Archive for January, 2007

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Today's Realizations:The Common Cold and Anglophilia are both very contagious.

I was so proud of myself last week for not getting sick with the rest of my family. Pride goeth before a fall. Night before last my throat was a little dry when I went to bed. Enough so that I got back up, retrieved a bottle of water and handful of peppermints. Yesterday I didnt feel bad. I just didnt feel good. Today I lean more towards feeling bad. My head feels full, my throat is actually sore. And it hurts my eyes to move them. So I will remind myself that some illnesses have a longer incubation period than others. And that I dont actually have an immunity to illness…I am just not prone. Two completely different things. Immune is certainly not the same as disinclined.

Did I mention how much I love British everything? Angliophilia runs in our family. One hour of British TV and the whole lot break into British accents with varying degrees of believability. Hannah and Rachel could pass, though Hannah often lapses into Scotish and Irish in mid sentence. Mine however, quite honestly, is horrid. Granted I dont practice as they do. I want to do better but my Southerness comes shining through very easily. What brings this up I suppose is feeling bad yesterday and sitting around in the afternoon watching Wives and Daughters. I didnt want to like it because my first thought was “well, this isnt North & South, that’s for sure”. Not the N&S of the civil war drama (yuck) but the BBC’s North and South….ahhh…LOVE IT. But after I had seen the first episode (we have the first two from netflix and the next disc will be here Monday) I loved it too. AND was motivated to sketch out some aprons I intend to make very soon! Now today since I dont really feel like working, thought I have plenty to do, I think I will suggest we watch some Jane Austen.

My daughters are so inspired by Miss Austen, that they have written their own book: Narcissism and Judgment (a modern tale based on Pride and Predjudice). Of course they are also writing several screenplays : Tiara Girls, My Freaking Fab Fourteen and Toledo Bend (think a redneck Laguna Beach). No, neither of them are normal. Thank God.

AND just as soon as it is seen fit to show close enough to see, I will be venturing out to see Miss Potter. I LOVE Beatrix Potter as well. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

As I write this post, my youngest and his cousin are making a cooking show. Rachel is directing and filming. Oh…those silly homeschool children! I will save you from a rant on peoples’ misperceptions of homeschooling–but in another post, I promise. They are making Awesome Oreo Pie. So adorable! It looks rather messy but yummy just the same. I think chef hats are on my sewing list as well. I just heard Ben say “Who do you think you are? Tom Colicchio?” How many 10 year olds know who Tom Colicchio is? Too funny.


Recipes of the Day: Penne Rustica & Fococcia

This is one of our very favorite dishes. We do easily double it if everyone is to be here for supper. Very easy…just note not to let the garlic brown and stir, stir, stir the sauce.

To prepare meat:

2 skinless chicken breasts grilled or broiled and cut into chunks

Pound the thick end of your chicken breast a bit with a kitchen mallet to make them a uniform thickness.
Rub chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper.
Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. When chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

Gratinata Sauce

1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons marsala wine
1 lb penne rigate cooked
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Prosciutto about 2 ounces thick-sliced, chopped
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

Prepare gratinata sauce by melting 3 tbls of butter over medium/low heat. Add garlic and simmer it for about 5 minutes. Be sure the garlic doesn’t brown. Add the marsala wine and cook for another 5 minutes.Stirring constantly. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisk until smooth. Continue stirring, and bring mixture to a simmer and keep it there for 10 minutes or until it’s thick. Cover sauce and remove from heat.

Cook past following directions on the package (7-9 minutes in boiling water).
You want the pasta tender, but not mush (al dente). Strain pasta and set it aside when it’s done.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Use a 9 x 13 dish. Load pasta into baking dish. Add the chicken and prosciutto.Spoon in gratinata sauce toss to coat.
Combine grated Parmesan cheese with paprika, then sprinkle over the top. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.

Serve with Focaccia

There are so many variations…unlimited actually. Add herbs, or cheese to your taste.

  • 3 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup plus 3 TBSPS warm water (110-110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup white wine room temp
  • 5 cups white bread flour
  • 2 TBSP olive oil plus more for sprinkling and oiling pan
  • 2 tsp salt (for dough)
  • sea salt for sprinkling
  • Fresh herbs to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, stir sugar into 1/2 cup of the water, and sprinkle in yeast. Stir well; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add remaining water, wine and olive oil, and mix well. Add flour a cup at a time, mixing well. Add salt in with last cup of flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment, or 8 to 10 minutes by hand.

Form dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Spread dough evenly onto an oiled baking sheet. (if the dough resists being pulled and stretched, let it rest 10 minutes). Not necessarily to the edge of the sheet.  Cover with a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes. Dimple surface of dough with your fingertips, leaving deep indentations. Cover with towel again, and let rise at least an hour no more than 2.

Heat oven to 425°F. Drizzle oil on top of dough, allowing dimples to fill. Gently brush remaining oil over surface without deflating dough. Then sprinkle with salt and herbs, if desired. NOTE: I love the lemon infused olive oil on this bread.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and slide onto a wire rack. Serve as soon as possible, but really quite good completely cooled.


ABC's about me…

A-available or single? Happily Married for almost 30 years
B-best friend? Really and truly, my husband
C-cake or pie? Italian Cream Cake
D-drink of choice? non alcoholic beverage: Diet Root Beer / Alcoholic beverage: Long Island Ice Tea
E-essential item I use everyday? Cinique eye serum
F-favorite color? Red
G-gummy bears or gummy worms? Neither!
H-hometown-DeRidder, LA
I-indulgence? Books and Magazines
J-January or February? February, First date with husband was on Valentine’s Day and my youngest’s birthday is on Valentines as well.
K-kids and names? Zachary, Jessica, Nathan, Hannah, Rachel & Benjamin
L-life is incomplete without? Love
M-marriage date? Sep 3 1977
N-number of siblings? 2 Brothers
O-oranges or apples? Oranges
P-phobias or fears? Black widow spiders and flying
Q-favorite quote? What do we live for; if it is not to make life less difficult to each other? ~George Eliot
R-reasons to smile? My life is great. Almost stressfree
S-season? Autumn
T-tag 3 0r 4 people ~if you read this consider yourself tagged
U-unknown fact about me? I would move to Vermont in a split second.
V-vegetable you don’t like? black eyed peas
W-worst habit? procrastination
Y-your favorite food? Pasta Rustica
Z-zodiac? Leo GRRRRR

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