Annette’s Focaccia Recipe

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager and friend. We had a rare snow day yesterday in Atlanta (trust me, we use the phrase “snow day” very loosely in these parts). I spent the day snuggled in front of the fire, needlepointing, reading, and catching up on television shows.

While it was a lazy day for me, I know many people took to their kitchens to do some baking, and I know bread is always a popular baking choice. The next time you find yourself wanting to bake bread, why not give Annette’s focaccia recipe a try?

You can find the story behind focaccia in Annette’s book, Cocktail Italiano.

Focaccia
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3 cups double zero flour (super fine flour)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing

To prepare:

Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl. put flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.

On an oiled cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough.

Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools.

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Easy Make Ahead Meal

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m pretty tired of cooking, and I am ready for a bit of a break. I’ve been thinking about what I can make ahead to last me a few days and give me some much-needed downtime, and it dawned on me that there is nothing better than make-ahead lasagna. And lucky for me, I have Annette’s archives right at my fingertips.

She has shared the below recipe for meatless lasagna before. Let us know if you give it a try.

Meatless Lasagna
Serves 12-14

You will need:
– 1 package lasagna noodles (you will need 12 noodles)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
– 2 cups mushrooms cut into thin slices
– 6 cups Spinach
– 1 16.oz ricotta ( low fat is fine)
– 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (reserve 1 cup for the topping)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for the topping)
– 1 16 oz jar prepared marinara sauce (or your own sauce recipe)

To prepare noodles:

Preheat Oven 400 degrees F

Prepare noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: once the noodles are cooked, I like to rinse them in cool water and then leave them in the water until I am ready to layer the pan, this makes them not stick together.

To prepare filling:

Combine the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano and egg in a bowl and combine until smooth. Set aside.

In a saute pan, add oil, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until browned, then toss in the spinach and saute the spinach and mushrooms until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated. You want the mixture as dry as possible.

To layer:

Separate the noodles in the water some of them may have stuck together, then drain in a colander. I like to line up my fillings and the noodles.

In a lasagna pan (9”x13)” lay in the layer of noodles, 3 to 4 is perfect. Then add the sauce about (1/2 cup), the spinach mushroom filling, and then dollops of the ricotta filling (about 3 tablespoon dollops), finishing off the layer with a sprinkle of shredded Mozzarella ( about 1/2 cup). Repeat this process 3 times, each time starting with the noodle layer. The top layer should be the noodles, sauce and the 1 cup of Mozzarella and ½ cup of Parmesan make sure to cover the entire top layer.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let it set up for 15-20 minutes before serving.

xx Annette

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Holiday Party Punch

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and I am back today with a little treat for you from the archives: festive holiday party punch.

Here’s the thing: I found out less than a week ago that we are hosting my husband’s family for Christmas this year. Oh, and I’m hosting my family on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, because of various conflicts, everyone can’t be together at one shindig, so this is the best we can do. Needless to say, my stress meter is a pinch off the charts.

One thing I know I can do to make life easier is to make a batch cocktail, aka, punch. Annette has always stressed the importance of enjoying the party as the hostess, too. That’s part of the fun, right? I plan to make a holiday punch, put everything out on a table, and let guests serve themselves. I might even leave the liquor out, so the kids can get involved, and so the adults can select their libation of choice. Here’s one of Annette’s fabulous holiday party punch recipes. Enjoy!

Holiday Punch
Serves 16

You will need:

– 6 cups Pomegranate Juice
– 4 cups SKYY INFUSIONS CRANBERRY
– 4 cups FRANGELICO
– 1 cup Lime Juice
– 1 cup Orange Juice
– 1 cup Honey syrup
– 1 cup fresh cranberries
– 2 ice cube trays

Honey Syrup:

1 cup water and 1 cup honey boiled and reduced about 10 minutes

Cranberry Ice Cubes:

Fill trays with pomegranate juice and cranberries. As the juice melts, it will only make the cocktail merrier!

Punch:

Mix all ingredients together in a large serving bowl or pitcher. Ladle punch into ice-filled glass.
Garnish with clove stuffed orange slices (or simply with rosemary sprig; the punch’s red color is
gorgeous with this “evergreen” garnish). Serve with cranberry ice cubes.

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Winter White Negroni

Ciao! I wanted to leave this recipe here. We love a Negroni, am I right? This Winter White Negroni is the perfect winter version of my favorite cocktail. When anybody asks me what my favorite cocktail is, the Classic Negroni is hands down my go-to. Here’s a great twist on the classic; it’s a great holiday party addition to your cocktail recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce Lillet blanc
  • 1/2 ounce Suze gentian liqueur
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Steps

  1. Add the gin, Lillet blanc and Suze into a mixing glass with ice and stir for 15 to 20 seconds until well-chilled.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist. We added a few cranberries a festive holiday touch.
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Whether you call it dressing or stuffing, this recipe is the ONLY one you need.

Saying a recipe is the best is a bold statement, I know. But this stuffing really is a game-changer. Give it a try and let me know what you think. And I’m curious: do you call it stuffing or dressing in your house? Let me know in the comments!

Pear Walnut Crispy Bacon Stuffing
Serves 8-10

You will need:
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 yellow onion chopped
– 2 stalks of celery chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic minced
– 1 cup toasted walnut halves
– 3 pears cored and cubed
– 4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
– 4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
– 3 links of Italian sausage, out of the casing and crumbled
– 1 loaf of country bread cubed
– 3 cups of turkey stock

To Prepare:

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy, drain, and set aside. Reserving about a ¼ cup of the bacon drippings in the pan (discard the rest) sauté the onion, garlic and celery in the bacon drippings, when translucent, add the sausage and sage and rosemary walnuts, pears remove from heat. In a large bowl place the bread cubes and the turkey stock, add the mixture from the sauté pan, and crumble the bacon into the bread bowl combine thoroughly.

Grease a casserole dish pour the stuffing into the dish. Set aside until ready to bake

*Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, serve warm

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