Can I Get The Recipe For That – Gingerbread Cookies

The Ingredients – cookies

  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) light (unsulfured) molasses
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2-1/3 cup (12 oz/375 g) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The Ingredients – white icing

  • 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
  • 4-5 teaspoons milk

Directions – cookies

Note: This is a very heavy, thick dough. You will need a strong mixer. I use a Kitchen Aid, having killed more than my share of hand mixers on this recipe.

  1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and molasses until fluffy, about three minutes.
  2. Beat in the egg yokes. In a sifter, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda, cloves, and salt. Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat until well combined.
  3. Gather the dough into a ball; it will be soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Position racks in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Butter two large, heavy baking sheets.
  5. Remove one-third of the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll it out to 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.
  6. Using a figure-shaped cookie cutter, cut out your gingerbread people, trees, ornaments, etc. Carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, placing them about an inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  7. Gather up the scraps into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill. Repeat rolling and cutting the cookies with the remaining dough, in two batches. Then reroll the scraps and cut more cookies.
  8. Bake until the cookies begin to turn golden brown on the edges, about ten minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool (if you don’t, the icing will run away when you try to ice them).
  9. Decorate the cookies with the white icing as desired.
  10. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Makes about 20 cookies, depending on the shape and size of cutter

Directions – white icing

In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough of the milk to thin the icing to the desired consistency.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Can I Get The Recipe For That – Pasta Dough

I do not have an Italian grandmother. In fact, I never really knew either of my grandmothers when I was growing up, and my mother’s favorite dinner was reservations, so learning how to cook has been an effort in trial, error, and ordering pizza.

If you are going to cook a meal that involves pasta, you really should learn how to make your own. I say this with a proviso – if you are going to make your own pasta, you will want some additional tools for your kitchen, so if you are going to make pasta, you are investing in more than just one or two meals because the tools are a couple of hundred dollars initially. You can do all of this by hand of course, but it will take a lot more time.

For this recipe, we will look at how I make the dough. I have used this dough recipe successfully for both fettuccine as well as other noodle shapes. The key to this is the flour, and if you are going to make pasta, you really should try and get the flour. This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour Pasta Flour Blend, available from King Arthur Flour. The key to good pasta dough is the flour, specifically semolina, all-purpose, and high-protein, finely milled “00” flour. You can find this in some grocery stores and some specialty stores. Or you can order it directly from King Arthur.

Ingredients

3 cups of pasta flour
4 large eggs
2 to 4 tbsp water
extra flour for the work surface

Directions

Place the flour in a food processor, bread machine, or bowl. Mix in eggs all at once. Knead, adding only enough water to form a smooth dough. Form dough into a rectangle, about 1” thick, wrap well and rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, cut off a chunk, flour both sides of the dough and run it through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Repeat the process, flouring as necessary. Repeat the process, flouring as necessary and gradually reducing the setting until the desired thickness is reached.

Cut into shapes and toss with flour to prevent sticking. Hang in individual strands or arrange in small nests and allow to dry.

To cook: Boil 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add pasta and cook for 2 to 4 minutes until pasta is still slightly firm. Fresh pasta cooks quickly. Drain and toss with oil or sauce.

Can I Get The Recipe for That – Scampi

As part of the Italian dinner at the Ristorante Italiano I served last night, we had a lovely Scampi. And for those that liked it, and want to make it themselves, here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 cloves of garlic, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Warm crusty bread (for serving)

Directions

  • Whisk grated garlic, salt, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, toss to coat, and chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  • Heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the shrimp mixture, being careful not to let shrimp or garlic brown, until shrimp is pink but slightly underdone, about one minute per side. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Add sliced garlic and red pepper to the skillet and cook, tossing, until fragrant, about one minute. Add wine and lemon juice and cook occasionally stirring, until reduced by half, about two minutes. Add butter and cook, stirring and swirling the pan occasionally, until butter is melted and sauce is thickened about five minutes.
  • Scrape shrimp along with any accumulated juices into skillet. Toss to coat and cook until shrimp are fully cooked through, about two minutes. Transfer to a platter, top with parsley, and serve with bread for dipping alongside.

Can I Get The Recipe For That – Prosciutto Fritters

As many people know, I spend my spare time cooking. I bake, and lately, I have been expanding out into full meal cooking. Moreover, as I do this, many people are asking for me the recipes for the various dishes I make. Rather than responding to each person individually, I decided to add a section to this blog, so anyone who wants to can make it themselves.

To start with, let’s dive into the appetizers from Saturday’s Italian dinner walk through. The menu was as follows:

Appetizer: Prosciutto and Cheese Fritters and a Virginia sparkling
Main: Fettuccine Carbonara and a Chianti (Nipozzano)
Dessert: Italian cookies and Sambuca

I will be posting other recipes as the week goes by, but let us start with the fritters.

Ingredients

1 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 oz prosciutto crudo, diced
1/2 cup grated caciocavallo cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
lard
salt

Directions

Heat the water, salt, and butter in a saucepan, preferably of copper, and when it boils, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to the heat and work the mixture continuously with the spoon; after a great deal of stirring the mixture will have formed a solid and homogeneous ball of dough. Let it cool, then incorporate the eggs one at a time, constantly kneading (using a mixer can save some of this effort).

When the dough forms bubbles, work in the prosciutto, caciocavallo, and parsley. When this is done, set the dough aside in a cool place.

Heat several inches of lard in a high-sided pan until hot (but not smoking), then drop in 1-inch balls of dough. (You can make the balls with a spoon or spread out the dough and cut it into cylinders to roll directly into the pan.) Let these fry slowly, reducing the heat if they start to brown too quickly

Remove them with a slotted spoon, put them on a serving plate covered with paper towels, and serve hot.

Enjoy!