Friday, January 31, 2014

Pan de Jamon

My husband's co-worker Fernando is Chinese and grew up in Venezuela (I think that is so cool). Fernando requested Pan de Jamon, a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread.  It is similar to an Italian Stromboli but with ham instead.  This was a request worth trying since, 1. I am not from Venezuela, 2. I love trying anything different, and 3. I enjoy making food when someone else decides what food I should make.  You now know my secret.   I am completely open to suggestions about what I cook.  My favorite way of determining the recipe I will make, is thinking about a food that someone I know would choose.  

Pan de Jamon when translated to English means Ham Bread.  Gustavo Ramella, owner of a bakery in Caracas created this bread in December 1905.  The original Pan de Jamon was only filled with ham.  In 1920, other bakeries began adding almonds, olives, nuts and capers. 

When researching this bread, every photograph I saw showed it having ham, bacon, roasted red peppers, Spanish pimento filled olives, and raisins rolled in dough.

 In your best Spanish accent (Think Spanish Buzz from Toy Story 3) say Pan de Jamon making
sure you pronounce the J like an H.  Fun to say huh, especially with an accent.

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit

 Ingredients for this recipe are: 1 ball of pizza dough that has risen once (I used homemade, recipe
 found here), 1/4 cup raisins, 2 roasted red peppers, 1/2 cup Spanish pimento filled olives, 1 lb. sliced ham, and 1/4 lb. bacon (cooked, but still soft).

 Roll pizza dough on floured board or parchment as I have done.  Make a large rectangle,
1/4 inch thick.

 Place ham in a row, then cooked bacon, olives, roasted red bell peppers, repeat and spread
roasted red bell peppers and raisins over the whole smorgasbord.  Try to leave the far edge
 uncovered so you can seal the loaf together.  I love the colors and textures of this, don't you?

 Roll, similar to rolling cinnamon rolls.

 If you have made your loaf on parchment paper, move loaf and paper to cookie sheet, otherwise
you need to spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Brush egg wash on loaf (eggwash= 1egg
yolk, 1 tablespoon cold water).

Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes.

 This yummy bread is ready to be cut.

 I love the layers, it looks very festive.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dill Pickles

This morning I went to the grocery store near my apartment and in the $1vegetable bin they had large bags of pickling cucumbers!  I hit the pickling jackpot.  I bought two bags and invited my friend Bridget over to make them and take a jar home with her.  These are super easy pickles to make.  I love pickles!

 6 lbs. of pickles!  You read right, that is a lot of dill pickles.

 Ingredients for this recipe: 2 1/2 lbs. pickling cucumbers, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 10 cloves peeled garlic, 3 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar,  bunch of fresh dill, and 3 tablespoons salt.
Ignore the pepper, it was photo-bombing my photo.

 Cut the ends off the washed cucumbers, enzymes where the blossom was will prevent your
cucumbers from being crunchy pickles.  Cut each cucumber lengthwise into four equal spears.

Boil vinegar, water, and salt together in a non-reactive pan until salt is dissolved.  

 I used a 1/2 gallon mason jar.   The cucumbers can be put into pint jars as well.  Place the cucumbers
 in the jar straight.   I had my jar on its side to make this easier.  Just before you have packed the
bottom half of your jar full of cucumbers add half the garlic being sure to press the garlic with the
palm of your hand to slightly crush the garlic and release it's goodness.  Add half the pepper flakes,
and after tearing off the stems, add half the dill as well.  Squish some more cucumbers in the bottom
of the jar and repeat the layering of the rest of the cucumbers, garlic, dill, and pepper flakes. 
 The jars are very full and ready for the pickling liquid.

 Add liquid to jar(s), fill to the bottom of the ridged portion of the jar.

Screw lids on and place in refrigerator, these will last a couple of weeks as they are.  You are welcome to preserve yours.  By tomorrow these will be ready to taste.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Apple Multigrain Muffins

I feel like the muffin girl this week.  I made more muffins today.   Since we had apples, that is what I used.  My children like muffins, and truthfully three of my four children prefer their apples by themselves.  My friends Bridget and Whitney came to help me make more muffins too.  Three pairs of hands really does make the process more fun, as long as we aren't trying to be in each other's spaces at the same time.

 This muffin isn't very pretty, but it tasted really yummy.

Preheat oven to 375 Farenheit

 Ingredients for this recipe are: 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
(brown sugar also works) divided, 1 large egg, 1 cup buttermilk (I used homemade, recipe found
  here), 2 cups Wonder Flour (description of wonder flour here, or use half whole wheat flour and
all purpose flour), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt,
1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 3 large apples (any apple you like to eat).  I doubled the recipe when
I made it, hence the double ingredients.

 Add sugars (1/2 the turbinado sugar), butter, baking soda, salt and baking powder together in
mixing bowl and beat with whisk attachment until...
 Fluffy has been achieved.


 Core, and dice the apples.

 Add eggs and whisk until combined.  Remove bowl from mixer and using a spatula stir in
buttermilk, and finally add flour, cinnamon...
 Let the batter get to know the apples and let them join in holy muffindom.

 The batter is ready to be baked.

 If you are smarter than I was while making these muffins, you will not try to make these without muffin papers, DON'T DO IT.  I warn you in advance, these muffins are very soft and delicious
and don't have an ounce of backbone to them and will fall apart without that muffin paper.

 Sprinkle the other half of the turbinado sugar on the muffins.

Bake muffins in oven for 25-30 minutes, check doneness with toothpick.

 I overfilled my muffin pans.   Don't make that mistake either. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hot Sauce

I like hot sauce, I have a favorite brand (Cholula) that I ran out of.  I went to a store and looked at the Cholula bottle and figured I could do that.  Today was the day for making sauce.   I'm not interested in a hot sauce competition or trying to make the hottest sauce, or even bottling my own brand of hot sauce.  I really like making food that I can buy but better.  Do you like hot sauce, do you have a favorite?

Lime on the left, garlic on the right.  Maybe I should have used food coloring?

 Ingredients for this recipe are: 1 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar,
6 cloves peeled garlic, 1/2 small yellow onion, and 2 habaƱero peppers.

 If you have gloves wear them.   Press garlic and peppers through a garlic press.  I hadn't planned
on using my garlic press for the peppers, but decided on a whim to do it and oh my goodness,
it worked wonderfully. 

 Just so you know, no you can't press an onion through a garlic press (I tried it).  Dice the
onion instead.

 I decided my sauce needed some color.  This 1 Roma tomato should help.

 Dice the tomato.

 Add everything together and cook over medium heat for thirty minutes

 With an immersion blender (if you have one) blend until everything is pureed.  Cook for
an additional twenty minutes. 

 Pour mixture through fine mesh sieve.   Pour sauce back into pan.

 Bring sauce to a boil.   Make a cornstarch slurry of cornstarch and cold water (1 tablespoon
cornstarch, 2 tablespoons cold water).  Add  cornstarch slurry and stir.   Only add enough to
make it the thickness you want.

Pour sauce into a lidded container.  Add lime juice to sauce.   I added it to one of the bottles
and left  the other bottle without it.


Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are really fun to make. I love adding ingredients together and coming up with a round ball of deliciousness.  I have made many different meatballs, changing what I add and how I cook them.  This is the latest version of meatballs.  This recipe was created with what I have on hand.  Have you noticed my pattern yet?  Yes my recipes are based on the ingredients I have, sometimes I prepare in advance and have certain ingredients, but these almost 14 years of marriage have been a lesson in using what I have and making do. 

 Look familiar?  Last post was about the spaghetti, now we get to make the meatballs.

 Ingredients for this recipe are: 1 lb. ground turkey, 6 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese,
1 small yellow onion, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (Basil, oregano,
parsley), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

 Grate the Parmesan cheese into bowl. This is my grater, isn't it great?

 Dice the onion small.  Using a garlic press press all the garlic cloves.

 Saute onions in 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil, when starting to become translucent, add the garlic
and saute for a minute.

 Add all the ingredients together.

 Gently mix together with hands.   Over mixing meatballs mixture will create tougher meatballs.

 Heat up 1/2 inch of Olive Oil in a large 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  When you see
 ripples in the oil, test with a droplet of water.  If the water sizzles, add the meatballs.  Form meat
into 1 1/2 inch balls and place in skillet. 

 Cook on first side until brown.

Using tongs flip the meatballs over.

Remove from oil when finished browning and add to a skillet with your favorite marinara
 sauce.  I recommend my homemade sauce, recipe can be found here.  Cook meatballs in sauce
for at least 10 minutes with lid on.