Cooking Basics

Homemade Pancake Mix

March 7, 2012

Homemade Pancake Mix

Why pay for pancake mix when you can make your own. Keep this Homemade Pancake Mix on hand for great weekend breakfast meals.

INGREDIENTS

4 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

2/3 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Makes 6 batches of pancakes.

To prepare the pancakes: In a small bowl whisk 1 egg and ¾ cup whole milk. Whisk in 1 cup of pancake mix. Pour the batter by ¼ cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle. Flip when the pancakes start to bubble. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Makes 6 pancakes per batch.

Tomato Sauce Naples Style

October 27, 2011

Tomato Sauce Naples Style

Tomato sauces vary from region to region in Italy. Here is the Neapolitan version.

INGREDIENTS

3 Pounds Fresh Tomatoes

1 Minced Yellow Onion

1 Minced Celery Stalk

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

8 Basil Leaves

Wash, dry and seed the tomatoes. Dice into large chunks and place them in a large cooking pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery and ¼ cup of the olive oil. Add the salt and pepper and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes until the tomatoes begin to fall apart. The pot should be without a lid on it. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Place the tomato mixture into a food processor or blender (you can also use a food mill) and puree. Add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil to the pot and return the tomato sauce to the pot. Simmer over a medium low heat for 5 minutes. Chop or tear the basil leaves and add to the pot. Turn the heat off and serve over the pasta of your choice. This sauce is also great on meatballs or as a pizza sauce. Serves 4

Puff Pastry

October 26, 2011

Puff Pastry

A relative of Middle Eastern phyllo dough as it is used in a similar manner to create layered pastries. It is thought that French painter, Claude Gelée, who lived in the 17th century. Apparently, Gelée was making a type of very buttery bread for his sick father. The process of rolling the butter into the bread dough created a croissant like finished product. Other Puff Pastry references before the 17th century which indicates that the history was originally from Muslim Spain and was converted from thin sheets of dough spread with olive oil to laminate the dough with layers of butter. Puff Pastry is commonly used for turnovers, Steak & Kidney Pie, other types of pie, sausage rolls, Beef Wellington, strudel and Miguelitos (a cake made in Spain). Here is a basic and quick Puff Pastry recipe.

INGREDIENTS

4 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Cups Cold Butter

1 ¼ Cups Ice Water

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour and salt. Cut the cold butter into ½ inch thick sliced. Do not cut the butter into cubes. Add the butter slices to the flour mixture and toss until the butter slices are coated with the flour mixture and are separated. Pour the ice water over the flour mixture. Using a spoon, quickly mix. The butter will remain in large pieces and the flour will not be completely moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 10 times by pressing and pushing the dough together to form a rough looking ball. Shape the dough into a rectangle. Don’t be concerned that the dough will still have some dry looking areas. Make the corners as square as possible and slightly flatten the dough. Working on a well floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle. Fold crosswise into thirds to for a slightly smaller rectangle. Give the dough a quarter turn and then fold crosswise into thirds to form an even smaller rectangle. This should create 9 layers. Repeat the rolling, folding, turning and folding process one more time. You should have a rectangle that is approximately 5×4 inches. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. To use the dough in your recipe cut the dough in half crosswise with a very sharp knife. Makes two 1 1/3 pound portions.

Basic Chicken Stock

August 21, 2011

Basic Chicken Stock

I like to include the bones as it makes for a better flavor.

INGREDIENTS

Skin & Bones of A Whole Chicken Including Neck & Spine

1 Carrot

2 Celery Stalks

1 Large Onion

1 Tablespoon Salt

In a big pot, collect the bones. Cover the bones so that there are four inches of water above the bones. Set over a high heat to bring to a boil while you chop the onion, carrot and celery into large diced pieces. Add all of the ingredients, including the skin, neck and spine, to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer for 6 hours. Strain and reserve the broth. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze. Makes 4 cups

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