Milan Cookies (Milano)

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Milano cookies: to me, the BEST store bought cookie…. but, make them yourself and you get to lick the chocolate ganache spoon!!! The addition of the orange zest adds the perfect hint of sweetness to the semisweet chocolate filling. If you need a good chocolate fix (and who doesn’t?) make this your first choice! Enjoy!


Total Time:1 hr 20 min — Prep:20 min — Cook:1 hr — Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie Filling:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 orange, zested

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter with a paddle attachment then mix in the sugar. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
  2. Cookie Filling: In a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl. Whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools). Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

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Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand on Food Network, www.foodnetwork.com

Salad with Parmesan Wafers and Poached Egg

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

This one comes from one of my all time favorite cook books, from my all time favorite chef– Aussie Curtis Stone! I’ve had his book Relaxed Cooking for years. It puts you in his favorite mood… nice and comforted! This salad is, as he points out, one of those dishes that really tells your body that you are being good to it. The texture of the leaves, crispy parmesan wafers against the gooey poached egg are the perfect combo! This was an A+ lunch. Thank you Chef Stone!


Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 large organic egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (I used extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head butter lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  1. First, we make the dressing. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the egg yolks, mustard, and garlic in a blender and blend until the garlic is minced. Blend in 1/3 cup vinegar, then the grated Parmesan cheese. With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin, constant stream until the dressing is nice and creamy. Season the dressing with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the dressing from the blender and reserve.
  2. Next comes the Parmesan wafers. Place a nonstick silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Evenly sprinkle the shredded Parmesan cheese over the mat, forming a thin 13″x9″ rectangle of cheese. Bake for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is lacy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then break the Parmesan wafer into large pieces.
  3. Now it’s poaching time! Bring a large skillet of water to a simmer over high heat. Stir the water and add the remaining 2 tbsp. of vinegar. Stir the water quickly to create a whirlpool effect. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl and then gently transfer into the simmering water. Repeat with the remaining three eggs. Allow the eggs to poach for about 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the eggs from the simmering water and set them on a paper towel to absorb excess water.
  4. Toss the romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, and parsley in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the salad among 4 serving bowls. Place the parmesan wafers over the salad and top each salad with a poached egg. Sprinkle the eggs with black pepper, and serve.

Enjoy!

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Photo: Ashley Cuoco

Recipe adapted from: Stone, Curtis. Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood. New York: C. Potter /, 2009. Print.

Avocado and Sesame on Sourdough

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I ask you: who doesn’t love avocado toast?! It’s become one of my favorite breakfasts. Put an egg on top and now you’re talking!!! Healthy and a huge kick of flavor from the chili flakes and lemon. That creamy avocado gets me every time.

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

  • 4 large slices of sourdough bread
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2-4 pinches of chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (black seeds would be beautiful!)
  • 2 ripe avocados

Directions:

  1. Season the bread with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toast the bread until golden brown
  2. Mix together the lemon zest, chili flakes and sesame seeds with a pinch of salt and pepper
  3. Quarter the avocados, removing the stone and peeling off the skin. Slice each quarter lengthways, leaving the slices joined at the top. Fan out each quarter and place 2 on each piece of toast, pushing down to make them stick.
  4. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the avocado, then sprinkle with the sesame seed mixture. Eat immediately while still warm.

HOW TO STONE AN AVOCADO:
Cut the avocado in half lengthways and then place the half with the stone still attached on a work surface. Chop into the stone with a sharp knife and you should be able to ease it out.

Enjoy!!2

Recipe adapted from Chef Gordon Ramsay via DailyMail.Co.Uk

Handmade Agnolotti

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Needless to say, I’ve been watching a lot of Food Network these days. Season 11 of Food Network Star came to a close last week. One of the top 3, New York native Dominick Tesoriero, made his Agnolotti Bolognese dish that won him the opportunity to shoot a pilot of his own show! He inspired me to give homemade pasta a whirl. It is certainly not for the impatient, but it is well worth the time and energy. The creamy mascarpone, ricotta and parmesan filling is oh so comforting. I could have eaten that component alone! A big thank you to Dom and Food Network for sharing this recipe! Buon appetito!!!

Total Time: 3 hr 25 min — Prep:1 hr — Inactive:1 hr — Cook: — 1 hr 25 min


I chose to use a homemade, traditional marinara sauce with this pasta. One day I’ll conquer Dom’s Bolognese!

Ingredients:

Pasta Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups 00 or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups fine semolina flour
  • 2 whole large eggs plus 5 large yolks
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Filling:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

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Instructions:

For the pasta dough: Whisk the 00 or all-purpose flour and the semolina flour in the bowl of a stand mixer to combine. Make a well in the center.

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Combine the whole eggs, yolks, milk and olive oil in a small bowl and pour it into the well. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until the dough just starts to come together, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.

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Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough onto it. Knead the dough by hand until it is smooth and elastic, and springs back when you press it with your finger, about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

I had to add about 3 tablespoons of cold water to this mixture to get it all to stick. Just don’t overdo it!

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For the filling: Combine the ricotta, mascarpone and Parmesan in a small bowl. Put the mixture in a pastry bag and refrigerate until needed.

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To fill and finish the agnolotti: Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Set a pasta roller at the widest setting.

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Pass the first piece of dough through the roller, fold it in half and run it through again. Fold the dough in half again, dust it with flour, and run it through the roller again. Reduce the width setting on the roller and run the dough through. Continue to run the dough through, reducing the width with each pass, until the pasta is thin enough so that you can see the shadow of your hand through the other side. Lightly flour your work surface and lay the pasta sheet on top.

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Pipe 1 teaspoon of filling about 1 inch from the edge. Continue to pipe additional teaspoons of filling 1 inch apart*, from one end to the other. Fold the dough over so that it extends about an inch past the filling (it wont extend to the opposite edge), press to seal the long edge and then trim the excess dough from the sealed side. With your fingers perpendicular to the table, pinch between the mounds to seal the filling in. Then use the cutter to cut between each mound, through the pinch, creating little purses. Dust the finished agnolotti with flour. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Repeat the process with the 3 remaining pieces of dough and the filling.

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*Do as Dom’s recipe suggests– doing 1 long pipe of cheese is not the best way. Individual, 1″ sections will yield better results. Also, be sure to dust your work surface well with semolina flour. Otherwise you will stick to the counter in spots, making it harder to cut off sections of dough.

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I used egg wash along the edges for a better seal. Make sure you really seal those edges well– you want to avoid the filling from peaking out.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the agnolotti, stir and, when they float to the surface, leave them in the water for an additional minute. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the agnolotti to a large bowl. Ladle over some sauce, toss, drissle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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Recipe courtesy of Dominick Tesoriero via www.foodnetwork.com

Iced Coffee Popsicles

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Makes 8-10 servings — Prep Time: 5 minutes — Chill Time: 1-3 hours


Coffee lovers unite! The minute I saw this recipe I had to have it. Lately, it is 85+ degrees in New York. How refreshing do these beauties look? This is about all I want to jumpstart that afternoon lull, especially in this heat. Customize the pops to your taste– black, light, sweet, you name it! A strong brew will make better pops, as the ice will dull the flavor a bit. This is also a creative way to serve coffee after dinner on warmer nights. Because they melt quickly, serve in a chilled glass with a napkin. And get on that caffeine fix!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups cold strong coffee*
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for the bottom of the molds
  • sugar to taste

Directions:

  1. Set aside 1/3 cup of cream and sweeten it with sugar to taste. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Pour a small amount of cream into the bottom of each mold, about 1/2″ high.
  3. Freeze the mold for about 1 hr or until the cream is solid.
  4. Mix the coffee, more cream and sugar (to taste) in a cup and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled.
  5. Pour the chilled coffee into each mold, filling to the top.
  6. Cover the top with tin foil and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until pops are solid.
  7. To pop out the treats from their molds, submerge into bowl of warm water for 30 seconds.

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Notes:

*To save time on brewing, you can buy pre-made iced coffee in a carton from Starbucks or International Delight. Then add sugar and cream to taste.

I have 2 molds holding 4 pops each. This recipe will make approximately 10 popsicles. Depending on your mold size, it may make more or less liquid.

Most molds come with their own plastic tops. These can get stuck when trying to remove the pops from the mold– using the tin foil/wooden stick method will yield better — and prettier results.

Wrap each pop in a plastic baggie or waxed paper to store.

Recipe courtesy of The View from Great Island via Country Living.

 

Balsamic Grilled Eggplant

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Makes 4 Servings  —  Prep Time: 5 Minutes  —  Cook Time: 8 Minutes


I have fond memories of my father making eggplant parmesan on Christmas Day. In warmer weather, these balsamic grilled eggplant slices are perfect on the grill! A fresh side to any dish — in under 15 minutes.

EP 1

 

EP 2EP 3

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick

1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. water

3/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed

 

Directions:

Wisk together Good Seasons mix, balsamic vinegar, water and olive oil. (This dressing is also great on any salad or as a chicken cutlet marinade). Lightly marinate the slices of eggplant in the seasoned mixture. Place the marinated slices on a warm grill. A Foreman grill or nonstick skillet will also get the job done! Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until you see those nice grill marks. Sprinkle with Himalayan pink salt and ground pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil.

EP 5

Enjoy!

 

 

cook happy!

Fortunately for me, I married a noble young man with the last name Cuoco. And fortunately for him, I love to cook and bake him things. Get out your aprons ’cause it’s about to get FUN!


I am so excited to start sharing recipes with my fellow foodies!

 

“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

Ecclesiastes 3:12