Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is What Happens When You Are Not Paying Attention

I had all of these great cooking and blogging plans for today. Yesterday I took a cooking class with my favorite Chef, Gaetano Di Benedetto. Lots to share. Today I began cooking some of the dishes we had learned, that is until I nicked the tip of my thumb off. (All the things I know about knife safety ...). I now have five stitches. I did finish our dinner though.

So, I be back on track soon to tell you about the class.


Friday, April 17, 2009

My Next Big Project

Since my paternal Grandmother, Ann,  passed away a few years back, I have been planning to take all of her recipes and the rests of the family favorites and create a cookbook. 

  I finally figured out what is holding me back. Too many recipes too little time! 
Lucky for me I have 3 sisters one brother and 10 nieces and nephews. Not to mention 2 sons and a husband who cooks.  

  I now have a plan. I am now in the process of distributing the recipes for everyone to test and update. Many of them are so old the call for Spry as the fat.  Others or only cryptic outlines. Some only list the ingredients, no instructions included.

Right now I am looking at "" for my template.  The most important aspects for my cookbook are flexibility, the ability to add photos-black and white, color and as many as I wish, the ability to design my own cover and page style,  ability to order only 40 copies or so.  If any one knows of or has used software that can do all of these things, lease email me or comment.


I will certainly keep you updated about the process. I'll share recipes and photos along the way.  I'll let you know about the disasters too.

Emily's Outrageous Carrot Cake

My maternal Grandmother, Emily, was not so much of a cook, but she really loved her sweets.
She was a very good baker.  (As talents go, hers was definitely as a seamstress.  She would make winter coats for us when we were children-and I am talking fancy coasts with trim work and pleats.  If I only still have one of them.)

The cake below is adapted from her recipe.  I make it every year for Easter dinner. 

Carrot Cake

Preheat 350 degrees
Prepare 2 8" round cake pans

1 1/3 c flour
1 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t ground allspice
3/4 t salt
2/3 c vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/1/2 grated carrots
1/c chopped walnuts or pecans
1 c raisins or currants
1/2 c crushed pineapple
1/2 c shredded coconut

Whisk in a  mixing bowl, all of the dry ingredients.
Add and beat at low speed, the vegetable oil and eggs.
Then add carrots. walnuts, raisins. pineapple and coconut.
Mix thoroughly. Pour evenly in to prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 miuntes or until tester come out clean.   Cool 10 minutes then remove from pans and continue cooling on rack.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz cold cream cheese
8 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar- sifted
1/4 t salt

Beat the cream cheese and butter  together until just blended.
Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Mix.  Then add additional 1/2 cup at a time. Until desired consistency.

Use to fill layer and ice exterior of cake.

Some people like to add vanilla along with the cream cheese and butter.  I don't care for the color or the frosting that way.  This frosting is also wonderful with grated orange or lemon zest on lemon cupcakes. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Panko Fried Fish

I spend part of this afternoon testing frites for an upcoming shoot.  I as long as the fryer was up and running I decided to fry some talapia for dinner.  We don't fry often, but when we do Panko Crumb coating is the way to do it.  Panko is a light, flaky,  japanese bread crumb.
First I rinsed and patted the fish dry.  Then triple dipped.  First into flour.  Than into a beaten egg mixture. And finally coated with Panko crumbs. Deep fry at 375,  until golden brown.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What To Do With All Those Easter Eggs

When I was in college, all the members of our house shared the cooking duties.  Matt would make a dish similar to creamed chipped beef on toast-using hard boiled eggs instead of beef.
Over the years I have adapted his recipe and created the tradition of using the Easter Eggs, after the hunt, to make Creamed Eggs Over Biscuits.  Try it.  You'll soon make this  your own Easter Sunday tradition.

Creamed Eggs over Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter cut into small pieces
3/4 cup milk  or buttermilk

Preheat oven 450 degrees
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles corn meal.
Make a well in the center of the flour.  Pour the milk into the well.  Gently stir the flour into the milk until a soft dough forms. The dough will be rather sticky.
Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead until just blended.  
Pat the dough  to about 1" thick. Cut into 9 squares or use a 2 inch round cutter.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

In the meantime:
Creamed Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Your favorite hot sauce

Peel  hard boiled eggs. Cut in half and removed the yolk.  Set aside.
Chop whites into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a large sauce pan:
Melt  butter. Add  flour.  Stir to make a soft paste.  Cook for about two minutes, until lightly toasted. Slowly add the milk.  Whisk over medium head, making a white sauce. Add the chopped egg whites and heat through.

Add 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.  Stir to melt. If the sauce begins to thicken too much,  slowly add additional milk. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Serve by cutting a warm biscuit in half lengthwise. Pour a ladle of creamed egg mixture over biscuit halves. Take the reserved egg yolks and crumble 1/2 over each biscuit half.
Serve with hot sauce as desired.

I hope you enjoy this one.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Photo Samples

I am exhausted tonite, but also very excited because I worked on some new samples for my website today.  Tate Hunt, from Studio Side did the shooting.  Annmarie Zelasko, one of the other photographers helped us out by doing the hand modeling (lovely hands). Together I think we created some nice shots. The ones posted here have not gone up on the website yet,  the others are already posted -
Sorry, the picture seems so big, but I don't know how to reduce the size after it's been loaded and I'm too tired to figure it out right now.

Buona sera.