Crispy Fried Breadsticks

sausage-sized bread sticks
Fried Breadsticks

The inspiration for this came from a Germans from Russia recipe for schoofnudla that I came across. My husband and I ate them with our fingers like french fries, but traditionally, they would have been served with sauerkraut, potatoes, or sausages. In our house, this has morphed into breadsticks and that’s what we call them. Making these tasty, crispy little gems is fun, especially when you make them with kids because you shape them by rolling between the palms of your hands as you would a piece of clay. Here is the recipe (Makes 10-15 sticks, it all depends on whether you roll them thiner or thicker):

Noodle dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1-2 Tablespoons water

Cooking:
2/3 cup water
¼ cup oil
1 pat of butter

Using a fork, mix together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder, salt, and egg. you may not need any added water. Gradually add more flour until you can turn the dough onto a floured surface and it sticks together so you can knead it 3-4 times so it is rollable. Tearing off walnut-sized pieces, hand roll the noodles between palms to the thickness of pencils (for thin sticks) or the size of a woman’s finger for thicker sticks (pictured). Roll them into about 4-inch pieces. They will puff up and get thicker while cooking.

Put 2/3 cup water in a large skillet along with oil and simmer-saute’ the noodles on medium high heat for anywhere from 5-10 minutes until the water boils out and the noodles begin to fry in the remaining oil. Add a pat of butter and fry until golden and lightly crispy, stirring once after the bottoms have browned. I like to flip them over once to brown on both sides, but that isn’t necessary for the skinny ones. They should be a deep golden brown color. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, they don’t do well when cooked ahead.

Note: Great as dippers too with a hot marinara, alfredo or cheese sauce. I know, I have drifted far from the noble roots of this recipe, but that’s just what I do (grin).

 

Asian-Fusion Stir-Fry Sauce

3 bottles of sauce with finished mix in small bowl, dark brown in color
Asian-fusion stir-fry sauce

Wonderful for fish and seafood, this is good in a stir-fry or basted on grilled shrimp or fish. Use it to make buffalo chicken wings. You can even drizzled it on steamed white rice. There is nothing fancy or complicated here. Anyone can do this and it’s not necessary to stick with these actual brand names, only the general sauce type.

I start by mixing equal amounts (about 2 Tablespoons each) of soy sauce, Korean gochujang sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce. At this point, you should taste and see how you like it. Sometimes I add more sweet chili sauce. That’s it. Easy peasy!

Refried Beans

refried beans
Refried Beans

REFRIED BEANS

2 T olive oil
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large jalapeño – diced and seeds removed
1/2 medium onion – diced
3/4 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
¼ c sour cream (opt)

In a medium saucepan, saute’ onion and minced pepper in olive oil. Add garlic near the end. Puree’ the beans and spices in blender and return to saucepan to simmer until desired consistency and flavors marry. Stir in sour cream and serve warm or room temperature with chips as a dip or as a side dish sprinkled with shredded colby-jack cheese.

This is so easy and fun to make. Take it to a party, it’s the season!

Apple Kuchen

apple kuchen is like a square apple pie/cake
Apple Kuchen is better than apple pie!

APPLE KUCHEN
Better than Apple Pie!

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Filling:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature

Topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 cups apples, (peeled if desired) cored, and thinly sliced

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan.

To make the crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or food processor fitted with a steel blade and mix to combine. Add the vanilla and butter, a little at a time, and mix until it resembles cornmeal. Press into the prepared baking pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until golden, about15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

To make the filling: Place the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until creamy. Add the egg, mix to combine, an pour over the cooled crust.

Place the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Spread the apples on top of the filling. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and transfer to the oven. Bake until firm and a rich brown, about 20 minutes. Cut into 20 to 24 pieces.

Adapted from a recipe from Fireside.

German Peach Kuchen

German Peach Kuchen

looks like a cake with a peach layer
Using canned peaches means you can make this any time of year.

This recipe is similar to a pie with a crust and filling. Some kuchen recipes are more like cakes or tarts.

CRUST:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
FILLING:
2 cans (one 29 ounces, one 15-1/4 ounces) sliced peaches, drained
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

Directions
1. In a small bowl, combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Cut in butter to form a dough. Pat lightly into an ungreased 11-in. x 7-in. baking pan.

2. Arrange peaches over the crust; set aside. In another bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in the sugar, salt, flour and sour cream until mixture is smooth. Pour over the peaches.

3. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°; bake 35 minutes more or until center is set. Best served chilled. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Italian Rotolo in Marinara Sauce

rotolo slices on plate
Italian Rotolo

ROTOLO in Marinara Sauce

1/3 pound prosciutto, very thinly sliced
1 pkg. (12 oz.) cooked spinach, chopped well drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ c. roasted sweet red peppers (from a jar) drained, chopped
½ c. pitted Greek olives, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional, as garnish)

PASTA
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c. milk
1/2 tsp baking powder

FINISHING
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Melted butter
1 qt. marinara sauce (your favorite)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. To make the pasta (classic method), mix the flour baking powder and salt together and mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the eggs and milk into the well. Mix the eggs with a fork. Then begin incorporating the flour from the inside of the well into the eggs. Bring in just enough of the flour to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. You may need to add a little water if the dough seems too dry or flour if it is too wet. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rest while you make the filling. Easier and faster method: Place all pasta ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer. Mix first using the paddle, then switch to the dough hook to knead.

To make the filling, combine. Spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, roasted red peppers, Greek olives, egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a large round about 17-18 inches in diameter. The dough should be thin.

Lay prosciutto slices evenly over pasta sheet. Spread the filling evenly over the dough to within ½ inch of the edges. Roll dough like a jelly roll. Wet and pinch the seam to seal it and to prevent the filling from coming out. Place the roll along a long edge of a large clean kitchen towel, roll the pasta up in a towel, and tie the ends of the towel with string. I usually use 2 square yards of cheesecloth folded in thirds and roll, tying the ends.

Bring a large, oval turkey roasting pan filled with 1 gallon of water to a boil. Carefully lower the cheesecloth-encased pasta roll into the water, bending it gently to fit if necessary. When the water returns to the boil, partially cover the pot and poach the roll for 30 minutes, turning once or twice to keep it round. Remove the roll carefully with 2 spatulas, place it on a baking sheet, and let it cool.

rotolo in pan ready to bake
Rotolo in pan

Untie and unwrap the towel and carefully transfer the roll to a cutting board. Cut ½ inch off each end, then make 12 slices, about 1-1/4 inches thick and lay them on their sides in an oiled baking dish in a single layer.
Serve with a simple marinara sauce (store-bought is fine, or make your favorite). Pour sauce in the bottom of baking dish, cover and bake 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more, finishing under the broiler until the top edges begin to turn golden brown. Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese. (Also, fresh basil is a good addition to the filling or as a garnish).

 

Fast and easy Focaccia Bread

a flat bread loaf with black olives on top
Fast and Easy Focaccia Bread

FAST AND EASY FOCACCIA
1 frozen loaf of bread, thawed
1 t. olive oil,
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ cup Greek olives, sliced
¼ cup roasted sweet red peppers (from a jar), julienned
2 T parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp rubbed sage

Thaw 1 frozen loaf of bread dough in the refrigerator (wrapped) overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a greased baking sheet, place dough and begin spreading, poking and patting until it is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Really though, you can make it as thick or as thin as you prefer. Leave it natural and lumpy-looking, drizzle with olive oil and add herbs and your toppings. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Other topping options: sun dried tomatoes, green peppers, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, the possibilities and combinations are endless. Ingredients used here are my preferences.