Thursday, June 14, 2012


Daring Cook's Challenge this month is Cannelloni.  This was sort of like an Italian crepe.  There were several variations.  I chose di carne--meat version, and di magro--a spinach version. This was a challenge from Manu of Manusmenu, who lives in Australia, but is native Italian and grew up in Milan.  The recipes were wonderful, but a lot of work.  She said these are for special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Can totally understand why both flavor-wise and effort-wise.  Will definitely try pasta more often, though.    
Cannelloni di carne for dinner tonight--absolutely delicious.
Di carne version ready for oven in stone casserole dish.  Fit 11 in there.  Used four for dinner, then froze rest for  when Sonny and his family get here on their cross-country move back to Washington in a couple weeks.  

One of these days I'll figure out how to put recipes on here and have them work, but for now, let me suggest you do a search for both the egg pasta recipe and the cannelloni recipes, but will include my Cuisinart food processor version of the pasta.  EGG PASTA is basically: 5 large eggs, 2-3 Tbl. olive oil, 3 Tbl. water, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 3+ c. mix of unbleached all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.  Put flour and salt in food processor and pulse to mix, then add olive oil.  Add in eggs one at a time and water if needed.  Mine ended up being a bit too moist so had to add more flour.  At this point, I put it in an oiled baggy and put in the fridge overnight.  Today it was quite easy to roll out.  Would have loved to use my little pasta machine, but it was bought for polymer clay and is not usable for food anymore.  I do have an attachment for my Kitchenaid, but most of those parts got "misplaced" in our kitchen remodel years ago--think I need to go on a search for it.  You want a very thin sheet--didn't realize how thin it needed to be until I saw someone's and you could see the pattern of her kitchen towel through it!  That wouldn't have shown up with my whole wheat dough, but realized it needed to be very, very thin and really glad I re-rolled all 20 sheets.  (you can purchase sheet pasta, but wonder if that's a possibility in my little town!)
Used about half white and half whole wheat flour that I ground on a  rather coarse grind.   Since I can't stand at this point for very long, cookie sheets work well on a wooden tv tray to keep the flour from getting onto the floor too much.
 The meat sauce was a mixture of ground beef and ground pork sausage.  It called for white wine, but since we don't use alcohol, I used some balsamic vinegar.  Hubby shopped for me and couldn't find more than one small piece of parmesan, so shredded it along with some gouda and manchego cheeses.  Bechemal sauce is delicious...time consuming, but well worth it.  
Two sheets rolled out the first time, then realized they were way too thick and re-rolled them.  Glad I did that as they  puff up a bit in the water.
Cutting out heart shapes from scraps.  Dough didn't seem to lend itself to scraps being re-rolled, so used a tiny canape cutter.  Scraps from hearts were just cut small and eventually found their way into left over meat mix with hearts sprinkled on top.
Lots of left overs so a tray full of hearts.
Used one quarter of a piece of paper as the pattern for my sheets and pizza cutter to cut them.
Made 9 di magro cannelloni--four in this very old pyrex dish and five into a brand new dish.
  Not sure I'd ever make this again--it's delicious, but too much work for this oldie!!  Saw an easy version Jamie Oliver has, so might try that.  As it was, I spent three days working on this as I had the energy.  Hope everyone likes it!
Blog-checking lines: Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Seven Garden Steps Blocks

Jennie and Clara, at Clover and Violet: are sponsoring Garden Steps Quilt Along.  They started in February, but I've just gotten started.  Debated doing it because centers feature hand embroidery and I've not done that in years.  Finally decided it was needful!  All material had to be ordered online and at several shops to get it all, but that's ok and happy to now have all the fabrics called for. 

Added something extra to most of the embroideries.  This one has apples on the tree--we live on Apple Road, by the way.  And added "carved" R and E plus a heart for hubby and I.
Daisy block
Dragonfly block.
Flowers block

Tulips in Basket
Three Flower Block
First Seven Embroideries
 While waiting for Good Fortune fabrics to come, I started the embroideries.  Had to add sashing to a couple of them since used pieces that were smaller than center was supposed to be.  One looks ok, other a bit cattywampus, but hopefully quilting and washing will help hide that.  Directions called for making blocks before embroidering but that wouldn't work well for me--don't like the extra fabric to deal with while working the stitches.
Fiskar's fabric cutter.  LOVE this for cutting strips!