Monday, March 30, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote!

Voting starts today until April 3rd...
Go to this site to vote for my Frangelico

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spinach Lasagne with Vegetables....

The Daring Baker Challenge is here and the recipe chosen this month is Lasagne made with spinach pasta you make yourself. I decided to go light with the cheese and make my lasagne all vegetables, because I had alot in the fridge. I try not to go out and buy any special items when doing these challenges.

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

The recipe for the pasta was simple and easy. I put mine in a food processor until it came together. Some people will make it by hand...

3 large eggs,
1 (10 oz pkg of thawed and drained) Spinach,
3 1/2 cups of unbleached flour

While the pasta was resting and drying on hangers, I sliced the vegetables I had on hand, along with some diced tomatoes. I also put together a white alfredo sauce.

I then went about boiling my pasta for 2 minutes, and then assembling the layers. I alternated the veggies along with the sauce and chopped tomatoes. For flavor I added in basil and Parmesan cheese. I finished the top layer with a mix red and white sauce, and then covered with foil. I placed it in the oven at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.

This is how it turned out...
Colorful and Delicious!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hooked on the Most Surprising Thing.....

You won't believe what I found when I pulled up the rug in this kitchen........

After lifting this heavy duty glass door, the spiral staircase had me hooked! It was leading me to the most amazing thing. What a great idea this spiral cellar is, for those of you who have quite the collection. I myself have a small collection of just 20 or so bottles.....This would be perfect for those days when you just want to run away.

These Spiral Cellars are tapping into that primal romanticism, the same sort that led us to build forts out of blankets and chairs and progress to treehouses with "Keep Out" signs as we got older. The only difference is that this cellar design has a rather more grownup function.

The Spiral Cellar system was developed in 1978 by a Frenchman who saw that few modern houses had wine cellars, but that people still needed a place to store their wine. If a wine-lover has a serious collection it can quickly outgrow wine racks and refrigerator units. So he came up with the Spiral Cellar design, which uses the earth to insulate and create good storage conditions. It does this, however, in a fraction of the space of a regular cellar. It also can maintain a constant temperature with no power required.

A spiral cellar is dug into the floor by a professional team, and the cellar storage itself is created from concrete wrapped in a watertight lining. Passive ventilation keeps the temperature around 55°, an ideal temperature for wine storage. There are several sizes, holding from 1000-1600 bottles.

Of course, this is one indulgence for wealthy or well-off wine drinkers only. The Spiral Cellar purchase and installation runs at least $30,000. One site reported that there is an option to buy a kit and install the cellar yourself, but we can't find this on their current site; it may not be offered anymore. This cellar price, though, is still much cheaper than installing a full-blown, climate controlled wine cellar in the basement.

I'm hooked on this, are you too? Come join me with Julia at Hooked on Houses, to see what others are hooked on. Or check out FiFi with Fashionable Fridays, because I believe this is very fashionable!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Raspberry Crumb Cake

Well, I actually should say Blueberry Crumb Cake per Dorie, as in Tuesdays with Dorie. Today's recipe was chosen by

I didn't have any blueberries on hand and didn't have the means to go out and buy them. So I figured I could alternate it a little. So instead I used the following:

Triple Berry Jam folded in, Pecans instead of Walnuts, and almond extract instead of vanilla.

It worked out very nicely, even though the jam ended up towards the bottom. The crumb topping was just wonderful. I would definitely do this one again when berries are in season. The kids think of it as snack cake, and plan to take it in their lunch....
You can check out the recipe here,
or buy the book, it is so worth it!

We give this 5 glasses of milk,
for udder goodness!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Frangelico Infused Hazelnut Cupcakes...

It's Iron Cupcake time again....Seems like forever since I have posted in the challenge. Time just keeps slipping away..... This month's challenge was NUTS or SEEDS. And since my favorite nut is HAZELNUT, I knew I would make this wonderful recipe. I served this same cake at my wedding,(yes I made my own wedding cakes), so long ago, and everyone loved it. If you love what you see, don't forget to vote for me starting the 29th!

The trick to the taste is the infusion of Frangelico (a hazelnut liquor) into a basic vanilla cake recipe. Then I added a chocolaty ganache inside, with a hazelnut buttercream....

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Hazelnut Flavoring (Substituted for Vanilla)
1/2 c. crushed, roasted Hazelnuts
Chocolate Ganache
Hazelnut Buttercream

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
**Line 18 cupcake liners
**In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder, and hazelnut flavoring and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don't overbeat. Fold in the roasted Hazelnuts.
**Scoop batter into the prepared liners

**Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes until they spring back when touched. Remove and allow to cool
**Brush each cupcake with Frangelico to keep the cupcake moist, allow to sit for an hour before filling.
**Fill each cupcake with a generous squirt of ganache
**Tip with a Frangelico infused basic buttercream frosting, garnish with roasted, crushed hazelnut.

You will LOVE them!
These are the Wonderful prizes.....
Our March ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
*A Bunnycake Easter Plushie by DOGBONEART,
*A whimsical piece by CAKEASAURUS,
*as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES at
*a collection of all new printed cupcake liners, 200 in all from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery,
*PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY,, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!
**Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers:
**HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, **HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,,
**TASTE OF HOME books,;
**a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM **Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Class Continues.....

Cooking 101 continues and this past week it was appetizers.

The girls wanted to learn some party starters, that were easy and different. I knew that they probably have never worked with Phyllo Dough,so this would be a new experience. This would be a busy class with lots to do. We started off with these quiche puffs, a basic quiche poured into a Phyllo Dough crust. Just 12 minutes to bake...

Then they made some simple spinach triangles...

Some delicious pork-veggie pot stickers...

Pesto Gyro wedges, with homemade pesto...

And a creamy spinach-veggie dip placed into a scooped out boule.

They all enjoyed the apps, especially the pot stickers. It was nice to see them make and taste items they never thought they could make. Especially the fact that we used a lot of spinach.

Then for sweets they made some Brownie Bites,

Raspberry Crumb Squares, and Soft Chocolate Chippers.

Can you believe the four 5th graders made this in an hour and a half...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fashionable Friday...

It's Fashionable Friday in the Kitchen at Fifi's. I thought I would send over my dream French Stove that is hard to get here in the states. I love the lines of this classic look. It will really go well with the hood she has picked out. I have seen these stoves in different colors or with ceramic tile on the front. If funds were unlimited, this stove would be mine!!

Go ahead drool!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hooked on this week's Holiday Food Fest....

It's a Holiday Food Fest this week, with two well known holidays falling in the same week...... St. Patrick's Day the 17th and St. Joseph's Day the 19th. Back home the Catholics celebrate by having a Polish-Irish Bash. I have to tell you I am totally hooked, on these festive foods. Who doesn't love a good corn beef dinner? You don't have to be Irish to enjoy it.

Or perhaps my favorite quick bread "IRISH SODA BREAD", made with currants and caraway seeds. The seeds are what makes this bread traditional, along with the cross that is sliced in the top. What makes the bread rise is the interaction between the baking soda and the buttermilk.

Along with the Irish Soda Bread, I love me some Orange Marmalade. I believe the two go hand and hand. It is a wonderful pairing you really should try. Marmalade is very easy to make, and if you can find the Seville Oranges, you will have the best marmalade.

On St. Joseph's day when the Italians eat a meatless meal, they enjoy their celebration with these Zeppoles as their sweet. Zeppoles, are a Pate Choux piped into a ring and baked or fried. Then they are split and filled with Italian Creme, which is a rum flavored custard, lighten with whip cream. The top is then put back on with a dollop of Italian Creme and one or two cherries on top. Believe me these are something you could really get hooked on.......

Since St. Joseph is also the Patron Saint of Poland, leave it to the Polish to throw a big bash that includes a incredible amount of food, with this entree as the center of attention. Polish stuffed cabbage is known as Golabki. In my family I have seen so many of these, there was a time when I never wanted to see or make another one. But then I came back around and perfected
the recipe that I now use. They are time consuming, but once you get the hang of it you can wrap and roll easily. After perusing these holiday delights, check out what others are hooked on with
Julia at Hooked on Houses.



2 heads of cabbage cored, cooked for just 3 to 5 minutes
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 c. precooked rice
2 eggs
1 medium onion chopped
2 single stalks celery chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can Tomato Soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 c. Tomato Juice
1 c. sauerkraut
**In a large bowl mix the ground meats, rice, eggs, onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Form into oval shapes.
**Stripping off a leaf of the cabbage,place the mixture in the middle and roll , tucking in the sides, with the open side on the bottom. Place in a crock pot or large roasting pan.
**In a small bowl, combine the soups. Spread this mixture on the layers of rolls, along with the sauerkraut. Pour in the tomato juice before covering.
**Cook in crock pot for 6 hours on low or bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Hope you enjoyed this week's Holiday Food Fest!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade

Tuesdays with Dorie again, and the choice this week, comes from Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction. She chose the French Yogurt Cake with a Marmalade Top. As Dorie says in her Baking Book, this is a very popular cake in France. Each family having their own recipe that is handed down through the generations. She describes it as a cross between pound cake and sponge cake. I say that I would have to agree on that.

I didn't have any Lemon Marmalade on hand as the recipe suggest, so I used Orange Marmalade instead, and did not strain it. I flavored my cake with a little rum extract. I thought it was pretty good. It is Dorie's suggestion that you serve it with a fruit compote. Which would be an excellent accompaniment, when fresh in season.

You can find this recipe in Dorie's Baking Book on pages 224 - 225, or go to Liliana's website. Liliana also used Orange Marmalade.

We give this 4 Glasses of Milk,
for udder Goodness!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hooked on Green Milk Glass.....

I am hooked on green milk glass.......and so are a lot of collectors now a days if they can afford it. I see many others out in blogland who love, love, love it! So what has us all hooked, is it the color, the look, the nostalgia, or the love of the 40's and 50's. Perhaps it is the fact that it happens to be Martha's favorite choice of dish and color.

Of course, I don't have the collection that she does, but what I do have I love! Some are antique and some are reproductions, either way they are gorgeous to look at!

Such as this more artistic "Dogwood" set from Smith Glass...

Or a decorative dip bowl from Smith Glass...

And of course, one of 3 green milk glass cakestands.

I thought I would throw in a picture of a repro fridge I found that would match these dishes perfect, if you choose to have your whole kitchen coordinate with them. If you would like to see what others are hooked on this Friday, head over to Julia's Blog Carnival at Hooked on Houses.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Italian Red Sauce

More from Cooking 101.....When the girls came over, the first thing we started was what the Italians call "Gravy". I started out with introducing them to Mirepox, which is sauteed chopped onion, celery, and carrots. They had never chopped vegetables before so it was a first. A lot of first that day for sure.

How many adults make sauce from scratch?....not many, but it is a great basic skill to learn. The longer you let the sauce simmer the better it is. Most Italian cooks would let it simmer all day, but we didn't have that luxury. You can use fresh tomatoes if you like, but unless you get them when they are perfectly ripe and ready, they won't have much of a flavor. A quality canned, diced tomato is what I always have on hand. This sauce or gravy is thick and flavorful.

Italian Red Sauce
2 Tb olive oil
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 - 32 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 pepper
1 Tb basil
1/2 c. good red wine
1 c. chicken broth

**In a deep sauce pan add in the olive oil on medium heat, saute the celery, onion, and carrots, until tender.

**Add in the diced tomatoes with juice and tomato paste, stir to combine

** Add in the garlic, pepper, basil, and red wine. Continue to cook to reduce.

**Add in chicken broth and let simmer. If you feel later, that you need the sauce thinner add more broth.

Much better that canned sauce,
with no preservatives....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lemon Cup Custard

It's Tuesdays with Dorie and today's choice was made

It was super easy to make. This custard was more like a flan, very egg-like, unlike a Creme Bulee. This would have went well with fresh raspberries on top, when in season. I changed up the recipe a bit by using evaporated milk and extra lemon extract. There were several comments on the TWD website that mentioned that it wasn't lemony enough or smooth. But, even with the extra extract it wasn't as zesty, likeI thought it should be. Go to Bridget's blog for the recipe or purchase this lovely Baking Book.

I might make it again when raspberries come around.
This time the kids weren't too impressed!

Sorry, Only One Glass
for Utter Goodness!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let the Cooking Class Begin.....

Welcome to Cooking 101...

Doesn't this dish look well put together and yummy?

Currently, I am Mentoring four 5th graders in cooking and baking basics for the Mentor Program at the Elementary School. This past Wednesday was their first 1 1/2 hour session after school. We accomplished alot in such a small amount of time, considering the girls had never boiled water before. A couple of the girls had done a very small amount of baking, so at least they knew how to measure.

They started out with a basic chicken breast which they pounded and breaded then baked. While that was going, I had half the group start to chop up the ingredients for the red sauce. While they were simmering and baking, we started on a garlic, cheesy bread. And then cut and sauteed the Zucchini. No one had ever tried Zucchini cooked this way and all LOVED it!
It is great when you can persuade a child to taste something and then they say "WOW! I really like it!"

We finished off with an easy dessert of Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and Chocolate Frosted Brownies..


Steam from washing the dishes, And here they are frosting brownies.

The girls really had a great time learning and planning new things. They will be presenting their projects next month during a Open House at the school. I'll show you more photos, and these recipes as the weeks go by.