Good Morning, It’s Time to clip on the Pedometer!

GOOD MORNING!

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Train at Brackett's Landing Edmonds, WA

 

 
ABOVE:  I have taken at least 50 pictures of this train as it rounds the bend, but this is one of my favorites.

I have joined the ranks of folks who use IPods.  I would never have bought one for myself, but I was given one for Christmas.  They are great to have for exercising.  Along with the IPod , I received a gift certificate to ITunes.  SO, I downloaded a few songs to exercise to.  I need music that gets me moving!

 

My top 10 for exercising are:

1.  Bulls on Parade (Rage Against the Machine)
2.  Free For All (Ted Nugent)
3.  Children of the Sun (Billy Thorpe)
4.  I Feel Love (Donna Summer)
5.  Hey Man Nice Shot (Filter)
6.  In the Evening (Led Zeppelin)
7.  Rock With You (The Jacksons)
8.  How Soon is Now (The Smiths)
9.  Just What the Doctor Ordered (Ted Nugent)
10. Crazy Train (Ozzy, of course)

If anybody reads this and has their own exercise song ideas, I’d love to hear them.  I need a larger selection.

2008 UPDATE: Now I watch The Food Network while exercising!

 

I’m starting my day with a fresh cup of French pressed coffee in one of my new Fiestaware cups.  Being forever true to my redneck roots, I scored a multi-colored set of 6 from the thrift store last week.  One of the reasons I love to shop thrift stores, other than the obvious, is that I can afford nice cheery kitchenware.  I believe I saved close to $50 on these cups.  I’ve always wanted a set, but i would never pay the actual cost at Macy’s. BTW, the press is also from Good Will.  Recycling can be fun!  I always drop off a donation before I shop.
 
 

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The photo above is for LIZ (my thrift store competition).  SEE?  Aren’t they nice?

Michael Chiarello’s Lasagnette and HomeMade Ricotta

I’ve made ricotta cheese before, but I used the recipe in “Cooking with Grace” and have always wanted to try Michael Chiarello’s recipe. I have to say, they both tasted the same, so I would go back to using Grace’s because she doesn’t use buttermilk. Instead, she adds vinegar, which makes it a lot less expensive. The process is easy, as long as you keep an eye on the temperature and you are careful with the curds.

I’ve had my eye on these lasagnettes since I saw them in my new Michael Chirarello cookbook,

Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking .
By the way, I wouldn’t call these recipes casual.RECIPE FOR:
I didn’t have time to make the fresh pasta, but I’m lucky enough to live near a market that had some fresh sheets of pasta, so I used those. I also used the real mozzarella and parmesan reggiano freshly grated.
I found it interesting that he adds 2 ounces of ham(I used Apple Gate Farms) because you really don’t taste “ham”, you do taste a hint of smoky flavor. It was perfect!
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To see photos of making ricotta cheese and the dessert I made, Mock Tirimisu, please click below!

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

The ricotta is a process of heating the whole milk and buttermilk to approx. 180 degrees until the whey separates and the curds float to the top.

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Here, I’m pouring out the whey and then I allow the curds to drain in 6 layers of cheesecloth.

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The ricotta drains for about 15 minutes.

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Pre draining, your curds should look somewhat like this.

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Wah-la! Fresh made ricotta cheese.

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The lasagnette filling

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These are good sized. Note they are in a large baking sheet.

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The finished product was amazing. Seriously a melt in your mouth recipe.

The sauce is a basic tomato sauce with fresh basil.

With the remaining ricotta, I prepared a mock tirimisu.

Reasons I Love Living in the Seattle Area

  My husband Mark, my son, my family and friends and my home are here.

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Beautiful waterfronts and sunsets!

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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPike Place Market

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Fresh Seafood!

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…specialty food shops like “World Spice”

 

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Mount Rainier.

Something about living in close proximity to a few volcanoes keeps me feeling like I’m living on the edge.

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After moving all over the United States, I am very grateful to have settled in such a beautiful place.  To know most of my family and friends are so close by is a bonus!

Life With Chocolate

When I was a little girl I fantasized about Willi Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  Growing up poor, I related to Charlie’s dream of winning the golden ticket and entering into a chocolate filled factory!

I still fantasize about chocolate, and on my never ending quest to make and eat as many chocolate products as possible, I ran across this amazing cookie recipe in Bon Appetite magazine (November’s issue).  The recipe appears in the book, Baking:  From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.  These cookies win Greenspan’s vote for the greatest chocolate chip cookies.  Thin, crisp, and a bit chewy in the center.

MAKES ABOUT 45

MY BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks (I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa, from World Market)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchmentor silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a ruber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. 

(The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen. If you’d like, rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they’re solid. There’s no need to defrost the dough before baking-just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches. 

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FOR MORE CHOCOLATE CLICK HERE…

I want one of these fountains in the middle of my house!  I took this photo at Seattle Cooks.
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They passed out pretzels for dipping.

Another discovery I made on Christmas Day was this very rich chocolate coffee drink.
 I do like mochas and hot chocolate, but I’m not kidding, this is the best I’ve ever made!

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A little whipped topping and it’s ready to drink!

Chocolate-y Christmas Cafe au Lait
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse
 
 
 
This is a take-off of sorts on Cafe Brulot, Hot Chocolate, and Cafe au Lait.   Both the Cafe Brulot and Cafe au Lait are served in New Orleans, the Brulot after dinner, and au Lait with breakfast.   Cafe Brulot consists of orange peel strips, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and sugar being ignited with liqueurs in a large bowl to which black coffee is added.  Traditional cafe au lait is scalded milk and black coffee simultaneously poured into a cup or carafe. Both are served piping hot.   And the chocolate added to this gives the coffee a definite hot chocolate twist, sure to please all age groups.  For a stronger coffee flavor, add another 1/2 cup hot coffee to the mixture.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 ( 2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 strip orange peel, about 1/2 inch by 3 inches
10 whole cloves
2 to 2 1/2 cups hot brewed strong coffee
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Cocoa, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, 2/3 cup of the sugar, and cocoa until smooth. Add the cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves and bring to a simmer, stirring, to dissolve the sugar and prevent the cocoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar until thick and frothy, and peaks form. Set aside.

Strain the milk mixture into a coffee pot or carafe and add 2 cups of the hot coffee (2 1/2 cups for stronger coffee flavor, to taste). Pour into cups or small mugs and top each with a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Barefoot Contessa at Home~ Cornish Hens never tasted so good!

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This past Christmas I gifted myself with a second cookbook by the Barefoot Contessa.  I love this book even more than I love Barefoot in Paris.  I highly recommend this wonderful cookbook.

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My favorite recipe has been the Cornish  Hens with Cornbread Stuffing.  By far, my favorite recipe by Ina Garten!  The hens were super moist and the dressing unbelievably flavorful.  I served them with Smashed Potatoes, a recipe I learned from my friend Joan who is a fabulous cook!  I didn’t tie the legs because after reading “Wrestling with Gravy” I decided it’s best to leave them loose.

To view other dishes I’ve tried from Ina’s newest cookbook, click below…

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ABOVE: Chicken Piccata and

Orange Honey Glazed Carrots
Both recipes found in book.

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ABOVE: Christmas Brunch:  Salmon Scramble and Omelot for Two
The Creme Brulee French Toast is not found in the book, but can be found here on Epicurious.com.

I subsitiuted half whipping cream and half eggnog for the half and half.

I also made her :

Stuffed Cabbage 

Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

Broccolini & Balsamic Vinaigrette

and plan on making the new Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe soon!

A Picnic on the Sound–with guests!

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ABOVE: Puget Sound , facing the Olympic Mountains-Downtown Edmonds

Once in a while Mark and I have a picnic in the van.  The other day we decided to park on the beach at Puget Sound and eat our lunch.  We picked up some great eats at the local grocery store in downtown Edmonds.

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So many people see seagulls as flying rats, but I think they are absolutely beautiful.

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This little guy was persistent.  We tried turning on the wipers but he didn’t budge.  I made an ass out of myself shaking the van as hard as I could by swaying my body back and forth–that only drew stares from people in the other vehicles…Mark begged me to please stop shaking the car.  I just couldn’t stand eating in front of this seagull with his sad eyes boring a a hole through me.  
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ABOVE:  Great!  Then he had to call a friend over to make me feel twice as guilty!

In the end I threw him half of my tuna salad croissant.  He looked grateful.

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Cuban Style Asado Pork with Vino Mojo

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ABOVE: ROASTED GARLIC

Is there anything better than roasted garlic?  I think not.  Well, except for the amazing dishes one can make with roasted garlic.

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I had the pleasure of attending a cookbook demonstration given by Andrea Immer.

Andrea is one of only 14 women in the world who has been appointed Master Sommelier.
She was the first woman ever chosen Best Sommelier in the United States by the Sommelier Society of America. Andrea also became the first appointed Dean of Wine Studies for The French Culinary Institute in New York City, where she graduated with honors from its renowned 600-hour professional culinary program.

In other words, she knows wine and she knows food!

The night I saw her she made a  salmon dish.  Simple to make, yet she matched it with an amazing wine which turned out to be an important “condiment” to her dish.   I was hooked.  I bought the book.  I finally pulled it off the shelf, made a list for the market, and set off to try several dishes.

This past week, I’ve been cooking from her book–Starting with a  “Cuban Style Asado Pork with Vino Mojo”  by Andrea Immer.

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OH MY GOD!  Can you say tender?  Well, this is the most flavorful and tender pork ever!  I will make this again, and serve it to guests.  Only my favorite guests though 🙂

CUBAN STYLE ASADO PORK WITH VINO MOJO

Angelnina’s Notes: Recipe requires 2 days. Roast garlic and shallots first day and marinate overnight. Roast takes approx. 3 ½ hours in oven time.
1 ½ cups Chardonnay or other oak aged white wine
2 large garlic cloves
5 to 6 lb bone-in pork should ( I use boneless and often I use smaller shoulder or butt)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 head roasted garlic (see recipe below)
4 roasted shallots (see recipe below)
2 bay leaves , broken
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp kosher salt + more for seasoning
Pinch saffron (opt)
¾ c olive oil or more if necessary

1. Bring wine to boil in small saucepan and reduce by half. Cool to room temperature.

2. Cut the 2 garlic cloves into slivers. Make incisions into the pork with a sharp knife and poke garlic slivers into each.

3. Combine the cooled wine reduction with the lime juice, roasted garlic, bay leaves, shallots, oregano cumin, salt, pepper, and saffron (if using) in a food processor and blend until smooth.. With motor running, pour in ¾ c olive oil in a slow stream to emulsify. Place a plastic ziplock bag , big enough to hold the pork into a large mixing bowl. Put the pork and wine mixture in the bag and close the bag. Let the pork marinate in the fridge overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

4. Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the pork from the bag, reserving the marinade in the refrigerator. Season pork all over with salt and pepper. Place in a Dutch oven or roasting pan, fat side up. Cover and cook in oven for 1 ½ hours. Turn the pork fat side down, pour the reserved marinade over the meat and cook for 1 ½ hours longer or until meat is nearly falling off the bone. Turn the pork back to fat side up and uncover the pan. Increase heat to 375 and cook for 30 minutes to brown the pork. Remove from dutch oven and transfer to a cutting board to rest. Pour the juices from the pan into a gravy separator. The fat will rise to the top and the wine mojo will sink to the bottom. When the fat has separated, spoon it off and discard. Warm the mojo in a saucepan and serve in a gravy boat with the meat.

ROASTED GARLIC AND/OR SHALLOTS

1 head garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the loose, dry outer layer of skin from the head of garlic. Slice off the top third of the garlic head to expose the cloves, leaving the stem intact.

2. Place the garlic head on a 12” square of aluminum foil and sprinkle with the olive oil. Seal the foil tightly to enclose the garlic. Bake until tender–about an hour. Cool to room temperature inside the foil.

For roasted SHALLOTS, substitute 4 medium shallots, peeled and quartered, for the head of garlic.

Andrea also has a luscious dessert!  It has a silly name, but the taste is intense–not silly at all.  DIVINE.

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This “Banana Pizza” is the SO easy to make.  It would be great to serve to guests because you can make the pizza “crust” ahead of time–it’s simply a flour tortilla, buttered, and fried.  Dip it in a cinnamon and sugar and it’s done!
Before serving you can cut up banana, smother with cinnamon and sugar, cook till carmelized, and then drizzle with melted chocolate.
Oh my gosh, just looking at this again makes me hungry for one.

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