Friday, December 2, 2011

Recovered from my turkey coma, bring on the next challenge!

My semester is almost over, just have to get through finals week and I will be home-free and able to cook to my heart's content until January 9th!  And then, recipes galore to try, thanks to my latest addiction to Pinterest.  The "beginning" to my night is courtesy of a recipe I found on that site.  Say hello to cardamom and cinnamon infused white hot chocolate.  Yes, I have an small obsession with white chocolate.


Tonight I am pre-making the dishes I am taking for boyfriend's dad's birthday. Italian Meatballs and homemade bread. I gathered the ingredients for the bread first.  With the time needed to rise it needed to be started first. 



This go-round I decided to listen to my mom and use the dough hook on my Kitchen-aid mixer instead of doing it by hand.  It was much easier, and in no time at all the dough was done and ready to rise the first time.


After a bit of cleaning up it was time to start the meatballs!

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to make sure your hands are very clean, and be prepared, because working with raw meat is very chilly work!  I put all of the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl then dug in with both hands smushing and working everything till it was evenly distributed.  After I was satisfied it was all mixed I made large meatballs.  To spread the oil on the sheet pan I  first made sure my hands were very clean after playing in the meat, then used my hand to smear the olive oil everywhere!


I popped those in the oven and it was almost time to punch down the bread dough!  What a mess I made!   I followed the directions, and the dough wouldn't re-stick to itself, so instead of individual bread-sticks, I left it all together and made a loaf.


Then it was time to let it rise again.  And time to flip the meatballs.  As soon as the timer buzzed it was time to take the meatballs out, and put the bread in.


I made one extra meatball so I could test it, and it was good!  Next time I'm going to add more spice to it. My neighbor came down to drop off a rocking chair for me, another design project for me to re-finish.  She enjoyed my hot chocolate. 

The bread was finally done, ugly, but done.


I just wish I had made the bread-sticks, I would have liked to taste my bread!  I'll get some tomorrow!

And now time for the recipes:

Meatballs
    1/2 lb ground beef
    1/2 lb ground pork
    2 large eggs
    1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    4 tablespoons dried parsley
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    olive oil

Directions:
1.       If using oven method- preheat to 350 degrees.
·         These can also be pan-fried in olive oil on Med. to Med-Hi if you prefer.
2.       Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated.
3.       Spread a little olive oil on cookie sheet to coat.
4.       Form meatballs and place on cookie sheet.
5.       Bake about 15 minute.
6.       Turn meatballs and bake 10-15 minute longer.
7.       Use in your favorite Italian recipe.

French Bread

Ingredients:

Yield:1 loaf

1 1/4 cups hot water
 1 tablespoon shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour



Directions:

Place hot water in large bowl.

Add the shortening, salt and sugar.

Stir and let stand until lukewarm.

Sprinkle yeast over all.

Beat until smooth.

Add 2 cups flour and beat until mixed.

Work in 1/2 cup flour with a wooden spoon.

Gradually knead the last 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour in until no longer sticky-about 3 minutes.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Punch down and place on floured board.

Roll out to a rectangle.

Roll up lengthwise and pinch seams.

Roll gently back and forth with hands to desired length and to smooth loaf out. (Or can make little buns or bread sticks.)

Lightly grease cookie sheet or use French loaf bread pans.

Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.

Cut diagonal slashes across bread about 1/4" deep.

Preheat oven 350°.

Brush loaf with warm water and place bread on higher rack in oven above water.

Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes (less for buns or bread sticks.)