Cooking

Riverlink Concerts Fundraiser


The Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation is pleased to participate in Ruby Tuesday’s Community Giveback Program. Join us at Ruby Tuesday’s, Hannaford Plaza, Route 30, Amsterdam on September 13, 14 and 15.Here are some photos of the wonderful entertainment brought to you free of charge through efforts like this by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation. Please donate to help fund these events. All you have to do is dine at the Amsterdam, NY Ruby Tuesday on September 14 or 15th and 20% of the cost of your meal will go to the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation to help fund the concert series. You must present your server with a coupon that you can download and print at www.riverlinkconcerts.com.

YOU MUST BRING THE COUPON WITH YOU!

 

Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Cooking, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , ,

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


I am sharing this recipe from Cooks Illustrated because it lives up to the title of Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. America’s Test Kitchen takes the Toll House Cookie recipe and using a little science, improves it for this recipe featured in Cooks Illustrated. You start with the following ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix the flour and baking soda in a medium size bowl with a whisk and set aside.

The following step is what gives these cookies their unique flavor. Heat 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat until dark golden brown.

Transfer the browned butter to a heat proof bowl with a silicone spatula and stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.

Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process 2 more times until thick, smooth and shiny.

Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, sir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.

Roll the dough into balls about 3 tablespoons each. Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet, not more than 8 per batch.

Cook for 10-14 minutes. Cookies will be golden-brown and puffy with set edges and soft middles.

My proportions were a little larger than the recipe called for producing 13 cookies that were 3 1/2 inches across.

The full recipe and shopping list for ingredients are available by clicking on the hyperlinks at the top of the post.

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I ever tasted!

Categories: Cooking | Tags:

Blueberry Cobbler


Summer is great because of the wide variety of in season produce available. This year brought some very high prices along with that produce. Yesterday I stumbled on an unexpected bargain at Price Chopper. I found this sign below the blueberry display and decided to use it to my advantage. I took out my trusty iPhone and snapped a quick picture (please excuse the poor quality).

I was able to get four pints of the blueberries for $7.98 by showing the iPhone photo at the checkout. I celebrated by making Blueberry Cobbler!

This Blueberry Cobbler recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen and is very easy to make. You start out with these ingredients.

Preheat your oven.

Stir the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Add six cups of blueberries and mix with a rubber spatula.

Add the zest from one lemon and a tablespoon of lemon juice to the mixture.

Spread the mixture in a 9 inch round Pyrex pie plate and place it on an edged baking sheet. Pop it in the oven on the lower-middle rack position and bake for 25 minutes.

While the blueberries are baking, you prepare the biscuit topping by mixing the sugar, flour, cornstarch, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the melted, unsalted butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract. In a small dish mix some sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on top.

It is important not to mix the wet/dry biscuit topping ingrediants until the blueberry mixture has cooked for 24 minutes. Mix the dough with a rubber spatula dividing into eight equal portions and place on top of the hot blueberries. Sprinkle the biscuits with the cinnamon sugar mixture and increase the oven temp to 425.

Bake for eighteen minutes.

Let it cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack.

Serve with your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Categories: Cooking | Tags:

Around the House


Categories: Amsterdam, Cooking, Pets, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tying Up Loose Ends


I realize I have not posted here since last weekend, so I thought I would catch up on a few things. My cat Lee had extensive dental surgery on Monday.  An earlier post Pet Dentistry describes the genetic predisposition for bad teeth. The surgery went well but Dr. Murray was unable to remove the ear polyp due to its position deep in the ear canal.  All six teeth and a canine tooth required surgical extraction followed up with injectable pain medication twice a day for three days.

This is Lee on drugs after surgery on Monday.

Here is the dental chart with all the work that was done.

The cat is almost back to normal but will be eating soft food for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday April 12, 2011, I attending the City of Amsterdam budget meeting at City Hall and listened as department heads presented their budgets to the Common Council.  Here is a short excerpt from that meeting discussing the City’s promise to help Centro Civico with construction of the East End park. It was taken with the iPad2.

Thursday I took two Babka Breads and a fresh Kielbasa (from GWIB coffee house) down to my Dad in Hudson and spent the day with him.

Friday I baked a delicious buttermilk blueberry crumb cake.

Today I tried my hand at making fresh Italian sausage.

I have been trying to keep busy and not think about the enormous increase (37%) in water utility fee that was proposed by the City Controller, or the 16.2% tax increase passed by the Amsterdam City School District.

One unit in Amsterdam currently pays $352.89 for water, $267.47 for sewer and $217.56 for garbage annually. A 37% increase will bring water rate alone to $483.45 for one unit.

There has to be a better way than placing the burden on the backs of Amsterdam property owners. These elected officials need to do some real work and STOP SPENDING our money! Privatize the damn golf course so it can at least make money rather than siphon funds from the city. That water bill alone would be a big increase in revenue, aside from the salaries, insurance, capital expenditures and operational costs that the City continues to shell out. This is a sport enjoyed by an elite few that should be bearing the burden of its operation, not the taxpayers!

From a Daily Gazette article dated March 28, 2010 by reporter EdMunger:

The golf course needs upgrades for drainage, clubhouse improvements and cart paths that could cost as much as $400,000.

The city has spent roughly $46,000 each year during each of the past two years to accommodate the golf course’s cost of about $660,000, according to the city’s draft budget and the Golf Commission’s budget request.

Categories: Amsterdam, Cooking, Pets, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In the Kitchen


For me, this weekend was about raking leaves and cooking.  My tax return was direct deposited into my bank account last week and aside from paying Amsterdam’s ridiculously high property tax, I decided to invest in some much needed kitchen equipment.

A knife sharpener that works.

A bamboo cutting board and a potato peeler that isn’t bent and rusted.

A twelve quart stock pot.

A strainer that fits the sink preventing backwash on the pasta.

A powerful stand mixer to replace my burned out hand mixer.

I tried some new recipes that came with the mixer, like these cookies that contain german, semi-sweet and white chocolate as well as toasted macadamia nuts.

My first attempt at Crusty French bread.

Pizza Rustica which is more like an Italian quiche containing mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheese with chopped prosciutto and sopressata, Italian sausage, fresh spinach and lots of eggs.

Anyone hungry?

Pizza Rustica Recipe for Stefan:

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , ,

Chicken Canzanese


 

Once again we wake up to a heavy snowfall. We have had an unusually large amount of snow this year compared to last. It is the kind of day to just stay home and cook.  My Dad emailed a recipe yesterday for Chicken Canzanese, described as Italian comfort food.  There is usually no personal note with my Dad’s emails, just a link to something I assume he either likes or wants me to try.  I ventured out of my fortress of solitude to buy the ingredients.

You use eight bone in skin on chicken thighs and the recipe calls for garlic, fresh bay leaf, fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary. Luckily Price Chopper had the bay leaf and sage. I still have rosemary growing from last summers herb garden brought indoors (all the other herbs died out). Red pepper flakes, black pepper and four whole cloves round out the flavors. Liquids include two cups of dry white wine, one cup of chicken broth and one tablespoon of olive oil. You also use a slab of prosciutto cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Starting with one teaspoon of oil, brown the prosciutto then add the sliced garlic and cook until it is brown.

Remove the browned ingredients, add the remaining oil and cook the chicken thighs that you have previously peppered skin side down for eight minutes. Flip it over and cook for another five minutes.

Remove the chicken and pour off all but two tablespoons of oil, add two teaspoons of flour and cook for one minute. Slowly add the wine and chicken broth, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan reducing the volume about 1/3. Add the reserved browned garlic and prosciutto, 12 fresh sage leaves and two fresh bay leaves, four cloves and the rosemary stem (the leaves are removed and finely chopped to be added later). Add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.

Place the chicken back in the pan. The liquid should not cover the crispy browned skin.

Place the whole (oven proof) pan in an oven preheated to 325 degrees and cook undisturbed for 1 1/4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the pan and cook the sauce until it reduces to about 1 1/4 cups. Add two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of lemon juice, mix in the reserved chopped rosemary and serve with pasta, potatoes or all by itself.

The full recipe can be found here:

Chicken Canzanese

Enjoy!

Categories: Cooking

Go Where I’ve Bean


GWIB Coffee House and Polish Deli, located at 207 Church Street in Amsterdam, NY, was the site of this mornings taping of The Show With No Name. Owned and run by Sue Blazejewski, they really do serve the best coffee I have ever tasted.  Sue has a very engaging personality and she doesn’t miss a thing. This was my first visit to GWIB and I stopped outside the building to take some photos. Sue stepped out of the front door in an authoritative manner asked “Would you like my autograph too?” After identifying myself and stating my purpose, Sue became the most inviting host you could ask for, even posing for an impromptu portrait.

As soon as I stepped in the door of GWIB, Sue handed me a mug of the most delicious hot coffee. There was a large deli case stocked with various meats, sodas and Polish food.   The eclectic furnishings were both comfortable and interesting. The various wall hangings and bulletin board full of postcards take you on an extended road trip of which I assume inspired the name. Sue was in constant motion as she tended to the room full of customers.

The gathering of the usual suspects comprising TSWNN was center stage in the coffee house occupying a circle of upholstered armchairs. The taping was about to begin.

I will not divulge the subjects discussed as the recording will soon be posted on The Show With No Name’s website. I will say that we hear more from Sue Blazejewski on the show.

I enjoyed my visit to GWIB and put in my order for an Easter Babka and fresh Kielbasa.

Categories: Amsterdam, Cooking, Politics | Tags: , , , ,

Cabin Fever?


Stuck in the house because of all that snow? With more snow expected tomorrow, some of us need a little diversion to spice up our winter hibernation. For me, baking is a way out of the winter funk. My 140 year old house on Grove Street came with a nice kitchen that has lots of room for baking.

My Dad also likes to cook and we send each other recipes that we have tried and liked. We both get inspiration from Cooks Illustrated and I still rely on books like The Joy of Cooking and the Fannie Farmer Book of Baking .  There are the family recipes handed down from my Polish Grandmother and even some recipes from my Mom like her chocolate cake with maraschino cherries and walnuts with cream cheese frosting. We just call it Mom’s Chocolate Cake. Of course I have to send Dad photos of some of my better efforts.

Glazed Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Walnuts

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

When all the baking is finished, its time for some TV.  Although we have hundreds of choices on cable, you may not want to pay for the premium channels. Today we have another choice in the form of internet streaming devices. If you have a new HDTV or Blu-ray player, you may have this service built in. For those that do not, or want more of a selection than the built in devices offer we have independent devices like the Roku or Apple TV. Being a Mac person, I have the Apple TV which is a little bigger than the size of a deck of playing cards and comes with a wireless remote. This device connects wirelessly to your internet cable service through a wireless router. You plug the HDMI cable into your TV and that’s it (It also has optical audio output to your stereo receiver). You can stream movies from Netflix, music and movies from iTunes or YouTube and view them on your big screen TV in HD. You can stream media directly from your computer or iPhone/iPod through this device. The Apple TV also has the capability to stream a slide show of your favorite images complete with music and transitions.

The Apple TV has no hard drive and does not store media, it just provides streaming capability through an interface that is familiar with those who have worked with Apple products.

The menu provides descriptions and ratings of movies along with a brief preview. A Netflix subscription for streaming media is only $7.99/month. iTunes charges for movie rentals (usually $4.99) and TV shows (.99 cents). There is no charge for Podcasts, YouTube, internet radio stations and media already stored on your computer.

Priced at just $99.00, the Apple TV is a great little device that will have you glued to your TV for hours.

Once you are recharged from all the good food and entertainment, it will be time to get back out there and shovel the snow again!

Categories: Cooking, Media, Pets, Technology

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