Category Archives: Breads

Icebox dinner rolls, crostini made from fresh baguettes

CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Summertime Recipes!

CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Summertime Recipes!

 

 

 

 

Back on CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Ryan Kristafer and Teresa Dufour this past Thursday morning!  I feel so fortunate to be working with such a wonderful group of people at WTNH Channel 8 who make it so fun to share The Traveling Epicurean recipes with all of you.

My goal for this segment was to show you a couple of creative and really delicious ideas for all your summertime produce. Panzanella and Berries in Dreamy Cream came to mind.

One of the wonderful things about making these dishes is the abundance and variety you have to choose from at the farmers markets in the summer. The incredible flavors in this Panzanella recipe go without saying. All the aroma’s from the fresh herbs, basil, parsley, thyme & oregano to the fresh vegetables like the heirloom tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, red onions really get you salavating. The creaminess from the fresh mozzarella and the crunchy from the homemade croutons balance it all out.

As for the Berries in Dreamy Cream, you can whip this one up in a matter of minutes as well. I’ve been making this sauce for over 20 years and always get the same delightful response from guests after their first bite. You would never think that melting Fluff and cream cheese together could make such a delectable sauce on fresh berries. It’s a sensation you have to treat your self to and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

For other scrumptious, easy go to summertime dishes you’ve got to check out my Salsa 101, Best Guacamole Ever, Zucchini Spaghetti,  Fresh Grarden Tomato Sauce or Roasted Garlic & Cannelini Bean Dip ! ENJOY!

Super Nutty Seed Bread at April’s

Super Nutty Seed Bread at April’s

This energy boosting, super nutty seed bread topped with chic pea guacamole has both healthy fats and deliciousness…what more could you ask for!

It’s amazing how a hearty, healthy, homemade bread made from ground seeds can be this easy to make! The combination that April offers in her recipe by topping this moist bread with a creamy chic pea guacamole is a win win for me. The textures of the the two really compliment each other.

You really need to check out April’s beautiful website sweetsimpledelicious.com where she offers delicious, healthy recipes along with her wellness programs enrollment availabilty! It was so much fun taping this show with April. With our similar tastes and aspirations I know we’ll be working together to bring you more shows featuring healthy, scrumptious dishes!

For other healthy and delicious dishes you should check out my Zucchini Torta, Zucchini Spaghetti, Salsa 101, or Cold Cucumber Soup with Seared Sea Scallops!…ENJOY 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for Super Nutty Seed Bread:

  • 1 cup ground oats
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cup ground pumpkin seed
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup filtered water

Directions for Nutty Seed Bread – Pre-Heat oven to 350º

  1. Add egg whites to your cold mixer bowl and whisk until fluffy
  2. Add the first 7 ingredients to a different medium size bowl and whisk together
  3. Add water to the fluffy egg whites and whisk to combine 5 seconds
  4. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry with a spatula just to combine
  5. Add batter to 2 small loaf pans greased with olive oil
  6. Bake for 35 minutes
  7. Let bread cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out to onto cooling rack to finish cooling
  8. Slice and serve with a healthy serving of Chic Pea Guacamole! Recipe below…

Ingredients for Chic Pea Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup chic peas
  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in 1/2
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove thru press or finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Directions for Chic Pea Guacamole:

  1. Add avacado and chic peas to a medium size bowl and mash with potato masher to desired texture
  2. Stir in fresh squeezed lime juice, red onion, garlic, cilantro, s & p
  3. At the end stir in sliced cherry tomatoes and serve on a slice of Super Nutty Seed Bread!…mmm!

#1 Meatball at Kevin & Jori’s

#1 Meatball at Kevin & Jori’s

It was definitely worth the wait to find out how to make Kevin and Jori Smith’s oh so sucullent and flavorful meatballs! It took a little patience to sync our schedules thru this busy holiday season but we were finally able to tape these #1 Meatball winners from the recent competition,  “Lisa & Vin’s 2016 Meatball Throw Down”! It’s a team effort between Kevin and Jori that produces one of the best meatball’s I have ever tasted. Watch out Dan Holzman from “The Meatball Shop” in NYC for these amazing meatballs will turn heads!

Come to find out Kevin and Jori won Lisa & Vin’s Meatball Competition the year before as well! Once you have your first bite into these melt-in-your-mouth meatballs you will know exactly why.

Not only were we eating Kevin and Jori’s amazing meatballs while taping the #1 Meatball show but Vin made is homemade pasta we call “The Trucals” from the show “Homemade Pasta at Vin’s”. Vin makes his pasta with a special roller called the trucal iron hence the name “The Trucals”.  This trucal iron that belonged to his grandfather cuts thick strands of pasta as you roll over it making for a hardy, chewy, yet tender strand of pasta.

If it couldn’t get any better then that Kevin added in an incredible garlic-basil bread and Jori her luscious tomato-basil salad with fresh Burrata cheese! Talk about the perfect meal…OMG! I am truly excited that I am able to bring you Kevin and Jori’s winning meatball reicpe. I know you will love them as much as I do!

You will need to have some amazing desserts up your sleeve to live up to these meatball standards like my Drunk Blondie Bars with a Caramel Bourbon Sauce, Chocolate Crackle Cookies, OR my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe! Then there’s Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie or a Chocolate Pecan Pie where you’ll always need just one more little fork full! LOL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Bottom photos courtesy of Gianni Esposito)

Ingredients for #1 Meatball Makes Approx 55 Meatballs:                                                                -Note: this is a large recipe… you can 1/2 the reicpe for a lesser amount of course and remember meatballs FREEZE really  well, raw or cooked!

  • 6 lbs meat: 2 lb. ground beef 80/20, 2 lb. ground veal, 2lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 whole heads roasted garlic (Keep garlic heads in foil the whole time for this meatball recipe)
  • 3 cups grated pecorino romano grated cheese
  • 2 3/4 cups homemade ciabatta bread crumbs – 2 loaves of ciabatta – the bottom 1/2’s
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Prociutto di Parma
  • 4 lg basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 eggs (Kevin likes 1 1/2 egg per lb of meat)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  2. Drizzle 2 heads of garlic with a tbsp of olive oil wrap in foil, place into oven for 35-40 minutes
  3. Slice loaves of ciabatta in 1/2, save tops for garlic bread – recipe for spread below
  4. Cut up bottom havles in small cubes, place on a cookie tray and bake until golden approx. 12 minutes
  5. Cool bread cubes then pulse to a crumb in a food processor
  6. Add ground beef, veal, and pork to a large mixing bowl
  7. Add in chopped prosciutto, salt, Percorino cheese, and bread crumbs
  8. Mix with hands to start combining
  9. Add in 7 lg eggs to meat and again mix with hands to combine, folding meat over and over
  10. Squeeze roasted garlic bulbs out of their sleeves and put into food processor or little chopper with olive oil and 4 basil leaves and purée
  11. Add this mixture to the meatball mixture and again mix folding over and over to combine
  12. Roll into 2″ size meatballs
  13. Pour 1/2″ high olive oil into large sauté pan and heat on med/high – MUST BE OLIVE OIL!
  14. Add in 8-9 meatballs at a time, don’t over crowd pan
  15. Cook on all sides until golden approx 6 minutes
  16. Remove to plate and serve with pasta, you can find Vin’s homemade pasta, “The Trucals” which are sooooo worth the effort!
  17. Serve with garlic bread too…mangia mangia 🙂

Garlic Bread Spread:

  • Ciabatta tops
  • 3/4 stick softened butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecorino grated cheese
  • 4 basil leaves chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped

Mix all ingredients above, smear onto ciabatta halves and bake for 12-15 minutes on 375º YUM!

Easy Icebox Dinner Rolls

Easy Icebox Dinner Rolls

Laura, my loyal friend and follower making the icebox rolls for the holidays!

2014 – Laura, my loyal friend and follower making the icebox rolls for the holidays!

There’s nothing better than the aromas of homemade fresh baked bread, sweet onion and rosemary to wet the appetite! I was thrilled to find this icebox dinner roll recipe about fifteen years ago and have been making them ever since. The recipe card was from “easytobake” and I have tried to access their website but it doesn’t exist anymore. I have made many different bread dough’s in my life, kneading by hand, proofing, kneading again and it can all be exhausting. The whole idea behind icebox dough is that kneading is not necessary. The flavor and soft, tender texture develops as it proofs right in the refrigerator. Once you see how easy it is to make these melt in your mouth icebox dinner rolls you may never pick up store bought rolls again.

Laura making the icebox rolls for her 2015 Thanksgiving!

Laura making the icebox rolls for her 2015 Thanksgiving!

I have added lots of chopped green onion and fresh rosemary in my rolls but they are just as delicious plain too! It takes all of fifteen minutes to make this dough and can be made up to 4 days ahead. The dough stays in the refrigerator, hence the name “icebox” rolls. You take the dough out of the frig the morning of your dinner party. It get’s formed into dough balls mixing in chopped green onion and fresh rosemary. Then the rolls get lined up on a buttery baking tray and back into the frig.  Two hours before you want to serve the homemade icebox dinner rolls you take them out of the frig and let them rise for an hour and a half to two hours. When they have doubled in size, give them an egg wash for a little shine, then bake.

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Hope you enjoy these scrumptious “easy icebox dinner rolls” as much as our family and friends do.  They will be asking you for the recipe for sure! These homemade dinner rolls aren’t just for holidays they are great for any day. Try them with my turkey stuffed peppers where you can dunk them in the sauce and pepper juices, the Au Jus in my Boeuf Bourguignon, or Bolognese Sauce. After all this savoriness you may need a chocolate fix with my perfectly chocolate chocolate cake or for a light and refreshing sweet try this amazing Pavlova!

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Ingredients: Makes 24 Dinner Rolls

  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 packets active dry yeast (NOT rapid rise)
  • 1 cup warm water (105 -115 degrees)
  • 3 lg eggs (if you use extra large eggs you will need to add a little more flour to compensate)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 2 bunches of green onions chopped to 1/8″ pieces -(from white/greenish part to ends)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 stick room temp butter to coat the cookie tray or inside of the 10″x 15″ baking dish

Directions:  

  1. Using a KitchenAid mixer OR lg mixing bowl pour in the 2 packets of yeast then add in 1 cup of 105º – 110 º  water.
  2. Then add 1 Tbsp of sugar (from the 1/2 of cup of sugar that you add later) now because it feeds the yeast and really gets it activated.
  3. Let this sit for about 5 minutes and you will see it get foamy.
  4. Add in the eggs, melted butter, sugar, and salt and whisk- make sure the butter is not hot because it can kill the yeast if too hot
  5. Begin to beat in a 1/2 cup of flour at a time using the whisk the whole time until the dough gets too stiff to mix.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, place the big ball of dough into a large Ziploc baggy and put it into the refrigerator for 2 hours…. up to 4 days.
  7. When you are ready to make the rolls just cut the dough right out of the zip lock with scissors nice and easy…..then turn out the chilled dough onto a floured work surface and divide equally into 24 pieces with a pastry scraper
  8. Roll each piece into a ball then firmly push into the pile of chopped green onion and freshly chopped rosemary and re-roll into a ball again. You can keep some of the rolls plain.
  9. Coat 4 Tbsp of softened butter all over a cookie tray with 1/2″ sides or a 10″ x 15″ baking dish for taller rolls
  10. Place the dough balls into the buttered baking tray, cover with Saran wrap and let them rise for 1-2 hours depending how warm your kitchen is (they need to dbl in size) OR you can put them back into the frig until 1 1/2 hours before you need them then take them rolls back out of the frig and let them begin to rise and double in size
  11. Pre-Heat the oven to 375º
  12. Whisk 1 whole egg with 1 tbsp water and brush a good coating onto the rolls after they rise and before putting them into the oven
  13. Bake for 13-18 minutes until a dark golden color…it depends how warm the rolls got while rising so you’ll need to peak at them to see if they’re golden yet.

 TIP:   It’s a good idea to warm the stainless steel mixing bowl by running hot water into it before you begin so the cold bowl doesn’t take the necessary temperature of the water down.

Amazing German Pancake!

Amazing German Pancake!

This amazing German pancake is an awesome dish to make for your holiday guests! It’s festive and quite spectacular when your guests see how your pancake has puffed to enormous heights when you take it out of the oven. Not only does it make for a wonderful presentation but it’s made with little effort and can be served for breakfast or as a dessert!

A German pancake is really a giant popover. “Dutch baby” is another name for this pancake and rumor has it that the reason behind this name came about when a chef’s young child couldn’t pronounce the German word for German, “Deutsche”. Supposedly, this mis-pronunciation lead German Pancakes to the alternative name “Dutch Babies”. A couple other names that this German pancake has been called are “Dutch puff” and “Bismark”.

My kids get very excited for that moment when this amazing German pancake comes out of the oven! It has a bit of a custard like texture inside yet very light. We love eating these pancakes and have come to the conclusion that they taste like something in between a pancake, french toast and a crêpe!

My Vermont friends turned me on to this recipe years ago and I have been making them ever since. It’s fun for me to play around with recipes and see what works best so to this recipe I have added another egg, some vanilla and a little cinnamon. You can add grated nutmeg instead if you prefer. Originally, these homemade pancakes were served with lemon and confectioners sugar. I like to served them with confectioners sugar, real maple syrup, fresh blue berries and a dollop of my favorite “Wild Blueberry Preserves” by Bonne Maman, a product of France (sold right in our local market at Stop and Shop). German pancakes are so easy to make, taking on the same amount of time as making ordinary pancakes. The wonderful thing here is you are not glued to the stove pouring batter every few minutes.

Using cast iron is the way to go here because it holds in the heat evenly distributing it throughout the pan but I have made them in other oven proof pans and it comes out great. Some recipes have you pre-heating the pan in the oven, pulling out the rack, pouring in the batter, then pushing the rack back into the oven and in my opinion, this is a disaster waiting to happen since the batter can easily swoosh over the sides causing the oven to smoke ! The easiest way to start these homemade German pancakes is on the stove top and then into the oven for the duration. The finished product will make you will feel like a french pastry chef all day. This could also make for a great dessert to an impressive dinner with entrees like turkey stuffed peppers, pulled beef tacos & mango salsa or yogurt-chicken kabobs & tzatziki. Enjoy!

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Ingredients for Traditional German Pancake:

  • 5 extra LG eggs (or 6 large)
  • 1 cup Milk – cold
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/4 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp butter  -cut up into 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) COLD

Ingredients for savory German Pancake:

  • 5 extra LG eggs (or 6 large)
  • 1 cup Milk – cold
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese OR cheddar
  • 1/2 cup thin diced ham OR sauteed mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup green onion OR sauteed sweet onion
  • NOTE: If you are going the cheddar, sauteed mushroom & onion route add 1 cup fresh baby spinach too!
  • 4 Tbsp butter  -cut up into 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) COLD

Directions:  

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425º
  2. In a medium bowl whisk dry ingredients together
  3. Begin to whisk in milk, vanilla and eggs into dry ingredients just until combined …Note : it puffs more if your milk and eggs are cold!
  4. Put 10″-12″ cast iron pan on stove top on low heat for 1 minute –THIS WILL WORK IN ANY 10″-12″ OVEN PROOF PAN –
  5. Turn heat up to high on cast iron pan, wait 1 minute til pan is hot but not smoking, then add 4 Tbsp of cut up cold butter
  6. When the butter gets frothy add the batter, do not stir
  7. Immediately take off heat and put into oven for 22 minutes until golden and puffy
  8. NOTE: if you are doing “SAVORY German Pancake” …after you remove from heat top with your extra ingredients, do not stir, and place into oven for the 22 minutes
  9. When you take it out of the oven transfer to a plate with a spatula and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
  10. Slice into wedges and serve with maple syrup, warm fresh strawberry jam/sauce (Recipe BELOW) and whipped cream! …mmm!

Ingrediesnts and Directions for EASY STRAWBERRY JAM/SAUCE:

  • 1 lb. hulled and chopped fresh stawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh sqeezed lemon juice
  1. Finely dice strawberries and add to a wide 8″ sauce pan with 1 cup sugar and lemon juice
  2. Over med/high heat bring to a rolling simmer
  3. Keep an eye on the mixture, keep simmering for 15 min. – make sure it doesn’t boil over
  4. Skim off white foam that accumulates around the edges while simmering as this will make the jam cloudy (its just air bubbles that form in the jamming process)
  5. Remove from heat and serve warm with German pancake
  6. Jar the remaining strawberry sauce and refrigerate as it will thicken into a jam as it cools! It will stay good for 2 weeks in the frig.

 

Homemade Turkey Meatballs Recipe/VIDEO

Homemade Turkey Meatballs Recipe/VIDEO

OK, I know you are probably saying “where’s the beef” but just give these light and flavorful turkey meatballs a chance. They are meaty, garlicky, cheesy, moist and melt in your mouth after simmering in my tomato-basil pasta sauce for 2 hrs. Wait until you try these gourmet turkey meatballs in tomato basil sauce on a crusty sub that’s baked with oozing mozzarella and a julienne of fresh basil …do I have your attention now? That’s what I’m talking about  🙂

Good ole meatball subs are just one of those all american comfort foods that I have always adored. Although, I think the word “sub” referring to a “sandwich” is represented differently through parts of the US. It threw me a little when I first moved to California because when I would asked for a “sub” they had no idea what I was talking about because they use the term “hoagie” there. Another little play on words which would totally crack me up when I living in California was asking for the location of their nearest package store and they would send me to a mailing facility!

Anyhow, I am excited for you to make these homemade turkey meatballs because even though they are made exactly like my 100% Angus meatballs these aren’t as heavy.  I have been substituting out a lot of ground beef for turkey and it’s has really given me a new lease on cooking, a new avenue so to speak on the whole meat situation. To enjoy a meaty meal with the same herbs and spices but making it a lighter meal in the end.

I actually started making my lasagna with ground turkey instead of ground beef and it’s amazing! Once again using the turkey makes the lasagna a lighter dish then if it were made with beef. I brown the ground turkey and de-glaze it twice with a nice Cab (Cabernet) and by the time I’m done the color even looks like beef lol. My very picky daughter Bella, who loves my lasagna didn’t even know I had switched some time ago to turkey until I recently told her. She loves the taste of the lasagna so much that she’s totally OK with this…I call that a home run!

desEnjoy watching my “how to ” video on making these homemade gourmet turkey meatballs in an Italian meatball sub. And if you need something sweet and refreshing, easy to make and out of this world check out my Pavlova recipe!

 

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INGREDIENTS for Homemade Turkey Meatballs In An Italian Meatball Sub – (Makes 21 Small Meatballs):

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 extra-large egg (rule of thumb …1 egg per 1 lb. of meat)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup after soaked in milk – (1/2 loaf of 2 day old Italian bread soaked in 1 cup milk)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lg. garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 recipe Tomato-Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 10 oz part skim mozzarella
  • fresh baguettes

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425º
  2. Break up a 1/2 loaf of 2 day old Italian bread and place into a large bowl as shown in photo
  3. Pour 1 cup milk over bread and let it absorb for 10 minutes
  4. Wash, spin, dry and finely chop parsley, set aside
  5. Discard outer crusts from soaking Italian bread
  6. Begin to break soaking bread pieces apart with your fingers…if you feel any gooey pieces throw those away (if it sat out for a couple of days it won’t get gooey)…the bread should just fall apart easily
  7. Take 1/2-3/4’s cup of this soaking bread and add to a large mixing bowl
  8. NOTE: with turkey being as moist as it is you should squeeze a little more of the milk out (you don’t do this with beef because it’s drier)
  9. To this bowl add in Parmesan, chopped parsley, garlic clove thru garlic press, salt and pepper and 1 egg
  10. Whisk til just combined
  11. Add in 1 lb. of ground turkey and begin to mix gently with your hands…DON’T over work the meatballs you don’t want it to look fully combined like a meatloaf
  12. Using a cookie scooper begin to shape and roll mixture with your hands – they will be small about 1 1/2″…have a small bowl of water to the side to keep hands damp not wet (this makes it easier to rolls meatballs)
  13. Spray cookie tray with Pam canola oil and give a drizzle of olive oil for flavor
  14. Place 21 shaped meatballs onto the cookie tray and spray the tops of the meatballs
  15. Place them into the oven for 17 minutes
  16. Take out the turkey meatballs and set aside in a bowl, meanwhile add 1/2 cup red wine the cookie sheet (as long as the cookie sheet has 1″ sides) and scrape browned left over turkey meatball bits and pour this along with meatballs into tomato basil sauce
  17. Add turkey meatballs and wine with bits to my Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hrs.
  18. Spoon tomato sauce onto baguette(s), then add turkey meatballs and top with mozzarella
  19. Bake in a 400º oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted, then add a julienne of fresh basil and slice up for several servings or keep whole…good luck and make sure to have plenty of napkins!
  20. Mangia mangia 🙂

 

Pistou

Pistou

The first time I had pistou I was at my friend Joanne’s house for dinner and she made this incredible soup and had this pistou to the side so you could add it in if you so desired to enhance the flavor of her soup. Pistou is considered the french cousin of pesto. The ingredients are very similar to pesto except there is an addition of tomato paste to the recipe. This simple Provencal cold sauce transforms any soup or stew and is made pretty much with these same ingredients across the board varying in amounts of each ingredient to the chefs liking. This particular recipe originates from Barefoot Contessa.

And wow is all I have to say! No wonder it’s an amazing flavor booster to soups and stews it’s made up of basil, garlic, Parmesan, tomato paste and olive oil…what’s not to love?! So I was thinking what would go great with this sensational creation and that was simple …the nutty crunchiness of a crostini and the creaminess of fresh mozzarella topped with a dollop of this pistou and voilà you have yourself a yummy little appetizer. Don’t forget to add this to your next batch of beef stew or chicken soup!

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Ingredients:

  • 24 large basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 large garlic  cloves put thru a garlic press
  • 1/2 cup Reggiano Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 -1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Tabasco)
  • 1 recipe for crostini
  • 1 fresh mozzarella log

Directions:

  1. Place the basil, tomato paste, garlic thru press, and Parmesan into food processor
  2. Begin to purée and while it’s running drizzle in the olive oil
  3. Purée just til smooth about 1 minute
  4. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella onto the crostini and add a dollop of fresh pistou and mangia!
  5. If you don’t use it right away, just like the pesto, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top so as to stop the oxidation, cover with saran wrap and pop it into the frig or freezer

 

 

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Caesar salads are probably my favorite of all time. So many wonderful flavors and textures in this combination from crunchy and garlicky with the Italian garlic croutons, to a sharpness from the shaved Reggiano Parmesano sprinkled on the top of the romaine and a creaminess with the grated Parmesan in the actual dressing itself. Then there is a tang from the lemon and Dijon, and an extra savory flavor in the undertones that you just can’t put your finger on but tastes delicious from the anchovie paste and Worcestershire sauce!

Wow, you will really like the simplicity of this recipe and you can make the croutons a day or more ahead of time and make the dressing the morning of your lunch or dinner. It makes for such a nice presentation if you can use a large shallow dish like the one in the photos.  When I have friends over for dinner I often serve the Caesar salad in that large shallow bowl and then add slices of grilled or sautéed chicken breasts, or grilled salmon pieces going all around the outer edges and everyone loves it. Have fun with this and enjoy!

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CAESAR SALAD DRESSING RECIPE:

  • 1 large/2 medium cloves of garlic put thru garlic press
  • 1 egg yolk farm fresh or organic brown eggs ONLY – EGG YOLK OPTIONAL
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon – Grey Poupon or Maille
  • 1 Tsp anchovie paste
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fine blk pepper
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar “seasoned” (this comes original or seasoned …I prefer seasoned)
  • between 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 2 good dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Siracha in this recipe)

DIRECTIONS for the CAESAR DRESSING:

  1. In a medium bowl add garlic thru press, anchovie paste, salt, pepper and Dijon
  2. Mash these items together with  the back of a spoon to combine and form a paste in a wooden bowl
  3. Transfer paste to a large glass bowl
  4. Add in 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, dash of Siracha and rice wine vinegar/ lemon juice mixture
  5. Separate egg yolk from white and add to glass bowl and whisk immediately
  6. Then very slowly whisk in olive oil so it emulsifies JUST DRIZZLE IN DROPS AT A TIME or IT WILL NOT EMULSIFY and you will have to start over
  7. Lastly, whisk in 1/3 grated Reggiano Parmesan
  8. Put the dressing into a canning jar for ease and pop it into the frig til you are ready to use
  9. Be sure to take out 30 minutes before you use the dressing so it can come to room temperature
  10. Will be good for a few days in the frig

Directions for Caesar Salad:

  1. Cut ends off of romaine hearts then cut them in half length wise
  2. Wash and spin leaves
  3. Lay the leaves down on paper towels to catch any additional moisture
  4. Put 3 or 4 pieces at a time layered on top of one another and slice into 1/2″ strips
  5. Here you can put the cut romaine pieces into large freezer Ziploc baggies and into the frig til you are ready to assemble the Caesar salad OR
  6. Put into a large shallow bowl, add dressing, and toss
  7. Top with shredded Parmesan and Italian garlic croutons and mangia!

 

Homemade Italian Meatballs

Homemade Italian Meatballs

Got to love homemade authentic Italian meatballs! No matter how you look at it spaghetti and homemade meatballs is an all time American favorite. Not that I wouldn’t have eventually gotten to one of my meatball recipes but I am dedicating this recipe today to my good friend Laura who has requested a recipe for homemade meatballs…hope you like these Laura!

I have many different ways to mix up the meat percentages using varying cuts like beef, veal, pork or beef and pork, or just turkey when I am trying to cut back on beef. This recipe is your basic 100 percent beef meatball, inspired by the way my mother use to make them with a 2 day old loaf of good Italian bread instead of using processed bread crumbs.

I used to stand by the stove frying the meatballs in olive oil but these days who really has the time? So I have come to the conclusion that they taste exactly same baked in the oven at a high temperature…saving lots of labor and time. I suggest you try my pasta sauce 101 while making these homemade meatballs because granted the meatballs are wonderful right out of the oven fresh baked without any sauce but it goes to a new level when you simmer them in the sauce for a good hour or 2. And don’t forget to have that crusty loaf of sourdough bread for dunking or my pesto garlic bread, and if you are really serious you might attempt my mothers Maria’s manicotti’s the next day. Some sides or appetizers to go with the spaghetti and meatballs might be a zucchini torta, bacon wrapped scallops, or baked coconut shrimp…enjoy!

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Ingredients – Makes 21 Small Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. Angus beef
  • 1 large egg (rule of thumb …1 egg per lb. of meat)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup after soaked in milk – (1/2 loaf of 2 day old Italian bread soaked in 1 cup milk)
  • 1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lg. garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425º
  2. Break up a 1/2 loaf of 2 day old Italian bread and place into a large bowl as shown in photo
  3. Pour 1 cup milk over bread and let it absorb for 10 minutes
  4. Wash, spin, dry and finely chop parsley, set aside
  5. Discard outer crusts from soaking Italian bread
  6. Begin to break soaking bread pieces apart with your fingers…if you feel any gooey pieces throw those away (if it sat out for a couple of days it won’t get gooey)…the bread should just fall apart easily
  7. Take 1/2-3/4 cup of this soaking bread and add to a large mixing bowl
  8. To this bowl add in Parmesan, chopped parsley, garlic clove thru garlic press, salt and pepper and 1 egg
  9. Whisk til just combined
  10. Add in 1 lb. of Angus beef and begin to mix gently with your hands…DON’T over work the meatballs you don’t want it to look fully combined like a meatloaf
  11. Using a cookie scooper begin to shape and roll mixture with your hands – they will be small about 1 1/2″…have a small bowl of water to the side to keep hands damp not wet (this makes it easier to rolls meatballs)
  12. Spray cookie tray with Pam canola oil
  13. Place 21 shaped meatballs onto the cookie tray and spray the tops of the meatballs
  14. Place them into the oven for 17 minutes…mangia mangia : )

 

Pesto Garlic Bread

Pesto Garlic Bread

This is a great alternative to plain ole garlic bread. You do need to make my pesto recipe and the pesto butter log and then it’s a breeze from there. This pesto bread is very aromatic so it’s a good thing to pop into the oven when guests are over…it will drive them crazy. I really like to have this bread with soups, or leafy greens that you can dunk the bread in or top it with like my bok choy and cannellini beans, or a side to mama Maria’s secret manicotti’s, or a slow cooked pasta sauce 101 dish.

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375º
  2. Slice the the sourdough baguette in half length wise and then half again as shown in photo to better fit on the cookie tray
  3. Slice off 8 1/4″ slices of the pesto butter log
  4. Add 2 Tbsp soften butter to the 8 slices and just soften in microwave (a few seconds) BE CAREFUL not to over cook it you just want the pesto mixture spreadable for the baguette
  5. Add in 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan and mix
  6. Spread onto the sliced baguette halves
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes til slightly golden on the edges
  8. Take out of oven, slice and mangia!