana Bread with both Walnuts and Raisins ,hot out of the oven...with a tall tumbler of Milk!!! Yum!  Here is my recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup water

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 bananas, coarsely mashed

1 cup yellow raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


DIRECTIONS:

Beat together first 4 ingredients until blended. Stir together the next 6 ingredients and add, all at once, beating until blended. Stir in bananas and raisins. Divide batter between greased 4 x 8" loaf pans and sprinkle each with 2 T. of the walnuts. Press the nuts gently into the batter. Bake in a 325F oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, and then remove from pans and continue cooling on a rack!
.

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Comforting Meatloaf For An April That Doesn't Feel Like An April!

Hey Folks...Here it is April 2nd and if you live on the east coast as I do, Mother nature is playing a huge April fools joke on you...The temperatures still feel like winter...which is why it is still appropriate ,albeit neccessary to have some comfort foods...What can be more comforting than some Meat Loaf? Here is a meat loaf recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 cups medium salsa

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 egg

1 cup crushed saltine crackers


DIRECTIONS:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2.In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, salsa, cheese, egg, and cracker crumbs. Form into a loaf, and place in prepared pan.

3.Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until done. Internal temperature should measure at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), the meat should be browned through, and the juices clear.

Go on...have you some comforting meatloaf....Enjoy!


Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household