Monday, December 21, 2009


Wow! These were SO much fun to make!! SOSOSOSO easy. And they're wonderful dipped in dark chocolate. There are so many variations you can make too, just by changing your extract flovoring. If you choose vanilla, add in the seeds froma vanilla bean along with the extract. I went with coconut dipped in dark chocolate. But the second batch I made, I chose raspberry extract, and then rolled them in a 1/2 n 1/2 mix of cocoa powder and confectioners sugar. YUM!!!!

3 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp coconut extract (or extract of your choice)

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the wisk attachment, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine sugar, corn syrup and remaining water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until boiling, boil liquid for 1 minute. Turn the mixer on medium, slowly pour in hot mixture down wall of bowl. Whip on high speed for 12 minutes. Add in extract, mix to thoroughly combine.

While the marshmallow is whipping, line a 9x13 pan with plastic wrap. Multiple layers if necessary. Spray with cooking spray. When marshmallow is done, pour into prepared container. Let sit for 2-4 hours. Lift plastic wrap out of containers. Invert onto a cutting board dusted with congectioners sugar. Using a knife, cut marshmallow into 1 inch pieces. Toss pieces in confectioners sugar. Dip marshmallows in melted chocolate if desired.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wow... So it's been awhile. Because I'm a slacker. and I haven't really been cooking. Crazybusylife. We've been having a lot of pasta and jarred sauce. I know I know.....but you have that recipe JoJo... My world is not right when I don't cook. But now I'm back! Yay!

So I've been on a baking/sweet treat kick for the past week. This was probably fueled by my attendance at the Albany Eats! Cookie Swap! Things I've baked in the last week include....Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies courtesy of Food Network. Homemade coconut marshmallows dipped in chocolate. Oh my yum. And These. Eggnog cookies. I think they are my new favorite Christmas cookie. So here's the recipe.

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ok, preheat that oven of yours to 350*. Next, beat butter and sugar together until lightened and fluffy ( aprox. 5 minutes) Now with your mixer on medium, add in the egg yolk, eggnog and vanilla. Keep mixing until smooth. While that's combining, sift together your flour, nutmeg, baking powder and cinnamon.
Slowly add in the flour mixture to the wet mixture until just combined. Please don't over beat, you'll end up with rock solid cookies.

Ok, if you want your cookies roughly the same size, get a #70 scooper and scoop dough onto a COLD ungreased cookie sheet. Other wise use a couple of teaspoons. The key here is a COLD cookie sheet. After you've scooped the cookies, put the cookie sheets in the fridge for 5 minutes. This will help them cook more evenly. I'm sure there's some science behind it. I don't understand it, I just know it works.

Ok you're going to bake these on the middle rack in the oven for 5 minutes, rotate the sheet(s) and bake for another 5 minutes. By the way please check out that last link. Some really good baking tips in there.

Next up...Marshmallow!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blueberry Peach Pie

So we went hiking with some friends and ended up here. They had a blueberry peach pie for sale, and I thought to myself, "Self, why by a pie when you love to bake?" So I ponder for a few days on the best way to go about making said pie. I've baked a few pies in my days. Heck, I think pie should be it's own food group. But I digress.
I'm not particularly a fan a regular peaches, so I thought I'd give this one a go with white peaches. Jackpot. Good flavor, good texture, good stuff.

1 pint blueberries (folks please pick through these, the last thing you want is a nasty berry ruining a bit of your fabulous pie)
3-4 white peaches (maybe 1-2 cups cut up)
*side note here, how ya doin? Now what you want to do with these here peaches is score an X on the bottom side of the peach, and please make sure they are ripe cause otherwise this won't work, and put them in boiling water for 2 minutes then remove them and douse em in cold water. That there'll remove the skins for ya and you can be on your merry dicing way.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Pillsbury (and yes, brand does matter here. more on that later) premade pie crust.

For the topping:
1 stick of room temp butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
cinnamon to taste

Mix all your fruit together. Add in your sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Let this macerate for a few while you prep your pie crust. Once the crust is prepped, time to get your crumb topping ready. If you've got a pastry citter thing, great, if not a fork will work for this.
Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add your butter in and mix it all together until you have a slightly pebbly/sandy texture.

Put your fruit mixture into the pie crust, top with the crumb topping. Time to bake my little tastey wonder!! Into the ove it goes for 40-45 minutes at 375*.

Deliciousness. Fabulousness. Summer fresh, with a hint on fall. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Couple of Things

OK, so it's been a while, but I've been on vacation. Mental health is important ya know!! So while the Mr. and I were on vacation, we made a few meals, some dessert, some appetizers, ya know, the good stuff! Here is the best of the best of the best of the best sir! (5 points if you can tell me what movie that's from!)

Dill Dip - this one is a blast from the past. I remember getting containers of this stuff from the deli with my mom when I was a kid. Here's my recreation of the classic (I'm working off of taste memories so bear with me!!)

32 oz. sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill (mince it really fine please!!)
onion flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried dill

mix it all up. real good. This dip gets better with time. Let it sit for an hour before you serve it. It's really good with marble bread, or pumpernickel or potato chips, of pretzels, or fresh veggie. Ok, so it's good on just about everything.

Next up blueberry peach pie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Parm is on!

Last week my coworker gave me two fresh eggplants straight from her garden. My eyes lit up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree! Eggplant Parm!!! Oh the pure joy of it! Even better yet, for date night, the hubby cooked! Heaven. Pure heaven. So alas, dear readers, the recipe I share with you tonight, is not my own. It is a Pierce, I uh, errrr, Mucci family tradition. (maybe a little bit of both)

I give you...homemade sauce.

2 28oz cans Cora whole plum tomatoes. (Please make sure to shake the cans in the grocery store, so that you get the least amount of juice, and the most amount of tomatoes possible ;-P )
1 can tomato paste and once it's empty, a can of water
1lb link sausage
3 garlic cloves
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of baking soda

Ok. Get ready to make a mess. All good sauces come from a good mess.

In a stock pot, heat up 3 T of olive oil. Start sauteing your garlic, I like mine minced, but the hubby states "Grandma never minced it, she cooked it whole". Reader's choice. Once you can smell the garlic, add in your link sausage. Cook these until they brown on the outside. I say don't cook em through all the way at this point, hubby says do. Again, reader's choice. Ok, so we're browning, and smelling, time to add in the tomato paste. stir that around til it's warmed through, then add in that can of water. You'll want to cook this little concoction until it reduces a bit. Meanwhile..time to make a mess. Git ur blender out folks. Ok, one can at a time, blend the heck out of the whole tomatoes and their scant amount of juice, because just like a good little old italian lady, you shook the cans, just like I told you to. One they're pureed to divine perfection, I say dump em in the pan, but according to the little old sicilian who I'm related to by marriage, that's not how you do it. If you fell like taking the extra time to strain the seeds out of the pureed tomatoes, by all means. Go for it!!

Ok, so back to the sauce. We've poured in out two cans of tomatoes. Without the seeds. Give her a good stir. Now it's time to add in that pinch of sugar. And we're stirring....Ok next, it's time to add in that pinch of baking soda. Cool science experiment. Watch as your sauce begins to boil boil toil and trouble...

OH WAIT! I forgot to tell you the most IMPORTANT of ingredients!!! CHEESE!!! About 1/2 cup of pecorino romano. Must have it!!!

Add in you cheese. Now it's time to simmer. And simmer. Simmersimmersimmer. For about 2 1/2 hours on as low as you can go without turning your stove off.

goo stuff folks. Now go slather it all over the eggplant parm cutlets you've procured while that sauce was a simmerin.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Dinner Last Night

I had no idea what to make. I knew we didn't have any major proteins in the house ( I know, I'm a slacker because I haven't gotten to the grocery store in a couple of weeks) so on my way home I picked up a steak from Price Chopper. Yum!! I just got a generic boneless chuck steak, but hey, it was extremely tastey! Didn't know what to do for a side dish though, so I rummage through the freezer and came up with a bag of hash browns.....I was thinking of doing steak and eggs, but didn't think the hubby would appreciate that as much as I would. SO I made a potato pancake.

Potato Pancake:

2 eggs
"House" seasoning to taste (recipe to follow)
2 cups shredded frozen potato hash browns
1 T water

Mix the eggs, seasoning and water together in a bowl. Add in the potatoes and mix very well. You want all of the potatoes covered in eggy goodness. While you're doing all of this, like a good chef, you have a frying pan heating over medium heat with 3 T of olive or canola oil.

Put the egg/potato mixture into the frying pan and pat it down until it's flat. Cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Ok, so here's the tricky part. I learned this trick from watching Food Network, so no credit is due here. Take the cover off your frying pan and replace it with a heat-safe plate. Careful to watch your fingers, flip the frying pan over. Your pancake should fall right out. Place the pan back on the heat and add in 2 T more oil. Slowly slide your pancake back into the frying pan. (Slow is key here folks, otherwise the oil splatters. Big mess.) Cook uncovers for 4 more minutes. Viola, potato pancake.

"House" Seasoning:

This is just a combination of spices that I use regularly. Kind of my go-to for pumped up flavor.

1tsp onion powder or flakes (note: powder, NOT salt....ewwwww)
1tsp garlic powder (see above note)
1tsp paprika
1tsp Celtic salt (way better for you than table salt. This stuff has good minerals in it)
2tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Now some of you may think that I have the salt/pepper ratio backwards. This is not the case. ***slight rant warning*** I find that in today's cooking style many people over salt their food and call it well seasoned. Salt is not a flavor I enjoy. I use very little salt when I cook. I want to actually taste the FLAVOR of my food, not a salty interpretation of it. That being said, I am not against salt entirely. I just use it in very moderate portions. Salt should be an accent to the food, not the first thing you taste. Rant over.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pea Soup

So this is a go-to soup for me. If I don't want to buy lunches during the week, I'll make a batch on Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!!

1 medium onion, roughly diced
1 bag dried split peas (picked through)
1 ham steak ( I like Cook's. Note: Smoked is definitely better in this soup, but try honey or maple if you're feeling adventurous)
3 cups water
3 cups ham stock
salt and pepper
hot sauce to taste

In a stock pot or dutch oven heat 2T olive oil over medium heat until it gets shimmery. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes or so til it's translucent. You can always caramelize them for a more pronounced onion flavor. Add in the peas and continue to saute for 5 minutes. In the meantime, roughly dice your ham steak. I like bigger pieces because they cook down a little bit.
Add in the water and ham stock. Add the ham. Cover and simmer the soup for about 1 hour, occasionally stirring to break up the peas (also so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn = bad aftertaste!).

Enjoy with a loaf of four cheese bread, or for a healthier, heartier version, stir in 2 cups cooked brown rice.

I had a hankerin'

For pulled pork. So Ray and i were at BJ's and I saw this beautiful, and better yet, cheap cut of pork (pretty sure it was butt)

So I seared it on all sides and refrigerated overnight. In the mean time I whipped up some BBQ, because it just tastes better out of the bottle.

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons mustard (dry or wet)
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt (I think Celtic salt has the best flavor for this)
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 dashes hot pepper sauce (and then some more for good measure!)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 capfuls Apple Barrel Schnapps

I quadrupled the recipe and also refrigerated overnight. Next morning before heading to the gym I put the pork and 3/4 of the sauce into the slow cooker. Low and slow for about 8 hours and you have near perfection my friends! Once the eight hours are up, add in half the reserved BBQ sauce to brighten the flavor a bit. YUM!!!!

Best served on fresh rolls with baked beans. Make sure to grab some KFC coleslaw!

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Time Charm

So I've decided to get on the bandwagon and start blogging. It is the "it" thing to be doing after all, and one must follow all trends of course.
I'm usually talking about food with people, and have been asked to share recipes, so what better place to do that than a blog? My goal is to post at least two recipes a week. We'll see how I do.
So.....Here it is. TheyCallMeJoJo's blog. Ohhhhh....... SHINY!!!!