Hello America !! This blog is dedicated just for YOU on this election day. Today got me thinking…what if I ran for president ?? Just forget about the rule that you have to be born in this country and have to be 35 years of age. I can’t help that I’m Italian and so young !! Okay maybe I have only one more year to go until I meet the age requirement. If I ran this country I would enforce that everyone eat nutella at least once a day, and cilantro would be completely banned from entering this country !! Only in a perfect world…
Hello to all the ghosts and goblins out there ; ) It is the week of a very spooky holiday…HALLOWEEN !! We don’t have this holiday back in Italy, but I do enjoy scaring my friends and getting to dress up — speaking of which, I don’t have a costume yet !! What should I be ?? Maybe I can dress up like my best friend Richard Blais : )
Wednesday, October 24, is United Nations Day !! Because of that, I give you my recipes that are inspired by other countries…some people don’t always like Italian food every day (although I don’t know why they wouldn’t…) !! We will explore the foods of India, America, Spain, Africa, Ireland, and the Caribbean…BOOM.
When you think classic Italian food…what do you think of ?? For many, they think PASTA !! And it’s National Pasta Day on Oct 17 !! It is the best comfort food to me, and it always takes me back to when I was a child and learned to cook from my mama and grandmother. We all know I very much love my pastas- whether it be gnocchi, penne, linguine..you name it, I probably LOVE it !!
- Use a LARGE pot with lots of water- more than you think you need! You want your pasta to have lots of room. For every 1/4 pound of pasta, use 1-1.5 quarts of water.
- After you bring water to FULL boil, add a splash of oil (not always necessary) & a few shakes of salt (I like this).
- Add your pasta & make sure it is COMPLETELY covered by boiling water- if it’s not at a full boil, it won’t be good !
- After you add pasta, stir well so it doesn’t stick to bottom of pot…and then stir again after 2-3 mins. NEVER cover your pasta with a lid !
- Start checking your pasta at the minimum time the package suggests- test it yourself ! If it is slightly firm but tender & not crunch/hard in the center, then you are GOOD TO GO. If it isn’t, check every minute until it’s ready !! Every second counts !!
- Once pasta is ready, remove it from the heat and drain in a colander. Shake the colander to get rid of all extra water, and you don’t need to rinse.
- Enjoy !!!!
This week it is my BIRTHDAY week…can you guess how old I’m turning ?? 25 you say ?? How did you know ?!? ; ) The big day is October 10 ! When I think of birthdays, I think of BIG parties and LOTS of food. I am Italian after all !!
The dishes I give you this week are all my favorite foods…so that’s why I say you should make them for my birthday week !!
When cooking for a big group of people, it can be a hard task- you can be confused with how much chicken is too much chicken ?? Is there such thing as too much cheese for a person ?? How much cake should I make ?? It’s always good to know how much of an ingredient to get in order to satisfy ALL of your guests : )
Take a look at these suggestions on how much of each ingredient you should get in order to make enough for 25, 50, or 100 guests !! And have a FANTASTIC party !! I know I’ll be celebrating ; )
|Bread||25 servings: 50 slices
50 servings: 100 slices
100 servings: 200 slices
|Cake||25 servings: 1 (10 x 12-inch) sheet cake – 1 1/2 (10-inch) layer cakes
50 servings: 1 (12 x 20-inch) sheet cake – 3 (10-inch) layer cakes
100 servings: 2 (12 x 20-inch) sheet cakes – 6 (10-inch) layer cakes
|Cheese (2 ounce serving slice)||25 servings: 3 pounds
50 servings: 6 pounds
100 servings: 12 pounds
|Chicken||25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25-35 pounds
100 servings: 50-75 pounds
|Fish (Fillets or Steak)||25 servings: 7.5 pounds
50 servings: 15 pounds
100 servings: 30 pounds
|Fish (whole)||25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25 pounds
100 servings: 50 pounds
|Hamburger||25 servings: 9 pounds
50 servings: 18 pounds
100 servings: 36 pounds
|Ice Cream (bulk)||25 servings: 2 ¼ quarts
50 servings: 4 ½ quarts
100 servings: 9 quarts
|Lettuce (salads)||25 servings: 4 heads
50 servings: 8 heads
100 servings: 16 heads
|Meat (Poultry, bone in)||25 servings: 20 pounds
50 servings: 40 pounds
100 servings: 80 pounds
|Meat (Poultry, boneless)||Meat (Poultry, boneless)
25 servings: 8 pounds
50 servings: 16 pounds
100 servings: 32 pounds
|Spaghetti||25 servings: 1 ¼ gallons
50 servings: 2 ½ gallons
100 servings: 5 gallons
|Turkey||25 servings: 13 pounds
50 servings: 25-35 pounds
100 servings: 50-75 pounds
For Week 10/02/2012
|BROWN VS. WHITE:||What is the difference between white and brown shell eggs you may ask ? Different kinds of hens can actually lay eggs in different colors, but the actual egg will have the same flavor.|
|SOFT BOILED VS. HARD BOILED:||Soft and hard boiled are cooked the same way but the cooking time is less in soft boiled (the yolk is runny instead of firm).|
|EGG SIZE:||Always use large eggs in recipes unless it says something different. There are MANY different size eggs like peewee, small, medium, large, extra large, jumbo, and MORE !!|
|SLIGHTLY BEATEN VS. WELL BEATEN:||Slightly beaten means that the eggs are mixed with just a fork until yolks & whites are blended together….well beaten eggs are beaten until the whites & eggs are light & frothy.|
|EGG STORAGE:||Best way to store eggs is to keep them in carton and refrigerate !! They should last for about 30 days but keep an eye out for the expiration date ! Keep hard boiled eggs refrigerated & they should last for about a week (smell will be bad if eggs are bad). Egg whites have a refrigerated shelf life of about ONLY 4 days. Egg yolks should be used within TWO days.|
|ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS:||
Eggs should be at room temperature before adding them to other ingredients when you bake !! They beat up lighter and make everything BETTER when not too cold : ) It takes eggs about 90 minutes to get down to room temperature once you take them out of the refrigerator. If you are in a rush, you can try covering the eggs in a small bowl with warm water — they should be okay to use within around 5 minutes.
|SEPARATING AN EGG:||This looks a lot easier than it actually is !! Instead of pouring the yolk back and forth between egg shell halves, you can buy an egg separator OR use a small kitchen funnel (crack the egg & pour it into the funnel…the egg white will come through the funnel while the yolk stays at the top).|
|EGG WASH:||Always you hear the term “egg wash”- but do you know what it is ?? It’s usually a whole egg beaten with a pinch of salt ! It’s used on pastries to make them SHINE or to moisten meats before putting them in flour/batter.|
|FRESH VS. ROTTEN:||I have an easy trick to tell if your eggs are fresh or rotten !! Put the egg in a bowl of water — a fresh egg will sink…so if it floats..it’s not fresh !!|
For Week 9/25/2012
Ahhh the fall season is upon us….I can just smell it in the air !! The leaves are changing colors and falling off trees. I always get that warm & fuzzy feeling inside when I think of this season because it makes me want to be with family and curl up by the fire !! I miss the time when LOG ON was a way to increase the heat in your fireplace and not something to do with technology!!!! AND I love winter clothing sooooo much….but since I’m in California, I don’t get to wear them so I really look forward for fall cause for the few months after I can wear something heavier!!! Sorry for rant…Anyway, this season marks the start of all the DELICIOUS holidays that are coming up !!
This week I feature my favorite #FallClassics….dishes that are perfect to make at this time of year. When I think of fall, I think of vegetables. SO, for this week’s blog, I will teach you ALL about these magical foods : )
Here is the cooking info for some tasty fall veggies that I know will make your tummy smile !! This info is all based on ONE pound of the vegetable—don’t forget !!
Steam: 30-60 minutes
Microwave: 4-5 minutes each
Boil: 25-40 minutes
Steam: 5-15 minutes
Microwave: 6-12 minutes
Boil: 10-20 minutes
Steam: 40-60 minutes
Microwave: 14-18 minutes
Boil: 30-60 minutes
Steam: 8-10 minutes
Microwave: 4-6 minutes
Boil: 5-10 minutes
Steam: 2-4 minutes
Microwave: 2-4 minutes
Boil: 4-5 minutes
Steam: 12-30 minutes
Microwave: 6-8 minutes
Boil: 20-30 minutes
Steam: 5-6 minutes
Microwave: 4-5 minutes
Boil: 4-5 minutes
Steam: 20-25 minutes
Microwave: 9-12 minutes
Boil: 15-20 minutes
Steam: 10-15 minutes
Microwave: 8-10 minutes
Boil: 15-20 minutes
Steam: 5-10 minutes
Microwave: 3-6 minutes
Boil: 5-10 minutes
Just a few helpful suggestions for when you cook these: When you steam, the time BEGINS when the water boils & you see steam. When you microwave, some veggies don’t need water, just the tiny drops that are still on after you’ve rinsed them ! Lastly, when you boil, cover the bottom of the pan with ½ – 1inch of water…if you have whole or dense veggies, use MORE WATER—and make sure the water is boiling BEFORE putting the vegetables in.
Happy cooking !!
Week of 9/18/2012
How everybody like the comfort foods of last week ?? I hope you all enjoyed sharing memories with your family.
For this week, it is all about chicken, chicken, chicken !! Why ?? Because September is National Chicken Month AND who doesn’t love chicken ?? Well…maybe vegetarians…; )
For my blog this week, I want to share with you the meanings of some cooking words that have to do with chicken/meat that you may not know…this stuff can be confusing !! Here you go:
- Braise- when you brown meat or veggies in a small amount of hot fat…then cook slowly in medium amount of liquid in an oven or on a stovetop
- Broil- cooking food by putting it in direct heat under the broiler of a gas/electric range, electric broiler, or over open fire
- Deep-Fry- making food to have a crisp golden-brown crust by cooking it in enough fat that covers the food completely (some food will need to be breaded )
- Deglaze- after you brown meats or veggies, you add wine or stock to the pan on HIGH heat & then you combine the burnt/brown/sticky coloring that’s left in the pan with the wine/stock
- Fricassee- cook pieces of meat/fowl by first braising it and then serve it with a thickened sauce
- Hack- cutting up chicken with a cleaver into big bite-size pieces and keeping the bone (which keeps meat moist while it is cooking) kind going at it like Jason in Friday 13 ; )
- Julienne- to cut food into very thin strips, make sure finger are out of the way
- Pan-Fry- cooking food in small amounts of fat on stovetop, this is a bit messy for the stove, lots of spill normally
- Poach- cooking delicate foods in almost simmering liquid..but being VERY CAREFUL that your food holds its shape
- Pound- flatten meats & poultry using a meat mallet (I call it the “Punisher”) or rolling pin…this tenderizes tough meat and makes sure your food has even cooking throughout
- Sauté- fry food very lightly until it is golden in just a SMALL amount of hot fat on your stovetop…don’t forget to turn it continuously !!
- Sear- to cook your food at VERY high temperature in oven or on top of range for a short time…just enough time to quickly get a brown crust on the surface of the meat
- Skewer- cooking different foods such as chicken or meat on a long, thin metal pin or a hard rosemary sprig
- Truss- when you tie your meat with metal or wooden pins/skewers/sting to help hold the shape of the meat while you are cooking it
Did that help ?? I hope so….
Join in on the twitter conversation about chicken this week with hashtag #ChickenDinner…stay tuned for my daily chicken recipes on Twitter & Pinterest !!