Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh That Julia...

I'm on 4 hours sleep and 2 cups of exceptionally strong coffee right now. As my dad use to say.. I don't know if I'm punched nor bored. Whatever that meant. But I always remember him saying it when someone didn't know what the fakk they were doing. HAR!

Bread. Yeast. Lisa. Panic. Nail-biting. Nerves. Dropping things. Kitchen prayers to the Yeastie Gods.

Daring Bakers - Feb Challenge - French Bread (2)

Bread makes me sweat. Yanno? I don't really know why as it is truly an easy thing to make. My Gawd, prep time is like 1.5 minutes and the rest is just days of waiting. Okay well maybe I'm exaggerating some.. but it feels like that's the usual scenario when I'm baking bread. Hurry up and wait!

And holy bejesus this recipe was all about the wait. First rise.. 4.5 hours. The recipe called for 3 hours (I believe? I'm mental right now, kids!) but my dough had not tripled so I let it go an extra hour & a half. Second rise.. 3 hours. Again, I went over because my yeasties were taking their own sweet fakkin time. My guess is the house was a bit chillier than normal, although I can not be sure as I baked my bread a couple weeks ago and can't remember exactly what I did or what happened.


Now before I go on.. lemme thank our lovely hostesses, Mary of The Sour Dough and Sara of I like to cook, for a great challenge! And thank YOU wee baby jebus, for whispering into Mary's ear "NO sourdough.. Lisa still hasn't gotten over killing her last one." :P



Moving right along...

Daring Bakers - Feb Challenge - French Bread

So what I do remember is that things went along swimmingly, other than the retarded rises. But it was at the shaping and final upside down rise that everything went to hell in a handbasket.

My first boule was not "tight" - I didn't grasp the concept of rolling/passing it between my palms to get that tight membrane once I flipped it over. I did a little better with the 2nd boule, but in the end this is what I got:

Daring Bakers - Feb Challenge - French Bread (1)

And no, those are not my silicone breast implants laying on a bed of flour and covered in plastic wrap. YOU'RE NOT FUNNY. I don't have breast implants!!

Potato bread - Nicoise & Gruyere
The return of the phantom Smudge. :P

Mmm hmmm.. pretty farkin flat they were. Which is exactly the way my boules from the Potato bread challenge turned out as well. 'Sup with that? Am I fondling my faux breasts too aggressively?

My boules did rise once they hit the heat, but they were still pretty tiny. I should have made just one big round French-named shape. BUT all was not lost, although thin and mammory-like looking, they were delicious. We thought a tad bit on the salty side, but we love salt.. so that was a good thing. The crust was crisp and chewy and the inside had lots of bubbles, which I adore. And strangely, as most ppl would say the bread tasted excellent after first cut, we think it was 1000x's better the next evening as garlic toast. Best garlic toast we've ever had! So much so, that I froze the 2nd boule for our next spag & balls night. :)

Daring Bakers - Feb Challenge - French Bread (4)

There you have it my friends.. a rather uneventful (at least I think?) challenge.. the fear is all in my mind which is silly because making bread is nothing to be scared of. Great big thanks to Mary & Sara.. you gals rock!

Daring Bakers - Feb Challenge - French Bread (5)

Can't wait for March's challenge.. I hear it's going to be delightful! ;)

Okay.. I'm done.. go start clickin' - over there -> well over 600 amazing blogs to choose from! And start planning accordingly now.. close to 800 next month kids. :D The Daring Bakers.. We WILL rule the planet one day!! MUAHAHAHAHAAA! Can you imagine? A world filled with nothing but bakers. Wait. What's that? Ohhh.. that's just my hips and ass sobbing. :P


HOLY CRAP - I forgot to mention.. Argh. Sleep.. blessed sleep.. I forgot to mention that this recipe is from none other than the lovely Julia Child and if you'd like the recipe, click on over here for it. :)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WCC No. 25 - Nigella! Plus! Petites Bouchées!

One of my very favorite events that I try hard not to miss often - although I do miss quite a few. :( - is Sara's Weekend Cookbook Challenge. This month is hosted by Ani of Foodie Chickie and she came up with the theme of Nigella Lawson.

I loves me my Nigella. I have lurved her for many years. Ever since I had trouble sleeping one night and was flipping channels.. I hit the Style! network and saw this drop dead gorgeous woman cooking up something fantastic. I didn't know what she was cooking when I flipped to her show and I don't think I ever found out during the show.. all I know is that she made it look delicious, whatever it was. There isn't another cooking show shot the way Nigella's shows are shot. The graceful way she stirs a pot.. the sexy sizzle when the Extra Virgin hits the smokin' hot pan.. the way she can make a straight women, like myself, simply swoon while watching her shove a very large spoonful of something creamy in her mouth making it look like a delicate nibble..

Ahhhh yes.. I do loves me my Nigella.

I think Brilynn will agree with my next statement. Many of Nigella's recipes suck. Yes, Yes, I know.. in some circles that could be construed as blasphemy, and for that I do apologize.. but it is a true statement for some of us! I've just not had much luck with some of her recipes.

Bechemel sauce for pot pie Chicken & Ham (and last night's washed dishes) for pot pie
Nigella's Chicken Pot Pie Rolling pastry for pot pie
Bechemel sauce - chicken & ham dice (and last night's washed dishes) - filling ready to go - Hubbs and his master rolling skillz (nevermind his tattered old sweatshirt and the sink full of dirty dishes) :P

But it's for a WCC and I haven't played in a while, so I hadda suck it up and try a Nigella recipe again. I could have went with a sure thing and picked one of her decadent cakes.. but instead I decided to be DARING (it's not just for bakers, you know) and chose a savory recipe. To be specific.. Nigella's Chicken Pot Pies.

But I went singular.. only because I don't own smaller vessels to make individual pies. And lookie there.. I just bold faced lied to you all. I did not cook this recipe. Hubbs did! He had a day off yesterday due to the spankin' we got from Mother Nature, so he offered to make dinner.. bless his steel toed boots. :)

He followed the recipe to a T.. almost.. the recipe only calls for peas, chicken and ham.. but we need more veggies.. so he added a carrot and a celery stalk. The rest was made by the book. It turned out quite lovely..

Nigella's Chicken Pot Pie
awwwwwwwwww! How romantic is that chicken pot pie?? :))

I enjoyed this, actually. The filling was creamy and tasty and I liked that we could add a lil smokey ham to the chicken and veg mix. The only thing I wasn't too keen on was the pastry. I think I would prefer puff pastry instead of the pastry called for in her recipe.. but even so, it was a decent recipe that we'll he'll make again one day. :)

Nigella's Chicken Pot Pie

Unfortunately, it's wayyyyy past my bedtime and I've got a very busy morning tomorrow.. Daring Baker reveal day.. it's right around the corner! :) Not to mention, there is another very important bit I'd like to add to this post.. so I am not going to type out the 3 page recipe here. If you'd like it.. just drop me a line at lamiacucina-AT-adelphia-DOT-net and I'll send it to you.

Nigella's Chicken Pot Pie

Thanks so much for hosting and picking a terrific theme, Ami! And thank you, as always, Sara my love.. just for being you. :)

Okay.. I had to share with ya'll something that many of you might already know.. I've been excited since I first heard she was going through the process of getting licensed to bake for profit and it's lead up to what I received in the mail today. My Sis - the gal who shares my same brain and my love of scary movies - Veronica, of Veronica's Test Kitchen has launched a new baking business! Today, I was one of the very lucky recipients of a "test" package of luscious macarons. She wasn't sure how they would ship, so OF COURSE, I offered any assistance she might need in being on the disovery end of that shipment - seriously, what are friends for, right?? :D

Petites Bouchées Macarons

My package arrived by a very careless delivery driver who dropped the box on our stoop (totally ignoring the giant FRAGILE written all over the box). But after opening her very carefully packaged box, I found a small, sleek, brown box with a gorgeous slim pink ribbon tied around it. The little box was encased in a pretty cello wrapper with Veronica's business name and logo attached. I carefully opened the little bag and then slipped the ribbon off the box and peeked inside. Twelve perfectly shaped, colorful and sinfully delicious smelling macarons nestled in pretty tissue paper were inside. Out of the twelve, only one was marred by a couple small cracks. Excellent packaging, Sis!!

I demonstrated the utmost in restraint by slipping the pretty box into my fridge until after we ate dinner. Later this evening when my sweet tooth started nagging me, I retrieved the box and first choose a Hazelnut with Salted Caramel Cream. Oh. My. God. Like no other macaron.. the cookie was crispy on the outside, soft, creamy and chewy on the inside.. different from other macarons I've had (that were delightful as well!) in that they weren't shells. Ya'll know what I mean? When you bit into these macarons, the cookie wasn't a crispy/chewy shell that screamed meringue and crushed nuts. These cookies had substance. And the filling? Just the right amount of salt in the caramel and it was creamy.. perfection. I next tried what I think is Pistachio with Chocolate Ganache that also had me swooning. Finally a Vanilla macaron with Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream filling. I could have died right then and been declared a very happy woman!!

Petites Bouchées Macarons

Yeah, some of you might be thinking that I'm saying all these wonderful things about Veronica's macarons because she is my friend, but you'd be wrong. These are some SERIOUS macarons and you shant judge me until you've tried one (or a dozen) for yourself! Click on over to her business site, Petites Bouchées and order yourself up a box.. You Will! Not! be Disappointed!

Thanks for lettin' me be one of your testers, Sis.. you've done a beautiful job and you've definitely MASTERED the art of macarons! :)


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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wish Me Luck! Also, My Mad Frosting Skillz are Back!

I'm up at the crack of freakin' dawn on a Saturday when I wanted to sleep in until AT LEAST 6:30.. Gah. What happened to the days of staying up (and usually out) until 4 in the morning and sleeping until noon? Yanno.. this growing up/old shit is for the birds. :P

Anyhoo.. I guess excitement might have a little bit to do with why I'm up so fakkin early. You see, today we are headed off to a casino! My very first casino ever. I use to be a bingo freak. Yeah, I know.. but Shuuuushz! I don't tell that to many people. :P Anyhoo.. I wouldn't go for the actual Bingo, I went for those damn instant win tickets.. if you've ever been to a bingo hall or a Catholic church festival, you know what I mean. Colorful tickets about the size of an Ipod with little paper tabs on the front.. you open up the tabs to find out what you've won - IF you've won. Addicting. Horribly bad - close to 12 step - addicting. At least for me. And then.. THEN some moron decides it'd be a good idea to open up little shops all through the city that sells the lil tickets! No Bingo! Just the tickets.. OMG I would count the SECONDS until my lunch hour so I could go rip through $20-$40 a day. A DAY.

So you see.. gambling and I are bad juju. I haven't been to a bingo hall in years and I haven't ripped through any instant win tickets since this past summer (Hey! I support my Catholic churches! Do not judge me!) and that was only 2 festivals. :P

Hubbs has wanted to go to one of these casinos that have popped up everywhere for years now and my response has always been, "We can't afford it, dear." Well this year, the pathetic look on his face when I announced that I was going to go pay off all sorts of bills with our tax refunds got to me. So I asked how much he wanted and what he wanted to do with it. "Casino trip!" was all he said.

So everyone keep their fingers and toes crossed.. and send the good juju, folks! For we are casino headed. Woot!

And since I've got all this time this morning, I decided to forego some behind the scenes DB work and post another Kitchen Disaster!! It's been so long.. I have missed my KD posts so muchly.

Bobby Deen. Paula's hunky and still single youngest son. Twas his birthday and the Deen folks decided it'd be a cute episode for Paula's Home Cookin' - the premise was Paula tricking her youngest son into helping her cook his favorite foods for his own birthday party. ha! ha! Gah.

If you are a Deen fan, like myself, and own any one of her dessert cookbooks, then ya'll know that Bobby's favorite cake is a caramel cake. I've looked at the instructions for this cake many times and nothing about it ever tripped my trigger. Until! Until I watched them make it. The recipe says to poke lots of holes in the cake with a toothpic so the caramel sauce can seep in.. well Paula, bless her buttery clogged arteries, used the end of a wooden spoon to poke LARGE holes in the cake before pouring the sauce on. Yes, kids. THAT'S what tripped my trigger. (it never does take much for me)

So off I went.. as per usual, when baking cakes, my cake turned out beautifully - it rose to a lovely height and turned all goldeny brown and delicious looking. The smell was heavenly, as even Paula's recipes are not sacred in my kitchen. I gave it a lil twist and added 3 ripe bananas to the batter. *swoon* My caramel sauce turned out beautifully as well. As it pretty much should have, considering I've been making it for years now (is essentially the same recipe as Gracie's Toffee Sauce for her Croissant Bread Pudding). The poking of big holes went without a hitch.. the pouring of the caramel sauce was also a breeze.

And then.

And then it was time to frost with caramel frosting. The making of the frosting started off well - again with the caramel sauce base, then you transfer the sauce to a mixer and beat in a pound of confectioners' sugar and vanilla. It's a little thin at first so you beat until it becomes "spreading" consistency. Well my loves, somehow I drove past spreading consistency and crashed head on into fudge consistency. Seriously. I now know how to make caramel fudge. Seriously good caramel fudge. But did I press my fudge into a pan, cut it into little squares and enjoy it as fudge? No. I figured it was still spreadable.

Yeah. No.

I'll let my photos do the rest of the talkin'. And if you are wonderin' if it still tasted good.. well it did. The cake was moist, sweet and banana-y. The caramel sauce and the caramel "frosting" was buttery with just the right amount of salt to counter the super sweet that caramel can get. It was just a long chew to get through a slice. :P

Have a fabulous weekend! If you're bored.. make yourself some caramel fudge!

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/twist
Perfectly baked cake with perfectly cooked caramel sauce

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/twist
Bottom layer covered with the caramel sauce

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/twist
Top layer with oozing caramel sauce *swoon*

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/Twist
Caramel fudge covered Banana Caramel cake - not the best looking, but not THAT bad, right? Right??

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/Twist
The Other Side. :P

Bobby's Caramel Cake w/twist
A slice of delicious Banana cake filled with decadent caramel sauce and slathered with a very thick layer of caramel fudge. Gah.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

A Delicious Discovery

How was everyone's weekend? Good, I hope!

Mine was pretty nice.. the snow started to melt on Saturday morning with temperatures soaring to a whopping 50º F! Now that might not seem very warm to many of you, but for us northeastern Ohioans, that's shorts and flip-flops weather! I was almost tempted to put mine on. ;) Unfortch the wind was blowing around 40 mph so outside time wasn't as pleasant as I'd hoped it would be. Nevertheless, the wind did not take away from what ended up being a great weekend because I got some baking done, I watched a really cute (predictable, but cute - No Reservations) movie, spent some time on the phone with my favorite French baking guru, Ivonne and I received an e-mail from Nick Malgieri (squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!) who is going to be writing an article for the food section of the Washington Post and looks like our Daring Bakers might be mentioned! WOO HOO! And I discovered a fantastic dessert in my research for my latest article at FoodieView, which will be up later today.

Not too shabby of a weekend, eh? :D

So the article at FoodieView is on snow day desserts.. I chose to highlight two of my favorite types of desserts, bread puddings and self-saucing puddings. I could eat both of these types of desserts year round, but they are especially good in the cold Autumn/Winter months. Seriously, what is better than throwin' on the flannel pjs, and getting under your favorite blanket with a bowl of something ooey, gooey, sweet, warm and delicious? It's times like that which make me almost enjoy winter.

I had decided on two self-saucing puddings to highlight, but wanted a third. In my search I found an Apple Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding at Cook Sister which looked amazing. And so right up my alley.. I loves me my apple desserts! I knew I'd be making this in the near future, this would not go into the "to make" pile to be forgotten about down the road. I just didn't know I'd be making it two days later. :) I wanted to include a photo in the FoodieView article, so I wrote to Jeanne, the author of Cook Sister, to ask permission to use her photo. Unfortunately, she hasn't gotten back to me yet - so I decided that for the sake of the article, I really should make it myself so I can photograph it. Right? I mean, it's just good journalism, yes? :P

Apple Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding

Jeanne doesn't say where she got the recipe from, just that the original used dates. She had a taste for cooked apples, so voila! A warm apple cake, that is so moist and flavorful, with a gooey, buttery rich caramel sauce hidden beneath. She described it as "Heaven in a bowl" and I could not agree more. Super easy to make, hardly no time at all in preparation and almost instant gratification when it comes out of of the oven, because you don't want to let this pudding cool off completely. To be honest, the aroma from the oven scenting my whole house in apple-y goodness, had me tuckin' my spoon in while the pudding was still steaming. heeee!

As per usual, I made a couple changes when I prepared mine. I used a Gala apple instead of the Granny Smith she used. I had a pint of heavy cream that was on it's way to a lumpy coagulated death if I did not use it up soon, so I substituted it in lieu of the milk. I added a 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon to the batter as well. Once I had the batter mixed together I thought it was a little dry so I ended up using an extra tablespoon of the heavy cream. My love of apples and raisins in desserts has me thinking that the next time I make this, a handful of raisins will be added as well. I was so happy with this dessert that I e-mailed Helene the recipe with a rave review, so she made it herself last night. hahahahaaa! She went with a different variation, so check out her blog in the near future to see how she made hers. :)

Apple Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding
Apple Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding
Courtesy of Jeanne of Cook Sister

Below is my version:

The Pudding:
1 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
20 grams butter, melted
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

The Sauce:
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups boiling water
60 grams butter

Preheat the oven to 350º F. and grease a 2 quart shallow oven-proof dish. (I used individual ramekins, not sure of their size but I got 4)

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, cream and chopped apple in a large bowl and mix well. Spread the mixture into the prepared dish(s).

For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted.

Pour the caramel sauce slowly over the back of a spoon over batter in dish. Bake for about 40 minutes in the preheated oven or until firm in the center.

Apple Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding

Serve warm. These were great the next day, warmed up in the microwave for about 30 seconds, there was still plenty of sauce on the bottom. :)


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Makes our Toes Curl?

The Kitchen of Love in this household is open 24/7.. 99% of the time the foods both myself and Hubbs prepare are foods that the other loves, and we're thinking about each other when we cook. True story. (awwwwwww)

I keep him pretty informed of the goings on in my blogging life, because he likes to help out when he can and he loves to give suggestions on what I should make for certain events. He also enjoys mocking me when it comes to the food I want to highlight on my blog. For instance, he's just tickled - to the point of giggling - when he cooks something, uhmm.. mundane. You know.. a pb&j sammich, a bowl of cereal, or when he opens up a can of his favorite corned beef hash - he'll plate it up and then ask where my camera is so he can take pictures. He'll search through the veggie crisper of the fridge until he finds the perfect twig of parsley to lay on top of his peanut butter & blueberry jam sammich. And then to top the mockery off.. after he's finished eating his "creation" he'll jump up and exclaim, "I need to go blog about this!"

Yeah I know.. you'd think I fell in love with a stand up comedian, eh? (this is where I'm rolling my eyes)

But mostly he's very supportive of my blogging and really does love to get involved. So when I told him about "Peaches'" aphrodisiac-ally wonderful event called Kitchen of Love he decided to do a lil research to find some foods labeled as aphrodisiacs so he could choose which tripped his trigger, so to speak.

Ohh if you're wondering who Peaches is - well that's the simply gorgeous and incredibly sweet Chris of Mele Cotte. She's known as Peaches in this house due to the fact that she came to my aid a few months ago when I was craving a good peach and sent me a big box of the most delicious peaches I've ever had. So Hubbs dubbed her "Peaches". :)

The Asparagus Aphrodisiac The Sweet Potato Aphrodisiac

Anyhoo.. when he came to me with the foods he thought we should make, I wasn't surprised to see he chose vegetables. The man loves his veggies. He chose sweet potatoes and asparagus - which just happen to be two of my most favorite veggies as well, so this worked out nicely. Since he's a "meat and potatoes" kinda guy, we decided to pan fry a couple beef tenderloin steaks while we roasted the veggies.

There is no recipe in this post, kids. It's a pretty simple preparation - and in my opinion simple preparations for veggies are always so much better than long, involved recipes. Here's what you do.. pick a nice bunch of asparagus - try to buy the thinnest you can find. Seriously. There is nothing better IN THIS WORLD than roasted thin asparagus - it gets crunchy and nutty.. it's like eating the best "good for you" French fries in alla world. If asparagus wasn't so expensive throughout most of the year, we'd probably eat it more than potatoes. It's that good.

The Asparagus Aphrodisiac

Okay so you've got your bunch of asparagus. Trim off the woody ends, although you don't need to trim a lot off for roasting because they will get really tender. Now arrange them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then drizzle some good olive oil over them. Add a generous sprinkling of either kosher or sea salt (we love sea salt) over them and then give them a lil shuzz to coat them well and pop 'em into a preheated 425º F oven for about 18 minutes. When the timer goes off, flip 'em over and roast for another 10-15 minutes. *swoon* The stalks get melt in your mouth tender and the tips crunch up.. OH MY GOD they are SO GOOD - and from the reaction that he and I have every time we eat our asparagus this way, completely defines why this vegetable is known as an aphrodisiac. 'kay well not in the way it was meant to be defined.. but we get all melty, shuddery, toe curling-ly happy when we get to indulge in these babies. ;)

The Sweet Potato Aphrodisiac

Now the sweet potatoes.. same prep exactly although they don't need quite as long in the oven - you can give these a flip after about 10-15 minutes and then take them out after an additional 5 to 10. I guess it really depends on how big you chunk them. Less time in the oven for the smaller chunks. He eats his plain, but the lily gilder over here likes to drizzle a little honey over her sweet spuds and sometimes a sprinkle of Vietnamese cinnamon knocks her socks off too. ;)

A dinner chock full of aphrodisiacs :D

The steaks were prepared simply as well. Seasoned with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper only, they were pan fried in a little olive oil and butter combo until they were a buttery tender medium rare. We could almost cut these steaks with our forks.. and talk about flavorful. A good tenderloin, with a nice marble of fat throughout, was just the perfect accompaniment to our roasted veggies.

A dinner chock full of aphrodisiacs :D

After dinner last night there was definitely some purring going on in our living room.. we were both very happy campers to say the very least. ;) And by happy campers, I mean we both passed out in a fuzzy fog of satisfaction about 20 minutes after we ate.. what the hell were you expecting? We're an old married couple. :P

What a great idea for a foodie event, Chris - thank you so much for hosting, my love! And I apologize for being late, but am very happy you agreed to sneak me in. You rock, Peaches! :D


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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Time to Make the... Fritters!

So in my last post I wrote about two of my most favoritest people on the face of this planet. Well this post is all about two more of my most favoritest people on the planet, Helene and Gracie.

I am so going to get yelled at, but...

Helene called today, like she does often - bless her cute lil cotton socks. :) It was a very uneventful conversation as both of our lives have been pretty tame this past week. She's been busy with her mom who is visiting from France and I have been busy with work. So why am I even mentioning this phone call? Because I'm wicked. But in a good way? MUAHAHAHA Anyhoo, at the end of the conversation I mentioned that I had taken out ingredients to do some baking this weekend and before I could tell her what I was baking, she interrupts with, "You'll be making doughnuts, right?" I didn't say much to that, other than I had hoped that I would be able to get the doughnuts made and that we'd see. She then told me that she wouldn't be mad if I couldn't squeeze the doughnuts in and I said that I knew she wouldn't be. The whole time not one giggle escaped my lips. But they wanted to!!


As! If! I would not be contributing to this awesome event called, Time to Make the Doughnuts! Gracie and Helene came up with the idea of holding an event chock full of doughy delights known as the doughnut - and every variation thereof. :) I've never made a doughnut before, but as my ass & hips can attest, I've eaten my fair share. I've always wanted to make doughnuts - the kind that are fluffy and airy on the inside, with a soft crust that is enrobed in a sugary glaze. But I figured that doughnut will most likely be made by someone else, so I spent a week searching recipes and doing a lil research until I decided that I wanted to go the fritter route.

There use to be this lil doughnut shop on my way to work which was owned by a friend. So every morning, I'd stop in and grab a cup of her coffee and her deeeee-licious apple fritters. Oh my God they were so good! The fritter was the big puffy and airy doughnut that I described earlier, but there were chunks of apples and raisins throughout the dough. The whole thing was covered in a crispy glaze that was actually more buttery than sweet. And they were HUGE! Seriously huge. One of those and I'd be good until late in the afternoon. Unfortch, my friend decided to get out of the business, so she sold it to someone else who only makes wedding cakes. What Evah.

Pan Fried Apple Fritters

Okay now here's where this post stops making any sense.. I found a recipe that I knew was going to produce big fat apple fritters like the kind I ate at my friend's shop. They are a Dutch fritter called Olie Bollen, traditionally served on New Years Day. I saved the recipe and I printed the recipe, but ultimately, I didn't make them (yet). No.. because I never know when to stop browsing recipes. Hours, I could spend HOURS looking through cookbooks, mags and websites and never get bored. So that's what happened here. I found another recipe that I decided to go with because there was a sauce that went with them, and who am I to pass up a delectable sweet sauce?

The recipe I went with is called Pan-fried Apple Fritters with Apple/Honey Dipping Sauce. I came across this recipe on a new website to me called, Care2. It's a great site focusing on living green, healthy living and human rights. I found this recipe in their Green Living area.

Pan Fried Apple Fritters

These fritters are really easy to make, and can be residing happily in your tummy in under an hour. They are crispy on the outside and so tender and moist on the inside. These fritters are made with grated apples, which really lends to the moistness of the dough even though you squeeze all of the juice out for the sauce. I will be making these over and over again, of this you can be assured.

Pan Fried Apple Fritters

The dipping sauce is delish, but these fritters don't necessarily need dipping. They are just sweet enough and again, very moist on their own. But, never one to pass up a chance to gild the lily, I decided to spoon the sauce over a couple of them. Heavenly. But very, very sweet. Hubbs ate his plain and demanded these be breakfast every Saturday morning from now on. Which is shocking because he's such an eggs, sausage, hashbrown kinda guy, yanno? heee!

The only change I made to this recipe was to add the raisins and I used cardamom instead of ginger. And the only other change I'll make to this recipe in the future, is to cut the honey in the sauce from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup so that the apple juice stands out more. Speaking of that sauce, it gave me another idea which I plan on trying in the very near future. A syrup made from reduced apple juice and a couple tablespoons of honey and then used as a sweetener in my tea. I'm thinking the combination of the apple fritters with a hot cup of apple induced tea is going to be THE BOMB, baby!

Pan Fried Apple Fritters

I urge each and every one of you to make these lil fritters, I highly doubt you'll be disappointed. :)

Thanks Gracie!! Thanks Helene!! Love yous guys!


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Monday, February 04, 2008

Two of My Favorite People and Their Yumminesses!

Yeah.. it's my new word. Problem with that? :P

Yumminess.. and adjective that describes both Kelly and Ivonne as well as their cooking! :)

Reading Kelly's blog is just a sheer delight.. this woman can cook! She always seems to cook food that I'd love to eat and believe it or not, I am kinda picky when it comes to what trips my food trigger. True story!

Kelly's Blueberry Mascarpone Pancakes

So when I saw her Blueberry and Mascarpone pancakes.. kids, my trigger had done tripped. I could not wait to try them for myself. And I did, that very weekend. Hubbs and I agreed, unarguably, that Kel's pancakes were the BEST blueberry pancakes we've! ever! had! Hands down, game over.. I will not eat another blueberry pancake ever! again!


Kelly's Blueberry & Mascarpone Pancakes

The pancakes are kind of on the sweet side - or maybe they seem that way because of the tart blueberries. I dunno. But it was the perfect balance between tart and sweet for me. Of course I doused them in real maple syrup, but I tried a bite of the very last one that neither of us could manage to finsh, sans the maple-y goodness, and I'll be damned if it wasn't spectacular all on it's own. Oh no.. no syrup needed, my friends. This pancake is all inclusive! It's the whole package without the frilly wrappings and accoutrements!

If you've never taken my advice before, and I can't say that I blame you if you haven't.. but TRUST ME on this.. try these pancakes. Like right now. GO.

Kelly's Blueberry Mascarpone Pancakes
Kel's Blueberry Mascarpone Pancakes
The! Best! Blueberry! Pancakes! Ever!

1 1/2 c. flour
3 TBS. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. mascarpone at room temperature
3/4 c. + 1 TBS. whole milk (I used 2% - it's all I had)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 c. blueberries (fresh or fresh frozen -- without juice) I used fresh frozen

Preheat oven to 200º F. and then turn oven off. (Give yourself enough time to preheat the oven right before you start making your pancakes, so that you can turn it off right before the pancakes hit the griddle or frying pan. Heat a griddle or cast iron frying pan over medium-low heat.

In a medium sized bowl, sift dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk mascarpone, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest until well combined. Pour into dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Add blueberries and stir carefully into mixture.

Kelly's Blueberry & Mascarpone Pancakes

Ladle mixture onto hot griddle or frying pan that's been greased with a lil butter or non-stick spray and cook until bubbles surface and the bottom is goldeny brown. Carefully flip pancakes over and cook until goldeny brown and delicious. Place pancakes on a dish and cover with aluminum foil. Keep dish in warmed oven until ready to serve. Serve with butter and real maple syrup or eat plain (so good!).

And then there's Ivonne.. my partner in crime. The apple of my eye.. the cream in my coffee.. the ying to my yang, if you will. :) There's been many recipes of hers that I've made myself and documented on this blog and I'm sure there will be many more in the future.

She had decided to submit something to this month's HHDD - Pizza. And in true Ivonne style, she did not disappoint in either taste or presentation. She made sweet pizza sticks.. fluffy dough, with dimples full of brown sugar and butter. She hooked me with the brown sugar, but she had me at butter. *swoon* I made them the very night I read about it on her blog. I simply couldn't wait!

Ivonne's Sweet "Pizza" Sticks

Basically, I thawed some of my pizza dough - you could use any plain pizza dough, make a sweet dough or use the dough recipe given on 80 Breakfasts. Flatten it out on a cookie sheet and use your finger tips, or knuckles if you have long nails, to dimple the dough. You can either brush melted butter on the doughy dimples or pour it on - but if you pour, be careful not to use too much. Then you simply sprinkle the brown sugar on top in an even layer. I also added 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and 1 tsp. of cardamom to my brown sugar before sprinkling. I baked at 400º F. for about 15 - 20 minutes, when I noticed the crust was getting goldeny brown and the butter sugar topping was bubbly. (Is this the way you made it, Ivonne?) :)

Ivonne's Sweet "Pizza" Sticks

This is a great snack for movie watching or game playing. It's quite easy to eat and you can keep your fingers from getting greasy from the butter by hanging on the sides of the stick - yanno, so you don't butter up your Monopoly money or Wii controller. :P I also melted some left over ganache I had in my freezer for dipping purposes, and the dark chocolate ganache was a great match to the sweet dough. YUM! My only suggestion would be.. if there are only one or two of you enjoying this snack, I'd halve the recipe because these lil guys are pretty filling. :)

Thanks for such delicious yumminesses, gals! Hugs and smoochies!


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