Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

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It’s been a long winter having to endure strawberries with the texture of cucumbers and tasting like…. well come to think of it not tasting like anything at all!

They’re here!  The first of Ontario strawberries are finally making their appearance.

In anticipation, I had lined up some new recipes to try out and make the best of the season.   Making Strawberry ice cream was first on my mind  but I quickly discovered the difficulty in choosing a recipe among the many existing.

This recipe is the one I finally chose for it’s simplicity but I confess the word cheesecake stopped me from looking any further.

Some ice cream recipes can be a little complicated and best left for those times you have the time and inclination but some on the other hand can be made with ease and give most delicious results.

This is one of those recipes, easy to make, unbelievably creamy and bursting with the flavour of ripe, seasonal strawberries!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

8 ounces cream cheese  (softened)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup fresh pureed strawberries

1 cup half and half (10% cream)

  1. Place ice cream freezer bowl in freezer the night before.
  2. Beat together cream cheese and sugar until well blended and creamy.
  3. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.
  4. Add pureed strawberries beating until well mixed.
  5. Beat in the half and half.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until very cold.
  7. Add to ice cream maker and process until ice cream mixture freezes and becomes thick and creamy.  (Time will depend on ice cream maker brand.)
  8. Serve at once or place into a container which has been previously placed in the freezer.
  9. Store for a few hours for firmer consistency.
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Fresh in season strawberries.

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Place sugar and cream cheese into a bowl.

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Beat until creamy.

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Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree.

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Beat in the half and half.

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Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions

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Place into a container which has been previously placed in the freezer.

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Smooth ice cream out eliminating any air pockets, place plastic wrap over surface, place lid and freeze

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Delicious!!

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Recipe can also be made from frozen sweetened strawberries, same 3/4 cup amount but omit sugar.
  • Ice cream can be served right after churning but will have a soft serve consistency or placed in the freezer to firm.  (Just don’t tell anyone it’s in the freezer or it won’t be there for long!)

 

 

 

English Muffin Bread

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This recipe certainly piqued my interest.

If the results for this English Muffin Bread proved to be as good as the accompanying  picture it would certainly replace the need for store bought English Muffins.

After comparing several recipes each containing different measurements, ingredients and even methods of preparation this was the only one I came across with a one loaf yield instead of two.  As always, trying a new recipe is somewhat experimental so making one loaf instead of two just made more sense at the time.

Who can possibly know how delicious this bread is unless one tries it!  I can’t express in words how good it is.  It will be very hard to eat a store bought English Muffin after this, there’s just no comparison.

I count it as a successful experiment… should have made two!

English Muffin Bread

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons cornmeal

  1. Combine 1 cup flour with the yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. Add the cup of warm water and beat with mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes. (Make sure to beat for the entire 3 minutes.)
  3. Add remaining flour a little at at time until unable to continue using mixer then continue mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.  (Amount of remaining flour needed may be slightly more or less depending on the moisture content of flour.  Dough should be soft,  pliable, and slightly sticky.)
  4. Coat a 8 x 41/2 loaf pan with butter then dust heavily with cornmeal.
  5. Place dough on a floured board and shape into a rough loaf shape.
  6. Place the loaf in the loaf pan and cover with a damp paper towel, allow to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Sprinkle top of loaf with cornmeal and bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. (If loaf top begins to brown too much by 30 minutes cover with foil to reduce over browning.
  8. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely before slicing.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Instead of covering rising loaf with a damp paper towel I inverted another loaf pan over the loaf . (I had a strong feeling the towel could stick to the loaf, actually I’m pretty sure it would have.)
  • Bread toasts up amazingly well enhancing both texture and taste.

Frozen Lemon Icebox Dessert

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I don’t quite know what sparked the memory of this particular dessert, the last time I remember making it dates back a few decades.

Unfortunately, the recollection of this recipe didn’t come with the memory of which recipe book or binder it was hiding in.

Eventually the image of a typewritten sheet came to mind so it wasn’t necessary to check any cookbooks. That made the recipe a little easier to find but there was still a substantial number of older binders and files to go through.

I’m not sure if by chance I first reached for the right binder or somehow instinctively knew it was there all along.  Just as I had pictured, typewritten and the evident ingredient stains on the sheet showed the recipe had been well used.

It’s interesting to note the transition from typewriter to computer key board to share this recipe but even over the span of time this dessert remains as delicious as the first time I made it.

Refreshingly light and lemony,  the perfect ending to any summer meal and a great make ahead dessert for any surprise visitors that may drop in.

Now if I could only remember who was nice enough to pass this recipe on to me… that would complete this sweet memory!

Frozen Lemon Icebox Dessert

¾ cups graham wafer crumbs

¼ cup butter, measure then melt

3 eggs separated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar (for the egg whites)

1 cup whipping cream (35%)

  1. Place graham crumbs and melted butter into a bowl.
  2. Toss around with a fork until butter is well mixed into the crumbs.
  3. Remove about 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbs and set aside to use for the topping.
  4. Place remaining crumbs into an 8×8 square baking dish and spread evenly to cover bottom then pat crumbs down gently.  Set aside.
  5. Into a saucepan combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.
  6. Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until slightly thickened, this will only take a few minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and cool while beating the egg whites.
  8. Beat egg whites until foamy then gradually add in the remaining ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks.
  9. Fold lemon yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites until no yellow streaks remain.
  10. In a separate bowl beat whipping cream to stiff peaks then fold into egg mixture.
  11. Pour mixture into pan and spread out evenly.
  12. Sprinkle reserved graham crumbs over the top, cover with plastic wrap then place into freezer for at least 4 hours.
  13. When ready, remove from freezer, cut and serve.
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In a bowlcombine graham crumbs and melted butter.

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Stir with a fork until well combined.

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Reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons for top then gently press the remaining crumbs on the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan.  Set aside.

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Combine egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan on medium heat.

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Stir constantly until slightly thickened. Set aside to cool while beating the egg whites.

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Beat egg whites until foamy then add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar gradually beating to stiff peaks.

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Fold yolk mixture into beaten egg whites until no yellow streaks remain.

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In a separate bowl beat whipping cream to stiff peaks.

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Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.

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Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread evenly then sprinkle reserved crumbs on top.  Cover and place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

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Serve frozen.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • This mixture can also be poured into an 8 inch graham cracker pie shell however if making your own pie shell the amount used in this recipe will not be enough.   Either use your favourite recipe or buy a ready made one.
  • Lemon thyme is flourishing in the garden, couldn’t help but use it as part of the garnish!

 

 

Ricotta Gnocchi in Browned Butter Sauce

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My first encounter with gnocchi of the potato variety is memorable but not in a good way.  Dense, overly chewy and hard to swallow are not words you want to associate with gnocchi.

Many years later I ventured into the art of  making gnocchi using a recipe in one of my old cook books and we have been enjoying them ever since.

Two memories have remained vivid in my mind from the first time I made gnocchi.  First, I didn’t make enough for dinner that night thinking they would considerably increase like pasta… and they didn’t.

Secondly, the gnocchi interruption!

Kids all in school that afternoon and as I sat at the kitchen table busily working on the gnocchi I heard some rustling outside the front door and decided to go check what it was all about. One of my children had escaped from kindergarten class and was hanging out on the front porch. Back to school we went suspending my gnocchi making for a while.

It’s hard to believe that each time since as I sit at the kitchen table making gnocchi, even in a different home, I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Enough about potato gnocchi since this post is about Ricotta Gnocchi which are equally delicious and super easy to make.

I’ve been wanting to share my Ricotta Gnocchi recipe for some time now but am glad I delayed since recently discovering a new and better recipe which has replaced the old one.

Light, fluffy and soft.  Now those are words you want to associate with a good plate of gnocchi!

Ricotta Gnocchi

8 ounces/ 250 g. ricotta

¾ cups fresh, finely grated parmiggiano cheese

¾ to 1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Combine ricotta, egg, egg yolk, grated cheese and salt into a bowl.
  2. Stir in ¾ cups flour then the rest a little at a time until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle top with flour and pat down.
  4. Roll dough to about a 1 inch thickness then cut into about ¾ inch strips.
  5.  Gently and lightly roll each strip of dough into cylinder shape.
  6. One roll at a time pinch off or cut pieces approximately 3/4 to 1 inch long.
  7. Place pieces on a wooden gnocchi board and with a floured fork lightly draw each dough piece along the board forming the gnocchi.
  8. Place gnocchi on a tray covered with a clean tea towel.  Refrigerate if using the same day or freeze gnocchi on tray then transfer to plastic bag to store in freezer for later use.
  9. To cook gnocchi bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt then add gnocchi, stir gently.  When gnocchi float to the top allow them to boil for one minute then remove and drain.  Cook frozen gnocchi straight from the freezer, cooking time will increase.
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Mix together ricotta, egg, egg yolk, salt and cheese

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Add flour and with hands bring dough together.

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On a lightly floured surface pat dough down with hands.

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Roll to about 1 inch thickness.

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Cut into about 3/4 inch wide strips.

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Roll each strip into cylinder shape.

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Pinch or cut off off  3/4 to 1 inch pieces.

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With floured fork and gnocchi board lightly draw dough piece along board to form gnocchi.

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Place gnocchi on a tea towel covered tray and refrigerate if cooking the same day otherwise freeze on tray until solid then store in plastic bag in freezer until ready to use.

Browned Butter Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1/2 cup gnocchi cooking water for the sauce

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium high heat letting it bubble until it turns brown, add salt and pepper.  Watch closely so not to burn.
  2. Pour the cooked gnocchi into the frying pan tossing until coated with the butter, add the  1/2 cup cooking water, gently stir together until the butter and starch in the water emulsify producing a sauce that coats the gnocchi.
  3. Taste and add more salt if required.
  4. Serve immediately.
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Add gnocchi to salted boiling water.

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When they rise to the top allow to boil 1 minute then drain. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water for sauce.

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In a skillet on medium high heat combine butter, salt and pepper.

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Allow butter to lightly brown, careful not to burn.

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Add drained gnocchi into skillet and toss until coated with butter, add cooking water and allow sauce to thicken while gently stirring.

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Delicious!  Serve immediately.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Gnocchi can also be formed by cutting each log into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces and cooked without using fork and gnocchi board.  However, the ridges formed by the board and hollow in the gnocchi formed by the fork are great for capturing the delicious sauce.
  • Ricotta gnocchi are delicious served with a tomato sauce as well.

Carrot Coconut Scones

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I came across a very interesting recipe this week.  Although very familiar with carrots going into muffins, cakes and cookies adding carrots to biscotti dough would not have crossed my mind.

Carrot Biscotti…why not!  They’re certainly worth a try.

So why is this post about carrot scones instead you might ask?

I was looking to make scones this week not biscotti.  My curiosity got the better of me so I put the biscotti recipe in a safe place and went on the search for an existing Carrot Scone recipe.

Yes they do exist… more recipes for Carrot Scones than I could have imagined but not one stood out as the one to try out.  By now my sixth sense about a successful recipe has sharpened considerably.  I proceed with caution and rely on my instincts which prove to be right more times than not.

The posted recipe is a combination of the best parts of two existing recipes along with a few little tweaks of my own.

At this point all I can say is that if the carrot biscotti turn out as good as these scones I will have added two more successful recipes to two of my favourite things to bake!

Carrot Coconut Scones

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

1 cup finely grated carrot

1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream, for brushing on scones

turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top

  1. Sift together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.
  2. Cut  butter into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Stir in grated carrots and coconut until well mixed.
  4. Slowly add buttermilk until dough begins to come together.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface bringing  it together by patting it down and folding it in half, continuing the process until it comes together.
  6. Pat into an 8 or 9 inch circle, cut into 8 wedges.
  7. Brush top of wedges with milk or cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for 18 minutes until golden.
  9. Cool on rack.
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Sift together flours, baking powder, soda, salt, brown sugar and spices .

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Cut butter into dry ingredients

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Mixture should look crumbly with small pieces of butter throughout.

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Stir in carrots and coconut until well blended.

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Add buttermilk a little at at a time while bringing the dough together.

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Keep patting it down and folding it in half until…

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…well mixed then pat into an 8 or 9 inch circle.  Cut into 8 equal wedges.

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Brush with milk or cream then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

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Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for about 18 minutes until golden.  Transfer baked scones onto a rack to cool.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • If your preference isn’t coconut omit and add raisins or nuts like walnuts or pecans.
  • Turbinado sugar is partially refined light brown cane sugar similar to demerara but with larger crystals. Regular coarse sugar can also be used.  These sugars can be found at a local bulk store.
  • Whole wheat pastry flour is also available at local bulk food stores.
  • Scones may also be topped with a thin cream cheese glaze instead. Recipe can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/868323/cream-cheese-glaze

Raggedy Andy

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Well here you are Raggedy Andy,  if it was up to me you would not have come into this world.

After making three Raggedy Anne dolls, one Pirate Pete and one Lucia I thought to be all done.  The pattern has become a little worse for wear and the thought of setting in sleeves to a very tiny little outfit is something I’d rather not think about.

One day while helping me tidy up the sewing room my granddaughter came across the pattern envelope for Raggedy Anne and Andy.  After examining it very carefully she pointed to the image of Andy and asked if he was Anne’s cousin.  I agreed with her thinking she was just curious.  And that’s where the story begins!

“Nonna can you make one for me?”

Well I didn’t say yes but I didn’t really say no either and hoped her fascination with Anne’s cousin would pass.  Lack of  appropriate material for Andy’s outfit did not deter her.  Each time I saw Reagan she would ask if Raggedy Andy was finished yet.

What could a nonna do?

So one day we took a trip to the material store where Reagan helped choose the material and coordinating thread. She was adamant about  black shoes for Andy perhaps fearing  he would end up with blue shoes like Lucia.

That’s just about when the all questions began… and a whole new world of discovery!

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This is material…FINALLY!

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What’s a pattern nonna?

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What are pins nonna?

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Let’s pin on the body Reagan….The body nonna?

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What’s stuffing nonna?

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Keep winding that yarn Reagan, I promise it will be his hair.

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So how did you do that nonna?

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Funny girl!!

The best part of this story is that she was willing to wrap Andy up and give him to her little sister Reese for her birthday!

I might add…reluctantly at first!

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Apple Pie Scones

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This post was intended to be about a new recipe for Cinnamon Bun Scones.  Turns out the results were disappointing.

I should have trusted my instincts after suspecting the flour measurement in the recipe to be excessive which indeed proved to be the case.

Still interested in the idea of a Cinnamon Bun Scone I decided to go back to a tried and true recipe instead.  The recipe for Raspberry Coconut Dark Chocolate Scones came to mind as the dough in this recipe is also rolled up cinnamon bun style and holds a delicious filling.

It seems my scones became a little more than Cinnamon Bun Scones ending up with more than a sugar and cinnamon filling.  The addition of apples first started out as just an idea which turned out to be a very good one!

If you enjoy a really good scone and love apple pie it doesn’t get any better than this!

Apple Pie Scones

 Filling

2 to 3 medium apples

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Chop apples to about 1/4 inch dice and place in a sauce pan with water.
  2. Gently simmer until they begin to soften.
  3. Thoroughly mix together sugar, corn starch and cinnamon then add to apples stirring constantly until thickened.
  4. Set mixture aside to cool.

Dough

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 cups flour

1/2 cup caster sugar (aka superfine or fruit sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch baking soda

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the cold butter and with a pastry cutter mix it into the flour mixture.
  3. Mix together milk and yogurt.
  4. Add to butter/flour mixture and stir until the dough begins to come together.
  5. With palm press mixture down then fold over and press down again, repeat until most of the dough has come together.
  6. Place a piece of plastic wrap on counter and sprinkle with flour, place dough on plastic wrap and shape into a rough rectangle.
  7. Add a little flour on the top of dough and place another piece of plastic wrap on top.
  8. With rolling pin roll into a 8 X 11 inch rectangle.
  9. Remove top plastic wrap and spread apple filling over dough.
  10. Using bottom plastic wrap to help, roll dough as tight as possible to form a log shape.
  11. Twist the ends tightening the roll.
  12. Unwrap the plastic wrap and cut into 8 slices.
  13. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and brush with a little cream or milk.
  14.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.
  15. Cool on rack and lightly dust with a little confectioner’s sugar.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • I omitted the milk and used a full cup of 3% yogurt instead.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Loaf

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It’s not that there was any need for yet another Zucchini Bread recipe.  Five very good variations and two more still to try out for the first time should be enough recipes sitting in my collection.

It’s just that the picture of this particular loaf did not fit the image of any zucchini bread I have ever made.

Darker in colour, denser and studded with chocolate, nuts or even a variety of different fruit are the zucchini breads I know and love.

This one has none of those qualities.  Very soft white in colour,  fine, cake like crumb, ever so delicate flecks of grated zucchini and the bright taste of lemon makes this zucchini bread distinctly different.

Just like the Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread posted a few weeks ago this recipe also has three ingredients that have never gone into any of my zucchini breads before.

Cake flour, lemon and  buttermilk, quite the combination that produces a very different but equally delicious zucchini loaf.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Loaf

2 cups cake and pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup buttermilk

zest of 1 lemon

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium )

Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon milk

  1. Grate zucchini.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl, set aside
  3. Beat eggs, add oil and sugar until well blended then add lemon juice, buttermilk and lemon zest.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients then fold in zucchini.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 9×5 or 11×4 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and tester inserted into the middle of loaf comes out clean.
  6. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove and  place on cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. While still slightly warm mix glaze ingredients and spoon over loaf.
  8. Allow glaze to set before cutting and serving.
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Grate enough zucchini to measure 1 cup.

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Sift together flour, salt and baking powder.

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Beat together eggs, sugar and oil .

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Beat in buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest.

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Stir in dry ingredients.

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Fold in grated zucchini.

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Place batter in a greased 9×5 or 11×4 inch loaf pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to45 minutes or until tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

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For glaze, mix together confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and milk.

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Spoon glaze onto still slightly warm loaf.

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Allow glaze to set before slicing.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Quantity of glaze seems to be a little too much for this loaf, half the amount is perfect. (1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons milk)

Chicken Spiedini

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While searching for a different but simple way to prepare chicken breast I came across this very interesting recipe.

There’s no shortage of recipes when it comes to chicken of course but ending up with something juicy and tender when it comes to the breast portion can be a challenge.

I’ve had very good chicken spiedini and some much less than good.  Although having doubts about the success of this recipe, especially the part about grilling them on the barbecue rolled in all those bread crumbs I just had to give them a try.

Turns out they are the best chicken spiedini I’ve ever tasted!  Certainly different but juicy, tender and tasty.

These take no more than ten minutes on the grill, just enough time to cook through and release the flavours of garlic, cheese and lemon zest.

About the bread crumbs…I wondered about those as well.   It seems they do a great job of capturing all those juices that would otherwise be lost in the grill.

Chicken Spiedini

4 boned chicken breasts

2/3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste if using plain bread crumbs

1/3 cup grated cheese

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, melted

  1. With knife slice through breast lengthwise  but not right through. (butterfly)  This will give you a larger surface to work with when preparing the spiedini.
  2. If using wooden skewers allow to soak in water for at least an hour.
  3. Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound with mallet until very thin, about 1/8 inch.
  4. Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic in a shallow dish.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste if using plain bread crumbs.
  6. In another shallow dish mix together olive oil, melted butter and lemon zest.
  7. Dip chicken pieces into oil butter mixture then coat with crumb mixture.
  8. Tightly roll up, cut into 1 inch pieces and thread on skewer.  If using wooden skewers soak them in water for an hour or so before .
  9. Repeat with remaining chicken slices.
  10. Grill on a preheated, lightly oiled barbecue grid on medium hot, closed cover approximately 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
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Cut chicken breast in half lengthwise not cutting right through, open then place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.   Gently pound with mallet to about 1/8 inch thickness.

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Proceed with remaining chicken breasts.

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Mix together bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley.

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Mix together oil, melted butter and lemon zest

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Dip chicken breast in oil and butter mixture then in bread crumb mixture.

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Starting at longer end roll tightly.

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Cut into 1 inch slices.

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Place chicken on skewers which have been previously soaked in water.

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Proceed with remaining chicken.

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Grill on medium hot heat on a closed grill for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

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Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • Don’t stray too far from the barbecue when grilling these, they cook up quite fast so plan to spend those 10 minutes or less on them with total devotion.

Polpettone al Sugo

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Polpettone translates into “large meatball” in English .  If one is not familiar with how polpettone actually looks, visions of a mega meatball sitting on a plate may readily come to mind.

Shaping the meat into a loaf works best for even cooking and  easy slicing to say nothing of the wonders it does for presentation. As children we always regarded it as Italian meatloaf when my mother made it “al sugo” or in tomato sauce.

Ham and cheese, the traditional choice are layered on a flattened meatball mixture, rolled up and seared until golden.  It’s then added to a simmering pot of fragrant tomato sauce until cooked through.

Although it was not customary for my mother to add a row of whole hard boiled eggs in the center of the loaf it is totally permitted and looks very interesting when sliced.  I just may give it a try sometime!

When you feel you’ve made one meatball too many, polpettone is a good alternative.

It’s usually served as part of a second course with a fresh crisp salad on the side.  That would be right after the first course pasta dish covered with that delicious tomato sauce which has taken on all the flavour of that tasty meat loaf.

Leftovers?  Polpettone takes a meatball sub to the next level!

Polpettone al Sugo

These listed quantities of ingredients are just a guideline and don’t have to be exact.  If you already have a favourite meatball recipe feel free to use it.

I like to make 2 smaller polpettone out of this recipe instead of one larger one,  it’s just a matter of preference.

1 ½ pounds ground pork or a combination of your favourite meat

1 egg, beaten

½ cup grated cheese

1 slice soft, white or whole wheat bread, coarsely grated moistened with 2 to 3 tablespoons milk.

about 2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

enough thinly sliced ham to cover surface of meat mixture

extra cheese, parsley, pepper and salt to sprinkle onto center of loaf

  1. Mix together ground meat, egg, cheese, moistened bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper until well blended.
  2. On a piece of plastic wrap, flatten mixture with hands into a rectangle to about ¾ inch thickness.
  3. Place a layer of ham over the meat mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheese, pepper and minced Italian parsley.  Depending on saltiness of the ham salt may not be required.
  5. Starting at short end of meat, roll into a log, close off ends.
  6. Tightly roll log in the plastic wrap and secure the ends. Refrigerate until ready to use, can also be made the day before.
  7. Heat skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil and sear rolling it around until all sides are golden.
  8. Add to favourite tomato sauce and simmer until cooked through, this depends on size of polpettone approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. Remove from sauce, let rest for a few minutes, slice and serve.
  10. Serve tomato sauce over pasta.
ml1

Place ground meat, cheese, softened bread crumbs, Italian parsley, egg, salt and pepper into a bowl.

ml2

Mix ingredients well.

ml3

Place mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and with hand flatten into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick.

ml4

Layer ham then sprinkle with cheese, Italian parsley and pepper to taste.  Depending on saltiness of ham additional salt may not be required.

ml5

Starting at short end and using the plastic wrap to guide, roll into a loaf shape.

ml6

Seal ends to contain the filling.

ml7

Roll tightly in plastic wrap, twist ends closed.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Can also be made the day before.

ml8

Sear loaf in a lightly oiled skillet making sure to brown all sides.

ml9

Add to simmering tomato sauce until cooked through.  Two smaller loaves made from this recipe cooked for about 50 minutes.

pol1

Delicious.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • The addition of the moistened soft bread in milk ensures a moist, softer loaf.
  • Use favourite cheese, Parmiggiano Reggiano or Peccorino works well.  A layer of mozzarella along with the grated cheese is also an option but make sure to seal the loaf well so the mozzarella doesn’t escape.
  •  Black Forest Ham works well in this recipe but any favourite ham thinly sliced will do.