Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to make caramel sauce

If you have been reading my blog then you know how many times I have tried to make caramel and failed. I don’t know if I have not been following the recipes correctly or not letting the sugar cook for long enough but it is very very frustrating. So I decided to find a couple of different recipes cross check them and design my own. All the recipes start out the same way with sugar, water and cream. I guess my problem was understanding how to make caramel. Not all the receipts explain that.

So I figured I would give a little crash course in how to make caramel. The most important thing is DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT stir the water and sugar when you are cooking it. This was my first mistake, I know some people are probably rolling their eyes right now saying of course you don’t stir it. Well, haha I did not know that. The recipe and direction follow. I made this recipe myself to use as caramel sauce so it is a thinner than if I were actually make caramels. If you want a thicker sauce cut down a little on the liquid or pour the caramel in a smaller pan to allow a cur of thicker pieces.

1 ½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
Dash of vanilla extract

Add the sugar and water in a pot and let it boil until the mixture is a dark, dark amber. DO NOT STIR just let the sugar dissolve in the water. Be careful not to let it burn. You will be able to smell the sugar if it begins to burn trust me (second mistake)! Once the sugar is deep amber add the cream. The caramel will start to bubble violently don’t be surprised and drop the pot like I did (third mistake), be careful and make sure that the pot does not bubble over. The caramel is very very hot will burn your hand.

The caramel sauce before we added the heavy cream This is what the caramel sauce looks like after you add the heavy cream. The caramel sauce after the heavy cream has been mixed in

The caramel sauce on top of the apple turnover and vanilla ice cream SOOOOO GOOD!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Recipe for Apple Turnovers

The other night my husband was craving something sweet. He did not want ice cream and I was way too tired to make cookies brownies. So I opened my freezer, to see if there was anything in there and, found some puff pastry. Puff pastry can be used to make many different dishes for both dessert and dinner that is why I love it so much. I scanned my kitchen and saw the bowl full of apples sitting on my table.

What is the first idea that popped into my head...apple turnovers. Now I don’t follow a recipe for this. I just kind of put stuff in a pan and hope that it comes out well. So you will notice that the following recipe has no measurements. I just kind of eyeball everything. I find it one of the best ways to cook.

I took two apples with the skin on (that is where all the vitamins are) and cut them up into bite size pieces. I than placed the apples into a pan with about two tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup water, pinch of fresh grated cinnamon, dash of vanilla, and about 1/4 brown sugar.

Combine all the ingredients in one pan and cook until the apples are fork tender. Once the apples are tender mash them with a fork.. Once I have finished mashing the apples I place the mixture in the pull pastry and fold them. I then take my fork and press the pastry closed.

Next, I place the turnover in the over at 350 for approx 30 min. I also sprinkle a little refined sugar on the top to form a sweet crust. The apple turnovers go great with some vanilla ice cream, and then I whipped up some caramel sauce. It is so great.

The apples cooking in the pan.The puff pastry has warmed up and ready for the apple mixture.

The turnovers before placing them in the oven.

The puff pastry after it is taken out the oven. OOOOO THEY ARE SOOO GOOD!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pizza dough

My hubby and I love pizza, but with the price of frozen pizza rising to around 7 dollars and ordering pizza more than 15 dollars, I decided to pocket the money and make my own pizza dough. By using left over sauce I made and mozzarella cheese I already had in the fridge the meal was less than 7 dollars. Again as I have said before the dough does take some time to rise and if you are hungry and want to eat now, this is not the recipe to make.
The recipe says that you can spilt the dough into two different pizzas but I don’t know if that would be enough to feed two people. When I have some free time I am going to try and make a couple batches of the dough to freeze. This way we can have homemade on a week night without waiting for the dough to rise.

The dough before we placed it in the oven. No matter how hard I worked the dough I could not get it to form a circle. And you want to make sure you dont work the dough too much or else the pizza would be too tough. The completed pizza. SOOOO Good. Cant wait to try some white pizza.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dipping Herbs

In my last blog I made some focaccia bread and I spoke about dipping spices that I used. Living in a suburb of DC we don’t have a very big backyard. Haha our backyard is a brick patio with no grass. While I love living in DC one thing that I do miss is having a backyard with grass to grow a garden with herbs and veggies in it. So as a substitute I have a strawberry pot on my deck where I grow herbs in the summer and dry them over the winter. This allows us to have the fresh herbs in the winter.

The herbs I used were dried parsley and thyme. I added some red pepper flakes for some heat and salt and pepper. After adding a little olive oil to the mix it was perfect for dipping in the hot focaccia bread. I can’t wait to make this bread again when I make my father’s pasta sauce.

What the herbs looked like before adding the olive oil.

The herbs after adding the olive oil. This is the best, you can add and take out whatever you want. A great sub. for not using butter.

Focaccia Bread

I have been away for awhile relaxing and recharging for the new year, so I am excited to be back to my normal routine well rested.

If you are looking to lose weight this new year this blog is not for you. The next couple of blogs are full of carbs, sugar and nothing I would really call “healthy”. I really enjoyed this break and was able to take some time and do a deep clean of the house and make some more time consuming food.
The first dish I made in the new year that I LOVED was Focaccia bread. I have been looking at different bread recopies for awhile now but just did not have the time to commit to making it. Let me tell you this bread from beginning to end took about 5 hours. The reward was well worth it, but you must have the time.

The bread cooked up crispy on top and soft and bubbly on the inside. The bread was done about 15 min. before dinner and my husband ate about half the pan, AND the great thing was we got to use my dipping spices that I made over the summer (see another blog for those ingredients). I am looking forward to making different kinds of bread and really cant wait.

A picture of the dough before I placed it in the oven.

The last three pictures are all of the bread as soon as it came out of the oven. It was so good. I cant wait to make this again. My husband loved it and I know anyone else who tries it will also love it as well.