I am a wife, a mom of three, and the kitchen is my favorite place in the house. I read cookbooks in my spare time and enjoy getting kitchen appliances for presents :) I love preparing delicious and healthy food for my family and here are a some of what graces our table each week.

Email Me for any of the recipes :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers – November 2009 - Cannoli


I took a few months off when things were really insane at the house and now I am back and am so excited!  I didn’t even have to turn the oven on because we made cannoli this month.  While we try to eat as healthy as possible during our everyday lives, I really *love* frying and was happy to have an excuse to do so.  These were wonderful the day I made them and even better the next day, I didn’t even crisp up the shells.  I didn’t care for the chocolate filling and wouldn’t make it again.  I did have a problem finding the cannoli forms and ended up paying a ton to have them shipped from Amazon.  They will last forever – right? – and I already have plans to make cannoli for Book Club in a couple of weeks.  Yum :)

This was such a long recipe…I included alot of it, but if you need more specifics, email me!

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
2 cups (250 grams/16 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar (I used Rice Wine Vinegar)
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand (I used Kedem Dark Grape Juice)
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

I made the dough Monday night, this is how it came out of the mixer…


After a few minutes of kneading…and into the fridge for an overnight stay


2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

This is two pounds of ricotta cheese, set to drain on a tea towel, clipped to an 8 cup measuring cup, weighted down with two jars of cranberry sauce…also into the fridge on Monday night for an overnight stay

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Tuesday morning, this is the ricotta cheese, weighted down and drained of it’s liquid…

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I divided the ricotta into two bowls and split the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla between the two.  I didn’t add nuts or zest.


…plus 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa and a little extra cinnamon


Into the fridge until dessert time…


I was grateful that there was a pasta machine method of rolling out the dough.  The first few runs at it were difficult, but the longer the dough sat out and warmed up, the easier it was.  Zaido Michael would be proud and would have loved my cannoli :)

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.


I used a 3 inch biscuit cutter, but it wouldn’t cut through the dough so I used a knife to help out.  By the last batch, I just cut squares and it was fine.

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The recipe said to fry for 2 minutes, but they were too dark, so I started to drop each one into the oil – 1,2,3,4 – and then start taking them out. 

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They were two-biters which made them too easy to keep eating.  I have 1/2 of the dough hanging out in the freezer and can’t wait to take it out for a yummy dessert…maybe blue sprinkles for Chanukah?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Week

This year, we are staying home and (crossed fingers) having a quiet Thanksgiving dinner. Since it is all me, I am determined to have a stress-free day and not a lot of dishes in the sink when I finally get to collapse. Here is what I am doing throughout the week to ensure we all had a wonderful Turkey Day. I will continue to post throughout the holiday as the final products come together :))

Monday night:
I made some chicken stock to be used for my stuffing and turkey gravy…off to the freezer until you are needed

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I made the crumb topping and pie crust for my Apple Crumb Pie, both into the freezer

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Tuesday Night:
I peeled/diced/chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs for my stuffing, turkey gravy and turkey stock and soup (for Friday night). I even sautéed the veggies for the stuffing and soup so I wont have to take out any pans!


My diced sweet potatoes and carrots for veggie side dish


Wednesday Night:
Last week, around 6am, I was in the car with a sleeping Macie, on the way to get her tubes put in. I was lucky enough to hear a radio ad for Trader Joes and their fresh *Glatt Kosher* turkeys that are pre-salted/brined. These turkeys are so well preserved, they can sit in your fridge for a few weeks which makes them the most convenient food item I have encountered. This turkey has been waiting for us in our garage fridge for over a week…


I am using Anne Burell’s roasting method which can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/brined-herb-crusted-turkey-with-apple-cider-gravy-recipe/index.html

Obviously, I didn’t brine it and wont be using cinnamon sticks or apple cider and - oops - just realized I didn’t put the apples in.

I only used 1/2 the herb butter. I see lots of herb toast in my future…


All dried and ready to be slathered…


Veggies and herbs ready for the bird…


Slathered and trussed and ready for the fridge. See you tomorrow!!


My bread cubes drying out overnight (hopefully) for this Crockpot Stuffing:



I will be up bright and early to start our new Thanksgiving tradition of doughnuts and waffles!

Thanksgiving Day:

Our new tradition of making doughnuts was a success! I used this recipe:


I used Smart Balance Light, in an attempt to lighten things up before we gorged ourselves for the rest of the day.

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I wasn’t sure about the dough for the apple pie because I used Smart Balance Light, but it was perfect.

This is the recipe I used, the crust recipe is linked to it:


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*Lots* of granny smith apples, 1/8th inch slices, but it does make a big difference.

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…after 40 minutes in the oven, the crumble goes on…


It was done after another 40 minutes in the oven, and although it was really juicy, it needed to cool for 6 hours.



Crockpot stuffing:
Having sautéed the veggies the other day made this dish so easy. I ended up turning off the Crockpot after 4 hours and left it in there for about an hour and a half. It was amazing.



I took the turkey out at 2 hours and 45 minutes. I think it could have come out a few minutes earlier, but it was still delicious. I didn’t taste any of the herbs from the butter, but I don’t mind a simple roast turkey, especially with an amazing gravy.

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This is my new, nifty, fat separator…so I could put the fat right back into the pot for the roux. The recipe called for the turkey juices and extra stock, but I only used the juices and it was plenty.


I am not sure why it was so pale, but I really don’t care…I could have licked this pot clean.


The finished product, the perfect Thanksgiving plate…

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This was our Thanksgiving table…we sat there for an entire 30 minutes :) I bought a roll of butcher paper and *new* markers for the kids. They loved the surprise. We will bring out their masterpieces next Thanksgiving and make new ones each year.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you enjoyed your week of cooking as much as I have.