Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Preserving the Harvest Class at the Brooklyn Kitchen

So the other night I took a class on preserving the seasonal harvest at The Brooklyn Kitchen with Sheri Brooks Vinton. The class was a great into into preserving using the boiling water method. In the class, Sheri did a demo preparing and preserving peach ginger jam from her cookbook, Put 'em Up, while in the class we made and preserved peach salsa - so good!  I love peaches so this was a fun class, and by the end my head was about to explode with instructions and tons of useful tips about preserving at home.  I left purchasing a copy of Put 'em Up, which looks to be a great book with tons of recipes perfect for at home preserving.  I especially like how the book is organized, with separate sections for different fruits and vegetables.  Now, its not like we eat jam by the boatload or anything around here, but I am eager to try out my at home preserving. I don't do any gardening so I plan to go to the farmer's market shortly today and pick up tons of fresh blueberries to make the blueberry quick jam recipe in Sheri Brooks Vinton's cookbook.
Fresh peaches, blanched and peeled for preserving

Peach salsa
Included are some pictures from the class of the canning process, and also of the delicious peach salsa that we made and preserved in the class. This was such a fun and informative class, and I can't wait to get started preserving at home.  It seems like a terrific way to make gifts for friends and family as well, once I get the hang of what I am doing with the preserving process. I just hope that the large pots I use are big enough since I don't have the ginormous pot that we used in the class for preserving. I'll make do, I suppose.  Blueberry jam, here I come! I look forward to putting the new skills I learned to use later today.
Jars of peach salsa


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Pasta with Pesto, Feta and Grape Tomatoes

Time for another delicious pasta dish. And some like it hot, some like it cold. This one is good either way. The first time I made this last week, I used store bought bow tie pasta and it was a big hit here at home.  Then, earlier this week, I received a shipment of organic Italian pastas from ShopRite to sample, all from the Lombardy region of Italy. So I tried it out with a one pound bag of ShopRite's radiatore pasta, and it was superb.  The ShopRite pastas are excellent, and it had a lovely, perfect al dente texture. I am such a fan of the radiatore that I can't wait to try out some of the other pastas that ShopRite sent me to sample (free of charge, of course :).

At any rate, this dish combines the pasta with flavors of red onion, pesto, feta cheese and broiled grape tomatoes. It's a delicious combination of flavors, and as I said before, can be served either hot or cold. A Sasha-pasta creation at its finest!

delicious Organic Italian pastas I received to sample from ShopRite

Sasha's Pasta with Pesto, Feta and Grape Tomatoes (serves 6)
1 lb ShopRite radiatore pasta, or bow tie pasta
2 containers grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 8 oz packages of feta cheese
1 red onion, diced
leaves of 1 bunch of basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Prepare the pesto in a food processor by blending the basil leaves with the olive oil and pine nuts (also known as pignolia nuts - I love that word!). Set aside. Broil the tomatoes for about 20 minutes at 450. Saute the red onion in olive oil for several minutes, then add the garlic, and saute until the onion is translucent. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, and rinse. Combine the pesto, onion/garlic, pasta and crumbled feta cheese. Serve hot or allow to chill. Another great thing about this dish is that it results in plenty of leftovers for the next night, which makes it perfect for busy weekday cooking - double returns!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Tiramisu

Tiramisu is my husband Brad's favorite dessert.  He almost always orders it when we go to an Italian restaurant, and has wanted me to make a homemade tiramisu for some time.  I had tried making a green tea tiramisu in the past, but it was definitely time for me to make him his favorite tiramisu. It's not really that difficult a dessert to make either, as long as you are skilled at whipping egg whites up into a good meringue (I am) and remember to only dip the ladyfingers very quickly in the expresso.  I used my mother in law, Lynne's tiramisu recipe for the best results and a very satisfied husband last week.  I plan on making it again for him soon.

5 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup marscapone cheese (about 10 oz)
1 cup heavy cream
two packages of lady fingers (about 18-20)
3/4 cup expresso (1 T instant expresso into 3/4 cup hot water)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 T Kailua liquor

Beat whites, gradually adding sugar and continuing to beat on high, using the whisk attachment of your mixer until stiff peaks form, like for a meringue.  Beat in the marscapone cheese until fully blended, and add the Kailua. Whip the cream separately and fold the mixture into the whipped cream.

Dip the ladyfingers quickly into the expresso and arrange in a 9 1/2 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish (like a lasagna pan). Pour the foamy marscapone / egg white mixture over the dipped ladyfingers in the dish.  Put the coca in a sifter and sprinkle on top.  Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

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