Monday, December 30, 2013

Recipe Archive

I decided to make the Blog a little easier to navigate by adding a "Recipe Archive". This is one central page that has links to all the posts I've completed. Hopefully this helps with the navigation. If I am really ambitious I may even make specific categories for things but for the moment we'll leave everything in the category of "Things that make me fat".

Here is the link: Recipe Archive

Enjoy and Happy Holiday's!

- Jeff

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

If you are looking for something to go with Christmas dinner or a hangover breakfast after New Years these biscuits are the perfect flaky, buttery companion. I originally made these to go with some fried chicken but they took over as the star of the meal (the chicken was great but these are so easy). I've made them three times this week; making Jess and I look like magicians for how quickly they disappear. You will need a food processor and about half an hour including baking time. They are best made with butter milk but I used 1% and they were still great. I have also been adding white pepper to make them spicy. I made some with rosemary and garlic that were perfect with pasta. You could probably add honey and make them sweeter. We have a tiny food processor so my recipe fills it up. It will make 10 smaller or 6 biscuits large enough for toppings.


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk 


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor with the butter.
  4. Pulse the processor until the dough looks like wet sand.
  5. Add most of the milk and pulse a couple times until you have a wet dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top.
  7. With your hands, press the dough out until it is around half an inch thick. 
  8. Fold it over on itself and repeat (I fold it 7 times but that's just cause I like the number 7).
  9. It will pretty much double in height in the oven so pat it down to half of the final height you want.
  10. Cut it into rounds using a cookie/dough cutter or a drinking glass (If you have nothing round I guess you could make square ones)
  11. Repeat the process with the scraps but try not to work the dough too much.
  12. Bake the biscuits for around ten minutes (try to keep an eye on the bottoms because they cook pretty quick, I ended up broiling them for a minute to get the tops golden).
  13. Try not to burn your mouth as you start stuffing them in.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lamb Stuffed Ravioli with a Creamy Truffle Sauce

A couple of our good friends just got back from a trip to Italy with their pockets stuffed with meat, cheese, truffles and an appetite for pizza and pasta. They were willing to share so we decided to have an "Italian Feast" starting in the late afternoon and going until we drank our weight in wine and gave our love handles love handles by stuffing as much pizza, pasta and tiramisu down our throats. The highlight of the night was lamb stuffed ravioli with a truffle cream sauce. This was the pinnacle of decadence. We made our own pasta dough but if you are not interested in making your own raviloli you would be able to make a ragu and top any type of long noodle.

Lamb Filling

  • 1 lbs ground lamb (I am not big into organic food but I suggest organic or the best quality you can get your paws on)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Brown the lamb in a large skillet.
  2. Allow to cool (5-10 min).
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

 Truffle Sauce

  • 1/2 pound cold butter.
  • 1/4 cup white truffle oil.
  • 1 cup white wine (use good wine so you can drink the rest of the bottle).
  • ~ 1 tbsp minced shallots.
  • ~ 1 tbsp chopped garlic.
  • ground white pepper.
  • salt.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream.
  • 1 small black truffle.
  • chives.
  1. Chop the garlic and shallots in a food processor.
  2. In a saucepan, combine wine, shallots, garlic, salt and white pepper (use your discretion with the salt and pepper).
  3. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 mins.
  4. Stir in the cream.
  5. Cut the butter into cubes.
  6. Reduce the heat and stir in the butter.
  7. Add to past and garnish with shaved truffle and chives.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fried Pickles and Mozzarella Sticks

I love pub, deli, diner, bar and street food more than I should. Tonight I was on my own for dinner and decided to just have a sandwich and use up some of the food in the fridge from the weekend. I made some mozzarella cheese on Saturday and had enough leftover to make some mozzarella sticks. I also had pizza sauce to dunk them in and some salami for the sandwich. I figured that if I was going to be frying I might as well fry a couple pickles to take my sub to another level. The pickles added some extra crunch, taste and texture to a pretty average sandwich.
Breading food is easy and if you don't want to fry you can always throw it in the oven and it tastes the same without the additional grease of frying.

  • 1 cup seasoned flour (salt, pepper, etc)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I used seasoned crumbs)

  1. Fill a small pot/dutch oven with a couple inches of oil (I used a mix of grape seed and canola)
  2. Heat the oil on medium high. To test if it is ready I usually chuck in a piece of bread. It will bubble and rise to the top of the oil.
  3. Dredge your item in the flour, egg, then crumbs.
  4. Fry until golden (2-3 min).


There isn't much to say about the mozzarella sticks other than they are little bundles of fried deliciousness. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

I have been doing more and more baking and really want to perfect a couple things so that I will have my "go to" recipes. I think this "traditional" pizza dough was pretty much perfect. The only thing I would love to do is make this pizza in a wood fired oven; unfortunately I don't think our apartment is ready for me and fire to work together.

This dough will make two cookie sheet sized pizzas. The crust has the perfect crunch on the outside while being bubbly and soft inside.

  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (you could use bread or pizza flour)
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp olive oil

  1. In a a stand mixer or large mixing bowl add the sugar, yeast and water. Wait until it doubles in size.
  2. Add the flour salt and oil and mix until the dough ball is smooth and stretchy (about 5 min).
  3. Lightly oil the ball and set aside to double in size (approx 1hr).
  4. Punch down the dough and separate into two.
  5. Set aside and allow to rise again.
  6. Roll out the dough and top with your desired topping.
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 min at 400-425 degrees

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Creamy Grits with Spinach and Salami

I am one of those people that doesn't know the difference between grits and polenta and after making dinner tonight I am no closer to knowing the truth. I do know that whatever I made tonight was amazing and I will be making it again. This was a "lets clean out the fridge" meal and will be a regular dinner or breakfast meal going forward. I would love to make shrimp and grits so maybe I will do that next time.


  • 1 cup corn meal (I have no idea what kind I used because Jess had put it in a Tim Horton's tin)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cheese (white cheddar would be good but I ended up using Parmesan & Romano)
  • 6 slices of salami
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic


  1. Boil the water and add the corn meal.
  2. Simmer for 20-25 minutes while it absorbs the water.
  3. Fry the salami until crispy leaving the grease for the  onions and garlic.
  4. Soften the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Set aside the salami, onions, and garlic then added some water to the pan and blanched the spinach.
  6. In a food processor blend up the spinach and ricotta and add some salt and pepper.
  7. When the water has been absorbed by the corn meal add the butter and cheese.
  8. Fry an egg.
  9. Put everything in a bowl and destroy it!
 The texture of the grits is creamy and was a great base that could incorporate many flavors.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Home Made Gnocchi

I feel like I have been thrashing the "Italian red sauce" recipes but I do eat a lot of pizza and pasta. This is a pretty easy potato and ricotta gnocchi recipe that makes dumplings that are way better than store bought and don't eat up a bunch of active kitchen time. They were not perfect because I ended up mashing the potatoes with a fork and my commitment to smooth fluffy potatoes faded pretty quick.

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tbsp salt

  1. Boil the potatoes for about 40 min with the skin on.
  2. Peel the potatoes and pass through a vegetable mill, box grater or mash up with a fork.
  3. Incorporate the cheese, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour.
  4. Add enough of the remaining flour for it to become a sticky dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
  6. Roll each ball into a log and cut into whatever size you want (they will plump up in the water so make them smaller than the final size)
  7. Boil the dumplings in salted water until they float.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Banana Coconut Fritters

I have been trying to work my way up to making "Cronuts", (croissant-donuts), for the last couple months and have been putting it off. I decided that maybe I should try something less involved to practice deep frying. Jess was watching the food network and saw a quick donut-fritter recipe on one of Gordon Ramsey's shows and we figured this would be a good starter donut. We did not have all the ingredients but made it work with what we had. We ended up with awesome "Timbit" sized Banana Coconut Fritters that we devoured for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Cooking away
My failed attempt...

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large bananas
  • Grape seed oil for frying (I didn't have enough so i had to mix it with canola oil)
  • Powdered sugar and cinnamon for serving 

  1. Sift flour & baking soda in one large bowl.
  2. Stir in the sugar, coconut, and salt.
  3. Mash the bananas and stir into the dry ingredients.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes – the baking powder will help it fluff up slightly for the desired batter texture.
  5. Fill a Dutch oven or large saucepan with the oil and heat. You want enough oil so that the dropped dough is completely submerged, (it is ready when a cube of bread dropped in the oil sizzles and turns golden in 30 sec.)
  6. Using a spoon carefully drop the batter into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.We used a melon baller to scoop the dough in. Jess, was obviously way better than me because mine looked like demented funnel cakes.

 Lift out with a slotted spoon & drain on paper towel – this is where you can sprinkle them with sugar while they are still warm .

They had a perfect crust on the outside and the inside was fluffy and gooey from the banana. These would be great dunked in chocolate sauce or with chocolate ice cream.