Monthly Archives: June 2012

Salty Sweet Delicious Treat

One of my favorite treats when I was young was homemade caramel corn.  Now let me tell you, this was a rare treat indeed.  I nearly had to beg with tear-filled eyes to get it because making it left a sink full of dirty dishes and a bit of a mess in the kitchen.

My grandmother would would make the popcorn on top of the stove, as we didn’t have a microwave then, and then she would make the caramel and drizzle it on top of the popcorn and mix it up as fast as possible before all hardened.

There is nothing like it.  The caramel corn you buy at the grocery store can’t even come close to homemade.  There are pieces that are just barely kissed with caramel, then there are other pieces that are fully enrobed in caramel…  nothing perfect and homogeneous about Grandma’s caramel corn and that is part of what made it so good.

I wanted to put a  twist on this most delicious treat and elevate it to something you could actually serve to guests (not that I wouldn’t put out a big trough of caramel corn, but you know what I mean).

Instead of making a traditional dulce de leche, I know there is a “cheat” method which simply involves simmering the can with a few holes poked through the top.  I must be honest, this never appealed to me. 

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Herbed Heirloom Eggs & Crispy Roasted Mushrooms

This weekend is Father’s Day and while most Dads will be grillin’ & chillin’, they’ll need a little fuel to get the day started.
This is a perfect breakfast or brunch to start Dad’s day.  It is substantial, but not too heavy and it is absolutely delicious.

The roasted mushrooms take on an almost meaty taste and texture and the slight crunch from roasting them is unexpected.

This Sunday,  treat Dad to a special brunch and let him know you appreciate him.

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Flour, Salt, Water, Yeast

These basic four ingredients that most of us already have in the pantry plus a few other add ins and that’s all that is needed to turn a few basic ingredients into focaccia.

I had been thinking about making it for months, but for one reason or another talked myself out of it every time… until now.  I was thinking that it was such a hassle (it’s not) and that it would be a process (it hardly qualifies as work) to make it…  blah, blah, blah.   It had been awhile since I had made focaccia and I had just forgotten how ridiculously easy it is. 

It is as simple as weighing some flour, mixing yeast & water and turning on a mixer.   I should be ashamed of myself for putting it off for so long, especially when it really is that easy.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, a cup of flour weighs approximately 5 ounces. 
There are 16 ounces in a pound, so therefore 1 lb and 4 ounces of flour is 20 ounces.  Divided by 5 gives you 4 cups of flour.  I used a little more than that.  I weighed my flour first and then measured it so I could give you the cup measurement and for me it came out closer to 4 and a half cups.

I know with all this math, I’ve probably just talked you out of weighing flour but it really isn’t all that bad.   Please forgive the math lesson and let’s get on with the dough…

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Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy

It is (almost) officially summer and that means lighter meals.  Most of us love cooking and ALL of us love eating (please tell me it isn’t just me), but let’s be honest for a minute…  Wouldn’t you rather be outside instead of stuck in front of a stove on a blissfully perfect summer day?

This pasta dish comes together in record time.  From start to finish it’s about 15 minutes and then it’s off to the beach or hanging out in the backyard.  There is no heavy sauce here, just a light “vinaigrette” that comes together from the oil of the sundried tomatoes & artichokes,  a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of starchy pasta water.

A few big handfuls of spinach give it color and make a healthy addition to the pasta.  Spinach is rich in iron and the nutrients are more easily broken down and absorbed by your body with the addition of fresh lemon juice (and it’s just good!)

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