Tag Archive | autumn recipes

It’s a Kneady Time of the Year

Few things in life are more comforting during cool, crispy weather than fluffy socks, soft lounge-wear, favorite background music (Beatles, Michael Buble, Rod Stewart, Ed Sheeran for me) and the scent of freshly baked goods.

 

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ITALIAN BUNS

This warm and cozy bread recipe will guarantee that you’ll be
complimented on your hot buns.

 

 

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 3 TBSP water (tepid at 100 – 110 F)
  • 3/4 tsp. honey
  • 2 cups bread flour (if you don’t have bread flour, you can use all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 TBSP. olive oil (plus more for brushing)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add water and honey to a small bowl, and stir so that the honey is incorporated with the water, then sprinkle the yeast on top of water, and let set for 5 minutes (or until yeast has foamed). Stir well.
  2. Add flour and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk together, then make a well in the middle. If you don’t have a stand mixer, do the exact same thing, using a large bowl.
  3. Add the water, honey, yeast mixture to the middle of the flour mixture.
  4. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and turn on medium, and let it knead until the dough forms a ball. If there is dough on the sides, simply scrape it off and let it continue kneading for 10 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, then knead with your hands on a floured board and knead. About 15 minutes.


    NOTE: Here is how you can check if your dough needs more kneading.
    Indent the dough with your fingertip, if the indentation fills back quickly, you’re dough has been kneaded enough and you’re ready to let it rise.

    If it stays looking like a deep dimple, continue kneading.

  5. Lightly oil (with olive oil) a large bowl, then form the dough into a ball, then roll the dough in the bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free area for 1.5 – 2 hours, the dough should be doubled in bulk.

    NOTE: I let the dough rise in the oven with the oven light on.

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then punch down the dough, form the dough into 12 balls, keeping the rest of the dough covered as you form the balls
  7. Place dough balls on the baking sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm draft-free area for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
  8. Preheat oven to 400F
  9. Brush each dough ball with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. The buns should be golden, and you can tell if they are cooked by tapping the bottom of the bun—it should sound hollow.
  10. Once baked, remove from oven and put on a cooling rack. Can be enjoyed cooled or warm.

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Bake Someone Happy

 

 

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There’s something about rainy, and windy, cool days where you can hear the leaves rustling that brings out the baker in me.

It’s a way of embracing the change of season after the summer months by filling my home with the glorious scent of baked goods, and satisfying my sweet tooth, and my family’s hankering for home-made goodies are added bonuses.

 

Here’s a recipe that ticks all the boxes for everyone’s
sweet, tangy, and fruity taste buds.

 

Sweet Bread filled with Lemon Custard and Blueberries

 

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Lemon Custard Filling:

INGREDIENTS:

4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 lemons
1/8 tsp. salt
6 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into cubes and let it get to room temperature so it’s soft

DIRECTIONS:

Note: If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make your own, with a pot and steel bowl on top, or another pot that fits the bottom pot.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 2 inches of water, and allow it to boil on high.
Once boiled, reduce to low heat and keep it at a simmer.

To the top of the double boiler, add: sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and egg yolks.

Whisk this mixture until it’s completely blended, and continue to whisk until the custard cooks. Constant whisking will prevent the egg yolks from curdling, and it will give you a nice, smooth custard.

Once the mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes), remove from heat, If curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and constantly whisk.

Note: If you find it’s not thick enough, turn up the heat a little, not too high and keep whisking for a few more minutes.

Once thickened, remove the pot from heat and stir in the butter pieces. Allow the butter to melt inside the mixture.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap so it is touching the top of the custard as this will prevent a skin from forming on top, and set aside to let it cool.


Blueberry Topping:

INGREDIENTS:

6 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP cold water

DIRECTIONS:

2 cups fresh blueberries (or your favorite berry)
½ TBSP butter, unsalted
½ TBSP, freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a saucepan, add sugar, cornstarch, salt and water and heat over medium heat, stirring until smooth.

Add the blueberries and bring to a boil.

Cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

Remove from the heat, then add butter and lemon juice, stir until butter is melted.

Set aside and let cool.

 

Egg Wash:

Beat together:
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. water

Sweet Bread:

INGREDIENTS:

3 TBSP white sugar
3/4 cup milk, whole milk works better
2 TBSP butter, unsalted
2 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 TBSP yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Add: sugar, milk, butter and oil in a sauce and heat on medium low, stirring.

After all ingredients are warmed through, remove from heat and briskly whisk in the beaten eggs.

Add the yeast to this mixture and mix.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover the bowl, let it sit for five to 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the mixture, and mix gently, until all the flour is incorporated.

Cover and set aside at room temperature, and let it rise for one hour.

Sift the flour and salt together, then add to the mixture, and mix gently, until all the flour is incorporated.

Cover and set aside at room temperature, and let it rise for one hour.

Sprinkle some flour on your working surface, then gently roll out the risen dough into a rectangle. You can add a bit more flour one your rolling pin, so it doesn’t stick.

Once your dough is rolled out to approximately 16 x 12 in size, spoon the lemon custard in rows.

At this point you can do one of two things; you can braid the bread, gently criss-crossing, and using a spoon pressing the filling in so it doesn’t spill out while baking.

ANOTHER OPTION: Or, you can roll up the dough in the shape of a log, placing the seam underneath, then pinch edges of the log so the filling doesn’t pour out.

If you breaded the bread, add a dollop of the blueberry mixture, dotting the blueberry mixture on the opening, or you can also choose to add a few dollops of blueberry mixture inside the bread. You can use your imagination with the berries.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and transfer your dough to this baking sheet.

Let bread to rise for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F

Make your egg wash by whisking egg and water well, then brush the egg wash over the bread, and put the bread in the oven.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the top of the bread is golden.

Once you remove it from the oven, and it cools to warm, you can dust your bread with icing sugar.

Enjoy with your favourite hot beverage.

 

 

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Italianizing a British Favorite

 

Bringing two cultures together in one delicious dish

My husband and I are both first generation Canadians as our families immigrated from across the ocean—mine from Italy, his from England.

Remember the movie, Big Fat Greek Wedding? Substitute Greek for Italian and you have our families in the same situation. The rambunctious, informal side meets the formal-high-tea, quieter side. However, it didn’t take long for my husband to become an I.B.M. (Italian by Marriage) and for his family to join in with our family’s boisterous get-togethers. they even embraced the way I enjoy Italianizing many dishes—including their beloved traditional British fare….(at least that’s what they tell me), 🙂

One of the dishes I put an Italian spin on is Shepherd’s Pie.

This is an unforgiving (put your own twist, substitute the herbs or type of vegetables and/or meat if you wish) no-fail recipe. This is a delicious crowd pleaser, I hope you’ll give it a try.

ITALIAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

 

Ingredients:

For the vegetable layer:

3 zucchini (green or yellow or a mixture of both)
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Wash, dry and slice zucchini into approx. 1/4 inch rounds and put in a bowl
  3. Drizzle zucchini rounds with olive oil, and stir to coat all the rounds
  4. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat all the zucchini
  5. Spread the coated zucchini onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray).
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Set aside.

For the meat layer:

 

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage (spicy or mild, your choice)
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce (or if you don’t have any, tomato paste)
1/4 vegetable broth (or chicken or beef broth, whatever you have on hand)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

  1. In a skillet, cook the meat until browned and cooked through.
  2. To the skillet add the sweet red pepper, shallot, tomato, broth, and stir well.
  3. Bring the meat mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, simmer for 10 – 13 minutes (you want the liquid to evaporate as much as possible)
  4. Once done, remove from stove, stir in the fresh basil and set aside.

For the potato layer:

1 ½ lbs. potatoes (I use Yukon Gold, you can use whichever variety you enjoy)
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this will be used later, when assembling the dish)
salt to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of cold water (add salt to water) to boil.
  2. Peel and rinse potatoes, cut in about 1-inch chunks and add potatoes to boiling water.
  3. Cover pot until water boils again.
  4. Reduce to medium heat and simmer until potatoes are tender enough to mash.
  5. While potatoes are cooking, add milk and minced garlic to a pot. On medium-low heat, cook milk and garlic, stirring—for five minutes.
  6. Once potatoes are done, drain them and return to the pot, then add: milk-garlic, oil, mozzarella cheese, and mash until creamy and smooth. You can add a bit more milk if desired.
  7. Taste, and if needed, add a bit more salt.

ASSEMBLING THE DISH:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray (I use a 9 x 13 one, or you can use an oval one, whichever you have on hand)
  3. Spread the meat mixture at the bottom, as evenly as possible.
  4. Add the zucchini slices on top to cover the whole dish
  5. Top with the mashed potatoes to the edge of the baking dish, which creates a seal, preventing any of the juices from bubbling over.
  6. Add Parmesan cheese all over the top, then smooth potatoes with spatula.
  7. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes—until the potatoes are browned on top.
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve with bread, salad or a side of your choice.

 

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For more recipes (over 100 family dishes), PLUS, two stories (children’s book, and a comedy short story for adults) download a sample or purchase WISHES. STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family Fun.

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Spoonful of the sweet, savory & spice.

I experimented with making a pork loin roast in a different way, and came up with this dish that my family loved.

If you like sweet, savory and spice all rolled into one, then I know you will absolutely love this recipe, and you will receive rave reviews from your family and friends. Great dish to serve for a dinner party, because once you put it together in your crock pot it doesn’t need any attention.

It keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen.

Sweet & Sour Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

2 lb (or you can use 1.5 or 3 lb loin) pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin

2 TBSP oil

1 bottle of Diana Sauce for pork and ribs (Or any pork/rib BBQ sauce you have on hand)

6 ounces apricot jam

6 ounces grape jelly

6 ounces marmalade

1 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP fish sauce

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 tsps. hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)

1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 sweet yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

10 ounces pineapple, (sliced or in chunks, your choice)

Sea salt

Ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a bowl add the following: BBQ sauce, apricot jam, grape jelly, marmalade, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, tomato puree, hot chili sauce. Whisk them all together until smooth. Taste to see if you’d like to add more hot spice.
  2. Heat up a saute pan with oil on your stove, while the pan is heating up, pat the pork loin dry with paper towels, then season both sides with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place roast in pan and brown on both sides.
  4. Remove from heat. Slice into (about 1/2 inch) slices, then cube each slice.
  5. Pour some of the sauce you made at the bottom of your slow cooker to cover the whole bottom.
  6. Add the cubed meat to slow cooker.
  7. Add the sweet bell peppers and pineapple
  8. Cover the meat and peppers with remaining sauce.
  9. Stir to ensure all meat is covered with sauce.
  10. If using a slow cooker, cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

From our tables to yours, enjoy in good health.

Serving Suggestion

Serve over white jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

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For more recipes, please check out WISHES, STITCHES & DISHES: Bundle of Family fun. 

INCLUDES: A children’s book, a comedy short story and OVER 100 recipes.

Available on Amazon

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Where did the peanut go?

While clearing my mind and “meditating” during yoga class early this morning I glanced out the window and noticed a squirrel scurrying up a tree.

It led me to thinking about the peanut that used to sit on top of the Squirrel Peanut Butter jar. When you opened a new jar, there it was; a tasty, crunchy peanut.

It’s not there any more.

Where did it go?

Continue reading

Soup’s On!

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday.

Be sure to stop by my fellow author friends’ blogs  (links listed below) and check out what they have cooking.

“Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up.” ~~Morgan Freeman~~

The crisp, colorful autumn days ahead always turn my thoughts to making soup-a-licious dishes.

I love soup because it’s easy to make, you don’t have to be exact in the measurements, (for the purpose of this blog, I have included exact measurements…somewhat) uses up a lot of leftovers and you can fuel your body with all the anti-oxidant goodness from vegetables and fruits in one bowl.

Super Easy Delicious Orange Soup (Please note: No oranges were used in the making of this soup)

Ingredients:

1 Large Sweet Potato (peel and chop into cubes)

2 Large Carrots (peel and slice)

1 Butternut Squash (peel and dice)

1 10 oz. can Pumpkin puree  (not the kind you make pie with)

2 Ripe Pears (or if you’d prefer you can use apples) – peel, remove seeds and chop

1 Small Vidalia Onion (sliced and diced)

2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

Olive Oil

Vegetable or Chicken Broth (if you don’t have any on hand, water will do)

Sea salt to taste

A few dashes of Ginger

Directions:

Heat oven to 425

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can spray your sheet a non-stick spray) arrange the carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato in a single layer and lightly coat vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle some Sea Salt.

Turning once, bake until the vegetables are tender.

Remove from oven.

In a large pot saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil.

Add all the baked vegetables plus pureed pumpkin and the pears into the pot.

Add enough broth (or water) to cover all the contents.

Sprinkle in some Ginger.

Add salt to taste.

****Optional: You can also sprinkle in curry powder, if you like curry.

Simmer on stove for about 40 – 50 minutes.

Remove from stove and cool slightly (enough so that you can put it in your blender or food processor.)

Puree the soup.

Return the soup to the pot and re-heat on low, stirring.

Garnish with either: toasted pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds, or slivers of apple, or slivers of pears

If you have leftover soup, here’s a quick and easy way to use it.

Simply use the leftover soup and coat chicken breasts, crush some almonds on top of the chicken breasts and bake.

Be sure to stop by these other blogs and pick up more recipes.

I Heart NY Cheesecake by PG Forte

Just a little Devilishly Sweet Red Velvet Cookies! by Moira Keith 

“I died and went to Italy” by Nancy Lauzon

“The Allure of Ice” by A Catherine Noon