How to Peel Garlic

Knowing how to peel garlic can be tricky, but isn’t as difficult as you might think.  With the proper tools you can have your garlic peeled quickly and easily.  In the short video below I show you two different methods of peeling garlic.  The first one is for an entire bulb of garlic and the second is for a single garlic clove.  Either way will yield you the results you want: How to Peel Garlic!

Please watch the video below and leave me any comments or questions you have and if you like what you see please subscribe to my youtube channel.  Happy peeling!!

How to Peel Garlic

Ingredients:

1 bulb of garlic

1 small pan with lid

or

1 large knife

Your hands

Instructions:

Method 1: (fun way)

Place the bulb of garlic in the pan.  Put the lid on. Shake up and down and back and forth vigorously for 1 minute. Lift lid and remove peeled garlic.  Store peeled garlic in a small plastic bag or an airtight container.

Method 2: (easy way)

Place a clove of garlic from the garlic bulb on a cutting board.  Turn the knife sideways so the blade is flat on top of the garlic clove.  Take the palm of the hand your not holding the knife with and hit the flat side of the knife facing you.  The pressure from the hit will slightly smash the garlic clove and loosen the garlic peel from the garlic.  Simply remove the garlic peel and toss.   Store peeled garlic in a small plastic bag or an airtight container.

 

 

How to Separate Egg Yolks from Egg Whites

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference, such as knowing how to separate egg yolks from egg whites.  Knowing this can make your time in the kitchen so much easier and enjoyable.  It isn’t too difficult to do, but can be tricky if you don’t use a gentle hand. The next thing you know you’ll be breaking yolks, wasting eggs and eventually run out of eggs completely before your task is complete.

You don’t have to let that happen.  Watch the video below for easy how-to instructions and if you like what you see, go crazy and subscribe to my youtube channel! Happy egg separating!!

How to Separate Egg Yolks from Egg Whites

Ingredients:

1 Egg

2 small bowls

Your hands (optional)

Directions:

Method 1:

Crack egg.  Over a bowl, gently move the egg yolk back and forth from egg shell to egg shell, keeping the egg yolk in tact until all the egg whites have been completely separated from the egg yolk.  Carefully place the egg yolk in the other bowl.  Do yourself a favor and watch the video below:-)

Method 2 (the messy way):

Crack egg.  Over a bowl pour the entire egg into your hand.  Open your fingers slightly and let the egg white filter through your fingers and into the bowl.  Gently move the egg yolk back and forth between your two hands until the egg yolk is completely separated from the egg whites.  Carefully place the egg yolk in the other bowl.  Once again, do yourself a favor and watch the video below:-)

 

 

How to Zest a Lemon

Learning how to zest a lemon isn’t exactly easy.  The zester’s that are on the market are small and difficult to handle not to mention ineffective.  In the instructional video below I will introduce you to one of my favorite kitchen gadgets ever, the Microplane.  It is easy to use and highly efficient. Once you master this tool, reading ‘zest a lemon’ in a recipe won’t make you stop and run from the kitchen.  Oh, and didi I mention that it is the perfect tool when grating hard cheeses? Just a little perk to a great tool!

How to Zest a Lemon

Ingredients:

1 lemon

1 Microplane

plate

Instructions:

Clean and dry the lemon. Hold the lemon in one hand and the Microplane in the other.  Make sure the ridges of the Microplane are facing up and the blades are facing down against the lemon’s peel.  Move the Microplane back and forth using short strokes and watch the lemon zest collect in the cavity of the Microplane.  At this point you can take the zest with your fingers and put it into a measuring spoon if you are following a recipe or you can turn the Microplane upside down onto the plate.  You can zest any citrus with a Microplane.

As wonderful as this tool is for zesting citrus my favorite use for it is grating any hard cheese.  It is especially useful when your hard cheese has dwindled down to the end and a regular cheese grater just won’t grate it properly.  Because the Microplane is long and skinny it is the perfect size for end pieces.

I have posted a short instructional video below so you can see what a Microplane looks like and how to properly use it.  If you like what you see please leave me a comment or subscribe to my youtube channel.  Happy zesting!!

 

How to Separate Egg Yolks from Egg Whites Using a Water Bottle (so cool)!

How to Separate Egg Yolks from Egg Whites Using a Water Bottle (so cool)!

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 water bottle, empty

2 plates

Directions:

Crack an egg onto one of the plates.  Take the empty water bottle, give it a little squeeze, position the mouth of the water bottle on the egg at an angle, and release the squeeze you have on the water bottle. The egg yolk will get sucked up into the water bottle unharmed.  Put the water bottle over the other plate and gently squeeze the egg yolk out of the bottle.  Voile! Separating egg yolks from egg whites has never been so much fun!

**Quick note,  this trick is all about the squeeze.  If you want to try this at home and not waste all your eggs, you must gently squeeze the water bottle and then release.

You need to see this for yourself on the video below, you won’t believe how cool this is.

Please subscribe to my youtube channel and thanks for watching!!

 

Photo by Nell Conway/ CC by

 

Easy Way to Crack an Egg

You can learn the easy way to crack an egg or you can stick with the old way which has you hitting the egg on the edge of your bowl leaving nothing but eggshells in its wake.  Sounds silly, right? Not if you go to crack an egg on the edge of a bowl that is already filled with other ingredients.  You then find yourself picking out little shards of eggshell-not fun.  Try my method below and make your time in the kitchen a little easier.  Also, I included a short video below for your viewing pleasure.  If you like it please subscribe to my youtube channel.  Happy egg cracking!!

Easy Way to Crack an Egg

Ingredients:

1 egg

Your hands

Bowl

Paper towel or kitchen towel

Instructions:

Place a kitchen towel or paper towel flat on the counter.  Take an egg in your hand and with the long side perfectly parallel to the towel, hit the egg flat against the towel.  make sure you use enough force, but not too much force, that’s the tricky part.  The egg will make a perfect crack in the egg across the short side.  Put egg over the bowl and spread the shell apart at the crack.  Voile! A perfectly cracked egg with no shells left behind.

*Note- make a practice of always cracking eggs in a separate bowl and then adding them to your ingredients bowl.  This way if you do end up getting any eggshells in the bowl it is easy to remove them and you don’t have to worry about them getting lost in the other ingredients:-)

 

 

Easter Bread with Hard Boiled Eggs

My mom just texted me (literally) and asked me if I make Easter Bread, silly mommy!

Funny thing is, when she texted I was going over my ingredients list for Easter Pies.  The truth is, her cousin Karen from New York called her and asked her for her grandmother’s Easter Bread recipe and my mom doesn’t have it, but she was pretty sure I would have a recipe…don’t you fret my sweet little mommy, I’m here to help.  Karen, this is for you.  I’m sure it doesn’t rival my great grandmother’s Easter Bread, but I hope it will be a suitable replacement.   Also, these are not pictures of my bread since Easter isn’t for 3 days-thank you Flickr:-)

*This is an excellent example of why tradition is so important.  You need to cook, gather as a family and teach your children as you’ve been taught and pass down recipes, stories and talents from one generation to another.  Happy Easter!!

 

Easter Bread with Hard Boiled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 cup milk, whole
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, large
1 tbsp instant yeast
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
2 tsp anise seeds *my kids don’t like these so I leave them out
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 cups AP flour, as needed
6 tbsp  unsalted butter, cut into tbsp, softened, plus more to grease bowl
6 white or colored eggs *see below
1 large egg yolk, beaten combined with 1 tsp whole milk, for wash
*optional – 2 tsp nonpareils, colored,  for garnish

easter bread 1

Instructions:

To make the dough: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, lemon zest, anise seeds, and salt together Mix on low speed until combined. Gradually add 3 1/2 cups of the flour to make a thick batter. Beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting for the first addition to be absorbed before adding more. Slowly add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that cleans the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, occasionally pulling down the dough as it climbs up the hook, until the dough is smooth, shiny, and slightly sticky (do not add too much flour), 8 minutes.

Butter a large bowl. Gather the dough into a ball. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat it, leaving the dough smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into thirds. Roll each piece of dough underneath your palms on the work surface into a 20-inch rope, tapering the ends. Line up the ropes next to each other. Starting from the center, braid the ropes to each end, pinching the rope ends together to shape into a tapered loaf. Transfer the braid to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm draft-free place until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of rising, rub the eggs with oil and distribute the eggs evenly over the top of the braid, nesting them in the seams.

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.

Brush the braid lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with the nonpareils. Bake until the loaf is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve.

*To color the eggs: Purchase egg coloring dye from the store.  Make sure to add distilled white vinegar to the water and dye for a more vibrant color. Dip each hard boiled egg in the coloring mixture, let stand for at least 2 minutes, or until the desired color is reached. Remove the egg from the coloring mixture and let dry on a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet.

NOTE: I’ve read you can color raw eggs and they will cook with the bread, but I’ve never done it.

 

Photos by Meg/ CC  and Emily/ CC

 

 

Easy Pizza Sauce

 

I have been making homemade pizzas at home (and at the big kitchen) for years now and have found that this Easy Pizza Sauce recipe is hands down the best one out there.  It is fast, simple and will keep in the refrigerator for a few days or can be frozen for a few months (along with your low moisture mozzarella…fyi).  You need to make this, try it and let me know if you like it.  I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t, but I bet you’ll love it!

Easy Pizza Sauce

1 (28oz) can tomato puree

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed or minced

1 tsp oregano, dried

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions:

In a medium size sauce pan, heat the olive oil on med heat.  Add the garlic, cook, 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add the tomato puree and 1/2 of the tomato can of water.  Be sure to swirl the water around the can to grab any tomato left behind.  Add the oregano, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir well and turn heat back up to medium.  Bring to low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Taste for salt, adding as needed.

*Sometimes tomatoes can be acidic.  If the sauce tastes slightly acidic then add 1/2-1 tsp of sugar, this will remove the acidic taste.

Easy Pizza Sauce

 

Photo by Mr TinDC/ CC

Photo by David Joyce/ CC

 

The Best Basic Pizza Dough

I’m making pizzas tonight and as I sit pondering my grocery list it has dawned on me that I never gave you this recipe which is the easiest and the Best Basic Pizza Dough recipe around.  Bad me!

I make pizza dough on a larger scale to use in selling pizzas retail, and that dough is an entirely different process and will be ready in two days.  But this recipe, is easy, delicious and will be ready to use in 1 hour.  I’ve also found that it is perfect to use for a kids pizza party, because I’ve done it!

With this recipe you can make 3 individual pizzas, 2 medium pizzas or 1 large pizza.  You can also make calzones, which happen to be on the menu tonight (along with pizza)!  And if you have any dough leftover, roll it out and fry it up in vegetable oil, drain it and shake it in a bag of cinnamon sugar-voile, dessert (see, I’ve got you covered)!

I promise that I will post the best Basic Pizza Sauce next so you never have to buy the stuff in the can again, promise! I’ll shhh now.  You know the routine, try it, love it (hopefully) and let me know all about it.  * I’ll post tonight’s pictures tomorrow, ok?

The Best Basic Pizza Dough

1 tbsp active dry yeast

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (between 105-115 degrees)

2 3/4 cup AP flour (plus 1 tbsp for working)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, heat water in the microwave for 45-60 seconds.  Add yeast and stir.  Let stand until yeast is foamy, 10 minutes.

Coat a bowl with olive oil, set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low, mix flour and salt.  Slowly add the water/yeast mixture, mixing until just combined.  Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment and mix on med/low for 3-5 minutes.  *see below

Preheat oven to Bake, 500 degrees or Convect Bake 450 degrees. *Remember your pizza stone has to heat up with the oven.  If you put a cold pizza stone in to a hot oven it will crack.

Transfer dough ball on to a lightly floured surface and knead 5-8 times.  Place dough ball in the oiled bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap.  let rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

best basic pizza dough.2

When dough is ready, roll out all or half of it on to a floured surface.  Sprinkle a pizza peel or an un-rimmed baking sheet with flour (for crispier crust sprinkle corn meal too).  Place pizza in the oven on the hot pizza stone.  Bake for 3-4 minutes, remove. * The dough is now par baked.  Par baking your dough will make it easier for you to transfer your pizza back in to the oven with all of its ingredients on.

Before adding the sauce and layering the ingredients, using a pastry brush, brush olive oil all around the outside edge of your crust.  Then layer ingredients.  The oil will give the exposed dough edges a nice golden crunchiness.

Add the ingredients and transfer the pizza back on to the stone.  Bake for 5-8 minutes (time varies by the amount of ingredients).

remove and place on cutting board.  let rest for 2 minutes, slice and serve.

*you can mix the dough by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer.  It will take longer to incorporate all the ingredients in to a smooth dough ball.  If you choose this method, use a scraper tool to aid in the blending process.  It will remove some work from your hands and arms.

 

 

Photo by Jennifer/ CC

Photo by Lenore Edman/ CC

 

White Chicken Enchiladas

Okay, we have to discuss White Chicken Enchiladas.  I’ve been hearing about them a lot lately and have to tell you I had no idea what the big deal was about.  Really, they are enchiladas, how good can they be?

I decided to find out for myself, so last night I gave them a try and I have to tell you a secret.  Ready? They are so unbelievably good!  Who knew??  They are fast, they are easy and they are my new favorite go-to dinner.  You have to try these.  I did (of course) add a few tips after the recipe for you to make them even better…I couldn’t help myself.  Enjoy and you know the routine, I need to know if you liked them as much as I did!

White Chicken Enchiladas

8-10 flour tortillas

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese or cheese blend

3 tbsp butter, unsalted

3 tbsp flour, unsalted

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies

Green Enchilada sauce (optional)

Red Enchilada sauce (optional)

Instructions:

**scroll down for important tips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with a non stick cooking spray.

Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and line up in pan.

In a sauce pan on medium heat, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly, 5-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and chilies.

Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

Bake 25 minutes.  Serve.

FYI…I topped them off with both the green and red Enchilada sauces.  Delicious!!

Tips:

Chicken: Either buy a rotisserie chicken and shred meat off OR use fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts.   Cooking method: In a large saute pan on medium/high heat add 1-2 cups chicken broth.  Slice chicken thin and add to pan.  Cook for 8-10 minutes flipping once half way through.  When cooked, remove and place on a cutting board.  With a sharp knife, angle the knife and shred the pieces of chicken. let cool slightly and add to cheese.

Tortillas: make sure you put enough chicken and cheese filling in each tortilla.  If you don’t, then your enchiladas will be too doughy and not enough ‘meaty’.  The filling is incredibly good and you’ll want to taste more of that instead of tortilla-even if you’re using really good tortillas.

Cheese and sauce: The more cheese the better and that goes for the sauce too.  The sauce is really tasty and adds a creaminess and flavor to these enchiladas that make the dish so good.

 

Balsamic Roast Beef

It wasn’t too long ago that I discovered that my slow cooker was good for more than just mulled wine.  I started to make pork and beef in it and this Balsamic Roast Beef recipe is one of my favorites.  This recipe combines the richness of balsamic vinegar, the saltiness of soy, the sweetness of honey and the kick of Worcestershire sauce to give it an outstanding flavor.  And since it is slow cooked, the beef shreds easily and can be eaten plain, paired with noodles, rice, or on a roll for a hearty and delicious sandwich.  The best part is if you have leftovers it makes for a welcomed addition to your kids lunch box.

Balsamic Roast Beef

1 3-4 lb boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast)

1 cup beef broth

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

½ tsp red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Instructions:

Place roast beef into the slow cooker. In a bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef and set the timer for your slow cooker.  Either 4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low.

Once roast beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs onto a rimmed baking sheet. Break apart lightly with two forks and transfer to a serving dish. Ladle about ¼ – ½ cup of gravy over roast beef.

Optional:

If you want a stronger flavor, place the leftover juice in a fat separator, pour the juice into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the juice has reduced by half and becomes a gravy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Helen T / CC BY