Sunday, November 29, 2009

Italian Three Cheese Spinach and Broccoli Pie with Puff Pastry





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This filling has three cheeses, spinach,broccoli with all the Italian spices Let me know what you think....

This is the last step before placing in the oven....recipe is at the bottom of this post...enjoy!

Using the remaining dough for the top layer, place over the mixture, bring the excess dough up and fold forward, press together with a fork to seal in mixture in...seal edges with tap water. Take a sharp knife and make a V formation for pattern. Brush with melted butter . Time to put in the oven and bake until nicely browned on top, around 1 hour.

Take the back of a tablespoon to push the filling dough evenly into the dough to spread out.

Roll out to overlap the sides as the extra dough will be used to seal in the filling later.


Mix all together well making sure the eggs are well blended with the cheeses.


Be sure to get all ingredients together first so you don't forget anything. Puff Pastry is much easier to use than phyllo dough.


1 cup of fresh chopped spinach or frozen spinach drained and water squeezed all out
1 cup of fresh chopped broccoli or frozen chopped, steamed in microwave for 7 minutes drained
4 cloves of fresh minced garlic
½ teaspoon of garlic powder and extra for top
1/4 teaspoon dry parsley and oregano
1/4 cup fresh of chopped parsley
1 cup of feta cheese
1 cup mozzarella
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 eggs
grating cheese for garnish
1 package of 17.3 oz package of puff pastry defrosted in refrigerator for at least 24 hours
flour to work the dough
1/3 cup of butter melted
tap water
Preheat the oven to 335 degrees.

Add coarsely chop the spinach and place it in a large bowl. Add chopped broccoli, spices and parsley add to the spinach. Mix in the feta cheese, ricotta cheese ,mozzarella, and eggs to the mixture. Using a fork mix all of the ingredients together.
Allow the puff pastry to defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Separate it into two equal parts. Roll the pastry with a rolling pin (the same way you would with pizza dough) to fit the size of 12x8 inch brownie style pan. Butter the pan and line half of the puff pastry on the pan. Brush some melted butter on the dough for the bottom layer then the spinach mixture on top.
Brush edges to seal the pastry all along the edge of the pan with tap water.
Place the second half of the puff pastry on top of the mixture. Fold in the edges. Use a fork to seal. Butter the top layer with remaining butter sprinkle with garlic powder lightly on top.
Make slanted slits in the dough in V formation, for a fancy top and easy to cut pattern. Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 335 degrees. Cool a few minutes, cut and serve garnish with grated cheese and fresh parsley.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Apple Dumpling Shortcake with Caramel Sauce

A very old recipe we made every year as soon as the McIntosh apples were ready...they were always our favorite to make this apple dumpling shortcake... the shortcake is very tender.

Once the dumplings are nice and brown and crusty looking they're done to perfection.
The buttery mixture make a nice crispy topping and added flavor to the dumplings.


This is a simple syrup. Years ago we boiled on the stove for 10 minutes, now you can put this microwave safe bowl in the microwave, once it reaches a boil then put on the timer.


Fresh ingredients make the difference and quite noticeable if you use a mix.


6-8 baking apples peeled,sliced and cored
Place apples in a greased 13x9 baking dish

1 cup sugar
1 cup water boil for 10 minutes
Pour boiling syrup over apples in the greased pan.

In a large bowl mix together to form a soft dough below:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons shortening
3 teaspoons baking powder

Drop by tablespoons on top of apples. Melt together 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon or more if you like .

Pour teaspoons of mixture over dumplings and bake at 400*
for 30 minutes.
minutes until brown. Serve warm with whipped cream and caramel topping or vanilla ice cream with caramel topping . Dust with more cinnamon.
+claudia lamascolo author

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Italian Rigatoni Pasta with Mushroom Marsala Sauce

A light Marsala sauce with Ricotta Cheese, herbs and Rigatoni Pasta
When you want something light but satisfying look no more. This pasta dish has a hint of sweetness of Marsala and all the full flavors of a gourmet dish that tantilizes your taste buds....you just have to see for yourself.....

Mushrooms sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and fresh minced garlic, then simmering in Marsala some pasta water, till tender. The additional butter is added at the end.




Hot Rigatoni pasta mixed with Ricotta cheese a little Parmesan .





Sauteed minced garlic and mushrooms till tender around 3 minutes




Extra virgin olive oil and butter to saute the garlic, till soft not brown.


In a large fry pan, saute two cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add two tablespoons of butter. Saute for around three minutes. Add 1 lb of sliced fresh mushrooms to the oil and garlic.


Add 1/4 teaspoon of black and red pepper, pinch of salt, and add 1 cup of Marsala wine. Simmer for eight minutes. In the meantime prepare Rigatoni below and reserve one cup of pasta water when pasta is done. Add the one cup of pasta water to the mushroom sauce and add four tablespoons of butter. You can add salt and pepper to taste at this time.

1 pound of Rigatoni boiled and drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water for Marsala sauce.
1 cup of Ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese mixed together

Add cheeses to hot pasta and mix evenly in large pasta dish.
Spoon sauce over the Rigatoni and Ricotta mixture, sprinkle with fresh parsley,basil, grating cheese.

Holiday Drink Italian Limoncello Cocktail

Of course we all need to have something festive in our glass to cheer on the season. Here is a drink we all love to share at the table to make our toast for our blessings during the holidays. Hope you'll join us with some of this holiday cheer . Happy Holidays Salute' and Blessings to all.


Holiday Limoncello Toast
You will need a large pitcher and double the recipe according to your guests size as this serves 8.
Add :

1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup lemon lime soda , citrus soda or seltzer
1 1/2 cups of chilled Limoncello Liqueur Italian lemon liqueor
1 cup of of fresh orange juice
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
Mix in a pitcher and fill glass with ice, serve with olives or fruit wedges.
NOTE : If you don't have any Limoncello, try adding 1 1/2 cups of vodka( instead of only 1/2 cup in the above drink) and 3/4 cups of simple syrup( below) to the pitcher and substitute for a similar drink of the Limoncella in the above recipe.

Simple lemon syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 two inch strips of lemon peel
Boil together until dissolved with lemon peel for simple syrup

Add 1/1/2 cups of vodka and 3/4 cup of simple lemon syrup this drink.
Taste great without a mixer on the rocks also.


Homemade Limoncello


3 1/2 cups water
10 lemons
1 750 mil liter bottle vodka
2 1/2 cup sugar

Remove the peel with a vegetable peel, making long strips of peels. Place the lemon peels a pitcher that holds at least 2 quarts or more. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Leave this in the lemon peels with the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month. I use clean wine bottles or older liqueor bottles cleaned out for storing.



Boston Cream Rum Pie Italian Style Recipe



One of those desserts you just have to love, a delicious rum makes this even better. In our family, rum is used in most Italian pastry creams, so when I made this one and added the rum to make it taste like our traditional filling, this was a keeper for us.




I slathered a little more pastry pudding on the outside( to the left) so you can see the color of this rich delicious filling.




The cake is moist and delicate, the pudding is rich and very creamy. The ganache makes a terrific topping, and this happens to be one of my most favorite type of donuts also. After this cools and the pudding has been refrigerated for at least two hours, then fill the first layer. Top with the second layer and then your ready to add the ganache. I usually freeze one of the two cakes to make at another time as it makes two separate 9 inch cakes.





While the cake is still warm, slice it in half and pick it up gently with a spatula so not to break it apart .
Cake

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. Sift the flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In a deep bowl cream 6 tablespoons of the butter with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time, then beat in the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup of the milk in 3 additions, Beating the batter smooth after each addition. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cakes begin to shrink away from the sides of the pans and centers spring back when lightly touched. Turn the cakes onto wire racks to cool.


Italian Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon white rum or rum flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil . In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and rum extract. Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours

Ganache

8 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used Lindt)
1 cup heavy cream heat to boiling in the microwave
In a medium bowl, pour heavy cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted

To assemble pie, remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate or board, and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Top with maraschino cherry Store in refrigerator.
+claudia lamascolo Author

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Italian Tomato Pie Upstate N. Y. Style Recipe

                                                        

Anyone who grew up in Upstate NY knows what Tomato Pie is. Just about every baptism, communion, birthday,holiday or family reunion of some kind will have a box of this Italian pizza pie, with grated cheese on top , it just wasn't a party without it......




1 pizza dough recipe refer to link below or 2 pounds of store bought
Click here for homemade Pizza Dough

Make sauce first below.

SAUCE:

6 fresh plum tomatoes roasted
3 cups tomato puree
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold pressed
Lots of Pecorino Romano Grating Cheese
You will need to roast tomatoes on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil...While they cook, combine other ingredients and let it simmer until thickened. Add in roasted tomatoes when cooked, mash tomato chunks until no large pieces of tomato is left. This makes a thick sauce.


Click Here for Pizza Dough Recipe

Rise until double in volume around two hours. Stretch out on pizza pan rectangle in size, rise again for 30 minutes. Bake in preheated hot oven at 430 degree's. Around 15 minutes,.....will still be white,( cook longer if you like crispy and browned, however tomato pie is not suppose to be crispy if you have never had this). Take out, dredge the bottom and tops with extra virgin olive oil. Spread sauce and a thick amount of grated cheese on top ( Pecorino Romano cheese). Put back in oven until pie is set, not browned.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fudge Marble Chocolate Chip Cake with Triple Chocolate Icing

The end result to make this delicious cake is worth the trouble. A rich cake that will satisfy both the yellow and chocolate cake lovers of the world. The thick rich chocolate frosting with chocolate chips is truly perfect to finish it off...

Line a plate with chocolate syrup for a beautiful presentation for guests.



The cake will bake perfectly even in a spring form pan and come out easilly.



Start out spooning the white batter into the pan, adding chocolate, sprinkle with chips repeat, let it settle in do not stir or swirl, it will marblize all by itself.


Layering each color of batter, then chips only on the chocolate, till the batter is all finished...

Batter
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. of almond extract
1 1/4 cups milk, half and half sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup of mini chocolate chip
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix the butter sugar together until light. Add flour, eggs,baking powder,baking soda, vanilla and milk. Beat till smooth, around three minutes, split batter into two bowls.
Add the unsweetened cocoa powder to one bowl mix well.
Grease a spring form pan, or you can use a bundt pan, or two 8 inch pans using same method. Start with a small amount of vanilla cake batter on the bottom, add a dollop of chocolate batter in the center, sprinkle just the chocolate with mini chocolate chips. Continue layering until all the batter is gone. Do not stir. Bake at 350 for around 40 minutes till done, test with a toothpick if it comes out clean in the center.

Cool completely. Frost with Triple Chocolate Frosting.
2/3 cup butter -- softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoonsheavy cream
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
14 cup of chocolate curls for garnish
Beat butter and sugar together alternating with cream. Add vanilla. Stir in chips. Frost cooled cake, garnish with curls.

Try making cupcakes as an alternative and altering chocolate and vanilla batters, swirl with a knife and bake!

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Mom always made these, an inexpensive healthy dish. This recipe was adapted by her since the Traditional way of making isn't at all Italian. So in went the garlic and the tomato sauce with Italian herbs and the Italian version was born. Amazing how healthy these are when made with ground turkey, rice and cabbage....delicious blends of herbs and a great sauce....





A little different than the original stuffed cabbage, we prefer ours with rice and lamb, you can use your preference on meat. We use lots of fresh Italian herbs and of course lots of garlic. This is one dish I love to make as soon as there is a little nip in the air. Fall brings out those comfort foods, and for us this was one of them.















I usually make sure that all the leaves that you can't roll, that are too small, surround the rolls in the pan. They make a great side dish with another meal.


Roll up tightly and make sure you don't overfill as filling will expand.


Lay out all cabbage and place filling evenly inside to make sure you have enough for all rolls, then rolls and secure with toothpicks.




1 medium head of cabbage cleaned and thick stalk removed (tip, freeze whole head, thaw leaves in warm water, leaves will wilt, no boiling, its amazing how that works so well and no smell in the house!)

1 lb of ground hamburger, turkey, pork, Italian ground sausage or lamb ( lamb is what is shown)

2 cups of fast cooking rice

3 chopped fresh tomatoes

4 cloves of whole garlic

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large can of tomato sauce

enough water to cover cabbage rolls

4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon each oregano, parsley, garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper (if using hamburger, try 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seed)

1/2 cup white wine

toothpicks

In a bowl mix meat, rice and chopped tomatoes. Add garlic minced, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne if you like spicy.

Lay wilted leaves on a cutting board, cutting off any thick parts that won't roll. Place one of two tablespoons of mixture on the leaf, roll up and spear with a toothpick. Repeat until all rolls are filled. Place in a dutch oven or large electric fry pan. Add 1 can of large tomato sauce, remaining garlic cloves, water to cover the cabbage rolls as it will boil away and wine, sprinkle with herbs add wine. Simmer on low or if using electric fry pan at 300 . You can also bake these at 350 for approx 1 1/2 hours, checking frequently and adding more water as it evaporates. Cook cabbage is tender.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Family Story of Popcorn with Recipes




Since the early 80's my kids Curt and Chad were huge fans of all kinds of popcorn. Coming from a family who loved all kinds from regular to caramel, candy coated, we began experimenting with several recipes. Hope you like our journey of different kinds we came across through the years. We made it a tradition to have our caramel corn always around the holidays.

John Colenzo (Cole)





There are so many kinds of glorious popped corn, one that was newly introduced to me is the black kernel. We always had your classic yellow or white kernels. I also remember years ago,multi colors in a bag that popped a rainbow of colors when I was a little girl. A place called Loblaws supermarket carried it back in 1960 something. That's what we used to trim our christmas tree with. Now a new one for me, Black Jewel popcorn, was a little different to see the amazing black kernel with the end result being an amazing pure white in color.



It starts out with black kernels from the package and turns snow white when popped. I had never had the chance to try this until now, as it is hard to find here in Florida . My brother John introduced me to this delicious popcorn.



John, my brother, is an entertainer who works on Fisher Island located off Miami Beach Florida.Named after the first resident of the island Carl Fisher. Fisher Island is 3 miles off shore of Miami, Florida. No road or causeway connects to the island, which is accessible by private ferry ,helicopter or yacht. So he travels by ferry every night to get to work. He has the opportunity to introduce many new foods to me in his culinary experiences in his line of work. This was one of them he heard about.
We both recall our family having all kinds of requests on how they like their popcorn. My mom and dad (RIP) loved caramel corn, all our kids basically love homemade and the theater popcorn, my brother Luke is living up North, makes the best homemade (which I will have a full read below), my husband likes basic microwaved and easy, and me, homemade definitely. So when John called me about this Black Jewel, I had never had it before, but heard of Black Jewel, and wanted to try it right away, as curiosity struck me and he wanted to get my input ....


So here it is, a delicate and delicious popcorn, it was white as can be. I have to agree it was a definite change to what we have had in brightness and color but amazingly a black kernel turning white was so bizarre to me. A very good taste, worth a try.




All of us had a different  flavor craving for popcorn.
Dad loving caramel corn as he did, I decided I had to make it. When I was around seven I could remember we would go once a year to this great place in Upstate NY that made the best caramel corn in the world to all of us. It's still there today, called the Midway in Sylvan Beach. Awesome smell,while cooking fresh on the site, a buttery caramel corn that was mouth watering. Here is my version that I would make for dad below , I still make for my kids every holiday, one of their favorite's now also.





So many variations to choose from or make air popped ,pan popped, barbecue, cinnamon, pizza, butterscotch, cappuccino, caramel pecan, caramel, cheese, chocolate, classic sea salt, candy coated, gourmet sea salted, kettle, macadamia, Mexican, nacho, organic, black jewel, white, yellow, popcorn salt, pop corn in oil in oil , so many ways to make popcorn and a great snack indeed! Some folks like it sprinkled with garlic powder and black pepper, we can go on and on, I can say I love them all, as I am a big popcorn lover! How do you like yours?


My brother Luke, spent allot of time perfectly popped homemade corn, no one has duplicated the fresh taste of his buttery perfection.




Luke Colenzo









Luke another brother,( the middle child of us three kids ) , lives in Upstate NY in Whitesboro, and has five children. He works in a local courthouse and is retired Police Officer.
His secret weapon is his seasoned and" broken in" very very old popcorn pan, handed down from our grandmother back in 1975 when she passed on that pan was already 80+ years old back then. The pan is a a thick heavy club aluminum with a steam release button on the cover that rang like a bell, no other pan made popcorn this good! By far the best popcorn and still our favorite, when we can be together to have him make it for us. (The pan was only one part of his secret) He never could make enough, as we would always want another batch....and was worth fighting over ! Everyone marvels over the huge over filled bowls of popcorn he would make, that vanished in no time because it not only smelled good, but it was so addicting. So, needless to say Luke was the King" of making homemade popcorn in our family.


So that's the story on popcorn.......delicious whatever you fancy , as always, thanks for reading.

Here's a few recipes on different versions to make using popcorn:
Marshmallow Candied Popcorn with variations:
3 quarts popped corn, unsalted
5 tablespoons of butter
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow fluff
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. gumdrops

Preheat oven to 270 degrees. Place popped corn in greased deep cake about 13x9 size pan. Melt butter in saucepan, add marshmallow creme stir until well blended. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour mixture over popped corn; toss until well coated.
Bake 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir in gumdrops. Spread onto wax paper; cool. Store in tightly covered container.

Variations: CHOCOLATE replace gumdrops with a 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips to melted butter stir until smooth see further directions above

CINNAMON : replace gumdrops with 1/4 cup red cinnamon candies to melted butter, stir until melted continue as above directions.

Pizza Popcorn

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoned Italian herbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper
2 quarts hot popcorn

In blender, blend cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper about 3minutes. Place popcorn in large bowl; sprinkle with cheese mixture. Toss to coat evenly.

Popcorn Snack Mix
3 quarts popped popcorn
2 1/3 cups salted peanuts
1 cup of cereal like chex
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups cheese crackers, I like the fish
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts, pretzels and crackers. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Place in 2 ungreased 15 x 10-inch baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 250 degrees F for 1 hour; stir every 15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container when cool.

Nacho Popcorn
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
10 cups warm popped popcorn
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, stir paprika, red pepper, and cumin into melted butter or margarine. Gently toss butter mixture with popcorn, coating evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Peanut Butter Popcorn

2 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar and corn syrup to rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract, quickly stir popcorn to coat.

Amaretto Pecan and Almond Popcorn Crunch
10 cups popped corn
1 1/2 cups whole pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup Amaretto Liqueur
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon Amaretto Liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter baking sheet and large bowl. Toast pecans and almonds until light brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Mix popped corn and nuts in large bowl. Combine sugar, butter 1/4 cup Amaretto and corn syrup in heavy 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to 275 degrees F, or until small amount dropped into very cold water reaches soft crack stage (separates into hard, but not brittle, threads).

Remove from heat. Quickly stir in 1 tablespoon Amaretto and salt. Pour over popped corn and nuts, mixing until evenly coated. Immediately spread mixture on baking sheet. Let cool about 1 hour.


White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

4 cups of popped corn
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 cup of white cheddar cheese powder
1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a pan, dont over cook butter. Once melted, pour the butter into a large bowl and add cheese, mustard Stir together till well blended.
Curt and Chad age 2 and 4

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Curt's Loaded Potato Skins

I want to introduce another up and coming cook in our family, Curt. His specialty is game day pick foods and loves family gatherings, picnics and large functions to cook for a crowd. These are one of his all time favorites, so I wanted to share this recipe as it is just a great crowd pleas er. He is often asked to cook for his friends, since cooking is becoming one of his favorite hobbies. He usually has the table piled high with potato skins, wings, and loves his nachos and pizza. So Sunday's nights after the big traditional pasta afternoon lunch, he starts his appetizer medleys for the big game. We usually have a houseful of hungry friends joining us, so nothing goes to waste here.
Curts favorite appetizer is potato skins and he makes them crisp and loaded with a variety of
garnishes . I was so happy he agreed to post this, as this recipe is really easy and delicious.
The skins are loaded with bacon, sour cream and a medley of cheddar blended cheeses.
After they are fried, they are baked in the oven then smoothered in cheese immediately when taken out of the oven and the heat melts the cheese perfectly.
Then he loads them up with the sour cream and bacon.
They take about ten to twelve minutes to fry till golden.



You will need about a 5lb bag of scrubbed potatoes, sliced thick, about 1/2 inch.
1 quart of oil
2 cups of fiesta blend cheese shredded
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
1 container of sour cream
Fry sliced potatoes in several batches, in heated hot oil till brown, around 10 minutes.
Put into baking dish.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, remove from oven top with shredded cheese and allow cheese to melt around five minutes.
Garnish with bacon crumbles and sour cream.
**Optional toppings, jalapeno peppers, black olives, chopped tomato.

Recipe developed by Curt Iffert for a guest on What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine
Thank you Curt for sharing your recipe with us!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bakery Style Recipe)




Did you ever have a huge chocolate chip cookie from your favorite bakery and think why can't mine taste like that ? Well this is the one for you to try. Back in Upstate NY when I was growing up, I had friends that owned a bakery long since gone now and the cookies were so fantastic the taste is and always will be embedded in my mind, what's the saying " to die for". Of course no one would give up the secret family recipe, just the ingredients in there and so much quantity was made at one time, there was no way to break down the recipe that made 600 cookies at a time for a regular size batch... lol ...So this is my best guess through trial and error though these years and I can't tell the difference, they are so good. An all time favorite of our family , and I am sure you won't be disappointed. For the novice and advanced bakers, you can tell just by the fresh ingredients how these will taste by reading, I hope this will be a household favorite for you too.





A delicious blend of fresh ingredients, that takes you back to your childhood.

The recipe is pretty simple, but I do believe the secret is to not cook them as long as they ever state. When they are slightly browned and set then they are cooked, they still stay soft and simply melt in your mouth with the buttery gooey goodness.
So here it goes...

1 cup of unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cup cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
(Variations 1: 2 1/2 cups flour, chilled dough, flatter cookie) shown
(Variation2: 2 3/4 cups flour, no chilling, higher cookie)
2 1/2 cups of chocolate chunk chips ( use chunks not chips) plus
Optional variations add : (1/2 cup) walnuts, pecans, pistachio, cashews, coconut or peanut butter cup cut in chunks
Line two baking sheets.

Cream the butter with brown and white sugars until well blended. Stir in vanilla and egg. Fold in flour., baking soda, salt and lastly the chocolate chunks.. Chill dough for an hour.Form into rounds, the size of golf ball and place two inches apart on baking sheet. The baking sheet should be high quality pans that evenly bake, if you haven't invested in them you won't be sorry. Commercial grades are recommended.
Bake in preheated oven 350 until just set, still light in color, over baking will make hard cookies. Cool for one minute and remove from pan on wire rack or flat surface onto wax paper.
These will seem underdone, but will set up as they cool.