Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Flick: Birthday Edition, Bread Baking The Easy Way!

Using a handy, dandy bread machine and a few other gadgets you'll master the art of shortcut breadmaking in no time!
Recipe and product information will be posted on Saturday due to the camera malfunction, I'm running late and my guests are here for my birthday party!

Good Saturday morning to you all. As promised, here is the recipe for the Honey Molasses Wheat Bread. Giving credit where credit is due, this recipe came from:
The gadgets I used were the Sunbeam bread machine, Oster bread machine, Victorinox bread knife, Progressive Bread Keeper (mine is an older model w/the slicer included), and a sturdy cookie rack.  I'll also post links to the books shown on the video.

  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder (accidentally omitted on the video)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup whole bran cereal
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Friday Flick hint for Sept. 30th (my birthday!)

Aromatic, soft, delicate, delicious and Weight Watcher friendly! What I'm making is not just for dieters. Get the butter ready!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Flick Soup and Salsa

It has been raining all day, seems like a perfect day to get cozy and make soup. The Seinfeld gang loved their soup, so does my gang here at home.
When I make soup, I usually saute my veggies in oil to get them partially cooked and to impart the flavor in the oil. Because of time, I just added them to the stock. They will cook that way, but will boil instead and have a different - but good - taste.  This soup is a "short cut" soup that will tastes delicious and fill your craving for homemade soup in a lot less time than cooking up a whole chicken. It's the kind of recipe that you can increase or decrease very easily, just add more or less of everything!  And bonus: it's healthy and low calorie. (BTW: Please excuse the cleavage, I did not know how low the shirt was! Won't happen again, promise. : -)
If you calorie counting, or points plus counting, measure out a serving of rice to keep you on track for your daily count.
I visited my friend, Emily, the other day and she graciously bestowed on me the bounties of her garden. When I told her I was going to make salsa with the little yellow plum tomatoes, she requested I add it to my Friday Flick. Here you go, Emily!

Note:  Items demonstrated are shown under the tab "Featured Kitchen Gadgets".

For those who would like the recipes they are listed below:

Shortcut Chicken Soup
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp. olive oil 
Saute the above in a 5 quart stock pot or dutch oven or just add to broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite size pieces
Saute or add to broth
4 1/2 quarts water  2 Tbsp. chicken base
or  4 1/2 quarts chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
Simmer on medium heat until chicken is cooked (approx. 30 min.) 
1,2,3 Rice in Rice Cooker:
1 - cup rice
2 - cups water or chicken broth
Equals 3 cups rice

6 cups fresh tomatoes (whole) 
1/4 cup red onion 
1 jalapeno 
1 tbsp. apple cider or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. cilantro (parsley or celery leaves)
1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic (add another if you like a lot of garlic flavor)
1/4 tsp. Salt 
1/2 tsp. Pepper
Combine the above in a food processor until all blended, pour
into a bowl, serve with chips and enjoy!
If it appears a little watery because of the fresh tomatoes, run it
through a colander.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hint: A Seinfeld approved Friday Flick

Something Jerry, Krammer, George and Elaine would stand in line for.

A gadget markdown I have to share!

Never too early to think Christmas Gifts!

Oster Electric Wine-Bottle Opener

Just saw this markdown on Amazon and had to share.  I have it, I've given it as a gift, everyone loves it!
It's easy, takes up little space and works like a charm. What a cute gift: wine opener and a bottle of wine.
Could be a great  item for housewarming, or holiday gift giving. This is the season for bridal showers and wedding gifts, would be great for these occasions too! As of this post the price is $12.70 for the silver & black. When I've bought them, they've been $20!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Patience and Pasta and Ricotta

After posting the Friday Flick, I hit the trail and headed to visit my awesome sister in law, Joan. She has the same passion the for food, cooking and gadgets as I do.  Yesterday we decided to try out my new gadget, The Original Cavatelli Maker. It was an exercise in patience and trial and error. The lack of  specific instructions in the box must assume you know what you're doing, we did not. We both have made homemade pasta before, but this was a bit tricky. Once we got the hang of it, production of cute cavatelli was in progress.  The recipe we used called for ricotta, some pasta recipes call for just eggs to hold it together with the flour. We both concurred that if we were to go with the ricotta recipe again, we would drain it first. The difficulty we encountered was that the dough was too wet. When the strips of dough were fed through the wooden rollers, they would stick. We kept adding flour to the dough and finally came up with a dry enough dough to achieve cavatelli success.
Of course we wanted to test them right away, but we let them dry for about 30 minutes on cookie sheets lined with wax/parchment paper. We put on  a pot of lightly salted water, and some of her husband's delicious sauce was warming up on another burner.  As soon as the water boiled, all of them (about 1 lb) went into the "pool". It didn't take more than 4 minutes and those little cuties had all floated to the top.  We quickly drained them, and put them into a pasta bowl lined with sauce, then added more to coat and cover.  We each took a scoop of the hot cavatelli and put them into our awaiting bowls, grated on some Parmagiano Reggiano (with a microplane) and dove in.
They were worth the wait and the process! Amazing taste and texture.  Luckily this was not the Friday Flick, or it would have taken all Friday to film it!  Once I master the dough and the machine, I'll show you how fun it is to crank these little pasta pillows out. We had a blast.  P.S. I forgot to mention that in the 30 minutes we had to wait for the pasta to dry, we made some, easy, light and delicious ricotta cookies for desert. Here is the recipe:

Ricotta mini cakes (cookies) - they are delicious...soft & light like little clouds

2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter - softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (room temp)
1 cup ricotta
2 tsp lemon extract (options: 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp anise)

Heat oven to 350. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.  Whisk flour baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
Beat butter & sugar together until blended.
Add egg, Ricotta and vanilla, beat till combined.
If using mixer; On low speed add flour mix and beat until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls (I use a mini scoop, see link) onto sprayed/buttered cookie sheets  (I use Silpat mats, or my AirBake sheets see link)
Bake at 350 for 14 min or until lightly browned around edges.
Let cool on sheets 3 min. then remove to rack to cool completely. (I never do..I just eat one right out of the oven!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Flick for September 16th hint:
For this Friday's feature flick, I'm thinking of doing something our buddy Jimmy Buffett would approve of.
Could it be Cheesburger in Paradise?

Did you guess Margaritas? You were right!
Even though the calendar and weather say Fall, it's always summer having this fun gadget around the house.
We bought this baby this Spring and boy did we give it a workout this Summer. It has traveled with us to back yard BBQ's and has been a hit at every party.  It's easy to use (even backwards!) and makes the most delicious drinks. I only showed you one.  What I didn't show you didn't see was the back of the machine. It has a little door that you can tuck away the cord making it nice and tidy when it's sitting on a counter or pantry shelf for storage. The back also has a clear, removable water reservoir to catch any water from melted ice cubes. Other gadgets that I used were a Farberware 8 x 10 cutting board; OXO Good Grips 4 cup angled measuring cup, OXO Good Grips 1/4 cup angled measuring cup, Norpro Lime Juicer, Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Pyrex measuring cups and a Tupperware measuring cup.  The mixes I used were Master of Mixes Strawberry Margarita Mix and Mocafe Original Frappe Iced Coffee Blend. Try adding your own cooled off coffee with some Torani Syrups. I've posted two sugar free flavors you might enjoy: French Vanilla & Caramel.
You could use your blender to make these drinks, but this machine really shaves the ice is so much more fun and it travels well! It's not too early to start your Christmas list. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A chill is in the air here in New England. This kind of weather makes me want to wake up my baby Crock Pot, fill it with some apple cider or apple juice, a few whole or ground cloves, and cinnamon. In a matter of minutes the kitchen is filled with non fattening aromas of Fall.  Nice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Breaking News"

I know I said I'd post a flick on Friday, but apple season is upon us, and I just received an urgent request to post one of the gadgets that I use to make my apple tart. The same apple tart Alton Brown made on his "Good Eats" show on the Food Network (my healthy addiction).  I love this easy clean tart pan. If you get it, you won't regret it. People will "ooh" and "ahh" when they see the marvel that is your apple tart. Apple season is now upon us, enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here is my first video. Can you tell? I cut off my head, I'll try to do better on the next one.

I'm demonstrating the Spiral Slicer as well as Victorinox 6 inch Chef Knife. I made a mistake in the video referring to the knife as a 5 inch.  Oops.  Being that it is my first video, I hope you'll excuse the mistake.  I also should have told you how great the handle on this knife is.  It is "Fibrox", which to me means heavy duty (but not heavy, heavy), that feature makes it easy to grip. Other sizes have been featured on America's Test Kitchen as THE top knife.  Hope you consider using either of these items, they are fun and functional. It might even get the family to eat squash!
Here is a 12 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet that I cooked the zucchini & shrimp in. Just saute garlic, oil, add zucchini, salt and pepper. When the squash is cooked, add cooked shrimp, heat and serve! Enjoy.

FYI: If you haven't already guessed, this site is "Under Construction".  I hope you continue to check in and peek at the progress. If you have any requests for gadget demos, post and I'll see if I what I can do to make that happen. Thanks for your patience! Cheryl