Pepper Board

Pepper Board

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tagliatelle Pasta~ infused with mushrooms, served with fresh grated zucchini

No pasta dish could be faster or more frugal. Mushroom infused tagliatelle is deliciously light and easy to prepare, just boil in salted water until tender. Once it is tender, drain and add a dollop of butter and 1/4 cup of heavy cream or if want to cut calories use only the butter. Fresh grate julienne style a young 'washed' zucchini. Quickly saute the grated zucchini in a bit of olive oil, no longer than 2 min. and top your pasta. Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and you are good to go.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Plums on Homemade Pizza!

Plums on pizza???

Pizza from scratch is no doubt the best, but a good pizza can be easily made from frozen dough. Or, you can buy a simple cheese pizza and top with prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes and even dried plums.

Homemade pizza dough:

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water – about 100 degrees is perfect
1 tbsp. granulated yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
7 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

(this amount will provide about 3-4 medium pizzas)

In a six quart bowl, mix the warm water with the yeast and salt. Using warm water allows the dough to rise quickly and to the right height.

Next, measure and mix in the flour.  Use the “scoop and sweep” method.  This is done by reaching into the flour container with a cup and scooping up a full measure all at once sweeping the top of the cup level with a knife. Mix in the flour with a wooden spoon. Do not knead the dough!

Allow the Dough to Rise. Cover the dough with a light weight dish towel or piece of wax paper. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top (approximately 2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature). Do not punch down the dough, do not play with it.  With this method, you are trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible and punching it down knocks out gas. The gas allows bubbles to remain which create a light and crispy crust.

Refrigerate. After the dough has risen, refrigerate it overnight or at least 3 hours and use it over the next several days or have a pizza marathon all in one day/weekend.  Remember, fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature.

Preheat a Baking Stone. 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake, place your baking stone in the bottom third of the oven and preheat it to the oven’s highest temperature. If you do not have baking stone, you can use a perforated pizza pan or even a cast iron skillet.

Shape a Ball.  If you don’t have a stone, prepare a pizza pan or skillet with flour, cornmeal or use a sheet of baking paper to prevent your pizza from sticking to the pan or skillet (not necessary if you use a stone). Take what you need from the refrigerated dough; for one medium pizza ...about a grapefruit size amount which you can obtain by pulling and or cutting the dough using a serrated knife. Add a little more flour to the dough to shape into a ball and thus, it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the dough pushing it around to conform to the pan or skillet.

The same can be done if using a stone, it won’t be perfectly round but that is not the point. The point is to retain dough quality in order to achieve a nearly perfect crust. Keep in mind, the less you handle the dough, the better taste and texture.

Add the Toppings...even plums!
Bake at 425F until bubbling and brown on top.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Root Veggie Stir Fry ~ Nutty and Savory!

Fresh roots are a good source of vitamin-C which is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant, easily available to us from natural sources. It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Their  anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.

As in carrots and other members of apiaceae family vegetables, parsnips too contain many poly-acetylene anti-oxidants such as falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol, and methyl-falcarindiol.
Several research studies from scientists at the University of Newcastle at Tyne found that these compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer function.

* Sources~

Monday, January 16, 2017

Homemade Minestrone with Fresh Green Zucchini!

Nothing is more delicious than homemade soup: you will need to buy: 1 lb. beef stew meat, tortellini pasta, and fresh green zucchini. If you don't have in the pantry these items, then head to the grocer: small can of diced tomatoes, onion, beef stock, one small can of pinto beans and grated parmesan cheese. Its urban brainy cause its simple and clean.

This soup can be done right on the stove top, though some recipes use a crockpot. First, begin by sauteing one whole chopped onion in olive oil in a covered stock pot on med. heat. Add your chunked beef stew meat stirring among the chopped onion letting the meat brown on all sides. Pour in 2 cups of beef stock, one small can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup or one small can of drained pinto beans, and washed diced fresh green zucchini. Toss in a dash of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs: rosemary, mint,oregano and parsley.

Give the soup a good stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and let it simmer for 1 hour. When you are ready to eat, boil salted water for the tortellini pasta. I don't ever mix my pasta into a soup. Get some garlic bread going in the oven or toaster oven, set the table with some green olives, grated and even a chunk of parmesan cheese and you're good to go.

 with parmesan
without parmesan

~ Tutti a Tavola!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Potato Mash with Homemade Apple Sauce!

Looking for a quick and delicious side dish...look no further!

Boil as many potatoes as you will need per person. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and mash with a dollop of fresh creamy butter and 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Then grab a jar of homemade applesauce or any organic brand you prefer and add half the jar to the mashed potatoes.

Scoop out the potato/ apple mash into a glass dish and either microwave with grated cheddar on top until melted or put into the oven on 425 for as long as it takes to melt the cheese and get it crusty on top.