Saturday, October 31, 2009
I needed a little instant gratification.
Parmesan crisps are ridculously fast and simple, It's just grate, form and bake.. and OOOOO it smells divine! This is how they look before baking. These crisps are used as a garnish in many of the recipes and when formed into a cup shape, they hold a lovely goat cheese mousse. I tried to make some cup shapes (supposedly you take the volcanically hot cheese and stuff it into a clean egg carton egg-space and it cools to form a cup.) After quite a few expletives and singed fingers, I decided to wait for Mr. Asbestos fingers to help with this... he's also known as the wonderful supportive husband around here. We'll have these crisps as a Trick or Treat for grown ups snack.
Here's how they look when done The lighter color ones are the correct ones, the others had too much cheese... I didn't know such a thing was possible :
Happy Halloween everyone
See you soon.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
This Bolognese sauce has been simmering most of the day and I can't wait for dinner! I don't like the fennel taste of Italian sausage so I use bratwurst instead. This recipe makes a ton! I like to freeze it so we have about 6 dinners ready in a moment's notice.
a little olive oil
1 package of Johnsonville regular brats (casing removed)
1 lb ground pork
2 lb ground chuck
2 onions roughly chopped
2 celery stalks cut up
2 carrots peeled and cut
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c italian parsley
1 T fresh oregano
Dried Italian seasoning to taste
Salt and Pepper
2 28 oz cans tomatoes ( I like Muir Glen or Hunt's)
2 c white wine
1 small can evaporated milk
2 T tomato paste
Brown meat in a large heavy pot until no longer pink. drain fat. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Place the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, fresh herbs and parsley in a food processor and puree then add to the meat pot. Add the wine and simmer down until reduced by half.
Meanwhile put your tomatoes and paste in a separate pan , add dried Italian herbs to taste and reduce until the tomato mixture is thick about 40 min.
Add tomatoes to meat and simmer for about 20 min, then add evaporated milk.
Serve with Rigatoni or penne .. or any pasta you want!
See you soon.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I started this recipe yesterday. First I made the Balsamic glaze which took quite a lot of time, around 4 hours I think. Basically, you very carefully reduce 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to about a half cup, carefully controlling the temperature the whole time.
Sorry about the poor picture quality, the only device I hand at hand was my iPhone... not the best in terms of quality but hey, it's what I had.
Next I chopped and peeled and chopped some more, (there are about a dozen ingredients in this gazpacho). When all mixed together, the ingredients have to sit in the fridge overnight. Here's how they looked before their trip to the chill chest:
Pretty isn't it? Very colorful and had a wonderful fragrance too!
After a night of rest, the veggies jump into the blender where they are pureed into a smooth refreshing soup. You could taste each of the flavors, lots of acids but balanced with some cucumbers and there is a tiny bit of cayenne pepper in here that gave it a nice little kick.
Once pureed, you spoon it into a bowl and drizzle some of the balsamic glaze on top. I am not at all artistic and I am sure I drizzled more than they would at the French Laundry but I thought it looked pretty and the sweet acidity really was a nice complement to the soup.
So there you have it! One recipe (two if you count the glaze) down and a lot more to come. I had a lot of fun with this, and luckily my neighbors have said they will help eat the results. Not sure what's next, maybe another recipe with the balsamic glaze.
See you soon!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I figured I would start with veal stock since it is a key ingredient to many of the dishes, but upon inspection, realized I only have a 12 qt. stockpot and I need a 20 qt. pot. Ok, so maybe I'll just start at the beginning....
I hate salmon. I mean I really hate it. Once I was served an amuse bouche at a nice restaurant and I didn't listen to the description.. (it was so pretty!) and just popped it in my mouth. What I hadn't listened to was the part about the goat cheese and the salmon tartare. With that pretty little bite in my mouth I was literally gagging, and right in front of the waiter!! I managed to swallow it but it was not an easy task. And today, I opened my beautiful new $50 cookbook and what's the first recipe? Salmon tartare.... Maybe I'll start with a soup.
See you soon.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
There was a fair amount of discussion about this project, so I guess this is as good a place as any to begin this journey. I want to challenge myself. To try new foods, to learn more about cooking and develop my skills. I am a home cook, no claim to chefdom, but I enjoy cooking and more importantly, nourishing the people I love (and some I don't even know) with food that is prepared with love and the best ingredients and techniques I can muster. To me, cooking is one of the most basic conduits of love, it has in essence, a spiritual element.
I am a devotee of Molly Wizenberg on Orangette I follow the local food blogs regularly and I have been looking for a project to challenge me and help me grow. I knew about Julie Powell's project when she was a blogger... before there was a movie. The idea intrigued me, but Mastering the Art of French Cooking just wasn't for me. I recently read Jimmy's "Eat It Atlanta" http://www.eatitatlanta.com/ post about a French Laundry inspired dinner party and my brain said AHA! Thomas Keller and all of his restaurants, especially The French Laundry have always excited me. What a genius, what technical mastery. What a stretch! (for me anyway). So I decided to cook my way through the French Laundry Cookbook. Very quickly I realized this has already been done, but that doesn't matter to me... it's a personal challenge. To see the amazing job Carol Blymire did, check out http://carolcookskeller.blogspot.com And as a disclaimer at the start, I won't do every recipe, but I might supplement with some of Keller's other cookbooks. I can't see my self butchering a lamb.... but Jim is dying to saw a pig's head in half, so we will see!
I don't even have the book yet, but I am already planning. We have a busy holiday season coming up and lots of "normal" cooking to be done, but I hope to start soon, with baby steps.
And hopefully I will get better at this blogging stuff, and linking... I used to design websites fer crying out loud!! Getting old has its pros and cons....
See you soon.