Monday, November 15, 2010

Rosemary Focaccia

There is something about homemade bread that I find intoxicating. Maybe it's the glass of wine I wash it down with. Betty Crapper loves her daily glass of wine.

Regardless, there's something special about bread you make yourself. This recipe is easy, but time consuming. Those of you without a stand mixer are in luck. The only fancy equipment you need to make the dough is a bowl and a wooden spoon. A rubber spatula plays a minor role. I promise it's really easy.

Betty Crapper doesn't lie. 
The bread gets baked in two 9-inch cake rounds placed on top of a super hot baking stone. If you don't have a baking stone, use an upside down, preheated rimmed baking sheet.

Rosemary Focaccia
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated (September/October 2010)
(makes two 9-inch round loaves)


1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) warm water (100-110 F)
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast


2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) warm water (100-110 F)
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

  1. The day before, combine biga ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute. You should have a uniform mass with no dry flour.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours (up to 24 hours).
  3. For the dough, stir flour, water, and yeast into the biga with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute. You should have a uniform mass with no dry flour.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 15 minutes.
  5. Add 2 teaspoons Kosher salt to dough and stir with wooden spoon about 1 minute.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes.
  7. Spray rubber spatula with nonstick cooking spray.
  8. With rubber spatula, fold dough over itself 8 times as follows:
    • lift an edge of dough with spatula and fold it towards the middle.
    • turn bowl 90 degrees.
    • repeat, repeat, repeat......until you've folded dough over 8 times.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes.
  10. With rubber spatula, fold dough over itself 8 times as follows:
    • lift an edge of dough with spatula and fold it towards the middle.
    • turn bowl 90 degrees.
    • repeat, repeat, repeat......until you've folded dough over 8 times.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes.
  12. With rubber spatula, fold dough over itself 8 times as follows:
    • lift an edge of dough with spatula and fold it towards the middle.
    • turn bowl 90 degrees.
    • repeat, repeat, repeat... until you've folded dough over 8 times.
  13. Place oven rack in upper middle position. Place baking stone on rack and preheat oven to 500 F.
  14. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes.
  15. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface (counter). BE GENTLE! 
  16. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and divide in half.
  17. Shape each piece into a 5 inch round by GENTLY tucking under edges.
  18. Coat two 9 inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each.
  19. Sprinkle each pan with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt.
  20. Place each round of dough in a pan, top side down. Slide dough around pan to coat with oil and then flip dough over.
  21. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rise 5 minutes at room temperature.
  22. Press dough out towards edge of pan with your fingertips. If dough resists, let rest 5-10 minutes and try again.
  23. Grab a dinner fork and poke each dough 25-30 times. Make sure you pop any large bubbles.
  24. Sprinkle rosemary over top of dough.
  25. Let dough rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until slightly bubbly.
  26. Place pans on baking stone and immediately lower oven temperature to 450 F.
  27. Bake until top is golden brown 25-28 minutes. Switch pan placement on stone halfway through.
  28. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack 5 minutes.
  29. Remove bread from pans and return to wire rack. If any oil remains in pan, brush that on loaves.
  30. Cool 30 minutes before serving.

I promise this focaccia recipe is worth all those annoying steps. I've made it a handful of times and it always come out fantastic. 

How do you feel about bread?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meal Plan 11/1-11/7

Last week we enjoyed chicken parmigiana, pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary focaccia, ground beef tacos, prosciutto pizza, and chocolate raspberry ice cream. A couple of meals did not get cooked due to leftovers and Halloween!

Monday: spaghetti with Marinara sauce, green salad, homemade wheat bread
Tuesday: chicken breast with bacon and boursin (from My Kitchen in the Rockies)
Wednesday: picadillo with white rice
Thursday: pork chops with herbed rice 
Friday: prosciutto pizza made with homemade dough
Saturday: chicken paella
Sunday: leftovers

Desserts: mamey ice cream, chocolate chip cookies

I reserve the right to make deletions and substitutions due to laziness!

If you are in need of further inspiration, check out the weekly Menu Plan Monday post over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

Betty Crapper must confess. I have an addiction that is insidious and unforgiving. I must have my weakness daily. Some days the need for chocolate is so overwhelming that the bittersweet chocolate chips I usually consume by the handful are not enough.

A few days ago, my addiction forced me to make chocolate raspberry ice cream. That's right. My addiction made me do it. 

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream
(adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp Chambord black raspberry liqueur

Whisk together the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large saucepan. Heat, whisking often, until it comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add the raspberries. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Puree the mixture. If desired, strain to remove the seeds. Chill the mixture for several hours or overnight. Freeze in your ice cream maker.

  • I didn't strain the mixture due to Betty Crapper's inherent laziness. Careful, those little seeds like to lodge themselves in between your teeth. Perhaps next time Betty Crapper will strain.
  • I would have used more Chambord, but all I had left was 1 tbsp. If I make this again I will definitely use a bit more and update this post with my impression.
  • I found this ice cream paired perfectly with my unfrosted, warm chocolate cake. The combination was enough to satisfy my chocolate craving. I wasn't wowed by the ice cream alone.
  • Chocolate raspberry ice cream has not replaced my favorite ice cream.
I may need some sort of 12-step program. What do you think?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Edible Garden Festival & Giveaway Winner

This is my favorite time of year in South Florida. Hurricane season will soon be over and the humidity is on it's way out. Pause, and imagine me doing a happy dance! I look forward to this time of year for many reasons. Chief among them are the produce stands that will soon be bustling with activity. In the months to come I'll introduce you to some of my favorites.

Here in South Florida the temperature is becoming more and more comfortable. It is now tolerable to be outside longer than it takes to dash from one air-conditioned venue to another. I love going to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden this time of year. Last Saturday, I attended the Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with my mother, aunt, cousin, and 14 month old daughter.

Fairchild holds several festivals each year and my favorites are the upcoming Ramble (11/12-11/14) and the International Chocolate Festival in January.

This past weekend, I was on a mission. I headed straight for the organic heirloom tomato starts from Bee Heaven Farm. They had 66 varieties for sale.

I've never grown tomatoes before, but I knew I wanted to try. If you have any tips, suggestions, or words of encouragement please share. They are most definitely welcome because there are now some tomato plants resting comfortably in my very first square foot garden.

I also left Fairchild with a few things from Redland Herb Farm. Herbs I can grow. Usually, my herbs live happily on my covered terrace in pots. This year, some will reside in my square foot garden. At least I'll be certain something will grow in there and my efforts won't be a total failure.

Giveaway Winner!

There were 144 comments on my Stovetop Espresso Maker & Cuban Coffee Giveaway post. Thank you everyone for entering. I enjoyed sharing one of my favorite things and am looking forward to sharing another giveaway soon. selected the number corresponding to MM's comment. Congratulations MM!!! The winner has been confirmed and the goodies are on their way. I am holding MM to her promise of making espresso brownies and blogging about them over at Ms. enPlace.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and Happy Halloween! Tomorrow my father-in-law is building me the support my baby tomato plants will one day need. He is the best father-in-law ever and I am very lucky indeed. Sunday, we'll be enjoying Halloween with friends. What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tag, You're It!

Just a reminder, there's still one more day to enter my stovetop espresso maker and Cuban coffee giveaway. No entries after 11 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 27, 2010.

One of my favorite bloggers, Susi from Susi's Kochen Und Backen Adventures, has tagged me (and seven other bloggers) with a get-to-know-you internet game. If you haven't yet discovered Susi's wonderful blog, what are you waiting for? Susi makes great food and I know you'll agree.

The rules of the internet "game" are simple: answer eight questions provided by the "tagger" and then chose eight blogs to tag with eight questions of my choosing.

Susi's questions for Betty Crapper

1. What is your favorite kitchen tool to use?

It's so hard to pick just one! I love cluttering up my kitchen drawers with gadgets. Since Susi twisted my arm and is making me decide, I'll pick... see I changed my mind already. I'm horrible at making decisions. Ok, I pick the rubber spatula.

2. What is your all-time favorite dessert?

I drool over chocolate cake, but lately I'm going gaga over Tiramisu ice cream.

3. What cooking show would you love to be part of?

It's been a while since I watched a cooking show. Probably the last cooking show I enjoyed was Alton Brown's Good Eats. I would love to play one of the kooky characters on that show, but only if I got to wear a funny costume. This month is Halloween after all.

4. If you could travel to any country just for the food, which would it be?

France! I want to eat lots of cheese and bread washed down with wine.

5. Is there a food you can't stomach, no matter how often you've tried it?

I'll eat just about anything, but don't make me eat raw fish. Sorry sushi fans. Betty Crapper can't stand sushi.

6. What is your most treasured recipe?

My carrot cake. I've been making it since I was a little girl and it was the first recipe I memorized.

7. What is your best kitchen tip?

Don't be afraid to try making something new. It's probably a lot easier than you thought it would be (especially if you read the recipe before you start) and if you mess up it makes a great story.

8. With the holiday's approaching, tell us about a food you must have on either your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table!

There's nothing in particular I must have; however my sister and cousin will be mighty upset with me If I don't make three layer brownies this Christmas. I've been making those things since I was a little girl.

I am tagging the following eight bloggers.

Alicia's Homemaking
Andrea the Kitchen Witch
Baking Serendipity
Hun...What's for Dinner?
Indigo's Sugar Spectrum
Lindy & Ree
Me, Myself & Pie
Ms. enPlace

Here are eight questions you get tagged with. I would love to learn a little bit more about you, but don't feel obligated to answer if these internet games don't float your boat.

1. What is your favorite cookbook?
2. What do you feel like eating when you are grumpy?
3. What is your favorite dessert?
4. How did you learn to cook?
5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance or tool?
6. Is there anything in the kitchen that intimidates you?
7. How far in advance do you plan your meals?
8. What is your most treasured food related memory?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Meal Plan 10/25-10/31

If you love caffeine and haven't entered my giveaway yet, you still have time. I am giving away a stovetop espresso maker and Cuban coffee. Enter until 11 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 27, 2010.

Last week, we ate our meals out of order. We enjoyed ribeyes with a tomato, basil, and fresh mozarella salad; salami pizza; picadillo with white rice; shells stuffed with ricotta and ground beef; and homemade rosemary focaccia. We loved the focaccia recipe and will be making it again this week. I also finished the Tiramisu ice cream I was hoarding in the freezer. Must make more of that soon.

I didn't get around to making the chicken parmesan or the tacos; therefore they will be carried over to this week.

Monday: Chicken parmesan, spaghetti, green salad
Thursday: Pork tenderloin
Friday: prosciutto pizza made with homemade frozen dough and green salad
Saturday: TBD 

Desserts: chocolate raspberry ice cream and individual cherry cobblers

I reserve the right to make deletions and substitutions due to laziness!

If you are in need of further inspiration, check out the weekly Menu Plan Monday post over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Giveaway, Stovetop Espresso Maker & Cuban Coffee

***This giveaway is now closed. updated 10/27 at 11 PM EST***

These items are near and dear to my heart. I use them daily to make Cuban Coffee.

One of my lucky readers will receive a three cup (serving size) stove top espresso maker, Pilon Cuban Coffee (espresso), and an eight ounce metal pitcher (for making espumita).

If you do not drink Cuban Coffee, think of all the other drinks and desserts you can make with the espresso maker. Can't think of any? Just ask in a comment or send me an email. I love to hear from my readers.

I recently used espresso to make Tiramisu Ice Cream and Tiramisu Cake. I have even replaced the water with espresso in my chocolate cake to make me extra happy.

If you comment on this post, I would love to know what you would use the espresso for. Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how often do you indulge? Have you ever had Cuban Coffee?

Giveaway Rules

After much thought, Betty Crapper has decided not to force her anonymous followers to reveal themselves. Therefore, following publicly is not required to enter; however, following publicly will give you an extra opportunity to win.

You have up to two entries. If you desire two entries, you must leave a separate comment for each entry. 

To enter you MUST:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

If you want a second optional entry you MUST:

2. Follow me publicly via Google Friend Connect and leave a separate comment indicating you are a new follower. Current public followers are also eligible for the second entry, simply leave another comment stating you are a current follower.

You have until 11 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 to enter. 

This giveaway is only open to US readers. International shipping charges scare Betty Crapper.

The giveaway items are new and were purchased by me at my local supermarket. They are the same products I use daily. I am in no way affiliated with the makers of these products. I just want to share something I love. Truly.

The winner will be selected by comment post number via and will be announced in a post dated Friday, October 29, 2010. Once the winner is announced, they will have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be randomly selected.

Betty Crapper loves her morning cafe and this she will gladly share. 

She does have two stovetop espresso makers after all!

(they darken with age and use)

Thank you so much for stopping by these last few months. If you are new to Betty Crapper, welcome! I look forward to getting to know you too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tiramisu Ice Cream

I've found my new favorite ice cream. I have made it twice--less than two weeks apart. Oh my! The first time I made Tiramisu ice cream, I had to share. This time, I made French vanilla ice cream as a freezer decoy! It is conveniently placed in front of the Tiramisu ice cream.

Betty Crapper does not like to share her ice cream! Don't judge me.

The cast of characters. Do you see that teeny tiny can of cocoa? That cocoa was incredibly difficult to find. More about that in the notes that follow. Among the cast of characters is the item I mentioned yesterday that is near and dear to my heart.

Don't skimp on the dairy. You won't be sorry. This mascarpone brand has almost twice the fat of my supermarket brand. Betty Crapper believes more fat yields tastier ice cream. 

I love that this ice cream has alcohol. If you do not partake, this is not the ice cream for you. The alcohol keeps the ice cream from getting hard in the freezer. It also makes it taste and smell wonderful. This is definitely an adult only ice cream.

Once you have all your ingredients, blend and place in your refrigerator to chill overnight. I left the mix in my blender. One less thing to wash.

After you blend the ingredients for the ice cream make the Mocha Ripple. Refrigerate in a bowl overnight. Don't worry if the chocolate seems runny. It will thicken up (not to hot fudge consistency) overnight.

In the morning it's time to make your ice cream. It took about 30 minutes to churn up. Due to the alcohol, it will not be as solid as other ice creams (soft-serve consistency). 

I love watching ice cream churn. Betty Crapper can't help watching with a spoon in hand. She is just checking for doneness! 

When the ice cream is done churning, it is time for my favorite part. Grab your chilled container and alternate spoonfuls of ice cream and Mocha Ripple. Place in the freezer for a few hours to harden before indulging.

Tiramisu Ice Cream
(adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)

2  cups mascarpone
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (I used Kahlua)
3 tablespoons brandy or dark rum (I used Bacardi Gold rum)

Mocha Ripple

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup strongly brewed espresso
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (I used Green & Black's)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The night before you are ready to churn your ice cream, puree the mascarpone, half-and-half, sugar, salt, Kahlua, and rum in a blender. Chill overnight in the refrigerator. 

That night, also make the mocha ripple. In a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, espresso, and cocoa powder. Whisking constantly, heat over medium heat until bubbles form at the edges. Continue to whisk until mixture comes to a low boil. Stop whisking periodically to check for the light boil. Cook for one more minute, whisking often. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. When cool chill overnight in refrigerator.

The next morning freeze the ice cream in your machine. (My machine took 30 minutes). As you remove it from the machine, alternate layers of the chilled Mocha Ripple with the frozen ice cream in your storage container. Place in freezer for a few hours before indulging.

  • I've made this ice cream twice. It will work with natural cocoa, but it won't taste as amazing. The first time I made this recipe I did not have Dutch processed cocoa on hand and used Hershey's natural cocoa. I liked the mocha ripple, but noticed the bitter aftertaste. It was good, but I knew it would be incredible if I could get my hands on Dutch processed cocoa. I searched high and low all over my surrounding regular supermarkets in South Florida. It seems no one here carries Dutch processed cocoa anymore. Hershey's even stopped making it several years ago. Hershey's special dark is not all Dutch processed. Boo to Hershey's and my local supermarkets for not carrying Dutch processed cocoa.
  • In the past I have used Green & Black's organic cocoa. It is alkalized (Dutch processed), so I decided to hunt for it. This was not an easy feat in Miami, or even online (Amazon was out of stock). My local Whole Foods told me they discontinued it from their local stores and that the warehouse might have a few left. I was told I could try and order a case of 12. I was sad. As I was leaving, I walked passed their coffee aisle. I spotted a few dust covered cans. I snatched them up real quick! They told me those were the last of them.
  • I found that mascarpone at Whole Foods. It is produced from milk and cream that is rBST-free.
  • David Lebovitz is my new guru/idol. If you love making ice cream you must buy his book. Everything I've made from The Perfect Scoop (link from D. Lebovitz's Amazon store) has been amazing and far better than any other recipe I've used for the same flavor.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you share?

Plea to my South Florida readers

If you spot Dutch processed cocoa, and most especially the Green & Black's cocoa (not the Hot Chocolate) contact me via my blog/email. I will love you forever!!!!!!

Upcoming Giveaway

I've passed 100 public Google Friend Connect Followers. Yippee!!!!

I appreciate all your comments and have really enjoyed getting to know you all these last few months. Tomorrow I will let you know about my first giveaway. One lucky reader will receive something that I love and use daily. Making this ice cream and the Tiramisu cake would not have been possible without it. 

Look for my first giveaway post tomorrow. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meal Plan 10/18-10/24

Betty Crapper is happy she stuck with last week's meal plan Monday through Friday. Due to weekend outings, dinner Saturday and Sunday went off the plan. Saturday we ate leftovers and Sunday I made picadillo with white rice. Picadillo is my go-to meal when I'm in a rush and have no clue what to make. 

Last week I made the following yummy desserts: cherry cobbler, vanilla ice cream (new recipe to me), and Tiramisu ice cream. I took pictures of the vanilla ice cream and the Tiramisu ice cream. Look for those posts soon.

Monday: leftover picadillo
Tuesday: beef manicotti
Wednesday: chicken tacos
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: homemade pizza
Saturday: ribeyes on the grill
Sunday: chicken parmesan

Dessert: We are still working through the Tiramisu ice cream and the Vanilla ice cream. I will probably make more cherry cobbler. I make individual portions with frozen cherries. Why did Betty Crapper make two ice cream's last week? She doesn't like to share her Tiramisu ice cream!

I reserve the right to make deletions and substitutions due to laziness!

If you are in need of further inspiration, check out th
e weekly 
Menu Plan Monday post over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

***Look for an upcoming giveaway post once I hit 100 public Google Friend Connect followers! The items are near and dear to my heart and I can not live without them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meal Plan 10/11-10/17

Due to unforeseen (*positive) circumstances, two meals were not made last week. We ate out  on Saturday and Sunday. Peach chicken and mini meat loaves will be carried over to this week. Nothing new was made for dinner. For dessert, I am ecstatic with the coffee ice cream I made; so rich and creamy. Next time, and there will most definitely be a next time, I'll take pictures and post the recipe. 

Monday: mini-meat loaves with mashed potatoes
Thursday: homemade pizza
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: beef manicotti with salad and rosemary focaccia
Sunday: french onion soup and salad

Desserts: cherry cobbler and Tiramisu ice cream

I reserve the right to make deletions and substitutions due to laziness!

If you are in need of further inspiration, check out the weekly Menu Plan Monday post over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

* Look out world. Our baby girl now has her first pair of shoes. She wore them on Sunday and we tried them out at the zoo. Every animal is a "cat!"

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

As I am currently thinking about lunch, I decided it was time to finally post the recipe I promised back in August (before I went on vacation). I usually have most of the ingredients for this yummy pasta salad. I absolutely love how quick it is to put together. By the time the pasta is done, everything else is ready to mix in. 

Betty Crapper promises it is easy and foolproof. Cook your fusilli pasta. Dice your ingredients. Make the dressing. Are you with me so far?

Put everything in a big bowl and toss.
 Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style, 2002)

1/2 pound fusilli pasta
kosher salt
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced (I quartered grape tomatoes)
3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine ingredients in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta. Just before serving add the Parmesan and basil. Toss well.

How could something so easy to put together taste so good? This would make an excellent party dish. It keeps very well and the flavor improves the longer it sits. Next time I make it I am going to use sun-dried tomatoes that were not packed in oil. I am curious to see if it makes a huge taste difference. What do you think?

***update using half the salt and sun-dried tomatoes that were not packed in oil was really great and the version of this recipe that I will make from now on