Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dinner

Happy Easter to all. Hope the Easter Bunny was good to everyone. I had a fabulous day with my family(we were 20 in all ranging from 80 to 9 months). We ate drank laughed and loved. I cooked a wonderful meal that was enjoyed by all. I am going to list the menu and post the pictures of some ot the dishes and let them speak for themselves.

I am thankful I have such a wonderful family it is a pleasure to share my life with them.

OK here's what we had. Some of my favorites are the traditional Italian dishes that define the Easter Holiday (at least for my family)

Appetizers: Mini Meatballs in sauce

Antipasto Platter

Pizza Rustica (Italian meats & Cheese in a Ricotta mixture encased in a savory pie dough).

Calms & Mussels in a garlicky beer & wine sauce (MMGOOD!!!)

Entree: Roasted Vegetables

Garden Salad


Fresh Pork Roast

Herbed Rice

Lard Bread / Celebration Bread (home made)

Dessert: Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese / Marscarpone Cheese Frosting

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pizza Grain (Wheat Grain in Ricotta /custard mixture with orange oil & candied fruits)

A feast fit for a King wouldnt you agree. Yes I am truly Blessed. I try to remeber that everyday.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Bunny Cake (Frozen Butter Cream Transfer)

Here is a decorating technique I came across while I was trying to come up with an idea for a Bridal Shower cake I am commissioned to do next week.

It is called Frozen Buttercream Transfer. While it is not a new technique, I was not familiar with it and found it quite interesting.

I am going to post the link for the video as it is easier to watch and the video explains it much better than I could. I found it quite interesting and after viewing the how-to video (by Wilton) I thought I can do that!

Basically what you do is take any picture make a copy of it place it on a board cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap and proceed to color it in with buttercream. Once done you place it in the freezer for at least an hour up to 24 hours. Once frozen you then flip it over and place it on the cake. Its a 3-D effect that is really quite amazing to me. I am pretty pleased with my first attempt. It was really quite easy and believe me if I can do it anyone can do it.

This cake was a practice run. Now I have a picture of the Umbrella I want to make for the bridal shower cake. It's a bit different from all those flowers and stuff I personally find beautiful but same old same old.

Ok here is the link for the how to video and following is the recipe for the Butter cream.

Butter Cream Frosting:

1 cup crisco

3 sticks butter

2 tsps flavoring (vanilla, butter, lemon)

2 pounds confectioners sugar

Cream the butter and shortening well.

Add the flavoring

Slowly add the confectioners sugar

Mix on 8-10 speed for approximately 5-10 minutes for a smooth consistency.

Add more sugar if not stiff enough.

You can then divide the buttercream up and add food coloring (or gel coloring) as your picture or wishes dictates.

This is lots of fun hope you give it a try.

Until tomorrow Eat well Live well

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Balls

I love making cookies, but for me the best part is the raw cookie dough. Stange you may say but I would bet there are a few of you out there who would agree. I am sure if we admit it, we have eaten more than our share of raw dough. I often wondered why I never got the suggested yeild amount of cookies, Then I figured it out. I tasted more dough than I actually got on the pan and into the oven. Recently I came across and idea from one of my favorite food sites and there it was. The answer to my delima. How to eat raw cookie dough and not have to apologize for it. Genius. The recipie was easy and even removed the raw eggs so there are no worries for those who have issues with that. I got to work right away and as you can see it worked out quite well. I used peanut butter chips and dark chocolate for mine but you can use your favorite combination. Heres how it goes. Chocolate Dipped Cookie Dough Balls 2 lbs of your favorite chocolate chips 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk Decorative toppings (optional) With a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour then add the milk. If desired mix in 1/2 cup of the chips into the dough. Cover fingers in flour and roll cookie dough into roughly 1 inch diameter balls. Place on a heavy weight sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put into the freezer for 1 -1 1/2 hours until chilled. Melt the remaining chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave on medium power for 30 second intervals) Using a dipping tool (a fork works nicely) add 1 frozen cookie ball at a time to the melted chocolate turning to coat. Place the coated cookie balls on a heavy weight sheet pan lined with parchment paper (now would be the time to add decorations (jimmies, color sprinkles, toasted coconut....) and refigerate until set (approx 10-15 minutes) Yeild: 60 Cookie dough balls Now you can enjoy in my opnion the best part of a cookie. The raw dough! Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cream Cheese Iced Carrot Cake Loaf

Many years ago I fell in love with carrot cake. I was a little amazed by this since I am not a big dessert eater and besides everyone would chide me for not picking a chocolate dessert as being one of my favorites.

Finally I figured out why I chose this dessert time after time; It was the Icing silly goose. CREAM CHEESE. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I figured out that the carrot cake was just a veichele for this lucious icing.

To this day anytime Im feeling like I need something I still go for the carrot cake. Makes me feel like Im still being a bit healthy. After all I use real carrots and raisins (thats a fruit) in my batter. I go so far as to replace any oil or butter with apple sauce and that gives the cake (loaf) a light moist texture.

Now we get to how I prepared the icing. I just took 4oz. of softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp white sugar and 1/4 or so cup vanilla flavored coffee creamer. I blended it with a hand mixer until I have a loose enough consistancy so I could pipe drizzle it on the cake; then gave it a dusting of cinnamon.

For me slice of this with a cup of my favorite jo and I'm a happy lady.

Until tomorrow eat well live well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saint Patricks Day Feast

Ok I know its April 3rd, but every year my mom and I have a traditional St. Patricks day meal of Corned Beef & Cabbage ; however this year circumstances made it impossible to dine together on March 17th so we decided to have our St. Patty's day meal last evening.

While the meal was traditional my method of cooking the corned beef was a little different this time due to a recipe I had seen in a magazine.Here is my spin on that recipe. It turned out delish.

You will need:

1 4-5lb corned beef (with pickling spice packet)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 cans beer (whatever brand you like best)

1 cup dry white vermouth

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

4 cups water

1 medium head cabbage (I prefer savoy) cut into large chunks

6 small red potatoes cut into quarters

5 carrots peeled and cut into bite size chunks

In a large pot heat oil add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until fragrant. Add corned beef and sear on all sides until golden brown. Add beer,wine,2 cups water and pickling spice packet to the pot with the corned beef, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 1/2 hours.

At the end of 2 1/2 hours add the vegetables, spicy mustard and the other 2 cups of water. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 1/2 hour. Close the heat and allow the corned beef and vegetables to mellow out (approx 15 min).

Remove corned beef to cutting board and slice across the grain. Line a large serving platter with the cabbage and vegetables place sliced corned beef on top.Add a ladle or so of the cooking juices over the top eat and enjoy!

This meal was as easy as delicious. We ate it along with a glass of cold beer some good rye bread and a bit more spicy mustard.

So you see any day can be Saint Patrick's Day!

Until tomorrow eat well live well.
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