Days 11-14: I cannoli believe it!

The reason for radio silence is simple: puppy’s got the poopies. Consequently we are not sleeping through the night. This started on Monday night, when I wasn’t feeling too well and wanted to go to bed alarmingly early. Normally I plop down between 12a and 3a, Monday I went to bed around 9.

I do think this is what threw his equilibrium out of sync and caused what I sensed as some jealousy that Freya, as per normal, got to cuddle on the bed with me while he sat in his crate and watched.

After a few sleepless nights, Thursday was the worst, it was every hour exactly. Finally I got some pumpkin and white rice and last night was a little better, but not great. We did get solid sleep from about 6a-12p. I woke up just in time for the Steelers game today.

The past few days I have been cooking every meal. My pizza shaping game was almost flawless on attempt number 2, it was definitely round. However, attempt 3 looked like a log. But I will say the flavor of the crust on number 3 was the best. I think I didn’t let it sit out enough from the fridge before shaping.

I got home from the gym and was starving. I needed to finish making the bombolinos (which I decided instead of zeppoles because I really wanted to make and eat raspberry jam) and that needed time for the second rise. So my thought was get those cut as quickly as possible and while they’re rising, make dinner.

For the pizza the oven is supposed to warm up for at least an hour and the dough should be out of the fridge for 30-45 minutes. I’m sure it was at least a half hour before I started shaping the pizza but it didn’t stretch as much or as gently as the previous ones. I sautéed mushrooms and used the rest of the greek olives and had a family favorite – mushroom and olive pizza. Normally it’s black olives, but this worked just as well.

I can not stress to you how good these pizzas are. I’m truly inspired to have dough on hand or at least keep this vigilant menu planning a part of my routine so that I can have it when I want it. It tastes better than delivery but less guilt because my tummy isn’t upset the next day and I don’t have to spend $20 or $30, plus fee plus tip.

I will admit that the bombolinos failed my expectations. I think I made them correctly, perhaps a touch over fried. I’ve never fried anything before, well aside from taco shells when I was a kid and that did not go well. My dad used to make hard shell tacos and one night he was tired and said “ok kids it’s make your own dinner night.” I think my brother made a sandwich and I decided I wanted tacos. I basically killed it up until I was done frying the shells, I wanted to be like my dad and clean up immediately so I took the pan of hot oil to the sink and turned on the water faucet to rinse it out.

It was an important lesson to learn. I was lucky. It was just my wrist that endured most of the burn from the fountain of lava that occurs from hot oil and water. The walls and the cabinets were not as lucky, if I remember correctly I think I threw the pan and once it was all said and done and my mom came over and yelled at my dad blah blah. My dad was happy I was ok but then never let me live down the destruction I caused in the kitchen. But, like, why didn’t you supervise a 12 year old with hot oil?

So, facing my hot oil fear, I pulled out my dutch oven, which has been used so many times the past two weeks I wonder how I ever lived without one? I ended up buying a thermometer at Target yesterday. I wasn’t going to but then I remembered I bought a kiddie pool for Emmett and never used it and it was $25 at Le Targeh, so returning it I bought the thermometer and some cooling racks (which I didn’t have) and broke even.

There’s a part of me that feels guilty for having so much stuff. Partly because my brother made fun of me and I felt *ashamed* and partly because I know a lot of it is unnecessary. But, screw that, I’m over other’s people’s opinions and voices in my head. It was really nice yesterday needing a strainer and having one, needing a cooling rack and having one, needed x, y or z and having it does make certain things easier.

To the same point I am in the process of making cannolis right now and all the recipes said use a food processor. I don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, for spacial issues more so than financial ones. I did end up finding one for only $40 at Walmart and maybe it would be like the dutch oven, where I didn’t know how much I needed one until I got one. Well, I wouldn’t say I need the dutch oven, but it sure does make a lot of things easier.

I fried the bombolinos and they turned out nice. Light and doughy. I think I wanted them to taste more like donuts, which I think they’re definitely more of a rich bread/brioche style. The raspberry jam was fine, again, I really just wanted a raspberry filled donut from the donut store and these were not they. I think anybody else would have said they were good. I ate one with filling and half of one with out, then I threw them away.

I was going to default on my challenge and not attempt the cannolis today, but I woke up with more energy than I expected and actually I really enjoy baking. It’s a mental challenge and it’s fun to see what I can create. I knew that if these cannoli are successful then I’d much prefer to eat those than the bombolinos so out they went.

I don’t feel guilty about wasting food. It’s flour and sugar, I know that any of my neighbors would of course love a plate of fresh Italian baked goods, however for those of you who know me, you know I’d do almost anything to avoid actually talking to someone. My neighbors are already too friendly, always waving and saying hello, like ugh, leave me alone.

So for the cannoli dough I used my hands, I tried shredded butter like I’ve seen on the Bake Off, thinking it would help to even mix the dry mix with the cold butter. Since I don’t have a real grater it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, so I did end up jusst cubing the butter. I mixed with my hands until I got sort of a crumbly mixture. I do think that it’s really soft and delicate, when I think of crumbs I think of a rougher consistency so I’m not sure about that. After I made the dough and put it in the fridge to rest, I made the filling. The filling is also supposed to rest for at least 2 hours, but preferably over night. I figured that I could make it today and have one or two cannoli, if they’re good then have one or two through out the week, filling them right before consumption will give the filling plenty of time in the fridge to set.

I will say that I did enjoy licking all of the filling mixture off the stand mixer paddle. It’s very tasty. I’m very nervous about this shell making. You have to roll it very thin (annoying) then you have to wrap it around the molds (I bought some) and stick them together with water (mmk) and they’re supposed to stay closed and on the mold and you fry them in the oil. My baking show anxiety is coming through like, what if they don’t stay closed? Then they won’t be picture perfect, but you know what they will be? Delicious cannoli bowls! Alright I feel more confident. I’m going to go make the shells now, will report back soon…

-The Next Day-

Well, overall cannoli day was a success, except for some small burning of my hand from the oil. That was my fault, I never should have mentioned it. Whenever I make a new recipe, I always read a few online ones first to see if anyone has any variations and why. I also look for tips about small things that people describing a recipe may forget but are important. Like what consistency to look for in the dough, how to tell if something is ready in cannoli recipes it kept saying use long tongs.

I assumed that was to try to avoid splattering oil. Which I think it is, if I were to write a recipe about deep frying cannoli molds I would tell someone to use tongs and a spatula because those little fuckers are slippery. So as I was finishing frying the first batch, I used my short rubber tip tongs to grab the first cannoli, however both the mold and actual shell are covered in so it dropped back down into the pan causing quite a big splatter. I burnt 3 fingers and the palm of my hand a little.

But, I didn’t let that stop me. I quickly grabbed the other shells out of the boiling hot oil and started to run my hand under cool tap water. I didn’t want to stop mid project so I proceeded to complete the cooking of the 9 shells that I had ready. Then I decided that was enough for the night and cleaned everything up, saving half the dough for if I’m courageous enough to attempt it again.

I will say these cannolis are delicious. The shells, the part I was more worried about, appear a little burnt – very dark brown – but they still have a healthy crunch and a soothing chew texture. I realized where I made the biggest mistake in my cannoli-ing and that is not draining the ricotta enough.

I don’t have cheese cloth and tried straining it just in a strainer with some paper towel. The filling is flavorful but ultimately too runny. I tried filling a cannoli and it just oozes out the sides. So, I would like to try again. I still have some ricotta but will have to get a few other supplies if I’m going to do it. I also realized how much I love cannolis and think maybe it’s not such a good idea to have them in my house.

Puppy needed to go potty at 5 am so I took that as an opportunity to maybe have a little bit of a cannoli. Nothing hits quite like a 5am cannoli, let me tell you.

Here are photos of my food, please admire.

Pizza #2 – not sure what happened with the cheese, but look, it’s generally round.
Pizza #3, shaped like Vermont, or Mississippi or something. But who cares – DELICIOUS!

Bombolinos cut and waiting on second rise.
After the 2nd rise
Voila! All but filled, since it makes them soggy to pre fill.
Cannoli shells in order from light to dark. I used the same mold for all of them, let’s no fuss about why they’re not a uniform shape.
yo yo look at this beautiful dessert. Yuuum.

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