Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Home

It's been so long! 16 months to be exact (crazy). Enough time to plan a wedding, switch jobs, and wrestle with changing your last name. It's also long enough and I've missed you so!

To show my appreciation and dedication to making Baking Therapy better than ever we've re-launched! We have a fresh design and a new platform, so come on over here to visit the new space. All of the old archives will stay here, but come play in our new home! I think you'll like it just fine.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

on hiatus

It's time to admit the obvious - I'm on hiatus from Baking Therapy. I appreciate all of you guys too much to pretend each week that I'm going to get my act together and back to posting. The truth is it's just not happening right now. I haven't had the time or the gusto to make any delicious sweets or treats lately.

So until future notice, I'm living in a world of taffeta and chiffon with wedding planning vs. flour and brown sugar.

I'll be back so this isn't the end... just an "until then" :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

molto bene: easter sweets with maria sanchez

If you live in the Waterbury, CT area and have Italian-American blood in your veins, you've probably been noshing on frosted lemon italian cookies and biscotti from Sweet Maria's for a while (if you're lucky). For the rest of you: meet Maria Bruscino Sanchez, owner and baker at Sweet Maria's bakery. After a short career in the advertising industry, Maria followed her dream and opened a bakery in her hometown - pretty inspiring (and relevant) for a girl like me!

So this weekend, future MIL and I dropped by The Kitchen at Middlebury Consignment for an Italian Easter Sweets class lead by Maria herself. What we found was a beautifully updated kitchen filled with Italian ladies eager to learn from a master. And a list of yummy treats waiting to be sampled.

The topic was "Easter Sweets" but in 29 years of Easter celebrating, I've never had Italian meat or rice pie. But... OMG praise Jesus that I'm marrying into the Italian way of things! I could eat both of these and nothing else for 40 days and never want anything else - and that's saying something.

The Italian Rice pie is the delicious result of rice pudding getting frisky with tiramisu in a dark alley. It's creamy and rich with the texture of rice and the spice of cinnamon. And the Easter Meat Pie is meaty and cheesy with crust that goes for days. We ate it at room temperature but I'd love to try it warm. Imagine a quiche on steroids with two kinds of cheese and three types of cured meat. Salivating yet?

OK, are you now??

Many many thanks to Sweet Maria for sharing her secrets - now make this yourself! Your Easter guests will thank you, I promise. And let's just say I'm looking forward to Easter dinner at MIL's this year to continue my Italian culinary education :)

Pizza Piena (Easter Meat Pie)

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (preferably whole milk)
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano
3/4 lb. am (diced small)
3/4 lb. prosciutto (diced small)
1/4 lb. salami (diced small)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. black pepper

4 eggs
1/3 cup shortening, melted, then cooled
1 1/2 - 2 cups flour
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Make crust. Beat eggs and cooled shortening. Add salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups flour. Knead to make a soft, not sticky dough. If dough is sticky, add additional flour. Cover and set aside.

Make filling. Beat eggs, ricotta, pecorino Romano. Add chopped meat, parsley, and black pepper.

Reserve 1/4 of the crust dough. Roll out 3/4 of the crust dough like a pie crust. Place into a 9-inch springform pan. Pour in filling.

Roll out remaining crust. Cut into strips. Layer strips over filling in a lattice pattern. Crimp edges of crust all around.

Bake 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, or until center is set. Cool pie in pan 3-4 hours or overnight.

Refrigerate and cut into pieces.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

OMG: spaghetti bolognese

HTB* and I are still getting into our suburban routine. For us that means pick-ups at the Metro North train station, taking turns walking the Grizz,** and maneuvering weeknight dinner duty - among other things. I absolutely have new respect for commuters who cook dinner after a full day, do homework with their kids, run a load of laundry, kiss their husbands and get up in the morning ready (and willing) to do it all over. I can barely stay awake on the train home and HTB has gone a couple weeks without a real make-out. Poor guy.

And just to remind me how much I love him, last Thursday I came home after a long day to the most incredible smell in our house. I may have told you that HTB comes from an Italian American family, but that fact alone does no Mario Batali make. In fact, dating in the culinary capital of the States, he never had a chance to woo me with his culinary ways... but OMG. Complex flavor with a robust red wine taste, and still light enough to be scooped with a crusty warm baguette. I mean, restaurant quality! I guess HTB was telling the truth about sweating olive oil and bleeding marinara. Lucky me :)

*HTB = Hubs-to-be
**the Grizz = 3-year old Cockapoo princess
Caveat: the following recipe is to me what "F-me boots" are to college guys. Make it immediately - but beware of the inevitable food baby to follow.

Spaghetti Bolognese
adapted from Rocco Dispirito's Rocco's Italian-American

1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground beef
3 tbsp. extra-vigin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, rinsed and diced
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 glass red wine
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups chicken stock
salt and red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 1/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti (or orecchiette when you have it as leftovers)

In a stockpot, over high heat, brown the meat in the olive oil. Lower the heat and add everything else, except the pasta and the cheese, cover, and simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt when it begins to simmer. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, drain, and toss it in the pot with the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the cheese.
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