Gigli & latkes

Gigli & latkes

Gigli & latkes

on  I thought I’d try something different. I’m a writer, but it seemed like maybe my blog posts were too long and involved and didn’t give the opportunity for feedback, so my posts will be shorter and, well, different. Here’s the first, tell me what you think below. What do the long dead opera singer Beniamino Gigli and latkes(potato) pancakes have in common? My dad loved loved both and I learned to love them too. During the holidays my dad would put one of his two albums on the hi-fi ( it wasn’t called a stereo in my house) he had a choral album that had Handel’s Messiah on it or he would plat Gigli. Gigli was a tenor, and so was Dad. His favorite opera was Tosca and Gigi’s rendition of Recondita Armonia is among the best. Gigli later fell out of favor, but I will never forget listening to my dad sing along with Gigli. Pure, clear, strong, joyful. Then there’s the potato pancakes. I’ll bet you’re wondering how they figure into it. Dad didn’t cook much, there were a few things he did exceptionally well. Any kind of pancake, potato or otherwise, and the best chestnut stuffing I’ve ever had. We ate potato pancakes with sour cream or applesauce on top. When my son was in high school, I made Dad show me the secret to his crisp lovely, brown, pancakes. I had my son help us so we could learn together and pass it down, a memory I will forever cherish. In his honor, I listened to Gigli while making potato pancakes. and I put my spin on it. One of dad’s secret’s is to use shredded potatoes, not mashed.  He was right,I like the texture better. I made mini pancakes, fried in very hot oil to get them brown. It’s another secret. You have to fry them baked won’t work. Two gifts from Dad I’ll never forget. Here’s a pic of my Latkes. Are there gifts of music, recipes, hobbies, that your parents gave to you please share. Recipe for six mini potato pancakes double the recipe if you want a dozen: 3 potatoes peeled and grated 1T flour 1/8 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 egg oil for pan combine. Drop by spoonful into HOT pan. Cook until golden brown  on both sides serve with applesauce and sour cream.

Last two recipes nachos & salsa

Last two recipes nachos & salsa

Last two recipes nachos & salsa

This is the final set of recipes from my book, Luv’s Life. Don’t you love going to your favorite bar and having a  huge plate of gooey, cheesy, spicy nachos? Now you can make it at home and here are the recipes. Deluxe Gooey Bar Nachos

Ingredients: tortilla chips, 1 lb ground beef, ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded, ½ cup pepper jack cheese shredded, jalapenos (optional for garnish), sour cream (optional for garnish), salsa (recipe to follow), olives (optional for garnish), taco seasoning:2 tsp chili powder, ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp garlic,
¼ tsp cumin and ½ tsp oregano.
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brown the ground beef over medium high heat until no longer pink.
Drain the meat and return it to the pan and add ¼ cup of water and 2 tablespoons taco seasoning.
This is to taste, so if you feel it needs more add a little more. Stir until the water is absorbed and mixture has thickened. There should be no liquid in the pan. The mixture should not have any juice, set it aside. Place tortilla chips in a single even layer on a baking sheet. Spoon a layer of meat evenly over the chips. Top with a layer of cheddar cheese then a layer of pepper jack cheese.
Place in the oven on the middle rack heat only until the cheese is melted. This means you have to keep an eye on it. Serve with sliced jalapenos and olive on top and salsa and sour cream on the side.

Fresh Salsa
Ingredients: 3 cups chopped tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped green pepper, ¼ cup chopped orange bell pepper, ½ red onion chopped, juice of one lime and a bunch of cilantro chopped.
Directions:
Combine the peppers, onion, tomatoes together in a bowl add the juice of one lime and a bunch of fresh chopped cilantro. Refrigerate for an hour or so. This allows the flavors to meld.
Serve with your nachos.

Cheesecake and chili? Yeah!

Cheesecake and chili? Yeah!

Well, maybe not together but you really should try them. First one then the other. Two more recipes and two more until my book goes live and my fb launch party! YAY!

Amazing Chocolate Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Crust

Ingredients: For the crust: 1 cup crushed chocolate wafer or chocolate graham crackers 20 cookies or so, ¾ cup of almonds crushed finely, 2 T sugar, 5 T butter, ½ tsp almond extract and ¼ tsp salt.
For the filling: 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, ¾ cup of sugar, 2 T all-purpose flour, 2 eggs lightly beaten, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 eight ounce packages of cream cheese and 1 cup of sour cream.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs and sugar. Stir in the almonds and cut in the butter. The texture should be crumbly like sand stuck together.
Press the mixture into a 9-inch greased spring-form pan. Set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave stir until smooth, set aside. Beat sugar, flour, and cream cheese until smooth.
Add eggs. Beat on low, fold in sour cream. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. Add a splash of amaretto if you wish. Bake 40-45 minutes until it is almost set. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Use a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool for another hour at least before removing from pan. Overnight works best. The colder the cake is the easier it is to remove from the pan without cracks. When it’s cold run a knife under very hot water and run the knife around the edge of the pan. Then unlatch the sides and gently lift it away.

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Annie’s Famous Chili

Ingredients: 1 onion chopped, 1 lb ground beef, 3 cooked and sliced andouille sausage, 8 ounces of kidney beans soaked overnight and drained, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 28 ounces can of tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 14 ounce can of plain tomato sauce and ½ tsp cumin.

Directions:
Rinse and sort the beans. Fill a bowl or pan with cold water and soak them overnight. Then drain and set aside. Cook the onions over medium heat until they are soft and translucent. Crumble the ground beef into the pan and cook until no longer pink.
Drain and place in a crock pot. Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Add two cloves of garlic or the equivalent of garlic powder. Cook the andouille sausage, cut into bite sized pieces, and add to the pot. Add a pinch of salt and ½ tsp cumin.
Add enough water to cover everything about 2 to 3 inches. Bring it to a gentle boil. Lower the heat let it cook for a about 30 minutes bubbling gently. Stir it every 20 minutes so the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan. Add more water a ½ cup at time so it doesn’t dry out or stick.
The beans will take 30- 60 minutes to soften. Continue to cook stirring occasionally and adding water if pot seems dry. Cook until the beans are very tender but still intact, roughly the same amount of time it took them to soften.
Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Marinara & mousse

Marinara & mousse

Okay so they don’t go together but they are delicious! Here are two more recipes from my new book, Luv’s Life.

:Mama Mia Marinara Sauce

Ingredients: 12-13 fresh tomatoes, 1 white onion, 2 T olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, ½ cup of fresh basil or 3 tsp dried, 2 T Italian seasoning, 1 tsp salt and 1/4-1/3 cup red wine.

Directions:
To prepare the tomatoes, cut them in half and scoop out the seeds with a melon baller. Place them face down on a plate. Place the plate in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
When the skin begins to wrinkle around the edges it’s done. Peel the skins off with tongs or a knife taking care if they are hot. Chop the tomatoes after they have cooled Place the tomatoes in a large pot.
Add olive oil to a sauce pan on medium heat. Chop the onion and garlic, saute’ them until they’ve softened and the onion is translucent. Add to the tomatoes. Add seasoning and red wine.
Allow it to bubble for a bit on medium high. Turn it down and allow to simmer. The longer it cooks the better it will be. 45 mins to one hour on low. Taste. If the taste is too acidic add a pinch of baking soda or a little sugar. If you are using fresh basil.
Chop or tear it and add it last if you cook fresh basil too much it will become bitter. This is all seasoning to taste. Let the sauce reflect your preference. Allow the wine to cook down and time for the flavors to bloom over a slow heat.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients: 13 ounces bitter chocolate chopped, 2 T unsalted butter, ½ c heavy cream (place bowl to mix in freezer), 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 large egg yolks.

Directions:
In a microwave safe bowl place chopped chocolate and butter in microwave for 35 seconds just until chocolate melts. Be careful not to make it too hot. Whisk in the egg yolks.
Set aside. Pour cream into chilled bowl. Beat until it thickens. Add sugar and vanilla. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Cover and chill in refrigerator and serve immediately.

Perfect comfort food!

Perfect comfort food!

Two of my favorite recipes from Lu’vs Life and Hannah’s too

Rick’s Tasty Tomato Basil Soup

Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 clove of garlic finely chopped, ½ an onion chopped, 28 ounces of tomatoes (peeled seeded and chopped if fresh) undrained, Salt and pepper, 1 101/2 ounce can of chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock, but doesn’t taste as good), 2 cups of whole milk, cream or half-and half and sugar.

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic let them soften. Do not allow them to brown. It will change the taste of the soup and make it bitter. Add the stock.
Add tomatoes keep cooking over medium heat until it begins to simmer.
While stirring constantly add milk or cream lower heat.
Allow to simmer for about six minutes the flavor needs to bloom. Add herbs last.
Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil. I use twice the amount of fresh basil.
If you have an immersion blender you can use it at this point to blend until smooth. I poured the soup into a regular blender and blended until smooth. This is also a great fix if the milk has curdled a bit.
Once the soup is blended allow it to simmer another five minutes stirring constantly.
Tips:
Always taste as you go. If it tastes acidic, add sugar to counteract it.
If you’re unsure or out of fresh herbs used ½ tsp dried oregano and/2 tsp dried basil. In a pinch a jar of dried Italian seasonings does the trick too.
I like my soup thicker so I use less stock. Again adjust to taste.
If you intend to freeze this soup, leave out the milk or cream. Freeze it as is and when you re-heat add the milk or cream while stirring constantly.

Finishes and Flourishes:
Add a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of creme fraiche or half -and-half when you serve.
Top with homemade croutons or cut up your grilled cheese sandwich into crouton-sized bites and float it on top. Top with fresh basil leaves.
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients: bread, butter and cheese of your choice 2-3 slices.

Directions:

Toast the bread golden brown, don’t grill or fry it. Use a hearty wheat bread or brioche.
Butter both sides and place the cheese on it. Pop it in the microwave for about 25 seconds or until the cheese is just melted. Cut on the diagonal or horizontally into little soldiers. Serve with the tomato soup.

More recipes from luv’s life

More recipes from luv’s life

Scrumptious baking mix scones
ingredients: 2 ¼ cups baking mix generic (or bisquick), ½ cup quick oats, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 large egg, ¾ cup chocolate chips (or raisins or cranberries blueberries will work here too). Be careful not to use a fruit that has too much moisture. ¼ cup maple syrup and flour for dusting.
Directions:
preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. As the mixture comes together use your hands for form it into a ball. Sprinkle a cutting board with flour. Turn dough out on to it and knead it about ten times. Shape it into a circle about eight inches wide and one inch thick. Be careful not to handle the dough too much it will make it tough. Score the dough into eight triangles but don’t separate it. Place on an ungreased baking sheet 13-15 minutes. Until lightly browned.

 

Rick’s coffee bar latte
use a french press, drip coffee maker, or small espresso machine. The small espresso machine and the french press will give you strong coffee.if you don’t have those brew a pot of very strong coffee using your drip machine. Use twice as much coffee as you normally would. Remember you’re finished coffee will only be one quarter espresso and three quarters steamed milk
ingredients: strong coffee, whole milk, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and sugar.
Directions:
put ¼ tsp of vanilla in with your coffee grounds before you brew the coffee. Once the coffee is done its time to heat and froth the milk. Use whole milk, half and half is also acceptable. Pour the milk into a microwave safe cup and heat until it’s steaming, do not boil or scald it! It should take about a minute. Do it in 30 second intervals if it’s not hot enough after the allotted time. When it’s steaming use a whisk and whip the milk until frothy. Pour coffee into a mug filling it one quarter of the way. Fill it the rest of the way with the milk, top with the foam. Garnish with cocoa powder or sugar in the raw, enjoy!