Please help us cook for you!

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We are cooking up a new business. Be apart of it by clicking the link. Please help by clicking the link and donating anything you can, even if it’s $5. Also please post this on your wall if you have FB or Forward to your friends so I can get more backers. Your help is appreciated. If you want more info please feel free to hit me up.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/663206419/a-mobile-feast-food-truck-and-catering

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Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta

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Now that spring is soon to be among us, I wanted to get your taste buds ready with one of my favorite dishes that can be the star, or a co-star. There are many different versions of bruschetta, depending on the region. The dish originates in Italy and is different then what we American’s call it. It started as a piece of bread rubbed with garlic, toasted, drizzled with oil, salt and pepper. Over time is most commonly thought to be the bread with a topping, usually of tomatoes and cheese. The following recipe is my variation of Bruschetta.

What you will need:
Cutting Board
Sharp chef knife
Bowl
4 Rome Tomatoes – you can substitute with plum if need be
Basil
Balsamic Vinegar- You can also use white of you have it on hand
Red Onion
Spoon
Bread – Italian or Baguette (2 qty)
Garlic
Salt and/or Pepper
Fresh Mozzarella balls

How to Make:
Rinse and dry your tomato’s. Core the tomato carefully and cut in half. Dice the tomato into small pieces and add to bowl.
Take red onion and dice very small – about 1/8 -1/4 cup depending on your liking and add to tomato’s.
Take about 10-15 basil leaves, roll together, chiffonade them and add to bowl as well.
Add balsamic vinegar to the mixture, enough to cover about 3/4 of the way up the mixture.
Add salt and pepper and fold mixture till evenly coated.

You can marinate this up to a day in advance to let the flavors marinate.

When ready to use as an appetizer:
Cut 1/4 inch slices on the bias (diagonally) and rub with a clove of garlic and toast till bread is firm. When ready you can top the toast with the salad and place a small piece of the fresh Mozzarella on top and serve.

Tips:
If you don’t want to use bread you can use crackers or even wheat thins.
The cheese is optional but if you are going to use it please use the Mozzarella you get from the cheese section near/at the deli counter in most grocery stores. The flavor and texture are different then the packaged kind you find in the dairy case.

Stuffed Pizza

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Stuffed Pizza is something I remember from my childhood. There was something fun about it not being a regular pizza. It can be a fork and knife kinda meal, but if you are adventurous feel free to use your hands. I brought a pizza stone on sale from Marshall’s for about $10. It was a deep dish Chicago style stone. The next day I went and decided to make a regular pie and test out the stone. The pie turned out great, but I decided the next time I used it I had to go bigger.

A few nights before I had made a baked ziti and wanted to re-purpose it in another yummy way. So I decided to make a stuffed Baked Ziti Pizza. You can stuff the pizza with whatever left overs or freshly cooked food you would like. My only caution is nothing extremely loose or it will fall apart very easily.

Now, for the dough. You can either use store brought from the dairy section, or attempt to make your own. If I have time I usually make mine in the bread machine. In a pinch the store brought works just fine.
Leave a comment with your favorite pizza stuffing or topping. I love to hear new ideas.

What You Need:
Deep Dish Pizza Stone
Corn Meal
Cheese
Garlic
Butter
Filling (in this case baked ziti)
Pizza Dough (2 bags or double the recipe if fresh)

Pre-Heat the oven to 350 degrees F
Take a generous amount of corn meal and sprinkle evenly on the pizza stone. This will help prevent the pizza from sticking.
Roll out the bottom dough. Not to thin- and have it come up the side so you can seal the top and bottom layer together.
Add the filing to the pizza. If you are using something like a ziti and it seems a little dry, add some more sauce to the top.
Add more cheese to it as well.
Take the top dough and roll it out- this can be thinner if you like.
Seal the doughs together by pressing firmly around the stone.
Take the garlic and butter and melt together, then brush on the top of the dough. (Optional as always)
Add more cheese to the top. If you like a saucy pie you can add more sauce to the top as well.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes and wait about 5 minutes before cutting into it.

Egg Nog

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Egg nog is one of those things that always pops up this time of year. It’s fun going to the supermarket and seeing the different varieties of Egg Nog on the shelves. I am pretty picky when it comes to egg nog, so I decided to find a recipe that I liked. Personally, I like drinking this warm, as well as chilled so see for yourself which you prefer and leave me a comment to let me know.

Egg Nog

Holiday Nog
Serves: 4

  • 1¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum Bacardi is a big hit

In a small heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, combine milk, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Slowly heat mixture until steaming hot, but not boiling. 5-10 minutes

Whisk eggs in a large bowl with sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add about ½ of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Whisk constantly so that the eggs do not cook.(If the mixture looked curdled stop and start over) Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently until thickened and a consistency you are happy with. Don’t over cook the Nog, or the eggs will start to cook and you will get soupy scrambled eggs. Pour into a pitcher, cover and chill until mixture is completely cooled – or drink warm. .

When cooled, add rum and stir or shake well. Garnish with some whipped cream and cinnamon if desired. Makes about 4 cups.

Apple Turnover

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Now that fall is among us, I wanted to post another Apple Recipe. (see Mile High Apple Pie for last years http://wp.me/p123f3-g )

For as long as I can remember once a year my family and friends pack up some cold cuts and drinks and head to upstate NY and go Apple Picking. We usually go late September/Early October. We park the car and pile out with our bags and start walking threw the orchard. We of course need to sample some of the apples along the way. I have fond memories of being lifted up to reach apples, and watching my friend climb a tree and ripping her jeans right down the middle. Apple cider, cake donughts and apple butter were purchased as well before making the trek back home. Usually within the first week we had at least one pie done. Then another, and another till there were no apples left.

Once I was old enough to start baking I started trying new recipes. One of them was apple turnovers. I have made them with pie dough, but i love the texture of using Filo for these pockets of goodness. I hope you will enjoy this as much as my family and I have.

Please make sure to read my previous blog on Filo Dough before starting this recipe.

As for the apples, you can use several varieties of apples in one batch. I like a green and a red so you get sweet and tart apples. I prefer Granny Smith and Gala's myself.

What you need:

Large Skillet to cook apples

Water

1 dozen Apples (You can mix green and red)

Granulated White Sugar

Brown Sugar

Cornstarch

Cinnamin

Nutmed

Ginger

Butter

Lemon Juice

Large Bowl

Apple Peeler and Corer

1 stick butter plus 3 tbsp

Filo Dough

Oats or Panko plain breadcrumb

Plastic wrap

Damp paper towel

Cookie Sheet

Powdered Sugar (Optional)

Caramel (Optional)

How to:

Peel, core and slice apples. Place in a bowl with cool water and some lemon juice (this will help the apples from oxidizing and turning brown).

Once done take the skillet and turn stove to Med/High heat.

Add 3 tbsp butter and let melt. Add apples but save 1/2 cup of the water with lemon juice and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon cornstach

Add cinnamon, sugars, ginger and nutmeg and stir. There are no measurements for these as you will need to taste as you go. If the apples are very tart you may want to add less sugar. If you don't like ginger leave it out. Again, this is your creation so make it how you like it.

If the pan gets dry add the reserved lemon water. The cornstarch will act as a thickener and will give you that nice thick juice and will not make the pastry overly soggy. I use it in my pies as well for the same reason.

Once tender shut off the apples and get ready to prepare the Filo.

Melt a stick of butter in the microwave.

Remove the defrosted Filo Dough and put the plastic wrap and damp paper towel over it.  On a flat surface covered with plastic wrap or a cutting board take the first sheet of Filo and brush the melted butter over it, make sure to get the edges. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of oats over the sheet and then add a second layer of dough. Repeat about 5 times.

Once you have the layers completed  place the apple filling on the dough. You want to place it a few inches away from the edge and not all the way across.

Carefully lift the corner closest to you and fold over diagonally.

Fold over the other corner

Flip over the pastry and continue to make a triangle.

Brush seam with butter to seal. Put on baking sheet

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown

Dust with powdered sugar and caramel if desired.

Enjoy!

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Cook to Taste

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Fun cooking and baking recipes for the home or professional cook. Most recipes are geared towards your liking and encourage you to have fun with cooking.

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Filo Dough- It’s not that scary!

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Filo Dough, also know as Phyllo, is an unleavened pastry dough used in the Middle East and parts of Europe, especially Greece. This product can be hard to some to work with but it is not impossible.

Filo is a paper thin dough that is usually cut into sheets. It is used in Greek pastries like Baklava.

In the next bog I will post a recipe using Filo, but want to take this blog to explain tips and tricks on how to get the best result.

Filo dough will be found in the freezer section, usually near the pie crusts. If you are not going to use the dough right away freeze it. Once you are ready to use remove the Filo from the box. There are usually 2 packages within the box. Set on the counter for 2 hours to defrost. DO NOT PLACE IN MICROWAVE. Make sure you have all your ingredients ready before you open the dough and lay it out. Once you are ready to use the dough make sure you have a piece of plastic wrap and a damp paper towel to place over the dough that is not in use. If not the dough will dry out and will be almost impossible to use.

I use either plastic wrap or a flexible plastic cutting board to lay my Filo on. Unravel the dough carefully. It is very easy to tear, but if it does don’t freak out, it can be fixed.

Take the fist sheet and lay it on a flat surface. Immediately take the plastic wrap and lay it over the dough and then the damp paper towel. Make sure the paper towel does not tough the dough or it will make it impossible to separate.

Use butter or non stick butter flavored spray to spray each sheet of Filo. I prefer to use butter for the edges and spray for the middle. You can either add Panko (Japanese plain breadcrumbs) or Oats between each layer. This will help absorb the moisture and give you that nice flaky dough instead of a soggy mess. You do not need to add a lot just a tablespoon or so.

Take the next layer and repeat the process : Butter, breadcrumbs, Filo, Repeat.

Once you have a good layer about 6-10 layers depending on what you are making, add the filling and wrap.

Please see the next blog, apple turnover for a complete recipe where you can apply your skills and creativity and create a dessert that people will be begging you to make all the time.

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