Casadetti..casadedi..potstickers..or whatever

Cooking for me has been quite the journey. Sometimes all I want to do is cook, and sometimes the thought of it ticks me off because let’s be a good homemade meal can be extremely time consuming. I am so inconsistent I swear! My poor husband probably doesn’t understand why sometimes he comes home to seven course meal and other times I am like can I just make you a really good salad? The days I am crafting a ton or doing a lot of activities with my girls I actually resent that I have to feed my clan multiple times a day. They always want something!!
Anywho..what I like to cook also changes periodically ( mostly because my taste buds are all over the place ) ..earlier this year all I wanted to do was cook Asian dishes. Sesame Chicken was my favorite..with Mongolian Beef coming in at a close second.. if you search my cooking posts I am sure you will find the links to both of those!
Last week I was into the middle eastern food, if you read my previous post about Mother’s Day you will see all of the fun things I made! I am still on a tabouli kick. I also love making the homemade naan. I even bought a ton of garlic yesterday because I want to try to make that garlic sauce that they dip the naan in to. I have had it at restaurants and they make it so delicious I really hope I can master this one at home to! These past couple weeks I have also been into making the homemade pasta. I needed some practice at making homemade pasta dough, so I figured why not do it since I have the time! I ended up making potsticker-like pasta. I have to be honest I didn’t even know what potstickers were until I made them and had a friend try them and she said that’s what they tasted like! I had to Google it just to see what these are all about ha!! I usually boil the homemade ravioli like noodles but I was scared that the dough was too thin this time so I ended up frying them and it ended up being the most amazing thing I have ever tasted! I topped him with melted butter mixed with parmesan but they were good even without that topping. They were so good that I had to make more dough today and make a bunch to freeze! That way whenever I crave them I can throw a few on the pan. Making homemade pasta is very time consuming but for me it is therapeutic. You just need patience and a few hours of free time. I use: 4 cups flour, 2-3 eggs, 1 tsp olive oil, and I add (slowly) as much water as it takes to get a nice firm dough. For the filling I fried a little over 1 lb of pork with garlic and salt in a pan. After that was fully cooked I drained it and added it to a bowl with one egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, and rosemary. After this I rolled the pasta out to the right thickness and used a plastic cup to make circles in the dough and stuffed them with a pork mixture and closed them by hand. I learned from my Mom and Grandma how to do this to fancy way, but if you want a simple way to close them you can just fold the circle and half and pinch them closed, or you can use one of those pastry cutters to close it. The way I sid it is called Cassadeti..or Casadedi..the spelling is up in the air for these! It has been a delicious couple of weeks that is for sure. We made noodles with the leftover dough, my daughter was so excited to help make linguine. She did a great job with the pasta machine too. I think it’s important to involve our kids in stuff like this, although it did make the process last a lot longer, she felt like she was really involved and helping. And probably learned a thing or two! I may not be the best pasta teacher, but I’m all shes got 😀

Middle Eastern Mother’s Day

To start off: I love food. I have always loved food. Even as a little girl I love trying new things. I was constantly thinking of what to put in my belly next! I ate everything that my mom cooked as a child as well. My broad taste buds have really made cooking fun for me as an adult. I love to try new things and new flavors! And although I am Italian, that does not limit what I like to cook. And my fast metabolism has helped me to enjoy all of these different foods without packing on the pounds. All in moderation. I basically like to pick at things all day rather than sitting down and stuffing my face with a huge meal.

I’m hosting Mother’s Day this Sunday and I’m going to do a middle eastern themed dinner. The last Mother’s Day I hosted, I made Italian. The time before that, I made Mexican! Basically I like to mix it up. I also like feeding my family things they aren’t used to eating. I am sure my mom has never made hummus and tabbouleh and naan bread! I have actually never made fresh tabbouleh either, but I’m excited to try. Here is the homemade naan recipe. I’m going to give chicken shawarma a try as well!

This all started last weekend when I had a friend over for dinner. I wanted to make hummus because I had randomly bought pita bread that day at the market! I realized I had no chick peas so I had to search online what the heck else we could dip our pita bread into..that’s when I came across this amazing white bean dip recipe. It has intense flavors of basil, garlic, lemon, and cumin. And blending the feta cheese with the white beans really gave it a nice kick as well! I liked it so much I made it again last night so it would be perfect to eat today. The flavors really blend nicely in the fridge overnight. Plus it tastes way better cold than room temperature. Since I plan on making naan bread for Mother’s Day I figured I would give it a try this morning. It’s good to practice these things first! I don’t need my husband running out to buy pita bread last minute because I messed up in the kitchen! I found a yummy recipe for naan and really had time to let it rise properly. They came out great, but I always regret not rolling the dough out thinner because they really do puff up a bit in the frying pan! The next time I will probably add a smidge of garlic powder to the butter I brushed on them after they were done to give a kick of flavor. If you don’t have time to make naan you can also buy naan pita chips or regular pita chips at your local grocery store! Regular tortilla chips were also great with this white bean dip. Here is the white bean dip recipe.

Wish me luck on my Mother’s Day Extravaganza! I will be making a few things I never have before. I might even try to make lamb koftas with yogurt dressing. There a lot of fun Middle Eastern recipes online try. I hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day! I know I will enjoy it seeing the odd looks on my family’s faces when they see a middle eastern spread in my kitchen! If anybody else will enjoy it my Dad will, because he loves testing his taste buds as well!