Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY...

I love my beautiful city...West Palm Beach, Florida
Linking to:Be there 2 day-Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spicy Chickpea Soup with Egg Noodles

Homemade Spicy Chickpea Soup, from 'scratch'...you bet!
It's been almost a week now, since I last photographed the beautiful beach 'sunrise'. I just did not have the desire to even photograph anything I have cooked or baked. It takes time, effort, and either the proper light for food photos, you should not even waste your time. Both of my children and I have started to have dinner once or twice a week since a year ago...a new 'tradition'... (just us, and the four grandchildren, on a weeknight... it's really a special event for us. to have this time and reminisce about the past when they were little...sharing stories for my grand kids!
Unfortunately, some Nostalgic stories, and memories do 'pull my heartstrings'...seeing them as adults with their young children; watching the years passing by before our eyes. You have to keep in mind that the past no longer has a 'life force'...IT IS OVER~...it's the current situation that is in your hands. You can reminisce all you want about the past...regret the things that went wrong...it is the only part of your life that you cannot change!

 I realized that Nostalgia does not...has not make us happier...dwelling on the past Our life is like 'chapters' in a novel...a 'never ending novel' learning from that long journey we took...leaving the past behind...greeting each morning as we awaken. Learning lessons of the past...being who you are today, and not who you were 'yesterday'! Our past should not define us who we were yesterday!


I felt the need to make a soup, today... I'm so glad I had all the ingredients in pantry, fridge, freezer, and cupboard...just had to make the decision...bake, or cook something comforting...so soup is always the right choice, with a sandwich!

Homemade soup of any kind is so easy to make...just have either homemade broth, canned, or in a carton...chicken, or vegetable broth, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, carrots, tomatoes, and canned beans, or frozen vegetables of your choice.
Here's my easy method:

Saute chopped onion, 2 cloves sliced, or chopped garlic, along with chopped celery in reg. olive, or vegetable oil.(also, a few scraped and sliced carrots) Add crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, cumin powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste...

 (I didn't have fresh parsley) 1 Tbsp. of paprika paste, (tomato paste works well, or 1 Tbsp. of  paprika powder) 1 bay leaf...saute until onion is translucent, add a small amount of broth (32 ozs. in total broth)..Also, you can add frozen sliced carrots, abt 12 ozs. (I added frozen crinkle sliced carrots)....let the vegetable cook for another 15 min.

Add fresh chopped tomatoes...or canned diced tomatoes...tomato sauce works well,
You can add 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce in place of the (canned, or fresh diced tomato...I used Italian POMI strained tomatoes, about 1/2 container.

 Bring it to a boil, and now, add 2 cans of chickpeas, or garbanzo (same thing)...let it boil again, and add about 1/4 pkg of a 1lb. bag of egg, (or no yolk noodles)...let the noodles cook right in the soup for about 12 min. and it will be perfectly cooked...and delicious! When soup cools down, you can save them in plastic containers...even better re-heated~

I'm sharing with some really awesome 'thrift' finds with you...which I haven't in a while. I have a friend that does not approve of  buying someone's 'used' things...but the reality of it, and the most fun of it is that the majority of these wonderful useful things are donated by people who have paid 'good money' for the stuff, and most of the items are almost...if not 'new'...or barely used.
Every item has a 'story' behind it...where it came from, and why?...it was donated!

Just look at the bottom of this adorable little saucepan...LE CREUSET...made in France~
I love, love, Le Creuset pots, and pans. I bought a lasagna pan, and a skillet in the past few years (gave it to my daughter, she loves it)
The quality of this brand is 'unmatched'...cost 'an arm and a leg'...so expensive. very heavy cast iron, coated with super heavy enamel...food just tastes better, in Le Creuset. This particular little saucepan is an 'oldie, but goodie'...cost @ Goodwill, $6.99


I posted about these whimsical waiters, carrying bottles of champagne...by artist; Guy Bulut


I have this awesome and 'conversation' print hanging on my dining room wall for at least 3yrs now. Very well mounted, and framed, even with the wire hanger on the back. ($24.99)





So, what are the chances of finding another 'Bulut' print...3yrs later?...waiters in apron...in a Paris Café...I love this matching print...so well mounted and framed....couldn't just hang it simply...had to have it drilled with 'heavy duty hanger'...what a superb find...($29.99) ...worth so much more, and in great condition.










 A close up of this amazing print...such a 'conversation peace'...makes you feel like you're sitting in that French Café...just where I would love to be someday...soon!










 
Well, enough posting for now...I'll be watching the Winter Olympics from Russia ...and all day tomorrow!
Have a wonderful weekend! xo

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY...

Sunrise on our beach, Palm Beach, Florida...Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014...7:00AM
My granddaughter Gabby and I decided to take photos of the sunrise...depending on the weather, which happened to be a lovely sunny and pleasantly warm Sunday!
Linking to:
Be there 2 day...Wordless Wednesday
Eerily  quiet morning, virtually empty beach... a bit 'nippy' mid 60's, gentle winds, and waves caressing the sand...@ 7:04 AM

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Brownies... with Chocolate Ganache Frosting


Just when everyone in the U.S. is getting ready for Super Bowl Sunday...just who thinks about desserts?...well, I do know it's mostly chicken wings, sliders, pizza, chips, and dips that are the most popular party snacks for the big game, but who thinks about yummy, and easy to grab desserts?
We all love brownies...especially Fudge Brownies; and why not top it off with the most delicious
ooey-gooey Chocolate Ganache Frosting?...who says you can't have your cake...and 'eat it too?'...well, you sure can, with the cutest cupcake liners from William Sonoma! The recipe is super easy; got it from the Internet, and even if I didn't, I have it somewhere in one of my cookbooks, or recipe files. So much easier just one click to Google, and get what you need without searching in your own files!
So easy to serve these yummy fudge brownies... once they are done, and frosted, all you have to do is to cut the usual square portions in half, and set them in cute cupcake liners. Just be sure to refrigerate them until serving time, and take them out about 30 minutes before serving, and you will see how the fudge frosting will 'glisten' and achieve the ooey-gooey look! Every 'chocolate lovers' dream!


Chocolate Fudge Brownies
source: King Arthur Flour
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan
2) Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
3) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 brownie (63g) Servings Per Batch: 24 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260 Calories

    For the Ganach Frosting:Basic Chocolate Ganache
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
    2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
    3. Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using.
     
      Have a wonderful SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!
      eat plenty...drink responsibly! xo
 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY...

photo taken by me, on our private beach, Palm Beach, Florida...1-28-2014
While the rest of our country...even in the deep South was in a 'frozen frenzy' yesterday, here in S. Florida we had the most beautiful sunny and pleasant day of 79 degrees F. Not so, today (dreary, raining, and damp-cold-windy-chilly-nasty day)
Linking to:
be there 2 day...Wordless Wednesday



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bistecca Alla Pizzaiola-{Steak Pizzaiola}

You're probably wondering what the heck is a Steak Pizzaiola...when pizza has nothing to do with this dish, paired with steak. A little history on this hearty and delicious dish that was so popular in Italian-American homes in the seventies and eighties. I've often made this dish as well, for my family, but have made the steak totally different, using a cheaper cut of beef, pounding the meat thin, sautéing  it, and braising it, smothering the steak with the cooked tomato sauce, along with the onions, garlic, and peppers. This was the only way that was prepared, not using the better cut of the beef...such as N.Y. strip or T-bone, that would also be smothered in the sauce at the end.
Actually there really wasn't a real recipe for the Steak Pizzaiola back then...we just cooked great foods from 'handy-me-down' word of mouth and wrote it down; but the basic ingredients are whole tomatoes, (I switched it to diced) pepperoncini (the Italian pickled peppers which I skipped)...and/or bell peppers red-yellow-orange, sweet onions sliced, and garlic sliced. You can also add sliced mushrooms which goes great with the addition of the other vegetables. In my opinions, of mozzarella cheese would be added...then I would think of it as a pizzaiola sauce.

The originality of this dish started out in Naples, Italy, just like the pizza originates from Naples, as far back as the late 1800's.
All you need with this hearty dish is a nice loaf of crusty bread to mop up the sauce and enjoy those perfectly sautéed vegetables. To me, having a more up-to-date presentation makes this dish more appetizing, and attractive as well!

Bistecca Alla Pizzaiola-{Steak Pizzaiola}
recipe by; Elisabeth

1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper
cored, seeded and sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 med. sweet onion sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic sliced thin
2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1-14 ounce diced canned tomato
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
1 or 2 N.Y. strip, rib-eye, or T-bone steak

In a large skillet, heat the oil until it sizzles on med-high heat. Add the garlic slices, and the onion slices sautéing them until they sizzle. Add the bell peppers, and the oregano at this time, to infuse the flavor. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the mushroom slices and sauté for about a few minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of water and cook for about another  10 minutes.

Now you can add the diced tomatoes (I added spicy red pepper) you can add crushed red pepper if you don't find this type, or omit the red pepper if you don't want it spicy!

Add the tomatoes to the skillet, and add the 1/2 cup of red wine. You can add about 1/2 of the water to the can, swish it and add that as well.

(you can omit the wine, and add more water 1/2 cup extra)


Bring the sauce with the vegetables to a simmer
and cook for another 15 minutes, until the pepper get soft and the sauce thickens. Set it aside, and keep it warm.








Season the steak (s) with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet, or a grill pan, and sear the steaks over high heat, covering it if it lets out too much
smoke. I seared mine for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium, but you can sear it 2 minutes for rare, or about 5 minutes on each side for medium-well.

Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing it thin, across the grain, or leaving it whole.

To Serve:
You can pile the sauce and peppers on top (the old fashioned way...or gently place the slices of the steak on top of the sauce and vegetables.
Crusty bread makes it even better, or you can cook some rice to serve as a full course, along with some salad greens...yumm!
Serve while it's hot!




 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SCHMALTZ

Have you heard of the word 'schmaltz?'...it is an old Yiddish word for 'rendered chicken fat'. Back in the old days in Eastern Europe when margarine wasn't invented (which is so unhealthy)...butter, which was too expensive to cook with, you could make this natural, humble 'liquid gold' just from slowly cooking down the skins, and the fat part from the chicken, adding some chopped, or sliced onions (I also added a couple garlic cloves, sliced thin) You couldn't imagine a Jewish household not having their freshly made schmaltz. The best part of the skin from the chicken to render fat is the breast, and using a bunch of backbones which you can buy for very cheap price at the grocery supermarket.
There's so many uses of this fine homemade schmaltz...matzo balls, potato latkes, chopped liver, roasted chicken, and even the American southern dishes; hush puppies, corn bread, and for pie crusts...just to name a few. It may seem like an odd word...SCHMALTZ; which can also describe something expensive, or maybe something 'corny'! Old Yiddish words, used in phrases are totally hilarious!

You probably are familiar with some of these Yiddish words.
KLUTZ= an awkward person.
OY-VEY= how terrible things are.
SCHMUCK=jerk
SCHMOOZ= (is to kiss up to somebody)
SHLEP= carry, or dragging something
NUDNIK= a pest, an annoying person

SHLEMIL= dummy, loser *
SHLIMAZL=unlucky person*
Ever wondered about the 'theme song' of the beloved and funny show from the seventies what they meant?...shlemil, and shlimazl...still love the re-runs!

Chicken Schmaltz
(my way) by:Elisabeth

2 lbs. chicken backs, and roughly cut up
skins
1 large onion, cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Place the chicken backs, and skins in a large heavy skillet. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and on low heat start simmering the chicken backs and skin. After about 10 minutes, push the pieces aside, and add the onion and the garlic.

Continue to cook for another 45 minutes on low
heat. Keep stirring often. You will see the golden liquid and the chicken and onion slightly colored. Do not get it too dark. As you can see in the photo, the onion has a nice golden color to it. Remove the chicken backs to a container (do not discard) You can make a nice chicken broth with the remaining pieces. Discard the onions, and strain the schmaltz through a fine sieve into a container, or jar with a tight fitting lid. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed.


 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Best Ever Chocolate Chip-Banana Muffins

I haven't been able to take decent 'natural light' food photos for the last 2 weeks for a new post, since we've been getting so much rain with heavy winds, and clouds every day...except for last Sunday for about half a day; sun was in-and-out, and we were able to enjoy the beach and the pool. I feel so bad for all of you who live up north and even on the east coast as well; below zero temperatures, and all the snow storms...brrrr!
In order for me to buy more cookbooks, which I still find a few at a different Goodwill store for their original $2.49, or I've been ordering them online from Amazon for 'dirt cheap'...of course, cookbooks do add up and I'm not about to have a huge selection which I used to have; so, I have donated a lot of books that I find...useless! While looking through some of my books for torn out pages from magazines tucked into them, I found this photo copy of a recipe of this amazing and perfect Chocolate Chip Muffins...but wait!...This recipe is from a Bed and Breakfast Inn, called the
The Signal House in Ripley, Ohio.

If you plan to come to Florida...which would be a perfect time now to get away from the freezing cold weather for a while...here's a local Bed and Breakfast, which I personally drive by just about every day. (it is only about 2 miles from the beach)
Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast



Best Ever Chocolate Chip-Banana Muffins
recipe from: The Signal House

3 large ripe bananas
1/4 cups sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mash bananas. Add sugar and eggs. Add the melted butter, then add the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into 12 or 6 cup muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.


Makes 12 or 6 large muffins...I made 6, and I must tell you they were so moist, not too sweet, and so delicious with morning coffee, or afternoon tea!

Polar Vortex, 2014
Temperatures in all 50 US states dipped below freezing on Tuesday in a rare nationwide chill that will keep a grip on much of the country for at least another day, with cutting winds and blizzards posing the most danger.

Florida, a state that normally basks in its reputation as a warm winter escape, experienced unusually low temperatures. In the Midwest, northeast and eastern Canada, it was dangerous to venture outside. At some point on Tuesday, at least one location in each of the 50 US states recorded temperatures below freezing, with the highest point on Hawaii, Mauna Kea, recording a temperature of 21F (-6C).
The so-called polar vortex that funnelled an Arctic low pressure system into the upper US this week swung south and east on Tuesday. Polar conditions settled over two-thirds of the US.

It was colder in the southern state of Georgia than Alaska as Atlanta plunged to 6F (-14C) – the lowest temperature since 1966 – while Anchorage, Alaska, recorded 27F (-3C) . Wind chills were recorded around -60F in parts of Michigan, Minnesota, Montana and New Hampshire.
Read more...The Guardian New, York, Jan. 7, 2014
 Although we didn't get freezing weather here, in S. Florida...I took these photos this morning, and sure enough it looked like it was about to snow!
Wednesday, 8:20 AM...from my balcony. The wind-chill factor always make it at least 15-20 degrees cooler by the ocean, even in the summer time!
Usually, just about every day, the sun comes out...even if for a few minutes...for the last 3 days this is how our 'sunny Florida' skies looked...more like 'snow clouds'...I have not witnessed this kind of chilly wind, very damp, and cold...it just cuts through your bones! Not making excuses, because I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived through plenty of snow storms and freezing weather throughout my youth!
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chocolate Crinkles

Happy New Year, to all my blogger friends...(not excluding readers who may not comment)...equal time to all!
Hope you all had a wonderful, and safe New Year's celebration...as we also did! This post may seem like a 'forgotten' or an 'after thought' post of my Chocolate Crinkles...but let me assure you that it is not a forgotten post of these lovely cookies that everyone loves around the Christmas holidays!

Chocolate Crinkles
recipe source: Gold Medal Flour
  • 1/2cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
  • 2cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4eggs
  • 2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2cup powdered sugar

Directions

  • 1
    In large bowl, mix oil, chocolate, granulated sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  • 2
    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray.
  • 3
    Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar; roll around to coat and shape into balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  • 4
    Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.


I find it a little odd to be posting a Christmas cookie (now, that Christmas is over) Chocolate Crinkles are so popular here in the U.S. and all over the world by now, I assume. They are so attractive with the light and dark contrast, and most certainly perfect for an interesting addition to a cookie tray or for serving by themselves, any time of the year!

I did not have a Christmas tree at my small beach condo apartment; but at my daughter Lora's they have a beautiful live and tall tree every year, and I spent time just about every day there to enjoy the holiday festivities, especially at City Place!



Christmas @ City Place...West Palm Beach, Florida
Friends, and Family, on Christmas Day Celebration!