Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stromboli: The Savory and the Sweet

It is finally feeling like fall in our little neck of the woods.  I love fall.  I also love baking in the fall.  Today was begging for a little baking.  And Frank and I both answered the call.  He made a B&G breakfast pizza (aka Biscuits and Gravy Pizza) that we had for brunch - it was awesome.  It will be posted later on the Ladies of Fiat blog.  I answered with stromboli.  And I've been a little out of the blogging world so I spaced taking pictures until I pulled out the sweet stromboli and it looked and smelled delicious!

I started out this morning thinking of just making a regular stromboli.  My mom has a great one she's made in the bread machine a few times.  But when I put in her flash drive of recipes, the only one she'd added was not HER recipe - so disappointing!!  Then I turned to pinterest.  Everything seemed to be pizza-ish and that wasn't what I was looking for.  There was one, however that was a Philly Cheese Steak Stromboli.  This one seemed just right for today.

Next, I turned to my favorite recipes on my All Recipes app.  I love All Recipes!

Here's what I did:

I followed the Simple Whole Wheat Bread Recipe pretty exactly (with the exception of which flour to add when - I halved it at the beginning and then in the additions).  It's pretty yummy.

Bread Recipe:
3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
1 TBS active dry yeast (2 .25 ounce packages)
1/3 cup honey (I used agave syrup)
5 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup honey (again, agave)
1 TBS salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast and 1/3 c honey.  Add 5 cups of flour and stir to combine.  Let sit for 30 minutes or until big and bubbly.
2. Mix in 3 TBS melted butter, 1/3 c honey and salt.  Stir in 2 cups flour.  Kneed the dough adding flour as needed until just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch (this may take extra 2-4 cups of flour - mine took about 3).
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough.  Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

WHILE the dough is doubling, make your fillings.  We made 2 Philly Cheese Steak fillings and 1 Apple Acorn Squash filling.

Philly Cheese Steak Filling:
3 -4 peppers (I used 2 Cubanelle, 2 Green)
2 small onions (or 1 large)
1 package of mushrooms, peeled and cubed
2 packages of roast beef deli meet ( a little less than one pound)
1/2 cup au jus or beef broth

1. Dice peppers, onions and mushrooms (keep separate).
2. Saute peppers for 5-8 minutes.  Add onions for another 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms until all look tender.
3. Dice up roast beef and add to skillet.  Add a little Au Jus to moisten the mixture - not too much as it'll make your sandwich soggy.
4.  Season with salt and pepper and let chill on low while you wait for the dough to rise.

Apple and Acorn Squash Filling:
(adapted from this All Recipes recipe)
1 acorn squash (preppared)
2 apples, cored and sliced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Prepare and peel your acorn squash.  Apparently the All Recipe's recipe has a fabulous strategy.  I just poked some holes in it and stuck it in the stove the other night, let it cool a bit.  I cut it in half, took out the seeds and got out the yummy.
2. In a skillet, mix all the ingredients until the butter and sugar have had a chance to melt and goo all yummy like.

BACK to the bread:
3. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 loaves.  Grease 2 cookie sheets for baking.
4. Roll out each loaf into a rectangle.
5.  Fill dough
- For the savory stromboli, I spread the meat mixture all over the dough, leaving about 1 inch all around.
Then I sprinkled cheese over all of it.  I rolled it up, pinching in the ends and middle.  Be careful about the middle one, I didn't get the first one very well and I had some exploding out the side.
put the crease on the bottom of the pan and cut steam vents on the top of the stromboli.
- For the sweet stromboli, I left a middle bottom and cut about 1 inch by 2-3 inch strips on each side of the loaf.  We stuffed the apple mixture in the middle and then braided it all up.  (Again, making sure the ends are tucked in well.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.

The Apple Acorn was begging for a little more sweet so I mixed up a powered sugar glaze (about 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla and a little bit of milk - just enough to make it runny.  After I took the apple stromboli out, I drizzled the glaze on the top.  YUMMO!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Egg in a Nest

I was a military kid.  One of those weird ones, though. I only moved once growing up.  I've moved many more times than that since college.  I didn't, however, get to escape my father being gone for long periods of time.  Especially in the summers.  And while my dad was off training soldiers, we spent a lot of time with my grandmother and aunts.

Those summers had some magic in them.  For two summers, we rented out a little condo on the shore at Destin, Florida.  We swam every morning and ate fish almost every night.  There's still this one albacore sandwich that has become the stuff of legend.  I remember how it tasted - it was SO good!! The afternoons and evenings were filled with fun and walks on the beach, games of cards and the family time of lore. 
One evening on the shore.  See our little brown selves?

Our lunches where easy ones but yummy ones.  BLT sandwiches.  And Eggs in a Nest.  I made one yesterday.  It took me back to those perfect summer days.  Whenever we left, my grandmother always said that the waves were saying, "Come Back!  Come Back!" And even though I've left that little nest and we are starting one of our own, those days bring back many smiles.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Frank's Stuffed Burgers

Frank is a fabulous grill master.  That's why I named the blog, "Cooking with Love and Gas." (There's ocean front property in Arizona too! ;).  He smokes an amazing Pork Butt, we've made some excellent chicken and his steaks are fabulous.  Our newest favorite, however, is the stuffed burger.

We tried them on a visit to Omaha earlier this summer.  They were awesome (and huge).  Then we found a handy dandy burger stuffer thing (like this one).  This little thing is amazing and mostly easy to use - it wasn't as easy last night when we were cooking for my aunt and uncle and almost didn't have enough beef!

We've tried a few different stuffings - one with jalapenos and bacon!  Our favorite, though, is just some cheese, mushrooms and onions.

Stuffed Burger Directions

- Ground Beef
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Seasonings
- Stuffings (whatever you want - cube them so they aren't too big)
- Bacon
- Toothpicks

Here's what you do:
1) In a bowl, mix ground beef with Worcestershire Sauce (we looked up how to say it and how it's made  on "How It's Made" a few weeks ago - you don't want to know, just know it makes beef yummy).  Also, add some garlic powder and seasonings of your choice.

2) In a pan, saute your stuffing stuff.  For the six burgers last night, I used about 3/4 a container of mushrooms that I cubed and a small red onion from our CSA (yum!).  Use a little bit of oil (or water if you don't want to add fat.

3) Cube up your choice of cheese - we had some smoked swiss that was awesome!  Any cheese would work!

4) Get your patties ready - the "shelled pocket side" and the top.

5) When the stuffing is sauted, add the cheese in there and mix (it'll melt a little, that's ok).

6) Stuff the burgers, pinching the top and sides together.  Then we've been wrapping the sides with bacon.  Cause we like bacon . . . Secure bacon with toothpicks (we break them in half).  NOTE: this is way easier with two people.

7) Cook 'em.  You don't have to worry so much about the insides cooking as they are already cooked!

8) Enjoy!!  Especially yummy with Frank's remade Bush's Baked Beans - they are awesome!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baptism and John Wayne

My best friends and I have a strong devotion to St. Therese.  She says in her memoir that she doesn't want to be an elegant rose or a lily.  She just wants to be a little daisy at God's feet and make him smile.  When we dedicated our little blue house to her in 2004, we became the Daisy Girls.  That means we get to have Daisy Babies too - it's pretty sweet!  I got to meet the newest little Daisy baby on Saturday.  Her name is Margaret Therese . . . Greta.  She is beautiful!!

She came on Friday, came home on Saturday and became Catholic yesterday.  I don't know if her day today is going to live it up.  With the baptism so close, we friends rallied together a little reception feast.  Greta's godfather was SURE he could find this "awesome coffee cake recipe" that they'd made a long time ago.  So we did the protein.  Which was great because I have this "awesome egg casserole recipe!"

I don't know how John Wayne got attributed to this casserole (it's awesome, he's awesome so we're all good?).  I also am not sure why it's called a "cheese casserole" (but I did only put in less than half the cheese it called for).  Whatever it's called, it's yummy.  And gone - no breakfast leftovers (or pictures - use your imagination!).  Having no leftovers makes me a little sad.  We do have Southern Grits Casserole left - I'll blog that recipe later.  Right now, it's the Duke's turn!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Family Celebration

A few summers ago, I stumbled across Larkrise to Candleford episodes on YouTube.  I just watched an episode where they were celebrating Michaelmas.  Hmm . . . I thought.  A Celebration of St. Michael the Archangel . . . which I seemed to remember happens in early fall.  The St. Michael whom our son was named after (well, St. Michael and his daddy!).  And our Michael was due in early fall!  I think we need to celebrate this feast day!!

Some initial research:  According to, one of the customs of Michaelmas is the Aster (aka the Michaelmas Daisy - Daisy!!!  It's sounding a little like a God-thing  I'll have to do a post about why daisies are so important.  Or just link to our Daisy House Blog).  Apparently, the custom of pulling petals is a Michaelmas thing to. He loves me, he loves me not ;).  There's lots of other cool customs on there too - cutting apples in half so you can see the seeds representing the 5 wounds of Christ.  They've also got some recipes )

Food customs depend on the country, according to, "In the British Isles, for example, goose was the traditional meal for Michaelmas, eaten for prosperity, France has waffles or Gaufres and the traditional fare in Scotland used to be St. Michael's Bannock (Struan Micheil) — a large, scone-like cake. In Italy, gnocchi is the traditional fare."  Scones, waffles AND gnochhi?  This is awesome. 

Plus, St. Michael is the Patron feast of Sicily where my Italian grandparents are from!

A Little Higher Out of the Hole

I just finished re-reading Anne's House of Dreams (#5 of the Anne of Green Gable's saga).  In college, I found that L.M. Montgomery's books do my heart good - especially when it's hurting.  I remembered vaguely that Anne and Gilbert lost their first child too so I turned to the girl of bosom friends to see what one is to do in this situation.

I cried during the entire chapter.  Then Gilbert got her a housekeeper to do the cooking and cleaning while she recovered.  As if! And she bonded with the girl down the way who had previously thought her life too perfect to truly be friends (I think she missed that whole orphan, terrible life pre-Green Gables part).  And then she moved on.  At least it seems.

Toward the end of the book, Anne is talking with their good friend the lighthouse keeper.  Wouldn't you love to live in a world where you are BFF's with a lighthouse keeper?  He told Anne, who was worrying that her baby wouldn't know her in heaven that, "God would manage better than that my baby would seem a stranger to me when I found her Beyond."

So, my friend that's due the day before our due date?  I've kind of stunk it up in the friend department on that one.  And yet, in a way, her son will be a blessing.  It has hurt, watching her get bigger and bigger.  And yet, seeing her son grow up?  It will give me a little taste of how big our Michael would be.  When Anne talked about her daughter a year or so later, she said, "I've followed her development day by day and week by week--I always shall. I shall know just how she grows from year to year--and when I meet her again I'll know her--she won't be a stranger."

I don't know that I feel our little Michael will be a stranger - we ask him for prayers every night.  But having a little one to see grow up, although hard, will make it a lot easier to have a visual of our little beloved.

On a lighter note (and as if the bacon were not enough celebration) I made the Pioneer Woman's Carrot Cake yesterday for Frank's Birthday.  It's awesome!! It will be my go to recipe from now on!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Say it with Bacon!!

Have you all seen the newest Oscar Meyer bacon commercial?  It is  hilarious.

And my husband LOVES bacon.  My family was never really into the bacon thing.  It never really got cooked to "yummy bacon stage" at our house.  Frank's family, however, is a different story.  His sister Kristy is a huge bacon lover as well.  A few years ago on a canoe trip, Kristy decided to pair her bacon with a roasted homemade marshmallow (which, by the way, are amazing!!).  It was a hit.  I, however, didn't try it.  Sunday morning bacon marshmallow was not appealing.

Maybe when I joined the family, my adventuresomeness (totally not a word but I think it's fun) with bacon seems to be taking off.

In order to celebrate Frank's birthday we had a "Say it with Bacon Birthday Bash" last night.  We had some of the usual bacon snacks - one of his groomsmen made some killer jalapeno poppers.  We had some bacon covered BBQ chicken and little smokies.  Kristy and Lisa cooked up some bacon Rice Krispie treats (I wished there were bigger bacon pieces in there;).  We have a tasted Sonic PB Bacon shake in the freezer.

The icing on the cake had to have been Ray's killer cupcakes.  Chocolate cupcakes with banana pudding filling topped with peanut butter icing, candied bacon bits and chocolate drippings.  Not only were they amazing, they were beautiful too!!  I would love to be the book/coffee shop to her bakery someday!!

And you can't have cake without ice cream, right?

I dreamed up a candied bacon ice cream.  OK, I did dream about it.  Then I woke up and searched Pinterest for recipes. My goodness there are so many bacon recipes out there!!  Who'd a knew?  I wanted to try a few of them but decided it'd be best to stay with one.  The one that caught my eye was the Maple Bourbon Ice Cream with Candied Bacon from Girl Cooks World.  Syrup, Bourbon AND Bacon?  This was screaming my hubby!  I took a look at the recipe.  Then adapted the heck out of it.  Kind of.

I took Kristy V's favorite Ice Cream recipe (it used 2 egg yolks instead of 5) and way less ingredients.  I substituted the sugar in her recipe for maple syrup (the real kind - only way to go!).  Apparently the sub for sugar to syrup is 1 cup for 3/4 cup so I for the 3/4 c sugar I used 1/3 c of syrup.  Then mixed my custard in (without curdling ONE egg!), waited for it to cool a little and added 2 TBS of Bourbon.  We let the whole mix cool and then that evening we froze it in our Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment - quickly becoming one of my favorite gadgets!!

We candied the bacon two different ways.  Way #1 - we set it out on a broiler pan, spread syrup, brown sugar and fresh cracked pepper on it and baked it.  This took a long time, didn't get out a lot of the fat and after we thought it was done we turned it over and it needed MORE time - not what I was looking for on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of July.  Way #2 - Frank chopped up the bacon into 1/4 inch squares, seasoned it with pepper and fried it in a pan.  Then we  he (he was having as much fun with this as a kid in a candy store) drained the fat, blotted the bits a bit and threw them back in the pan with the syrup and brown sugar.  Kristy asked how we got the bacon so candied - evidence that Way #2 was much superior!

The Bourbon Ice Cream with Candied Bacon?  Amazing!!  Frank wanted strawberries on it too.  Then warned us all that the ice cream is a strawberry OR bacon ice cream but not both.  THAT was too much ;)  As if the syrup, bourbon and bacon could need any competition?