Creamy Tomatoe Soup

October 31, 2009

Today was a rainy, cold windy fall day, what better way to spend it then warming up the house with a homemade soup.

This is a recipe that my Mom used to make all the time.  It’s quite simple and very delicious!

Homemade Cream of Tomatoe Soup

2-3 tbsp butter

1 medium onion diced

2 tsp flour

2-3 cups milk or cream

2 large cans of diced tomatoes

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

In pot #1 melt butter and saute onion in a large pot until translucent.  Add flour to make a thick paste.  Add milk, simmer until warm.

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Pot #1

In pot #2 a warm tomatoes with sugar in another large pot, just until warm.

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Pot #2

Add baking soda and stir….***tomato will start to bubble and foam almost doubling, this is why you needed the big pot.

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At this point pour the warm foaming tomatoes into the warm milk mixture, stir and simmer.

NOTE: you must pour tomatoes into the milk, if you pour the milk into the tomatoes it will curdle, I don’t know why, but it does.

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It is a lovely soup.  I make a healthy version using skim milk, that is why it appears thin in the photo, BUT is originally made with milk or cream which makes a lovely creamy soup.  Keeps well and is nice reheated.


Mushroom Risotto

August 30, 2009

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I have to admit, I am a huge fan of the t.v show Hells Kitchen and on that show just about every night they have to make risotto.  It’s rare that they ever get it right and Gordon Ramsey usually throws it in the trash and tells them to F$%# OFF or that they are a fat cow.  Seeing it week after week it kind of intrigued me.  Its something you never see on restaurant menus here and we were wondering what it was like.

I have been wanting to try it for a while, but honestly it intimidated me.   Really? standing at the stove for a half hour stiring…not fun, but none the less I found a recipe and gave it a shot.

Mushroom Risotto

Adapted fromWeight Watchers From Pantry to Plate, Easy Meals from Foods You Keep on Hand.

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms**

5 cups fat-free lower sodium chicken broth

4 tsp melted butter

1 smal onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1/3 cup dry Marsala wine**

1 cup frozen peas**

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp salt

** I used a cup of portibalow and a cup of button mushrooms, I could not find porcini

**I omitted the marsala wine and just added more chicken stock

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Reduce heat and keep at a simmer
  2. Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. DSCN3798
  3. Add the Rice and cook, stirring, until the outer shell is just translucent, about 1-2 minutes.  DSCN3799
  4. Add a cup of stock and stir until it is absorbed.  Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed before adding more. DSCN3800
  5. Add the peas with the last addition of stockDSCN3802
  6. The cooking time should be about 18 minutes from the first addition of the stock.   Remove from heat and stir in cheese and rice.

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Absolutely fantastic!  This recipe was amazing.  Well worth the work and time.   Not sure if it would have got Ramsey’s approval (i’m pretty sure I would not have been told to F#$@ off lol)  but it sure got ours, definitely will be looking for more risotto recipes.


General Tso Chicken

August 4, 2009

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Yet another Made By Mike Creation!  All I heard was he was making chicken.  When he called me to dinner I sat down to this beautiful General Tso Chicken.  It was wonderful.  Cooked to perfection and with such presentation.  I just love when he cooks for me! I wonder what will be next!


Crepes!

August 2, 2009

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It’s a dull, rainy, cool Sunday morning and I just wasn’t feeling the usual breakfast of a bowl of Crispix.   Its days like today I could spend hours in the kitchen, so I thought I would surprise Mike with a breakfast I know he loves, Crepes!

I have never made crepes before so this is quite the ambitious endevor I have this morning HAHA.  But I thought what the heck.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt

Lightly whisk eggs then add the rest of the ingredients.  Whisk until smooth, should be the consistency of heavy cream.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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When you are ready to cook the crepes

1. Preheat your non stick pan on medium heat

2. Butter the pan

3. Use 1/4 cup of the batter at a time, pour batter in centre of pan and swirl to make it bigger. (they are suppose to be round,  I had a bit of a hard time with that, but really when they are all rolled up who is going to know)

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4. when the top is dry its time to flip (they flip nicely, don’t stick at all)

5. cook for aprox 15 seconds more

6. place on a plate and repeat.

7. Stack them up, they wont stick together.

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Mike wanted strawberry crepes but I knew i didn’t have enough strawberry so I also made a apple Cinnamon crepe.

Apple Cinnamon filling

3 granny smith apples, pealed and sliced

1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

cinnamon ( like a lot, put as much as you like)


1. Melt butter in a frying pan

2. add apples and cook until tender or soft

3. add remaining ingredients

4. stir while sugar melts and thickens

5. remove from heat

Strawberry Filling

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups frozen strawberries

3 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoon cold water

1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch

pinch cinnamon

pinch salt

dash vanilla

1. In a saucepan melt butter

2. add frozen strawberries

3. dissolve cornstarch in the cold water and add to strawberries

4. add sugar and cook until strawberries are soft

5. bring to a boil to thicken

Let the fillings cool slightly then spoon approx 1/4 cup down the centre of crepe and roll.

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They turned out amazing!  Mike even said “These are better then IHOP!” HAHA.  Definitely something I would make again and I would make some savory fillings as well.



Stromboli

July 31, 2009

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I was spoiled again!  Mike made dinner again last night, he made Stromboli.  Not something you see around here very often, infact I had never heard of it until I went to Jersey.

He used the “Basic Pizza Dough” recipe (see recipe in Italian section).   He made 3 different ones, all have mozzarilla cheese and rocotta cheese.  One had pepperoni, one had pepperoini peppers and onion and one had garlic.

They were all very good.  Bring the first time we made them, we learned that next time we would make the dough thinner, was a bit of a bread sale.

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Big Texas Chicken Quesadilla

July 29, 2009

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Tonight, I had the pleasure of having dinner made for me.  My fiance who is a fantastic cook, really turned on his creativity tonight.   He started out with just plain chicken breasts and he ended up with Big Texas Chicken Quesadillas!  They were fantastic!  He seasoned the two chicken breasts with salt, pepper cyan pepper (carful with the cyan) garlic and onion powder along with half a lemon.  Then baked it in the oven.  While that was cooking he shredded a potatoe (which he sautied up with onions) and some cheddar cheese.  He diced a half of a large red onion and half of a large green pepper, some lettuce and tomatoe.  When the chicken came out of the oven, cut into small pieces and sautied it with olive oil to lock in the juices.  He then put a large whole grain tortilla in a pan and added the chicken, cheese, onion, tomatoe, peppers and potatoes, and folded in half.   Heated both sides and garnished with salsa, sour cream and lettuce.

It was excellent!  Such amazing flavours.  I look forward to sharing more of his creations in the future.

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Pizza Party!!!

July 23, 2009

Picture 023For a long time now Mike has been after me to make homemade pizza.  He is a bit of a pizza freak!  I have been putting it off and putting it off, mostly because I figured it would be hard to make.  After hearing how good the Daring Bakers October 2008 challenge of Pizza dough was, I thought I would give it a try.

Basic Pizza Dough
(From The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread By Peter Reinhart)

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (chilled)
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (optional) ~ I left it for the simple reason of not having enough in the bottle
1 3/4 cups water (ice cold)
1 tablespoon sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

Instructions

Day 1

1. Mix together flour, salt and yeast in larger bowl of stand mixer  (we don’t have a stand mixer so a wooden spoon worked just fine)

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2. Add the oil, water and sugar and mix well (with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment on the mixer on low speed) until you form a sticky ball of dough. On clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes (or if using a mixer with a dough hook, set to the medium speed for the same amount of time) until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If the dough is too wet add a little bit of flour, too dry add a bit of water.

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3. Flour the counter and line a jelly pan with parchment paper (I don’t have a jelly pan so I just used a large cookie sheet instead). Lightly oil the paper.

4. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (I would cut them into less, they were fairly small)

5. Sprinkle flour over the dough and flour your hands as well. Round each piece into a ball.

6. Transfer the balls into the lined jelly pan, and mist generously with spray oil. Wrap the pan with plastic wrap.

7.  Place the ran in the fridge and let rest overnight or up to three days.

Day 2

8. Two hours before you make the pizza remove the pizza dough from the fridge. Place on parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle again with flour, mist with oil and wrap lightly. Let sit for 2 hours.

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9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). (If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan)

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands and pick up One piece of dough. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

11. Place the pizza dough on the back of the pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top the pizza with toppings of your choice.

sauce, pesto sacue, white sauce, peperoni, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, pineapple, hot peppers, mozza cheese, chedder cheese and feta!

sauce, pesto sacue, white sauce, peperoni, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, pineapple, hot peppers, mozza cheese, chedder cheese and feta!

13. Put pizza on the pizza stone or pan and place in the oven. Cook for 5-8 minutes.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. Allow the cheese to set a little by waiting a few minutes before slicing.

Everyone made something different, They turned out great!

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The recipe was amazing!  Everyone raved out it, people who normally don’t eat pizza even like it.  This is something I will defiantly be making again.  It was so simple and easy.


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