Archive for November, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Baker’s Coconut

|November 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

1 Coconut with lots of coconut water inside
1 1/3 Cup Fructose (or sugar)
1 1/4 Cup Coconut Water (from the coconut)

NOTE:
Choose a nice dark brown hard coconut that, when shaken, sounds like there is a lot of water inside.

 

1. First drain the coconut water to a cup. To do this, poke a large hole into one of the 3 "eyes" of the coconut. Make sure the hole is wide so that enough air can enter to pull out the water. Strain the water to remove any loose particles and set aside.

2. To crack open the coconut you can either throw it on the concrete floor (with this you risk hurting someone and losing pieces of coconut), or you can hammer it open with a regular hammer. Make sure that the coconut is placed on a very firm surface that you cannot damage like a sidewalk, the garage, or the entrance to your home. If you have never done this before, you may want to wear protective eye coverings to shield yourself from any flying particles of coconut shell.

3. Once the coconut is open, collect all the pieces and bring to your working surface. To remove the coconut flesh from the hard shell, use an old knife without a pointed edge (like a dinner knife) and pry the fresh apart from the shell. This can be done best by wedging as much of the knife between a loose part of the coconut and shell as possible and applying pressure to separate them.

4. Once all coconut has been freed from it’s shell, peel off the brown skin with a potato peeler. You can eat this or discard – your choice.

5. If you are using a food processor:
Break up the coconut into small enough pieces that you can fit them in your processor. Fit the processor with the shredding attachment and shred all the coconut.

5. If you using a manual mandolin or shredder:
Leave the coconut pieces as large as possible so they are easy to hold. Shred all the coconut.

My coconut gave me 4 cups of shredded coconut and 1 1/4 cup coconut water. Use what ever your coconut gives you. Just remember that the fructose amount should be 1/3 that of the coconut amount. So, if you end up with only 3 cups of shredded coconut, you will only need 1 cup of fructose.

6. To make the baker’s coconut:
In a medium-sized saucepan, place the coconut, coconut water, and fructose. Cook over medium heat until the fluids begin to boil, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to low immediately and continue to cook, uncovered for 1 hour or until the fluids have reduced to syrup.

Remove from heat and place the coconut in a sieve to stain. Catch the syrup and use on desserts – it has a delicious flan coconut-caramel flavor.

Spread the coconut flakes out on a cookie sheet and let dry over night. Refrigerate or freeze if you will not be using immediately.

!!The coconut will not come out white because I don’t use a whitening agent like the store-bought baker’s coconut does!!

Recipe: Making Homemade Extracts

|November 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 I received so many requests for this information – and I wish you would have contacted me sooner for these.

You may not be able to make all these before this holiday season – but if you are a baker – you will find that you can still make them now and you will then have them throughout the year.

By now, you know I am a "homemade" person – and I find that by making my own flavored extracts that my baked goods always have a better taste.  Did you ever buy a bottle of peppermint extract and have a really lousy taste in your finished product?  Fresh is always better.  You will have better results.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tired of paying high prices (which continually keep going up while the bottle sizes get smaller!) for your extracts and flavorings?

Of you are an "occasional" or "seasonal" baker that only pulls out the flour one or twice a year you probably don't mind paying for an extract. You may even share a bottle with others that don't bake as much. Not in my house. I need my extracts. And I have to watch my "inventory" of my homemade extracts, oils, flavored sugars, etc. to make sure I always have them on hand.

Save money – DIY! It's simple, it's easy, it's flavorful – and it's cheaper! More bang for your buck.

I don't add sugar to my citrus extracts – some do – it's your choice. The sugar is not needed as far as I am concerned.

Also – I feel that using colored bottles is better – keeps the sun out – which will effect your extracts/flavorings.

Be sure to sterilize your bottles and caps!

Opt for colored glass bottles when you can. Store out of sunlight in your pantry/cupboard.

Happy extract making!

 

How to Make Anise Extract

This takes a good three months to make – but it is worth it. and so simple!

Fill a small (half-pint) sterilized jar with whole star of anise. Carefully pour vodka over until it reaches the top. Cap. Store in pantry, shaking once a week for 3 months. If you want your anise flavoring to have a stronger flavor – allow to sit for 4 months before using.

When ready to use, strain into a clean, sterile jar, cap and store in your pantry.

 

How to Make Cinnamon Extract

Some will use a light rum – but I use my 80 proof vodka.

Break a couple cinnamon stick into a clean, sterilized jar;.

Pour 8 oz. vodka over sticks; cover; place in pantry.

Shake daily for 2 weeks.

When you have the flavor you are looking for, remove the cinnamon sticks. The longer they are in the jar, the stronger it will be, and you don't want it too overpowering.

Store in pantry.

 

How to Make Coconut Extract

1 coconut

1 1/2 ounces freshly grated coconut, approximately 1/3 cup

4 ounces vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut.

Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Place coconut on baking pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. (The coconut should have cracked in several places.) Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

Place 1 1/2 ounces of coconut into a 1-cup glass jar with lid (sterilized) and pour vodka over it. Seal and shake to combine. Place in a cool dark place for 5 to 7 days, shaking to combine every day. Strain coconut and discard. Return vodka to a clean (sterilized) jar or to its original bottle and store in a cool place for up to a year. Reserve the remaining coconut for another use.

 

How to Make Lemon Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 lemons (wash and dry the lemon well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lemon zest. Cap tightly and shake.

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lemon zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Orange Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 oranges (wash and dry the oranges well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add orange zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and orange zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Lime Extract

the zest from 2 – 4 limes (wash and dry the limes well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lime zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lime zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Grapefruit Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 grapefruit (wash and dry the grapefruit well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add grapefruit zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and grapefruit zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.

 

How to Make Almond Extract

4 oz. almonds, peeled and blanched

2 cups vodka

Process almonds in food processor until fine – like raw sugar not white sugar.

Transfer to sterilized 1-quart glass jar; pour in vodka; cap tightly; store in pantry. Shake daily for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks, straner through a coffee filter and transfer to small (sterilized) jars. Cap.

Takes time to make – but will keep indefinitely.

 

How to Make Vanilla Essence

This is more of a vanilla flavoring than an extract – milder – not as flavorful.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

3 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.


Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

How to Make Vanilla Extract

This is more flavorful than vanilla essense.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

6 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end (some remove the seeds, some don't)

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.


Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.

 

How to Make Peppermint Extract

This uses dried peppermint leaves.

Chop 1/4 cup peppermint leaves in your food processor or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer to sterilized glass jar.

Add 4 oz. vodka and 4 oz. filtered water. Cap and shake.

Store in pantry for 2 weeks before using. Remember to shake daily.

When ready to use, strain and transfer to clean, sterilized bottles; cap; store in pantry. Discard used leaves.

 

How to Make Peppermint Extract

This is for those that grow their own peppermint.

Clean (wash) your fresh cut peppermint springs. You will want to "bruise" them a bit with your fingers for the flavor. Place in sterile glass jar. About 5 or 6 small sprigs work well with 6 oz. vodka (3/4 cup). Be sure to cover the springs with the vodka. Cap and store in pantry.

After 2 weeks you wil have a mild peppermint flavor. Once it is the strength you want, strain and discard the sprigs of peppermint. Store in pantry.

 

So it's time to visit your local liquor store and stock up on 80 proof vodka!

Enjoy!

 

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wings??

|November 9, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

The City of Buffalo is the "CHICKEN WING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD" – and they have an annual festival each year.

Vendors from all over the states set up stands and sell their versions of the Buffalo Chicken Wing as well as every probable combination of spices and or sauces to saturate their wings.

Face it – there is only ONE Original Buffalo Wing recipe which originated at The Anchor Bar in Buffalo.  It was something Theresa put together at the last minute and it was a huge success.  NO ONE will ever be able to duplicate that recipe.

Of course, there are other places that also have good wings – but there is only one Original Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe – and no matter what you read in the paper or on line – you won't get that recipe.

But indulging in a plate of sloppy wings is comething that everyone is doing these days.

And these wings have traveled around the world.  The Wing Festival draws people from all over the world – that is how popular it is.  They sell tons and tons of wings – and when the festival is here – you can't find wings anywhere – it seems like everyone stocks up on them because when the festival runs low – they hit all the stores for wings!

We enjoy wings – and I've got so many different sauces that I use on my wings that I should open my own wing place.  When I first introduced MY wings (my recipe not anyone else's) at the deli we sold over 100 pounds of wings in 15 minutes.  Mostly by word of mouth from those that had enjoyed my wings.  Word traveled fast – and I had offers from other restaurants, etc., but I stayed where I was.  So I do know that I make a damn good wing.

I don't do as much catering as I used to – just for a few friends – and they always ask for at least one of my wings recipes to be included.

And of course, chicken wings mean football season as well.  I am probably the biggest Buffalo Bills fan ever (thanks to my dad who got me into it at a very young age) and I'm now the official arm chair quarterback – taking over dad's position.  You cannot be an armchair quarterback without a  plate of delicious wings just slathered with some great sauce!  It's just not possible.  Just make sure you have tons of napkins!

Tailgating is a big thing here too.  I love tailgating – it's just as much fun as the game itself.  And if I am not tailgating at the stadium – I can tailgate right here at home.  During the nice months of spring, summer and fall, our garage is fixed up like a sitting room – the walls are all finished, rug on the floor, screen doors to keep the bugs out, and I can cook out there.  For grilling – just roll the grill out the door.  So I will tailgate anywhere!

One thing about my wings though – if you come to my house for wings you have a good chance of not getting a traditional wing part.  I prefer to make "flappers" – which is fresh wings with the tips cut off and not separated into a drummie and a splitter.  Don't ask me why – but that is what we call the part of the wing that breaks in half – or should I say – splits in half.

Well I made flappers to enjoy during the games.  Mind you – I make so many different kinds.

 

 

These are my Parmesan Flappers –

Combine homemade dry bread crumbs with seasonings – grated Parmesan cheese, some Kosher salt, parsley, fresh ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder – mix well – dip cleaned flappers coating both sides.

Place in oiled baking dish with just a bit of water; cover and bake at 350* F. until done.

Served with homemade bread balls (just roll some homemade bread dough into small balls) that were rolled in grated Parmesan cheese that was seasoned with a bit of Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, parsley, garlic and onion powder before baking on a greased baking sheet.

Made a nice chunky tomato/marinara sauce for dipping – served hot!

Of course these wings are not very sloppy – so to satisfy the sloppiness urge, for the next game it was one of my Honey-BBQ Flappers –

After cleaning flappers and removing tips, place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley.  Place in lightly oiled baking dish with a bit of water, cover and bake at 350* F. till done.

Meanwhile I made my BBQ sauce – tomato ketchup based, with honey – almost to the "sticky" stage.  When the flappers were done I dunked them in my sauce and back into the oven (uncovered) for about 10 minutes.

Served with bleu cheese dressing and carrot slice and celery strips.  And tons of napkins as well!

Talk about heaven!!!!

AND – healthier than deep fried – just fall off the bone, finger-lickin' good!

 

 

Recipe: Italian Traditions

|November 8, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

All Soul’s Day

November 2nd is ALL SOUL’S DAY – also know as the “Day of the Dead” – it is the day following All Saint’s Day.

All Soul’s Day is a Roman Catholic Holiday – a day of remembrance for those that have passed on. There are church services and festivals in honor those that have died.

In Italy, they begin selling special cookies starting before November. Ossa dei morti – known as bones of the dead – are cookies that are flavored with cloves (Sicilian), and from other areas they may use almonds, some using hazelnuts. These sweets are to meant to bring cheer, compensating for the sadness of All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

Different regions in Italy have different recipes:

And may I remind you – these are what Italian babies teethe on!

These are made with cornmeal:

Bring 2 quarts water to a rolling boil; sift in (about) 1 pound cornmeal, stirring constantly, until you have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. Stop adding cornmeal at that point. Keep stirring. When done, let it rest a couple hours.

When ready to make the cookies: Whip it, adding salt and pepper (a good dose of pepper); work in wheat flour (a good handful) to give it a good consistency; remove dough from pot.

Form into breadsticks – wider in the middle and tapered at the ends. Place on lightly floured baking sheets. Bake in preheated 360* F. oven until hard and cracked – you’ll see fine cracks.

In some regions, bones of the dead are made from risen bread dough, that has butter and oil added to it, as well as sugar and anise seed. These can also be sweetened with honey. When using bread dough, shape into sticks shaped like fingers. These get baked twice. The first time for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on size), cooled and baked again.

You can also find these cookies made with sweet wine, spices, dried fruits, chocolate and pignoli.

Peel and grind ½ lb. almonds until they are half the size of a grain of rice, adding ½ cup sugar as grinding. Add 1 cup flour; work in 2 tablespoons butter and one large egg. Flavor with some lemon zest, or orange zest, or vanilla along with enough sweet liqueur to make a soft dough. Break dough into pieces the size of a fava bean, brush with egg yolk and place on floured baking sheet. Bake at 375* F. until done. Because of their size they bake quickly.

When Carmella made hers:

Cup* flour, half cup sugar, some pine nuts, blanched, peeled and finely chopped almonds**, lemon zest from half a lemon, cinnamon, and a shot glass of grappa. Pull off small pieces, roll and shape with floured hands, place on greased and floured baking sheets, brush with beaten egg, and bake at 350* F. until done.

**be careful not to grind to the point that the oils come out of the almonds

*Carmella didn’t own measuring cups – she used a cup from the dish set. Just like we all did in the family. No measuring cups, no measuring spoons. Our measuring cups were our tea cups, our measuring spoons are our teaspoons and dessertspoons from our silverware. I still use my hands to measure – it’s easier and it hasn’t failed me yet. I was raised to bake and cook by look and feel.

Like I said – every region has their own recipes for these – there are no set rules – it’s the thought that counts.

Recipe: Homemade pizza, ricotta cheese

|November 8, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Today I made some pizza dough to make a nice old-style Napolitan pizza.

Dissolved my yeast in warm water in a large bowl, added just a tiny bit of sugar, water, oil, flour and salt.

After the first rise, I separated the dough into portions. One went into a large (food grade) plastic bag – leaving plenty of room at both ends for it to rise in the refrigerator; placing a  twist tie at the very end of the bag for closure. Gently place on a tray and slide into the refrigerator and DO NOT DISTURB at all. That is for tomorrow's pizza.

Since it is dough for pizza – it doesn't need to rise a second time. So I spread my dough in my tin (today I used a jelly roll pan), greased (grease for a soft-bottomed crust, do not grease for a crunchier bottom), and drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top.

I opened a large can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them with diced onions; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, and a bit of marjoram. Simmered to thicken a bit; cool before spreading on pizza. The rest is in the refrigerator for tomorrow's pizza. A light sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkle of dry bread crumbs.

Now that is the way pizza is supposed to be made!

While that was being made, I made my ricotta cheese. Look – I couldn't beat the price. I found whole milk for $1.68 per gallon at WalMart. I didn't have buttermilk so I used about 1/4 cup of white vinegar; stir and bring to simmer. By the time the temperature of the milk hits about 175 to 180* F. you will see the whey and the curds separate. Transfer curds to a cheesecloth-lined strained (several layers of cheesecloth) – drain off liquid but don't press the curds. Place over bowl and bring up ends of cheesecloth and tie; allow to drain overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to have a deep bowl so that the liquid is not touching the cheese). I'll have about 4 cups of homemade ricotta cheese for tomorrow's lasagna.

You can't beat homemade and you can't beat the price!

Since the oven will be on tomorrow, I'll make my homemade bread in the morning and time it so that it comes out of the oven just in time to slide the lasagna in. A large salad of greens with a nice homemade vinaigrette and we will be happy. I have our big meal planned for some time between noon and 1 in the afternoon; pizza for the later meal with chicken wings. Hey – it's a great way to watch a football game!

Recipe: ITALIAN FRIED DOUGH WITH HONEY

|November 8, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

One of gramma's favorites –

 
Well – not only was it one of her favorites but everyone in the family looked forward to these!

ITALIAN FRIED DOUGH WITH HONEY

These are to die for!!

In saucepan, boil 1 c. wine, 1 c. oil and ½ c. water; remove from heat; let cool.  Add 1 T. cinnamon, 1 T. ground cloves, 1 T. vanilla, grated rind of one orange; mix well.

Add enough flour to make a stiff dough; knead well; cover with bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll and cut into strips.
Place strips in hot lard (oil); fry; drain.

Heat honey with ground cloves; place fried strips in honey mixture; remove and sprinkle with hundred thousands.