Pork Ragù and Pappardelle

When home cooking becomes a necessity.

Tuesday, I made a pot of pork ragù, Italian bread and pasta dough for pappardelle (wide pasta).

ragu and pappardelle

Tom (hubby) rolled and cut the pasta dough which gave me some time to step away from the kitchen for a little while.

Yay, Tom!

Tom the pasta maker

We made a pound of pappardelle. This is just one of two sheets.

pappardelle

For me, home cooking is cheaper, taste far better and healthier than processed, prepackaged or restaurant foods.

The downfall to home cooking is that it can be time-consuming. However, for some of us retired baby boomers, it is a necessity.

Sad as it is, it is just the two of us now.  Family is grown, far, far away and have lives of their own.  All we can hope for is that they all stay safe, healthy and happy.

Tom and I cook all of our meals here, at home. The only days we don’t cook, are the days we eat left-overs from the day before.

Just last spring Bloomberg reported that Americans now spend more on dining out than they do on groceries. 

Luckily, most of us were taught, by our parents and grandparents, how to cook and prepare a home cooked meal.

It wasn’t until I was twelve years old that my parents finally took us to eat at a restaurant.  Up until then, all our meal were eaten at home.

I might add, it was the first time and the last time my parents indulged us with dining out.

Although I do understand why so many eat out; I find it sad that most don’t have the time or basic kitchen skills to cook at home.

There may come a time when it is a becomes a necessity.  If not a necessity, ` than a tradition to pass down to each generation.

Dilly Pickled Veggies

Because most grocery stores prepackaged most of their veggies, I had to buy a prepackaged bag of fresh green beans. But, I only needed a small amount for a meal I was preparing.

I used the amount I needed, and with the remaining (not enough to freeze), I pickled them along with some carrots and baby sweet peppers.

dilly pickled veggies

With other foods we had on hand, we made a couple of small antipasti dishes with homemade vinaigrette and the pickled veggies.

The antipasti went well with the pizza we made.

Hubbie’s antipasto dish had a boiled egg, shrimp and anchovies. I opted out of these three, additional, ingredients and just went with the bland version.

I wasn’t in the mood for shrimp or egg.  

I am never in the mood for anchovies.

antipasto

Delicious!

You gotta love veggies!

Being A Lover Of Ginger

I happened upon a ginger syrup recipe that suggested it could be used to make ginger sodas.  I figured that it would be something different to drink during the hot, summer months.

Being a lover of ginger, I made a batch.

Ginger Syrup

Today, I fixed myself a glass of ginger soda using tonic water (per one of the suggestions from the recipe).

Ginger Soda

Oh, boy!  It was so sweet…too sweet for me!

If I make this again, I will use much less sugar and more ginger. Also, rather than tonic water, I will use seltzer water. I am also thinking it would be good added to unsweetened iced tea for those of us who like sweet tea, but not too sweet.

There was one good thing about making this syrup.

I saved the ginger and made candied ginger.

Candied Ginger

The left-over ginger yielded two jars of candied ginger.

Candied Ginger

I really wanted to make this syrup work. I just can’t think of any other uses for this batch.  However, the candied ginger is good!

A Saturday Supper

Saturday supper-

Homemade Spanish rice and taco salad bowls.

My version of homemade Spanish Rice. Rice-a-roni-like, but BETTAH!

homemade spanish rice

Couldn’t find taco bowls in any store here. So, we took corn tortillas and baked them in a muffin tin, upside down. I wasn’t too impressed with them as they were too small and, for me, the flavor just wasn’t there..  However, they were ok-in a pinch.

I am thinking that the flour tortillas would have been better than the corn.

taco salad and spanish rice

I forgot to add the shredded cheese before I took the picture. The dish needed that yellow color for photos.

Darn!

Tea Latte and Sunday Slaw

Keeping busy, I made an ‘Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw‘ found at Cooking Classy.

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

I doubled the dressing and modified it just a bit by using some sour cream (that I had on hand) along with the Greek yogurt.  Not having greens onion,  I grated a red onion (not too much) into the salad.

It is delicious!  However, I think it will be better tomorrow after it has marinated in the refrigerator where all the flavors will blend together.

A few months ago, we purchased a jar of ground cardamom for a recipe. I am gathering that we didn’t like the recipe because, for the life of me, I can’t remember what I cooked.

Surfing the web, I found one use for this expensive cardamom. It’s called an Earl Grey Latte.

earl grey carmadon latte

I found the recipe at Lark & Linen.

She uses a vanilla bean and cardamom pods. For me, vanilla beans are too expensive to use for one cups of tea.  I made half a recipe using a little more than an 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom.

Add these two ingredients towards the end of the simmer. 

I whisked it to make it a little foamy and to look more like a latte.

After taking the picture, I added a little ground cinnamon to the top.

Because the pods or the bean wasn’t used in my recipe, it didn’t need straining before drinking.

earl grey carmadon latte

It was very good.  The next time making these, I am going to use Almond milk instead of whole milk.

Simply Delicious

Dalla cucina povera.

Today, I made 68-1 inch Italian meatballs.  I froze more than half.  With the rest,  I added them to my version of Italian wedding soup.

Italian wedding soup

Along with the soup, I made another boule from the 5-Minute Artisan Bread recipe.

french boule

Both were delicious and comforting.

Well, that was short and sweet.

See ya later!

Thank you for visiting!

Artisan Bread The Boule

At least once a week, I bake bread.  One of our favorites is the ciabatta (slipper, in Italian).  But, yesterday, I decided to revisit a book I purchased a while back and baked boule (ball, in French). The last bread I baked from that book was an Italian Semolina Bread.

boule

It’s a 5-Minute Artisan Bread riddled with holes and full of flavor. This bread is “quick, easy and rustic” using only white flour, yeast, salt and water. There is no need to knead the dough.

But after seeing how easy it is, you may need to need it more often than not.

You mix the dough in bulk then stash it in the refrigerator until ready for a chewy, delicious loaf of homemade goodness.

The trick lies in not kneading the dough but instead mixing the dough in bulk, stashing it in the fridge, and then forgetting about it until the craving for freshly baked bread descends upon you. When that happens, simply take the dough out of the fridge, lop off enough for a loaf, shape it, let it rest, and then take a moment to slide it in the oven before you casually go about your life. And then don’t come forget to come back later to retrieve the best artisan bread of your life from the oven.  –For the recipe and to read more visit:  Leite’s Culinaria 

After looking at the recipe you might find it a little intimidating since the directions seem to go on and on.  But, I assure you that it is easier than it looks.  Rather than mixing my dough in a container, I used my standing mixer. It mixes as easily as 1-2-3.  Then, I put the shaggy dough into a plastic, loosely covered, container for the 2 hour rise and to store in the refrigerator.  I let mine rise 3 hours.  The book say up to 5 hours is ok.

boule raised dough

The dough lasts up until 14 days in the refrigerator.  Therefore, be sure to use it up before the 14 days are over.  In the book, it says that the dough can be frozen in 1 lb. portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.

It’s important to note that when the dough is rising and when it is stored in the refrigerator, make sure that the lid, on the container, isn’t airtight. The trapped gasses my cause a ka-boom!

When you are ready to bake, all you do is cut off a piece of dough, (follow directions for this) shape and let rest for 40 minutes before baking.  Instead of using my pizza peel, I used a pizza pan lined with parchment paper.

boule before baking

The results are a chewy,  delicious loaf of homemade goodness riddle with holes.  The prefect bread for dipping and sopping up sauces and gravy.

boule

The book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) which includes this recipe and many more can found here.

boule

Winter Warmings

It’s been a while since I have crocheted.  The last item I crocheted (a couple of months ago) was this pair of gloves/mitts.

fingerless mitts

There isn’t a written pattern for these. It’s something I had envisioned. They are worked in the round.

As I had mentioned before, I am not good at writing patterns.  Besides, once I make an item, I don’t want to check for errors by remaking it.  I know…sheer laziness.

Towards the end of the day, I have been knitting rather than crocheting.  I am not as proficient when it comes to knitting as I am with crocheting.  When it come to knitting, I am slow and cautious.  Some of my favorite items to knit are socks, dish clothes and a few other easy projects.  In the past, I have knitted sweaters and shawls.  However, I find knitting to be slower than crocheting.  I am so afraid I will drop a stitch.  And, when I do…Aargh!

I started a knitted cowl, but set it aside for now.

cowl
I found the pattern at: in the loop.  There is an English version to download.  I love the simplicity of the look and the ease of the pattern.