Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tomato Tuesdays ... Pizza!

Well...I sure do blog in fits and spurts, don't I?! 

OK... tonight was one of my all-time favourite dinners - homemade pizza!  If you saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love, you may recall a scene where they are in Napoli and Julia Roberts' character is eating the most delicious-looking slice of gooey, drippy pizza...well, this scne resonated with me, and the thought of that pizza drives me to make it from scratch every few weeks!

I found prayer as a child in parochial school.  I found love with my wonderful hubby, Carlo, 20+ years ago, and again with each of our daughters.  But I only found food, or at least discovered my love for preparing and eating food, in my later 30s and 40s. 

On this Tomato Tuesday, I had a hankering for pizza, and so tonight's menu was decided!  I have a recipe for pizza dough that is quite easy and delicious, but tonight I cheated and bought pre-prepared dough from the Nino D'Aversa bakery (it takes at least 2 hours to make dough from scratch - too long on a work day -  you have to let it rise, punch it down and rise again).  But I did make my own sauce!

Combine 1 diced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp canola oil and 1 tbsp margarine

Saute until onions are translucent

Add 28 oz tin of herbed diced tomatoes and 1 tbsp salt, simmer for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, knead that dough!  The more you knead, the more pliable it will be
Roll out dough on floured surface, then place on pre-heated, oiled pizza pan

Top with tomato sauce

And then with mozzarella cheese

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (or until bottom is golden brown)

Hope you enjoyed your Tomato Tuesday!   Until next time, B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Fantastic Falafel on Meatless Mondays

OK - I feel the need to redeem myself after my cheesecake debacle - so here are some photos of last night's Meatless Monday meal.

All the fixings for falafel night

The final product

I love falafel.  Growing up, I attended a Jewish Day School, and our "cafeteria" was catered by Mati's Falafel and Pita Shop.  Once a week our class was permitted to buy our lunch from Mati.  I can remember the growing excitement and anticipation as I waited in line to buy my half-falafel, slice of pizza and bag of Wise chips.

Once I graduated from junior high I would happily make the trek uptown to Mati's Bathurst Street storefront to buy falafel and a slice.  And funny enough, it always tasted as delicious as I remembered it being when I was a little girl.

Fast forward to 1987, and the summer I spent  in Israel.  My Sabra (Israeli-born) friends all laughed at me because I constantly ate falafel, at least one a day.  (A comparison would be someone visiting Canada and eating a hot dog from a street vendor every day of their trip).  

Mati closed up shop in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and it wasn't until we discovered Me-Va-Me that my falafel cravings could be satiated.  And then, last spring they opened a second restaurant in the north end of the city!

Now I am able to pick up fresh pita and hummus to compliment my home-made (from a mix) falafel, Israeli salad and tehina.  Give me time to get a new food processor, following which I have every intention of making my falafel and hummus from scratch!

And so, for Meatless Monday, I whipped up a batch of falafel, tehina and salad, and we sat down to a delicious, filling, dinner - which is a good thing considering my cheesecake debacle left us without dessert! LOL!

Stay tuned for a pictorial step-by-step of  home-made pizza night for Tomato Tuesday!  Until then, I wish you a wonderful day filled with fun, friends and fantastic food....B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Creation of a Cheesecake - Part I

If you are following My Mother's Treasure via Facebook, you will already know that last night was "Creation of a Cheesecake".  Here is my update:

I did manage to take all the photos as I made my first attempt at Bubbie Lou's Cheesecake recipe:

Graham cracker crust mixture

Cheesecake mixture

Cake base ready

Batter poured - into the oven!

Topping ready...just waiting for cake to bake and middle to thicken!

Mmmmm does that ever smell good...but can't shake that sad feeling that my cake hasn't thickened...
At one point Bubbie writes: "You may think 'Vey, will this ever thicken?' Don't be sad".  I must admit, I was sad...it looked great in the mold, and smelled wonderful.  I even let it cook an extra 20 minutes so the middle would thicken and cook right through!!

But patience is not one of my virtues.....I removed the mold too soon, and it fell apart.  (I could not bear the humiliation of photographing that jiggly mess!)

I think that the recipe was too large for my cheesecake pan, and the middle didn't cook all the way through.

My sweet family still ate it (the edges turned out ok! LOL!) and thanked me for my efforts...a special thank you goes out to my angels:
  • Becca for taste-testing it even though she was hesitant..."Mommy, I don't think it is supposed to be so juicy or warm"..."It's tasty, sorta like a cheesecake pudding"
  • Sara for finding the edges to be delicious and telling me I am the best mom in the world for trying to make her a cheesecake
So, now I am more determined than ever and I'm getting back on that horse and trying my hand at Bubbie Lou's Cheesecake recipe again!  This time I think I will buy a better mold and reduce the recipe...stay tuned for Creation of a Cheesecake - Part II. 

To see Bubbie Lou's original, handwritten recipe card, go to Cheesecake.  To find the cheesecake recipe that works, click here.

Until then...I wish you a wonderful day filled with fun, friends and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

PS - for the Record, although my kids do not believe me, I have made delicious, firm & fully cooked cheesecakes before, just not using my Bubbie's recipe!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Love those Leftovers!

As I take a stroll down memory lane (via my mother and grandmother's cookbook) I see that I have inherited my passion for reinventing leftovers to produce new and delicious meals. 

In our home "waste" is a four letter word, and I am always up for the challenge of converting last night's dinner into a meal that my family will enjoy over the next day or two.  Mom would do the same...and some of her greatest creations were the simplest to make...her chicken salad being no exception. 

Mom's Chicken Salad recipe emerged during Passover- a particularly challenging 8-day holiday for cooks in our family.  This concoction is a meal unto itself, and is a hit with Becca and me...after all, how many chicken wraps and chicken pot pies can one family eat?

Carol's Chicken Salad
* leftover cooked chicken cut into small bite-size pieces
* approx 1/2 C mayonnaise (or to taste - enough to make the salad creamy)
* cubed cucumber, celery & radishes
* chopped green onion & lettuce
* 1/2 tsp each of paprika, salt, onion powder & garlic powder

Method: mix all the above ingredients and serve.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.   Like any other mayonnaise-based salad, will keep for 2 days. 

B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Baba Ethel (Roasted) Potatoes

As far back as I can remember, our dishes were named for the matriarchs of yesteryear who made them household delicacies...Baba Ethel Roasted Potatoes, aka Baba Ethel's, are no exception. 

Baba Ethel is my mother's paternal grandmother, and her roasted potatoes recipe cannot be outdone!  Even my mother-in-love adores them, and I tend to bring them to most of our Bruni family gatherings. 

Growing up, Mom used to make a huge batch of potatoes (no less than 15 potatoes & 2-3 onions go in the mix) because there had to be leftovers for breakfast the next day.  And lest we forget - the crispier they were, the better!

So...now I am the one to make the Baba Ethels...and I try to make them good and crispy, because all the men in my life prefer them that way - a little charring on the edges is perfectly acceptable in this house - and I did so for Shabbat Dinner tonight.

Potatoes are peeled, cut into (big) bite-size pieces, seasoned and ready for the oven...

Baba Ethel's Roasted Potatoes
* 10 medium potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
* 2 - 3 cooking onions, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp onion powder
* 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 2 tsp paprika
* 3 tbsp canola oil
Method:   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss potato and onion pieces with oil and seasonings.  Place mixture in parchment-lined roasting pan. Cook, uncovered, for 90 to 120 minutes (depending on how crispy you like your potatoes). 
Easy peasy!  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with fun, friends and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What's Cooking Good Looking?

I wear many hats...full-time mother, wife and law clerk/legal assistant, part-time cook, cleaner and chauffeuse...so squeezing in family historian and blogger sometimes prove challenging!

If you are interested in My Mother's Treasure's day-to-day posts, please come and visit us at My Mother's Treasure - Facebook Page for virtually daily updates on What's Cooking in our house! 

I would love it if you'd join my small group of FB fans by "liking" my Page (as opposed to liking my posts - although those likes are always welcome - LOL!!) and joining in on the conversation. 

But, for today...
As Mom would ask: What's Cooking Good Looking? It's Thursday...let my evening rat race begin! What better to prepare than a simple tomato basil pasta, and some risotto proupettes? Whatever's cooking in your house...B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I'm Back!!!

Wow...I am sorry it took so long to get back to you - I have been mired in my real life, and jumping head-first into the wonderful world of Ancestry.ca! 

My hat's off to the Phyllises for their ability to organize and track over 800 members of our Chaliff family tree!  This part of my journey is filled with intrigue and excitement, but it is not an easy task, and requires patience (something I am not always long on) and a lot of hard work! 

In the meantime, I have written up the first chapter in my mini autobiography, to give you a better sense of who I am and how I came to be the person who writes to you today. 

Come and read "Chapter 1. The Beginning" at http://mymotherstreasure.blogspot.com/p/about-me_06.html

Until next time, B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!