Tuesday, December 27, 2011


2 1/2 t (1 pkg) yeast
1 1/3 c warm water
1/4 c olive oil, plus more
1/2 t salt
4-5 c flour
marinara sauce
meats (pepperoni, sausage, ham, chicken, etc)
veggies (olives, mushrooms, peppers, onions, jalapenos, etc)
herbs (basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, etc)
cheese (Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parmesan, etc)

1. Using stand mixer with dough hook, dissolve yeast in water; add oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth.
2. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a soft dough; knead on low for about 10 minutes until dough becomes smooth and elastic.
3. Place dough in a greased glass bowl and turn once so dough gets greased as well; cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400*.
5.Punch down the dough and halve it; lightly grease, or line with foil, one (refrigerate/freeze half of the dough for later use) or two cookie sheets (halve the dough and perform steps 6-10 for each calzone).
6. Roll out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface; transfer to cookie sheet and turn lengthwise.
7. Spread enough marinara sauce to just cover the middle third of the dough with about 1/4" or less of sauce; layer meats, veggies, herbs, and cheese.
8. Rotate sheet 90* and cut slits in the dough from the outer edge in to the sauce, stopping about 1/4" from the sauce; rotate sheet and repeat for the other side of the dough [slits|filling|slits].
9. Rotate sheet 90* so that it's lengthwise again and braid dough slits like you're lacing up a shoe (one side across filling and then the other, repeat, repeat, repeat); pinch the ends to seal them.
10. Brush calzone with olive oil and sprinkle on some more herbs, if desired.
11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown; place on cooling rack to cool.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies
6 T butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c molasses
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
1 T ground ginger
3/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t allspice

Icing (opt):
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 T milk
food coloring, opt

1. Cream butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer on low; add molasses and vanilla and mix until combined.
2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and allspice. Fold dry ingredients in to butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl, halve it, and wrap it in plastic wrap; place in fridge for an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350*; line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes until pliable. At this point you can either roll out the dough and cut it out with cookie cutters or roll in to balls, roll those in sugar, and press down with a fork (like peanut butter cookies) before baking.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges just begin to brown; transfer to wire racks to cool.
7. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and milk. Divide the mixture into different bowls and dye as desired.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Stollen is a traditional German cake, typically eaten during the Christmas season.
(I tweaked this recipe from Food Network)

For the Fruit:
1 c mixed dried fruit (I used dried pineapple and cranberries)
1 c raisins
1/4 c dark rum (or orange juice)
For the Sponge:
1 pkg (or 2 1/4 t) yeast
1/4 c warm water
2/3 c warm milk
1 t honey
1 c flour
For the Dough:
1/3 c honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c butter, softened
zest of 1 lemon
1 t salt
1/2 nutmeg
1/2 c chopped almonds, toasted
3-4 c flour
For the Filling:
2 T butter, melted
2 t cinnamon
3 T sugar
For the Topping:
1/2 c powdered sugar
    1. Prepare Fruit: Combine the mixed fruit, raisins, and rum; cover and set aside; shake every so often to coat the fruit with the rum.
    2. Prepare Sponge: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast in to the water to soften; add the milk, honey, and flour. 3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until light and full of bubbles, about 30 minutes.
    4. Make dough: In stand mixer bowl, add the fruit mixture, honey, egg, butter, zest, salt, nutmeg, almonds, and 2 cups of the flour to the sponge; using the paddle, beat the mixture on medium low speed for 2 minutes.
    5. Gradually add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl (or in my case, until you start to see flour hanging out at the bottom of the bowl, not getting mixed in).
    6. Change to the dough hook; continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to clean the bowl. Knead 4 to 5 minutes on medium-low.
    7. First rise: Put the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil; cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
    8. Shape and Fill: Turn the dough out onto a slightly greased surface; divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 7x9-inch oval.
    9. Brush the melted butter over the top of the ovals; combine the cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle over one half of each oval, lengthwise.
    10. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and carefully lift onto cookie sheet lined that's been lightly greased or lined with parchment paper; press lightly on the folded side of the dough to help the loaf keep its shape during rising and baking.
    11. Second rise: Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
    12. Preheat oven to 375*; bake for 25 minutes. Immediately place loaves on a cooling rack.
    13. Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar just before serving.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Beef Stew

    Beef Stew
    2 1/2 c chuck beef, cut into bite-sized (or smaller) pieces
    1- 750ml bottle of red wine*
    6 cloves garlic, minced and separated
    3 bay leaves
    3 T olive oil, separated
    2 onions, chopped
    1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
    1/2 lb mushrooms, de-stemmed and halved
    1 lb small potatoes, chopped
    2 c chicken broth
    1 T rosemary
    2 T Worcestershire sauce

    1 T salt, plus more to taste
    2 t pepper, plus more to taste
    1- 10 oz pkg frozen peas

    1. Place beef in a large bowl with a lid; add wine, 3 garlic cloves, and bay leaves.
    2. Seal and refrigerate overnight.

    3. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and heat to medium heat.
    4. Lift half of the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and place in pot to brown for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once browned, transfer to slow cooker on "keep warm" or "low". Repeat for the rest of the beef. Discard bay leaves, but save wine marinade.
    5. Pour out any remaining liquid in pot; heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes.
    6. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes; transfer all of the vegetables to the slow cooker.
    7. Add the reserved marinade to the empty pot and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. It will start to "foam"; let it foam pretty high and add a little bit of chicken broth; repeat until it no longer smells like alcohol and all broth is added.
    8. Add rosemary (rub between fingers as you sprinkle in so it releases its oils), Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker and turn up to high heat.
    9. Cook for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat.
    10. Stir in peas just before serving, season to taste, and serve hot.
    *If you don't like the taste of wine, or would rather not cook with it, skip the marinating and start with step 3.