Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
P.S. You might have to share them. This recipe makes a lot.
Chocolate Almond Coconut Bars
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk (half a can)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
7 oz. (half a pkg.) shredded, sweetened coconut
7 oz. shredded, unsweetened coconut (I got this at the health food store)
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. bitter sweet chocolate chips (or you can do 24 oz. total of just semisweet chips)
1 cup whole dry roasted almonds*
Blend the condensed milk and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth.
Grind up the coconut in the blender until the coconut pieces are really small. Stir the coconut into the condensed milk mixture. The mixture should be firm and roll into a ball.
Press the coconut mixture firmly into a greased 9x13x2 inch pan. (a smaller pan for thicker coconut bars) Greasing your fingers with butter helps. Chill in the fridge until quite firm, about 2 hours.
In a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate stirring often until smooth and all the chocolate is melted. (I put the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water.)
Remove the coconut mixture from the fridge and cut into 1x2 inch bars. Put 2 whole almonds atop each bar.
Set each coconut bar with almonds onto a fork and dip it into the chocolate. Tap the fork against the side of the pan or bowl to remove any excess chocolate. (Be careful. The almonds will slide off!) Place on a waxed paper-lined tray to set. Once the chocolate is hard, enjoy! Makes about 38 bars.
(I had to put mine in the fridge to set. I don't think I let my chocolate temper long enough.)
* For homemade dry roasted almonds, put raw, whole almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350ºF oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes. Allow to cool before using. After cooling, test an almond to make sure it's done. It should be very crunchy and not chewy at all.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
How to make Fresh Ricotta Cheese:
(From chickens in the road)
1 gallon fresh whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon cheese salt
Pour milk into a large stainless steel pot. Add the citric acid and cheese salt. Heat on medium-high until the milk reaches 195 degrees.
It will seem as if it takes a long time to achieve the proper temperature, but you’ll get there in under 30 minutes. (You can’t just stick your heat on high because you’ll scorch the milk–I set my burner right between medium and high). Stir infrequently, just enough to avoid scalding the milk on the bottom of the pan. (I just move the spoon around the bottom of the pot gently every few minutes.)
You’ll notice curds beginning to form on the surface of the pot.
Keep checking the temperature using the dairy thermometer.
By the time it reaches 195 degrees, the milk will have separated into curds and whey.
Isn’t that awesome? You’ll feel as if you’ve performed a magic trick the first time you do it.
Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes. Cross your fingers the cat doesn’t wake up and eat it when you’re not looking.
After 10 minutes, line your colander with the butter muslin.
Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the muslin-lined colander.
Look at that! Is that cool or what?
Once all the curds are transferred to the colander……
….tie the muslin together.
Then tie it onto your sink faucet.
Let drain for another 30 minutes, or to desired consistency. (There are numerous uses for all that leftover whey, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!)
When the cheese is finished draining, untie the muslin and transfer the ricotta to a container. In this case, I used two pint-size glass jars. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks, and use as you would with any ricotta–only this is better because you made it. I see Pepperoni Lasagna!
The recipe calls for cheese salt, but I just used non-iodized table salt.
I also used organic milk. The fresher the milk the better. You can use regular milk too. Just don't use ultra-pasteurized milk because it won't make cheese. If you use organic milk, check the container.Some of the big organic milk companies ultra-pasteurize their milk to make it last longer.
Give this cheese a try. You'll be amazed too!
Monday, October 11, 2010
(Amazing) Homemade Pizza Sauce
1 lg. or 2 sm. cans tomato paste (should equal 12 oz.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
4 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2/3 cups water (approx.)
Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined. You may like to put in more or less water according to how thin or thick you like your sauce. Spread it on your prepared pizza dough and you're ready to go!
Makes enough for 1 1/2 - 2 pizzas (depending on how thick you like your sauce.) Store extra sauce in the fridge.
What we like to do with our leftover sauce is to make mini pizzas a few days later using toasted whole wheat homemade bread and any leftover pizza toppings. Broil them in the oven and they're an easy, tasty lunch!
PLEASE try this stuff. It is amazing.
Recently, I tried to recreate the soup using canned soup, since that wonderful store stuff is $4 for a pint. Yikes!
Fancied-Up Tomato Soup
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can of water (using the tomato soup can of course)
1 can diced tomatoes, including juice
1 Tbsp. dried minced onions
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, sliced thinly
dash of garlic powder
dash of cayenne pepper (for a little kick!)
dash of freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cream (more or less according to your taste)
Whisk together the tomato soup and water. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cream. Heat until simmering. Stir in the cream right before serving.