Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fettuccini Alfredo

I sometimes forget how easy it really is to make your own pasta. Especially with the help of the pasta roller on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. And the taste is just incomparable. Last night's dinner was Fettuccine Alfredo and Focaccia Bread... and I just want to say this bread is very addicting!

Fresh Pasta
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Place flour, salt, eggs, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for a few seconds until blended. Add water through feed tube two Tablespoons at a time. When dough starts to form a ball stop adding water. Process an additional 30 seconds. Remove from bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Remove a tennis ball size piece of dough. (keep remaining dough covered to keep from drying out) Dust with flour, and flatten in a disc shape with your hands. Pass through pasta machine set at widest setting. Fold dough in half, dust with more flour if needed and pass through machine again. Repeat this process approx. 20 times dusting with more flour as needed. Then without folding dough pass through machine increasing the setting each time until desired thickness is required. Place dough on lightly floured surface until ready to pass through pasta cutter. Cut in desired shape. When ready to use boil for only a few minutes in a large pot of salted water. Watch carefully, fresh pasta cooks extremely fast. Drain and add sauce and toss. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.
Fettuccine Alfredo

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium size saucepan heat cream and lemon juice over medium heat. Add butter and lemon zest, stirring occasionally until butter is melted. Reduce heat to low and add Parmesan cheese , whisk until incorporated. Remove from heat and add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over pasta and toss. Grate additional Parmesan cheese over top if desired. Serve.

And the recipe for the Focaccia bread can be found in one of my new favorite cookbooks, Cooking Dinner http://www.atavolatogether.com/index.php Check out their website and blog for fabulous recipes.

Is This Room Missing Color?

No, it's not a black and white picture haha. Looking at this on the screen I realized there is no color in this room. That's ok, I kind of like it that way. I went from all of the bold, vibrant colors in French Country to this... Guess I needed a color break. I'm afraid the whole house is pretty much the same, more earthy colors...browns, whites, black, with a little green.

It feels a little less committal, more of a blank canvas.

Office Space

I haven't blogged about decorating in a long time...and I've been in this house for a little over 6 mos. now. Guess it's time to get my act in gear??? This is one of the areas that attracted me to this rental. The little desk/office space at the top of the stairs. Since I don't have a room available that can be dedicated to an office, this is the next best thing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Pioneer Woman's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

Today must have been Birthday day :) It was my mom's birthday, and also my good friend Charlotte's Dad's birthday. I made my mom a lemon meringue pie... still trying to perfect my pie crust. I was having pretty good luck with Barefoot Contessa's pie crust, but the last couple of times not so much. I'm positive it's me, not the recipe... so my search/ technique continues. Anyway I have been wanting to make The Pioneer Woman's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. for sometime, and when Charlotte asked me to make a chocolate cake for her Dad I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I have used the cake portion of this recipe for cupcakes before, and they were delicious, but had not tried the frosting portion of the recipe yet. Lets just say you have to make this cake... even if it's just to justify the frosting haha! And an added bonus, it has to be one of the easiest cakes I have ever made. Good thing because it looks like I'm making another one this weekend ;) The only alteration I made to the cake was adding instant espresso coffee powder to the frosting mixture, yum!

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.
For the Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) cocoa
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 whole beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons (heaping) cocoa

6 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 lb (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder (optional)

In mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture and stir lightly to cool. In measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda , and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into ungreased sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

while the cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, powdered sugar and espresso powder if using. Add the pecans, stir together, and poor over warm cake.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Today my daughter Melissa and I were watching All Star Chocolate on The Food Network. All of the recipes looked delicious... and I will definitely make several of them. But Tyler Florence's Flourless Chocolate Cake had to be the first one to try.

The baking time in the directions is definitely off, I think this cake takes a good 30 min, but check it with a tester. Ours came out a little gooey, but for my family, that's a good thing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Valentine's Day Baking

The perfect Valentines Day cupcake... Red Velvet with Cream cheese Frosting. I used the Magnolia Bakery recipe, with a simple Cream Cheese frosting. They were delicious, and I loved the way they baked up. And the recipe ended up making about 3 dozen.
I also made Barefoot Contessa's famous Coconut Cupcakes. These turn out perfect every time. Earlier in the week I was able to stop at Corti Brothers, an italian gourmet grocery store in Sacramento. I love browsing the aisles, I can always find something different that I want to try. This time I found V. Alisios sweetened large shred coconut. What a difference it makes...definitely worth the splurge.

I have also been trying to perfect these mini lemon meringue tarts. I have been trying to come up with a good crust. So far I've used Fillo, and this shortbread based crust which really didn't turn out well. It was delicious, but broke apart easily... I will come up with something. The curd and meringue came from Baked. So simple, and melts in your mouth.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Citrus Kitchen

I came across this picture while looking for "white kitchen" inspiration.
I love citrus green and yellow in the kitchen, so fresh and clean. And in anticipation of spring...it just makes me smile.

Valentine Sugar Cookies

I had an order for two dozen valentine sugar cookies... I ended up with extra so I thought I would play around with it a little... Sugar Cookie Sandwiches, just in case one cookie isn't sweet enough :)

Filled with raspberry jam, and bottom row filled with frosting and sprinkles.
Check back later this week, I promise to bake something besides sugar cookies.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girl's Night

Tonight was Girl's Night at my house. We try to get together as often as possible... good friends, good food and definitely good times. Tonight was no exception...although we missed you Emily! This is the before picture.

We had so much fun decorating cookies and chatting. It's hilarious where our conversations can go!

Nice Lips Dana!

Nice arm Andrea haha! Told you it was going on the blog :)

And after...

I had a great time ladies... can't wait to do it again, you guys are the best!
Diet starts again tomorrow!