Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drunken Apple Pie - Photos Only

Drunken Apple Pie- isn't drunk as so much as it is buzzed. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

German Apple Cake

This is by far one of my favorite things about fall... German apple cake. 
This is also a great recipe if you need to bring a dessert to a holiday party. 
However, this is not diet friendly nor diabetic friendly. 

- 2 eggs 
- 1 cup of vegetable oil 
- 2 cups of white sugar 
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
-1/2 teaspoon of salt 
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
- 2 cups of all purpose flour 
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 
- 4 cups of apples, peeled, sliced very thing
- Pinch of nutmeg 
- Pinch of powdered ginger

The key to this recipe is mixing. 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Flour and grease a cake pan.

Mix the eggs and the vegetable oil thoroughly until they have a creamy consistency. Add the vanilla to the liquid mixture. 
Slowly add the sugar, mixing thoroughly. 

Combine the dry ingredients separately. Slowly add to the liquid batter until thoroughly incorporated, it's going to get a little difficult to stir the batter as you continue.

Fold in the apples to the mixture. 
Pour into the prepared pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. 

Once the cake is cooled, you can dust with confectioners sugar or homemade icing from confectioners sugar, water and holiday spices.  

Ravioli; a Labor of Love

There is nothing in the world that reminds me more of my grandparents than homemade ravioli. Every special occasion, birthday and holiday was marked by their presence. Grandma used to ask the boys, "What do you want me to make you for your birthday?" Without fail they would answer, "Ravioli, chicken cutlets and 'eatballs!" After a while she just stopped asking us and would have it waiting for us when we arrived.

Grandma would already have the ravioli's done and ready to go. She would be standing over the stove finishing the meatballs and Grandpa would sit in "his" chair at the kitchen table preparing the chicken cutlets the "right" way. They made it look so easy! Little did we know that the arrival of our favorite foods to the dinner table had been planned well in advance, preparations for the ravioli filling started at least 4 days before any of us had given a thought to our rumbling little tummies.

I'm going to apologize in advance though- I have no idea how to make this for a small number of people.

For the filling you will need:

  • 6 lbs. of ricotta
  • A cheese cloth
  • A colander 
  • A bowl big enough to hold the colander
  • Space in your refrigerator for the bowl holding the colander
Later you will also need: 

  • 5 eggs 
  • Parsley 
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper 
  • Additional Herbs and seasoning you want in your filling. Grandma has one she uses but I have absolutely no idea what it's called in either English or Italian 
Put the ricotta in the large cheese cloth inside the colander and inside the large mixing bowl. 

For the next four days at least twice a day remove this contraption from the refrigerator and dump the excess liquid. Ricotta holds a lot of excess water.

When you are ready to start assembling the ravioli, after rolling out the dough scramble the eggs and mix into the ricotta with the herbs. Season with the salt and black pepper to taste. Reserve and put back in the fridge until you are ready to spoon it out.

For the pasta dough: 
  • 5 lbs of flour
  • 5 eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 4 1/4 cups of water
Mix all of your ingredients together and knead until the dough is smooth. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Knead the dough again and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour. Knead and put it back in the fridge until you are ready to use it. When you are ready to use it, roll out the dough into a log on a lightly floured surface and cut into five sections. Roll out the section until it is flat as in the photo below. Try to keep it uniform in size, it makes it easier to cut the individual raviolis.  

Remove the ricotta filling from the refrigerator and mix. Spoon out about one and a half teaspoon sized portions onto the pasta dough about an inch apart from one another and about 3/4 of an inch from the top edge of the dough. 

Then gently fold over the top part of the pasta dough.

Grandpa loved to watch Grandma in the kitchen and provide "help."
Make sure that all of the cheese you have distributed is covered by the pasta dough.

Take your finger and lightly press down between the dollops of ricotta. 

Then using either a ravioli stamp, a knife, or a measuring cup cut the individual ravioli. If you use a knife be sure to press the edges firmly together with a fork like I did with my empanadas.  This will prevent them from breaking open when you cook them. 


To cook the ravioli boil water with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Fresh pasta will cook faster than store bought pasta. When they're done, they'll float to the top. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beer Bread

Things are finally getting back to normal after Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. No more police at the gas stations, ridiculously long gas lines, power is slowly being restored and most of the trees that were downed are removed from the roads. The recovery is going to take a while but clearly as the following photo will show at least to a certain extent, our household was prepared for our two week blackout...

Hurricane Supplies... sort of. 

Bear in mind, these were only the supplies I was instructed to pick up before the storm hit, everyone else brought reinforcements. As the blackout continued the boys kept restocking and once the fridge started working again, we still had a whole cooler filled with "supplies." 

This recipe is incredibly easy to do. You should keep in mind that whichever beer you chose to use for your bread is going to really impact the flavor. I realized that I like there to be a bit of bite in this recipe so I used the Brooklyn Brewery's Oktoberfest.  

Brooklyn Brewery 
What you'll need: 

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour 
  • 3 tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of baking powder
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 2 tbsp. of honey
  • 1 bottle of 12 oz. beer (your choice) 
  • 4 tbsp of melted butter (approximately half a stick)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) together in a bowl. Then, in a separate smaller bowl put the honey in the microwave for 3-5 seconds and mix with a small amount of the beer. This makes it easier to not only mix the honey in, mix into the dry mixture thoroughly along with the rest of your beer. 

Grease and flour a loaf pan. 

Now take half the butter and pour it into the bottom of the loaf pan. Add your batter, and top with the rest of your melted butter. It looks a little funky but it makes the top nice and crispy. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, allow it to cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

You could also add cheddar (1 cup) and jalapeños (1/4 cup) and serve with a bowl of chili, and a nice cold beer. 

If I was going to add the cheddar and jalapeños, I would omit the honey and use the following ingredients/proportions;

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of cheddar (shredded) 
  • 1/4 cup of jalapeños
  • 1 bottle of 12 oz. beer
  • 1/4 cup of butter
Add the cheddar and the jalapeños last after the rest of the batter has been prepared.