Friday, June 29, 2012

Ricotta Spiral Pastry

I am so behind with my post that I intended for Thursday...and here we are, it's Friday now, and way into the evening. I don't have any new things to post, except these perfectly yummy Ricotta Spiral Pastries that I got the idea from a food blogger friend Gizike from Hungary. @ Gizi Receptjei (Gizi's Recipes)...Click over to check her Ricotta Spiral Pastry with Bacon English, but you will recognize it from the inviting photo of her yummy creation! While you're there, browse through her other amazing recipes, and lovely photos to illustrate them!

Hers is with crispy bits of bacon, and mine is with fresh chopped basil, and fresh chopped oregano. I used what my daughter had in her fridge, and freezer...she just diddn't have bacon. Lora and I are never without Pepperidge Farm  puff pastry, or phyllo dough, and other ingredients which for us are 'staple ingredients' such as ricotta, and Reggiano Parmigiana cheese.

Just reading the recipe in Hungarian, and knowing I had all these ingredients on hand, I got so thrilled about making it. Just thaw out the puff pastry and you're ready to start. Gizike's blog is in Hungarian, but she has a TRANSLATE option. Just 'sift' through some of the inconsistencies on the translator because some stuff may sound totally ridiculous, which does not fit correctly into the English language, or vica-versa, according to a Hungarian food blogger, constantly mentioning to me that the translate is humorous most of the time!

Speaking of which! Couldn't be any more humorous than, trying to translate from a Bulgarian food blog. Wonder who does these translations...because, that specific time, when I tried to get the recipe of a stuffed chicken, and was interested in the stuffing ingredients. I certainly was not about to print it out (in fact, I let the blogger know of the problem) response!......translate option said, instead of 'stuff the chicken'...'f--k' the chicken I'm blushing! So just venture with the translate, carefully!

 Ricotta Spiral  Pastry
 adapted from,Gizike

1 sheet puff pastry
1 cup whole milk, or low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
a few basil leaves, and oregano leaves, chopped
or herbs of your choice
2 cloves garlic chopped
salt, and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter, melted (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together with a fork; the ricotta, parmesan, basil, oregano, eggs garlic, salt, and pepper.
With a rolling pin, roll the thawed out puff pastry lightly, and evenly. Brush some of the butter on it, and spoon the ricotta mixture evenly.

 Start to roll up the dough 'jelly roll' style.

Now, you can start to cut them with a sharp knife.

Cut the slices carefully about 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

(note: the little end piece on the right corner. I actually saved that too.)

Place the spiral rolls carefully in a round cake pan...(I used a pan with a removable bottom. Make sure you spray the pan with cooking spray!
You can also use a rectangular pan, depending if you use a single portion, or double portion!

Brush the rest of the butter on top, and with a soup spoon, pat them down lightly and shape them into rounds.

In a preheated 375 degree F. oven, bake for 35-45 minutes, until it gets golden brownish around the edges.

It turned out incredible, flaky, and oh, so ridiculously overly amazing!

Now, on to some other things to mention!

I received a small package the other day...a fabulous gift for Lora and I, from our dear friend,  Lizzy...the most amazing French soap, the fragrance alone, is sniff, and you feel like you're in Paris...actually it was from Paris. This was her gracious token of gift to all of us who has guest posted for her, while she flew off to Paris...doesn't it sound romantic?...well it should, and I should be the one to go next time...LOL

Another thing:
I already announced the winner of my giveaway...which is Sissi, from With a glass ...Congratulations to Sissi!
Sissi was contacted and already responded by e-mail, and was very thrilled. I will soon have another giveaway, just can't decide yet, what it will be. Thank you Sissi, and thank you all for your kind comments, and participation!..xo

I wish you all lived closer, so I could give you some mangoes...I've been giving them to Lora's neighbors. Since we had that hard wind, and storm, the mangoes have been dropping from the tree like "dead flies"...oooh, not a good comparison. I even got one fall down and knocked me on my head...ouch! a nice bump...saw some 'stars'...even split the ripe mango open...ha,ha....just didn't want to post that photo.

Now, all I need is some ideas, and recipes to make mangoes with!...any suggestions?...please, send some my way!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mark Bittman's Bread Pudding...and Giveaway!

Perfect bread pudding, right out of the oven!
There's a saying..."what you see, is what you get"...or a favorite of mine...IT IS, WHAT IT IS!...When life gives you lemons; you make LEMONADE...When your son brings you a homemade beautiful round Challah bread with raisins, from a Kosher kitchen...that has been blessed by a eat half, freeze the other half...and make the best Bread Pudding...ever!
Linking to:
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop @Zesty South Indian Kitchen
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage 
Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner 

Not only did I feel blessed, but comforted...knowing, that this bread will be best, used  for french toast, or make a fabulous bread pudding...not just any old recipe, but my most favorite, trustworthy Mark Bittman's
"How to Cook Everything" Simple Recipes for Great Food!...don't expect pretty photos, and illustrations in this 944 page of a bright yellow soft covered book (comes in hard cover, as well) can certainly order this on Amazon, and get it for a great price, but mine was also NEW, which I purchased 2 years ago at Goodwill for 79 cents...a price which is no longer available for soft covered books. Today, it would cost me $4.00 even at Goodwill...but then you can probably get this at Amazon for the same price, and pay $3.99 for shipping. It's still a great bargain...either way!
I don't recall bragging so much about any cookbook, as I am totally in love with this one. I have managed to take it home several times...only, to find it back here at my daughter's house because we are both sharing the book.

This is how it decide to make a great dish, dessert, breads, anything your heart will find a simple version of it in this book; it virtually is, like a, you go online, if you want to compare other similar recipes, and even find photos of it, and start comparing and creating it to your needs...but don't be "stingy" a friend, and mention the source! I can relate to your own creation of a fairly simple 'staple' recipe which do not require a source...but let's face it. We are not 'Martha Stewart'...or 'Giada'...or 'Nigella'...we don't have a cooking show, or have our own 'food magazine' like Martha Stewart...LIVING, which by the way, is one of my all-time favorite cooking magazines, next to Bon Appetit!
...but, you never know! Dreams can become a reality! You can become the next Food Channel 'cooking star'...or can go on T.V.'s CHOPPED program...and get yourself 'chopped off' after the first 'brutal challenge'...or, become the winner and take home the $10,000. which is not EASY!

I'm getting way off the subject here. I will share 2 recipes with you...the other, which I promised is my 'staple' banana bread recipe...and I do repeat...'staple'..because, both Lora and I make this once or twice a week, without consulting a recipe...just have it memorized after all these years, and totally cut down on the 1970's overload of sugar, and oil that they used in basic recipes. When I see a banana bread recipe posted with 1 cup of oil, and 2 or more cups of sugar, I just want to scream...NO,'re killing us! (well, just a little dramatization of it) but seriously, who needs all that cholesterol and sugar, and most of the time with the overload of 'butter'...and let's not even go there...we all know what happened with Paula Deen; don't get me wrong, I love her dearly, and all her creative recipes, and her Southern "y'all" charm. We just need to stay, or get healthy, that's all!

Bread Pudding
adapted from: How to Cook Everything 
by, Mark Bittman

3 cups of milk, (I used low-fat)
4 Tbsp.=1 1/2 sticks butter, plus extra  for greasing the pan. (I used cooking spray to grease pan)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cups sugar plus 1 Tbsp.
pinch of salt
8 thick slices of white bread, crust removed
(I used leftover Challah)
3 eggs ( I used 4)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Over low heat in a small saucepan warm the milk, butter 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar, Just until butter melts. Butter, or spray an 8x8 square glass baking dish, or a casserole dish that can fit 1 1/2 quarts.

Cut or tear the bread in bite-size pieces (as in upper photo) and pour the milk mixture over it. ( I sprinkled the cinnamon, salt, and sugar, directly on the bread cubes, did not add in the milk mixt. to heat up)

Let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes, submerging
any pieces of bread that rise to the top.

Beat the eggs lightly, and pour over the bread mixture, stirring gently, being careful not to disturb the bread pieces. Mix together the 1 Tbsp sugar with the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top.

This is how the mixture should look, you are ready to bake it.

Bake 45 longer than 1 hr. Center will be just a little wobbly, but it will settle as it cools a little.
Serve warm, or cold, with maple syrup, whipped, cream, or just plain powdered (icing sugar)

For chocolate pudding: Melt 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate with the milk, and butter, and proceed as above.

For Apple-Raisin filling: Add 1 cup peeled, grated, and drained apples, and 1/ cup or more raisins to the mixture, along with the eggs.

Elisabeth's Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup low-fat milk
3 rip bananas mashed
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher, or fork, and add the sugars to it; stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs with the oil, and milk, beating with a fork, or whip just to combine well. Add the bananas mixture to the flour, and pour the egg mixture over the top...stir to combine.
Stir 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into the batter; spoon into the loaf pan, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 30 minutes @ 350 degrees F.  Lower the temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on rack, and it will release easily from pan, after it cools down slightly.

This is my very own "tried and true" recipe, and it is 'fail proof' must add the ingredients just the way I have it written, in that order, and also for the temperature, and time baked. For the sugar, you can use just white sugar instead both kinds, but increase to sugar to 1 cup. You can also substitute by adding equal amount of whole wheat flour to equal amount un-bleached all purpose flour. You can add raisins, chopped nuts, cranberries, dried cherries, or any kind of dried fruits. I would not recommend fresh chopped fruit, they will add too much moisture and make the bread soggy! more thing; I just recently received this special back order issue, for my 2yr Blog Anniversary giveaway.
I have not heard from anyone if you are in interested in my special giveaway of the 100yrs of American cooking edition, which came out in 1999. I love this special issue, and kept the magazine for 13 years now, using some of the best recipes...ever!

Back in 1999, it cost $3.95...I back ordered a special order...brand new one, plastic sealed edition...which cost $12.99 (still a thrift price) for something so special..the shipping was (that's where they get you) another $3.99, well worth it!

Are you going to miss out on this giveaway gift that has century old culinary stories, including the famous Amircan Apple Pie that debuted in 1900, the famous Coca Cola, in the late 1899,  the famous Betty Crocker in the late 1930's, Julia Child in the early 1950's famous movie stars, our very own American Mac n' Cheese, with updated old recipes...just look at the famous American list of products that our known all over the world, and when they debuted!

Hostess Twinkies (1930)
Snickers (1930)
Bisquick (1931)
Fritos Corn Chips (1932)
Skippy Peanut Butter (1932)
Campbell's Chicken Noodle
and Cream of Mushroom  Soups (1932)
Ritz Crackers (1934)
Five Flavors Life Savers (1935)
Kraft Miracle Dressing (1935)
Kix Cereal (1937)
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner (1937)
Pepperidge Farm Bread (1937)
Spam (1937)
Lawry's Season Salt (1938)
Lay's Potato Chips (1938)
Nestle's Crunch bars (1939)

There's a lot more to mention...and the most popular of them all is the famous OREOS that just recently celebrated its 100 years in America and is now, famous, and well liked all over the world! Now, isn't this something for us to be proud of that's American?
...and don't forge the JELL-O which has been around since 1897...and took America by the storm in the 1920's...and making a comeback now, after declining since the late 80's. more item...(among tons of others) THE CANDY MAN
who can forget the ever so famous HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE BARS?
Founded by Milton Hershey, in 1900...his chocolate was so well known an famous, by 1906, he got the town named after him!
So, there you have just some of the famous century information, along with photos and updated old recipes, and new ones, as well!
It's a whopping double issue of 254 pages, compared to this July grilling issue of Bon Appetit, of 122 pages. that costs you $4.99 an issue, if you don't have a subscription, which I've had for over 20 years!

I'm repeating this giveaway gift...just let me know if you would like strings attached...but if you don't mention something about this amazing issue, then I will assume you're not interested in winning this!

OK...gotta go now. Luigi the little precious Chihuahua ...and Stella (not pictured) are hungry, and so am let me hear from you...until then, have a wonderful Monday, Tuesday at some places...we're getting a tropical storm, rain, rain...and more rain!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches...and a busy day!

I was so determined to make something light today for lunch, and suddenly, an idea just came to my mind...why not Cucumber Tea Sandwiches?!...after all, I had all the ingredients, including the 'soft spread' cream cheese and fresh dill, which I like to keep on hand but they go bad so quickly. I don't even like to freeze them because they taste terrible when you thaw them out!
These little open faced sandwiches are not enough to satisfy your hunger...but for an afternoon snack with 'tea' my case, iced tea, would have been just the right snack to 'hit the spot.'

Also, did the same thing to the cupboards to check for items, and I even made a banana bread, as well. It sure was nice to have a large piece with cold iced tea  after the little sandwiches.

In the meantime...the lawn care guys came, and of course the little doggies went crazy, barking their little heads off!
When you have ripe bananas, I mean in little brown spots ripe; that's when its the best time to make banana bread and if you have some chocolate chips...even better...yumm

(Remind me to post the recipe on my next post)...although I do have at least two recipes on my blog for banana bread!

...and by-the-way, the loaf pan that I gave to my daughter, is a heavy-duty calphalon, so nice to bake in it, and it was actually brand new...such a treasure from Goodwill...a fabulous thrift find for $1.99.

We do get hot temperatures, but also rain, every day since last month. Doesn't rain all day long...just on-and-off, but trying to take pictures in-between the rain, and the sun...seriously; that's how it is here in S. Florida.

Getting back to my tea sandwiches!

First off: you must have one of these gadgets, the plastic mandolin...another thing, if you can't find this in a 'thrift store'...which is almost, but I should say...always new, because most people do not, or cannot use them because they don't know how! The cost:  99cents...and I have at least 3 of these, the other two have extra gadgets, for cutting different things.

For the method:
Take one, or two cucumbers, and peel partially, like in the photo, cut the ends off, and with a steady hand slice the cucumbers. (just watch the tip of your fingers, because the blade is extremely sharp.)
Set sliced cucumbers aside on a plate, and start cutting your bread.

You can cut your bread into any shape you would like to, if you want round shapes, just use a biscuit cutter, or different cookies shape cutters. Just make sure you cut the crusts of. I used a triangle cut, (they're not so even) but that's's just for myself!

The best cream cheese to use, is the Philadelphia spreadable cheese; leave outside for about 20 before spreading on your favorite bread slices. I used a really good oat bread. If you can't find the soft spread cheese, you can use the regular cream cheese, just let it come to room temperature!

Spread each slices lightly...

Line the thin slices of cucumber in a decorative style on the slices of bread, and with kitchen shears, snip a small piece off...I got a little carried away, on a couple slice of bread, with the dill; but I love dill so much, the fragrance is incredible, and so is the flavor! Such an Eastern European 'thing'...the famous DILL!

I sprinkled some freshly ground sea salt, and freshly ground multi-colored peppers on them...such light and delicious little sandwiches!

...and that's all there is to it; Enjoy!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, June 18, 2012

Strawberry Cake...for Father's Day!

Notice something different?...a pink cake...and it's for Father's Day!...just can't stop having 'Lucy' moments, since I agreed to guest post for my friend Ping, and Veronica. It just seemed to have rubbed off on me. Now, I'm enlisted in the 'Lucy Club'

Why a 'pink' cake for Father's Day?...wouldn't it be more appropriate to make a cake with perhaps 'blueberries' that would signify that it's for  a male?...actually, not really Having a strawberry cake is OK, but why go overboard for the pink frosting?...well, I have an explanation for that, as well!

Linking to:
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop @ Swathi's Zesty South Indian Kitchen

OK, I must admit that I got a little carried away with the cake. I had 2 containers of beautiful ripe strawberries, and I just had to do something with them, so I decided to make a cake (last minute) a few hours before we were going to eat lunch.

The cake was an absolute success to celebrate Father's Day for my son, and my ex-hubby! They never even notice that it was all PINK, but my little granddaughter sure did. Pink is her favorite color, so it was a double celebration!

Strawberry Cake
my doctored up creation

1 box of strawberry or yellow cake mix
1- 3oz. box of strawberry JELL-O
1/2 cup canola, or vegetable oil
1 cup of plain water
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed strawberries
1 Tbsp sugar

It's a lot easier than you think. Just one box of strawberry cake mix, or yellow cake mix,

For the strawberries: cut the berries in 1/3 pieces, place them in a medium bowl, and add the 1 Tbsp sugar...mash with mashed potato masher, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. It will be juicy and slightly chunky.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, 1/2 of the 3-oz. JELL-O the eggs, oil, water. Beat on slow speed with electric mixer, until combined, then on high speed for about 3 minute, till creamy, and fluffy.

After mixing the ingredients, pour in the mashed strawberries.

 Gently fold in the mashed strawberries.

Pour into a sprayed and floured 9 inch spring form pan, or 2- 9 inch round pans. (my pan I used only has the bottom removable.
For spring-form pan, bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes, for the 2 round 9 inch pans, about 30-35 minutes.

Let it cool on a wire rack, and frost with strawberry cream cheese frosting:

1- 8 oz. pkg Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick=4 oz, (113.4 g,) unsalted butter, at room temp.
3 cups powder (icing) sugar
1 teaspoon of the strawberry JELL-O
1 teaspoon plain water

With an electric mixer, mix all ingredients together, till combined, and beat until light, and fluffy, on high speed. Spread it on the cake, when cake is cool, and decorate with additional strawberries if you like. Let the cake set in the fridge for about 2hrs before serving! It is yumm, and delish...and no-one will suspect that it's a "doctored-up" cake...let it be YOUR SECRET! 

I finally received the special addition of the Bon Appetit for the Giveaway, and will announce the winner for my next post!

So, for my continuing photos....just wanted to share some S. Florida photos. The mango tree has already been trimmed is at least 50yrs old.

The glorious mango tree...mangoes getting nice, and ripe!

He loves bougainvilleas!

Enhanced by Zemanta