terça-feira, 31 de agosto de 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon essence vanilla, butter & almond
2 cups white flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast

Sugar and cinnamon

White icing

Put ingredients in the order above in a bread machine and select dough
(or mix ingredients using your hands until you have a ball of dough).
Immediately after kneading is over, open dough with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape.
Pour as much sugar and cinnamon as you wish onto open dough.
Roll one of the bigger edges until it reaches the other edge of the dough.
Cut 'snake' into approx 2-inch pieces.
Place them on greased tray and let them rest for approx. 3 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 350F for approx. 10min and bake rolls for 20-25min or until brown.
Let them cool on a rack.
Once they are warm or cool, pour some more sugar & cinnamon on top and glaze with white icing.

Delectable & great for any occasion! I guarantee!  

quinta-feira, 26 de agosto de 2010

Tuna Pasta

Here is another delicious and super easy recipe.
You can make this delicious and healthy dish in less than 20 minutes.
It is the perfect combination for a chilly night or even as a summer salad.

Ingredients: one package pasta - two cans of tuna (in water or oil) - 1 to 2 cups baby spinach - 1 can tomato sauce with garlic - 1 can black olives

Directions: cook pasta according to instructions on the package until tender - just past the al dente stage. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, add the tomato sauce and start cooking it. When it is warm, add the other ingredients. Cook sauce until spinach is tender - you can also used frozen spinach.

When both are ready, add pasta to a bowl and pour the tuna sauce on top.

Serve with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

quarta-feira, 11 de agosto de 2010

Gnocchi della Fortuna

Among the many traditions that my family has, this is the one I like the most.
Every 29th day of the month, my mom makes gnocchi. And she makes it from scratch, really.
I can still remember the smell of gratinated cheese in the kitchen as I anxiously waited in the dining room
to have some of my mom's delicious gnocchi.
You will see here two different recipes.
The first one is the classic recipe for gnocchi made with potatoes that my mom makes every month - except for February (lol!).
The second recipe is from an Italian cookbook that a friend of mine gave me.
I hope you feel inspired to make some gnocchi this month too on the 29th.
In case you were wondering, now you know what i will be doing on the 29th!
Mangia che te fa bene, bella!

Gnocchi di patate - Potato Gnocchi

2 1/4 pounds mealy potatoes, peeled
about 1 1/2 cups flour (*)
a pinch of salt

Steam or boil the potatoes until soft enough to mash them. Add salt and slowly knead in enough flour to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough - (*) exactly how much flour will depend upon how moist the potatoes are. Roll the dough out into 'snakes' about as thick as your finger. Cu'snakes' into one-inch pieces, and - optional - gently score the pieces crosswise with a fork. Cook the gnocchi in abundant salted boiling water, removing them with a slotted spoon a minute or two after they rise to the surface. Drain them well and top them with tomato sauce, pregano leaves and olive oil. Serves 4-6.

Spinach and squash gnocchi

Cook the spinach and the squash separately. When squash is tender and spinach fully cooked, mix them and add flour as in the recipe above. You might have to use an egg or two for this recipe so that you can work the dough as you blend the vegetables with the flour. Again, the quantity of flour and number of eggs will depend on how moist the mixture is. When the 'dough' is ready, follow the steps below and enjoy. Instead of tomato sauce, try shredded mozzarella on top and a few extra minutes in the broiler to gratinate the cheese. Serve with olive oil and green salad.

Cinnamon Cookies with White Glaze (Cookie Press Recipe)

Here goes a 'must' for small parties and get togethers with the girls!

Cinnamon Cookies with White Glaze
(you will need a cookie press for this recipe)

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375F. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; beat well. Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smiith dough. Do not chill. Place dough into Cookie Press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies from sheet; cool on rack.
Add white icing glaze as you wish and wait at least 45 minuts to serve or stack them.
Makes 7-8 dozens. 

Try also different flavors of extracts such as banana and orange and play with the glaze! 

The REAL Wonder Bread

I am a firm believer that making bread is indeed one of the easiest things in the world. Seriously! And I have to thank my MOM for making it sound so amazingly easy. First thing you have to do is get yourself a bread machine - from WalMart or Sears to DI or Savers, it doesn't matter how much you spend on one as long as it works. Then, on your way home, make sure you stop at a bookstore like Barnes & Noble or Borders and chose a nice and simple bread making cookbook for bread machine - in case your bread machine doesn't provide you with one. Last stop before you get home is at a local supermarket to buy the ingredients. Never done this before? Here is a list that will help you get started get started:
- white flour
- whole wheat and/or rye flower
- semolina (durum wheat) flower (for pizza dough)
- vegetable and olive oils
- butter or margarine
- salt
- sugar (brown or caster, preferable) and/or honey
- yeast (for bread machine or rapid rise)
- seeds (flax, poppy or sesame)
- nonfat milk powder
- italian seasoning
- a few different extracts (such as: banana, orange, maple, vanilla, butter, almond, coconut) 
- nutmeg and cinnamon

With these basic ingredients in your pantry, you can get the party started in your kitchen with fresh homemade bread everyday! I hope you enjoy and try the recipes below. Ciao!

Bread #1 - Italian Bread

Ingredients: 9oz warm water - 1 tsp salt or Sazon seasoning for salads - 2 tbsp olive oil - italian seasoning (to taste) - 1 cup (approx. 8oz) white flour - 1 cup (approx. 8oz) whole wheat flour - 1 1/4 tbsp set of sugar or honey - 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Directions: add ingredients in the order above into bucket of bread machine. Select 'rapid wheat' and choose crust (light, medium or dark). It will be ready in around 2hrs and 45 mins (dependeing on bread machine). 

Suggestion: serve with soup, black olives and a mixture of extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a separate plate. 

Bread# 2 - Sweet & Sour Bread 

Ingredients: 9oz cold water - 1 tsp salt - 2 tbsp butter or margarine - 2 tbsp of butter/almond/maple extract - 1 tbsp nutmeg or 1 tsp cinnamon - 2 cups (approx. 16oz) white flour - 1/4 cup whole wheat or rye flour - 2 tbsp set of sugar - 2 1/2 tsp yeast
Directions: add ingredients in the order above into bucket of bread machine. Select 'rapid white' and choose crust dark. Bread will be ready in less than 2hrs (depending on bread machine).
Suggestion: serve while hot with butter or honey butter, tea w/ milk and fresh fruit or fruit juice. Makes a great addition to breakfast or even just to add a little bit of a  sweet taste to sandwiches and toasts.

Suggestion 2: you can also choose 'dough' to prevent baking in the bread machine. Instead, right after kneading stops, make small balls or rolls using your hands and place them on muffin trays. Let dough rest for at least 1hr. Bake is pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. I call them bruffins!

terça-feira, 10 de agosto de 2010

Another Summer Salad

Atendendo a inúmeros pedidos... here is another recipe for a delicious and refreshing summertime salad. Here is a tip: don't feel tied up to the list of ingredients presented in a recipe. Use your imagination, be bold and try new stuff, or simply replace them for those ingredients found in your fridge and cupboard and turn a hard task into a simple adn easy way to use what is in the fridge before it spoils.

Bom apetite, my friends!

Another Summer Salad: 1 package of pasta tricolore (three colors) - fully cooked, fresh baby spinach leaves, sliced pepperoni, 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1/2 cup sun-dried/roma/cherry tomatoes, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Dressing: 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup olive oil, 1 package salad seasoning - mix and pour over salad.

Mix the salad with all the ingredients above and toss the dressing. Serve cool. Enjoy!

Lentil Salad with Whole Wheat Sourdough-shaped Bread

I (HEART) Salads!

Lentil Salad:
1 package lentils
2 carrots, shredded
1 cup red onions
1 cup raisins
1 cup cabbage
fat-free mayo
2 small packages of Sazon seasoning for salads
salt and pepper
optional: mustard

Cook lentils in slow cooker for at least 3 hours or conventional stove top for approx. 40 minutes. If possible, let it cool. Add ingredients in the order above. Set aside.

Whole Wheat Sourdough-shaped Bread:
9 oz. lukewarm water
2 tbsp of butter or vegetable (or olive) oil
1 teaspoon of salt (or seasoning mix)
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown/caster sugar
2 1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast

Add ingredients in this order to bread machine. Choose dough. Don't let dough rest now. As soon as kneading is done, shape bread into the form you want and let it rest/rise. Pre-heat oven to 400C and bake ir for approx. 30 minutes in 375-350 - the higher the temperature, the darker the crust.
Tip: if you want dough to rise faster, let it on top of the oven while it is pre-heating. The heating coming from the oven will make the dough rise twice as fast as if left in room temperature. 

What a great recipe for both summer and winter time. Serve with juice.

And We Are Back!

I cannot believe an entire month went by since my last post!
I apologize to all my friends who so kindly visit my blog not in search of recipes but just because they feel sorry no one else does... lol!
Nah, I know some of you do log onto my blog and enjoy my posts as well as the recipes.
So here is another recipe that I truly hope you all enjoy - and try it yourselves!

La Vera Pasta Asciutta - Fancy Chicken Noodles

1 package whole wheat egg noodles
1 tray of chicken breats cut in cubes
1 package of tomato soup - powder
italian seasoning
olive oil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

Boil water and add chicken and seasoning (soup powder) together. When chicken is almost ready, in a separate pan, cook the noodles in hot water with olive oil and salt - to taste. Add chicken sauce to noodles after they are done. Serve with olive oil, italian seasoning and parmesan cheese on top.