Saturday, July 30, 2011

Layered Panini

It is so nice to leave work at 5:15 and be home by 5:21!!

I have been driving about 45 minutes to work everyday
for several years but now I am thrilled to be so
close to home. I will miss the staff and
students but will not miss the drive!

I am looking forward to my new adventure this
upcoming school year. I can't wait to meet everyone!

Anyway, not having the long drive home gives
me more time to cook dinner. :)

We just made a wonderful Panini for dinner.
It was layered full of goodness.

The first layer was a little basil mayonnaise.
Next layer was some eggplant I breaded and cooked.
Then some slices of lemon, pepper chicken breast.
On top of the chicken I put roasted red peppers
A little Monterey Jack Cheese came next.
After that, some sauted zucchini.

I placed the sandwiches on my panini maker and
cooked them until the cheese melted and the
top of the bun browned a little.

After cooking them, I carefully opened them up to add
a few slices of garden tomato.

Can you say FABULOUS because that is what they were

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Great Recipes

I have been spending some time reading my Jamie Oliver
cookbooks. I really enjoy his recipes. He uses
great ingredients and explains the cooking process in
such unique terms.

I have "Happy Days with the Naked Chef" and
"Cook with Jamie".

This past week I cooked two great dishes from
his cookboooks.

One was for Pan-Baked Plaice with Spinach,
Olives and Tomatoes.

* I made the dish with Tilapia. It was
very good!

I also made Parsnips and Pancetta Pasta
with Parmesan and Butter.

The flavors were great!

So, go ahead and buy a Jamie Oliver Cookbook
you won't regret it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Simple Pasta Dish

What do you cook for dinner when it is 95 degrees outside?

This is a simple pasta dish with fresh basil
and tomatoes.

Slice a few (1-2)cloves of garlic real thin.
Pour about 7 tablespoons of olive oil in
a pan and cook the garlic until lightly brown.
Be very careful not to burn the garlic.
Set the oil and garlic mixture aside to cool.

Choose the type of pasta you would like
and cook it follow the directions on the box.

While the pasta is cooking dice 4-5 red and
yellow tomatoes.
Wash and cut up about 1/2 - 1 cup of fresh basil.
If you have fresh oregano add some of that too.
Mix the tomatoes and basil in a large bowl.
Add 1 tbsp. of a wine vinegar and salt and pepper
to taste.
Add the garlic oil to the mixture.

Once the pasta is finished cooking drain it well.
Then pour the pasta into the bowl with the tomatoes
and stir everything together.

Now, add some fresh grated parmesan cheese.
I like cheese so I added about 1/2 cup grated.

Then serve with a little more cheese on top.

Perfect for a hot, summer evening!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Favorite Dinner In Italy at Ristorante Bagni Delfino

We ate at so many great restaurants while in Italy
but one of our favorites was Ristorante Bagni Delfino.

On their website they describe their restaurant as
a family owned place that has been offering local
speciality dishes since 1968. Which is over 35 years
of amazing food. The restaurant is located in a very
scenic spot right on the water. The views are so beautiful
and the food is outstanding.

We sat outside as we enjoyed our dinner.
Our appetizers were Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
and Mussels. Both appetizers were excellent.

For dinner we shared
Risotto con gamberetti e rucola
Risotto with prawns and wonderfully peppery rocket leaves
and red wine.

The Risotto dish was out of this world good!

We watched the beautiful sunset while we had our dinner.

What a perfect evening!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Peach Clafouti

Ahhh ~ summer fruit is so good.
My favorites are watermelon, peaches and plums.

Watermelon is the perfect treat to bring to
a summer party. I bought this watermelon at
the Marietta Farmer's Market which is held each
Saturday on the Marietta Square.
Look how beautiful it is!

Fabulous peaches are also sold at the Marietta Farmer's Market.
We purchased a brown bag of peaches for $5 and they were
the best peaches I have eaten in a very long time.

If you have some peaches you should try this recipe for
Peach Clafouti. It is fairly easy to make and turns out
so good.

Peach Clafouti

5 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups peaches
(or 2 cups peaches 2 cups plums)

ground nutmeg (a pinch)
confectioner's sugar for the top

Turn your oven on to 375. Whisk the eggs and flour in a bowl
until they are combined. Add sour cream, milk, granulated sugar,
vanilla and salt. Whisk until all the ingredients are combined.
Add a pinch of ground nutmeg. If you have fresh nutmeg that is even
better. Pour this mixture into a baking dish. You want to choose
a dish where the mixture can spread out a little and not be to high
in the baking dish. It should cover the edges of the fruit but not
go over the top. Scatter peaches ( or the peaches and plums) in a
single layer into the batter. Place the dish in the oven and bake
for about 25 - 30 minutes. Bake until the custard is browned around
the edges and the center is set. You want to serve this dish warm.
Let the clafouti cool for a few minutes, sprinkle powdered sugar
over the top and serve.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Day Cooking with Mamma Agata in Ravello, Italy

Spending the day with Mamma Agata and her family.

When we started planning our trip to Italy my
husband and I began to research all the
different places we could go, restaurants we
could eat at and things we could do.
The possibilities were endless.

During my research I came across this website
that described a cooking class with Mamma Agata.
On the website they claimed that you
would spend the day cooking in Mamma Agata's private home,
which is situated 1,000 feet above sea level, overlooking
the Amalfi Coast. Her property includes a garden
full of lemon trees, fruit trees, vegetables, spices
and flowers. She would teach you to cook traditional
dishes like antipasti, pastas, seasonal vegetable dishes
as well as meat dishes.

This sounded too good to be true but sign me up is exactly
what I thought.

A few days into our trip we took the famous, scenic
drive along the Amalfi Coast. Now, those of you that
know me well are thinking I can't believe Sharon was
able to make the winding, narrow, challenging drive
to Ravello. I was only able to endure the drive because
my husband drove very carefully ( so I didn't have to
ride in a bus)and because I took a little dramamine. :)

The drive along the Amalfi Coast is AMAZING!!
We stopped several times to take a pictures because it
was just so beautiful. I have included some of the
photos we took along the way.

After about two and half hours of driving and praying
the whole way that this "cooking class" was going to
be worth it we finally arrived.

And I knew from the moment Chiara opened the door
to her home that this was going to be the
opportunity of a life time!

Chiara welcomed us with open arms. She brought
us to the terrace where we looked out over the
Amalfi Coast. Just like the website described but
so much better in person - breathtaking!!
We were served coffe and Mamma's famous lemon cake.

Once the rest of the guests arrived ( one of the guest
being a famous movie star - Sela Ward and her family)
we began our day of cooking with Mamma Agata and her family.
Chiara ( Mamma's daughter) and her husband Gennaro showed
us how limoncello is made. This would be served later in
the day.

Then we moved into the kitchen where the magic began.
Tips and secrets were shared as Mamma and Chiara
demonstrated how several different southern Italian dishes
are made. During the class we learned how to make Mamma
Agata's Coccoli, Eggplant Rolls, Eggplant Parmigina,
Pasta with Sausage and Peppers, Pasta of the Farmer
and Lemon Chicken.

Of course the food and wine were amazing but the
personal stories Chaira shared and passion for what
they do makes this experience so unique.
From the moment you arrive at Mamma Agata's the
family makes you feel like you are special
and that they are so excited
you came to spend the day with them.

I have attached the link to Mamma Agata's
Cooking School because if you are ever
it Italy you should definately visit
Mamma Agata.
The experience is everything
they claim on their website and so much more!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Cherries and Dark Chocolate Chips

It is time to pull out the ice cream maker
since the weather is going to be in the
high 90's all weekend.
Picnics and fireworks I enjoy but sweating
all day, no thanks.
I think I will avoid the heat for a little
while, stay inside and make some homemade
Cherry and Dark Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Cherries and Dark Chocolate Chips

1 - 1 1/2 cup pitted, sweet cherries
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt

2 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 cup pitted, diced sweet cherries
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chocolate covered dried cherries, chopped
1 -2 Tbsp of cherry liqueur or rum (optional)

* You may want to consider buying a cherry pitter - it is an awesome kitchen tool.
Thanks to Tyleen I have one and I love it!

To make the ice cream:

Place the pitted cherries, milk, one cup of the cream, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan. You want to heat the mixture until it starts to steam a little but you do not want to bring it to a boil. After the mixture steams lower the heat to low and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and pour the mixture into a bowl to cool. You can place the bowl in the refrigerator for a little while to speed up this process. Next you will pour the mixture into a blender and carefully purée.

Place the mixture back into a large bowl. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of cream and agave nectar. Chill for several hours in the refrigerator until completely cold. *Don't forget you also need to chill your ice cream maker ring.

Rigt before you are ready to put the mixture into your ice cream maker you will stir in the fresh, chopped cherries, the chocolate covered cherries, the dark chocolate chips and the rum. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and
let it turn for about 20 - 30 minutes.

Check your ice cream maker to see how the mixture is coming along. Remember the ice cream will still be pretty soft at this point. Gently empty the ice cream from your ice cream maker into an airtight container and place in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

A few notes:
You do not have to add alcohol to your ice cream if you don't want. It does help with the flavor and it makes takes the icy bits out of the ice cream.

If your ice cream is not powerful you can add the cherry bits and chocolate chips after it is finished churning. Just fold the chopped ingredients into the ice cream gently and then freeze.

It looks so good!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Eating My Way Through Italy

Before we left for Italy I told my husband
that my plan was to eat Pizza and Gelato
every day! I am not sure he believed me
and to be honest with you I wasn't being
serious it just sounded like the right
thing to say since we were going to Italy.

I did not realize how true that statement
would turn out to be. Of the ten days we
spent in Italy I am pretty sure that I had
pizza at least eight times! The pizza was
just so good and it made a
perfect lunch.

Here are some of the yummy
pizzas we ate while we traveled from
Sorrento to Rome.

I believe this was pizza number 1.

This pizza was topped with sausage, ham, artichokes, tomato and rocket. We learned that rocket is a form of arugula. There was no red sauce but somehow the pizza turned out creamy and very good!

This pizza was excellent. The crust was very buttery! The pizza was topped with cheese, rocket and tomato.

Pizza at Il Buffalito
This restaurant is known for their homemade buffalo mozarella.
The cheese was so good it just melted in your mouth.

Pizza after a day on Capri
This time we tried a classic mushroom and olive pizza.

Pizza while at the beach in Sorrento
It is amazing ~ even at the beach the pizza is great!

Pizza at Campo De Fiori Market in Rome
YUM! This pizza was outstanding. Not sure why the boiled egg is a part of the pizza but all the other ingredients were outstanding.

Yup, more pizza
Simple yet very good!

See, I told you, I ate pizza almost every day and I don't regret it!
I enjoyed trying all the different varieties of pizza there are in Italy.
Each pizza had its own unique flavor. I will get to all the other food
we ate very soon!