The Bronx Bomber Sandwich Recipe

Just in case you haven't already heard about it, Mezzetta Foods is sponsoring the 2012 Celebrity Chef Sandwich Charity Challenge for a second year in a row.  This year $25,000 is up for grabs so you may want to enter before the contest is over at the end of this month.  The Bronx Bomber Sandwich is our entry and could possibly be the greatest sandwich in the world!!  Give it a try.

2 large slices of pumpernickel bread
horseradish sauce
6 thin slices of Genoa salami
4 slices of pastrami
2 slices of Swiss cheese
8 - 10 hot pepper rings
thick smear of cream cheese

  1. Start the sandwich with the first slice of pumpernickel bread top with some horseradish sauce.
  2. From bottom to top, layer the Genoa salami, pastrami, Swiss cheese, and the hot pepper rings.
  3. Spread the second slice of pumpernickel with a thick layer of cream cheese and place on top of the Bronx Bomber Sandwich.  Slice in half and enjoy!
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Limoncello Mousse Pie Recipe

limoncello pie
Limoncello, a lemon liqueur produced in the southern part of Italy, is traditionally served chilled after dinner to aid digestion.  It gives this dish a clean, sweet flavor with none of the tart, bitter flavor of fresh lemon juice.  If you are not a fan of lemon, try orangecello in its place.  It has a mild, sweet, aromatic orange flavor.

Recommended Equipment:
1 9 inch pie dish

all-butter pie crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tspn salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3 - 4 tbsp ice water

1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup limoncello
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 tspn salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/2 tspn powdered gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract

all-butter pie crust:
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Add the butter to the bowl; with your fingers, rub it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse sand studded with pea sized pieces of butter.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form a disk.  Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator for 10 minutes before rolling out.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8 inch thick, 12 inch circle, turning the dough often to be sure it does not stick.  Dust the surface with additional flour if needed.
  5. Fold the dough in half and place it into a 9 inch pie plate.  Unfold and carefully press the dough into the pan.  Use kitchen scissors or a paring knife to trim the dough to within 1 inch of the pan's edge.
  6. Cover with plastic and chill until ready to bake.  Covered, the crust will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line the pie crust with parchment paper or a double layer of aluminum foil and add pie weights or dry beans.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and weights and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown all over.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, limoncello, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt and whisk until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to simmer and thicken, about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla; stir until melted.  Pour through a strainer into a separate bowl.  Place a layer of cling plastic wrap on the custard and chill for 1 hour.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the powdered gelatin with the cold water.  Let stand for 10 minutes, then melt in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes, or until cool to the touch.
  6. In a medium bowl, add the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Whip on medium-high speed until it starts to thicken, about 1 minute.
  7. Slowly pour in the cooled gelatin and whip until the cream forms medium peaks, about 1 minute.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  8. Add 1/2 of the whipped cream to the limoncello mixture and gently fold to incorporate.  Pour into the prepared crust and garnish the top with the remaining whipped cream.  Chill for 4 hours before serving.  

Recipe courtesy of Not-So-Humble Pies by Kelley Jaggers

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Book Review: The Artisan Soda Workshop

artisan soda workshop
Ingredients in a can of Fresca:
carbonated water, citric acid, concentrated grapefruit juice, potassium citrate, potassium sorbate, potassium bezoate, and EDTA, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, acacia, natural flavors, glycerol ester of rosin, brominated vegetable oil, carob bean gum, phenylketonurics (contains phenylalanine).

Ingredients in a glass of homemade Fresca soda using the recipe from the Artisan Soda Workshop:
1 ruby red grapefruit, halved
2 tspn agave syrup
seltzer water, as needed

In reviewing this book, we tried both versions of Fresca and I have to tell you that the difference in taste and price is negligible.  So why do so many people choose to drink soft drinks packed with mysterious chemicals?  There are probably many answers including convenience, ignorance, and constant suggestions from the powerful marketing machines of Coke, Pepsi, and other major soft drink producers.  For those looking for other alternatives or for those looking for some new, mostly non-alcoholic beverage recipes, this book is for you.

Andrea Lynn has created an interesting book with 70 homemade soda recipes.  The first chapter, entitled Homemade Soda Copycats, provides all-natural recipes for almost all of the mass produced sodas on the market today.  Additional chapters focus on beverage recipes that feature herbs and spices, cherries and berries, and seasonal flavors.  There are also many recipes for aqua frescas, teas, and floats.  The author draws from her experience as a food writer and recipe developer to describe the history of soda and its mass popularity around the world. 

Sodas were first produced in the United States at the beginning of the 19th century.  Carbonated water was believed to have medicinal benefits.  So by the mid 1800s, carbonated water became popular at pharmacies across the country.  Eventually small companies began selling syrup directly to pharmacies.  Some of these companies, like Coke and Pepsi, became quite successful and dominate the soda market to this day.  New artisinal soda makers have recently grown in popularity however.  Companies like P & H Soda in Brooklyn and Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia, have gone back to the basics to create pure, natural products that promote good health.  SodaStream is also experiencing record growth by enabling consumers to easily make beverages of their choice at home.

As you may have surmised from the introduction of this review, homemade sodas are healthier than their mass-produced counterparts because most store bought sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup.  Although it is a little bit of work to make your own soda, you control everything that goes into your beverage, you know exactly what you are consuming.  You also cut down on the amount of sugar you are consuming and you can explore alternative sweeteners such as brown sugar, agave syrup, or fresh fruit.

In our review, we tried the recipes for Fresca and Cherry Limeade.  The recipe for Fresca was outstanding.  It was simple to make and it tasted exactly like the store bought version.  It features agave syrup, a great sweetener to use because it is not highly processed and is slowly absorbed.  The grapefruit gives you an ample dose of vitamin C.  The perfect drink - tastes great and its great for your health!  The cherry limeade recipe tasted good as well but it tasted very different from the one offered at Sonic.  However, with a little trial and error you could probably tweak this recipe to suit your needs.  Overall, this is an interesting book that provides a rare look at the early days of soda shops in the USA.  It also provides a great starting collection of beverage recipes for people that are interested in improving their diet by making all-natural sodas at home.  We give the Artisan Soda Workshop four stars out of five.

Cherry-Limeade Soda Recipe

Another childhood treat was Sonic's Cherry Limeade.  It's really just a soda amped up with a generous portion of maraschino cherry juice.  For some reason, the extra bolt of lime combined with the sweetness of the cherry always called to me.  And while I have made my own maraschino cherries, I think the jarred variety better matches the flavor I grew up on.

10 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup jarred maraschino cherry liquid
grated zest and juice of 2 fresh limes
1 tbsp agave syrup

  1. In a large mason jar, combine the cherries, cherry liquid, and the lime zest and juice.  Muddle the cherries and liquid together.  Then stir in the agave to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Optional - Run the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the lime zest and muddled cherries.
  4. Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container up to 7 days.
  5. To make the limeade soda, stir 2 tablespoons of the syrup into 1 1/4 cups seltzer water.  Garnish with maraschino cherries if desired.
Recipe courtesy of The Artisan Soda Workshop by Andrea Lynn 

United States  [ print this recipe for Cherry-Limeade Soda ]

Fresca Soda Recipe

Manufactured by Coca-Cola, Fresca is a grapefruit soda drink that has been around since the 1950s.  This was one of my favorite childhood sodas that I haven't really seen as much as an adult.  This homemade Fresca, which combines half fresh grapefruit juice and half seltzer, is even more delicious than its counterpart.

1 ruby red grapefruit, halved
2 tspn agave syrup
seltzer water, as needed

  1. Juice each grapefruit half, making sure to get the pulp, too.  
  2. Pour 3/4 cup of the juice, including the pulp, into a glass and stir in the agave to combine.  
  3. Top with seltzer and serve. 
Recipe courtesy of The Artisan Soda Workshop by Andrea Lynn
United States  [ print this recipe for Fresca Soda ]

Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale Recipe

Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale

Well it's the 14th week of the JC100 - the countdown to Julia Child's 100th birthday (August 15, 2012).  This week the featured recipe is Coquilles St. Jacques à la Provençale, a simple but delicious dish from the deep!  The key to this dish, like most, is to use the freshest vegetables that you can find and be sure to buy the scallops the day that you plan to make this French seafood classic.

Here is Julia's Recipe....
This good recipe may be prepared in advance and gratinéed just before serving.  The following proportions are sufficient for a first course.  Serve a chilled rosé, or a dry white wine such as Côtes de Provence.

1/3 cup minced yellow onions
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp minced shallot or green onions
1 clove minced garlic

1 1/2 pounds washed fresh scallops
salt and pepper
1 cup sifted flour in a dish

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup dry wine, or 1/2 cup dry white vermouth and 3 tbsp water
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 tspn thyme

1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
2 tbsp butter cut into 6 pieces

  1. Cook the onions slowly in butter in a small saucepan for 5 minutes or so, until tender and translucent but not browned.  Stir in the shallots or onions, and garlic, and cook slowly for 1 minute more.  Set aside
  2. Dry the scallops and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick.  Just before cooking, sprinkle with salt and pepper, roll in flour, and shake off excess flour.
  3. Sauté the scallops quickly in very hot butter and oil for 2 minutes to brown them lightly.
  4. Pour the wine, or the vermouth and water, into the skillet with the scallops.  Add the herbs and the cooked onion mixture.  Cover the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then uncover, and if necessary boil down the sauce rapidly for a minute until it is lightly thickened.  Correct seasoning, and discard bay leaf.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter.

Recipe courtesy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Copyright 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf.  Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. 

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Blackberry Jam Recipe

blackberry jam
Last weekend we went blackberry picking at Berry Hill Farm just south of Xenia, Ohio.  Within 1 hour we had picked 2 large buckets of fresh blackberries.  The shelf life on this type of fruit is very short so we needed to use these up in just a couple of days.  We decided to make some blackberry tarts and this recipe for blackberry jam.

Recommended Equipment:
mason jars

6 cups fresh blackberries
3 cups sugar
1  1 3/4 oz. package of dry pectin

  1. Add the blackberries to a large pot or Dutch oven.  
  2. Using a potato masher, crush the blackberries.  Do not use a food processor to do this step.
  3. Add the pectin powder to the blackberries and stir.  
  4. Heat the blackberries over medium-high heat until they begin to boil.
  5. Add the sugar to the mixture and stir.  
  6. When the blackberries begin to boil again, remove them from the heat and ladle the mixture into clean, hot mason jars.  Leave 1/4 inch space at the top.
  7. Wipe the rim clean using a cloth.  Then place canning lids and rings on top of each jar so that they are on tight.
  8. Place the jars in a canner that is filled with hot water to a depth of 1 inch above the tops of the lids of the jars.
  9. Bring the water in the canner to a boil for 10 minutes, then remove the jars from the canner using tongs.
  10. Let the jam cool for 12 hours.  During this time, the jam inside will contract forming an air tight seal.

United States  [ print this recipe for Blackberry Jam ]

Full English Breakfast Recipe

Full English BreakfastIf you have been following the Olympics in London, tomorrow will most likely be a long morning of TV viewing for you so you need to make proper preparations for breakfast. I can't think of a more perfect selection for this meal than the Full English Breakfast. Also know as a "Full English" or a "Fry Up", this is an old school breakfast popular throughout the UK.

2 eggs, sunny side up
2 strips of bacon
2 sausage links
baked beans
grilled tomatoes
2 pieces of toast
orange juice

  1. Prepare the baked beans.
  2. Make a pot of tea. Preferably English Breakfast tea.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage and bacon.
  4. Remove the sausage and bacon from the skillet. Drain off the excess fat/oil and then cook the tomato slices on each side for about a minute.
  5. Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
  6. Cook two eggs in the skillet sunny side up or however you like them.
  7. Toast the bread and apply butter. Serve with orange marmalade.
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Pickled Banana Pepper Recipe

pickled banana peppers
This year was a great year to grow banana peppers here in the Midwest. July was hot and dry and the only banana pepper plant in our garden yielded about 20 large peppers last week.  We didn't want them to go bad so we used this recipe to preserve them so that they will last well into the autumn months.  They are a great topping for Neapolitan Pizza or on a Bahn Mi sandwich.

12 + banana peppers, de-seeded
1/2 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar

  1. Cut banana peppers into rings and put them in a large mason jar.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the sugar, water, and vinegar over medium heat until it begins to boil.
  3. Remove the vinegar mixture from the heat and pour over the peppers in the jar.
  4. Allow the peppers to cool.  Seal the jar and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

United States  [ print this recipe for Pickled Banana Peppers ]

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