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



Homemade Chicken Stock

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

We are in the throws of winter.  It is blistering cold, the storms are sweeping our country and even if you are not blanketed in snow you still may not be spared from the cold and flu bugs that are flying around.  During this time nothing makes me feel more at home and like I can weather any storm, be in sleet, snow or bugs, than homemade stock.  The wind whips at the windows as the rain pours and the fog rolls in, but on the stove simmers a broth.

Winter or not, stock is a staple every kitchen needs.  You can certainly pop into your grocery and purchase some but once you make it yourself and taste the difference, you’ll never go back to store bought again.  What I love to do is make a large batch and freeze it in small containers of 1-3 cups so that when a recipe calls for broth, there I have it, measured out and ready to throw into a pot to thaw.  Making stock is as easy as one-two-three; fill a pot with water, throw in some bones and vegetables, simmer for two hours, salt and pepper to taste and done.  You can use the tips and unusable bits of carrots, celery and onion as well.  Most of the time I have a bag in the freezer full of these odds and ends that I throw in, so when I have some beef or chicken bones I throw in the bag of ends and “poof”, stock for all!  You can make stock out of any bones, pork, beef, chicken, or make it vegetarian with just vegetables.  The whole goal is to simmer out the nutrients and flavor in your stock ingredients to make a broth rich, full of flavor and dense in nutrition.

Try your finished stock in your favorite soup recipe or my favorite recipe for Homemade Ramen 

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

You will need:

  • 2 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 onions
  • 4-6 quarts of water or enough o fill the pot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A bundle of herbs, like rosemary, sage and thyme – you can use dried as well.
  • Bones

*I will sometimes throw in a whole chicken carcass after I have roasted it and served for several meals. This week I had two big bone in breasts that I had cooked for previous meals that I threw into my stock.

**Also you don’t need to use fresh veggies you can use odds and ends as well.

How to:

  • Throw all the ingredients into a pot
  • Bring to boil
  • Lower the temperature to a simmer
  • Simmer for two hours
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Simmer it up!

Marcella rose


Make your own chicken stock, to add depth and flavor to your favorite recipes

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}

The Bloody Mary

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Nothing is more desired on a Sunday morning at brunch, I think, than The Bloody Mary. Well, perhaps bacon….yes bacon wins….okay The Bloody Mary is a close second. Everyone has his or her favorite type of Bloody Mary. Perhaps you enjoy a spicy one, or maybe you won’t drink it without the custom-Mary celery stalk. Maybe you only have one if it’s extravagant, served with bacon bits on the rim, a fried egg on top, or a fresh crab claw resting in the cold red liquid.

 

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Let me tell you, after living in Manhattan I have seen Bloody Maries that would make my mother blush! There is always a new hot spot, or an old one trying to reinvent them-selves, serving a Bloody Mary with some amazing twist. The thing that I love about this drink is not only how refreshing and much needed it is on a Sunday, but also the range this Classy Lady seems to have. She can be meek and coy, she can be cruel and harsh, or she may be so spicy you can barely handle her but simply can’t resist no matter how hard you try. She can be low maintenance on a camping trip with just vodka, tomato juice and lime or dressed up so fancy you don’t recognize her with caviar and lobster. No matter how you have her, she is always good.

 

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So today I take the time to share a few secrets for my personal Bloody Mary. I like mine fresh with (if I can get it) pressed tomato juice, perfect for those red babies you have sitting around that are too ripe. I like a hit of lemon to make it pop, course ground pepper, a hunk of fresh horseradish and exactly three hits of the Worcestershire. I also love the additions; to dunk in the acidic liquid and enjoy leisurely, for The Bloody Mary should never be rushed. Currently my favorite are my homemade spicy pickles which I canned last fall…adding a slice of the jalapeno from the jar to make it that much better. On my first trip to Chicago I had the “Chi-town Bloody Mary” and it was served with a small beer back. The heaven that I experienced with that addition is not one I will soon forget. Now I always serve my Mary’s with a beer back, it helps to clean the palate or if the Mary a hottie, cool the palate. Basically it just makes Mary better, elevating her acidity, spice and the tango of flavors she comes offering. I now give you one of my favorite Mary recipes, just to give you a starting place to find your own way to Bloody Mary happiness.

 

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You Will Need

Ice
Fresh pressed tomato juice (or store bought)
Worcestershire Sauce
Prepared (or fresh-grated horseradish)
Pepper
Celery Salt
Vodka
Lemon
Garnish – celery, pickles, pickled jalapeno, green beans, lemon wedge, olives etc.…

 

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How to
Place ice in a glass and pour in a shot (or two) of Vodka
Add the juice of half a lemon
A few twists of pepper
Two shakes of Worcestershire
A teaspoon of horseradish
A pinch of celery salt
A tablespoon of spiced pickle juice
Fill to the top with tomato juice and stir
Serve with a garnish or two and a half pint beer and enjoy

 

 

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To Mary, may she be bloody brilliant always,
Marcella Rose

 

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DYI Flower Crown

 

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Every lady should feel like royalty.  This is a motto I try to live by.  Perhaps it’s the Peter Pan in me; continually attempting to find my way back to those days of imagination where I would lose hours, if not days, to a daydream.  That daydream, of course, was of being royalty.  Now it wasn’t always easy, I mean being royal requires a lot of responsibility; it’s not all high tea and bonbons. Though, those are appreciated and the marrow is sucked out of those moments when you happen upon them.  I am talking the hard facts of being a royal.  For example, perhaps you are trapped in an estate with an evil stepmother.  You must scrub the floors. You must please an unappeasable woman; there is manual labor to be done!   But oh the dreams that you have while scrubbing, the journeys you go on in your mind.  Perhaps you are trapped in a tower, your royal status only matched by your solitude.  Day in and day out you sing and dream of life out of the tower.  Or, what if you are made to sit next to your royal family, always being told how to act and what to do?  You long for the great big somewhere….being royal isn’t always easy!

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Those are the daydreams of my past.  Now, I am all about finding small royal moments in my every day; moments where I can disappear from the humdrum of life and escape for a minute or two.  Escape to a fantasy world of being royalty.  These are small moments, like when my husband brings me my morning meds and vitamins in one of my vintage eggcups every morning with a fresh cup of water and leaves it  on the nightstand for me when I wake for work; a royal moment indeed!  Or when the service at dinner is so top notch; one night, my sister’s boyfriend, Eric, waited on us it was like we were the most royal of royals.  Or when you change your sheets and turn down the bed yourself, hop in the shower and step out in a plush towel after a long day.  You look at that bed with some fresh cuts you arranged on the nightstand and even though you yourself did it all, this…this is a royal moment of the most high.

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Or when you make yourself a Flower Crown.  Never ever has there ever been a royal moment more pure and full of bliss than when wearing a flower crown.  I made one a few weeks back for a May Day party because, seriously, it isn’t a May Day party without a flower crown.  I mean am I right-or-am-I-right?!?

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So I implore you to grab some flowers and sit down and make one today.  Being Royal was never so easy or felt so good!

 

You will need:

16 gage wire

Floral tape

A long stretch of ribbon

Scissors

Wire cutters

Hot glue gun and glue

Flowers and greenery

Note: the hardier the flower the better the crown will hold up

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How to:

Cut a section of wire to fit across the crown of your head

Measure off 2 feet of your ribbon to trail from one end of the wire glue the wire to this point

Take the rest of the ribbon and begin to wrap around the wire until you get to the end

Measure off 2 more feet of ribbon to trail off at the other end of the wire

~You will use these ribbons to tie the crown to your desired measurements and will want a little extra to hang down the back after a bow is tied for whimsy you know

Now to the flowers!

Cut each flower or greenery leaving a 2 inch stem

Wrap the strong stems with the flower tape

Wrap the delicate stems with flower tape and a section if wire to give them more strength

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Now all of your flowers are prepped this saves time and helps creatively

Begin at one end of the wire

Wrap the first piece to the wire with floral tape facing the blooms toward the end of the wire

Let the first few blooms go past the end of the wire to cover the end of it up

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Continue to wrap flowers/greenery to the crown taking care to cut off and excess stems

This will keep your crown lighter

About three inches from the other end of the crown flip the directions of the flowers

This will cover your other end of the crown

Arrange on head and tie ribbon ends to achieve desired fit.

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Note you can make this crown up to a day ahead of time.  Simply spritz with water and keep in a fridge until needed.

 

I bow to you your majesty!

Marcella Rose

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