August 30, 2008

Cracking Eggs, Breaking Glass

I risked life and limb to bring you this perfect breakfast sandwich.

Ok, not life but definitely limb. This morning I'm in my teeny tiny galley kitchen cooking up one of my faves, the prosciutto and egg muffin. Since my kitchen is so small everything is in arms reach, which is good for multi tasking: toast the muffin, crack the egg, open the fridge for prosciutto, close fridge with foot while pouring coffee...knock bloody mary spice mix of fridge shelf, crashing onto floor, glass breaking and contents gushing out, leap over carnage just barely missing large shard of glass while flipping egg in the pan one handed...phew, that was a close one! Perfect sandwich and no blood! (this time)
Prosciutto & Egg Sandwich
Slice of prosciutto
English muffin
Mixed greens for garnish

Toast the muffin. Preheat a small frying pan with a bit of butter. Crack the egg into a separate bowl. Carefully place the egg into the pan. Cook until desired doneness, flip and repeat. Assemble your sandwich with egg, prosciutto and greens.

August 25, 2008

Torte Reform

Birthdays have never been a very big deal to me. Since mine falls just before Christmas, my birthday parties have always been more like seasonal celebrations. People on winter vacation taking time off work and school to enjoy dinners with family and friends were always happy to tack on my happy birthday to their regularly scheduled holiday party. I never minded blending in with all of the other festivities as long as one tradition remained solidly intact- my Carvel ice cream cake. Layers of chocolate and vanilla ice cream and those awesome crunchies...just for me...non-negotiable. Sadly, since moving to the west coast real Carvel ice cream cakes (not just the random ones laying around in your grocery store's freezer) have been harder to come by. I was beginning to give up hope when TWD's Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte came to my rescue.Could I really make an ice cream cake to rival those of my youth? Without an ice cream maker no less? You bet your Cookiepuss (random Carvel reference) I can!

This torte was easy and so awesome. While millions of flavor combinations danced in my head, I stuck to Dorie's original recipe for my maiden voyage into ice cream cake making. I was not disappointed. I don't have an 8inch springform so I used a pyrex loaf pan lined with aluminum foil. That made unmolding this baby a cinch and slicing it up was a breeze. All that was missing was the cookie crunchies- I toyed with the idea of adding crushed up chocolate wafers but in the end left them out. Sooo, of course I'm going to have to make this again. That's too bad (hee hee).

August 24, 2008

What's A Pizza?

On June 4th 1953, grocer Vic Cassano and his mother-in-law opened the first Cassano's Pizza in Kettering, Ohio. When Vic, a grocer, was trying to find investors for his new restaurant, he called on old friend and local businessman Jack Keyes. He came over to Jack's house, made him a pizza and said," You put up a thousand and I'll put up a thousand and we'll go into the pizza business." Jack's response was, "What's a pizza?"
After trying this strange new dish, Jack turned Vic down. Little did he know that soon Vick Cassano would open the first Cassano's Pizza King. Today there are over 33 locations in the Dayton, Ohio area along with a thriving frozen dough franchise.

I guess it's no use to mourn what could've been. You see Jack is Grandpa Jack, my husband's grandfather. If only he could have forseen that these thin slices of sauce, cheese, meat and vegetable would be the golden ticket to the prosperity of his family for generations to come!

So every Sunday, when I recreate Cassano's pizza at home, I think about what could have been. I won't be the wife to the heir of pizza empire after all but at least I have a wonderful grandpa by the name of Jack Keyes, the greatest non-pizza mogul grandpa a girl could ever ask for.
And this great recipe for pizza sauce.

Cassano's Style Pizza Sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes before using.

August 22, 2008

Zucchini Relief Initiative 2.0 - Yellow Squash Soup

Yellow squash cupcakes anyone? Ok, maybe not but I still had 2 huge squash leftover from my friends pre-Olympic trip garden harvest. Since the zucchini soup worked so well, I thought I'd try this recipe from Epicurious. I substituted vegetable stock and added cayenne pepper, honey, a splash of balsamic vinegar and lots of paprika. Next time I make this I plan to either saute the squash longer or oven roast it first to create a smoother texture because the skin of the squash didn't puree well so the soup was a bit gritty at first. All in all though, a great summer lunch and another answer to your squash surplus dilemmas.

August 18, 2008

No Spoon Required

I love it when health food and junk food collide, as in this this week's TWD- Granola Grabbers. They are chock full of whole grains and fiber but come in a fabulous and convenient cookie form!

I used almond coconut granola, whole wheat flour, and less sugar than the recipe called for- that's the healthy part. But then... I added semisweet chocolate chips and sweetened flaked coconut to bring out their "cookie-ness." They came out great, the perfect combination of crunchy and gooey, sweet and salty, good taste and good for you!

August 11, 2008

We All Scream For...Madelines?

My plan was to make ice cream the low tech way, even though I could have rushed out and bought an ice cream maker with the $50 William Sonoma gift card that has been burning a hole in my wallet. But, with family in town and work constraints...blah blah blah you don't want to hear my excuses. The upshot is, I have no ice cream for you today but please enjoy these lovely little madelines instead.

It was one of the first recipes I wanted to try from Dorie's book and I missed it by a few weeks! So here they are in all their spongy lemony goodness!

August 10, 2008

Too Hot For Pancakes

Greek yogurt.

Zucchini Relief Initiative

It is a very dangerous time of year. It is squash season. If you grow it, you are inundated with it. If you have friends who grow it, don't leave your car unlocked or you might find a bag of them on your seat. One innocent offer to bake zucchini bread for a friend with freakish large zucchini on her hands and my desk has become the official dumping ground for all unwanted squash products! Regular zucchini bread, chocolate chip zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini cupcakes...I needed some relief but i still had 3 zucchini in my fridge! Thankfully Epicurious came to my rescue with a recipe for Zucchini Basil Soup.

I love making soups in the fall and this one was so easy to make and tastes great hot or cold. I used more garlic than the recipe called for and added cayenne pepper for a little kick. Served with a dollop of greek yogurt, this makes a wonderful summer meal. And it gets rid of a lot of zucchini!
Check out the recipe here.

August 3, 2008

Do You Banana, Take Chocolate...

This weeks' TWD was a match made in heaven. I mean chocolate and banana, in cake form? I can't think of a more delicious combination! I couldn't wait to try my hand at Dorie's Black and White Banana Loaf. I decided to make 2 mini loaves and a mini round so I could test out different marbling techniques.

I tried the original recipe's method with one of the loaves, and the layering method with the other. For the round, I tried the method my mom had always used to make marble cake-
filling the pan with the plain batter and then dropping in spoonfuls of the chocolate. All 3 were equally delicious however, the original recipe's method yielding the most marbling throughout. I love experiments when they involve cake!

August 2, 2008

Peach Melba Sorta

Saturday mornings have always been my favorite part of the week. When I was a kid, I would bound out of bed, fix myself a bowl of Lucky Charms and watch cartoons while planning out the rest of my weekend. Things haven't changed much- I don't so much bound as roll, I prefer coffee to cereal, and The Smurfs have been replaced by the Food Network. My Saturday mornings usually start with a cup of coffee and a little Food Network. With the weekend stretching out in front of me, I love to spend my first few waking hours mulling over which recipes I plan to try over the next 2 days.

One of my staples is Nigella Feasts. Nigella Lawson was my first culinary icon; "Nigella Bites" the first cooking show I'd ever watched. This morning "Nigella Feasts" was an all dessert episode and her peach melba had me drooling into my coffee mug.Poaching the peaches took less than ten minutes.

Impatiently, I removed their skins immediately after taking them out of their sugar/vanilla bath, burning my fingers in the process. So impatient in fact, I decided to forgo the raspberry sauce and leave these beauties naked in the bowl with vanilla ice cream. It was still fantastic! Check out the recipe here.