Marinara Sauce

I’ve been on the lookout for a homemade Marinara recipe for a really long time.  I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate more homemade pantry staples (although this recipe uses canned crushed tomatoes… you win some, you lose some, right?) and I’ve finally found a red sauce that I can call the sauce.  This recipe is very easy to whip up, and it is wonderful used as a dip (a recipe for focaccia, where I use this sauce as a dip, is coming very soon), as a pasta sauce, and even as a base for pizza. Another great thing about this marinara sauce is that it freezes wonderfully! I made a large batch and froze individual jars of sauce for later use.  Whenever I needed some, I simply left it out of the counter for a few hours, and voilà!  Marinara at your service :)   MarinaraPic

Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

Directions: Heat oil in a large vessel over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, salt, and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and bay leaf, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are completely tender. Stir in butter and brown sugar. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the sauce until smooth.

Churros

 

A few weeks ago my friends and I got together for a fun filled Latin inspired luncheon. I prepared Chicken Enchiladas, one of my friend’s made delicious Spanish Rice and Spiced Black Beans.

After we ate, we set out to make our very own Churros!

Oh.Em.Gee Peopleeee! These are SO EASY AND SO FREAKING DELICIOUS!

You basically whip up a choux pastry batter, fry it to golden deliciousness, and then toss it in the stuff dreams are made of cinnamon sugar.

See? Easy as 1, 2, 3 :)

 

ChurrosPic

 

Churros

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar

For Churro Batter:

  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Oil, for deep frying

Directions:

Make Coating:

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a large tray and set aside.

Make Batter:

In a medium saucepan, combine salt, sugar, butter, and milk and cook over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Switch over to a wooden spoon or spatula, and cook until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the dough becomes shiny, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and cool for a few minutes. Using a mixer, add eggs one at time, making sure to beat each one in completely before adding the next.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a closed star tip and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat oil for deep-frying over medium heat. Once thoroughly heated, pipe batter into oil in desired shapes. Fry for several minutes, turning often to ensure even browning. Once golden brown, remove the churros from the oil and blot them on a paper-towel lined tray for a few seconds, then toss in the prepared coating.

Serve warm.

Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container.

 

(Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell)

Cookies ‘n Cream Rice Krispie Treats

Asiya posted this Cookies and Cream Rice Krispies recipe a while back, and I had filed it away in my mental “must-make” file. I first made the recipe, adapting it to use regular marshmallows, several months ago to mind-blowing results. Since then, I’ve made it a number of times, each time better than the last. This is a wonderful recipe to whip up in a jiffy, and it’s also one that kids enjoy helping out with :)

 

CookiesAndCreamRiceKrispieTreatsPic

 

Cookies ‘n Cream Rice Krispie Treats

Yield: 1 Large Tray

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 20 chocolate sandwich cookies (12 coarsely chopped for filling, 8 coarsely chopped or ground for topping)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 (200-250 gram) package marshmallows
  • ½ to 1 cup (according to preference) white chocolate chips

Directions:

Depending on how thick or thin you prefer your rice krispie treats, set aside a greased 9”x13” or 8”x11” baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine cookies for filling and cereal.

In a large nonstick vessel, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and melt completely. Slowly add the melted marshmallows to the cereal and mix completely. Transfer to greased baking dish and spread out the mixture evenly. Lightly press down.

In a double broiler, melt the white chocolate chips. Spread melted chocolate over the rice krispies evenly. Lightly press the remaining chocolate sandwich cookies over the melted chocolate. Refrigerate for a few minutes, to harden the chocolate.

Cut into squares and serve.

Can be kept at room temperature.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Do you remember how I mentioned that I made an ice cream bar for Zuni’s birthday party back in May?  Well, this Vanilla Bean Caramel was one of the components of said bar.  I used the basic recipe from my trusted ice cream source, The Perfect Scoop, and added a vanilla bean to take it over the top (much thanks to Annie’s Eats for the idea!).  The result is a luscious sauce that is amazing poured over ice cream, stirred into coffee, used sandwiched between cookies, and even eaten directly from the jar (hey, don’t look this way, it was just a suggestion) ;)

 

VanillaBeanCaramelPic

 

Vanilla Bean Caramel

Yield: 1 ½ Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Spread sugar evenly at the bottom of a large saucepan. Place over medium-low heat. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all of the sugar has melted, making sure not to over-stir.

Measure out the heavy whipping cream into a small bowl, and scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into it. Add the bean itself to the cream as well. Set aside.

Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove from heat. Whisk in half of the cream mixture, making sure to work carefully as the caramel will bubbly and steam violently. Once the cream has been incorporated, stir in the remaining cream and mix well. Stir in vanilla and salt. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.

When cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The vanilla bean can stay in the caramel or be thrown away, according to preference.

 

Ricotta and Zucchini Galette

There was a lonely zucchini hanging out in the refrigerator, totally on the verge of going from edible to non-edible. I hate throwing food out, so I set out to find a recipe that would please all of us. I stumbled upon this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which I have been eyeing for what seems like ages, and set out to work. I made my own ricotta (hopefully I’ll be able to do a post on that soon. It is so easy to make!), prepped the dough and filling, and ended up with a galette worthy of being the centerpiece of any meal.

It looks like I’m going to have to buy more zucchini, because we cannot seem to get enough of this :)
RicottaZucchiniGalettePic

 

Ricotta and Zucchini Galette

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

For Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For Filling:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced thinly
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For Glaze and Topping:

  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (egg-wash)
  • 1 tablespoons slivered basil

Directions:

Make Crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all-purpose flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds.

In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, water, and lemon juice. With the machine running, add the mixture through the feed tube in a slow and steady stream, just until the mixture holds together. Remove dough from food processor and pat into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Note: If dough has gotten too soft from the food processor, simply wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. It will harden and become easier to roll the following day.)

Make Filling:

Toss zucchini with salt and spread out on paper towels. Allow it to drain for 30 minutes, then wipe the tops dry with a paper towel before using.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and garlic.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil mixture to the cheese mixture and mix well.

Prepare Galette:

Preheat oven to 400˚F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll chilled dough out into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to baking sheet. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border along the edges. Place the zucchini over the top, and drizzle with olive oil mixture. Fold the edges over, pleating as needed. Brush the edges with prepared egg-wash.

Bake the galette until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil. Let it stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Galette can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.