Quick Nutella Tart with Frangelico

August 24, 2013

_nutella-tart_07-01-31_09This super-simple cream pie has rich chocolate flavor with hazelnut tones enhanced with a shot of Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur). Rather than an Oreo crumb crust, you can use a blind-baked paté brisee crust. For a really decadent dessert, top with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

Nutella, chocolate hazelnut spread, has been on the market since 1963 though the actual Ferrero recipe, from Italy, has been around since the 1940s. The American Nutella is hazelnut/cocoa flavored sugar, not a quality product, but still okay for Nutella nuts … enthusiasts. I’m a purist about some things and chocolate hazelnut spread (more of a butter) is one of them.

The recipe follows for making your own Nutella. It is very simple and you can adjust the sugar content to personal preference. There is no milk, wheat or other fillers in this recipe, just roasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder and sugar. It’s important to roast the hazelnuts before grinding because any water left in them will produce a mush rather than a butter. Roasting also helps to remove the skins of the nuts. No need to add vegetable oil because the hazelnuts will make their own oil when processed. It’s just like making peanut butter. Hazelnut oil is fragile and will breakdown at room temperature within a couple months so its best to refrigerate as soon as made (will keep up to 6 months refrigerated). You may substitute melted bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cocoa powder. Start with 1/4 cup melted chocolate and add more if needed. For more information just Google: Freddy Guys Hazelnut Farm of Willamette Valley, Oregon. This recipe is adapted from a recipe of Barb Foulke’s, owner of Freddy Guys.

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Baked Salmon Patties

August 24, 2013

Baked Salmon PattiesFor years fish has been labeled “brain food” and more recently nutritionists  have added “rich in Omega3″ and “heart healthy” to the labels. It’s all true!  Fish is a good source of protein, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6,  and Omega3 oils. The benefits of eating fish, in particular baked or broiled  salmon, three times per week include lowering: the risk of heart disease, blood  pressure, macular degeneration, ADHD in children, grumpy teenage syndrome,  dementia in seniors, and a whole host of other ailments and diseases. A recent  Purdue University study found that nearly 30% of the Americans studied have  un-measureable levels of omega3 fatty acids in their systems, placing them at  greater risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, behavioral and  learning problems.

So listen up folks! Adults and children need to eat fish every week. If you  think you don’t like fish, start off with fish sticks or fish burgers until you  develop a taste for it, then move on to tuna sandwiches, baked and broiled  salmon, halibut, and next thing you know the world will be your oyster.

This recipe is for canned salmon which is easy on the pocket book as well as  tasty.  Baking rather than frying further reduces the fat content and ensures even doneness.  If you must have a sauce, try non-fat Greek yogurt with tarragon, a dash of  Worcestershire sauce and salt.  Bake in mini muffin tins for tasty party hors d’oeuvres.

Salmon Cakes

Ingredients:  – makes 4 servings

  •  1 can (14.75 oz) salmon and its juice
  •  ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  •  ½ cup milk
  •  2 Tbsp. minced onion
  •  2 Tbsp. minced green bell pepper
  •  1 lemon, juice ½ and cut the other half into wedges for garnish
  •  2 to  3 dashes of Tabasco sauce or chili sauce of choice
  •  Fresh ground black pepper, about ¼ tsp. or 6 to 8  grinds
  •  1 egg, beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter 4 mini-tart tins or muffin tins or use the cooking spray of your choice.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands and mix just until everything is well combined.
  3. Press into prepared tins.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove cakes from tins, serve with sauce if desired.

For more of JoAnn’s recipes go to:  http://EzineArticles.com/2338790

Liver and Onions Italian Style

August 2, 2013

Liver & OnionsIn the 1970s there was a terrific diner in the hard-hat area of San Francisco that served grilled calves liver steaks about 3/4 inch thick with gobs of sautéed onions, horseradish sauce and mashed potatoes.  I still remember the succulent caramelized flavor on the outside and the moist, tenderness on the inside of that medium-rare liver steak.  This was he-man food for construction crews.  It definitely wasn’t that shoe-leather that Mom cooked with heavy gravy that could only be masked with lots of French’s mustard.  But after all, liver is a good source of protein and iron and easy on the pocketbook so back in the day liver for dinner once or twice a month was not uncommon.

Over the years I’ve developed this flash method of sautéing liver and onions with a bit of lemon juice, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some sage. It’s very similar to the Tuscan and Venetian style of preparing liver.  The acid of the lemon removes the gaminess of the liver and the Worcestershire sauce adds a little kick.  Served with polenta and garnished with garlic chives this is lighter in calories yet still filling.  The secret to tender liver is thin slices, flash-fried and rested while the onions sauté and you make polenta.  Dinner is ready in 30 minutes easily.

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Quick Seafood Pasta

June 13, 2013

DSCF0887
This quick and easy pasta sauce is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente. The mix of seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, mussels and steamer clams. Mixed seafood is available in most supermarket freezers or at your local fish monger. This sauce also works with flaked marlin, swordfish, halibut, or tuna. Get creative and add one of your favorite ingredients… perhaps capers, sweet peas, ramps, mushrooms, or cardoons.

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Quilted Balls for Every Occasion

June 12, 2013

DSCF0891This is an old American craft that’s perfect for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day etc. Just straight pins, scraps of fabric, Styrofoam ball and ribbons. The plastic case is made of recycled Coca Cola bottles.

Another weekend project.

Navajo Fried Bread

May 26, 2013

ImageAnother rainy day in paradise complete with thunder that just about makes you jump out of your skin.  Hurricanes are swirling around Puerto Rico so its time to get out the lanterns, replenish the water supply and cook up some staples.  The Western side of Puerto Rico will probably just get the tail winds but it’s still a bit unnerving.

Comfort food is the ticket to soothe those frazzled nerves.  This chili is made with locally made  chorizo sausage, 3 kinds of mild chilies and red beans.  Make it as spicy hot as you like with jalapeno, habanera or cayenne but if you like your chili mild just use chili powder. In any case, it really goes down easy with Navajo fried bread…crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Whether you use the fried bread for a scoop or pile the chili on the bread and top it with lettuce, cheese and guacamole it is to die for. You can also split it open and fill the pocket with taco ingredients or honey and butter.  Yes, fried bread is just as good as a sweet pastry as it is a vehicle for savory bites.  Try it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream – WOW!

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Teriyaki Chicken Made with Orange Marmalade

May 6, 2013

ImageThis simple recipe is from runnyrunny999 on YouTube.  Its just 3 ingredients all of which I had on hand and thought it would be a good way to use up my last jar of homemade marmalade and a few chicken tenders.  The teri is the shine and the yaki is the grilling and hence teriyaki is barbequed chicken but for a quick preparation you can do this in a non-stick skillet in about 15 minutes.  Its caramelized sweet soy and tangy orange glazed chicken without all the basting and waiting.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.  Serve with jasmine rice and your fav veggie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken boneless thighs or tenders
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I like Kikkoman)
  • 1/3 cup Orange Marmalade (homemade is best)

Method:

  1. Salt and pepper chicken and heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Saute chicken until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove chicken to a plate.
  3. Add soy sauce and marmalade to the center of the pan and stir until smooth.  Cook sauce until it thickens and add back the chicken.
  4. Continue cooking and turning the chicken pieces in the sauce until the chicken is done and the glaze is shiny.

Spinach Soup with Greek Yogurt in a Mug

April 25, 2013

Spinach SoupYou can’t get much healthier than fresh baby spinach soup with Greek Yogurt laced with plenty of fresh dill.  This is pure comfort food and all homemade!  Often I grab a mug of some soupy concoction for a quick lunch.  It may be tomato soup, chicken noodle or minestrone but always homemade so I know what is in it.  Fresh vegetables in season are just the ticket to a quick, delicious and nutritious soup like this spinach soup… loaded with iron and vitamins.  A mug lends a little portion control which is my major food challenge.  Even healthy food can be fattening if you over-do-it.

Spinach was pretty common in our house when I was a kid.  The Popeye cartoon series was all the rage then and parents exploited it so we had no choice but to eat it and learn to like it.  Mom drizzled a little vinegar on canned spinach to give it a little bright flavor and she  made fresh spinach frittatas (quasado) and spinach salads which were full of flavor. Early exposure is the trick to teaching children to eat vegetables.  Growing your own vegetables with the kids is another way to develop their taste for vegetables.  They’ll love eating what they have helped to grow…back in the day, we certainly did.

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Spaghetti Frittata – Pan-fried Leftovers

April 10, 2013
Spaghetti Frittata - Pan-fried Leftovers

Spaghetti Frittata – Pan-fried Leftovers

Baked frittata is magnificent for a crowd but this quick pan-fried frittata, which takes less than 15 minutes to throw together and cook, is perfect for one or two servings as a light dinner with a green salad and glass of wine.  Its just a little less than one serving of leftover cooked spaghetti pasta, about 1/2 cup of leftover marinara sauce, leftover mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses plus 2 eggs.  The outside is crusty and buttery, and the inside is tender with lots of Italian flavor.  Garnish with fresh basil before serving.

Here’s how to do it:

Blend the leftovers in a bowl with the eggs, don’t forget the cheeses.  You shouldn’t need anymore seasoning if the marinara sauce was adequately seasoned when cooked. Use a 10-inch nonstick skillet and melt a tablespoon of butter or more over medium high heat, then pour in the pasta/cheese/egg mixture.  Let it cook undisturbed until the eggs set and the bottom is nicely golden brown.  The top will look slightly undone, not runny but not totally dry.  Slide the whole thing in one piece onto a plate bigger than the skillet.  Using hot pads or kitchen towel, invert the skillet over the plate.  Then flip the plate over so the frittata lands upside down in the skillet.  Return the skillet to the heat and cook 3 minutes more or until the bottom is nicely browned and crusty.  Slide the finished frittata onto the same plate you used for flipping and garnish with fresh basil.

Enjoy!

Sourdough Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

February 28, 2013

Sourdough CookiesSourdough always makes me think of San Francisco or Anchorage.  After all it was the gold prospectors of the early 1900′s who made sourdough a staple of the last frontiers of our nation.  Often times the miners kept a ball of sourdough in their pocket so they’d always have the yeast to make a batch of bread or biscuits.

Not only is sourdough bread one of my true eating pleasures but growing my own sourdough starter and making other sourdough goodies is right up there on the accomplishment scale.    I love sourdough biscuits, pancakes, crepes, pizza crusts, sourdough spice cake and this basic sourdough cookie recipe.   It’s perfect for making oatmeal raisin cookies with crisp outsides and soft insides.  There’s just a tad of tang that plays nicely with the blue berry raisins and a hint of brown sugar that caramelizes on the outside.  The pecans add a bit of crunch.

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