Sunday, August 29, 2010

Homemade Mango Sorbet

You cannot tell the difference between fresh mango, or mango sorbet
1 quart of pure mango bliss. You cannot get this in any ice cream shoppe. It is so fresh, you are actually eating a real frozen fresh mango, without the pulp.I ordered this Cook's Essential on QVC home shopping network a few years ago...not a thrift find, although I have come across similar ones at Goodwill only to realize the most important parts were missing. Of course, they were a different brand name, but similar. This one cost about $59.99, and worth it, many times over.
So easy to make all kinds of ice creams and fruit sorbets Since this is the last of the Florida mango season, I actually was able to scrounge up a few mangos that have fallen on the ground from the mango tree. Recipe called for 4, and I went into action.
How much would you be willing to pay for this 1 quart of "golden goodness?" It costs about $5.99 for 1 pint at the grocery store, and not even nearly as good, with other artificial ingredients, probably corn syrup. this was made with pure mangos and real sugar syrup. Easy recipe, to follow.
Mango Sorbet 
4 fresh mangos
1 cup simple syrup
juice of 3 limes

Peel, and dice mangos, and put them into a blender. In the meantime make simple syrup, by adding 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Heat to a boil, and boil for a few minutes until it comes to a nice rapid bubble. Take it of the heat, cool completely before adding it into the blender, along with the juice of 3 limes. Blend until smooth, and pour into the ice cream maker. Mix for about 20-40 minutes, place in the freezer with the canister no more than 40 minutes. Spoon sorbet into a quart size plastic container, and let it freeze all the way through. As in my case, I served it after 40 minutes, even if it was not completely frozen, it was "out of this world." Do not freeze longer than 2 weeks, if it even lasts that long.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Hungarian Plum Dumplings-Szilvás Gombóc

Just can't compare this delicacy to any other type of dumpling The Hungarian plum dumplings, otherwise known as the Szilvas Gomboc. The only difference with these is the type of plums you use which would be in the prunus family, the smaller version, different shape, and more dark purple in color. They all are juicy and sweet in their season.

When I was growing up in Ohio, my mother, "may she rest in peace" made all these delicacies for us, never letting any of us help her, just to watch, and learn. Of course, little did we learn, we were always too eager to eat as soon as it was done. The kitchen always filled with the aroma of her wonderful cooking. She was an expert in fresh noodle making, and of course with all the fresh dough that she made magical things with, especially the yeast dough, what we call danish, filled with various fruit fillings. You could not even find these in a specialty bakery. It has to be home made, filled with love. When my children were little, here in South Florida, we were fortunate to have my "Mariska Neni"-Aunt Mariska, to make all the delicacies for us. She too let me watch, but never made it by myself, these ladies of Independence in the kitchen just did everything by themselves, and you were the audience, and "taste tester" and got to eat all the goodies. Wow, those were the good old days, it brings tears to my eyes, every time I think of it. I've attempted to make the dumplings, of course, years later, and still need to perfect it.

 Do not be fooled with the 20 minute preparation as some recipes call for it. Plan to have a messy counter, or board to work on, because you will literally need a bag of flour at your side to keep flouring the board, so you don't end up with a sticky dough that you have to scrape off the working area, you also don't want to put too much flour in your dough, otherwise you will end up with a heavy lump of dough that could be disastrous, and ending up with a chipped tooth, and a trip to the dentist. As for me, I did not want an audience, dealed with my own mess, taste tested by myself, and showed off the finish product, which really did turn out nice, with the right amount of ingredients to work with, and a nice finished portion of fresh plum dumplings.

Hungarian Plum Dumpling-Szilvás Gombóc

2 1/2 small Italian plums, or about 12 plums (see photo below)
4 or 5 large potatoes, or 8 small ones
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Buttered bread crumbs, and oats (opt.) with cinnamon and sugar

Quarter large potatoes, or halve the small ones, cook them in their skin for better flavor, then peel them after they are cooked. Mash, with a potato masher. In a large bowl place flour, salt, and  mashed potato, make a dent in the  middle and add the egg. Mix with your hands real well, if it's a little dry, add about 1/4 cup of flour, a drop at a time, to make a pliable dough. Place dough on floured work surface, divide dough in half, wrap the second half of dough and put aside. Work with the first half, by rolling it, adding by sprinkling flour on top, so you can roll dough easier, to 1/2 in. Cut into 4 inch square portions, they don't have to be perfectly even squares at the end portions. Place 1 piece of fruit, if they are really thinly sliced, place 2 in the middle, fold up at the end corners, and roll, as if you are rolling a meatball, wetting your hands if necessary, and rolling the ball into a little more flour.

Drop the balls, one at a time into rapid salty boiling water, and wait until they come to surface after about a few minutes, probably 10 minutes, cook a few minutes, total time, about 12-15 minutes. You can taste test by scooping it out with a large slotted spoon, and cut into the middle. This way you will know that it is done, or it may need a few more minutes. Do not drain the dumplings into a colander, they might fall apart. Carefully take them out one by one, and place them into a skillet with about 2 cups of bread crumbs, 1 cup of oats (opt.), and about 2 tablespoons of sugar, a dash of cinnamon, but first and foremost, don't forget to melt, about half a stick of butter and then add the crumbs, and the sugar. Make sure you incorporate every piece of dumpling with the bread crumbs. Serve with additional cinnamon sugar, if desired. Yields about 12 dumplings, 6 servings.
Note: seriously, they turned out better than I imagined, and a lot easier with careful preparation. After all those years of observing, this is about the third time I made this by myself. Less intimidating, if you only make half the portion of the dough, and save the other half for another use. Dough freezes well, but do not keep it in the freezer for more than 30 days.

You can see the little lumps from the cooked potato, which is OK  Roll dough half an inch thick.

Cut, and slice plums  sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on them.
Cut into 4 inch squares, and place 1 piece of fruit in middle, fold corners over, and roll dough into a ball, enclosing corners.
You can see when they're ready, they will come to surface, but still cook them longer, and remove with slotted spoon.
Have skillet ready with breadcrumbs, oats. (opt.) sugar, and cinnamon, and melted butter. Heat thoroughly, and coat each dumpling
finished result. Really just amount of sweetness, dough really moist and flavorful
Extra fruit left over, and second portion of dough to be used for gnocchi, or freeze for next use.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Bake Raspberry Marshmallow Cream Cheesecake

I've always wanted to adapt a nice no bake cheese cake, but I hesitated, until now. Forget the Jello no bake cheese cake. This version is fresh, light, and easy to make. If you don't want to use my marshmallow frosting/creme recipe with it, you could use jar of Marshmallow creme, but it won't be the same.
Showing off my milk glass plate which I mentioned before on my blog. What a lucky find...a real treasure. The raspberries are so refreshing in this cheese cake.You couldn't possibly fold in fresh raspberries into the baked version. This is why it's so light.
The whole pieces of  raspberries are folded into can see the swirl of the organic raspberry spread folded in...Yumm!
I decided to cut this recipe out from the back of the Nabisco Grahams, but did not use the 8x8 square pan, instead I used my  8x8 removable sides Wilton cheesecake pan. Used less raspberries and my own marshmallow creme, from scratch.
Who would want to get ride of their Wilton cheesecake pan? I got lucky with this. I just love it, such good quality, can't complain about the price, either. Goodwill find $1.99
No sooner than cutting out the recipe from the back of the Graham cracker box, I stopped by at my other favorite thrift store...World Thrift, and came across this great book which has recipes from labels on jars, cans, boxes and I can actually recognize some of these recipes, from a hundred years ago..(just kidding)...from 1979. Wow, 31 years ago. It has some real good ones, but obviously I will be adapting them to a lighter, and healthier version. My daughter didn't like this book because it has no pictures of the foods in them. You don't need to have pictures, you can pretty much imagine what it's going to look like when you make it your own. I can hardly wait to reminisce with the "oldies" and make it up to date.By the way, how could you lose for $.95?
 No Bake Raspberry Marshmallow Cream Cheesecake

1 pkg. (6oz.) raspberries
8 Graham crackers (1/2 box) crushed in food processor
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 pkg. (8oz). light Philadelphia creme cheese at room temp.
1 cup of home made marshmallow frosting/creme
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of the same lemon, after grating
2 Tablespoons of seedless organic raspberry spread

Mix graham crackers sugar and melted butter. Press firmly with a back of a large spoon onto the bottom and up the sides, 1 inches in an 8x8 spring form pan. Chill, in refrigerator, until cream is assembled. In a large bowl, make marshmallow frosting, according to recipe. Take out 1 cup to use, and save the rest for frosting cup cakes, or cake, or divide recipe in half to use. Beat creme cheese and marshmallow frosting, adding zest of lemon, and juice. Beat until light and fluffy. Fold in half the raspberries, and gently swirl in the raspberry spread, Spread evenly over crust, and decorate with the remaining raspberries. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Makes about 8 servings.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Broiled Grouper with Mango, Papaya Salad

Broiled sea food is one of the best ways to make it, next to grilling. I just use simple mix dry spices, fresh grated lemon zest, fresh juice of 1 lemon, and also use the same on the unpeeled large shrimp. drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it, line the broiler pan with the dull side of the aluminum foil, poke a few holes with a fork right through the aluminum foil just maybe about 3 places, an broil on the very top for about 10 minutes for the grouper, and just a few minutes for the shrimp, as soon as they turn pink, it's done.
I saved the juices from the fish, and added a little white wine to it, and added juice of 1 lemon on top.No need for extra lemon on the side.
The mango, papaya, romaine, and radicchio salad is another fresh and simple, yet bursting with color and flavor. A perfect combination with fresh Florida seafood. I also added sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, scallions, and drizzle extra virgin olive oil, and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice. Couldn't get any better.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

This fresh blueberry recipe of mine is adapted from a 1986 Food & Wine magazine of mine, page neatly kept in a binder with a plastic jacket, but I will have to make copies of this so I will not loose it. It calls for 2 1/2 in. dimension size  which this is perfect. Notice it's stainless steel, from Goodwill, for $.69 each pan. It was brand new, and I imagine as old as my recipe. I gave my extra large  nonstick muffin pan, and another which is about this size, non stick, of course, which holds 12 muffins or cup cakes. Like a good mother, (pat on my shoulder) as a matter of fact, I've given all my good and expensive wares to my daughter, because I rarely had a chance to use them when I worked so many hours. So now, it's fun for me to go thrifting, and finding great wares. The original recipe calls for actually buttering the muffin pans, generously, but I don't think we had cooking spray back in 1986. I just love PAM, for every baking use. They have a good variety of them. I just use the original.
Just look at all the fresh blueberries, and the yummy streusel topping. The batter is quite thick so it will not overflow when you spoon it or scoop it into the muffin pans. Any leftovers, if you have leftovers, you have to refrigerate, and it can easily be reheated in the microwave, for less than 60 seconds. or in your over, on 325 degrees F. for about 10 minutes. I prefer the short cut way. Who wants to wait 10 minutes?
Fresh Blueberry Muffins with Sreusel Topping
2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 cups fresh blueberries
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray. Muffin pans should be 2 1/2 inches in diameter.In a large bowl, place the 1/2 cup sugar, and the 1 teaspoon lemon zest; crush them together until the sugar absorbs the lemon flavor. Add the flour, and baking powder, and toss to blend.well. Whisk the egg in a small bowl with the milk, and whisk in the slightly cooled melted butter.Slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, and just incorporate by hand, with a wooden spoon. Just barely, about 3 or 4 turns. Batter will be thick, but not to worry. Carefully fold in half the blueberries, and with an ice cream scooper, or a spoon, spoon mixture in evenly, into the 12 muffin cups. Keep the batter loose, don't pack it into the cups, just work with it, gently. Now, you can put the rest of the 1 cup blueberries on top, carefully sticking them into the batter, and spoon streusel mix on top. Bake for no longer, than 25 minutes. (check to see doneness after 20 minutes.) Should be nice and rosy on top. Yield, 12 muffins.

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup of flour
1 tablespoon (1 pat) unsalted butter

Mix all together with a pastry cutter, or a fork, until it resembles, like pieces of green peas. Sprinkle mixture on top of studded blueberries in the muffin pan, and bake as directed.

Note: The original 1986 Food and Wine recipe is so confusing, because all the ingredients are listed together; the streusel ingredients are listed in with the rest of the ingredients, and they call for too much butter, including buttering the pan. With all that extra butter in the original recipe was too heavy. This adapted one of mine, is very light, not too sweet, and is so good with a nice cup of Cappuccino, or Caffe Latte, any time of the day.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo

A glass of pinot grigio wine.Image via Wikipedia
Fettuccine Alfredo is such an easy pasta dish to make. I recommend dry pasta for this. I tried it with homemade pasta, but it just seems to soak up all the sauce, and you need more sauce than recipe requires. This one also soaks it all up but just to the point of perfection.
There are quite a few versions of this, but I just like to use my version for now. Heavy cream, unsalted butter, imported parmigiana cheese-lots of it, a small amount of freshly grated nutmeg, very little sea salt, and fresh grated tricolor pepper. A small amount of snipped fresh parsley on the top. This is what 8 ounces looks like, not to mention what 16 ounces would look like. You can feed an army with one pound of pasta, This portion generously feeds at least 2 adults. and perhaps 2 children. Very filling, and oh so tasty.
This is what 1/4 pound looks like. Parsley already mixed in, not just for decoration. A nice glass of good quality Chardonnay, or Pinot Grigio goes well with it. This is so filling, you may not even want to have a salad with it, just another glass of wine, and a nice espresso later.
I highly recommend De Cecco pasta, one of the best out there. My favorite supermarket had this on sale, 3 for $5.00. What a bargain. They usually cost nearly $3.00 or more, for a 16 ounce box. Check for bugs, in the box! Maybe it's old?...Not to worry, just kidding. Our supermarket is immaculate, and everything is dated, and all the fresh produce could not be better, even at the produce market, unless you have your own garden.
These wonderful graters work best. The larger one I've had, since I don't know when, it's at least 30 years old,  Ekco brand, made in the U.S.A. The smaller one with the fine grating is a Farberware. Both are stainless steel and they last forever.
Recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo:
Fettuccine Alfredo
8 ozs. of dry De Cecco fettuccine (half a box of a 16oz.)
1 cup of heavy cream
4 tablespoon (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter
3/4 cup imported parmigiana (Parmesan cheese)
small amount of freshly grated nutmeg (dry is good too)
A small amount of snipped, (not chopped) parsley. (snip it with a kitchen scissor)
very small amount of sea salt
fresh grated tricolor pepper, or black pepper (I don't use white pepper)
1/2 cup cooking water reserved
In a large skillet, melt butter with cream, and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan. Slowly heat, and stir, until it gets nice and thick. In the meantime, boil pasta until al-dente, saving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.(I always save at least one cup for reserve.) Mix the pasta with the sauce, right into the large, skillet. It should be at least a 12 inch skillet, or a large pot, if you prefer. Now, grated the nutmeg, the sea salt, careful, not to add too much because the cheese is salty too. add another 1/4 cup portion of the cheese. At this point, the pasta has absorbed quite amount of the sauce, so you need to thin it out a little, with the reserved cooking water, a small amount while you are heating up the pasta. When it's nicely incorporated, put it into a medium serving bowl, or separate serving plates. Dived the cheese to sprinkle on top, and add parsley, not just for presentation, but it really tastes very nice with it.
Serves at least 3.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baked Dill Sockeye Salmon, and Broiled Shrimp

As you can see, I am serving the baked sockeye salmon, and the broiled shrimp on the beautiful milk glass shallow bowl, from Goodwill. This particular milk glass is very sturdy, and heavy. Easy recipe to follow.
Baked Sockeye Salmon
1 1/2 lb sockeye salmon
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
fresh squeezed lemon, and lime
fresh shopped, or dry dill
1/2 c. white wine
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, place salmon, and drizzle some olive oil, juice of 1 lime, and lemon. Pour wine over it, and sprinkle dill on top. Bake in a 375 degree oven, for about 10 minutes. Sockeye salmon requires very little time, because it is thinner than the other salmon. Serves about 6, along with simple broiled shrimp, seasoned with spices, and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Salad is just a simple mix with tomatoes, cucumbers, and home made olives from Como, Italy.
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