Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mozzarella. Show all posts

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homemade Spinach and Cheese Ravioli #CookbooksandCalphalon

Making your own pasta dough is right up there on the satisfaction scale with baking bread. You know what’s in it. It’s fresh and the taste is far superior to store-bought. Best of all, it’s surprisingly easy. 

You might notice, if you stopped by earlier, that I am posting twice today. And that’s because, despite my prior Sunday Supper commitment (I’m hosting for the very first time, guys! So excited about this week’s theme: Saving Summer!) I couldn’t turn down a request from my fellow blogger Colleen from Souffle Bombay to talk about cookbooks and what they mean to me.

I am a card-carrying, silver-plated, officially stamped, internationally certified member of The Cookbook Junkies. And that’s the truth. But today, at Colleen’s request, in exchange for some pretty cool giveaways for you, my readers, (from Calphalon and Page Street Publishing – Yay!) I am going to tell you about one special cookbook, in my case, it’s the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980 edition. It was given to me and my husband for our very first married Christmas, back in 1986, by my mother-in-law.

My husband thumbed its pages more than I did that first year. He was working offshore so, on his time off, he was househusband, cooking meals and doing laundry while I was at work. I’d often get phone calls with random questions, like “What exactly is a Dutch oven and do we have one?” and I’d know he was planning dinner, hunched over that big book with its four-color photographs of Every Single Dish (no kidding) and making his shopping list. He made a pretty mean lasagna back in those days!

It was the only cookbook I took with me when we first moved overseas in 1987. In the days long before the internet and handy Google searches, it was my lifeline to classic recipes with tips on hostessing, how to fold fancy napkins or calculate food and drink amounts for party guests and, before too long, baby showers. With each move we have made over the years, and no matter how many cookbooks I’ve since collected, Old Faithful was the one cookbook that came in the suitcase. I didn’t dare put Good Housekeeping in the shipment! What if it went missing? And, of course, I’d need it before the shipment could arrive six weeks later anyway. I have made recipes from its grease-stained leaves more times than I can count so it broke my heart when it started to fall apart. Its pages were spattered with dishes and desserts and gravies from family meals too numerous to count. Sticky baby fingerprints got ever increasingly bigger as our daughters grew into capable young women and became competent on their own in the kitchen. But far from outlasting its usefulness, and despite its own shattered spine, our Good Housekeeping still formed the backbone of the kitchen repertoire.

The great book was probably close to 20 years old when I first searched online for that same 1980 edition and bought a stranger’s less-used spare. I knew it was only a matter of time till the original would have to be retired. And then it suddenly occurred to me that my daughters would need their own copies when they moved away from home! Otherwise, how would they make their daddy’s pancakes and waffles? Or our family’s apple pie? Not to mention the basic yellow cake that celebrated so many early birthdays! Boxed cake mix? Pfft. Couldn’t find those most places we’d lived, even if I'd wanted to. I found two more copies online and held them dear until it was time to write the inscriptions in the front covers and send them, and their girls, out into the world.

In due time, the original cookbook was indeed retired and is now up high in a safe cupboard, carefully inscribed newlywed Christmas message intact, its same edition stand-in doing the same remarkable job in my kitchen.

It’s still the only cookbook that comes in my suitcase when we move.

Making fresh pasta
Whenever my daughters are home, we make ravioli with the fresh pasta recipe in our most dependable cookbook. If friends are around, everyone gets into the act. I took these photos a couple of years back and never have posted them or this recipe. But this seemed like the perfect time to share. Pasta making should be a group affair, dare I even say, celebration. Just try to ignore the cluttered counter, okay?

Ingredients
For the pasta dough:
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups or 280- 315g flour (plus extra for rolling out the pasta)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon olive oil or salad oil
1 teaspoon salt

For the ravioli filling:
3 oz or 85g grated mozzarella
3 oz or 85g cream cheese
1 3/4 oz or 50g freshly grated Parmesan
4 1/4 oz or 120g frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 egg
Few grinds fresh black pepper

Method
In large bowl, combine 1 cup or 125g flour, 1/3 cup or 80ml water and remaining dough ingredients. With mixer at slow speed, beat for two minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with a rubber spatula.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Wrap in cling film and let stand 30 minutes.





While the dough rests, we can get on to the ravioli filling. It couldn’t be simpler. Mix all the ingredients together well in a mixing bowl. Set aside.



Once the dough has rested, cut off a small piece about the size of a tennis ball or perhaps just a little smaller. Wrap the dough again with the cling film.

Flour it well and use a rolling pin or a pasta roller to roll it out quite thinly to the size of your ravioli plaque.



Flour your ravioli plaque liberally and lay the sheet of pasta on top. Fill each hole with about a teaspoon of the filling.



Cut another piece of dough off of the big ball and, following the same instructions, roll it out to the size of your ravioli plaque.

Use a pastry brush to wet the pasta on the plaque between the spoons of filling.


Carefully, starting at one end, lay the second sheet of pasta on top of the filled one, sticking the two sheets together and pressing out the air as you go along.



Turn the ravioli plaque over and let the filled pasta drop out onto your countertop. If it sticks, just gently pry it off.



Trim the ravioli around the edges and cut them apart.



Set them aside on a plate lined with cling film and flour.



Continue the process until all the ravioli are rolled out, filled and cut apart. If you can get an assembly line going, it goes much faster. And it's much more fun!



Bribe the workers, if you must.

The ravioli can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with cling film or even frozen until you are ready to boil them.

To cook, boil water with salt and a little olive oil in a large pot, as you would for regular pasta and lower the ravioli in gently. Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook.

See that? It's my biggest Calphalon pot.


Serve with the sauce of your choice.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my fellow Cookbooks & Calphalon bloggers who have chosen recipes from or inspired by a cookbook that means a lot to them and are sharing their food stories.

Baking


Cooking


Drinks



Now on to the GIVEAWAYS! 

Many thanks to Colleen from Souffle Bombay for organizing this great event and to our sponsors Page Street Publishing and Calphalon for generously donating the items for our giveaways. Please be aware that these prizes will only ship to US addresses. You must be 18 or older to enter.


First Prize 


Second Prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And another chance to win from Calphalon!

Also, now through September 1st, Calphalon is celebrating couples! From the first meal they create together in their new home to the meal they share on their 25th anniversary, couples cook up memories! The cookware they choose serves as the foundation for which these “Couples Cooking” memories are made.

Calphalon wants to recognize these #CouplesCooking moments by asking couples to share pictures of the meals they cook together for a chance to win $1,000 in Calphalon cookware! Calphalon is inviting couples to post photos of the meals they prepare with their significant other on Calphalon’s Facebook page.  To enter, couples will be asked to share why the dish is unique or special to them and use the hashtag #CouplesCooking. How fun is THAT?!


***Disclaimer: This giveaway is being sponsored by Page Street Publishing and Calphalon. Cookbook & Calphalon Bloggers have not received products or been compensated as a part of this giveaway. ***



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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crusty Caprese Loaf for #TwelveLoaves

All the gorgeousness of my favorite summer salad, baked into a lovely crusty loaf, with basil proofed in the dough, mozzarella tucked inside and, finally, a smattering of colorful little tomatoes roasting on top. 

It’s summertime and that means plentiful, flavorful tomatoes and long and leggy overgrown basil. Which makes this the perfect season for making Caprese salad. And crusty Caprese bread. This month Twelve Loaves is celebrating summer fun! We’ve got nine great recipes for you and hope you will be inspired to turn that stove or oven on, despite the heat.

What’s your favorite taste of summer? Aside from the cherries and homegrown tomatoes, mine has got to be fresh purple hull peas, which are really a type of bean. They are hard to come by most of the year but my farmers’ market in Houston has them during the summer and they are divine. A fresh bean is NOTHING like its dried cousin. If you’ve never tried them, start looking for them now. Well, right after you bake some bread, okay?

Ingredients
1/4 oz or 7g active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups or 355ml tepid water
1 teaspoon sugar
12 oz or 2 3/4 cups or 345g flour plus extra for kneading
3 oz or 3/4 cup or 85g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon salt
11 cherry/grape tomatoes, approximate weight  4 1/4 oz or 120g
7 oz or 200g mozzarella
2g or about 10 medium-sized leaves fresh basil plus more for garnish, if desired
Olive oil

Method
Put 1/4 cup or about 30g of flour into your large mixing bowl with the sugar and yeast. Add the tepid water and stir well. Allow to proof for 10 minutes. If the yeast gets foamy, it’s all good.

Meanwhile roll your basil leaves up really tightly and slice thinly. Fancy chefs call this chiffonade and you can too.

When the yeast mixture is ready, add in the basil and stir.



Add in the rest of the flours and the salt.  Mix until well combined and you have a soft dough.

If you are using a stand mixer, change to the bread hook and knead. You may have to add a little more flour. Otherwise, remove from the mixer and knead by hand until smooth and stretchy.

Form into a nice round ball. Drizzle a little olive oil in your bowl and roll the ball around until coated with oil.



Cover the bowl and put in a warm place for a couple of hours. You can continue the process at this point or you can let it rest overnight in the refrigerator for added flavor.



If you put the dough in the refrigerator overnight (like I did) remove it and allow it to come to room temperature before proceeding.

Meanwhile you can cut your mozzarella into thick slices.



Punch down the dough and form it into a nice circle again. Put it in a greased pan.

Use a sharp knife to cut deep slits in the dough and tuck a slice of mozzarella into each.



Pierce a hole with that same sharp knife in each small tomato and push them into the dough.



Cover with a mixing bowl and put in a warm place to rise for about an hour. Set your timer for 45 minutes and preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C when it rings.

Bake the loaf, uncovered, in your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or when the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 180°F or 82°C.

If you want a crusty loaf, turn the oven off and leave the bread in it for 10 more minutes. Otherwise, remove from the oven and allow to cool.


Remove from the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a rack. If you can wait that long to slice it.


Enjoy!



Check out all the beautiful summer breads we’ve been making for you!


  • Blueberry and Japanese Yuzu Citrus Muffins from Kim at NinjaBaking.com
  • Citrus Pecan Quick Bread from Renee at Magnolia Days
  • Courgette, Feta, Honey and Sesame Seeds Pull-apart Bread from Luisa at Rise of the Sourdough Preacher
  • Crusty Caprese Loaf from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
  • Fruit and Veggie Quick Bread from Felice at All That’s Left Are the Crumbs
  • Gluten Free Berry Bread from Sherron at Simply Gourmet
  • Grilled Naan Bread from Reneé at Kudos Kitchen by Reneé
  • Iron Skillet Pizza by Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
  • Upside Down Banana Bread from Holly at A Baker's House 


  • Would you like to join us this month? Choose a recipe featuring the flavors of summer! Whatever you bake (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, grissini, braids, flatbreads, etc.) have fun and let's have a delicious month of seasonal bread. Let's get baking!

    If you’d like to add your recipe to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

    1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

    2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to this month’s Twelve Loaves theme – Summer Fun.

    3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this July 2014, posted on your blog by July 31, 2014.

    #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.




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    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Rough Puff Tomato and Olive Tart


    Hands up, who has been to Paris?  Who’d like to go?  And what is one of the number one destination for tourists in Paris.  The Louvre, of course.  Well, guess what?  I saw some treasures from the Louvre today.  In Abu Dhabi.  Yes, that’s right.   Right here in the Sandpit.  Apparently, a new Louvre is being built, and it is scheduled to open in 2015.  The plans look fabulous and there is already a small museum to introduce the bigger one to come, full of painted treasures by the likes of Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Magritte, Mondrian and Twombly, as well as sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, tapestry and even a fascinating mobile by Alexander Calder.  Appropriate to the educational mission of the Louvre Abu Dhabi - bridging and connecting cultures - two ancient religious texts, the Koran and the Pentateuch, sit side by side in one protective glass case.  Entrance to the current exhibit - Birth of a Museum - is free, along with the narrated audio guide.  Now I can’t wait for the whole Louvre Abu Dhabi to open.  It’s going to be a beautiful place filled with beautiful things.

    And now you know why I am late in posting this recipe.   Let us tarry no longer.  We have tart to bake!

    Ingredients
    1 rectangle rough puff pastry dough from this recipe
    7 oz or 200g large grape or tiny Roma tomatoes
    2 spring onions
    2 cloves garlic
    4 1/2 oz or 125g (drained) fresh mozzarella
    3 1/2 oz or 100g feta
    15 whole black olives
    2 eggs lightly beaten
    Sprinkle cayenne – optional

    Method
    Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

    Roll out your chilled rough puff pastry, with a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.


    Laying your tart pan on top, cut a circle out of the dough with a sharp knife.


    Transfer the circle of dough to the tart pan.


    Fold the top under to neaten the edge.


    Use a fork to dock the bottom and sides of the dough.


    Pop this back in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

    (Stack the leftover dough and wrap in cling film and freeze for later use. Don’t make it into a ball or you will lose your layers.)


    Thinly slice your garlic, chop your green onions and crumble your feta cheese.

    Pit your black olives and halve them and then halve the little tomatoes.   In a small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

    Okay, now, in a larger mixing bowl, add in your tomatoes, olives, green onions, garlic and the beaten eggs.  Stir to mix.

    Fold in the feta.


    Pour the mixture into your tart pan.

     I like to straighten out the tomatoes and olives and make the rounded sides face up, because I think it’s prettier that way, but if you don’t care, skip this step.  The flavor will be just as lovely.  Probably.


    Now slice the fresh mozzarella into little pieces and poke them in and around the tomatoes and olives.



    Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper if desired.


    If your tart pan has a removable bottom, you’ll want to put it on top of another pan before putting it in the oven.  This will make it easier to remove from the oven when hot.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely golden and the cheese on top is too.


    Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the tart pan.  Slice into pieces.


    Enjoy! 
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    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Meatzza for #ForeverNigella



    I was browsing through the internet the other day, as you do, (Tell me it's not just me!) and I came across a blog hop devoted to Nigella Lawson and food your family would love.  The original organizer of the blog hop is Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but the host this month is Sally from Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams.  I could appreciate Sally’s attachment to Nigella and baking.  She went through a challenging time when her child was quite ill a few years ago and baking from Nigella's How to Become a Domestic Goddess gave her structure and something she could control.  While my feeling-out-of-control issues are not on par with hers, with all our moving about, I could definitely relate.  If my kitchen is in working order, I am in a safe, familiar place.

    I decided to join the blog hop by making a Nigella recipe from her latest book, Nigellissima.  Whenever we have pizza, my motto is always the more meat, the better.  And the thinner the crust, the better.  This recipe goes one step further on both counts.  No crust at all and it’s basically all meat.  I added cooked lentils because 1. I like them, 2. I knew they would taste good and 3. they would make me feel better about eating what is basically a big hamburger patty with tomatoes and cheese.  This is comfort food for sure.  If you are trying to restrict carbs in your diet, this is the perfect pizza, or rather, meatzza for you.

    Ingredients
    1 lb 2 oz or 500g ground or minced beef
    3/4 cup or 100g cooked lentils
    3/4 oz or about 20g Parmesan
    Small handful fresh parsley
    2 eggs
    2 cloves garlic
    Sea salt
    Black pepper to taste
    Olive oil
    1 can 14 oz or 400g chopped tomatoes
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    Crushed red pepper - optional
    1 ball mozzarella – about 4 1/2 oz or 125g – plain or with basil
    1 small bunch fresh basil – for garnish

    Method
    Preheat your oven to 425°F or 220°C.

    Chop your parsley and pour your canned tomatoes into a sieve to drain.  (Save the juice for soup or another dish.)


    Put your ground beef, lentils, parsley and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Grate in the Parmesan and one of the cloves of garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir until just mixed through.



    Oil a shallow, round baking tin.  For a thinner crust, choose a wider baking pan.  Mine was only about 8 in or 21cm so this was definitely a deep pan meatzz.  Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.


    In another bowl, put your well-drained tomatoes, a little sprinkle of salt and the oregano.  Grate in the second clove of garlic and give it a good drizzle of olive oil.  Mix well.


    Spread the seasoned tomatoes onto your meat and then sprinkle with some crushed red pepper, if using.



    Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the tomatoes.



    Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat layer.  I was a little bit concerned initially because the meat juices came up and around the tomatoes and cheese, which was not attractive.  But at the end of the cooking time, the top was browned and it was all good.

    Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Decorate with the basil and cut in wedges to serve.  I served a good wedge along side a salad of arugula or rocket with a simple vinaigrette to complete the meal.


    Nigella’s recipe says it serves four to six people but even with a side salad and my addition of the lentils, I don’t think you could stretch this to feed more than four.   It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again.

    Enjoy!



    And again, check out the other #ForeverNigella favorites in the blog hop right here.


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