Maple Pecan Scones

 I fell in love with these scones at a local bakery here in Cambridge. I decided to try to dissect their
 recipe so I can make them at home.  I think I did a  great job! I love that it is not too sweet and
 has LOTS of big pecans and just enough maple flavor! The best part is that they are SO easy to
 make! Enjoy!

Maple Pecan Scones

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut in cubes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon  pure maple extract (optional)
1 1/2 cup whole pecans, slightly broken, but left on the big side
egg wash and sugar for sanding

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In large bowl combined all
    purpose flour, wheat flour, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix with whisk to incorporate

2. Using finger tips or pastry cutter, cut cold butter into flour mixture. Do not over blend! You want
    some big chunks of butter left in mixture.

3. Add eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, maple extract and pecans. Use a wooden spoon or rubber
   spatula to mix together. Again DO NOT OVER MIX! Just until ingredients have been incorporated.

   WARNING: Dough will be pretty sticky! Just flour your fingers and don’t panic!

4. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. DO NOT KNEAD! YES STILL STICKY! DO THE BEST
   YOU CAN and form a 1 1/2-2 inch high round circle. I like my scones nice and fat! Not flat! Cut
   circle into 8 wedges.

5. Place wedges on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle each
    scone with sugar (because the scones are not that sweet you can go as light or heavy on the sugar
    sprinkling as you want!)

6. Bake 350 for 15 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown!

Lemongrass Cilantro Grilled Shrimp

I love summer! Last night was beautiful outside! I had already fed the girls their supper. I was not really in the mood for a full dinner, so I decided to pull a bag of shrimp out of the freezer. I always keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer.  I think they are just as good as the “fresh” shrimp in most markets and they take minutes to thaw! 

Last week when I was at the market the bunches of lemongrass were calling my name. It has been sitting in my fridge. I thought it was time to use it, along with the cilantro, parsley and scallions, which were also calling my name at the market. Many years ago, one of our chef’s at Cremaldi’s showed me how to use lemongrass. It is so versatile! To use it you have to trim most of the top off and the stem at the bottom. Then you have to remove the tough outer leaves. I was showed to smash it with a meat mallet to loosen the fibers and then chop it. When I add it to something like curry then I don’t smash it. I slice it into very thin, thin, rounds (like a scallion). For this recipe it really needs to be finely chopped so you don’t choke on it or get little fibers stuck to the back of your throat or in between your teeth!!! That is NOT A GOOD THING! It is almost as bad as not getting your parsley clean enough and crunching on pieces of sand! Oh, speaking of crunching on sand…lemongrass is fantastic in steamed mussels!!! 

I mixed the shrimp into my herb concoction and let them sit for an hour. I tossed them onto the grill and Voilà! Dinner! I poured a gin and tonic and went out to the backyard. Summer is the best! 

Here is the recipe…

Lemongrass Cilantro Grilled Shrimp

1lb. 26/30 count raw shrimp
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove finely chopped fresh garlic
4 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass
lots of fresh coarsely ground black pepper
salt to taste

1. Trim shrimp by removing shell. Leave tail on. Make slit down back side of shrimp and 
    remove vein.
2. Mix cilantro, parsley, lemongrass, garlic, scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper together in 
    bowl. Reserve a small amount of mixture for drizzling after shrimp are cooked. Add shrimp to the rest and let sit for at least one hour.

3. Grill shrimp for a couple of minutes on each side. Do not overcook! As soon as the 
    shrimp turn from gray to pink they are DONE! Serve with a little drizzle of reserved marinade and a wedge of lemon!

Gen’s Notes
 1. If you want a little heat you can add crushed red pepper flakes or a little fresh chopped
    jalapeño pepper
2. I didn’t feel like soaking my skewers so I grilled the shrimp and then put them on the 
   skewers. Actually I only skewered the ones for the picture. We ate the others right out of
   bowl! If I had company I would probably skewer them.
3. Make sure you taste your mixture and adjust the salt. I used a lot of course ground 
    pepper (2 tablespoons)

The Best Fried Chicken!

Out of the clear blue sky, my parents bought two beach cottages in East Sandwich, Massachusetts. They didn’t consult anyone except their intuition. I found out about the cottages back at Christmas time, when my mother divulged the secret to my daughter, Rose.
Initially I was pissed! Why didn’t they included me? I am their only child! ONLY CHILD!! When I visited the cottages for the first time, my anger got in the way, and I refused to see what an amazing opportunity had opened up for my family.

 As I sit here, on the beach today, looking out at a panoramic view of the ocean, my daughters digging in the sand nearby,  I understand exactly what my parents were thinking when they bought these two little cottages! I love you Mum and Dad!

Built in the 1930’s, I don’t think the kitchen has ever been updated. The counters are Formica and the floor is covered in linoleum.  At first imagined new appliances, counter tops and cabinets. I renovated the entire house in my mind.

This past weekend, when I took the kitchen for a test drive, I realized that I love it just the way it is! 
Here is a recipe for the Fourth of July!

The Best Fried Chicken Ever!!!

          1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
          2/3 cup cornstarch 
          1 teaspoon salt
          1/2 teaspoon white pepper
          1/2 teaspoon paprika
          1 quart buttermilk
          10-12 pieces of chicken (legs, thighs, breasts whatever you want!)
          3 cups vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, whisk  together Flour, Cornstarch, Salt and Pepper. Take half of the flour mixture and 
    reserve in shallow serving dish or casserole (makes dredging much easier). 

2. Using remaining flour in bowl, lightly dredge chicken pieces (shake off all excess) and immediately place into bowl of buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

3. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan. Set aside.  Heat vegetable oil in iron skillet (or other heavy lined bottom skillet) over medium flame, until oil reaches 350 degrees. 

4. While oil is heating taking one piece of chicken, at a time, out of buttermilk and let excess drip off.  Lightly dredge in flour. Shake off excess and place chicken on cooling rack. Continue until all chicken is dredged in flour mixture.

5. When oil has reached 350 degrees using tongs start placing dredged chicken, skin side down, into pan. OIL TEMP WILL DROP AS YOU ADD CHICKEN. DO NOT LET OIL TEMP DROP BELOW 325 DEGREES. REGULATE HEAT BY TURNING FLAME UP OR GIVE OIL CHANCE TO COME BACK  UP BEFORE PLACING NEXT PIECE IN OIL.

6.  Fry for 8 minutes and golden brown and using tongs carefully turn. Cook for 8 minutes.
     Chicken takes roughly 16-18 minutes to cook through. Carefully remove from pan and let drip on 
     paper towel set over 
     cooling rack on top of sheet pan. Sprinkle with a little course salt and serve!
Even Big Daddy was able to relax! 🙂


Stuffed Artichokes

I am not a big fan of winter. I am a total wimp when it comes to surviving the cold weather. Around here the cold sets in, in late October, and runs all the way through May!! I always fool myself into thinking that April is going to make everything all better. The reality is Boston weather seems to jump right from the 30’s in April to the 90’s with serious humidity in July. In between, dreariness, rain, rain and more rain. The only thing that makes it slightly palatable is the blooming of the trees and flowers. Then there are years like 1997,  when the weather played a serious April Fool’s joke on us, pounding the city with 26.5 inches of snow!
I manage winter in “blocks” of time. Once school starts, my goal is to make it through to Halloween. The weeks between the beginning of school and Halloween make up the first block of my winter time line. Once Halloween is over, I start thinking about Thanksgiving. The weeks from Halloween to Thanksgiving make up my second block of winter. The second block is not so bad. Who doesn’t like Thanksgiving! I even get a little excited thinking about Christmas.  The day after Thanksgiving, the third block starts. The weeks from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is always a mad dash, so this block definitely goes by the fastest! When I hit January 2nd things get ugly! The fourth block of my time line begins. I am usually coming down from my holiday high and there is not much to look forward to until Valentine’s Day. Except, sometimes the Super Bowl, IF the Patriots make it exciting for us!  Unfortunately, they blew it this year, so there was no reason to watch the Super Bowl. We did get Nemo 2013!! The storm made it a little exciting, but the girls had many days off from school, which brought me to tears every afternoon! 
At least the snow cheered up the landscape, transforming the winter ugliness into a winter wonderland! It looked like this…

 Fortunately, I started seeing Valentine’s merchandise down at the drug store right after Christmas and that picked up my spirits. The girls and I kept busy making “love bug” cookies their school friends and teachers. 54 cookies to be exact! They were really cute. Here is what they looked like…

After Valentine’s Day I hit rock bottom. The fifth block of the time line. The weeks between Valentine’s Day and Easter, by far the longest and hardest block of my winter time line! It’s around this time that I really start noticing the very bare trees and gray skies. Our winter wonderland has turned into my worst nightmare! Mile high, dirty piles of snow lining the streets, sidewalks of ice and freezing temps with wind that knocks the breath right out of my lungs! I am working very hard to make it through the current block of my winter time line. Baby steps… like the Golden Globe Awards! Just a week from the Golden Globes to the Grammy Awards and two weeks from the Grammy’s to the OSCARS!! Thinking about Easter helps. Ah…Easter…bulbs blooming…days are noticeably longer and preparation for the garden starts! I even bought a box of Peeps yesterday.

 A couple of other things brightened up my week.  The first was I noticed yesterday morning that the sun came up at around 6 AM. The second, I laid my eyes on these beautiful, big artichokes! My heart skipped a beat! Soon spring onions and fresh peas!

We used to sell a gazillion of stuffed artichokes at Cremaldi’s. The two big times were Christmas and Easter! We couldn’t make enough. They are soooooo good! I decided to drowned my winter doldrums with a couple of stuffed artichokes!
Here are the steps to prepping the artichokes…
First step is to trim the stems and tops of leaves. The tops have pinchers so handle with care! We use a pair of scissors. Don’t take too much off! Just the tip!

I enlisted the help of my mother for the pictures! Thanks Mom! xxoo
When you cut the stems off make sure you they are level so they stand up like this…
Carefully drop each choke into boiling water. Push them down into the water and then cover the pot.  Boil for 13 minutes or until there is no resistance when you tug on a leaf with a pair of tongs
Once they are tender carefully pull out of water with a pair of tongs. BEWARE…be careful that the boiling water does not go down the handle of the tongs. It will burn your hands! Keep them upside down on a tray so the water drains out of them.
While they are cooking start prepping your stuffing ingredients. (See below for recipe)
It is time to stuff!

Use your thumbs to carefully open up the leaves and sprinkle filling in...

Give them a little shake every now and then to make sure the filling is getting down in there!
Next step is to drizzle them with oil. We like to use a 10% olive oil/vegetable oil mix. It is not as heavy as straight olive oil.
Don’t skimp on the oil!! You don’t want them to be dry like the Sahara desert!

Then bake until golden on the tips! 400 degrees about 10-15 minutes. Don’t over brown.

Stuffed Artichokes
(The Cremaldi Cookbook, Doubleday)
Serves 6

6 Artichokes
2 cups coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1 heaping teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
3 cups grated Romano Cheese
3 large cloves garlic, chopped very fine
3 cups oil

Filling can be frozen in a baggie for up to two months

Fried Peppers

My mother discovered these baby bell peppers at Cosco. At first, they were hard to find and we could only get them at Cosco.  Now I can get them at Market Basket and I have seen them at Whole Foods. I love the color! One night,  I walked into my mother’s house and she had a large skillet on the stove with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the bottom. All of a sudden she dumped the whole bag of baby bell peppers in, stems and all! They began sizzling!
 She didn’t touch them.  I kept asking her if she was going to stir. She kept saying “NO”. After about 6-7 minutes she stirred and it was amazing. The peppers were charred like they had been directly over the flame. She lowered the flame once they all had a nice even char and let them cook through. When they were nice and tender she added sicilian black olives. The heat of the skillet plumped up the olives and then she turned off the flame. 
We ate them with fresh bread, cheese and some salami! We eat the seeds and all! 
 I’ve been waiting to post this because I have wanted to get a video of my mother cooking them.  We haven’t had time but maybe at some point I’ll post a video just to show the technique. Technique makes them sound hard but they are VERY EASY so make them!
Just grab one by the stem and pop into your mouth!

genevieve cremaldi

Asian Noodles

Every now and then my kids floor me. They taste something I think they will never like and end up loving it! Rose recently tasted an Asian noodle salad that I bought in the prepared food section at Whole Foods. She loved it! I try really hard not to give the girls store bought prepared foods. I really like knowing exactly what is in the food we are eating. I even go as far as making my own fish sticks and chicken nuggets because unfortunately that is what the girls eat.
I decided to create my own Asian Noodles for Rose’s lunch box. They came out sooooo yummy that I want to share the recipe! It is really easy. All of the dressing ingredients go into a jar. Shake and mix!

Rose’s Favorite Asian Noodles

My Rasp! I love my Rasp!

1lb box dry Linguini, cooked al dente
1/4 cup tamari (soy sauce)
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup grape seed oil (or other light oil-canola)
Juice of 1 lime (1/8 cup)
2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger (I used my rasp)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (I used my rasp, again!)
3/4 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes
    (leave out if making for kids-unless they like spice!)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 bunch broccolini, blanched
1 cup shredded carrots

1.  Put all ingredients in glass jar with lid. Shake. Done!
2. You can add anything you want. Vegetables (snow peas, asparagus, red pepper strips)
    Nuts (peanuts, cashews) Meat (stir fried chicken, beef, pork) Sesame Seeds would be great!
   Cilantro! Go Wild!!!

They are good cold or room temp!


Peach and Prosecco Sorbet

My daughter Rose (almost 7) is perfect! (OK I’m bias!) I really admire her! Rose is always happy! She loves art, music and dance. She cherishes her friends and adores her family! Everyone means the world to her! Rose is peaceful!  She is my flower girl, hippy chick! Rose floats through her life and enjoys every minute of every day! She will most definitely become a person who sees the glass as half full! Rose drew the picture below. It is an illustration of her sister Iris, who was drawing a picture while sitting at our dining room table.

My daughter Iris (4) is very different than Rose, but equally as wonderful! (Again, being very bias!)  Iris has a very adult sense of humor, knows exactly how to tease and knows how to be sarcastic!  Iris observes people and situations intensely and then forms an opinion which is either black or white. She is cautious and always becomes the leader of a group! She has better executive skills than her father and loves the challenge of mastering new tasks!  
 Do these two completely different sisters get along? Hummmm…most of the time.  Nooooo, maybe just some of the time. Actually, the truth is they fight like WWE fighters!!! From the minute they get up in the morning until the second they fall asleep they screech, pinch, bite, slap, pull each others hair and throw things at each other ALL DAY LONG!!  I feel like I must be doing something wrong! It is exhausting to watch it, listen to it and try to referee it EVERYDAY!  I can’t take it anymore! If I told you that I scheduled an eye appointment just to get away from the girls for an hour of peace would you believe me??? Well, believe it! 
What does this have to do with peach and prosecco sorbet? Well, my 43rd birthday is knocking at the door! Lately, I’ve noticed that my eyes seem tired and refuse to focus when I read. I have had to hold whatever I am reading out at arms length to try to make out the sentences.  Unfortunately, my arms aren’t long enough anymore.  I went to the eye doctor for the very first time! Yikes! That’s all I have to say! A few things I didn’t like:
1.  “these drops are going to sting and then your eye will go numb”    WHAT!!!!
2.  “just put your chin on here and don’t move” as a little blue neon light thing TOUCHES YOUR
3.  My eyes were so dialated that I couldn’t see the dashboard of the car on the way home! I figured by the time I made it home my eye sight would be clear! IT WASN’T! My eyes were so blurry that I couldn’t even tell if the meatloaf I made for dinner was cooked! 
ANYWAY, the end of my long story is that I was so nervous from the day (between the girls fighting AND trying to focus my eyes) that I decided to open a very cold bottle of prosecco! While I was sipping my second tall glass,  I noticed a very out of focus bowl of fresh peaches on the counter. I took a bite of one and then a sip of prosecco! What a combination!
Peach and Prosecco Sorbet

1 ½ lbs peaches, blanched and pureed
1 1/4  cup sugar
½ cup water
¾ cup Prosecco
      1.  Bring sugar and water to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes and set aside to cool.
      2.    Cut an “x” into the bottom of each peach. Bring a large pot of water to boil and
           carefully drop in the peaches. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to ice
           water bath. Peel the peaches; halve them and remove the pits. Transfer the
           peaches to a food processor and coarsely puree. Pour into a medium bowl.
3.    Add simple syrup (sugar water mixture) to peach puree in the food processor. Blend well.
4.    Stir in Prosecco. Pour into bowl or large measuring cup and chill in fridge.
5.    Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

      ***This recipe can be made without an ice cream maker. Proceed up to step 4, but instead of chilling in fridge pour into shallow covered glass dish. Freeze until just firm about 2 hours. Once frozen take out and break it up and put in bowl of food processor. Process until completely smooth.***
BTW can’t see these instructions without my new reading glasses!