Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heather’s Yummy Rolls

If you haven't tried my garlic rolls, you are missing out. The topping is optional for those of you who are more into putting butter and honey on your rolls. Or you can do what I do and make some with the topping, and some without.

Heather’s Yummy Rolls

Dough Ingredients:
5 1/4 cups white unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 rounded Tablespoon instant yeast (rapid rise)
1 1/2 Tablespoon liquid lecithin (you can find it at any health food store or sub w vegetable oil)
2 cups hot water

Garlic Topping Ingredients:
1/2 c. Butter (1 stick) Softened
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 c. Mayonnaise (do NOT sub with low-fat, non-fat or Miracle Whip; they are sick)
Minced Garlic, added to preference
Dried Parsley Flakes
(note: I never said this was a healthy topping)

Preheat over to 350'
Mix dry ingredients.
Add lecithin(or oil) and water.
Mix for 1 minute, check consistency.
If dough is too dry, add more water. 
If dough is too moist, add more flour.
Mix in mixer with kneading hook for five minutes, or knead by hand for ten minutes, most of the time I do a bit of both.
Roll dough into balls about half the size you want your rolls to be.
Allow dough to rise for 20 minutes.

While dough is rising, mix all topping ingredients together, less parsley flakes, in a small mixing bowl.
When dough is finished rising, scoop garlic mixture onto dough, sprinkle with parsley flakes (for aesthetics).
Bake at 350' for 10-12 minutes on the center rack of the oven; check the bottom to make sure it is a golden color.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Espeecy Spicy Spaghetti

I imagine Chef Pisghetti from Curious George saying this ;-)

This one is fast (especially if you already made the homemade sauce from my last post! Or Prego works too...) and easy but a little more fun than the old staple:
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound pasta (use penne, bow ties, or whatever floats your boat)
  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce *cough cough* the one from my last post...
  • 1 long red chili, cut into quarters (remove seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)
  • Olive oil
  • about 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese (I like to use my zester for realllly fine cheese. It has a great texture)

Set a large pot of water on to boil and season with a few big pinches of salt and a little olive oil. Boil the pasta for two minutes less than the package tells you to. At the same time on another burner, heat the tomato sauce with the pieces of chili in a large frying pan over low heat to infuse the chili into the sauce. (Reserve some of boiling water from your pasta pot just in case) But drain the pasta and add it to the frying pan with the tomato sauce. Stir the pasta and sauce together with a little olive oil and let it cook on low heat for two minutes, (this is where you add a little of the reserved pasta water if you want to thin it out a little). You want the pasta to be just coated by the sauce, not swimming in it. Turn off the heat, remove the pieces of chili, stir in the pecorino and serve.

I actually also just like to cook up the sauce as it says (without adding the pasta) and pour it over angel hair pasta (fully cooked) and top it with the cheese.


Homemade Pasta Sauce

Pretty easy and definitely worth it... And any opportunity to use some of the leaves off of my beautiful basil plant is something I look forward to! I have experimented making my own sauce and I really like this one that I found and adapted. Its delicious-- and one of the only ones I have found that doesn't include tomato paste (which I do not like in my sauce!)!

In a large saucepan, slowly cook six cloves of thinly sliced garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil for five minutes over low heat. Add a couple fresh basil leaves and stir for a minute. Add two 28-ounce cans of whole, peeled tomatoes along with their juice and two more whole basil leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn down the heat, season with salt and let it bubble away on low heat for 45 minutes. If the chunks are too big for you-- mash them up, chop them up, or stick it in a blender, but I love me a few steamy tomato chunks.

Cool and refrigerate.

(and to turn it into a yummy vodka sauce I want to stir in some cream cheese-- yuuuum)

This sauce is simple and pure, just the way it should be.

Yields: A LOT ;-)


Make Any Italian Feast More Exciting With These...

Parmesan Crisps

The way you want it is crispy on the outside and a little chewy in the middle. Practice before you go serving this to a house full of guests-- but would be so cute in a little basket as an appetizer for a dinner party. Yum.

TIME: 5 minutes
  • 1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (use the biggest holes on a box grater)

Preheat the oven to 400°F

Evenly space tablespoonfuls of parmesan on a large nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using a small spoon or your fingers, spread the parmesan so that each small pile becomes a thin circle roughly 3" in diameter. Bake for exactly five minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbling and light golden brown. Be sure not to brown them too much or they will taste bitter. Let the crisps cool a minute, then slip a thin spatula or dinner knife underneath each one and remove to a rack to cool completely before serving.

1 Cup should yield about 4 servings.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Homemade Tartar Sauce and Basic Baked Salmon

This is an easy one. I tried this one day as a topping for salmon and loved it. I prefer dill pickle relish as I hate the sweet taste of sweet pickle relish.

Tartar Sauce
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of dill pickle relish
stir it up

As for preparing my salmon, I go pretty basic. But since some people (I used to be one of them) don't even know where to begin to make good salmon I'll document my process here.

Baked Salmon
Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Put salmon on a baking sheet and rub generously on both sides with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 5 minutes and turn salmon over. Bake another 3-5 minutes. Top with homemade tartar sauce and serve.

I serve this to my family once a week since it is so easy and the salmon is so good for you. Try it and I bet it will become a staple in your house as well!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Healthy "Butter"

I love how Luke calls every kind of creamy topping "butter." It could be Ambyr's amazing tarter sauce (which you should put on here), cream cheese, or frosting. Doesn't matter, its all delicious and its all butter to him (even though tarter sauce is a far cry from frosting. Imagine getting them confused)!

Anyway, I concocted my own yummy topping, and what Luke might consider butter, and what Tyler might consider healthy sauce, I would otherwise call it Avocado Crema. I personally think it tastes better and is actually probably quite healthy (I kid you not). I usually serve it along side some yummy light fish (last night I did it with pan fried mahi-mahi, a couple weeks ago I served it with grilled Tilapia).

1/2 avocado
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
(I have used 0,2, and 4%-- all work fine, depends on how you like it)
juice of half a lemon
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
salt to taste

I really mash up the avocado until it is creamy, you can whip it or mash with a fork, doesn't matter. Just make sure its not lumpy.
Add all other ingredients and mix well
(I like the thicker consistency, some may like it thinner-- in that case add a tablespoon of milk)
serves 2 big eaters (like me) or 4 nibblers (*cough* adam *cough*)

This stuff is goooood. My husband doesn't like any kind of sauce, but he covers his fish in this stuff and devours it. Also perfect for burritos, drizzled over grilled shrimp, fish tacos, quesadillas, or even on burgers!

Monday, July 13, 2009

basil burgers

So before I became a vegetarian I ate my weight in hamburgers while living in New York. We found several burger places we loved, The best being Westville, yum! and the runner up would definitely be Shake Shack, I thought their veggie burgers were to die for. We also loved the burgers at Lovin' Cup in Williamsburg, Brookyln. Shake Shack is actually so popular there is a camera set up on their website for people to check the line before you go, and the new phenomenon this summer is people stand in line and sell their spots when they get close to the front! Kind of worth it when the wait is an hour long, which is not uncommon. Anyway, sadly I grew a little burger obsession just before I kicked the beef for good. Now I dream about them (a little creepy but true). The other night I dreamed of a burger recipe and I will need one of my meat eating friends to try it out and tell me if my suspicions are correct.

Take the ground meat and mix in some freshly chopped basil (or even homemade pesto if you're really ambitious)
Make two thin patties, and lay a chunk of goat cheese (I'm telling you, I'm obsessed with this stuff) on one patty and lay the other patty on top. Press the sides of the patties together until it is one large patty with the cheese inside.
Grill the burger
Use a Portuguese muffin as the bun.
(I'm thinking there are no necessary condiments for this yummy thing, but sautéed onions or sun-dried tomatoes would be delicious too:-)
I dream up recipes, and I dream about this place daily. I miss living 100 yards away from this delicious and fun little neighborhood gem! Girls trip to NY anyone?!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another cookie recipe...

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Cooking Light magazine

½ Cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
½ Cup packed brown sugar
¼ Cup butter, softened
¼ Cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
2 Cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.
3. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with mixer until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Baking at 350 for 18 minutes. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen.

This cookie is so yummy and somewhat healthy, hope you love it too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goat Cheese Please

A current obsession:

Goat Cheese.

I want it on everything and this has led to a recent lunch creation that I have craved each day since the first day I made it. The total time it takes to make it is as long as it takes your noodles to boil (8 min?).

Barilla Multigrain Plus Thin Spaghetti (don't know why, it really does taste better in this dish than regular white flour pasta)
handful of grape or cherry tomatoes
fresh basil
olive oil
goat cheese

First I boil water and cook the pasta (and I always add salt to the water). While the pasta is boiling, I heat up some olive oil in a pan and put a little goat cheese on the bottom of the bowl I will serve in. Once the oil in the pan is hot, I add in the tomatoes (which I halved) with a little salt. After they get good and hot, I add a little crushed garlic and my basil and toss it around. After another thirty seconds or so, its ready. I drain my noodles and put them in my goat cheesey bowl, throw my tomato basil concoction on top of the pasta and then fork a few (or a lot...) of goat cheese crumbles on top. Salt to taste. Its amazing (and healthy/super filling).