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Pizzelles

January 1, 2013

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Hi, this is Sarah’s husband, Rob, guest posting today. We’re wrapping up another fun yet busy holiday season. Below is my recipe for pizzelles – the Italian cookie that has always been a tradition in my family. Whether you pronounce it “Pete-Zelle” like I do or “Pizz-elle”, the light, crunchy cookies always taste like the holidays to me. The recipe is easy, but 1) you need to have a pizzelle iron and 2) you need to have some time – once you make the dough, you gotta keep ‘em rolling out of the iron until you’re done.  I dedicate this post to my father and grandmother, who I wish were around to enjoy these (and maybe provide some tips!) – miss you both! Happy New Year/Buon Anno!

Ingredients:

6 Eggs3.5 cups of flour

1.5 cups of granulated sugar

2 tbsp of vanilla

1 cup margarine (or butter) melted

4 tsp of baking powder.

Beat eggs, add sugar gradually, add cooled margarine to eggs,  sugar and then vanilla (or almond extract or other flavors – feel free to experiment here. Some of my relatives used anisette and my dad would stick in cocoa powder for a chocolate flavor). Then add flour and baking powder until sticky. The dough should be light yellow in color.

ImageDrop small (quarter/half dollar) sized dollops of dough on the heated iron. Let them cook for 30-45 seconds (every iron is different, you’ll probably sacrifice some) and then take them off to cool on a rack. Since they taste like waffle cones, you can take a few of them and fashion them into ice-cream cones while they are warm!

A Dedication

November 14, 2010

When I reflect upon my love for cooking and baking, I know it was not only nurtured, but also stemmed from a strong hereditary place. I think of my days as a young girl and I remember baking cookies with my mother, cutting cheese in decorative shapes with my grandma and making pies from scratch with my grandmother.

My mother, a fantastic cook, would teach me to peel carrots and make spaghetti squash (quite possibly my favorite activity) to help her put dinner on the table. She taught me the importance and love that goes into a home cooked meal, at the table, as a family every night. This is something I try to stay true to every day of my life, and hope to pass along to my children as well.

My grandma is a true entertainer – a home-cooked meal is only half of the experience, it is the presentation, the theme and the attention to detail. She taught me decorative garnishes, how to make a hog dog into a turkey for Thanksgiving (don’t ask) and how to throw an amazing theme party. I have clearly inherited her passion for entertaining, as I throw themed book club parties and buy various serving platters to perfectly match the food served on it. She has taught me that the whole dining experience is a way in which to catch up with old friends and show loved ones that they are, indeed, loved.

And my grandmother was a southern traditionalist. You would never, under any circumstances, find a pre-made pie crust in her freezer. When we spent holidays and family visits in her home in Tennessee and later Alabama, most of the visit included grandmother and I in the kitchen for hours, making anything from an elaborate Thanksgiving feast, to a homemade rhubarb pie, to a banana pudding dessert that was my granddaddy’s favorite. That love of cooking and baking existed just as much when she visited us in Michigan – exemplified by my fondest memory of making a carrot cake and putting frosting decorative carrots on the white cream cheese frosting.

With my grandmother, it wasn’t the destination, it was the journey. It wasn’t a means to putting food in bellies or even for entertaining friends and family. For my grandmother, it was the act of spending an afternoon in the kitchen, making from-scratch foods with the predominant ingredient always being love. It was putting something on the table that was made with her two hands – no shortcuts.

And, as I reflect on my culinary childhood, I realize that I embody each one of my female mentors. I have learned the importance (and sometimes healing nature) of a home-cooked meal from my mother, the art of entertaining with love from my grandma – and from my grandmother I learned to enjoy the journey.

And lately, especially in the past few years – I have not just learned to enjoy the journey, but I find a small obsession with it. On a Sunday afternoon when most are shopping, cleaning the house and watching football, you generally find me in the kitchen, making something from scratch that I easily could have bought in the store. That journey has taught me to slow down, enjoy life’s pleasures and take pride in my ability to make something fantastic out of many ingredients.

My friends and co-workers always ask me where I got this from. Why do I feel the strange need on a Sunday to make maple nut bars and bring them to friends? That answer is easy – my grandmother.

On Saturday, November 6, we laid my grandmother to rest. She was 93 years old and had been married to my loving granddaddy for 68 of them. She was such a large part of my life in so many ways, and taught me more than I could ever put in this blog entry. But, when I cook or bake – I think of her most. When I think of why I have the strange desire to make a pie on a Sunday afternoon, I know that is a part of her inside me. That passion for food comes from her.

So, as sad as saying goodbye to her was this past weekend, I celebrate her life – as a wife, a mother, grandmother, a great grandmother, and a cook. And I thank her for instilling me in a love for the journey, something I will keep with my the rest of my life.

Dedicated to Philomene Miller Stone, 1917 – 2010.

Introduction

February 4, 2009

So here it is – my cooking blog. I must start my reiterating that I am not a gourmet chef. I don’t even consider myself a chef at all. But, I am a cook who loves when good ingredients come together in an amazing dish.

My recipes are sometimes long and involved (mostly for Sundays) but most of the time are easy and can be made in less than an hour. I work some long hours, and normally don’t walk in the door until 7 or so. But, instead of plopping down in front of the television to “stare at the fire”,  I would much rather turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, and cook. Yes, call me crazy, but it is true!

My goal for this blog is to share my food passion with others – whether they already share my love for cooking or find it a chore and WANT to find that love!

I know this blog will evolve over time, but my initial plans include posting new recipes I have tried (and most likely altered) and have loved. Also, I will post tips on cooking that I have found helpful to me.

Today I will start by sharing a recipe I tried and loved a couple weeks ago – a Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork with Onions. I am going to give kudos to Bon Appetit right now because their recipes are many times my favorites. They get the credit for this one!http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cocoa-and-Spice-Slow-Roasted-Pork-with-Onions-240744

Yes, this is a Sunday dish for sure. But, the time to prep up front wasn’t much, then you just have to babysit. Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients – most of it is a spice rub (and I even cheat and used pre-ground corriander and white peppercorns – although I am a firm believer in freshly-grated nutmeg!). The dish smells up your whole house so you spend the entire day looking forward to dinner. Cook it on a Sunday when it is cold and snowy like I did a few weeks ago! 

Happy cooking!

Sarah


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