Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Cheesy Pretzel Bites

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
12 oz. Warm Beer (I used Blue Moon) - Microwave to 110 - 120 degrees)
2 tsp Sugar
3 1/2 + Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Baking Soda
2 Cups Water
8 oz. Cream Cheese - room temp
2 Cups Shredded Cheese (I used Cheddar & Swiss)
2 Jalapeno - Diced, Seeded
1 Cup Crispy Bacon - Chopped
2 Eggs - Beaten
Sea Salt

In a large bowl add beer, yeast, sugar. Bloom about 5-10 minutes.  Add flour & salt. Stir to combine and set aside 5-10 minutes.

In a medium bowl add cheeses, bacon, jalapeno,  Mix to combine. Set aside.

Mix dough and roll out on a floured surface. Roll out dough to about 1/4" thick and cut into about 5" diameter pieces. Stuff w/ cheese mixture, a little more than a table spoon. Fold dough over the cheese mixture and rotate until sealed.  Forms about 2" balls.

In a pot bring 2 cups (or more) of water, to a boil.  Add 2 tbsp baking soda.

Add balls to the water a few at a time.  Don't over crowd.  Cook about 3 minutes, making sure they rotate and cook on all sides.

Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Brush the tops of each ball with the beaten egg and sprinkle w/ sea salt (or any other seasoning you might like).   In a pre-heated 450 degree oven, bake for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  They will most likely leak, don't worry, it's fine.  It gives you a little crunchy cheese "tail".  Enjoy

* I served mine w/ a cheese dipping sauce.  I just made a rue, then added cheese.  More cheese is never a bad thing.  #cheftainment

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

(Tastykake) Tandy Cake

4 Eggs
2 Cups White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Cup Milk
2 tbsp butter
2 Cups Peanut Butter (+2 tbsp confectioners sugar)
2 Bags Chocolate Chips (1 Milk, 1 Dark) (+1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp brewed coffee, 2 tbsp milk)
Sea Salt

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla.  Beat on high until light and almost a lemon color. Slowly beat in flour mixture.  Heat milk and butter (until melted).  Stir into mixture.

Line a 10x15" pan w/ parchment paper and spray w/ cooking spray.  Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.  Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cake at least 1/2 hour.  In the microwave heat peanut butter and confectioners sugar until melted). Spread the peanut butter evenly over cake.  Refrigerate about 1 hour.

In the microwave, melt the chocolate, butter, coffee, milk in 30 second intervals until fully melted.  Spread evenly over peanut butter layer.  Sprinkle w/ sea salt. Refrigerate about 1/2 hour.  Cut and serve.

New Jersey Childhood memories are brought back with this dessert.  Enjoy.  #Cheftainment

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Naan Bread

2 Cups Flour (I used 1 cup white and 1 cup bread)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Sugar
4 tbsp Butter - Cold and cut into pieces
1/2 Cup Milk
Water - If needed.  I needed about 4 tbsp.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, sugar.  Add the butter and using a fork or a pastry cutter mix together.  Gradually add in the milk and combine.  If needed, add in a little water at a time till you get a consistency that holds together but it's too wet.

Lightly oil your counter and knead dough for about 10 minutes.  Set aside covered with a damp towel for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 4 even pieces.  Roll dough out and keep folding it over itself.  Dough should be sort of thin.  Mine was a little thinner than 1/4 inch and the shape is up to you.  Mine ended up being sort of rectangle.

In a pan over medium / high heat add about 2 tbsp EVOO and place the rolled out dough.  It cooks fast, maybe 1-2 minutes on each side.  It will bubble up and blister.  It burns FAST so keep an eye on it.

I used mine as a flat bread pizza base but you can eat as is or put herbs in the dough.  Enjoy. #Cheftainment

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

2 tbsp EOO
1/2 Onion - Diced
1 Carrot - Diced
1 Cup Mushrooms - Diced
2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
2 Bunches of Broccoli (stalks & tops) - Chopped
2 Cups Kale - Chopped
1/4 Cup White Wine
1 Qt. Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
1/4 tbsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese

In a large pot over med/high heat, add the EVOO.  Add in the onion and carrot and a pinch of salt.  Cook about 5 minutes then add in the mushrooms and another pinch of salt and cook another 5 minutes.  You may add in a little bit of water if necessary to keep from sticking to the bottom.

Add the garlic and cook about 3 minutes.  Add the broccoli and kale and another pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook down about 15 minutes or until everything starts to break down.

Add in the cumin and paprika.  Cook about 2 minutes and then add in the wine.  Cook about 5 minutes and then add in the chicken or vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the mixture.  Add in the cheddar cheese and whisk until melted and combined.  Taste for seasoning.

I served my soup topped w/ homemade garlic parmesan croutons and diced red pepper.  May also add a dollop of sour cream if desired.  Enjoy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi w. Pesto

2 Cups Ricotta
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp Salt
2 Large Eggs - Beaten
1 1/4 Cups Flour (+ More for dusting)

Combine Ricotta, Parm Cheese, EVOO, Salt & Eggs.  Add in the flour in 3 parts.

Roll out the dough on a floured service.  Cut into 4 quarters.  Roll into long ropes about 1" thick.  

Cut into 1" cubes and place a fork impression.

Place on a semolina lined tray.  Boil in salted water about 2 minutes or until they float to the top. 

Cover in Pesto and Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Apple Spice Cake

1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter
3 1/2 Granny Smith Apples - Peeled & Small Dice (keep the 1/2 apple separate)
1/2 Lemon - Juiced
1 Cup Apple Cider
1 3/4 Cups Flour (+3 tbsp for dusting)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup White Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 Egg - Beaten
1 tsp Vanilla

In a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the 3 apples, lemon juice and apple cider.  Stir to combine, reduce to low/medium heat and cook until apples are softened and the liquid has reduced by 1/2.  About 30 minutes.

Add the apple mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes coarse.  You do not want to puree it.

In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, both sugars and salt.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the cooked apple mixture, the reserved 1/2 apple, egg and vanilla.  Stir to combine.

Butter and flour (the 3 tbsp reserved) a loaf pan.  Pour out excess flour from pan.  Pour batter into the pan and place on a cookie sheet as there will be over spill.  Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out from the center clean.

Let sit for about 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Really good by itself or warm with butter.  This cake comes out so moist and delicious and perfect for school bake sales.

Enjoy.  #Cheftainment

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Roasted Garlic Soup

5 Slices Crispy Bacon (save bacon fat)
25 Large Cloves of Garlic - Peeled
1 Med/Large Onion - Diced
1/2 Loaf Italian Bread - Ripped into pieces
1 Cup EVOO
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1/2 Pint Heavy Cream
2 tbsp Fresh Thyme
2 tbsp Fresh Parsley

In a Dutch Oven or medium sized pot over med/high heat, add 2 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp Bacon Fat.  Add in Garlic and Onions and brown for about 5 minutes.  Lower heat to low/med and add the rest of the EVOO.  Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until garlic smashes easily w/ a fork.

Add the thyme, parsley, chicken stock and heavy cream.  Cook for about 1/2 hour.  Add in the ripped bread and then blend with an emersion blender.  If you don't have one, put soup into the blender in stages so as not to burn yourself.  Blend until smooth and cook for another 15 minutes on a low simmer.

I topped my soup w/ roasted chicken, crumbled bacon and garlic bread.  The garlic soup becomes a sweet garlic flavor, not overpowering at all.  If you have leftovers it makes a fantastic pasta sauce.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb Brussels Sprouts - end trimmed and sliced in 1/2
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Parmesan Cheese (Or an Italian Mix)

In a cast iron skillet or oven proof pan, heat on the stove to high.  Add the EVOO, then layer in the sprouts, cut side down.

Sprinkle w/ salt, pepper, garlic powder.  Cook until bottom of sprouts are caramelized brown.  About 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add water and vinegar.  Cook until liquid is reduced.  Place in oven.

Cook about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese over sprouts and cook about 3 more minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quickles - "Quick Pickles"

2 Cups Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cups Kosher Salt
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
3/4 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Celery Seeds
1/4 tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 Cloves Garlic - Smashed
1 Fresno Chili - Seeded and sliced
6 Kirby Cucumbers - Sliced about 1/4" thick
1/2 Onion thinly sliced
1 bunch Dill - Rough Chop
4 Radishes - Thinly Sliced

In a saucepot combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, garlic, chili and 2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.

Once the mixture boils, pour the liquid over the sliced veggies until submerged.  Let the mixture sit in the liquid until it comes to room temperature.

Put in containers and store in the fridge.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rustic Italian Bread

2 Cups Bread Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
White Flour for dusting
2 tsp Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
2 tbsp EVOO
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water heated to about 110 degrees (+ a little extra)
1 tbsp EVOO
1 Egg - Beaten
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

In a stand mixer w/ the dough hook, add the bread flour and whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, evoo and yeast.  Turn mixer on low and start to combine.

Slowly add the water to form a rough dough ball.  Sprinkle counter w/ white flour and turn dough out on counter and kneed for about 6 minutes.  You may need to keep wetting your hands to bring the dough together.

Once it is a smooth ball, drizzle a bowl w/ about 1 tbsp of evoo.  Place in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap for about 1 hour.

Sprinkle counter with white flour and roll out dough into either a ball or long form or whatever you desire.  Place on the desired baking sheet and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes.

Slice cross hatches in the top of the bread and brush with egg wash.  Sprinkle w/ Italian seasonings or whatever you like and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes or until top is crusty golden and the center sounds hollow when tapped.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Homemade Pasta

2 Cups 00 Flour + 1 1/2 Cups Flour + More for dusting (can use regular flour if don't have 00)
4 Large Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

Pour the flour on the counter in a mountain formation.  With a fork, burrow a hole in the center forming a well.  In a bowl mix the eggs, salt, evoo & garlic powder.

Pour the egg mixture into the well.  Slowly, with a fork, stir the egg mixture together gradually combining the flour from the sides.  Use a bench scrape  if necessary to pull the dough off the counter to combine.  Dough will be dry and crumbly.  Wet your hands and start to combine dough into a ball.  May have to add water 1 tbsp at a time until dough forms a combined smooth dough.  Probably kneed for about 10 minutes.

Flatten dough to about a 1" disc, wrap in plastic wrap and set on counter for about 20 minutes.

Unwrap dough and cut into 4 quarters.  Roll each quarter out with a rolling pin to about 1/2".  Place in your pasta rolling machine on the largest setting and continue down until the lowest setting.  Then place in whatever setting you want:  Spaghetti, Flat, etc.  Dust with flour.

Fresh pasta cooks in about 3 minutes in salted boiling water.

Enjoy.  Ultimate pastabilities with this recipe.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Matzo Ball Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

1 Whole Chicken
3 Medium Onions - Diced
3 Carrots - Diced
3 Sticks of Celery - Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic - Peeled and Chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Bag Jewish Fine Egg Noodles
1/2 Bunch Parsley - Chopped
4 tbsp Fresh Dill - Chopped

For The Matzo Balls:
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons chicken fat
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Box Matzo Meal

In a large pot cover chicken with cold water to come about 2 " above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim the froth off the top of the chicken.

Add the chopped veg, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs, and season with a good pinch of salt. Bring everything back to the boil, then turn the heat down and leave it to simmer for 1 hour. Carry on skimming the broth, reserving 4 tablespoons of this fat for your matzo balls.

To make your matzo balls, beat the eggs in a large bowl and add your cooled chicken fat and the salt and pepper. Beat again, then slowly stir in your matzo meal until well blended. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes, then wet your hands with cold water and roll the dough using a 1" scoop.  They will double in size when cooked.

When the soup has had its hour and a half, use tongs to carefully transfer the chicken to a roasting pan. Leave to cool, uncovered, for a few minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and strain it through your biggest sieve or colander. Pull out the decent-looking bits of veg and put these back into the soup, getting rid of anything else. Put the pan back on a medium heat and bring back to the boil, then add your matzo balls. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down a bit and simmer for 20 minutes, until the balls are light and puffy. Halfway through the 20 minutes, add your noodles or spaghetti to the pan and cook gently for the final 10 minutes.

When your chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred the meat off the bone. Pick the leaves from your parsley and roughly chop them with the dill. Add all your shredded chicken meat to the soup, along with the chopped herbs, and warm through for 3 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.   Enjoy.

Original recipe:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi

2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
2 Large Eggs
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Flour (+ 1/2 cup)

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, EVOO, eggs and pepper.  Slowly stir in the flour 1/3 at a time.  It should combine into a ball.  Add the extra flour gradually if it doesn't.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a ball.  Cut into 4 quarters.  Roll each quarter into a log about 1" thick and cut into 1" squares.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, add in the gnocchi.  When they rise to the top they are done.

At this point you can put them into your favorite sauce, but I like a bit of a bite on my gnocchi so I toss them in a pan w/ butter and brown them on both sides then add then to tomato sauce or pesto.  Enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quinoa & Kale Salad

1 Large Bunch of Kale - Stems removed and leaves shredded
2 Large Carrots - Shredded
1/4 Red Onion - Small Dice
1 Fresno Chili - Seeded & Small Dice
1 Can Garbanzo Beans - Drained & Rinsed
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries - Reconstituted in warm water & drained
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 tbsp Salt (reserve)

1 Cup Quinoa
2 Cups Vegetable Broth

3/4 Cup Orange Juice
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves - Fine Dice
1" Ginger - Grated
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Cumin
2 tbsp EVOO
1 Cup Water

In a large bowl combine kale, carrots, onion, chili, garbanzo beans, cranberries, sunflower seeds.  Stir to combine.

In a pot over high heat add the quinoa and vegetable broth.  Bring to a bowl, cover and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is evaporated.

In a saucepan over med/high heat add the orange juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, mustard, sesame oil, 1 tbsp salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, evoo & water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until it reduces slightly and get's thicker. Stir and cool for about 10 minutes to reduce heat.

Add the quinoa to the kale salad mixture and combine.  Pour over the vinaigrette and mix to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add in the 1 tbsp of salt if necessary or adjust other seasonings as necessary.

This is a super food, healthy salad and made to feed a family or just for a week's worth of lunches.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Asian Meatballs - 2

20 oz. Ground Turkey
20 oz. Ground Pork
1 Med. Onion - Rough Chop
4 Garlic Cloves
1 tbsp Ginger - Grated
1 Cup Mushrooms - Rough Chop
1/4 Cup Parsley - Leaves & Stems
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Roasted Piquillo Peppers - Small Dice (use roasted red peppers if you don't have Piquillo)
2 tbsp Quinoa
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Egg - Beaten

For Sauce:
2 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Sambal
1/2 Cup Water

In a small food processor add in the onion and garlic and puree.  Add to a large bowl.  Next blend up the mushrooms and parsley and add to the bowl.  In the bowl, add the piquillo peppers and chicken stock.  Mix to combine everything.  Add in the quinoa, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg.  Mix to combine.  Add in the turkey and pork and mix to combine (don't over mix).

Using a small scoop (about 1" in diameter) scoop the meatballs onto a large baking sheet (w/ sides) lined w/ parchment paper and sprayed w/ cooking spray.  When all the meatballs are on the baking sheet roll each into a ball.  Run your hands periodically under water to stop the meatballs from sticking. You should get about 80 meatballs.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Mine didn't brown so when I took them out of the oven, I let them cool for about 10 minutes then put them in a sauté pan over med/high heat to brown about 2 minutes, stirring so as not to burn.

While the meatballs are in the oven, in a sauce pot add the sugar, soy sauce, evoo, mustard, sambal and water.  If you don't have sambal, you can substitute chili paste or about 1/4 tsp of chili flakes.  Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.  Cook over med/high heat until the mixture starts to reduce and thicken.

When the meatballs are out of the oven (or the pan), let cool for about 5 minutes.  Add the meatballs to a large bowl and pour the sauce over them and stir to combine.   Garnish w/ sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Perfect to serve as an appetizer or in a spicy asian noodle dish or soup.  Enjoy.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 Cup Butter- Room Temp
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs - Room Temp / Beaten
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Overripe Banana - Mashed
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
3 Cups Quick Oats
1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar & sugar.  In a small bowl beat together the eggs.  Slowly beat in the eggs to the sugar mixture and add in the vanilla, banana, coconut oil and cinnamon.  Beat to combine.

In a medium bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and quick oats. Stir to combine.

Gradually fold in the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 batches.  When combined add in the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Using a small 1" cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the sheets.  Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before putting into oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the bottom is golden brown.

Remove to a cooling rack and Enjoy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Parmesan Herb Bread

2 Onions - Sliced
2 tbsp EVOO
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs - Beaten
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Rosemary - Chopped
1 tsp Thyme- Chopped
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Baking Soda

Over med/low heat in a large pan, caramelize onions for about 30 minutes.  In a bowl, whisk sour cream, vegetable oil and eggs.  In a separate bowl whisk together flour, parmesan, sugar, rosemary, thyme, baking powder lemon zest, salt, pepper and baking soda.

Add in the onions and fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix to combine.

Pour mixture into a 9x5" loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper on the bottom and all sides (let the sides hang out a little longer to make it easier to remove) and sprayed with cooking spray.

Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.  Let cool about 1 hour then remove.  Enjoy.

Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus

1 Bunch Asparagus - Ends Trimmed
1 Garlic Clove - Minced
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 + 1 tbsp Parmentino Cheese - Grated (substitute Parmesan if necessary)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
4 Slices Prosciutto - Thinly Sliced

In a large pot of boiling, salted water add the asparagus and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and lock in the vibrant, green color.

Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board.  Spread the dijon evenly and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the parmentino cheese, garlic and black pepper.

In 4 even bunches add the asparagus to the end of the proscuitto and roll up.  Sprinkle EVOO on a baking sheet and place the asparagus on and place in a preheated 450 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes (turning after 5 minutes).

Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with remaining parmentino cheese.  Enjoy.