Pizza Rustica

*This Pizza Rustica Is Traditionally Eaten The Night Before Easter Sunday.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
1/3 lb. ham (chopped)
4 large egg yolks (beaten)
1 large egg (beaten)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Pastry Dough Recipe:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening (cut into pieces)
1 tsp. sea salt
3 large eggs (beaten)
2 to 4 tbsp. ice water
Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture is coarse. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
3. In large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, fresh parsley, ham and prosciutto to the mixture and stir well.
4. Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 18-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch.
5. Add the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan.
6. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round.
7. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges.
8. You can cut the extra overhanging dough into strips and put on top of pie. (see photo)
9. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until the crust is golden brown. (about 1 hour)
Let cool for about 15-20 minutes before cutting.

 

 

Easter Egg Sugar Cookies

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Ingredients:

4 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 can of vanilla icing

food gel or food coloring

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
2. Add fllour and baking powder. Mix well. Roll out dough on a floured board.
3. Using a Easter egg cookie cutter ( medium size), cut out dough.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 12 minutes, as you don’t want the cookies to burn on the bottom.
5. Let cookies thoroughly cool.
6. In a bowl put 1/2 cup of vanilla icing. Put about 4 drops of food gel/coloring. (depends on how dark you want the green to be) I used yellow, red and green. (separate bowl of icing for each color)  For a pink color, 2-3 drops of red coloring. Mix well.
7. Put a “very thin” layer of icing on cookies. You can decorate the cookies any way you like.
8. Let icing dry a little before serving.
Makes about a 12-15 cookies. You can always double the recipe, if you want to make more. (depends on the size of your cookie cutter)

Asparagus Frittata

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Ingredients:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter plus 1 tbsp.

1/3 cup minced shallots

1 tsp. sea salt

1 lb. asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut into 1-inch pieces

8 large eggs (beaten)

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Directions:

1. Melt 3 tbsp. of butter into large iron- skillet.  Add shallots and cook until they soften.  (3 minutes)  Add asparagus, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.

2. In a bowl, mix eggs with shredded Swiss cheese.

3. Add an additional tbsp. of butter to skillet. Pour in eggs and cheese and cook until almost set, but still runny on top. (about 2-3 minutes)

4. While cooking, pre-heat oven broiler.

5.  Pu iron-skillet in oven to broil until cheese is well melted and frittata is browned on top. (about 4-5 minutes) Remove from oven and slide frittata onto serving dish. Cut into pieces. (see photo)

Hamantaschen

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Ingredients:

5 1/2 cups of flour

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder.  Mix.

2. Knead until smooth.

3. On a floured board, roll dough out very thin (1/8 inch).

4. Cut out circles using a large drinking glass or the top of sugar bowl.

5. Put a dollop of filling in the center of each circle.

6. Fold in three sides over the filling to form a triangle with filling showing in the center.

7. On a greased baking sheet (a little butter) place hamantaschen.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the corners. 

Chocolate Biscotti

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Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 lb. butter or margarine

1 cup of sugar

 2 eggs

 3 tbs. sour cream

1 1/2 cup chocolate morsels (semi-sweet)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. anise extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and anise extract.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate morsels. Then add it to the butter mixture.

3. Mix the dough into a ball. If sticky, add a little more flour. Dough must be soft. Form six loaves and put on a greased cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into 1 inch wide toast slices. Return to oven for 7 minutes on each side. (total of 14 minutes)

Remove from oven and cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

 

Chicken and Shrimp Pesto

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Ingredients:

6 slices of chicken cutlets (sliced into bite size pieces)

1 lb. of shrimp (cleaned and tail removed)

1 cup fresh basil (chopped)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil plus 3 tbs.

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup pignoli nuts (toasted)

sea salt and ground blackpepper

Directions:

1. In a blender add basil, garlic, grated cheese, and pignoli nuts. (To toast your pignoli nuts, just put nuts in a skillet and toss on a medium heat for two minutes. Don’t burn them.) Begin to blend and slowly add  (1/2 cup) olive oil. Blend to a creamy consistency. You may need to add a drop more of olive oil. Blend thoroughly and leave to the side.

2. In a skillet, add 3 tbs. of olive oil. Add chicken pieces and sprinkle with sea salt and ground black pepper. Turn on each side.  Cook for about 6 minutes, until cutlets are white. When cutlet pieces are just about cooked, add shrimp. Cook shrimp on each side for 2 minutes. Stir all together. Pour shrimp and chicken into a bowl. Pour pesto on top. Mix pesto over the chicken and shrimp.

Serve warm. Serves 4.

Baked Tilapia With Plum Tomatoes

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Ingredients:

4 large slices of tilapia

2 lbs. fresh plum tomatoes (chopped) or 2 (16 oz.) cans of crushed tomatoes

1 small sweet onion (chopped)

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tbsp. fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large skillet, add olive oil, onions and garlic. Let garlic brown for 2 minutes and add fresh plum tomatoes. Add sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir and cook until tomatoes become soft and saucy. (about 10 minutes) When soft, remove and let cool for a few minutes.

2. Sea salt and ground black pepper (just a pinch) on each tilapia slice.

3. In a large baking dish, coat the bottom with a little olive oil. Put half the sauce in the bottom of the pan.

4. Place tilapia in baking pan. Pour remaining tomatoes on top and add parsley.

5. Baked in oven for about 18-20 minutes. Tilapia should be white and flaky.

Serve hot.

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Ingredients:
1 dozen stemmed strawberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate (chopped) (milk chocolate if you want)
1/2 cup white chocolate (chopped)
Directions:
1. Rinse strawberries in cold water. Let thoroughly dry on paper towels. Leave 2 inches of the stem on the strawberry.
2. Melt chocolate and white chocolate separately. Once melted dip strawberries.
3. Let strawberries dry on wax paper and then refrigerate.
* If you have food coloring, you can add a few drops to melted white chocolate for extra designs on the strawberries.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 fluid ounce red food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans with paper baking cups.

2. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer.  Add in the eggs, food coloring, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in baking soda.

3. Add flour and cocoa powder. Stir well into the batter. Spoon batter into baking cups.

4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Do the “toothpick test” to make sure cake is dry in the middle. Set aside and cool.

Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup melted butter

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. box of confectioners sugar

1 cup red M&M’s

Directions:

1. Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Slowly add confectioners sugar. Mix until smooth.

2. Put icing on each cupcake. Arrange M & M’s in a design.

Keep cupcakes refrigerated. Take out of refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.