Tag Archives: cooking

Favorite Homemade Chocolate Toffee Crunch Candy

Homade candy like Almond RochaLike Almond Rocha

This candy is a family recipe that my mom makes every year at Christmas. With six ingredients, she cooks up the most delicious candy that tastes like Almond Rocha.

The recipe requires that you see (in the video) the golden color of the candy as it cooks to know when it is done.

Favorite Homemade chocolate toffee crunch candy recipeWatch Favorite Homemade Chocolate Toffee Crunch Candy!

Recipe

Ingredients
2 cubes of butter
1 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 to 1 1/4 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 swirl of light Karo syrup
Up to 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a large pan, add the butter, sugar, almonds and Karo syrup. Cook over medium  high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and browns into toffee. (See the video for the exact color.) Pour the molten hot toffee mixture onto a large rimmed cookie sheet and spread evenly with a spatula. Pour the desired amount of chocolate chips onto the hot toffee, wait a few minutes and spread evenly. Sprinkle the desired amount of chopped walnuts over the chocolate, shake the pan, and sprinkle more over less nutty spots.

Let the candy cool at room temperature for at least 3 hours, or until it is not sticky to the touch.  If you are in a hurry, place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. then break the hardened candy with the tip of a knife or just use your hands. It is then ready to eat and can be stored without refrigeration.

You can also break it up into tiny pieces and top a bowl of vanilla ice-cream with it. Wrap some candy in a holiday container and then give it as a gift to friends or the host at a holiday party. Everyone will love it!

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Eat Healthy By Cooking at Home

Prepare food ahead of timeWhy Cook at Home?

To make sure you know what you are eating, it’s best to be your own cook in your own kitchen. To do this, you’ll need to go food shopping.

before Shopping

Before shopping, it’s smart to create a menu for your week. Look through cookbooks, search for online menus such as ones at the Food Network or any other favorites you come across. Then make a shopping list so you buy what you need, instead of what tempts you as you innocently cruise the shelves.

Choose recipes that include some of the same ingredients. That way you can use all the ingredient you buy and won’t waste any food.

Shop Ahead of Time

Get your groceries in advance so you have a stocked fridge and pantry before the week begins. If you know it’s going to be a hectic week, buy some partially prepared food that requires only a little bit of work to make. Just read the ingredients to make sure they’re healthy.

Prepare Your food Ahead of Time

A great idea is to prepare as much food over the weekend for the week. You can chop vegetables, cook chicken for salads, hard boil eggs, chop vegetables , marinate meat for the next day, and make a batch of brown or wild rice. This will make is easy to  put together a meal during any day of the week.

Cook more than one meal at a time. If you’re already grilling or baking chicken, make  extra and freeze half or place meal-sized portions in air-tight containers for another day.

Freeze Food For Later

Freezing food is a one more way to have prepared food on hand. But be sure to label your containers and bags of food so you know what they contain. If you are one of those neat and tidy organized people, you can even keep a list so you can see exactly what is in your freezer. And remember to wrap food tightly and also leave some space between frozen items so cold air can circulate around them.

COOKING: Pizza from Scratch at Home

Rustic Free-form Pizza

How to Make PizzaThis is really good pizza, partly due to Cat’s “secrets.” One is the crust, which is a very soft yeast dough made with hard winter wheat – ie, bread flour. This allows it to stretch nice and thin and bake into a chewy, crusty crust.

At any time, refer to the video to watch COOKING: Freeform Pizza from Scratch at Home.

Another secret is to roll the dough out in polenta, which makes it extra crusty and chewy and also absorbs some of the liquid that inevitably gathers on the top as it is baked.

Another secret is to evaporate as much liquid as possible from the vegetables and sauce ahead of time – saute the mushrooms, evaporate the sauce to half its volume, and if you use fresh tomatoes, remove all the seeds and juices.

Yet another secret is to bake the crusts all by themselves for about 2-3 minutes before adding toppings. This also keeps the top crust from getting soggy. If you have a pizza stone, the pizza will be at its very best, but you can get a great crust with a hot oven anyway

Equipment

  • Cuisinart with basic metal blade
  • Thin metal pans (not insulated) for baking pizza
  • Oven that reaches at 500 degrees if possible
  • Rolling pin (not absolutely necessary)

Sauce

How to Make Pizza from Scratch

Choose a spaghetti sauce you like (about 20-24 ounces) and spread in a flat casserole and place in 275 degree oven for about an hour to evaporate about half the liquid. This intensifies the flavors and makes a a more stable pizza surface.

Crust

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast (fast-acting is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup water at about baby-bottle temperature, in a 1-cup or larger container.
  • 2 cups hot water (like really hot bath water)
  • About ½ cup dry polenta (for rolling out the crust)

Directions

Stir sugar into water until it dissolves, then add yeast and stir.  It will clump; don’t worry. Let sit for about 5 minues.  When you return, it will have dissolved and the liquid will be foamy. (If not, your yeast was too old and you cannot proceed. Go to the store and buy fresh yeast.)

Place flour in Cuisinart bowl with blade already inserted and  turn on. Add salt. Pulse for a few moments to mix in salt. Leave motor running and quickly pour in yeasty liquid, and then begin adding more hot water slowly until the dough begins to clump and gather itself into one mass (some smaller pieces will remain loose). Remove top and stick finger in dough to see if it is really soft. Your goal is to keep mixing and adding water until the dough sticks to your finger and stretches up with you, like in the video. If you add too much water, you can add more flour until it is right.

Oil a large bowl and put the dough inside. Rotate the dough to coat the other side and then cover the bowl and set in warm place to let rise for about an hour. When it has doubled in size, it’s ready.  If you want to wait longer, you can let it rise another half hour, but beat it down first.

Toppings

Choose from the following:

  • Grated cheeses (we used pepper jack, very sharp cheddar, and Parmesan)
  • Diced marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • Capers, rinsed and drained
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Chopped onions (we used red onions and green onions)
  • Ham or other meats, diced
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • Olives
  • Red or green pepper, chopped
  • Mushrooms, chopped (if you like, saute them first with some garlic to remove much of the liquid)

rolling and stretching the crust

Be generous with the polenta; it will keep the dough from sticking to the surface and your hands. It will be thin, but will rise and become wonderful in the oven. Keep the edges thicker than the middle. Place on unoiled pans and let rise, uncovered, for about ten minutes. Turn over on to 500 degrees or as close that as you can come.

Bake crusts for about 2-3 minutes, until they rise and puff and begin to brown just a very little bit.  Remove; they will subside and flatten.

Spread tomato sauce over crusts, adding a thin amount to the edges for flavor. Add fresh basil next if using it, then everything else, finishing with cheese. Place in oven again, and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until you decide it is done.

This recipe is enough to feed 6-8 people.

New Fall Cooking Channel Lineup

New Fall Shows from Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay

This fall, the Cooking Channel will air brand-new original shows from culinary superstars Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, in addition to a full slate of series premieres through November. With a diverse menu of debuts, the network’s programming lineup is sure to satisfy any food-loving viewer.

Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day, her first solely food-focused show in nine years, is dedicated to her fresh groundbreaking cooking concept for busy families, while Brunch @ Bobby’s celebrates Bobby Flay’s favorite meal of the week.

Also joining the Cooking Channel are My Life in Food, an issues-based series from executive producer Al Roker; Bitchin’ Kitchen, a wild, irreverent show hosted by chef-comedienne Nadia G.; The Minimalist, based on Mark Bittman’s popular New York Times column; Kelsey’s Essentials, a fresh take on cooking basics from Kelsey Nixon, and United Tastes of America (working title), an in-depth look at iconic American foods with Jeffrey Saad.

Check out the Cooing Channel: www.cookingchanneltv.com

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Top Chefs Cook at CIA Headquarters

Sexy Antonio SosaSpicy Kung pao

The chefs are invited to a place where few have been granted access, the CIA kitchen.

In this preview video, you will see the remaining Top Cheftestants, including sexy Antonio Sosa, cooking up Kung Pao. Who will win this spicy challenge is a mystery, until the show airs tonight.

Check out the Top Chef CIA Cooking video!

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