Mango Salsa

Ingredients                                                            Mango Salsa

  • 2 Mango’s diced
  • 1 Serrano Pepper finely diced, with the seeds
  • 2 Green Onion
  • ¼ cup Pineapple or fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 TBS Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions

Dice mango’s, slice green onion and finely dice serrano pepper. Mix together in a decorative bowl.

Mix in juice, olive oil and cilantro then season with salt and pepper.

Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Store in an air tight container. Can be stored for 2 days.

I love to serve this with pork, fish or chicken. Try it with your favorite tacos! Healthy, spicy and delicious.

 

Posted in Dinner, Sides | Leave a comment

Chef Feker Part 2

An amazing thing happened to me on Saturday, January 25, 2014; I had the “life changing” moment that we all somehow reach for.

My husband Don purchased me a gift certificate to cook with Chef Michael Feker from IL MITO in Wauwatosa, WI. What a wonderful gift; a private cooking experience with Chef Feker. The envelope read, “To my chef who will only become a better chef”. It brought tears to my eyes aswell as joy and excitement!

It took me a while to make the arrangements. Chef Feker is very busy with two restaurantsand his television show. Finally the stage was set; Saturday, January 25 at 12:30pm. I was nervous and so excited.

I arrive at IL MITO promptly at 12:30pm. The restaurant had a few lunch patrons and a gentleman at the bar. The bar tender greeted me and poured me a glass of wine while I waited for Chef Feker. The gentleman next to me struck up a conversation about what music was playing. Of course it was Italian, Dean Martin I believed. My hands were sweaty with nervous anticipation.

I had previously met Chef Feker twice, both at home shows in Wauwatosa and Milwaukee. You can read about my first experience in my cookbook which can be purchased at:

http://www.blurb.com/b/4007934-these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-things.

Finally, it was time to cook. I was led to the cooking area where Chef Feker was. He greeted me and we began to talk. I told Chef that my husband bought me the gift card so I could cook with him.

I brought him a gift; a signed copy of my cookbook. He accepted it graciously. I told him of the story I wrote about meeting him. He immediately read my story and was very impressed. It seemed that he appreciated the cookbook and even flaunted it to our server/bar tender. We laughed! I made sure to mention to read my daughter’s story about creme brulle. She is such a talented writer and the story is hilarious.

The recipe we were going to make was, “Crab and spinach stuffed South African Panga (fish) atop a creamy artichoke puree”. We began to make a variation of this recipe. It seemed as if we were old friends just hanging out and cooking. We exchanged tips, tricks and new recipes. Chef Feker told me that I could freeze the stuffing mixture and when ready to buy some wonton wrappers and stuff them with the mixture. This is an easy variation of making ravioli. The funny thing about this was I have never purchased wonton wrappers in my life, but I stopped at the grocery store early in the morning on Saturday and guess what I bought for the first time, wonton wrappers. OMG!

Chef talked about collaborating with me on some charity cooking, which thrilled me to say the least. As we talked about what I want to do with cooking going forward in my life, he said, If it does not scare the hell out of you then you are not reaching far enough”.  Life changing moment for me!

I told Chef Feker how both of my children, Ryan and Becky, love to cook and how well they do cook. I mentioned to him that Ryan won a Pick n’ Save cooking contest with his Mac and Cheese recipe. Chef Feker was very interested in why Ryan is not involved in our “art”.

Chef Feker eats gluten free, so I shared with him my gluten free gravy recipe (this can also be found on my website at http://loraskrazykitchen.com/?p=617). He said he was going to steal it…we laughed again.

At one point, I was using this amazing spatula which was heat resistant and so cool. I told Chef Feker, “I have to get one of these”. He proceeded to reach into a drawer, pull out a spatula and hand it to me. He said, “You gave me a gift so here is your gift”.  SWEET!

It was time then for me to eat and enjoy what we just prepared. We even made extra for my husband Don which Chef Feker calls the “bearded man”. The food was amazing. Chef Feker liked my added spice. You know I like it spicy, just like my men!

In a blink of an eye, my time was over. He talked about meeting and cooking again, promoting my cookbook and blog and Chef Feker was even interested in my son Ryan working with him on a new project he is putting together. WOW!

My life changed in that moment. I need to reach for what I want, but I am not sure what or where that is. I have been asking God for help. It is like the time I wanted my husband Don to take me to the ballet. He would not, so I thought and prayed. It came to me; be in the ballet and he will come. I joined the Milwaukee ballet and after two years, I was chosen (small non dancing part) to be in the Nut Cracker at the Performing Arts Center at the age of 36. Life changing and I did it!

I feel I am at a cross road. Where do I go from here? What is my path? I asked God to give me a sign and after the week I have had (awful) doing tax, accounting and investment work, I can hear God screaming at me!

 

 This is the quote I wrote and the end of the story about Chef Feker:

God Is Amazing…But You Need to Listen!

The last thing Chef Feker said to me was, I believe, “nothing beats cooking with the ones you love”.  He gave me the biggest hug and we said good bye. I hope we meet and cook together again soon.

 

Please visit Chef Feker’s website and blog!

http://www.ilmito.com/

IL MITO’s

6913 W North Avenue, Wauwatosa call us at (414) 443-1414

Great place to meet and eat.

Friendly, Knowledgeable Staff

Please read my review at:

http://loraskrazykitchen.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=429&action=edit

 

8 Comments »

  1. jenny says:

    thank you thank you for this recipe! can’t wait to make it!!!!

  2. Jenny says:

    I made your pumpkin seeds and everyone loved them! Even my husband who doesn’t like pumpkin seeds (till now ;) ) went crazy over them…will be making these again. Thank you!

  3. Lora Murray says:

    Thank you so much!

  4. Lora Murray says:

    Thank you and visit often.

  5. Jenny says:

    CONGRATS on the cookbook!!!! It will be a stable in MANY kitchens

  6. Connie Seibel says:

    I miss and LOVE the Brown Sugar Drops. No one makes them like Lora. Wish I were as talented and skilled as my favorite Krazy sister Lora :)

  7. Joanne Gray says:

    Just paged through your cookbook given to the kids. Impressive. Congrats on your accomplishment.

  8. Great post, I think people should learn a lot from this website its very user friendly. So much good information on here :D .

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Chef Feker

So we are a home show in Milwaukee one cold February day. We needed to get out of the house so the home show was our best bet.  It was crowded to say the least. We strolled down each aisle taking in all the home improvements we could. After battling the crowd for what it seemed forever we came upon the center of the home show. We were able to grab a beer and find a place to sit.  But then I noticed a huge bunch of chairs facing what it looked like a mock kitchen. I then thought, oh great another kitchen gadget sales pitch but then I saw that it was a guest chef. I was intrigued.  We decided to sit, relax and enjoy the show along with about 100 other people.

Chef Michael Feker (IL MITO Trattoria e Enoteca) took the stage and in front of him was the largest sauté pan I had ever seen.  I would love to own one of these pans, but where would I store it? At first I thought he was going to prepare a paella. He started to speak and I was immediately drawn to his every word. Was he really going to make risotto for all these people…oh yes…he was. And he was doing a shrimp asparagus risotto…was he insane. I appreciated his passion and wanted to be a part of it.

Could he pull this off? Risotto for all these people?  He did amazing things with the asparagus using every part of this wonderful veggie; blending even the part that I would have discarded.

He spoke and cooked and before you knew it he was ready to serve. We stood in line and I thought this was going to be either under or over cooked. The shrimp would be tough. How could he cook for all these people in such a short time span?

What was I thinking, he is a professional chef and yes…it was amazing! I even had a tear in my eye. I need to speak to this man.

We sat…we saw…we ate…I needed more. He was gracious enough to take questions but I needed something more intimate. After service he was still in his mock kitchens so I, with much anticipation was able to approach him. I was shaking nervously. He was very gracious and gave me the chance to speak.

I asked him how I could fulfill my passion for cooking without working in a restaurant. What he said still lives and breathes in me every day. He told me to do what I love but to reach out and share my passion and skills with others. He then gave me a huge hug and a smile. I will never forget this for he was so sincere; not just brushing me off.  I knew he felt my passion for cooking.

This is what brought me to where I am now. Creating and maintain my website and doing what I always wanted to do…a cook book. What a wonderful journey I have experienced.  God is amazing but, you need to listen!

Thank you Chef Feker!

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IL Mito’s Crab and Spinach Stuffed South African Panga

PangaPanga 2

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Moscow Mule

HAPPY NEW

YEAR

Do you need a drink for the new year…follow the recipe below…and hopefully you have these cups.

Moscow Mule History and Recipe

Vodka fans, rejoice. You may have never had a Moscow Mule, but it’s a cocktail you should praise. Without it, you may have never been introduced to your favorite Martini.

Once upon a time, say, back in the 1940s, vodka was little known in the United States, and gin reigned supreme as the clear spirit of choice. A gentleman by the name of John G. Martin, president of G.F. Hueblein Brothers, Inc., had a wild notion. He bought a vodka distiller, and acquired a vodka recipe that had belonged to a Russian family named Smirnov. Martin was sure everyone would love it.

Unfortunately, Martin was a man ahead of his time. Vodka wasn’t a smash hit. In fact, he had a hard time giving the stuff away, and he hit the road on a sales trip. He made it to Hollywood, where he stopped at the Cock ‘n’ Bull for a bite to eat. He struck up a conversation with the owner, Jack Morgan, and learned that Morgan had a white elephant of his own, the ginger beer he made on the side.

The final ingredient in their marketing scheme involved a friend of Morgan’s. She had inherited a copper factory, and had an abundance of copper cups to offload. They decided to sell and serve a new cocktail in one of the copper cups, engraved with the picture of a kicking mule.

And the Moscow Mule was born.

Moscow Mule Recipe

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 4 ounces ginger beer
Posted in Christmas, Pot Luck | Leave a comment

Homemade Granola

Ingredients

  • 5 cups Oats
  • ½ cup Canola Oil
  • ½ cup Light Agave
  • 1 cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1 cup Coconut
  • ½ cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 2 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 2 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Dried Berries (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Toss the oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds & cinnamon in a large bowl. Add canola oil and agave to completely coat oat mixture. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and add berries.

This was a gift from my niece Caitlin. She stored the mixture in a mason jar and gave as Christmas gifts. Thank you my love!

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Easy Christmas Cookies 2013

I feel the “the clock ticking”! Christmas will be her before you know it. I need to make some quick and easy Christmas Cookies.

IMG_0043

  OK..here is the secret!

I bought store sugar cookies, usually in the dairy case on sale. I then made a…

Chocolate Ganache

and stuffed the middle of the cookies using the the ganache.

The “not so pretty cookie, I used for the bottom.

So, 24 cookies make 12 cookies after you stuff them.

I then decorated them with sprinkles and fun stuff.

Here is a simple Ganache recipe:

Ingredients 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy creamDirections Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces. Don’t be lazy here. Big chunks will not melt.

Traditional method: Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boiling means the cream will actually rise up in the pan and threaten to boil over.

Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl, and working out to the sides. Be careful not to add too much air to the ganache. Stir until all the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. It may look done after 1 minute of stirring, but keep going to be sure it’s emulsified.

Let the ganache sit at room temperature until it cools to 70 degrees F. In a 65 degree F room, this will take approximately 4 hours or 2 hours in the refrigerator. You can speed up the process by pouring the ganache out onto a clean baking sheet (thinner layers cool faster.) Once the ganache reaches 70 degrees F, it is ready to be used. At this point it can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/master-ganache-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Posted in Christmas, Desserts | Leave a comment

Simple Bolognese

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 oz. pancetta
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

½ cup red wine
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chiffonade
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano


Directions

In a 6 quart pot, add extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the pancetta, onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Sauté, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine, tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1/2 hour. Finish Bolognese with Pecorino Romano. Check for seasoning.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/simple-bolognese-recipe3/index.html?oc=linkback

The only additions to her recipe were that I added 6 ounces of Pancetta and ½ cup red wine. I found that this adds some smokiness and sweetness to the overall taste.

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Christmas 2013

Are you ready for Christmas yet? I just finished my holiday cooking today. For Christmas Eve we are having ham sandwiches, Minestrone Soup and Bourbon Weiner’s. I like the ease of the soup and sandwich idea. My husband’s family will fill in the blanks with cheese and sausage, veggie trays and deviled eggs. Always remember to ask for help when cooking for large groups. It makes it easier on you and it is always fun to see what other people’s favorite recipes are.

I have included the Minestrone Soup recipe below and you can search my website for the Bourbon Weiner’s recipe. The Minestrone Soup recipe comes from my very good friend Chris. I have never made Minestrone Soup and her recipe is delicious; a little time consuming with the prep work but it well worth your time and effort. I made a double batch and it made about 16 cups. I served the soup topped with fresh Pecorino Romano cheese. Make extra to freeze for those long cold winter nights.

For Christmas Day we are going for an Italian theme; hence the double batch of Minestrone Soup. I made a meat lasagna and Simple Bolognese (Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/simple-bolognese-recipe3/index.html?oc=linkback

The only additions to her recipe were that I added 6 ounces of Pancetta and ½ cup red wine. I found that this adds some smokiness and sweetness to the overall taste. This recipe is also posted on my website.

All these recipes are relatively easy to make and freeze. A key to holiday cooking, get organized early, cook and freeze. By doing this you too can enjoy the holiday instead of being a slave in the kitchen.

Again, my family will also be helping with the cooking. My daughter and niece are making a veggie lasagna, my sister is making a seafood lasagna and I have family bringing salad and some great Italian bread.

Happy Cooking and May God Bless you and your family.

MurrayChristmas!

FYI: Another helpful Christmas help; Christmas Cards or should I say Christmas Postcards. Here is the website I use.

http://www.amazingmail.com/default.aspx?ref=3.usps.com&from=premiumpostcard

Once you have your mailing list set (excel template), you can download a family picture, write a short note, apply postage and send. It took me about 20 minutes to send out 57 Christmas Postcards for about 80 cents a piece.

 

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Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

2 cups            Dried White Beans (soaked over night)

2                     Stalks Celery

1 cup              Carrots, diced

1                    Onion, chopped

1                    Large clove of garlic, chopped

½ cup each   Zucchini, Green Beans, Corn, Peas, Green/Red Peppers,

                       Black Olives

2 handfulls   Fresh Spinach or Escarole, cut

1 can              stewed or diced tomatoes

½ lb                Bacon, fried and cut small

1 lb                 Bulk Italian Sausage

4 cups            Beef Broth

1 small can   Tomato Paste

1tsp                Basil, Rosemary, Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

                        If needed extra tomato sauce, water, olive oil

IMG_0041

Directions

Cook the beans in their soaking water about 2 hours or until tender.

Drain reserve liquid and put ½ of the beans in a food processor.

Cook sausage, bacon, put to the side.

Heat oil sauté garlic, onion, celery, carrot, beans and rest of vegetables

Add sausage and bacon

Add broth, stir in tomato paste and seasonings

Add spinach, and processed beans

Salt, pepper, simmer if needed add more broth or tomato paste

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