Sunday, October 3, 2010

REAL FOOD: Quick & Easy Focaccia Bread



3 & 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 & 2/3 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees)
2 tbsp. of grated parmesan
1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning

Ok, a couple of things before we get started....first off, the water temp for the yeast.  Yes, you need it between 120 & 130 degrees....however, if you don't have a thermometer handy, don't panic, and don't not try to make this bread !! Just make sure that your water is VERY WARM....not so hot that you can't put your hand in it, but warm enough enough that when you do touch it, you know it has some heat to it.  If it will burn your hand, then it will burn the the same time, if there isn't enough heat, the yeast won't activate.  Just go for it !! ;)
Second, this bread can be whatever you want as far as toppings go !!!  I use the cheese & seasoning, however, you can pretty much put anything on it ! Sliced tomatoes....fresh's the limit, so see what makes you smile !! ;)

Mix the 1st 4 ingredients in a bowl.  Add the water and the 2 tbsp. of olive oil.  Mix well.
Put in greased cookie pan.  Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes or till doubled in size.
Make dimples (with your finger....just randomly poke your finger in the dough all over the surface), drizzle more olive oil on top, sprinkle with seasoning and lots of lovely cheese !!
Cover and let rise again for 15 min.
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or till golden brown !!

You can either slice this into "bread sticks" for dipping in your favorite marinara or "gravy" can cut it in squares to then open up for sandwiches (I love doing this !!), or you can just rip into that bad boy, and have a blast !!!!
Give it a try, and see what you think !!! Let me know how it turns out for ya !! ;)

Mangia, Mangia !!!
~ Ciao,
Mamma Gigi   ;)


Saturday, October 2, 2010

REAL FOOD: Torta Rustica

First entry for Cooking/Recipes !!!  
I have to get started on posting these things for my girls Liz & Jackie !!! ;)
love you guys !!!  ;)

Next time I make one, I'll take a picture to place here !!! ;)
In the meantime....make it !! You can trust Mamma !!! ;)


Preheat oven to 450 before you start assembling the ingredients !!  
You can either make your pie crust, or go the store bought route....whichever you choose is bought is great !! ;)  Have done it a dozen times !

Place one pie crust, in 9in. pie will overhang, and that's ok !
Whisk one egg, and lightly brush ONLY the bottom... set aside


1 pkg. refrigerated pie crust (

4 large eggs
1 lb. whole milk ricotta
1 cup Pepato or Asiago cheese grated
1/2 cup Parmesan grated
1 - 10oz, pkg frozen spinach ~ chopped, drained & squeezed
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes - coarsely chopped (drained if from jar)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 lb. italian sausage ~ mild or hot, you choose !  If links, remove casing.  Break up and saute.

Since you used one egg to whisk for the 'washing', take the remaining 3 eggs, place in bowl along with ricotta, other cheeses, basil & cooled sausage meat.  Blend thoroughly.
Fold in the spinach, tomatoes & breadcrumbs.
Scrape mixture into readied pie crust.  Smooth top.
Place 2nd crust on top, and flute the edges to seal. 
Brush with remaining egg wash.

Bake Torta for 15 minutes.
Reduce temp to 375 and lay a piece of foil loosely over the pie - continue baking for 35-30 minutes or til golden in color.

VERY IMPORTANT:  allow to cool/rest for at least 15 minutes before you cut it !!
It needs this time to firm up, and quite truthfully it's better at room temp !! ;)

I hope you'll give this one a try...if you do, come back and post on how it came out !!!

Mangia !!  ~ Ciao, Mamma Gigi

Sub Roll tutorial

Sub roll tutorial !! ;)

Ok, this is super quick and easy !!
Grab one piece of a dark brown felt, and one piece of ivory felt.
Taking the ivory sheet, fold it in half lengthwise, and crease it.  Reopen to lay flat, and from where the fold line is, sketch out the shape of a sub roll.
be sure to only go to the crease, and leave 3-4 inches in the center as shown.  Obviously, here, I'm showing you how it looks with the half cut out already !  Now, you'll want to fold that half over onto the other half, and use it as a template to cut the other half (we need uniformity ! :)
Cut that out, and you'll use this completed piece to lay on top of the darker brown full sheet, so that you can use this as the template for the outside of the bread.
Now that you have the two pieces cut out, grab the darker brown piece, and using scraps from the ivory felt, cut out some shapes (almost "crescent" like) to use for the top of the roll.  Don't worry about a template or two loaves of bread "split" open the same way as they bake, so whatever you come up with will work !!
I used a dab of glue to hold those puppies in place until I could whip stitch them to the bread !! ;)

Moving on....with right sides together, blanket stitch all the around, leaving about 2 inches open.

See in the pic above how it's coming to a "V" ??  Leave that "V" as your opening.  About 2 inches open to the point of the "V", and then 2 more inches coming back out from the "V"
Go ahead and turn right side out.....

Bend the loaf in half BACKWARDS, and blanket stitch across the "connecting area"...we're trying to separate the two sections, so that when we stuff, the stuffing will stay in the half where we put it !
In the pic below, is the separating "line" we just created.
LIGHTLY stuff your two halves (you're going to notice, that I put waaaaay too much stuffing in my top half, and it puffs up a lot....lesson learned !! ;)

Once you've stuffed it, close up your openings, and you're done !
Ta Daaa !!! A sub roll which opens for making a sandwich !! ;)
 from the back (above)
 from the front (above)...see ?? Too much stuffing !! lol
Couldn't resist...made a salami and cheese sandwich !! ;)

Let me know if you have questions, and if you make one, come back and post a picture so I can see how awesome you did !!!

Mangia !! ~ Mamma Gigi

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tea Set is done !!! ;)

Mia's Tea Set

Ok, so, I've finally finished the tea set !! You know, I tried to figure out how long it would take if I could've sat down and worked right through it, and I think it's going to be an excellent "weekend" project for someone !!!  Someone could easily 'hammer' this out in 2 days....however, because I have a 19 mo. old, and could only work on it during naps and such....yeah, it took me almost 2 weeks !!! LOL  But, that's ok !!
I will come back later on (hopefully tonight) to write up the entire tutorial step by step (including pics) for those of you who want to make one for your Princess...but for now, here is what the completed set looks like !!!  :)  Clicking on each pic, will take you to a larger image !!
P.S...I didn't have a pattern, so I had to make one up....please, be kind....LOLOL  ;)
Grazie e Ciao !
~ Mamma Gigi

SIDE NOTE:  Until I figure this blogging thing out... my COMMENTS from you may or may not be showing underneath this can, however, click the link below that says "(#) COMMENTS", and that will take you to where you can write something !!!  Oh, and don't forget to click FOLLOW in the bottom right of the page !! ;)