Sunday, January 29, 2012

Braided Cardamon Bread - Fikabröd

3 cups flour
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
4 tbls sugar, plus one spoonful for glaze
1/8 cup butter
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tbls cardamon
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

Warm water and milk to 80 degrees and then add the sugar and yeast. Set aside to grow until frothy.

Add butter and applesauce and then mix by hand into flour, adding a bit of flour until an elastic ball forms. Slide into an oiled bowl to rise for 30 minutes.
Knead dough and separate into three equal parts. Roll out three ropes. Coat with cardamon. Braid.
Let rise on a greased cookie sheet under a dish towel while oven preheats to 380 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
Then cool on a baking rack and moisten the crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar. 

Swedes traditionally leave one slice left. Not wanting to be seen as better than anyone else for any reason, they would rather let it sit till it hardens than thieve the last piece of fikabröd.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

French Onion and Lentil Soup

In a crock pot set on low, pour in two day soaked French Lentils. Add 4 cups of water. Chop 2 onions and layer on the lentils.
 Finally sprinkle in 2 tbls rubbed sage, 1 tbls pepper, 1tbls salt, 4 tbls bacon drippings and crumbles, and thinly slice or crumble 1/ 2 pound of sausage.
Cook for 6 hours and then use a stick mixer to blend some of the onions and lentils. Just enough so the soup has a creamier texture. Serve with bread and enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Perogie Making Workshop

So the first workshop is coming up and I am so excited and nervous! I've been going over the blog post from the January 24th International Dinner that took place last year where Bob and I made what felt like a million perogies!

The first class on February 19th is full up, and then some! The 26th class is filling up fast. Folks are already asking for a third class, though I'm not certain where I'm going to squeeze that one in with the Swedish International Dinner coming up, Menu for the Future group meetings, and there are grant applications waiting to be finished for SOLE of Buffalo....busy busy busy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beef Stew and Biscuits

2 lbs stew beef, 4 carrots, 4 large potatoes, 1 large onion, seasonings of your choice (this had paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper and vinegar)
2 cups water cooked on high in a crock-pot for 4 to 6 hours. Cool over night. This will thicken the stew and bring out the flavor.

Put in a deep pie dish and layer biscuit dough on top. 2 cups flour, 1 tbls baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbls sugar, 1/3 cup shortening or refined lard, and 1 cup of milk.

Cut the fat into the dry ingredients well using two table knives and then blend in the milk without stirring to much. Bake at 380 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes to allow stew to jell slightly before serving.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Schiacciata all Sicilianna

 When I looked for authentic Sicilian recipes for the last International Dinner, I came across this recipe. The amazing thing is that when I Googled images to see it's construction I discovered that the making of Schiacciata all Sicilianna is not a straightforward affair. I found them folded like a stromboli, or a calzone, tucked in like a pasty, built like a pie, or laid out like a very long pizza. But then I started to find 7 pages in my search that chefs in the country side roll them like a cinnamon bread. It's swirling center was so lovely I decided to go with the roll.
I also discovered that the ingredients varied wildly. I finally decided to do a variation on my monster meatloaf. With a blend of ground chuck, ground lamb, and pork, though in this recipe I used well browned crisp bacon which was crumbled and the dripping were used to fry up the onions and garlic, I found the perfect filling for my roll.

The dough was 2 cups flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 1/2 tsp yeast, 3 tbls olive oil, 1 tbls sugar, and 2 tsp salt. I used a white whole wheat flour which was very easy to work with. In the first photo you see my husband rolling it all together while I worked on the Taralli. The roll's ends were tucked under and the whole thing was laid out onto a greased pan and baked at 380 degrees for about 30 minutes. The time will depend on the roll's thickness and filling as well as the type of flour used in the dough. I think 30 minutes is a good point to start checking on it. It should have a nice golden brown and crunchy exterior when finished. This was very savory and I enjoyed it with several glasses of wine!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


On Saturday I had the first International Dinner of the year, our second year at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. We celebrated Italy, Sicily and Sardinia with food, music and excellent conversation.

One of the dishes I prepared was Taralli, a heavenly umami flavored pretzel. With freshly ground and whole fennel seeds, it had a delightful earthiness.

 One cup of warm water, 3 tsp. of yeast, a sprinkle of sugar, 10 minutes to do it's magic!
 2 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour, salt, freshly ground and whole fennel seeds, 3 tbls olive oil, and 3 tbls of sugar.
Knead gently until a shaggy loaf forms. Let rise in a bowl covered with a towel for one hour.
 The loaf will have an elastic rubbery feel when it's time to make the Taralli.
Separate into small balls, roughly 2 inches in diameter.

Roll each out to about 4 inches in length and bring the ends to meet, overlapping slightly.

 Lay out on a well greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven set at 375 degrees. Let cool and serve with highly flavored foods, coffee, or a bottle of wine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

One Pan Southern Rice, Beans, and Sausage

 Fry up a chopped onion and sweet pepper in olive oil.
 Slice chorizo sausage and add to the pan. Cooking on a lower heat until the sausages are cooked through.
Add well rinsed pink beans, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of brown rice, dry mustard, pepper, and cover. Cook until the water is absorbed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Garlic stuffed Olive Herbed Focaccia and Spinach-Ricotta Dumplings in Red Pepper Sauce

I led a class on Italian cooking yesterday and felt honored to be surrounded by such a lovely group of ladies.

We made this delicious focaccia!
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tbls olive oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbls thyme and oregano
Olives stuffed with garlic cloves
Olive oil for brushing onto surface and sprinkle with salt.

Proof yeast. Mix with flour and olive oil. Mix, adding a little flour until a soft elastic ball forms. Place in an oiled bowl and cover until doubled in size. Divide and pull into round disk shapes. Place in cake pans, dimpling the surface. Insert olives into one or both, which ever your prefer. Bake until golden brown. approximately 15-20 minutes. Pop out of pans and bake for five more minutes. Best served still warm.

4 large, fleshy red bell peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup water
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 5 fresh basil leaves salt and freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons yogurt

Cook on a high heat and use an immersion blender to make smooth.

For the Dumplings:
3 bunches spinach, stems removed
3 eggs or yogurt
3/4 cup freshly grated Italian parmesan cheese, plus cheese for garnishing
3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
 2 cups ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus flour for dredging
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 tbls sage 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

We ended up putting these in a large, well oiled pan and under the broiler to bake when boiling our dumplings led to half results, sometimes this mix isn't quite firm enough to handle boiling. Baking it produced beautiful little rounds of hot cheese and spinach.

Photos courtesy of Kate Goehrig Scott.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Do you know this building at 219 West Ferry? It used to be the Veterans of Foreign Wars Stadium Post #1369. It's been empty for years now and neglected and abused. It's not brick red/gun metal grey anymore, now it's just as badly painted, but this time in a Floridian retiree turquoise.

I dream about this building. 

I've dreamed of moving boxes while it's wood framed guts are still being knocked into position. I've dreamed of sliding boxes along a roller conveyer from the front door to the back of the building. 
I've dreamed of climbing the metal fire escape in the alley up to the roof to the newly sprouted garden. Of plucking tomatoes and putting red romaine in a bin to bring downstairs. I've dreamed of opening the front door wide. Letting in the hot summer breeze that lifts and snaps the white curtains, their bleached cotton scent mixing with smells of basil and tomatoes and garlic. 
The bass of West Side cars sliding by sounding in rhythm with The National 'Start A War' coming from my Shuffle's speakers.

Can you imagine such a place? A place for SOLE of Buffalo's Food Pantry with a family friendly cafe and space to teach cooking, and baking, and preserving, and gardening?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beef Sukha, Curried Potatoes, and 7 Grains

Sukha is from coastal west India and combines styles from Malabari and Goan provinces.

This onion looked so juicy and delicious, like an apple, that I had to capture it before rough chopping it and frying it in a pan with oil, cinnamon, cloves, and vinegar.
1 1/2 lb beef
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsps cumin powder
1 large onion chopped
2 tbsps ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 1/2 cups yogurt
3 tsp vinegar

These diced potatoes are boiled in just enough water to cover them. Drain and add one stick of unsalted butter or 8 oz of ghee. Sprinkle liberally with curry and cover until the butter has melted.

Seeds of Change 'Tigris' is so good it's....I can't say anything more without sounding like a paid sponsor. But really, it's just that scrumptious!
So to top off all of this amazingly complex flavorful food I found this sparkling water to go with it. 
My family really liked the lavender, which is very nice, but I was impressed with the DRY cucumber soda which suited the dish. I highly recommend them!

A Wedding Gift From A Fellow Foodie

My friend Kristina dropped off the best gift of food we have ever seen! Along with a sweet card expressing her desire for a happy, healthy, and flavorsome marriage she included these tasty delights for Bob and I to enjoy: Salted Skin-On Marcona Almonds, Gran Maestre Manchego, Brut Vintage 2008 Naveran Cava, and homemade membrillo (a paste jelly made from quince). Oh, this is so romantic!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

My pasta e fagioli is a beautiful, thick, hearty, and decidedly non-authentic dish. This dish has ground beef browned in minced garlic and a splash of olive oil. Once drained of excess fats, I added a large can of pink beans, boiled ditalini pasta, a large glass container of Muir Glen Garlic Roasted Garlic Organic Pasta Sauce, and the frozen remainder of the Asiago Cream sauce I made on New

Year's Eve since I had prepped it separately from the seafood and it had such a rich cheese flavor that perfectly suited this dish. I served this with roughly julienned carrots. They were woodsy and thick cored, extremely flavorful, quite earthy and I barely steamed them to keep them as close to raw as I could. I generally can't stand to eat a carrot raw. Don't know if it's the cold snap when you take a bite or the flavor, but I didn't want them fully steamed either. These turned out perfect!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Dinner

We celebrated our Yule dinner on New Year's Eve with all the family squeezed round the table. Much like Thanksgiving, the table was loaded with all kinds of deliciousness. There was a giant salad, sherry mushrooms, sweet potatoes in maple syrup and La Fiera's 2009 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.

As it was our first year as a married couple I decided to start an old tradition of "Feast of the 7 Fishes". Some families have multiple dishes with fish or shellfish being the main ingredient, coupled with vegetables and/or pasta. I made one dish with three types of seafood; Salmon, Shrimp, and Lobster. 
The fettuccine pasta was perfect for building a nest for the sauce and fish. The cream sauce was 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1 cup of water, 8 oz cream cheese, and 12 oz freshly shredded aged Italian asiago cheese. It was rich without being heavy and the flavor from the asiago was heavenly!