Gluten Free Pasta Trial

All you gluten free lovers… I am sure you have seen or used this product. Cup 4 Cup All Purpose gluten free flour. The advertising and idea for this flour is that you can substitute it for regular flour in all your recipes “Cup 4 Cup”

So today I thought I would give it a whirl. I do have a gluten free pasta recipe with several different gluten free flours about 8 or 9 ingredients. The one I played with today is down scaled to 6 ingredients. Pretty simple Cup 4 Cup, almond flour, eggs, olive oil, sea salt & water.

I decided to make the gluten free pasta the old fashion way on my wooden table. I wanted to be able to feel the moisture content in the dough. If you have been to one of my cooking classes you have heard me say that gluten free flours are a whole different animal. Yes they are. It takes some time to get used to them. The dough seemed a bit dry and I ended up adding 1 1/2 tablespoons water. (I will post the recipe at the end) The dough came together nicely. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes .

Now the fun begins! Let’s cut off a chunk and see what happens.

The first roll through on the widest setting it looks like a shaggy mess.

Don’t panic, start patting and folding. It almost feels like working with pie crust. Roll through the widest setting again.

And again…. keep fold and running through the widest setting 5 to 6 times and you will notice the dough smoothing out and coming together. After you have run the dough through the widest setting 5 to 6 times then you can start running through your machines adjustment settings to thin out the pasta. Notice you do not see any flour on the board. I did not use any flour through the rolling process.

I wish I would have gotten a better photo. See the dough on the left, still looking a bit shaggy. Look to the right and you will see a silky dough. It just takes patience.

This dough dries out quickly, so you want to make sure the dough you are not working with is covered. You do not want to wait to long before cutting. Once the pasta is cut place it in a bowl or sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook it. The pasta is delicate, you do not want to leave it out uncovered.

Recipe:

8 ounces Cup 4 Cup

2 tablespoons fine almond flour

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Sprinkle of sea salt

2 whole eggs room temperature

Water as needed (I used 1 1/2 T )

Mound the flours on your counter top, sprinkle your salt, make a well in the center, add your egg and olive oil.

Using a fork start whisking the egg and oil and start incorporating flour into the center. Now you just have to get your hands dirty and start working the dough. If the dough is coming together but there is still a bit of flour on the board sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water on the flour and work into the dough. Use water as needed. Once the dough ball is formed wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes before you begin to roll.

I even made gluten free Corzetti pasta with my new Tuscan Corzetti Pasta Stamp.

I will post photo’s of the cooked & finished pasta dish.

Lemon Blueberry Meringue Tart

One of my favorite spring & summer desserts. I love the combination of lemon & blueberry together. My Lemon Blueberry Gelato is also a great recipe. 

For the tart crust

1  cups all purpose flour

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into ¼ inch pieces

1 egg yolk

For the lemon filling:

1 tablespoon corn starch

3 tablespoons water

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 stick unsalted butter

½ cup lemons juice (of 2 to 3 juicy lemons )

3 egg yolks and one whole egg

Pinch of salt

For Italian meringue:

3 egg whites

4 tablespoons water

3/4 cup granulated sugar

For the tart crust

Put dry ingredients in a food processor give a few quick pulses. Add the butter and give a few quick pulses. Then add the egg yolk and pulse.

Press the dough into a buttered tart pan with a removable bottom (a long tart pan or 10-inch round pan or 4-6 individual tart pans with removable bottoms) Prick the bottom with a fork and then refrigerate for about 30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the tart for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Lemon Filling:

First, with a grater, zest a lemon in a mixing bowl. Make sure you remove only the yellow skin because white pith is bitter. Set aside.

With a knife, cut the lemons and juice them and set aside.

In the mixing bowl with the lemon zest, add in corn starch, sugar, and pinch of salt. Stir until combined.

Now pour water into a sauce pan and add in corn starch mixture. Whisk to combine. Over medium heat, cook and stirring constantly. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat, and add in the butter and whisk until melted. Now pour in the lemon juice and mix well.

Separate three eggs. Save the egg whites for meringue. Add the last egg in with the egg yolks and whisk until mixed. Stir the egg mixture into the sauce pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens. Once again when the mixture bubbles and thickens, remove from the heat. Pour into a medium bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it completely cool. Refrigerate 3 hours before filling tart shell.

For Italian meringue:

Add sugar and water in a saucepan. Over low heat, melt the sugar completely.

Meanwhile beat the egg whites in a kitchen aid mixed until soft peaks form at a medium speed.

When the sugar mixture bubbles, put in a cooking thermometer.

Once it hits 248 C (120 F) quickly remove from the heat.

Reduce the mixer to low speed and pour the cooked sugar into egg whites in a very thin stream.

Again at a medium speed, continue to whisk until the meringue is cold. It should be very stiff and smooth.

To assemble the lemon tart:

First, fill the tart shell with the lemon filling. Make sure it’s cooled enough. And make the surface smooth and even with a spoon.

Then, pipe in the Italian meringue with your choice of pastry tip, leaving an inch border to place blueberries.

With a kitchen blow torch, brown the meringue top. Or put the tart in the oven preheated at 375 degrees F. for 5 minutes. Meringue peaks should be golden brown.

Bella’s Basic Pasta Dough

Many times I am asked what is my favorite thing to cook. As a chef there are too many to count. It depends on the season, where I am (Italy or Colorado), who I am with (friends & family)the weather and what ingredients I have in my kitchen. 

But what I will say is that I have a great love for pasta. I wish I could tell you that there is one magic pasta recipe that will make every type of pasta known to man. That is not the case, there are many. Eventually I will share all of mine with you. But to get started here is a basic pasta dough recipe.

Recipe:

8 ounces all-purpose flour

8 ounces semolina flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large eggs, at room temperature

water as needed

Mix together the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or mix them up and create a mound on the counter top with a well in the center. If using a stand mixer, add the eggs and olive oil to the flour and mix them together with the paddle or dough hook until well mixed. If the dough seems dry add 1 tablespoon of water as needed. On the counter top, crack the eggs into the center of the flour and add the olive oil. Using a fork to gradually draw the dry ingredients into the center, mixing them with the eggs. The dough will be hard to mix at first – a pastry scraper will help you draw it all together – but eventually it will come together and be pretty smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if needed.

Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for at least three minutes until the dough is very smooth. The dough should not feel sticky. If it sticks to your fingers, knead in a small amount of flour, just enough so your fingers come away clean when you pull them away. Wrap the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

Basic pasta dough can be used for spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna.

Tools: Kitchen Aid Mixer optional, Pasta Roller

Sous Vide Egg Cups

Delish…. what’s nice with the egg cups is that they can be made ahead of time. Makes for easy breakfast prep. You can reheat in the microwave. You can change the flavor profile. You need to get the small mason jars 4 ounces.

Pre heat your Sous Vide to 170*

Egg Base: use your Magic Bullet

6 eggs

4 ounces cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese

1/4 cup cream or almond or coconut milk

Sprinkle salt & pepper

Place these ingredients in the pitcher of your magic bullet and blend until well combined.

Flavor options

3/4 cup cheese – feta, goat, Parmesan , cheddar you choose

1/2 cup of meat diced: ham, bacon, prosciutto

Or use a veggie thin sliced : asparagus, spinach, mushroom, red peppers, peas. Be creative.

Either spay your jars or use butter. Divide your meat or veggie and cheese between 6 cups then pour the egg mixture on top. Place the lids on the jars, and place the jars in the pre heated water. You can even stack two jars on top of each other .

Set timer for 45 – 50 minutes.

If you are doing meal prep you can make 2 of one flavor, two of another and so on. After they cook you can refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave when you are ready to eat. Start at 20 second increments. It won’t take long.

Don’t have a Sous Vide ? Check out this website for instructions for an instant pot. https://mycrazygoodlife.com/copycat-starbucks-egg-bites-recipe/

Sous Vide Creme Brûlée

The creamist creme brûlée ever. I am going to start playing with new flavor profiles, and adapting all my creme brûlée recipes.

SOUS VIDE VANILLA CREME BRULEE

4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat water with Sous Vide to *176

In medium size bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together. In a small sauce pan heat the cream just until it starts to bubble. Pull the cream off the heat and slowly whisk into the eggs. When mixture is blended well, pour through a strainer.

Pour into small mason jars, carefully put on the lid. Just use two fingers to tighten. Do not over tighten or jar may crack while cooking. Using tongs carefully put jars in the pre heated water.

Cook for 1 hour. Remove the jars from the water with tongs and place on a cookie sheet lined with a tea towel. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Remove the creme brûlée from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with raw sugar, and using a torch caramelize the sugar. Top with fresh berries.

Makes 5 (7 ounce mason jars ) or 8 ( 4 ounce jars )

Entertaining Bella Style Day 5

Dont procrastinate, just do it!

Don’t put off getting together with your family and your friends. Don’t wait till you are less busy, that will never happen. Use the time that you do have and make it a priority. If that means ordering a pizza and throwing a salad together and opening a bottle of wine, I say just do it.

This morning I am thinking of and praying for a friends family who is struggling this holiday season. So my heart is talking to you and not the chef. You do not have to prepare a fancy meal to enjoy your friends and family. In our very busy lives we make work and our obligations top priority (or at least I have for too many years to count). It really will do your heart and soul good as well as others to spontaneously entertain. In a world where we are bombarded every single day with bad news, make it a priority to create good moments and good memories.

I challenge you all in this next week to call friends or family you have been meaning to connect with and create something spontaneous.

Cheers,

Chef Shelly

Savory Potato Waffle

Yumm I would make these again!

OK these are really good and I think you could use them in many different applications. Start with your ingredients:

2 pounds russet potatoes (peeled and grated)

2 large egg beaten

4 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup cubed prosciutto (King Soopers for CO folk )

1/2 cup green onions sliced thin (the whole onion green & white)

3 tablespoons melted butter

For starters place your grated potatoes on sheets of paper towels, really squeeze out any water. Then place in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl mix your flour and all your seasonings (baking powder included). Add the eggs, melted butter, cheese, onions and prosciutto with a large spoon mix until well incorporated. Add  your flour mixture.

Warm up your waffle iron. When nice and hot brush with oil or melted butter or spray oil. My iron has four compartments, I place a little mound in the center of each compartment.  Close and cook until waffle is golden and crisp. About 5 to 7 minutes. Use batter immediately, potatoes will turn brown if you make to far in advance.

You can keep waffles warm in the oven as you continue to make more have your oven at 200*

Top with Sunny side egg, or smoked salmon & creme fraiche, avocado tomato salsa. I am even thinking of trying for dinner with chicken or pork saltimbocca. Use your imagination.

Also try cooked bacon or rosemary ham (also at King Soopers) in replace of the prosciutto. Try switching up the cheese also.

Buon Appetito

Chef Shelly

Entertaining Bella Style Day 4

So your party is planned, the guests are invited, your menu is written. 

The big question is what sort of dinnerware are you using? Should you use china, stoneware, every day dishes or disposable? I am probably going to open a can of worms with this one 🙂 I think a lot of this depends on how many quests you are inviting. Personally I own fine china that we received as wedding gifts, I own Christmas china that maybe gets used once a year or every other year, also there is the ceramic dishes from Italy that I love (they are my favorite) and my everyday dishes, not to mention a basement full of restaurant white plates in every size and shape.

I very rarely use disposable… there have been occasions that I do. When I am already exhausted from my work schedule and have so many guests coming that I am ready to pull my hair out and really  have no desire to spend one whole day doing dishes. On those occasions I try to find a nice clear disposable plate or fun shape. I am however a stickler on wine glasses. I truly believe wine tastes better in a glass then in a plastic cup. I do not believe the flavor of food will change if you eat off a board, out of a cup, on fine china or with your bare hands. I do however believe wine tastes better in a glass.

Now I realize there are some special circumstances, and desperate times call for desperate measures. I have drank Silver Oak straight from the bottle on a bus on the Italian Alps when there where no glasses to be found. First you are thinking really a Californian wine in Italy… we were on a ski trip and met new friends from California who brought wine with them. How great is that when you are stranded on a bus in a snow storm?

And still top priority is that you as the host, should enjoy yourself.

Chef Shelly

Entertaining Bella Style Day 3

I am hoping by Christmas Eve that I will get you 12 days of Entertaining Tips & Advise. WOW what a crazy start to December. Some really great cooking classes and events with some wonderful people!

NEW RECIPES Yes or No. Should you try new recipes for your holiday entertaining ? This is going to be one of those do as I say and not as I do moments 🙂 I have a tendency to get bored with the same things all of the time. I like new foods, new flavors, new combinations. I know some people are pretty religious about traditional foods, and have the same menu every single year. Me not so much, it will always be a surprise when you come to my house for the holidays.

So my take on new recipes for your holiday entertaining. Yes if : you have time to do a trial run first; you are entertaining a small group of friends or family that you just supply wine and they are supportive and happy ; you review the recipe and are confident with the different cooking techniques and ingredients.

I think it is great to pick a new theme every year, Italian, French, Spanish, Mediterranean you get the idea. And have each guest choose a recipe that will coordinate with your menu, and then all the pressure is not on you. Every one has the same chances of success or failure on their new recipes.

When it gets right down to it, getting together with family and friends is they most important ingredient to your holiday entertaining. I say we enjoy this holiday season like its the last, because we truly do not have a guarantee how many there will be. So don’t put off till next year your ideal holiday season. Start new traditions, do the traditional things you love. Be kind and help those in need. Visit with the people who mean the most to you and you will not have any regrets.

 

Chef Shelly

Entertaining Bella Style

Entertaining Bella Style: tips and advise for holiday entertaining.

Day two, and I am behind. December has started with quite a BANG. Prep, Prep Prep I cannot stress this enough. Once you write your menu, make a list of items and cooking tasks that can be done ahead of time. I had an event this weekend for 50. One full day was shopping and prep, one day was cooking and the event, and one day was clean up. I could not have pulled off the event without a prep day.

What does a prep day look like for me? Sometimes I start backwards with desserts. I like to know that once I have made it through dinner or heavy appetizers it will be smooth sailing after with desserts already prepared with just garnishments and plating. Other tasks that can be done the day before: sauces, vinaigrettes, dressings, vegetables cleaned cut & chopped and protein fabricating. You can start organizing the tableware you will be using, decide on serving pieces and get everything set out. This will make the day of the event so much easier.

Yesterday I attended a holiday brunch and was very impressed by the display of food so beautiful and organized, and a large quantity of food. The hostess who happens to be a great friend seemed very relaxed and not stressed. I had asked when I was invited if I could bring a dish, absolutely not she replied. So I had to ask “How did you do all of this?” The hostess had prepped the whole day before.

I always have a writing tablet in the kitchen with me and make lists of tasks for my prep day and my event day. This helps you stay on task, become organized and more relaxed on event day.

Happy holiday entertaining, share your holiday photos on Bella Bistro’s FB page with any of your entertaining tips.

 

Chef Shelly