Thursday, August 28, 2014

Caprese Lasagna Roll-ups

"Before you quit, try. Before you talk, listen. Before you react, think. Before you criticize, wait. Before you move on, forgive." 

-- Author Unknown



Caprese Lasagna Roll-Ups
Cook's notes: This dish has all the flavors you would find in the traditional caprese; mozzarella, fresh basil and tomatoes plus the traditional flavors of lasagna. 
recipe adapted from Cooking Classy
Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. freshly shredded, low-moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup light ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2/3 cup freshly, finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided  
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, recipe follows
  • Simple Marinara Sauce
    2TB. extra virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic finely minced
    1 (28 oz) can chunky tomatoes, garlic,bail and oregano
    1/3 cup fine
    ly chopped yellow onion
Directions:
Marinara Sauce:
1. Saute onions and minced garlic in olive oil.
2. Add in tomatoes and mix well. 
3. Bring to a boil and simmer 25 minutes; set aside.
  •  Lasagna Roll-Ups
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO NOT rinse with water) and align lasagna noodles in a single layer on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.
  • 2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Mix in 12 oz. of the Mozzarella cheese and season with black pepper to taste (I wouldn't recommend seasoning with salt just because the cheeses already have plenty of salt).
  • 3. Place 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle and spread into an even layer, going from one end of the lasagna to the other. Align 4 thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. 
4. Snugly roll lasagna noodles to opposite end. Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of lightly greased an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Align lasagna roll ups, seam side down in dish. 
5. Top each roll up with about 2 Tbsp of the pasta sauce (covering edges of pasta so they don't dry out while baking). Sprinkle top with remaining 2 oz. shredded Mozzarella and 1/3  cup Parmesan cheese. 
6. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reinventing Ants on A Log

Food Network was creative and inspiring with a new take on the classic Ants on a Log,  a favorite after school snack. Note that peanut butter and raisins aren't the only ingredients to get kids to eat celery. Even adults will go for these snacks. perhaps you will be motivated to try a new combination yourself. 
Ants On A Ranch
cream cheese mixed with ranch dressing and peas
Berries On A Branch
peanut butter and blueberries
Ladybugs On A Log
strawberry cream cheese and dried cranberries or cherries
Beans On A Stalk
guacamole and black beans
Fish In A Stream
hummus and Goldfish pretzels
Pigs In A Pen
pimiento cheese and bacon bits
lyrics supplied in case you feel like singing a bit today!

The Ants Go Marching One By One
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one;
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching two by two.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching two by two.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching two by two;
The little one stops to tie his shoe,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching three by three.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching three by three.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching three by three;
The little one stops to climb a tree,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching four by four.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching four by four.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching four by four;
The little one stops to shut the door,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching five by five.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching five by five.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching five by five;
The little one stops to take a dive,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching six by six.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching six by six.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching six by six;
The little one stops to pick up sticks,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching seven by seven.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching seven by seven.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching seven by seven;
The little one stops to pray to heaven,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching eight by eight.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching eight by eight.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching eight by eight;
The little one stops to rollerskate,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching nine by nine.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching nine by nine.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching nine by nine;
The little one stops to check the time,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The ants go marching ten by ten.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching ten by ten.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching ten by ten;
The little one stops to shout
"THE END!!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Funny Names for Food Trucks

Food trucks have certainly evolved through the years. These trucks cater at events (carnivals, construction sites, sporting events, and places of regular work or study – college campuses, office complexes, movie sets, farmer's markets, military bases) etc. – where regular meals or snacks are in high demand by potential customers. Food truck dining as a popular phenomenon has caught on in the U.S. and Canadian cities and in some European cities. Food trucks are increasing in popularity for wedding receptions.
Food Network magazine September 2014 features an article titled: "America's Funniest Food Truck Names." I thought some of these food truck names were quite clever. Check out the magazine to see more than the ones posted below.
We represent Northern California ! Oh Miso Hungry Serves Asian & American Fusion Style Food to the South Bay Area .
God Save The Cuisine, a San Diego organic, local, sustainable, British influenced food truck.
Lard Have Mercy’s food trailer offers bacon dishes, as well as sweet treat that your taste buds will love. Currently they are just doing catering for summer 2014. The food truck has been featured on the TV show called The Chew.

Grease, Love and Lard. Austin, Texas

 
Pressed For Time is the second food truck launched by The Food Movement. Based in North Atlanta their menu focuses on panini sandwiches.
Holy Crepe,  a gourmet food truck in Tampa that offers sweet. savory. soulful made to order crepes to satisfy your culinary imagination.
On Tapa The World food truck in Atlanta area that specializes in Spanish Tapas featuring flavors from around the globe.
At Lettuce B. Frank ( Rochester, NY) are attempting to change the face of fast food by making it local, from scratch and healthy. They support sustainability, minimal waste and recyclable products along with serving mainly locavore cuisine.
They have several vegetarian, vegan & traditional dishes to cater to all appetites. The menu evolves with the season and the harvest.

Ball or Nothing serves meatballs, of course. Menu items include veggie options and come in chicken and ghost chili varieties. They launched on April 17, 2012 in DC.

And last but not least a 'shout-out' to the Twin Cities area.
Fork In The Road serves up "Good Eats" on the street focusing on new American cuisine and sandwiches adding  their own unique twist, to the awesome people of the Twin Cities.T

Monday, August 25, 2014

The World According to Bella

I've Got Mail
Everyday Mr. C and I walk to the mailbox.  It's 2 miles round trip. I am always ever hopeful something will be in the box for me. Most of the time there's nothing. But today was different. I got mail and Mr. C got nothing. This magazine said TO BELLA and even had my picture on the front. I didn't care that Dr. Ekholm had listed all the shots I needed-I was just happy to get mail.  
On the last page it  listed a lot of things on how Labs got to be #1 on the AKC  Breed Popularity list. I just knew they were talking about me when I heard the words: trustworthy, playful, eager to please, good temperament, quick, enthusiastic learner and enjoys swimming and retrieving. Mr.C said the only thing they forgot to list was my OCD over digging holes.
Did you notice I got my picture on this page too?
I just love mail so send me some.
Love, Bella
  ________________________________________________________________
Peach Strudel
Cook's notes:Using puff pastry sheets  and fresh peaches makes a mouthwatering strudel easy to create. I was excited my recipe looked almost just like the picture from Pepperidge Farm.
Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB. water
  • 4-5 peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TB. flour
  • 1/3 cup crushed almonds or chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1 sheet, thawed Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
  • 2 TB. coarse sugar or granulated sugar
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Beat egg and water in a small bowl with a whisk and set aside. 
  • In a large bowl stir peaches, brown sugar, 1 TB flour , nuts, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Unfold the pastry sheet and place on floured sheet of wax paper. Roll out to a 14 x 12 inch rectangle.
  • Use a slotted spoon to drain some of the juices and spoon the mixture down the center of the pastry. Cut slits 1 inch apart from the long sides of the pastry to within 1/2 inch of the peach mixture.
  • Starting at one end, fold the pastry strips over the peach mixture, alternating sides, to cover the peach mixture. Tuck under the short ends of the pastry. 
  • Mix 1/2 tsp. cinnamon with 2 TB. sugar
  • Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. 
  • Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet on wire rack for 20 minutes.  
  • Note: Avoid using the microwave to reheat pieces as it makes the crust soggy. Instead place pieces on a cookie sheet and heat at 425 degrees for 4 minutes.
 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Unusual Uses for Coke and Cola Chocolate Cake



Coca Cola is one of the most widely recognized brands of soda in the entire world. It’s a staple in most American refrigerators. But Coke is more than just a refreshing drink; it has tons of awesome household uses as well! Check out some crazy uses for Coca Cola. Perhaps you even have one to share.

1. Tenderize your meats: Have a tough or low-quality hunk of meat? You can soften it up with a little marinade in the world’s favorite soda. Just add some Coke to the crockpot, or marinate the meat in Coke before grill time or before popping it into the oven. Yum!

2. Clean your clothes: Have a tougher than normal stain on your work clothes, like oil, grass, or dirt? Soak it in Coke! The acids in coke will remove your stains without damaging the cloth. Then just toss your clothes in the wash like normal, and run the cycle as hot as you can without damaging the cloth. Your clothes will be clean and stain-free again.

3. Grill Sauce: Run out of BBQ sauce? Mix up some Coke with some ketchup, a dash of garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce and ta-daaa! Instant sauce for the grill! If you’d like it thicker you can let it bubble on the stove for a bit.

4. No more rust: Have a rusty bolt that won’t budge? Soak it in Coke! The combination of the acids and the bubbles in Coca Cola cause the rust to dissolve and melt away, leaving you with clean, easy-to-turn nuts, bolts, and screws. This will also help dissolve any other unsightly rust spots in your home.


And the list goes on and on...5. Defrost a frozen windshield. Apply liberally and wait (I’ll see if this works in winter)
6. Clean burnt pans; let the pan soak in the Coke, then rinse.
7. Clean car battery terminals by pouring a small amount of Coke over each one.
8. Cure nausea; let a can of Coke go flat then take a teaspoon of Coke every hour. 
9. Also, flat coke can help relieve an upset stomach (aka “the runs”)
10. And don't forget coke added to a cake recipe 

Okay, I was skeptical. I had friends tell me they had tried this but hadn't myself. So today I did. It's great. You don't have to use chocolate cake mix. Any flavor will work. And it makes a very moist cake.
Cola Cake
Cook's notes:
  • Incorporating soda into cake batter is a quick way to add flavor and replace other wet ingredients if you don’t have them on hand. For vegans, soda can replace eggs in a cake mix recipe. It can also lower the fat content of a cake by replacing oil as well. The carbonation in soda imparts lightness to the cake and many different flavor combinations can be achieved with a little creativity. Perhaps the simplest way to bake a cake with soda is to use a cake mix. This method limits your ingredient list to two common items found in many kitchens and will have a dessert on your table in less than one hour.
  • Typically, using light colored sodas with light colored cake mixes and dark sodas with dark cake mixes work best. You can use a dark soda with a light cake mix and the flavor will be fine, but the color will be darker than normal.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of cake mix (I used a chocolate cake mix)
  • 1 can of cola
Directions:
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Combine the cake mix and cola in a large bowl. Use a hand whisk to mix ingredients until light and smooth. Do not over stir. 
  • Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake cake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
  • Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Northwoods Art and Book Festival-Poetry Recognition Event

Poets were honored today at the 18th Annual Northwoods Art and Book Festival in Hackensack. There were an impressive number of artists, regional authors and poets who participated in the festival. 
I chaired the annual Poetry Recognition and Display Event. Each poet who submitted had one or more of their poems on display. Those who attended the festival had an opportunity to vote for their favorite poems during the day. Four poets were recognized in the category Popular Choice. A committee selected four winners in the category Works of Merit. 
I facilitated the poetry reading and announcement of winners. Poets in attendance shared their poems with guests and reflection on why poetry matters. Some of their responses to Why Poetry Matters included:
  • "Poetry is an invitation as well as a challenge to think and relate precisely in images that are universally appreciated.” 
  • "I’ve come to believe poetry is the signature of one’s soul, and paintings are its portrait."
  • “Poetry gives my thoughts in a creative way that touches the soul, the heart and emotions. To craft poetry, to choose just the right words, satisfies me unlike any other form of writing.”
John Harrington reading his poems. Three of the winners pictured below are 
Lea Johnstone, John Harrington and Sandra Burell.

Regional authors were eager to share their work, sign books and chat with attendees. 
This author enjoyed dressing as one of her main characters.
Outside there was something for everyone to enjoy, browse and even buy!










It was a enjoyable way to spend the day. I was inspired by the works of these authors, poets and artists.
Enjoy the imagery in one of the winning poems by Sandra Burwell.
“IRONING DAY”
I’m cozy here, pretending to dust, under the dining room table.
Mitch Miller and the Ink Spots are on the fold-open record player.
I will be 10 soon.
I see the kitchen, bright and clean, almost empty;
The checkered floor waxed and shiny.
It is Ironing Day
Mom is not pretending to iron, in a race with herself,
She is competing against the last shirt,
And singing “SWEET VIOLETS.”
Dad’s long sleeve white shirts are just out of the fridge,
Rolled like fat white sausages, chilled and ready
With the catsup and meatloaf.
Yesterday, washed and starched and hung on the line.
This morning laid out and wet with the coke bottle sprinkler.
Now in the crisper drawer.
I can see the plywood plaque holding macaroni alphabet letters.
They are varnished on: “Bless this kitchen, with all its pots and pans.”
Both of us singing PAPER DOLL.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Puff Pastry Tomato Tart

A quote to ponder by T.S. Eliot 

This is a quote from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by TS Eliot. The theme of the poem is the despair J. Alfred Prufrock has looking back over how he has lived his life. In this quote Prufrock is talking about the sameness of every day of his life. He is mourning the fact that now that he's older he hasn't done anything important with his life.
a link for more information if you want to learn more about he poem
http://lit.genius.com/Ts-eliot-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock-annotated#note-77240
Note there's a new  feature (right hand side toward the top) to the blog posting to make it more user friendly-thanks to my husband! Type in what you are looking for (example: name of the recipe) and a link should pop up.  
Puff Pastry Tomato Tart
Cook's notes: After the first five tomatoes came in there was a lull but then many ripened  several days later and sent me scrambling for a recipe that showcased their beauty. Finding this recipe was a bonanza. It can be used as a main meal or cut into smaller pieces for an appetizer. The spices mixed with  3 cheeses were quite delicious. The recipe called for using an assortment of tomato sizes like cherry, heirloom and regular but I only had on hand one size. Different sizes did look lovely in the picture. Just when the puff pastry went into the oven I had a neighbor stop by giving us this huge zucchini. She said she had more that were even larger!! Slices of zucchini would have been a great addition as well as mushrooms to this tart. Something to try next time.  
Recipe from Country Living August 2014
Ingredients:
  • 1 puff pastry sheet (1/2 box)
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 cup light ricotta cheese, drained
  • 4 oz. softened goat cheese plain or garlic-herb
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian herbs
  • 1-2 TB. fresh minced basil
  • 3/4 lbs. assorted tomatoes,yellow ones, cherry, heirlooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  • Preheat 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl add ricotta, softened goat cheese, egg and spices. Whisk to mix.
  • On a sheet of wax paper lightly flour work surface and roll sheet out to 10 x 15 rectangle. 
  • Invert on to parchment covered baking sheet and peel off wax paper.
  • With  a paring knife, score a border 1 inch from the edge all the way around the rectangle, cutting into, but not through. 
  • Prick holes in the center. This is an interesting step because by pricking just in the center of dough this allows the border to rise higher than center that has been pricked. I was a disbeliever but by some miracle it really worked! Brush center of dough with olive oil. Spread ricotta cheese mixture in the center of the puff pastry sheet.
  • Cut tomatoes and pat dry on paper towel-arrange over the center.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Grate Parmesan cheese over the top.
  • Bake about 20 minutes until edges are brown and filling is set. 
A suggested addition: Cut cherry tomatoes to fill in spaces next to larger tomato slices. 
Bon Appetit!