Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pasta Cooking Class

In November we did a Pasta Cooking Class and worked from a basic Pasta dough.
We made Two kinds of Ravioli fillings,
Fig Puree & Foie Gras and Lobster, Mascarpone & Shaved Fennel.
We also made Chicken Soup with Broad Noodles made from the same pasta dough.
Here is the Recipe; I did it in a large Cusinart.
Fresh Egg Pasta
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups semolina flour
* 1 pinch salt
* 6 large eggs
* 2 tablespoons olive oil


1. I put all the ingredients in a large Cusinart. Thoroughly sift together all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and pinch of salt. Break the eggs & whisk eggs very gently with a fork, pour into the dry ingredients and add olive oil. gradually incorporating flour from the sides of the well. Pulse it until the dough gathers, pulse for 3 minutes and turn it out onto the bench, continue kneading with your hands and coat with flour. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut into your favorite style of noodle or stuff with your favorite filling to make ravioli. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, then add 4 teaspoons salt. Cook pasta until tender but not mushy, 1 to 8 minutes depending on thickness. Drain immediately and toss with your favorite sauce.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Holiday Baking Class

Cranberry Nut Bread
yield: Makes three small loaves (1.5 cup capacity)
or one regular size loaf.

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
* 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
* 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
* 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In a food processor or in a bowl with a pastry blender blend together the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the salt, the baking soda, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the zest, the juice, and the egg, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts and transfer the batter to well-buttered eight 1.5 cup mini loaf pans. Bake the breads in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 minutes to an hour or until a tester comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes and turn it out onto a rack.

Russian Tea Cakes


1/2 # soft butter
1/2 c. conf. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4c. flour
pinch salt
3/4 c. ground nuts

Cream butter & sugar, add vanilla, flour, salt & nuts. Mix. Shape into 1 " balls and bake @ 400 until bottoms are light brown and sides are pale yellow.
Toss in confectionary sugar, cool, toss again.

Traditional Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. baking soda

Heat and stir sugar, syrup and water in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add salt. Cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (234 degrees). Add peanuts at 250 degrees. Cook to hard crack stage (290 degrees) a deep caramel, stirring often. Remove from heat. Quickly, stir in butter and soda. Mix to a froth for a few minutes. Pour at once onto a lightly buttered 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch pans, spreading with spatula. Cool slightly and pull with forks to stretch thin. Break up when cold.
Yield: About 1-1/2 pounds of peanut brittle.

Nut Shortbread Cookies

2 ½ cups nuts chopped small
1 ¼ cup soft butter (unsalted)
¾ cup sugar
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cold water
½ tesp. Vanilla extract

In a mixer with the paddle attachment
cream the butter with the sugar
add the nuts and the vanilla and mix
add the sifted flour a ½ cup at a time.
And it the water and mix until smooth.
Package & chill at least a ½ hour
Roll out 1/3 inch thick and cut cookies with a cookie or star cutter
Place on parchment lined sheet pan
Bake at 350 until they just start to color (16 min)
Cool & sprinkle with confectionary sugar
Or drizzle chocolate over them.

Cranberry, Citrus & Carambola Conserve

Yields Six 12 oz. Ball Jars

24 oz. fresh cranberries (2 bags)
3 Ripe (Carambola)Star Fruit
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

Pick through the cranberries to remove stems or bad berries. Combine the cranberries, lemon zest, orange zest and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn into a large pot and drizzle the orange juice over the cranberry mixture. Cook uncovered on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and a few berries have popped open, about 30 min. add the sliced carambola and cook 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle mixture into sterilized Ball jars, cover, and cook in water for 10 minutes. Let cool at room temp. Make sure the lids have been sucked in. Label and wrap with ribbon.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cooking demonstration recipes, January 22, 2009

Cauliflower & Leek Soup with Seared Bay Scallops (serves 6)
1 large head of Cauliflower, (rough chopped w/ stem)
1 Leek, (rough chopped & rinsed of any dirt)
1 small onion (rough chopped)
1 32 oz. box (natural) Chicken stock or 4 cups home made
½ cup milk
¼ cup olive oil, Salt & ground white pepper to taste
½# fresh bay scallops (remove side nubs & any sand)

In a medium / heavy-bottomed large pot over med. heat
Add the ingredients in this order…
olive oil, onion, leeks, cauliflower,
cover and cook for 4 minutes to sweat.
Add Chicken stock & increase to med-high heat.
Cook for 10 minutes until just about tender. Add milk and 1 teaspoon salt & a big pinch of pepper. Cook 3 more minutes.
( Sear the bay scallops in a hot sauté pan with 2 tblsp. Butter)
Blend the soup until smooth in a powerful blender,
season & serve in wide rimmed soup bowls.
Place 6 scallops around the edge of the soup
sprinkle chopped parsley or chives in the middle
You can add more stock or use less of the cooking liquid to get the consistency you desire.
Note: You can substitute parsnips for the cauliflower and use sautéed chopped green apple in place of the scallops.

Lobster, mango & Shaved Fennel Salad on a
Pan-Fried Angel Hair pasta, Shitake & Scallion Cake
with Roasted Tomato Sauce
(serves six)

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce (pre-heat oven to 350)
1 can whole plum tomatoes (peeled w/basil) med-chop
½ medium onion (small diced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/3 cup olive oil, ½ cup chopped fresh basil


In large (oven proof) sauté pan put oil & rest of ingredients
Bring to a boil on the stove top and put into oven for 20 minutes
Season with S & P & chopped Basil

Lobster, Mango & Shaved Fennel Salad
Meat from a 1½ # Lobster, sliced on bias in bite size pieces
½ fresh fennel bulb, shaved super thin
½ ripe mango peeled w/ potato peeler & diced in ¼ inch cubes
½ cup simple vinaigrette or Annie’s poppy seed dressing

Pasta Cake
2/3 cup sliced scallions (green & white part)
1 ½ cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (lightly sautéed)
½ # Vermicelli (angel hair) cooked & rinsed w/ cool water

Custard for pasta cake
Blend together: 2 cups light cream, 5 large eggs
1/2 tesp. Salt, pinch white pepper


Mix pasta, scallion and mushrooms into custard and let sit 15 minutes.
Season to taste w/ S&P.
Heat large skillet (med-high heat) w/ 1/3 cup olive oil
(Note: Individual Blini pans can be used instead of skillet)
Add the pasta to fill the pan ½ way up the side.
Pour in extra custard to hold pasta together.
When set loosen cake with spatula and brown on bottom
Add more oil if needed. Flip over and brown.
Place cake on cutting board, cut into six wedges

Plating (room temp. plates)
Toss Salad ingredients together & season w/ Fresh ground black pepper & salt (save some Lobster for the top of salad)
Place pasta cake wedge in middle of plate. Put salad on cake and one side of plate. Ladle warm tomato sauce on other side of plate. Enjoy!

Chocolate Soufflé

Yield:-One large Soufflé (1½ quart Ramekin)
or Six Soufflés (12 0z Ramekins)


8 ounces semi-sweet Chocolate
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
¼ cup Coffee
4 Oz.(½ Stick) Soft (Un-salted) Butter
(additional ½ stick of butter to coat the ramekins)
10 Eggs ( Room temp) Separated
1½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Pre-heat oven to 400.degrees
Heavily Butter & sugar the Ramekins, Place in the refrigerator.
Place the Chocolate, cocoa & coffee in large mixing bowl and melt over a water-bath,
add butter & stir until smooth. Remove from heat
Mix together the yolks & vanilla & add them to the Chocolate mixture
Beat the Egg Whites until they form soft and moist peaks
In two additions fold whites into the chocolate mixture until smooth
Fill the ramekins 4/5 full and bake on middle rack of the oven until well risen and the tops are slightly colored around 12- 15 minutes for 12oz. ramekins and 35- 40 minutes for the larger ones.
Remove soufflés from oven and sprinkle tops with confectionery sugar
Serve them with whipped cream in a side dish. Yum!