Greetings...

Greetings...
Welcome to my little space in the world-wide web. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and enjoy your trek. I am not sure what brought you here, but I am glad you came. I hope you find something you like and come back often to visit. Be sure to sign up on the right to recieve all updates via your email.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tabouli


Tabouli is a very traditional Mediterranean salad made primarily of parsley and cracked bulgar wheat.













I was first introduced to this delectable dish at a family party on my husband's side. My Italian mother-in-law and her best friend, who was Lebanese, grew up next door to each other in the city of Utica, New York. They even had their first born sons within days of each other and were able to be put in the same room in the hospital. As the children grew up, they fondly called each other's parents aunt and uncle. They spent a lot of time together as they grew up, throughout their school years, getting married and having babies, and often vacationing together. Family parties were always a large gathering and often were just a way a spending more time together with an occasional reason such as someone's birthday or a holiday. Family and friends would always bring something to pass and Tabouli was a favorite when paired with Fresh Naan Bread as an accompany.


Tabouli

Ingredients:
1 Bunch of Celery ran through the food processor
1 large bunch Italian parsley
2 tbsp. fresh mint
1/2 cup bulgar wheat, soaked
2-3 shallots, chopped very fine
1 small tomato, seed and diced small
1/3 cucumber diced small
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Zest of lemon
Juice of 1 lemon (more or less depending on your taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

First you take the bulgar wheat and soak it in a bowl filled with enough water to cover the wheat. It takes at least 30 minutes to soften the bulgar, but an hour is best.  Chop the herbs and vegetables as fine as you can. It may seem ridiculous, but the finer you chop it, the better this dish will taste! Add the strained bulgar and all the remaining ingredients, mixing them until they make a nice salad. Taste it and add more salt or lemon to suit your taste.






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Saturday, January 28, 2012

To Stuff or Not to Stuff?


So I like to search web for recipes. The copy cat LeVain Chocolate Chip cookie is one of the best recipes I have ever tried for a chocolate chip cookie. Once I saw it on TV I searched and searched the internet until I found the original recipe that had been posted in the Times. Only to find it still had to be tweaked. Thank god for the DVR. This cookie does not flatten out when you bake it. It stays nice and plump. It texture makes your mouth water. It gets nice and crispy on the outside and stays oh so chewy in the center. It is a really nice cookie. A few days ago my daughter sent me a message on Facebook asking me to make her these S'more stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Again, I searched the internet. I seen the stuffed cookie recipe floating around the web and was able to track it back to the Picky Palate. However, I had to try making these by combining the two recipes and experimenting with the item to be stuffed. You can look at the photos and judge for yourself how they might be. My family and friends enjoyed them immensely.

Stuffed Le Vain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Yield- 1 dozen very large cookies)

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar – not packed
2 eggs
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup walnuts toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until well incorporated.

2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts.

3. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions.

4. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 16-23 minutes depending on how gooey you like the middles or until very lightly browned, taking care not to over bake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. Place a slice of bread in the container to keep them from getting hard.

Stuffing the cookie: Take one of the 12 balls of dough, break it in half and cover the stuffing of your choice. Place on cookie sheet and bake until golden brown.

Store in an airtight container and place a slice of bread in the container to keep the cookies fresh.


Chocolate Chip stuffed with a Peanut Butter Cup





Chocolate Chip Cookie stuffed with an Oreo




Chocolate Chip stuffed with a S’more








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Friday, January 6, 2012

Italian Mushroom Stew

Mushroom stew is a staple in every Italian home in our area. Everyone has their own unique way of making their family recipe.   This is the one I like. 
 





Mushroom Stew
3 pounds loose Italian hot sausage (you can use sweet or medium as well)
3 medium yellow onions, cubed
3 red bell peppers, cubed
3 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
2 large packages of sliced button mushrooms
3 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons black pepper
½ cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine

In a large stock pot, fry the diced onions, diced peppers, and garlic in the olive oil until
the onions are clear. Add the sausage about 1 pound at a time and cook it through. Stir in tomato paste cook for a few minutes. Then add both packages of mushrooms, the 3 cans of tomatoes and wine. Finally, add salt, pepper, and chopped parsley. Stir and simmer uncovered on low for 3 hours. Serve over rigatoni or ziti, with Pecorino Romano cheese, or alone with a nice loaf of bread.



Notes/Swaps

Sometimes I make this in the crock pot all the same ingredients except I swap out the sausage for chunks of pork butt. Cook it on low for 6-8 hours. I then shred the pork and serve.




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