Saturday, January 14, 2012

Easy Chicken & Rice Casserole (Page 36)

This recipe smells as good as it tastes. The yeast in the wine, as it bakes, makes the house smell like fresh baked bread. My sister in love, Melinda, gave us this recipe when the twins were born. We've loved it since!

Chicken & Rice Casserole
1 can each of cream of: celery,chicken & mushroom
1 cup of uncooked rise
1 cup of milk (skim works fine)
1 soup can full (or I use 1 small bottle from a 4 pack) of good white wine
1 pack of uncooked chicken tenderloins (or slice up a few breasts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything but the chicken in a 2 quart casserole dish & lay the chicken on top. Cover & bake for 1 hour with lid on, then stir a few times. Remove the lid and bake another hour.(Kind of a tease for the family at the 1 hour mark.) Serving fresh baked rolls with this does help your brain adapt for what your nose has been telling it is happening. It's great aroma therapy and EASY! A family favorite.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cranberry Almond Cake

Cranberry Almond Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
7 oz. almond paste (found in the baking aisle- not marzipan)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs , room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla extract (never imitation!)
1/4 cup milk at room temp.
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (you can buy these around the holidays and freeze them)- picked through & coarsely chopped
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350.
You can do this in a buttered & floured bundt pan (recommended), loaf pans or even cupcakes
Sift together flour, salt & baking powder. Set aside. Beat together butter & almond paste. Add the sugar & beat until light & fluffy ~ 2 min. longer.Beat the eggs in 1 at a time, scraping down between each addition. Beat in vanilla.With mixer on low speed alt. flour mixture with milk, Stop and scrape down as needed.Fold in cranberries.
Transfer to pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake 45-50 min. (less for cupcakes) Consider checking at 42 min. with a wooden skewer to test doneness- should come out clean. Cool for 15 min. in pan, then invert on a wire rack. Once cool, dust with confectioner's sugar.
Do Ahead: I bake this and then slice, freezing the slices.

Rita's Pepperoni Bread (Page 64)

3 c. all purpose flour, unbleached, plus
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
more if needed
1 T. sugar
1 pkg. dry yeast (equals about 2T.)
1 tsp. salt
1 c. pepperoni, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 1/4 c. water
Optional glaze: 1 egg yolk - small amt. of milk to mix with egg yolk
In an electric mixer bowl, combine flour, yeast, and oregano. In a small saucepan,
heat garlic, water, olive oil, sugar and salt to 115 degrees (any hotter can kill the
yeast). Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and
combine with a wooden spoon. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Gently stir the
pepperoni in with the paddle attachment on low speed. Add more flour if you need to
so dough is pliable. Switch to dough hook and knead on #2 speed. You may need to
add even more flour. You want the dough to pull away from the sides.(Or you can do
by hand on a floured surface, adding pepperoni, then flour to make the dough smooth
and elastic.) The dough shouldn't be sticky. Place in an oiled bowl, flip once so the
top is oily. Cover with saran wrap in a draft free area. Allow it to rise until doubled,
about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and form into 1 large round loaf (or 2 smaller loaves, adjust baking time). Place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly oiled
and dusted with cornmeal. Let it rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375
degrees. Bake for 30 minutes (maybe less for smaller loaves). For a new glaze brush
egg/milk mixture onto the bread about 18-20 minutes into the baking.
Note: Don't cut the bread while it's hot. It will mash down. This is wonderful served
with Rita's white bean Italian soup! Heck this is wonderful served with anything!
Do Ahead: You can freeze the dough as soon as it is made (no rising!) OR bake it to finish and freeze the individual slices. We just pull out a slice from the freezer and toast lightly. Great with soup.


PUMPKIN SOUP Haitian Recipe
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 onion, cut up
1 lb. chicken
3 medium turnips, cubed
1/4 quart water
1 hot pimento, whole with stem
1 T. lemon or lime juice
1/4 lb. pasta or vermicelli
3 cloves, whole (I'd tie in cheesecloth)
1 c. flour
1/2 lb. cabbage, chopped
2 T. baking powder
1 lb. pumpkin (joumou), cubed
pinch of salt
2 large carrots, cut up
2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. celery stalks and leaves, cut up
cold water
3 medium potatoes, cubed
Use a large kettle and boil the beef and chicken in water with cloves (tied in
cheesecloth) and lime juice for 20 minutes. Remove froth as it forms. Add all of the
vegetables (except the pimento) Boil 35-40 minutes longer, until tender. You can
remove meat and cloves (or fish out 3 cloves) and puree veggies with an immersion
blender if you wish for a creamier base. Return meat and pimento to soup (make sure
pimento is not broken it is added for more aroma, than flavor). Add pasta and cook
until tender. This can be served with dumplings as well. Dumplings: Cut butter into
flour until it forms pea-sized lumps. Gradually add water until it is the consistency of
non-sticky pizza dough. Form into finger-like shapes. Cook in soup 5-10 minutes.
Note: New Year Day is a holiday observed in Haiti. The Christians pray till midnight,
sing to the Lord and wish each other ‘Happy New Year’ afterward. Then they go
home and eat pumpkin soup. To learn more go here