Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stewing the Pot

Hi Eaters,

Drumroll.....the stew turned out...okay.  I think it will be better tomorrow.  The flavors didn't full-on meld together like they were supposed to.

However the Dutch Crunch bread from Raley's was more that sufficient to buffer my mild disappoint suffered upon tasting this stew. 

It's okay, I drowned my sorrows in a thick slice of this bad boy after dinner...so I will pull through...(so glad I had time to make Chocolate Cream Pie- my most favorite comfort food of all).

That's all for now...


Leftovers...the last stand...

Hello Eaters,

This afternoon is a cold and dreary one here in Chico, California.  We took down all of our Christmas decorations today (I know, I know, it isn't even the Epiphany, but I was so tired).  So I started thinking about making some comfort food.  I asked my husband if he thought it was a waste to use leftover Prime Rob beef for a stew.  He said yes, but no, since we were going to be using it.  So that sold it for me.  Beef stew with crusty sourdough bread slathered in butter.  Sounded good to my tired little mind.

I immediately went to my most favorite comfort food lady - The Pioneer Woman.  Treasure of all treasures, I found a simple, awesome looking recipe that will comfort me AND dazzle my taste buds at the same time.  This stew was taste tested and approved by her husband (The Marlboro Man) and has beef and beer in it.  How could it be bad?  The best part was that I knew I was going to christen my brand new cast iron dutch oven that my mom and dad gave me for Christmas. 

Here is the link to The Pioneer Woman's website and the fabulous recipe:  The Pioneer Woman - Beef Stew with Beer & Paprika

Here is what my simmering stew looks like in the middle of the cooking process - notice the shiny new dutch oven and my old standby wooden spoon...this time it told me to add extra beer and more garlic...who was I not to oblige?

I will post the end result after green beans, (adding those in they are not in the recipe), potatoes, and carrots are in.  I have to wait for the Great White Hunter to come home from Quail hunting at Black Butte today so I can go get the carrots.  It is our dog Belle's 11th birthday today and her treat was to scare quails into an early grave.  Nice.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crash & Burn Bakery

Hello Eaters,

Well, I am a Christmas liar...here I promised you all yesterday that I would post pictures from the great bake-a-thon that was to have happened yesterday.   Turns out I forgot to eat, so  by 4pm I felt like I was going to die.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  Was I getting the dreaded stomach flu?  Did I reach my account limit on being on my feet?  Did I have a serious case of the Yuletide yucks?  Nope, just forgot to eat. 
For dinner I made a "practice" prime rib and miraculously after I ate some protein I felt like I could swim the English Channel.  So there I was feeling better but had not a single baked good to pass out...oh well...it is another day!  I will conquer!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's The Most Wonderfilled Time Of The Year - Bakery Phase 1

First up - mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins....

It's The Most Wonderfilled Time Of The Year!

Hello Eaters,
Ahhh...the smell of pine boughs, flour lightly dusting my countertops, bits and pieces of festive ribbon sprinkled on the floor, average of three hours of sleep per night...it must be the week of Christmas.  I am usually good for one Vesuvius style meltdown/explosion during this same week every year, and last night it reared it's foul head...so now I am good to go, with clear and clean mental sturdiness until Santa shoves his fat butt down my woodstove pipe.

So I am slowing it down, taking time to enjoy my kids and time off from school.  Today, after taking my kids to a morning movie, I will begin my annual "baking for gifts" odyssey.   Hopefully I will have time to post some pictures to this space and post recipes.  There are some good ones to be had this year! 

Until this afternoon....


Monday, September 19, 2011

Back To School = No More Time!

Prayer of the Day: 
" Bless this kitchen, Lord, and those who gather here each day.
Let it be a place where we can meet to love and laugh and pray.
Amen." - http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/prayer.php?p=1435

Hello Eaters,
(I feel funny always writing specifically to people (Eaters) and then realize I haven't told anyone about this blog yet - guess I still feel the need to practice and sharpen my writing knife)

A new addition - I will be adding a prayer to each blog.  I mean it is called "Holy" Cannoli, so there's got to be some sort of religious undertone in this blog...one way to work myself out of Purgatory faster... 

Well, I am back at my school, working full time (and then some) and this means...

1)  My home looks like it has been hit by an F5 tornado
2)  My husband and I are sporting two pairs of dark droopy bags under our eyes
3)  I come home and immediately reach for something that has been fermented
4) With Back To School nights, news schools, staff meetings, field trip prep, taking my Grandpa places, and going out of town, we have been eating out at least 3-4 times per week...yeccchh!!

So then a break comes along - thank you Pink Eye for infecting my daughter, Lucy! - and I find myself having a moment to myself - thank you again above acknowledged conjunctivitis menace and Wow, Wow, Wubbzy for entertaining conjunctivitis girl -to revisit my dirty little foodie blog secret.

Yesterday I was able to marinate in my kitchen long enough to bake and chef something up!  It felt amazing to create again.  My Mother-In-Law, Mary (from now on I will refer to her as the "Saint of All Saints") gave me this amazing Chocolate Chip cookie recipe that I will share here later today after I take some pics and find a way to bath the recipe in gold.  These cookies are to die for - a little high maintenance - but to die for.

Then, for dinner, I wanted something fast and easy so I made my own pizza dough (in the breamaker - it is fresh, fast, and easy) and then took some fresh garden tomatoes that my neighbors next door gifted to me and made my own pizza sauce, incredibly easy!

8-10 fresh garden tomatoes; 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 3 cloves garlic, minced; salt and pepper to taste
I found my dough recipe on the Cook's Illustrated website - they are amazing!
So, there you have it.  I will be back to add the cookie recipe and pics from the Saint of All Saints. 

Ciao for now...

Mel from conjunctivitis Purgatory

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Baking Bee In My Bonnet

Hi Eaters,

Today I felt the urge to bake and cook - anything and everything...I wish I had taken pictures, but I was just in a zone - so I made my own sourdough garlic/Italian herbed croutons, a beautiful lime/cilantro/pepperjack pork quesadilla, home made tomato sauce (everything from one garden or another of me and people I know), and I just finished a triple batch of Blueberry Cream Muffins...I haven't been creative in the kitchen for a few days, so I have been having a blast!!!



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Crying Fowl!

Chicken it is tonight folks...now what to do with it...I have a little Laughing Cow cheese that might make a good stuffing with some herbs from my garden...maybe a little garlic sauce to go over it...hmmmm....we shall see...I did purchase a bottle of my most favorite wine - Bertagna's Son-Kissed Vineyards Barbera...simply, heaven in a bottle...



Back from vacations and raring to go!

Hi All!

I am ready to get back in the thick of it and start cooking again.  It has been a VERY busy past couple of weeks - camping, Harry Potter, yada, yada, yada...

I am trying to think of what I am cooking for dinner tonight....something with chicken...my husband, Mike, wants me to use up some of our venison in the freezer, as the next hunting season is just around the corner...so we will see.  I will revisit this blog when I have decided.  Last night we feasted off of our grill, as it was so darn hot here in Chico.  We grilled the fish we caught on our camping trip, organic zucchini from my garden, and topped it all off with sauteed garlic in olive oil, the garlic being from my father-in-law's garden in the Bay Area.  Fresh, and yummy!

Ciao for no...Mangia!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2 of Nobody Reading This Blog

...You know...that's okay...I said I am doing it for myself, right?
So, here I am...

This afternoon I made one of my most favorite dishes - lasagna.  I mean, why wouldn't I like lasagna?  I gain ten pounds just looking at the saucy, cheesy, tangy creation from "God on vacation in Italy". 

Depending on the size of the lasagna, the bigger the better (that's what she said), I sometimes use fresh tomatoes, and sometimes use canned tomato sauce.  Today, since me, the husband and our kidlets were out on the boat all day at Lake Oroville fishing for tonight's dinner (which is obviously why I am cooking lasagna, as we caught zippo) I used a can of tomato sauce.  To make it "my own" I added the following:
Fresh chopped galric from the garlic- four or five cloves
Half of a refrigerated red onion - chopped (if you refrigerate the onion, it won't make you cry!)
Olive oil
Ground Turkey
Dry Chardonnay
One heaping handful each of fresh herbs from my garden:  basil, oregano, rosemary, flat leaf parsley (you wouldn't believe the smells coming outta this bouquet)

Then I sauteed the onions and garlic in the olive oil, added mushrooms, added turkey, added wine and sauce and herbs...simmered and then had my sauce for the lasagna layers.

I also added some fresh Mediterranean sea salt, pepper, a little sugar, and a tablespoon of Ghirardelli chocolate powder - THE secret ingredient people!!!

Then the layers - mix the fresh ricotta (I love me some Trader Joe's brand) with one egg and salt and pepper - fresh cracked makes for happy lasagna.  Also, good melting quality mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  If you buy the cheapest brands of these two cheeses, they will not melt fluidly, but have a rubbery plastic looking texture. I do not buy the most expensive (after all I do work in the education field), but I do not buy the cheapest either.  Trader Joe's always has affordable, decent quality items!  Thank you Mr. Joe!!

I layer like this:

Sauce to cover the bottom
Ricotta mixture
Sauce to cover
Ricotta Mixture
Sauce To Cover

***I do not boil my noodles beforehand...if your sauce is "wet" enough, it will cook the noodles anyway.***

Let is rest for 20-30 minutes

Then bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees.  Check in at 45 minutes and if your top is bubbling and browning, then it will be ready.

Let it rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with foil.

Okay!  Gotta scoot to an hour of Holy Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament...if you are ever invited to participate, don't hesitate...do it!  It will change your life!

Enjoy!  Mangia!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Holy Cannoli!

Hello?  Anyone?

Dear Lord in heaven, what am I doing here?

The first post...I don't even know what to do next!  

I think I finally have mustered up the courage to do something for ME, something I have been wanting to do for years.  I suspect my launching pad may stem from a healthy dose of liquid courage in the form of ice cold Symphony Obsession wine by Ironstone Vineyards (the summer BOMB people, and at $6-$9 a bottle, a veritable bargain!!).  Truth be told, I am on summer break from school...and I am B-O-R-E-D!!!  So a crazy inspiration, love of food, love of writing, an "I know I have a problem" addiction to the internet, and finally a suspension of my Facebook privileges from my awesome if not eternally frazzled-at-me husband, Mike, has taken hold of me !. 

So, here it is:

I LOVE FOOD.  I love it.  I have dreams about it.  I think about it all day.  I savor every bite of something I am eating.  I also have had a dream - I have always wanted to own my own business, specifically, a small cafe, or restaurant, but have had neither the start-up cashola nor the self-confidence to give it a go...so this seems a much safer, cheaper, and less conspicuous way to talk and post pictures of food that I love, because, I LOVE FOOD.  (I borrow the statement from my Uncle Rick Ameil, who is a successful restaurateur, and host of a local television cooking show - http://i-love-cooking.tv).

First I had to dream up a blog name - almost instantly I was seized by an idea to name it Holy Cannoli.  Firstly, cannoli is amazing, no reason to expand on why, it just is.  Secondly I am Catholic, so maybe by having my blog name begin with "Holy", I can have the entire site blessed by our priest, and earn kudos points with St. Peter at The Pearly Gates, thereby shaving a few years off of Purgatory!  Lastly, I have Italian ancestry, so hey!   Here, it is,  Holy Cannoli...pages full of recipes, pictures of what I am serving for a meal, questions to other food lovers about how to create something, cries for help from other people who love food, coffee talk about mundane things, venting, screaming, kicking, laughing, loving, and crying.  I do not care if I never have a singe person reads what dwells in these blog pages, because I am doing it for me.  I LOVE FOOD!  Mangia!

I love food so what am I cooking tonight????   Trader Joe's Microwave ready  orange Chicken, and fried rice baby!

This is my Halloween creation from last year - the 2010 Giant's World Series Trophy