Spring Herb Pizza with Burrata

Spring Herb Pizza

May. Always a hard month to be sure.  Long hours in the garden, tending and planting and yet nothing has quite come to fruit yet.  I look longingly at my little tomato plants, herbs and peppers as I mist them in the early mornings, begging them to grow and bear fruit and be bountiful.  I wander pensively by the fruit trees, watching the blossoms fall, critiquing each branch; is it stable, will it hold the apple, the apricot, the cherries that are yet to come?  It’s a lot of waiting, dreaming, watering and weeding; preparing for what is coming.  Sometimes I simply cannot wait though. I am impatient and I want to have a treat from my little backyard garden. I try to resist but alas, I can only be so strong.  So last Friday night I pulled out the flour, the yeast and warmed the water to the familiar temperature. I mixed and kneaded the dough and set it aside to rise. I wandered the yard as the yeast did the work, turning my head to the sun leaning into its warm embrace.  I lay on the grass and watched the sun set and the birds come to roost nearby, singing the hour by quickly.  I came in and cut the round warm dough into two, set one in the fridge for another day and started rolling out the dough. I rolled, I tossed, and I stretched it into a circle and lay it gently on cornmeal.  I pulled the penultimate jar of last year’s tomatoes from the pantry shelf, popped the top, mashed a few down with some salt and spread it on the pie. Then outside I went; scissors in hand and a smile on my face.  I snipped my little herbs, leaf buy little leaf. The purple oval of the sage, the shaggy flat parsley, the tiny oregano, the tinier thyme, the Genovese basil and the Thai basil.  I walked inside holding them in my hands like jewels and spread them on top of crimson red sauce.  Then to the fridge for some fresh burrata and parmesan to finish it off before into the oven it went and 12 minutes later: the first bite, hard work and satisfaction to be sure, went down bite after bite and in my stomach grew the excitement of what was to come.

Spring Herb Pizza Spring Herb Pizza Spring Herb Pizza

Spring Herb Pizza

Spring Herb Pizza

Spring Herb Pizza

Spring Herb Pizza Spring Herb Pizza

Pizza Dough – You will need:

  • 3 ½ cups bread flour – plush more for kneading
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ¼ cups water – at 115 – 95 degrees
  • 1 pouch active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – plus more for rising

How to:

  • Mix dry ingredients together and pour in warm water slowly, until dough combines knead in kitchen aid or on floured surface for about 5 minutes
  • Place in oiled bowl in a warm place a let rise for 1 hour
  • Separate into two half’s, rub with olive oil and let sit for another 10 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 500
  • Roll out one half of dough on a floured surface
  • Throw and pull dough until it reaches about a 14-inch circle
  • Repeat with second ball or refrigerate for up to one week – freeze for 3 months
  • Add toppings of your choice or
  • Mash three canned, stewed tomatoes with salt and spread on the dough
  • Slice burrata and grate parmesan and arrange on top of sauce
  • Add clippings of herbs – oregano, thyme, basil, sage and parsley
  • Place completed pie on a pizza stone or baking sheet with a light covering of cornmeal underneath
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown

To having patience when you need to and satisfying your cravings when you can,

Marcella Rose

Spring Herb Pizza




Summer in a Jar – Strawberry Freezer Jam

Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam

Let those December winds bellow ‘n blow, I’m as warm as a July tomato.

Peaches on the shelf

Potatoes in the bin

Supper’s ready, everybody come on in

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

You can taste a little of the summer my grandma’s put it all in jars.

 

Well, there’s a root cellar, fruit cellar down below

Watch you head now, and down you go

Maybe you’re weary an’ you don’t give a damn

I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam.

Ah, she’s got magic in her – you know what I mean

She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans.

What with the snow and the economy and ev’ry’thing,

I think I’ll jus’ stay down here and eat until spring.

 

When I go to see my grandma I gain a lot of weight

With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate.

She cans the pickles, sweet & dill

She cans the songs of the whippoorwill

And the morning dew and the evening moon ‘n

I really got to go see her pretty soon

‘Cause these canned goods I buy at the store

Ain’t got the summer in them anymore.

 

Peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin

Supper’s ready, everybody come on in, now

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

Taste a little of the summer,

My grandma put it all in jars.

Let those December winds bellow and blow,

I’m as warm as a July tomato.

– Canned Goods, by Greg Brown

That’s right, with the summer months upon us it’s time to start canning up the magic. Now is the perfect time to be putting fresh strawberries in jars and freezing them for long cold winter nights to be slathered on fresh baked sourdough bread and eaten by the fireside with cups of warm tea. When I put in the call to my mom to see if I could use her famous and legendary Strawberry Jam recipe on the blog, she laughed as she said “Marcella Rose of course you can! It’s not mine! It’s from the box of liquid pectin!” But she, with all of her motherly wisdom, still bestowed on me the way to make it always turn out perfectly. Here are the tips: only use the ripest strawberries, only use fresh lemon, don’t mess with the sugar it’s a lot yes but you eat it sparingly like honey so don’t fret, oh and listen to Greg Brown while making it.

This jam is seriously the best; it captures the perfect taste of ripe strawberries because you don’t cook it into jelly. Now because of that, it needs to be stored not on a shelf but in the freezer or in the fridge. It stays beautifully pourable in the freezer too so don’t fret, at home we often take it from freezer to toaster and back and it needs no defrosting time. It’s truly the most beautiful thing I jar, jeweled; red and gleaming, “Summer in a Jar” to be sure!  Place a little piece of fabric on the lid before you screw on the jar ring and what a perfectly perfect hostess gift for all those summer parties and BBQs.

Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jampink vintage bowls make the world a better place Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer JamSummer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer JamSummer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam

Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam

Sure-Jell Certo Recipe

Makes about 4 cups Jam

You will need:

  • 2 pints strawberries, washed stems discarded and crushed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 pouch Certo
  • Sanitized and washed jars and lids – get fresh tops

How to:

  • Crush strawberries with a potato masher, leaving some fruit chucks
  • Spoon in 2 cups of strawberries to a bowl with 4 cups sugar
  • *Note: reducing sugar will yield no jam, (don’t jam up the process, use the sugar)
  • Allow sugar and strawberries to sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Then stir pectin and lemon together and add to fruit and sugar mixture
  • Mix constantly for 3 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved
  • Pour into prepared jars allowing a ½ inch of space at the top
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours
  • Then refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to a year

 

It’s jammer time!

Marcella Rose

Summer in a Jar - Strawberry Freezer Jam

Challah

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

There is a magic to fresh bread.  There is something eternally warm and welcoming about its taste, the mouth feel and oh the smell.  It is the smell of pure bliss and utter hospitality.  I used to work on a ranch in the summers cooking three square meals a day for hungry cowboys and ranch hands as well as teaching manners to the little cowboys that ran around in the fields all summer, free as woodland elves.  It was there in the starkly beautiful wild country of Nevada, among the sage and the pine… and the cows, where I really learned to cook.   Yes, my culinary birth was one by flame and long hot summers of trial and error; errors that the hungry crew were either kind enough not to mention or too hungry to care.  My mom of course had taught me all the basics and she was set on my mental speed dial, on the old tethered rotary phone by the ranch kitchen, where I would sometimes need to make very expensive long distance phone calls mid-meal, sending out an SOS to her landline where she always picked up and trouble-shot the lumpy gravy or the burnt tomato sauce (note; start fresh with the gravy if you can, always adding in hot liquid to the cornstarch or flour and mixing until smooth before pouring in. Unless you have an emulsifier then use that and poof creamy gravy, also don’t scrape the burnt sauce in the pan just carefully ladle the top ¾ of the sauce into a new pan that has a heavier bottom for long hours of simmering on the stove).  Of course those calls were only made when the head chef had left little me in charge, otherwise Susan (the ranch wife) in all of her glory and wisdom was there by my side.  Helping me knead, teaching me about sourdough starters, showing me the ways and enchantment of a well stocked pantry.   We made bread daily and it was the best part of each day for me.  Waking up with the sun, pulling on the apron, cotton strings wrapped around twice to tie in front, the flour catching wind as cup by glorious cup full is scooped into thick potted bowls.  Breathing new life into the yeast with warm water and a watchful eye, drops of thick olive oil and the slap of dough on wooden tables, then a silhouette in the warm window, a flour cloth covered bowl back lit by the morning sun and a moment of pause until we knead once again then wait once more.   Then it’s thrown and shaped, long brush strokes of whisked egg, a knife dragged across the top and into the vintage Wedgewood where it warms and darkens, the wonder of bread is complete.

I don’t make bread every day anymore but the rhythm of the process is always there, waiting quietly to be put to work.  So I want to share one of the easiest bread recipes with you my readers: Challah.  This bread is eggy and full of loft, it’s wonderful to sop up soup or sauces with and with a slight sweetness even better with honey and butter slathered on top.  It really shines, dipped in eggs, milk, and cinnamon then grilled into the most perfectly perfect French toast.

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

Farm Fresh Eggs

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

Fresh Hot Delicious Challah
Fresh Hot Delicious Challah Fresh Hot Delicious Challah

You will need

  • 11 ozs or 320 grams* water
  • ¾ cup or 85 grams Turbinado** Sugar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • 3 ½ cups or 800 grams flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon good flakey salt
  • ½ cup or 60 grams oil

*When baking it is best to measure with a scale if you own one, if not I have included the conversion for you

** Simple recipes like this with only a few items demand quality, so use fresh pastured eggs, fine olive oil, raw sugar and the best salt you can find.

How to:

  • Warm the water to 95-115 degrees and stir in the sugar
  • Pour yeast in, let sit for a few moments for the yeast to bloom
  • Pour mixture into a kitchen-aid with a hook attachment and add flour, salt and oil
  • Lightly beat eggs and add into mixture
  • Mix low incorporating for about 4 minutes then increase speed for 4 more minutes
  • (If you do not own a KitchenAid, get one! But until then, stir in bowl until too hard to handle then kneed for at least 8 minutes)
  • Take dough (it will be moist) and kneed on a lightly floured surface for a minute forming a ball
  • Then place dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl
  • Cover with a warm moist towel
  • Let rise until doubled in volume; about 45 minutes
  • Then divide dough in half and each half into thirds
  • With your hands gently roll and stretch each third into a long log
  • Gather the tops of three of your logs and pinch together then braid until you reached the ends and pinch together
  • Repeat with the other three logs of dough
  • Place both loaves on a parchment lined backing sheet cover with warm moist towel and let rise once again – about 45 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 400
  • You know dough is ready with you pinch it with your finger and it instantly bounces back!
  • Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with your choice of topping and bake for 10 minutes, lower the oven to 350 and bake until golden and beautiful about 8 more minutes.
  • Slice, eat, enjoy!

To all the Challah back girls and goys,

Marcella Rose


Fresh Hot Delicious Challah



Shakshuka {Gluten Free}

shakshuka

You wake up, you’re tired. Well maybe you aren’t, but I am and I can’t be alone in this feeling…right readers?  On the weekends I often feel like getting up and making breakfast is just too much, can’t I just stay in bed and have Charles (the butler I wish I had) bring me breakfast in bed, Downton Abby style? I mean life is taxing and you are hitting it hard.  Between work, family, obligations, friends, the gym and the home, finding time to make a healthy meal can often feel like panning for gold in the Mississippi, i.e. almost impossible.  So you often fall back on your go-tos; you know, things you make all the time.  Go-tos are a great thing, but go-to them too much and you can get palate fatigue.  You’ve got to spice things up!  Do something different, look outside the box or look to Marcella Rose’s! Well, if Sunday breakfast has you bored, do I have a new breakfast dish for you.  Shakshuka.  It’s fun to say right? Shakshuka!  Well it’s even more fun to make and by fun I mean easy, like crazy easy. Plus it’s insanely delicious and you can probably make it right now with ingredients you already have on-hand.  Some recipes of this dish call for crusty bread which is amazing for scooping up the heavy caramelized sauce but if you’re gluten free it’s amazing by the spoonful or with warm corn tortillas.  Shakshuka recipes often call for feta or goat cheese but really any cheese you have on hand will do, you can make it simple with salt and pepper or you can add spices to take the flavor through the roof.  Again my recipe is below, but play around and make it your own! I always feel it best to break all the rules in the kitchen.  It’s the one safe place to do it right?  Your Le Creuset pan can’t really fire you now can it?  Your olive oil won’t give you a ticket now will it?  So have some fun, spice it up, shake it off, or rather Shakshuka it off, and trust me you will feel like jumping out of bed to make this breakfast.

good morning eggs a blend of parsley, fennel, garlic, sweet paprika, and other spices shakshuka Canned Tomatoes

You will need

  • 3-5 cloves minced garlic – depending on how Italian you are…if you are Sicilian add some more
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 glugs olive oil
  • 1 quart jar of stewed tomatoes (plus the juice)
  • 5 eggs – or more if you have a bigger pan or more mouths to feed
  • Feta (optional)
  • Flat leaf parsley chopped – about 3 tablespoons (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Spices – I used a middle eastern blend of a  parsley, fennel, garlic, sweet paprika and other spices

How to

  • Heat a pan over medium high heat and add olive oil
  • Sauté your onion until translucent; about 4 minutes
  • Add garlic, stirring to avoid it burning, until fragrant; about 1 minute
  • Dump in tomatoes and juice, smashing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon
  • Add spices (if using), salt and pepper then stir to incorporate
  • Allow the mixture to simmer until the juice cooks down and you have a thick sauce; about 5 minutes
  • Crack your eggs directly into the tomato mixture and cover with a lid
  • Cook eggs until yolks are soft but still runny; about 3 minutes
  • Top with cheese and parsley
  • Dig in

IMG_7050shakshuka shakshuka

Shakshuka for everyone!

Marcella Rose

shakshuka

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing makes me happier than blog requests.  I think it’s for the same reason I love to cook and feed people; I love taking the time and thinking about the delight and pleasure my guests will get out of the meal that I am preparing.  It’s my truest expression of love, with each turn of the spatula, each kneed of the dough, each slice of the knife, I am thinking of who I am preparing the meal for.  How to cater to their tastes, how to make them smile, to nourish not just the body but the soul and the spirit and with this act of love, I in turn, am nourishing my own self as well; feeling full not just from the meal but of love and gratitude for being able to give the gift of food to friends and readers.  Really it’s a win-win and then, a great meal too! So when a reader or a friend requests a recipe, I can’t wait to take the time to blog it.  My co-worker and friend Ellie, has been patiently awaiting this recipe after a party at my home.  I was worried I wouldn’t have enough food for the crowd that was about to descend upon the house so at the last minute I took stock of my pantry and saw that I had all the makings of Butternut Squash Soup.  Then one- two- three, soup’s on!  This recipe is simple but oh-so filling. It shines as a first course but has enough oomph to stand alone as a main dish and is perfect for those gluten free and vegetarian guests and loved ones.

Butternut squash is incredibly versatile.  The creamy texture works great in many dishes but it reaches its full potential in soup form.  It’s so velvety and dense; it doesn’t need a lot of work or added thickeners.    You can make Butternut Squash Soup with just the squash and onion but I love to add in tart, crisp apples and a sweet potato.  I feel these two extra ingredients take this recipe to the next level of yum.  Fresh herbs make everything better so try not to use dried sage if you can help it but in a pinch it will do.  With simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients is even more important.  Finally, whenever I make a soup, be it a broth based soup like chicken noodle or a creamy soup like this one, I always, always sauté my ingredients, it pulls out the flavors and it makes all the difference in the world.  So take the time to brown your veggies before you add broth and simmer them down. You will be left with a soup that you will make you want to lick the bowl when you’re finished.

All the making of a fine pot of soup

butternut squashperfectly easy to peel sage beautiful sagele creuset full of soupButternut Squash soup

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed*
  • 1 bunch of sage minced
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1 onion minced
  • 1 Sweet potato cubed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth**
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup cream or half and half (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to:

  • Heat butter in pan and add onion, cooking for 3 minutes or until translucent
  • Add squash (reserving 1 cup of cubed squash), potato, apples, and sage and sauté for 10 minutes
  • Add broth and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until vegetables are soft
  • Pour chunky soup into blender and puree
  • Pour pureed soup back into pot and add reserved cubes, simmering until reserved cubes are al dente
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and cream if desired
  • Serve

*How to prep your butternut squash:  Slice in half and remove seeds; with the flesh side down, use a peeler to remove the skin and then slice into cubes.

** For Marcella Rose’s simple chicken broth recipe click here

Soup’s on,

Marcella Rose

Butternut Squash Soup

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Quick Pickled Vegetables

Thank goodness for my friends. Really and truly, I get so much inspiration for my blog Marcella Rose’s from the fantastic meals and moments I spend with my girlfriends. It’s been hard for me since I moved away from New York and the strong group of fabulous women that I was lucky enough to call my friends.  I have been on the search since arriving in Southern Oregon and recently met yet another amazing woman.  We had dinner at her place a few weeks ago and she made spiced chicken on the bone, seared and then baked on top of cinnamon rice with loads of fresh chopped herbs, a stunning raw beet salad with fresh cracked walnuts, and baby spring greens; it was like heaven. Just what you are craving on these cold winter evenings; all spicy, hearty, and warm, full of root vegetables and baby greens, grown in warm greenhouses through the long winter months. To start, she had laid out some stunning cheeses and some quick pickled carrots. I love setting my table in the summer months with quick-pickled veggies for a fresh crunchy addition to picnics and barbeques alike but had never thought about quick-pickling root veggies in the winter months. It’s genius!

For the full blog and recipe visit My Cooking Spot! 

Quick Pickled Vegetables Quick Pickled Vegetables
Quick Pickled Vegetables
Quick Pickled Vegetables Quick Pickled Vegetables

Happy pickling!

Marcella RoseQuick Pickled Vegetables

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

I have this memory that I fantasize about constantly.  It starts, like many tales you hear of restaurant dreams.  It starts with this noodle place in London.  You would queue up to order, then sit down at one of these long family tables and wait.  The air was full of ginger and the aromas that come from homemade broth.  You would sit waiting, salivating, anticipating what was to come…the Noodle Bowl.  A bowl brimming with brothy, noodle goodness so fresh and fantastic you felt like you hadn’t lived until that very moment.

I have been dreaming about this noodle shop for years, but I finally ran into fresh rice noodles at Trader Joes.  I don’t know why it never hit me…I could…wait…I couldn’t.  Yes I could!! I could make my own noodle bowl! I could do it!!!  So I bought the noodles, found in the prepared food refrigerated section of Trader Joes and went home to test my culinary skills.  What I ended up with was nothing short of a miracle.  It was… it.  IT was the noodle bowl.  I have now made it 5 times and I could barely wait to share it with my readers.  It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s gluten free; it’s heaven in a bowl.  So let’s just get right to it.

Serves 2

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free} The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free} The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}
The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}


You will need:

  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth – store bought will do in a pinch
  • 2 Tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 package rice noodles – the Trader Joes brand comes with two in a package
  • Shredded chicken reserved from your homemade broth or pre cooked
  • Bock Choy – chopped
  • Green onions – Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Gluten free Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Asian spicy sauce (Sriracha)

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

How To:

  • Place stock in a pot and add ginger and shredded chicken
  • Bring to a boil
  • While stock is coming to a boil, make sauce
  • Mix equal parts Gluten free Soy Sauce, Sesame oil and hot sauce and mix
  • Once stock has come to a boil add rice noodles and cook as directed on package
  • 1 minute before the noodles finish, add bok choy and green onion
  • Boil one minute more
  • Ladle into bowls dividing evenly (or not J)
  • Spoon in desired amount of sauce and serve.

Happy slurping!

Marcella Rose

The Noodle Bowl; Homemade Ramen {Gluten Free}

Thanksgiving Garland {DIY)

IMG_5671I don’t know about you but I am busy! This time of year is so full of friends and family and celebrating that trying to carve out time for a craft or decorations is as challenging as running a marathon…I kid, but not really. With that said, now is not the time to cut corners. The hours spent baking your leftover Halloween pumpkins into puree for your holiday pie gives you time to reflect on all the things to be thankful for. The care in kneading your homemade rolls gives your mind rest from the everyday as it wanders to all the joy this season brings.

As you pin your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, your thoughts lean toward the laughter and family that is to come at the end of the month around the table filled with food, fun and laughter. The shorter days and darker evenings lend themselves to huddling in the kitchen around simmering pots of cider, warming the body and the spirit.

I am looking for something little; a sweet, easy, craft to bring a bit of November charm to the house for thanksgiving. Nothing crazy, mind you, just something for my hands to do on these foggy and chilly Oregon nights. This Thanksgiving Garland is perfect for adding a little celebration to the dinner table; you could even make a minute one to be a pie-topper on your pumpkin pies. See full blog and tutorial at My Craft Spot


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To being thankful for the little things,

Marcella Rose 

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