Nov 27, 2009

Tortellini and a quest for iron

So yes, I am 7 months pregnant and have found out I'm uber low on iron. Pre-anemic low.. SO I have been put on some supplements and have began trying to eat what I can with iron. Liver and Onions.. YUM! And I mean that. I actually do like liver and onions.. lol. Prune juice.. Not so yum.. in fact really nasty.. But I've started mixing it with cranberry so its not as bad. The boys and I decided to make homemade pasta so I thought cheese tortellini sounded good.. and just to add some iron we added some spinach. I wish I would have taken pictures of the process.. or at least the end result because they came out beautiful.. But oh well!

Homemade Pasta

3 c flour
2 eggs
3 TB water
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt

On the counter (clean of course) make a well with the flour. In a bowl whisk the rest of the ingredients until well blended. Slowly start adding the wet ingredients into the center of your well and work into the flour. Keep adding until all is mixed in. If too dry try adding some extra water, if too wet add extra flour. Once it's all Incorporated knead for about 10 minutes. Roll into a ball, flatten to disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Four Cheese and Spinach Tortellini

1/2 c ricotta
1/4 c grated 3 cheese blend (Parm, Romano, and Asiago)
1 egg
1/4 c chopped spinach
1/4 t black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg mixed with 1/2 t water

Mix cheeses, egg, spinach, and seasonings together in a bowl. Set aside. Take out pasta from refrigerator and divide into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a long 'snake' about 1/2 inch wide. Cut into inch long pieces and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin on a well floured surface roll out a ball into a flat circle no thicker than a nickel. Whisk the extra egg and water in a separate bowl to make an egg wash. Put egg wash on one half of the circle. Fill the pasta with about 1/4-1/2 t of the cheese filling. Fold in half and seal the edges. Fold back around your finger and turn down the edge to form a tortellini. Continue this process with the dough. Too cook place in salted boiling water for about 3-5 minutes. They'll float when their done.

SO.. that's tortellini. I can't explain how to roll them into the shape I would youtube a video if your really want to figure it out. If not you can leave them in 1/2 circle shapes. We actually did a double batch and the first batch we did tortellini and the second we just kept as ravioli. Another tip on the spinach.. We used frozen chopped spinach. Just thaw it out by putting it in a strainer and run water over it. Then put the spinach in a towel and ring it dry. It must be very very dry. If your filling is too wet the pasta wont come out. I actually added a little bit of breadcrumbs to my filling just to make sure nothing happened!

Well I guess that's it. Yesterday was technically Thanksgiving but since my husband had to work we're going to have ours Saturday. Maybe I'll post some pictures and recipes.. we'll see!

Nov 9, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

Oh my poor food blog! How I've neglected you so!

So I have been cooking, nothing great. Pregnancy has been getting the best of me. I have become addicted to my pressure cooker so maybe I'll post up some recipes for that.

This blog is dedicated to my Beef Stroganoff. I'd been craving it for a while and found an easy recipe on and thought I'd give it a try. I've jazzed it up a bit from its original.

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb stew beef, cut up
1/2 med onion, diced
1/4 c red wine (or water)
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (10.75oz) can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 tsp Worcestershire
2 c water
1/2 -1 c sour cream
egg noodles

Brown beef in pot. Add onions and let caramelize. De-glaze pan with wine or water. Reduce heat to med-high and add flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Let cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Add soup, Worcestershire, and water. Reduce heat to
medium and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add sour cream until you've
reached a desired creaminess. Serve over cooked egg noodles.

It came out SO good! While at Wal-Mart getting the soup I found Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic. I used that and it was fantastic. I'd recommend if you don't get that to add some minced garlic when you add the onions.

Hope you enjoy!

Aug 30, 2009

Potato Soup reheat

Oh and a note on reheating the potato soup. It'll tend to thicken up and look like mashed potatoes.. Just add some more milk and butter to thin it back down.. However I do seem to remember my Mom just reheating it as is and eating it like mashed potatoes!! So whatever floats your boat right?!

Aug 28, 2009

Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup

So this week I've been craving Lobster Bisque... and well since my lobster budget is non-existent I had to settle for potato soup. Its a favorite of the family.. Never really had a recipe for it, just kind of go with the flow.. But I'll do my best!

Potato Soup
3-4 large russet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut up
4-5 c milk (heavy cream if you want it richer)
1/4 c butter (yes.. BUTTER!)
1/4 c sour cream (not necessary if using heavy cream)
10-12 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2-3/4 c mild cheddar cheese
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
5-10 'shakes' of hot sauce (to taste)
1/3 c chopped scallions (aka green onions)
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender, drain well. Start with about 3 cups of milk and 1/4 c butter in a pot over med-high heat and add the potatoes. You can either get a masher and work the potatoes down or get a stick blender if you like it smoother. Keep adding milk to get it to a good consistency. Remember that your adding cheese and sour cream which will also add thickness. Once it looks good go ahead and whisk in the cheese, and sour cream. Then add the bacon, onion and garlic powders. Add hot sauce, salt, and pepper a little at a time until you have a flavor you like. Lastly add the scallions. If the soup is still too thick add more milk. If you made it too thin, don't worry. You can either add more cheese and sour cream OR if you happen to have some instant mashed potato flakes lying around add a bit of them. Garnish with cheese and scallions and a little dollop of sour cream

Came out great. I actually didn't even bother with potatoes. I found some bags of 'steam and mash' potatoes in the freezer section. They may be my new favorite thing. They're already washed, peeled and cut. You pull the bag out of the freezer and put in directly in the microwave for 10 minutes and ta-da! I used a stick blender to make it smooth. I actually did end up making mine too thin, and really too milky so the cheese and sour cream didn't help. I added the instant potatoes and fixed it right up. Mine also had no scallions because Walmart apparently was sold out. It was still good, but I would have liked it better with the scallions.

A good 'secret' ingredient to add here I didn't put in the recipe is lemon juice. Lemon juice is one of my secret ingredient stand by's. Just like every, and I mean every recipe needs salt, many need an acid. It brings a nice brightness. Lemon juice is good for this.. it's an acid but not too sharp as lets say vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a good substitute tho. It doesn't take much, maybe a 1/2 tsp but it really does brighten things up! Another good 'secret' ingredient to add to random recipes is anchovies. You can either buy the can and turn it into a paste using the side of your knife on a cutting board, or a spoon in a bowl OR you can buy pre-made anchovy paste. A little bit of that in your salad dressings, soups, sauces, and such add a really interesting back note that most people can't detect. Be careful with the salt in your recipes however, anchovies are VERY salty!

Well, I think I'll call it a day! Good eats!

Molasses Cookies and Pretzels

SO yesterday I made Molasses cookies. Kind of a throw back of days in grandma's kitchen. Couldn't find grandma's recipe tho so found one on line and played with it a bit. They came out great! Mom sent me the recipe later that night and they ended up being almost identical! Here's the recipe:

Molasses Cookies
3/4 c margarine, room temp
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c white sugar

Cream the brown sugar and margarine and add the egg. Mix in the molasses. Then add all of the dry ingredients (go ahead and sift if your the sifting type. I never do) Chill for an hour. Roll into walnut sized balls and roll in the white sugar. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart (do not press down) and bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes.

So those came out WONDERFUL. I did however forget the baking soda and remembered after they'd been in the fridge for about 5 minutes. I mixed it in and they seem just fine! Also didn't have ground ginger so I used all-spice - still came out great! Here's a hint - You really should use margarine and not butter. The margarine is oil based and will give you a chewier cookie. Butter can also cause the dough to spread out more and makes for a thinner, crisper cookie. This isn't true for all cookies or desserts - many are MUCH better with butter.. but this recipe is one of those exceptions. Also the less you cook them the chewier they'll be. We had our batches going at about 7 minutes and they were perfect.

I also made some almond bark dipped pretzels.. which there is no need for a recipe because it was simply the entire block of vanilla almond bark melted down (in a double boiler.. aka a pot of boiling water with a heat resistant bowl over it) and pretzels. I added a hand full at a time to the bowl of almond bark and used skewers to fish them out onto wax paper. I started using 2 skewers like chop sticks and that made it even easier. Any time the almond bark started getting too thick I'd put it back on the heat to re-melt. Very very yummy. I'm surprised they're still around!

The beginning...

So, I start here, from the beginning I suppose. My name is Ashley and I love food. My Grandmother Allie taught me how to cook as soon as I was able to reach the counter. Unfortunately growing up my Mom wasn't the best cook ever, but she worked hard for my brother and I and I don't blame her at all! In high school I started making dinner most nights, usually simple things, but as I grew up I learned to try to make more and more things. After high school I went to a community college to major in baking and pastry. I started working in kitchens when I was 18 starting at Universal Studio's Mythos and bouncing around to Planet Hollywood, Emeril's Tchoup Chop, and ending eventually at a Steakhouse called A Land Remembered. Working in restaurants taught me a lot about cooking.. but a lot about how much it sucks. I finally understood my grandmother's warnings that it wasn't going to be as I thought it would be.. and it wasn't. My love of food was destroyed thanks to rude and obnoxious cooks I worked with, and just simply the stress of being a line cook. Then my grandmother passed away in October of '07. It hit me rather hard because she was more like a second mother to me than a grandmother. I remember being at her house every weekend making dinner and laughing around the dinner table eating and playing cards. In January of '08 I left Florida and my cooking career for good.

So now I am a home cook, and not much of even that really. My husband Javier also worked in a few kitchens with me and also has a love of food. We have a lot of fun in the kitchen together cooking dinner and poking fun at each others mistakes. Over the last few weeks my love of food has started to explode even more. Its been almost 2 years now since I've left the kitchen and since the death of my grandmother and I'm really to bring cooking back in my life. Not as a career, but as a serious hobby.

I've started this blog to share recipes and tips with my friends and family, and well, anyone else who's interested I suppose. I hope y'all enjoy!