Thursday, December 15, 2011

RUM CAKE, BACARDI RUM CAKE




This is a wonderful rum cake recipe.
It is moist, dripping with rum (the dark one has more taste) sweet and ...divine!

 NOTE:
I learn in a hard way that the only box for this cake is "yellow cake mix" and not another cake box. This is important! It is the only one recipe that allow this cake to absorb all the wonderful rum syrup.
 
  Bacardi Rum Cake recipe, courtesy of the Cocina Cubana Club.
http://www.tasteofcuba.com/bacardirumcake.html


INGREDIENTS:

1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 pkg.(18 1/2 oz)  yellow cake mix
1 (3 3/4 oz.) pkg. Jello instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. Wesson oil
1/2 c.  dark rum (this recipe is from a book about Bacardi rum)

GLAZE:

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. dark rum




DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10" tube or 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan.

Mix the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, 1/2 cup cold water, oil and 1/2 cup  dark rum together.


 Pour batter over nuts and bake the cake for 1 hour at 325F. Cool down.


 Prick top of the cake with a stick and drizzle with glaze in the Bundt form. 
Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until the glaze is used up.



To make the glaze, melt butter in saucepan, stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum when is a little cold and soak the cake with it.

BONN  APPETITE!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

TOMATOES TART- COOKING IN A NURSING HOME: ITALY


TOMATOES TART.



This is a very old recipe that I found in one of my grandmother cookbooks…. I was surprised, when I was younger, to find an Italian cookbook (translated in Romanian) Why Italian? I have no idea. The moment I read this recipe I realized as good as it is, quick, fresh ingredients, that you can have all summer!

I think this is a very good recipe for working in the field, harvesting the grapes, for wine in fall…. It is a long list to do, and the days are so short, by fall! Coming home from vineyard, dusty, tired and hungry this is all you need for a good diner recipe.
You can be very inventive with this recipe; you can get it ready after your long work day, for a quick
 lunch, alone or with friends!
I have here the basic recipe, but you can modify and/or add many things!
Somebody from my teaching class said “maybe this was the beginning of pizza”! Maybe, who knows?

 
Ingredients:
1 Tart crust/of your choice/
2 Tomatoes, ripped, and different colors (if possible)
½ lb Mozzarella, fresh
Very good oil (extra virgin oil)
3 tsp herbs: parsley, dill, basil…crushed and sliced…from your garden, or dry /any combination that you like/


 
Direction:
1   1.      You bake half done the pie crust.
2   2.      Slice tomato and arrange in a raw on the bottom tart
3   3.      Add fresh  mozzarella ( small pieces, or sliced)
4   4.      Drizzle with oil
5   5.      Add herbs.
6   6.      Bake about 5 more minutes, or until mozzarella is melted




 
I pared this with Vermouth, Italian, dry, white. 
Vermouth is an aperitif drink, beside grape's wine, they add some herbs to bring a little pleasant-sweet- bitter taste, for “before dinner” drink.

Because it is about ITALY, I prepared few pictures to describe my one week stay in Italy; Venice, Florence and Rome.



They were very much interested in pictures and about my experiences, and few of the lady were in Italy as well.
It was a memorable day in the NURSING HOME!
a



Sunday, November 27, 2011

QUINOA MEDLEY, my daughter's finding.


My daughter cooked this recipe and she, and her family, was so exited, she wanted me to put it on my blog, pictures and all:

You can  use  this dish as a salad topping, stuffing for tomatoes/green peppers or serve it as a side dish.


Ingredients:
   
1 cup Quinoa
1 cup Black beans
1 cup Pinto beans
Sliced thin squash (1 medium)
 Half onion, chopped
Garlic
1 to 2 Red peppers, chopped
Baby spinach and/or spring green mixed
Parmesan cheese.





Directions:

               Bring 2 cups water to a boil in saucepan. Stir in quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 10 minutes.

 Add beans, squash, onion, garlic; season with salt and pepper.




 Cover, and cook 2 to 5 minutes more, or until quinoa is tender.

               Stir in parsley, parmesan cheese, oil and balsamic vinegar; if you prefer add any dressing I love: Annie's natural goddess dressing” serve it as a side dish. 





My son, Landen, said this was the best dinner ever. And we were very happy: we all ate a whole foods meal full of vitamins and healthy nutrients.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

THANKSGIVING DAY: NEXT DAY SOUP, WITH A ROMANIAN TWIST



After thanksgiving, there are so many turkey bones, invading the kitchen, the refrigerator, the pots and pan….
 Using all these leftover turkey bones, neck bones, wings tips, ones can make a big pot soup. Boiling and boiling the soup for hours…. You can add all kind of vegetables: carrot, celery, peppers (all colors), parsnip, onion, small potatoes.


You can add rice or small little pasta and the soup is ready.  



If you have fresh cut parsley, dill, or lovage is all you really need, for “Thanksgiving” next day dinner. 


In Romania we add a little more to this soup and we call it “next day soup” and in some region is called “darn salted soup”  =ciorba de potroace= because we add sauerkraut pickled jus from the barrel. Although that the sauerkraut juice is somehow salted, adding to this “chicken bone soup” adds more a sour, than salted taste …

This sour soup is traditional Romanian recipe  you get the same effect adding lemon juice.





Ingredients:

Bones from one chicken, + neck, + wings
2 carrots, 2 parsley root, 2 parsnip root, 1 small celery root
4tbs rice
  1/2tsp salt
4cups water
½ cup lemon juice (in Romania we have sour juice from pickled cabbage)
A bunch of lovage (very, very appreciated in Roman in soups) chopped; parsley will be good too;
2 yolks, beaten with ½ cup cream (optional)


 When you add bitten eggs to a soup you have to temper the eggs/cream temp, adding slowly some hot soup to the egg mixer bowl, and then added to a hot soup. Otherway  the egg will curl and the soup is ruined!

A wonderful soup, hot and refreshing!



Sunday, November 20, 2011

SPEAKING, VISITING, ENJOYING MARTHA’SHOW IN NEW YORK CITY


Monday, November 14th I was a lucky person to have 3 tickets for Martha' show in New York City: my mother, my friend and I.
 



I find out two weeks in advance that I have 3 tickets to her show, I tried few times over the years… this  is the first time I got in.
It was a show about “Thanksgiving” and about balloon’s Macy’s Parade. 


  
We got a book about this Parade, because the author was there with Martha, we learn how to carve a turkey, we learn about few side dishes for “Thanksgiving day”.

 We went to the Martha’s TV station, in Chelsea, waiting line to enter, name, id, security and so on and wait for about 2h in waiting room, until 10am when the tv show start: MARTHA SHOW





 During TV show we watch all the show, from our benches. There were some people questioning, some people shared with Martha the show




We had a lot of fun with Joey Kola, always-energetic and a stand-up comedian, who was there before the show, during the show, during commercials, after the show.





Martha was very professional and to the object, during the TV time, but after the show she was so nice, speaking to us, encouraging us to speak, she answers our questions.



My question was about dough, mainly bread dough, that sometime, unexpected become sticky: the same recipe, the same ingredients and is very difficult to deal with, almost impossible to braid or to give a nice shape. She said this is probably because of humidity first, and then probable because of the flour’s batch that I used. As she knows very well as a baker, she said that this should not annoy me because today’s trend for bread dough is stickier than before, because this dough should give a very light, bubbly loaf that envies everybody. 




Friday, November 11, 2011

CERRY BOMB PEPPERS AND CHIPOLLINI ONION SAUCE FOR GRILLED PORK CHOPS.




This recipe was in the April 2011 issue of Bon Appétit and is not available online. It is published in the reader’s favorite restaurant recipe (N Y City Mario Batali’s restaurant).

Every fall, I use cherry bomb peppers to pickle (my very own recipe with vinegar and honey). This is one of the few things that I still preserve for the winter. In Romania, many years ago my mother use to do so many preserves, tomato paste in jars, pickle cabbage, green tomatoes… and so on and so on!!!!  
For Christmas and New Year I have a nice little gift for my very good friends. One of my friends came up with this recipe and I was not so much impressed, at first. I found this recipe last week, into one of my kitchen notes and I realized that can turn into a very deliciously dish! 


I try it and it is a great recipe…. You can make it hot, or hotter, as you wish; you can make the sauce days in advance and just heat it   just as pork chops are ready to be grilled….



Ingredients:
4- 8oz pork chops with bone
¼ cup sugar
½ cup salt
8 cups water.
Mix all the ingredients, add pork chops, cover and refrigerate overnight.
 you also need:
1lb cipolline or pearl onion
¼ cup virgin oil
2 bell peppers (one red, one yellow) cut in small squares.
1 red onion finely chopped.
8 pickled cherry bomb peppers (from jar).


Directions:

1.                         Blench chipollini onion in hot water and cool, and peel.
Heat oil in a skillet and cook the whole little onion until they are soft and brown (about 10 minutes). Transfer onion and oil to a bowl.





2.                     Heat oil in the skillet, add red onion and bell peppers, to cook until soft and brown,  (about  5 minutes)



3.                           Add crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper, as one’s desire. Thew recipe asked for 4 cerry red pickled pepper, added to skilet, and 4 more to add as a garnish to teh plate. I prefeerd to added to the skilled, all of them , 8 to the skillet.            



4.                           Add to the skillet chipollini onion, stripes of cherry peppers, a tsp sugar or honey and heat again, just before you serve.



Remove pork chops from brine, pat dry, sprinkle with salt, and brush with oil.

Grill them about 5 minutes, until the grill mark appear on pork chops.






Plate each pork chop and add a good tablespoon of mixture over. Add a whole pickled red cherry pepper as garnish.

Friday, November 4, 2011

3 SCARY COOKIES FOR HALLOWEEN (#3)

HOT DOG  MUMMIES  (#3)




I found this recipe from "FOODISTA " and as we always do this hot dogs in puff pastry shets, I addopted , being easy for me.
Original recipe( follow) is with bread stick, bought from grocery's refrigerator and is as good as mine.

I buy the puff pastry sheets and one of the sheet I scored in long pieces, as long as is needed it to wrap the hot dog tight, to give an impression of  mummies.







Put some egg wash on them to have a brown baked color and bake them at 400F for about 20 minutes,maybe 25 minutes, to be nice and brown and fluffy.



Make some eyes with a little mustard and HAVE SCARY MUMMIES  FOR HALLOWEEN !






Hot Dog Mummies
Created by Sheri Wetherell   the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Foodista.com



Ingredients
1 11-ounce can of refrigerator bread sticks
1 12-pack of all beef hot dogs
Yellow mustard


Preparation


1 For each mummy, separate one bread stick from the roll and slice it in half lengthwise to create two thinner strips.
2 Wrap one strip at a time snugly around the hot dog. Depending on the size of the hot dog, you may not need all of both strips. Leave about 1/2 inch of hot dog exposed for the face area and continue wrapping the top of the hot dog.
3 Bake the mummies on a cookie sheet at 350º for 15 to 18 minutes or until the bread stick wrapping is golden brown.
4 Remove the mummies from the oven and cool them for 5 minutes. Add yellow mustard eyes just before serving.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

3 SCARY COOKIES FOR HALLOWEEN (#2)




LITTLE MONSTER, SCARY BUG, OR... SOMETHING SCARY, BUT SWEET!!

 I found this idea of scary bug, that is very wonderful for Halloween. The original recipe is made by a dough, you make from scrach (recipe follow at the end), add pretzel sticks for legs, chocolate ganash to cover everything and scary top and red candy eyes.

I was thinking, to get something easy to make from grocery store, because my daugther, will have no  time to bake and prepare the holloween, Landen's costume, and many other thing to prepare.

I bought small, round pieces of brawny from the grocery store, and pick up toppings for ice cream:
small M&M (colored), chocolate fudge sauce and chocolate sprinkles.





You top the brawny with  fudge sauce (cold, not hot!), add the sprinkles and eyes: red are very striking, but you can chose many collors!!


Here is the recipe, from scratch, from "Bon Appetit", from /foodista/.


Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 bag (8 ounces) thin, short pretzel sticks
1 large bag (11 1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chocolate sprinkles
Small red candies, such as Red Hots




Preparation
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
3 In separate, large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended.
4 Gradually add the flour mixture and cocoa powder. Beat to form a smooth dough.
5 Roll a tablespoon-sized ball of dough, and place it on a baking sheet. Arrange eight pretzel sticks around the ball like spokes on a wheel. Press the tips of the pretzel sticks firmly into the dough ball. Continue with the rest of the pretzels and dough.
6 Bake until cookies start to brown around edges, about 7-10 minutes.
7 Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula, and place on wire cooling racks. Let cool completely. Place the racks on sheets of waxed paper.
8 In a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with vegetable oil.
9 Pour the melted chocolate over each cookie. Coat with chocolate sprinkles. Press in two red candy eyes on the front of the head.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 SCARY COOKIES FOR HALLOWEEN (#1)




1. WITCH FINGERS, SOAKED IN BLOOD.


 I found this recipe at foodbuz and I was amazed, how scary, realistic, ugly and funny this fingers are!!!
I am posting the recipe here
(Created by Sheri Wetherell  Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Foodista.com) but I tried to found a easy way to bake these fingers, quick and easy, buying dough from groceries store. 
This way you can bake, having fun with your children, cooking and eating, singing and dancing.....

I bought "bread-sticks dough" and i start making long and narrow stinks.







If they are long enough, they can be cut in two and  pressing the end of it, you add an almond flake to give the impression of a nail.




You can be creative and add  few lines to give an appearance of a finger.

You can brush with egg wash, add salt or sugar on top (as you wish), but I chose not to do either.



As packet insert is saying to put in oven at 325F for 10 minutes, this is what I did. 
My husband said I should keep it a little longer to be crispy, not soft as it was after 10 minutes. 5 more minutes, 325F,  came out nice brown and crispy...


The author of this craft's idea is saying to take the "nails" out, add a little raspberry jam (any one you have in the house, red) and put the "nails" back, to give an appearance of bloody fingers....

SCARY AND FUNNY FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN!!!!


This is the recipe for dough from scratch, created by Sheri Wetherell



Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Slivered almonds (approximately 3/4 cup)
Strawberry or raspberry jam


Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and lightly grease baking sheets.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Beat together with an electric mixer; gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt, continually beating; refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator in small amounts. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon at a time onto a piece of waxed paper. Use the waxed paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-shaped cookie. Press one slivered almond into one end of each cookie to give the appearance of a long fingernail. Squeeze cookie near the tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You can also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance. Arrange the shaped cookies on the baking sheets.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are slightly golden in color, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove the almond from the end of each cookie and carefully spread a bit of jam on the tip of each finger. Replace the almond to cause the jam to ooze out around the tip of the cookie.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 


(next post, second Halloween cookie)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

POLENTA, EGGS AND A SPECIAL CHEESE FROM TRANSYLVANIA




It is such a big joy!! We received this cheese, very special, nowhere else on the planet, the Shepard make this cheese..."BRINZA DE BURDUF" cheese stored in an evergreen tree bark.....
My husband is so happy, his sister brought this cheese from Bran, Transylvania were is their family's home....



The cheese is very specific to southeastern Transylvania, Romania. It is salty type of cheese, with sheep's-milk cheese, has a strong flavor and slightly soft in texture.

 To obtain it, sweet caş ( =unsalted feta cheese) is cut into small pieces, salted and then hand-mixed in a large wooden bowl. The mixture is then placed in a sheep’s stomach, or into a sheep’s skin that has been carefully cleaned and sawed on the edges, or in a tube made of pine bark. The cheese can be consumed even if kept for a long time in a sheep’s stomach or in a sheep’s skin. If kept in pine bark, the cheese gets a specific pine resin flavor. ( From Wikipedia).

We can eat this wonderful cheese many way, and I would like to put a recipe that is the most comforting, deliciously and bring so much child memories, from our winter dinner.

We make first MAMALIGA (known here as polenta). I used to make polenta in a special pot, mixing and mixing corn meal and water until become a heavy consistency. My mother is telling me I should use microwave to boil polenta, it is easy and is very good. If my mother is making mamaliga by microwave.... why not me?

Put one cup and 3 cups water, in a microwavable bowl, 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 minutes, high power, mix well, 3 more minutes, mix well and last 3 more minutes, to have a very well made "polenta... hot and soft, ready to eat!

Put mamaliga in a oven proof  container, and make 4 little hot in it, were I am going to put a fresh egg. You can use only one cup for one portion.



Add cheese: it is already crumbled in the bark content, and put in oven for 5 minutes to be well cooked.

The cheese is melted, the eggs are well done and you will have a perfect dish, hot, ya-my and gouwee....




CHOCOLATE PASCA (EASTER) /pasca cu ciocolata ( my mom's)/

My mom's recipe, (romanian): Se pune de cu seara 1kg smantana pe un servet, deasupra unei tavi cu malai. A doua zi dimineata...