Spring

Ham Cooked In Beer

April 8, 2012

Ham Cooked In Beer

INGREDIENTS

20 Pound Bone-In Ham

2 Cans Beer

Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 18 quart roasting pan with olive oil. Place the ham, with the fattier side up, in the roaster. Pour the beer over the ham. Place lid on roasting pan. Bake 6 to 8 hours or until cooked through. Let sit 15 minutes before slicing.

Ciambellone

April 7, 2012

Ciambellone

Ciambellone or Italian Easter Bread is a ring shaped cake is lightly sweetened and flavored with lemon zest and sometimes dried fruit. Romans like to serve it for Easter breakfast.

INGREDIENTS

4 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Sugar

½ Cup Milk

¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest

½ Cup Softened Butter

½ Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Egg

Powdered Sugar For Dusting

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the flour on your work surface creating a well in the center. Alternating, add the dry and wet ingredients to the well. After each ingredient is added mix well with your fingers or a fork. Add more flour if needed to make the dough workable. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Shape the dough into a ring. Beat the egg lightly with water. Brush the top of the ring with the egg wash. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. If you want your ring to be perfectly uniform then you can use a springform pan with the center insert. This will allow you to have a picture perfect ciambellone. Dust the ciambellone with powdered sugar or you could use colored sugar as a topping. Serves 8

Good Friday Spätzle

April 6, 2012

Good Friday Spätzle

In the Eastern Church this day is known as Great or Holy Friday. The Western title is supposed to be a corruption of the phrase “God’s Friday,” the day on which Christ died. On this day the bells are silenced and in some places this day is observed by so strict a fast that it is often called the Black Fast because many do not eat at all until sundown. In many parts of Germany it is customary to eat only Spätzle for the evening meal on Good Friday.

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cups Flour

½ Teaspoon Salt

2 Eggs

½ Cup Milk

½ Cup Water

3 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs

¼ Pound Butter

Sift the flour with the salt in a medium size bowl. Add the eggs, milk and water. Stir until smooth. Then with a fork dipped in boiling water cut the dough in small pieces into the boiling water. Boil for a few minutes until they rise to the top. Remove from the water and transfer to a serving dish. Cover with the bread crumbs that have been fried in the butter. Serve hot. Serves 4

Holy Thursday Spinach

April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday Spinach

Holy Thursday is, of course, the day commemorating the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. A custom was popular in many European countries that greens should be eaten on this day, coming no doubt from the Jewish meal of bitter herbs. The day is sometimes called Green Thursday. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, spinach and dandelion greens are still eaten on Holy Thursday to prevent spring illness which probably came from Germany where it was an ancient belief. This was probably considered tonic after the weeks of Lent. Vitamins for a body that had been underfed and needing nutrients to fight off viruses. Whatever the reason spinach is good and good for you!

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Pounds Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

6 Chopped Garlic Cloves

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Tablespoon Butter

Squeeze of Lemon

Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make certain it is extremely clean. You don’t want to eat sand and grit. Spin the washed leaves in a salad spinner. In a large pot heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic over a medium heat for 1 minute. Make sure that the garlic is browned. Add all of the spinach, the salt and pepper to the pot. Toss with the garlic and olive oil. Cover the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high and cook for another minute. Stir with a wooden spoon. You want the spinach to be wilted. Using the wooden spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve hot! Serves 6

Coconut Cake

April 4, 2012

Coconut Cake

This week is Easter and coconut cake is on my mind. I wanted to make a cake that is a bit more traditional. Enjoy this time with family and friends and have a Happy Easter.

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

¾ Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Cup Sugar

2 eggs

2/3 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2/3 Cup Coconut

Additional Coconut For Garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Next add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk. Mix well. Add the coconut. Pour the batter into two prepared 8 inch round cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans, on wire racks, for 15 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely. Frost and top with more coconut.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Powdered Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Tuesday’s Chicken Salad

April 3, 2012

Tuesday’s Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad was first served by Town Meets in Wakefield, Rhode Island in 1863. The original owner, Liam Gray, mixed his leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon and grapes. This became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen which still stands to this day. Everyone likes their Chicken Salad different ways with the main ingredient being chopped chicken. I like to use chicken breast. Other common ingredients include mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, celery, peppers, peas and a variety of mustards. Here is my Tuesday version.

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Cooked Chicken Breast

1 Chopped Jalapeño Pepper

½ Chopped Carrot

3 Chopped Scallions

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

¼ Cup Mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Tablespoon Chopped Parsley

Dice the chicken breast into bite size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the chopped jalapeño pepper, chopped carrots, chopped scallions, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, mustard and parsley. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve on bread of your choice (I like to use a crusty Italian bread) or serve over lettuce and tomato. Serves 4

Hot Cross Buns

April 2, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns is a favorite during spring and the Easter season. Hot Cross buns are a sweet, yeast leavened, spiced roll made with currants or raisins. They have long been a symbol of Good Friday. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion

INGREDIENTS

1 Package Active Dry Yeast

1 Cup Warm Milk

5 Tablespoons Softened Butter

½ Cup Brown Sugar

2 Large Eggs

½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

¾ Cup Dried Currants

3 Tablespoons Milk Mixed With 3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tablespoon Cold Milk

1 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar

½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Mix the yeast with 4 tablespoons of the warm milk in a small size bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a medium size bowl cream together 4 tablespoons of the butter and brown sugar. When the yeast is frothy, stir it in, along with the spices, salt and remaining warm milk. Beat in the flour one cup at a time until a soft ball of dough can be gathered together. Place the dough on a floured work surface and lightly knead in the currants, adding more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Kneading should take no more than a few minutes. Using some of the remaining butter to grease a large bowl. Place the dough in a bowl and turn the dough to butter all sides. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 ½ hours. The dough should be doubled. Butter two baking sheets with the remaining butter. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Then divide each piece in half again. Divide each portion of the dough into six equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place the balls of dough on the baking sheets leaving 2 inches between them. Set aside covered lightly with waxed paper for 1 hour. The dough should have doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Carefully slash a cross into the top of each bun using a very sharp knife or razor blade cutting through the skin of the dough at least ¼ inch deep. Try not to compress the bun as you cut. Bake the buns for 20 minutes until they are lightly browned. Just before they come out of the oven, bring milk and sugar mixture to a boil in a small saucepan. As soon as the buns are done, brush them with the milk and sugar glaze. Allow the buns to cool for 30 minutes and then serve them while they are still warm. If you have not cut the cross into the tops of the buns the cross can be applied with the icing. The buns must be completely cooled before the icing is applied. Mix the powdered sugar with the cold milk and lemon juice. Using the handle of a spoon or chopstick spread the icing to form a cross on top or to fill the cross shape cut. Makes 24

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