Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

For the Meatballs:
2 tablespoons, plus 1 cup pure olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork butt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (made from fresh white bread)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup pure olive oil
2 medium Spanish onions, finely chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, rubbed to paste
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup tablespoons tomato paste
4 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juice, mashed up with a whisk
2 small Cubano peppers, whole, with some knife slits
16 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound (number 8 or 9) spaghetti, cooked al dente
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
Wedge Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

For the meatballs:

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs and parsley in a large bowl. Add the browned garlic, meats and cheese and gently mix together until combined. Begin adding bread crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture just holds together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Form the meat into 1 1/2-inch balls.
Heat the remaining 1 cup of oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides. Carefully remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

For the Tomato Sauce:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and chili flakes and cook until the onion is soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds.
Stir in the tomatoes and let simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and parsley sprigs, season with salt and pepper, to taste, bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the meatballs have cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes longer.
Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add some of the sauce and toss to coat for about 30 seconds. Stir the chopped basil into the tomato sauce and ladle some of the sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Grate lots of Parmesan over the top and garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chili Verde Pork

12 servings

4 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes, trimmed of fat
4 yellow onions, chopped
4 Anaheim chiles
2 jalapeno, minced
4 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husk removed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons ground oregano
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

In a medium Dutch oven, heat the oil, add the onion, peppers and garlic. Saute until translucent, do not brown. Remove and set mixture aside.
Lightly grill the tomatillos on open flame until lightly charred. Remove from heat, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep warm for 20 minutes.
Add pork butt to Dutch oven and cook over high heat until browned on all sides
Add the onion-pepper mixture and tomatillos to the pork. Mix thoroughly and then deglaze with white wine and vinegar. Let reduce for 5 minutes, then add chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
Let simmer for 1 hour.

Baklava Cups

By April's Home Cooking ·  
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 boxes mini filo shells, 15 shells each
1/2 cup water 1/4 cup honey
Special equipment: 2 (12-cup) mini cupcake pans, food processor
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the pistachios, walnuts, and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let nuts cool slightly and add to a food processor along with the lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and pulse to combine.
Place mini fillo shells in wells of 2 mini cupcake pans. Add 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture into each shell. Bake until filling is hot, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat add the water, 1/4 cup sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour 1 teaspoon syrup into each cup and allow it to soak in, then repeat with another teaspoon. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Meatballs and Spaghetti

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan

Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.
Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homemade Snicker bar


1st LAYER:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

MELT together the first layer ingredients in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Spread in lightly greased 9 by 13 inch glass pan. Put in fridge to cool.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 and a 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 and a 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Melt butter in sauce pan on medium high heat, add sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Stir for 5 minutes. Mixture will start to follow your spoon before you add the other ingredients. If it is grainy looking (mine was not) you can use your beater to blend it and smooth it out. Remove from stove and stir in marshmallow cream, peanut butter and vanilla and peanuts. Mix until smooth. Spread over the first layer.

1 14oz. bag of Kraft caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream (you can use 1/8 -1/4 cup milk, but it won't be as thick)
Unwrap and melt the caramels w/ the cream in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Pour over filling layer.

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Melt together in microwave stirring every 30 seconds. Spread evenly on top.
Store in the fridge until cooled. Cut into bars,and now you have made homemade snickers candy bars! Rich, delicious, a perfectly fun treat for you!

Chicken Chowder

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
10 to 12 thyme sprigs, in a bundle
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
8 ounces frozen white corn
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, halved for spritzing

Cut the flaps from the thighs and cube the meat, leaving some meat on the bone. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil to a large stock pot on medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and oil is hot, add the chicken thigh bones and cubed thigh meat. Brown on all sides, then remove the meat to a plate. Lower the heat slightly and add the onions, thyme and bay leaves. Season onions with salt and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is tender, about 4 minutes more. Stir the chicken back into the pot and add the stock. Raise the heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and frozen corn and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove the chicken bones from the pot and discard. Meanwhile, make a paste with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour, in a small bowl and set aside. When the potatoes are tender remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Lower the heat and add the milk, cream and the flour paste in bits. Stir to mix and allow the flour to blend into the chowder. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the chowder to a serving bowl and spritz with lemon before serving

Lemon Pavlovas with Berries


4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup superfine baker's sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blackberries or blueberries, see Cook's Note
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pavlovas: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until thick, about 2 minutes. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, cream of tartar and lemon zest. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drop 8 (1/2) cupfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon make a 1 1/2-inch diameter well in the center of each meringue. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 2 hours. Store airtight in a plastic container for up to 1 week.
Berries: In a small bowl, toss together the berries, sugar and lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Cream: In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Assembly: Put the meringues on small plates and spoon a dollop of the mascarpone cream into the wells. Top with the berries and serve.
Cook's Note: If using blueberries, gently mash them with a fork before mixing with the sugar and lemon juice.
Cook's Note: The meringue mixture can also be placed in a pastry bag fitted with a large, plain tip (recommended: Ateco # 9808) and piped onto the baking sheet.

Chocolate and Cheese Danish

1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 (9-inch-square) sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Filling: In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses, egg yolk, flour, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
Cut each sheet of pastry into 4 equal-sized squares. Put 4 pastry squares on each prepared baking sheet. Spoon about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each piece of pastry. Fold 1 corner of the pastry diagonally over the filling to within 1-inch of the opposite corner. Using a pastry brush, brush the folded-over section lightly with the beaten egg. Fold the opposite corner over the egg-brushed pastry to form an open-ended Danish. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Madeleine

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup yellow cake mix (recommended: Betty Crocker Supermoist Butter Recipe)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Special equipment: 12 (3-inch) nonstick madeleine molds

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter 12 madeleine molds liberally with butter. Dust with flour and set aside.
Batter: In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cake mix, butter, honey, water, lemon zest, and almond extract. Beat the ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds. Bake until the edges are golden and the center of the cookies spring back when touched, about 15 to 16 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a small rubber spatula, remove the madeleines and arrange, scalloped side up, on a wire rack. Cool for 15 minutes and serve.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicken Artichoke Spinach Pasta

This was a huge hit with my boys. Even my husband who does not like Pasta liked it.

1 1/2 lbs grilled chicken breast cut in strips or chunks
2 lbs of pasta
1 large can of artichoke hearts or 3-5 steamed artichoke hearts, chopped coarsely
1 lb of baby spinach leaves chopped
2 shallot chopped
4 clove garlic chopped fine
2 tbs olive oil
1 -2 lemons (about 1/4 cup of juice)
1 TBS lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 Tbs butter
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or more to taste
Salt and cracked black pepper

1.Cook the pasta while you are making the sauce.

2.Saute the shallot and garlic in the olive oil just until it is transparent, don’t allow to brown.

3.Add the cream, chicken broth and the wine vinegar and simmer, uncovered to reduce by half.

4.Whisk in the butter a little at a time.

5.Add the chicken, artichokes, and spinach and simmer for about 2 minutes or just until the spinach wilts but still has texture.

6.Add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon zest from the lemon and stir. Taste for flavor and add salt and pepper as needed.

7.If the sauce is too thick add a little cream, if it is too thin simmer a little longer.

8.Spoon over hot, cooked pasta.

9.Sprinkle each serving with about 2 Tbs. of the cheese.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lime Meringue Tart

.by April's Home Cooking on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 6:50pm.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, (recommended: Crisco)
1/4 cup ice water
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Lime Filling, recipe follows

Combine the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and Crisco and pulse about 10 times until the butter is in small bits. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough and fit into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pan or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of the pan. Line the tart shell with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill it with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork to allow the steam to escape. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
For the meringue, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes.
Immediately spread the lime filling in the cooled tart shell and pipe the meringue over it with a large star tip. Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edges of the shell, to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.

Lime Filling:
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 T flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 t salt
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup lime juice
2 T finely grated lime peel
1 T butter
Turn oven up to 400
In a medium size saucepan, combine cornstarch, flour and salt, mixing well. Slowly add 2 cups water, stirring until smooth. Over medium heat bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Boil 1 minute, till shinning and translucent. Quickly stir some of the hot mixture into the yolks, pour back into hot mixture. Stir to blend. Return to heat. Cook over low heat for five minutes. Stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, peel and butter. Pour into pie shell.
Add meringue to top of lime filling and bake in oven for 7-9 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nutty Pavlova Log

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for parchment
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 (10-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well-drained
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Butter a baking sheet and line it with buttered parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix the vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating to stiff peaks. Slowly whisk the vinegar mixture into the meringue until well incorporated.
Spread the meringue evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the coconut, walnuts, almonds and pecans evenly over the meringue. Bake until the coconut begins to turn golden and the whites are shiny and springy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberries and drained pineapple in a bowl and set aside.
In a clean bowl whisk the heavy cream and remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar to stiff peaks and reserve.
Use a knife to release the edges and remove the meringue from the pan. Gently flip the meringue onto a parchment-lined surface, nut side down. Spread the whipped cream over meringue and sprinkle evenly with strawberry mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter of the meringue. Leave a little extra room at 1 of the short ends to help seal the pavlova when it's rolled. Starting with the short side with more fruit, slowly roll the meringue into a log, keeping the roll as tight as possible and tucking in the fruit as you go. Use a serrated knife to slice the ends for clean edges. Cut into 2-inch slices and transfer to a serving dish for serving.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Avila Beach, California

My Daughter Kristine and her husband Ryan live in the Pismo Beach area. Well years ago before she was married my youngest daughter Kim, Kristine and myself took a girl's trip to Solvang. As we were watching TV in the hotel there was a show about a cute little pie shop in Avila Beach, so we headed there to only find them closed.
Well this week we were camping with the family in the same area and decided to go there and check it out. What a cute place, I am glad I left my purse at home, I would have spent money I did not have to spend. But I did take some pictures I would like to share with you and if you happen to get out in the area stop by it is such a cute place. Petting zoo for the family, candy and ice-cream shop, fresh apple cider the list goes on and on.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I was asked to come up with a recipe for Tamarin. It is a sandwich spread from Europe. Well I got the package in the mail Friday and figured as I was working on getting all the stuff ready for the church pot-luck and our family camping trip I would just throw one more thing in there to make.
When I signed up to do this I knew there was two directions I was going to go with my recipe. I knew a cheesecake was number one and if I had enough I wanted to make granola bars. Well I did not have enough but let me tell you I believe it would make great granola bars.
I was going to go toward a sugar free recipe but then decided not to and just use sugar.
Well I opened the jar and it reminded me of thick peanut butter, when I tasted it there was a slight cinnamon flavor to it. I bet you are wondering if it is any good.... Well let me put it to you this way, if I had enough I would had grabbed the graham crackers my son was eating and dipped it in the Tamarin, it was really good.
So I went with the cheesecake and below is my recipe. It is in the oven right now and it smells soooooo good.
1 1/2 cups graham crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1 cup Tamarin spread
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 T flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cups Tamarin spread

Heat oven to 375 line the outside of a springform pan with foil.
Make crust, in a medium bowl add graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into the pan, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, flour, spices and vanilla with a mixture until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolk all at once, beating until combined. Stir in half and half.

Melt chips and Tamarin in microwave bowl until melted.

Pour half of batter into pan, drizzle some of the melted chocolate mixture over the batter. Add remaining batter on top and repeat with the drizzle and use a knife to cut in the melted mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes.
Let cake cook completely, refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sugar Free Carob Chip Cookies

Ok, I am trying to cute sugar out of my diet, when you like to cook as much as I do you have to start coming up with your own recipes.My youngest son does not like these but my oldest son loves them. So far I think they are pretty good, I guess the real test will be when they are cold.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup brown sugar splenda
2 eggs
2 tea. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tea baking soda
2 tea hot water
1/2 tea salt
2 cups Carob chip, mine melted in the heat so I had to cut them into chunks.

Preheat oven to 350
Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Then stir in vanilla.
Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour and chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased baking pans, flatten because they will not spread.
bake between 10-12 minutes in preheated oven.