Pasta with Broccoli and Cauliflower

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This recipe is adapted from my favorite Italian cooking magazine, La Cucina Italiana. The veggies with all the cheese and egg yolks make for an amazingly satisfying meal. Even the kids liked it! It’s kinda like a veggie pasta carbonara.

Ingredients:
Fine sea salt
1/4 c chicken stock
1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
4 c very small cauliflower florets
5 c very small broccoli florets
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Coarsely cracked black pepper
1 lb pasta
3 c freshly grated pecorino or Grana Padano cheese
2 large egg yolks

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add chicken stock and onion, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook cauliflower in the boiling water until tender, about 6 minutes. Using a mesh strainer or slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a bowl. Add broccoli to the boiling water and cook until just tender yet still firm to the bite, about 4 minutes; using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a second bowl. Reserve pot of water.

When onion is tender and golden, add cauliflower, cinnamon, cloves and generous pinch pepper; cook over medium heat, breaking apart cauliflower florets into small pieces, 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Return pot of water to a boil. Addpasta and cook until pasta is about 2 minutes from al dente, then add broccoli to pot with pasta; continue to cook until pasta is al dente. Reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to a large serving bowl. Add cauliflower mixture, scraping all of the oil from pan into bowl, then add 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, cheese and egg yolks; quickly toss to combine well. Add more pasta cooking liquid to moisten, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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Pretzels

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This one was on Food & Wine and I just had to make it. Yup salty is my weakness!! I made a couple minor changes, and used my stand mixer instead of my hands to need the dough. Salty, slightly sweet goodness.

1/2 cup light brown sugar or palm sugar
Water
4 1/2 tsp or 2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/4 c vegetable oil
5 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 c baking soda
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Flaky salt
Yellow mustard, for serving

In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar into 2 cups of warm water (105 – 115) until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable oil and flour.

Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until well combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, creating a ball of dough around the dough hook. Beat on medium speed for approximately 4 minutes

Transfer the dough to an large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough lightly, flatten it out and cut it into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a 9-inch stick about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the sticks to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Let stand uncovered until puffed, about 25 minutes.

In a large, deep pot stir the baking soda into 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate. Using 2 slotted spoons, carefully transfer 6 pretzel sticks at a time to the simmering water 30 seconds, turning once; add about 1 cup of hot water after before cooking the second batch of pretzels. Transfer the pretzel sticks to paper towels to drain, then return them to the cookie sheets, spacing them evenly.

Brush the pretzel sticks with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until richly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with mustard.

These freeze beautifully! Bake, cool and then freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen pop in a ziplock as freeze until you are ready to consume.

To rehear pop in a 450 oven for 5 minutes.

Black and White Cupcakes

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Food and Wine has been hitting it out of the park with their recipes this weekend!! And they have me baking up a storm. I just can’t leave well enough alone, so I made a few tweaks to F&W’s recipe, a bit less sugar, a bit less fat.

Filling:
8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Cupcakes:
3 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c water
2/3 c applesauce
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Line three 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the egg, sugar, and salt until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, salt and baking soda. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Add the water, applesauce, vinegar and vanilla and whisk just until the batter is smooth.

Scoop 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the filling on top of the batter, followed by another 1 tablespoon of the batter.

Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until firm and no longer sticky to the touch; turn the pans halfway through baking. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

MAKE AHEAD The cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Polenta with Broccoli & Chicken Sausage

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This is a great weeknight dish. Microwaving the polenta saves a lot of time and stirring.

2 lb Chinese broccoli or broccolini thick ends trimmed
2 – 3 c water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 c polenta
1 TBSP butter
1/4 c heavy cream
4 TBSP grated parmesan
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
6 garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Cut broccoli stems diagonally into 1-inch pieces and coarsely chop leaves. Steam a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Do not squeeze out excess water.

In a microwaveable dish combine 2 c water, salt and polenta and microwave on hight for 3 minutes, stir, add more water if getting too thick. Cook at 2 minute intervals until smooth, adding more water as needed. Stir in butter, cream, and cheese and cook 40 seconds and stir.

Sauté sausage a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat breaking up meat into large pieces with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate, then cook garlic, chili peppers and broccoli to skillet, stirring, until heated through about 2 minutes.

Serve over polenta.

Serves 4.

Campari Ginger Cocktail

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It has been one of those weeks! Crazy kids, crazier work – chaos all around! It’s Friday! I won an award! And it’s time to celebrate! This little cocktail is amazing – the ginger and Campari are perfect together!

Ingredients:
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz campari
2 oz Domain Canton

Pour in a glass, stir, add ice, drink & repeat!

Serves 1.

Lite Peanut Butter Cookie Drops

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These are a lite version of peanut butter cookies. They are yummy but a bit easier on the waistline. I started using palm sugar, but you can use regular brown sugar.

Ingredients:
3/4 c white flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c palm sugar
1/4 c chunky peanut butter
3 TBSP butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 oz peanuts or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, combine wet ingredients. Stir in dry ingredients and nuts or chips.

Scoop dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake 10 minutes then turn and bake 10 more minutes.

Makes 36.
2 WW PP per cookie.

Zuk Bacon Pancakes

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This recipe was posted on the gourmet FB page. It sounded great, but a wee bit too heavy for me. So I tweaked it and turned them into healthier Zuk bacon pancakes.

FOR BASIL MAYO
1 c basil
1 c lite mayonnaise
2 TBSP water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

FOR FRITTERS
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
3 medium zucchini, grated
2 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and minced (including seeds)
2 TBSP finely chopped chives
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 c milk or buttermilk
6 slices crisp-cooked bacon, finely

MAKE BASIL MAYO:
Purée basil with mayonnaise, water, and lemon juice in a blender. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to use.

MAKE FRITTERS:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Stir together zucchini, jalapeño, chives, and a pinch of salt in another bowl. Add egg, milk, and bacon to zucchini mixture and toss to coat zucchini. Stir in flour mixture until incorporated.

Heat a griddle over medium high heat. Cook about 2 minutes per side.

Serve fritters with basil mayo.

Mushroom, Ricotta & Herb Pizza

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This may be my favorite pizza ever! Mushroom meatiness, herbaceous and crispy thin crust – it was a party in my mouth!

Ingredients:
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 lb oyster & shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot minced
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 c white wine
Salt & pepper
8 oz pizza dough
1 c ricotta
2 TBSP chopped chives
2 TBSP chopped parley
2 TBSP chopped tarragon

Preheat pizza stone in oven at 500 for a least an hour.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add shallots and garlic cook for 1 minute. Add wine and cook until evaporated, season with salt & pepper.

Stretch dough out to make a 12 inch round, brush with truffle or olive oil. Spread ricotta cheese over dough, top with mushrooms and herbs. Bake 8 – 10 minutes until crust is crispy.

Drizzle with truffle pr olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 – 4.

Pickled Daikon

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These pickled diakon radishes ate amazing! This recipe came from Sunset Magazine. I love the sweetness the sesame oil adds.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds daikon, peeled
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 Thai or serrano chiles, cut into wide slices

1. Cut daikon lengthwise into 1/2-in. slices, then stack and cut into 1/2-in. cubes. Toss with salt in a medium bowl. Let stand about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, to draw out moisture. Rinse daikon well and drain. In bowl, stir sugar with vinegar until dissolved, then stir in daikon, oil, and chiles. Chill, covered, at least 4 hours and as long as 1 week.