Saturday, July 20, 2013

Old fashion Cucumber Summer Sandwiches

 1 cup Dill Veggie dip any brand
 Dip 6 slices of thin brown or white bread or sourdough bread
 English cucumber, sliced very thin
 Chopped radishes very fine cut


Spread all slices of bread generously with Dill Veggie Dip, then layer slices of bread with cucumber slices, sprinkle with chopped radishes the top with a teaspoon of dip.


Cut sandwiches in half on an angle and place on a tray or plate depending on how many you make, parchment paper and cover and place in refrigerator until ready to eat.   

Bean Soup with Garlic Italian Bread

6 slices Italian Garlic bread (toasted) Freezer brand is fine to use
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
5 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onions
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
 Salt (optional) and black pepper
 2 cans white beans  (15.8 oz.)
 6 cups chicken stock  (My Favorite is Rachel Ray)  But you use whatever you like
 Grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake Garlic bread according to directions. Cool and cut into 1 ½ “ pieces.

 Heat olive oil in a large soup pot, add bacon cooking until nice and crispy, once cooked remove bacon and  add onions, celery and carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes.

Add tomato paste, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 3 minutes, add beans and stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer and cook for 35 minutes.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Garlic Toast pieces to a Dutch oven or a large deep ovenproof baking dish. Pour soup over bread and bake 30 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese.  (You can also add toast to a slow cooker, and pour soup over it and let cook low for 30 minutes.)

Pork Tenderloin

 1/2 cup Balsamic Salad Dressing
 1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam Salt(Salt is optional) and pepper, to taste
 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 Pinch of cayenne pepper
 2 pork tenderloins about 2 lbs.

Preheat oven to 425 and lightly coat  roasting pan with non-stick cooking oil spray.

Glaze, in a medium size microwave safe bowl warm  jam for 30 to 40 seconds, and whisk until nice and smooth in the same bowl, add Balsamic Salad Dressing, pinch of salt and pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and mix together until well
blended.

Divide the glaze evenly into two bowls. Sprinkle pork loins with a generous amount of salt and pepper and transfer to roasting pan. Cook  the pork loins for 12-15 minutes. Take one bowl of glaze, brush each loin with the glaze and put in the  oven for another 4 minutes and Repeat the process.

When the pork loins are cooked through, remove from the oven and cover the tenderloins with   aluminum foil and allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes. Get rid of any left over glaze that used for brushing pork. Slice meat and drizzle with the unused glaze.

Italian Lemon Pound Cake


1  1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons softened sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
 



Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Use a mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Pour wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth.
Add oil and mix well.

Pour batter into a well greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.


Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into center of the cake comes out clean.


Icing

1 cup powdered  plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract


Lemon icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.

When the loaf is cool, remove it from pan and frost the top with the icing.
Let the icing dry before slicing.
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Italian Pecan Cream Cake

2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:
1(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease and flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans.

Beat the sugar, shortening, and butter until light and fluffy, add  egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.

In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture in 2 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until combined. Beat in vanilla, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.

 Beat egg whites in another bowl until they form stiff peaks and fold into batter gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool cake layers in pans on racks 10 minutes and invert cakes onto racks to cool completely.

                                                            Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar, until creamy. Stack cake layers on a cake plate, spreading about 1/2 cup frosting between each layer. Spread remaining frosting on top and side of cake.

Italian Anisette Cookies

  1 cup butter, softened
  3/4 cups sugar
  1 teaspoon anise extract
  1 teaspoon lemon extract
  3 cups flour
  3 teaspoons baking powder
  1/8 teaspoon salt
  1 egg

  White Glaze

  1 cup powdered sugar
  milk
  colored sprinkles

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Beat together butter and sugar until creamy, stir in anise and lemon, add dry   ingredients, and blend     together, add egg and blend together well.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet that is ungreased.  Bake for  12-15 minutes, cool the cookies well before glazing and adding colored sprinkles.

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Italian Walnut Rum Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 package 4 serving size of vanilla instant pudding
 4 eggs
 1/2 Crisco oil
 1 cup of walnuts
 1/2 cup dark rum

 Glaze topping

 1 stick of butter salt free
 1 cup of granulated  sugar
 1/4 cup water
 1/2 cup of dark rum

 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, using a bundt cake pan grease well, and about (1 Tablespoon)  of flour to coat pan, tap against  sink to  remove extra flour
 Pour the 1 cup of chopped nuts over the bottom of the pan, Mix all the cake ingredients together and  blend well and pour over nuts and bake for 1 hour.  While cake is cooling, prepare your glaze.


Melt butter into a saucepan , pour in and stir water and sugar, stir while you bring to boil the glaze mixture for about 5 minutes,  remove from the stovetop and add the rum slowly and mix together well.  After cake cools for about 20 minutes invert to remove from bundt pan and place on cake pan, prick the top of cake, and then drizzle and glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cooled cake. making sure that the cake absorbs the glaze. Let the cake stand and absorb the rum for about 10-12 hours, covered with aluminum foil



Friday, July 5, 2013

Lasagna with Meat sauce

2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 pounds lasagna noodles
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large eggs
Pinch salt and pepper
2½ cups Parmigiano-Reggiano grated cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, fresh sliced thin

2 35-ounce cans Tomatoes sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef  (you can do 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 Italian sausage
salt (Optional)
¾ cup red wine
⅓ cup tomato paste
1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
4 cups hot water
1 tablespoon of sugar


Heat the olive oil in a  4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat, add the onions, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden in color, add  in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden as well, about 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, and season lightly with salt. As you cool stir it to break up the meat, until the meat changes color for about 12 minutes, Continue cooking until the meat is browned about 8 minutes. Now add oregano then pour in the wine.

Bring to a boil and cook, scraping the sides of the pot, pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the tomato paste until is dissolved into the sauce. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, the lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce takes on a deep, brick type color.  Cook for 2 to 3 hours. Add the hot water, about ½ cup at a time, as need to maintain the level of liquid for the time the sauce cooks.
I always skim off any fat floating on top and adjust and season as needed. The sauce can be prepared  in advance and refrigerated for up to 6 days, if your freeze up to three months.

Bring 6 quarts of salted water and the olive oil to a boil in an 8-quart pot over medium heat. Stir about one third of the lasagna noodles into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

While the noodles are cooking, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper, in a mixing bowl until foamy. Add the ricotta and stir until thoroughly blended. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup of the meat sauce over the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch baking dish.

Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side so as to cover the bottom of the baking dish and overhang the short ends of the dish by about 2 inches.

 Also, the noodles will most likely overlap in the center of the dish. That is fine.) Spoon enough meat sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer. Sprinkle the sauce with 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Arrange a single layer of noodles crosswise over the cheese so they overhang the long sides of the baking dish by about 2 inches, again trimming the noodles and overlapping them as needed.

 Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the noodles. Arrange a single layer of noodles lengthwise over the ricotta, trimming the noodles if needed. Arrange the sliced mozzarella in an even layer over the noodles.

 Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the cheese and sprinkle with 1 cup of grated cheese, over the sauce. Cover with a layer of noodles, arranged lengthwise. Spoon sauce, about 2 cups, to cover the noodles in an even layer and sprinkle the sauce with 1 cup grated cheese. Turn the noodles overhanging the sides and ends of the dish over the lasagna, leaving a rectangular uncovered space in the middle. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce over the top layer of noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Cover very loosely with aluminum foil and bake 45-50 minutes.  

Uncover the lasagna and continue baking until the top is crusty around the edges, about 25 minutes. Let rest at least 25 minutes before serving.   Serve with crusty Italian Bread and a Glass of red wine.