Author: kerrycoughlin

Fried Dough (Pizza Frita)

Our cooking club theme this month was “Recipes from your Grandmother”.  I decided to tackle a brand new recipe, my grandmother’s fried dough.  This is not your typically local fair fried dough which is often flat, and perhaps even topped with tomato sauce.  These are sticks of slightly sweetened bread dough, which you must dip in cinnamon and sugar.

It’s never easy to work with yeast, but I was happy that the dough rose fairly well.  The dough was a little sticky as I tried to shape it, but I did my best, and dropped them into a pan filled with about 1″ of oil.  Because I wasn’t using a true deep fryer, they got flat on the bottom, but that’s OK.

These were great fresh out of the pan, but almost stale 12 hours later so you need to serve them right away.  If you’re having a party and decide to give them a try, this shouldn’t be a problem.

 

frieddough

 

Pizza Frita

1 1/2 T oil, plus more for frying
1 T sugar
2 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1 package yeast, dissolved in 2 T warm water
3-4 c. flour
1/2 c. raisins

Mix oil, sugar, eggs, and milk in a medium bowl.  Add yeast, and 1 cup flour, and beat until smooth.  Add another 2 c. flour and raisins, and mix and knead until smooth.  Add more flour as necessary if dough is too sticky.

Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.  Shape into sticks, and fry in deep oil.

 

 

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

My return to cooking started with a sale on pork chops.  With apples in season, I decided to make Martha Stewart’s Pork Chops with Apples and Onions.  You sear the pork chops first, and then saute a mixture of apples and onions. I stirred in some white wine, and then returned the pork chops to the pan to finish cooking.

Pork chops can dry out so easily, but this recipe helps prevent that.  The dish also offered a nice blend of savory and sweet.  I served the pork with sauteed spinach and whole wheat pasta.  It was a delicious fall meal, and also made great leftovers.  But just one tip: bring a steak knife in your lunch bag!

 

pork chops apples

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

This blogging lapse was truly a cooking lapse.  I am lucky to have a family that kept giving me food like homemade tomato sauce and green beans from the garden.  When that ran out, I cobbled together meals with scrambled eggs, frozen veggie burgers, baked potatoes, and Greek yogurt.

So while I don’t have any new recipes to share with you today, I can share some old classic recipes.  First, in what I am calling a “goodbye to summer” my Mom roasted red and yellow peppers and used them to wrap fresh mozzarella.  I’ve documented the best method for roasting peppers already, so fire up the grill and get going.

Once the peppers are roasted and sliced, season them with a bit of salt and pepper, then wrap the balls of mozzarella and secure with a toothpick.  Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, and you’ve got yourself a delicious appetizer.

 

roastedpeppermozz

But we can’t deny that fall is in the air, and apple season has arrived.  I’ve shared this Apple Cake recipe with countless friends, and just about everyone loves it.  A friend of mine took the recipe and made cupcakes, and even added some buttercream frosting to take things up a notch.

Most of the ingredients in the recipe are pantry staples, so you can go apple picking all day and enjoy this cake (or cupcakes!) by the evening.

applecupcakes

 

Enjoy!  I’ll be back with new recipes soon, promise!

Chickpea, Spinach, and Delicata Squash with Gnocchi

My sister went to the Farmer’s Market, picked up a few delicata squash, and gave one to me.   She had no idea what would happen next….

It all began with this recipe from Eating Well, one of my favorite sites.  I started by pouring balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, to make the balsamic reduction for a garnish.  Meanwhile, my Mom had leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer, so we decided to make our own gnocchi.  It’s pretty simple with just potato, egg, and flour, except the dough required about twice as much flour as usual.  With flour just about everywhere and dough on our hands, we smelled something burning, and realized the balsamic was in fact reduced to a smoking mess on bottom of the saucepan.

Things got a little easier from there.  I took out a big frying pan, and sauteed the sliced delicata squash with onion and garlic.  Then I added vegetable broth and covered the pan until the squash was softened.  I added the gnocchi, spinach, chickpeas, and some sliced tomato, and cooked it until everything was done.  We had a little balsamic left for drizzling, and some Parmesan cheese for the top.  Finally, dinner was served.

Putting all the mess aside, this actually turned out really well!  Things were so hectic that I didn’t do a lot of measuring and timing, but I would still suggest the recipe.  But maybe you should just buy the gnocchi….

 

 

chickpea gnocchi

 

Banana Split Bars (Nut Free, Egg Free)

Even if you’re not in the “back to school crowd”, September still presents an opportunity for a new start.  New starts require new snacks, right?  These Banana Split Bars were featured on Skinnytaste; with just a few changes, we made them nut free and egg free, so everyone in the family can dig in.

These bars are much softer than a traditional granola bar, but are still great as an afternoon snack.  They would also be good crumbled over plain yogurt for breakfast.  The original recipe indicates they can be frozen, but I have a feeling that won’t be necessary for this batch.

 

banana split bar

 

Banana Split Bars (Nut Free, Egg Free)

1/3 c. quinoa
1/2 c. water
2 c. quick rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 c. ripe mashed banana
1 “flax egg” (1 T ground flax+3 T water mixed well and refrigerated for 10 min)
1/4 c. honey
1 T canola oil
2 t vanilla
1/2 c. dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
1/3 c. mini-chocolate chips

Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, and keep covered for 5 minutes.  Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator until completely cool.

Mix oats, cinnamon, and baking soda in a large bowl.  In another large bowl, mix cooled quinoa, banana, “flax egg”, honey, oil, and vanilla. Add banana mixture to oats mixture, and stir just until blended.  Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Prepare a 13×9″ pan by placing foil or parchment paper in a criss-cross fashion.  Coat with cooking spray.  Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake at 325F for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from pan using the foil or parchment paper, and cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.  Place in the refrigerator, and slice when completely cooled.

-Lightly adapted from Skinnytaste

 

Firetruck Birthday Cake

I haven’t been cooking (and blogging) as much lately, but of course, birthday parties are special.  For my younger nephew’s 2nd birthday, the cake team assembled again to make this firetruck.  It was a much smaller project than the Great Train Cake, but still gave us a challenge.  We got most of our inspiration from this video which really takes you through the process step by step.

While I have a great egg free recipe for chocolate cake, we have not found the best recipe for yellow cake yet.  My Mom ended up making two cakes from different recipes.  The first was this recipe from the UK version of the Food Network.  The batter was much too thick so my Mom added some milk, but the cake was still a little dry.  Then she made a marble cake from a box mix, using egg replacer.  That one was very crumbly.  In the end, we salvaged what we could to make the firetruck, but we’re still on the lookout for the best egg free cake recipe.

The video shows you how to slice and stack the cakes to make the shape of the firetruck.  Two things really helped us out here; using generous amounts of frosting, and putting the cake in the freezer a few times to help the frosting harden.  The frosting is just a basic butter/powdered sugar/milk mixture, tinted with all the red food coloring we could find.  The decorations included a pretzel ladder, gum drop lights, Oreo wheels, Hershey’s miniatures as windows, and a licorice fire hose.

 

firetruck cake

 

 

When my nephew saw the cake, he immediately made noises like a siren, so I do think he got the idea.  Finally, the time came where he got to blow out the candle and actually eat some cake.  I think our firetruck cake was a success.

 

ethan2cake

Summer Vegetable Tian

The pop tarts were fun to make and eat, but my favorite recipe from last weekend was this Summer Vegetable Tian from Budget Bytes.  It has all the best ingredients like zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese.  It also has a pretty presentation, worthy of an elegant summer dinner party.

You start with a mixture of sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish.  Then you slice all the vegetables thinly, and layer them in the dish standing up.  We used fresh basil instead of thyme, which gave this dish a bit of Italian flair.

2013-07-27 19.50.34

 

The dish is covered tightly with foil, which steams the vegetables in the oven.  Then you add the cheese (we used a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan), and bake the dish for a while longer.  When it’s finally done, you have this beautiful tian.  Everyone loved it, and it will be on the table again very soon!

vegetabletian