Snow Day!

It’s snowing. Winter Storm Anna. When it snows I bake bread. I started both of the breads I made yesterday. We all have our ways to prepare for a snow storm.

The Jim Lahey No Knead Bread was started yesterday morning. Click here for the recipe if you have not tried the No Knead Bread yet.


The Chocolate Babka recipe was started last night. I cut the recipe was cut in half. I did not want 2 large loaves of bread. This week I picked up to small loaf pans, thinking I could make 2 smaller loaves. It worked out nicely. The bread is really good. I did over bake it a bit but it retained the flaky quality. And the chocolate filling, well forgetaboutit! The recipe is from Food & Wine. Click here for the recipe. I had time today to check out the new Bon Appetit, the Bread Issue, and they have a Chocolate Babka recipe. I will have to try that one next.

Then there was dinner. I make a Crock Pot Chili. “Wow!’ Yes that was a quote from Chris during dinner. It was the perfect dinner for a snowy day. I found this recipe on Gimme Some Oven blog, I love the name of this blog!

Slow Cooker Chili from Gimme Some Oven

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped (*add more for extra smokyness and heat)
2 (15 ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (**see below for substitution ideas)
2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 cup beer or beef broth
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
(Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips or strips, thinly-sliced green onions, sour
cream, salsa, etc.)

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, onion and garlic and cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the beef is completely browned, crumbling the beef with a spoon as it cooks. Drain about half of the excess fat. Then transfer the beef into the bottom of a slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper or seasonings if need be.

Serve warm, with desired toppings.

And I made Homemade Cheez-Its from Food 52 to go with the Chili. You can not eat just one. At first I thought I put in too much salt but heck no! Perfect amount. Next time I will try adding some cayenne pepper.

Homemade Cheez-Its from Food 52

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 1/2 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) finely grated sharp cheddar
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until very well combined. Add 2 tablespoons water and pulse until the dough is just wet enough to hold together when squeezed. Add up to 2 tablespoons more water if necessary.

Divide the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Press each half of dough into a flat square, wrap well, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Working with one square at a time, roll the dough out to a scant 1/8-inch thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into 3/4 inch-wide strips. Then cut the dough in the other direction to make 3/4-inch squares. Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each square. Freeze the dough until firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Brush half a sheet with the egg white and sprinkle with salt. Use an offset spatula to gently break the egg washed dough apart and place the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until puffed and set and browned on the bottom, about 14 to 16 minutes. (Make sure to cook them well so that the finished crackers are crisp. Completely frozen dough may take a few extra minutes to bake.) Transfer the parchment with the bake crackers onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining frozen crackers. Store the cooled crackers in an airtight container. 

Posted in Cheez-Its, Chili, Chocolate Babka, Crackers, Crock Pot, Food & Wine, Food 52,, Jim Lahey Bread Book, No Knead Bread, Slow Cooker, Winter Storm | 1 Comment

Short Rib Farrotto with Carrots and Parsnips

I like Farro. Chris likes Short Ribs. Perfect recipe. And how! Time intensive? Yes. But it was a rainy day so lets just say I got a lot of cooking done. This recipe is from Food & Wine. I had a $20 coupon for Robert’s Food Center (Thank you Maureen!) Yesterday I did my shopping and there will be meat showing up alot.

The dinner, while not a quick fix, was a meal that is very filling. Spoiler alert- We will be having this again tomorrow night!

Of course I left out the garlic but the broth was something special. I had beef broth in the freezer for the last time I made short ribs. When I took it out of the freezer to thaw I knew this would be good!

Short Rib Farrotto with Carrots and Parsnips from Food & Wine

1 quart low-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds well-trimmed boneless grass-fed beef short ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Fine sea salt
2 thyme sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 cipollini onions (3/4 pound), peeled and quartered
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large parsnip, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) unpearled farro
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the beef broth with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Add half of the short ribs to the casserole, spreading the pieces out, and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meat to a plate. Repeat with the remaining short ribs.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the casserole. Add the thyme sprigs, garlic, onions, carrot and parsnip and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the farro and the browned short ribs. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, stirring and scraping the bottom of the casserole, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm broth, cover partially and cook over moderately low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Repeat this process twice, adding 1 cup of warm broth each time and cooking for about 15 minutes between additions, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat to high. Add the remaining 1 cup of warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring constantly, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more. Cook the farrotto until creamy and the farro is al dente, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the casserole from the heat and discard the thyme sprigs. Stir in the butter, chopped thyme and the 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano. Season the farrotto with salt and pepper and serve hot, passing additional Parmigiano at the table.

The farrotto can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Gently reheat, adding broth or water as necessary.

And today I had an observer….

Posted in Farro, Food and Wine, short ribs

Blood Orange Vodkatini

Wednesday is my favorite day to read the local daily paper. The New Haven Register. My Dad worked there for 49 years (He retired before reaching the 50 year mark because they would not let a WWII vet take extra time to go to a reunion). After that I boycotted the paper for quite a while.

Wednesday is the day they have the food section. Today I saw the recipe for a Blood Orange Vodkatini. The recipe is from Susan Russo, who writes for the This was my first visit to that site. Lots of good stuff there. I will be visiting it again. But as I was reading the post for the Blood Orange Vodkatini I saw that the recipe came from Food Blogga. Yes, that is the blog where I found the Ricotta Pie recipe and that Stuffed Artichoke recipe!!! Again, another delicious recipe!

So here is the recipe from Food Blogga

3 ounces vodka, preferably Ketle One (I used Absolute)
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounces fresh blood orange juice
Add ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake under your fingers feel frozen. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Posted in Blood Orange, Food Blogga,, Vodka

And The Nominees Are…

Yes, we have a nominee for the best of list for 2016. I know it is early in the year, but the fact is this will be tough to beat. Tonight we had the leftover Beef Bourguignon. I had put the leftovers in the freezer and they were as delicious, if not more, delicious than the night the dish was made. Let’s see if we can do anything else this month that might beat out the Beef Bourguignon.

Posted in Crock Pot,

Chicken Parmesan

Yesterday I made “those chicken cutlets” and I made and extra batch. With the extra batch I did not use the lemon dressing. Instead I topped the baked cutlets with “that sauce” along with some fresh mozzarella. Wow! Best Chicken Parmesan!!!! Even the photo looks delicious.

Only to make my life easier, here is the recipe for those chicken cutlets. If you try this recipe you have to watch the video of the grandson cooking with his Nonna. It is priceless and so dear.

Frank Pinello’s Nonna’s Chicken Cutlet Recipe –
These are my notes from the video. You will need to watch the video to get the whole recipe.

1.   Mix eggs with Parmesan Cheese
2.   Mix bread crumbs, flour, pepper, Parmesan Cheese and parsley
3.   Coat baking pan with oil
4.   Toss chicken in a bowl with the egg/cheese
5.   Coat chicken with bread crumb mixture
6.   Place chicken in pan
7 .  Drizzle oil on top
8.   Heat oven to 350 and then raise temp to 450.
9.   Place tray in middle of oven
10. Mix lemon juice, parsley, pepper and oregano
11. Flip cutlets when they look like they do in the video (!!!)
12. Dip baked cutlets in lemon bath.

Posted in Chicken Parmesan, Frank Pinello's Nonna's Chicken Cutlet Recipe


Today started with the news that David Bowie passed on. 
Sad does not really come close to how I feel. 
His music was the soundtrack of my youth.

Posted in Uncategorized

By George, I Think I’ve Got It!


It has been a while now. I have tried and tried to make a Stuffed Artichoke that came close to what my mom use to make. They were a meal by themselves. In all my attempts the stuffing was not perfect. Until tonight. Delightful. Delicious. Every bite brought back wonderful memories. I used the same recipe that I have been using for a while but tonight I nailed it. The only thing I did different was maybe I used more bread. Maybe more olive oil. Or perhaps it was the Hail Mary’s as I was mixing the stuffing. I figured that wouldn’t hurt.

Oh that leftover Pot Roast, I turned it into a Shepherd Pie. Chris liked it. I was only focused on that artichoke!

And the recipe for those Artichokes can be found here.

And while you are at the Food Blogga check out the Rice Pie recipe. Amazing!

I do not usually post fund raisers on my blog but this one is close to home. The wife of Jim Babjak, the lead guitarist in our favorite band, The Smithereens, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. The cancer has spread to her lungs and liver and is now considered Stage 4. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with ongoing bills and to continue Betty’s treatment and care. Click here for more information and to make a donation.  If you can not make a donation please keep Jim and Betty in your prayers. Thank you.

Posted in Food Blogga, Stuffed Artichokes

Easy Italian Style Pot Roast

Last weekend I went to the library and took out The Complete Crockery Cookbook. Tonight’s recipe is from the cookbook. Honestly I was not head over heels about this dinner. I think it was over cooked and bland! Yes I know this is only my second Crock Pot dinner but just not crazy about it. I am not even going to type out the recipe. It was not a keeper.

Of course there are leftovers for tomorrow night. I am looking forward to the other thing I will be making tomorrow night for dinner. Sorry no spoilers here. Stay tuned!

Posted in Uncategorized

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

This past weekend I did an inventory of what I had the freezers. We have a freezer in the garage, my savior, and the one in the kitchen. I was pleased to find a few things I could use up this week for dinner, and next week too! I had made Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash back in November. Of course I made too much stuffing so I froze what was not used. I picked up an Acorn Squash on Saturday and tonight we had a delicious dinner. Maybe it was because all I had to do was stuff the squash with the prepared stuffing (a lot less dishes to wash!!!) and pop it in the oven. Here is a link to the blog post with the recipe. Not much time to write tonight, 2 hour crossover episode of NCIS!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Birthday to the Woman Who Taught Me How To Cook!


Today would have been my Mom’s 95th birthday. This year will be 10 years that she has passed. Damn, I miss her a lot. Hence this silly little blog. Tonight I made a soup that I remember my Mom making, Stracciatella with Pastine. The broth was from batch I made up before Christmas. Thank you freezer! I added the egg to some of the broth and crossed my fingers. I whisked away and it came together perfectly. I knew my Mom would smile if she saw what I had done. I made a pot of soup that looked and yes tasted just like she use to serve us. 

Stracciatella with Pastine.
(there are no amounts or times in this recipe, 
my Mother would have said to add as much as you need
and you will know how long to cook it.)
Heat oil in a pot. Saute diced onion and sliced carrots until tender.
Add chicken broth. Simmer. 
Put some of the broth into a small pan and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and slowly add beaten eggs. 
Whisk until the eggs they come together, the texture should be like scrambled eggs. 
Add the eggs and broth to the soup pan. 
Add frozen mixed vegetables and chopped spinach, fresh or frozen. 
Add cooked chicken meat. Adjust the seasonings to your preference.
Make the pasta, thin noodles or pastine in a separate pot and add to soup before serving.
And I did add one thing to this recipe. I squeezed a little lemon juice in at the end.  

Happy Birthday Mom!
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment