January 31, 2011
When I first started cooking, I was making pasta after pasta after pasta. It has been a long time since I have made any, and so I decided to make this Pasta Ponza (recipe here*) by Giada de Laurentis.
The recipe called for grape tomatoes, but quite frankly they were kinda pricey. I opted for these roma tomatoes instead, which were on sale.
Capers, drained and rinsed
After cutting up the tomatoes, adding capers, salt and pepper, you sprinkle the top with Italian breadcrumbs to develop a nice crust. Bake for up to 25 min in the oven at 375 degrees
See how pretty that crust is?
On the whole, I have to say I was a little disappointed with this recipe. Giada seldom disappoints, and while this pasta was in no way bad, I thought it was a little bland. At the same time, this pasta is a great base – I think if you wanted to add grilled chicken (or breaded chicken!), spinach, salmon, anything, you could.
January 30, 2011
I have always espoused the wonders of the library. It’s free! You can have access to a plethora of books! (even though you might just have to wait for a bit). It’s good for the environment! I recently re-checked out “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” I had checked it out before but decided to read “Last Night in Twisted River” first. I literally went on an all night binge and stayed up until 6 am reading the entire book. Now I will have to watch the movie! Since I finished my novel, I decided to go to the library for some culinary inspiration. To my delight, I found not one, but TWO Giada de Laurentis cookbooks that I have not yet read. Halleujah!
This is the selection of what I will be thumbing through this weekend. The three books on top, “From Emeril’s Kitchens,” ‘Giada’s Family Dinners,” and “Everyday Italian” were checked out from the library. The last cookbook on the bottom is Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which I got D for Christmas last year. I did see a battered copy on the shelf at the library, though.
Happy reading and happy eating!
January 28, 2011
I have never been a patient person. So when I started seeing Valentines Day paraphernalia everywhere, that meant one thing to me – COOKIES! I decided I was going to make some heart shaped sugar cookies using this* recipe, because really, who couldn’t use some sugary love, right?
January 26, 2011
For some reason, this past week its been hard for me and D to get around to cooking. We have been eating random food – leftovers and such – so I decided to make a nice square meal of pork chops and potatoes (recipe here*). Since I have made this recipe before (you can see here*), I decided to add a little something special to the meal – home made sangria.
I used an assortment of fruits – lime, apples, lemons, oranges and kiwi. The beauty of Sangria is there isn’t really a set amount fruit that you have to use. I kind of played around until I used amounts to my liking. I used 1 apple, 2 medium sized oranges, 1 lemon and one lime. I squeezed the citrus fruits, and just chopped up the rest.
I threw all of the fruits into a pitcher (along with the fruit juice). I cut a few slices of my citrus fruits and threw those in as well, just for decoration. I added some red wine and sparkling water. Again, the proportions are up to you. I eyeballed it and put in equal parts wine and sparkling water. I also added 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar.
If you aren’t going to drink the sangria right away, don’t add the sparkling water just yet (you can also use ginger ale). Its good to actually put the wine and fruits in the refrigerator for a while so the flavors can meld together a bit. Once you are ready to serve the sangria, then add the sparkling water/ginger ale. This way you will get a nice bubbly Sangria, and it won’t be flat when you drink it.
The whole kit and kaboodle
A few months ago, I mentioned that I got a free turkey* for Christmas. Well, during Kung Fu movie night, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to cook it. It was the first time I have ever cooked a turkey, and I must have called my mom at least 10 times. I have come to realize that patience is indicative of love. On another note, Giblets are the foulest things ever. I pride myself in being able to handle raw meat with dignity and grace but I almost spewed when I had to reach in there and grab them out. Ugh. But! The turkey came out juicy, moist, and flavorful. Success!
I covered the turkey with olive oil (I used a pastry brush), salt and pepper
I surrounded the bird with celery, carrots, and onions. I threw some into the cavity of the bird along with a few garlic cloves. My mom suggested that I cook the bird upside down (breast side down). This ended up being fantastic advice.
I kept on checking the bird because I didn’t want it to overcook. Thankfully, it did not.
I was excited.
YUM YUM YUM!
January 25, 2011
Over the weekend, in addition to an awesome beach day, D and I had a kungfu movie night. We got together with a few friends to eat good food, have good drinks, and watch good Kungfu movies. The menu included fresh veggies with homemade dip:
…and Mac and Cheese Soup (recipe here*). I know it sounds insane, but its actually really good!
You start off by using a food processor to mince shallots, celery, and carrots
Get some macaroni ready
Pan fry the vegetables, add flour, and eventually, broth, milk, and the macaroni
It was really good! And because you are turning mac and cheese into soup, you are reducing the amount of calories as well. Holllllerrrr
I also cooked my first turkey ever! Blog post coming up soon
January 24, 2011
One of the things I love about LA is the weather. It’s not even February, but this weekend I experienced the perfect beach day. After lazing about in the sand, watching a pod of dolphins swim by, and venturing into the icy cold water, my cousin and I finished the perfect day at nearby Bar Pinxo*, a Spanish tapas bar which had a great happy hour.
Sangria and iced tea
braised ox tail
mini pub burgers
January 22, 2011
I love Kale, as evidenced by my frequent use of it in my dishes (as evidenced by here and here). A few weeks back, my friend suggested that I make Kale Chips. When I asked him what they were, he told me to take some Kale, slice it up, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Then, bake it. I already had other plans for my Kale, so I decided to save that for another day. Then, I was talking to one of my girlfriends yesterday, and she brought up Kale again. I decided it was time.
I didn’t have a specific amount of salt, pepper, or olive oil, I just eyeballed it. I would say no more than 2 tsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper, for one bunch of kale. Also, using tongs helps to coat the kale as well as transfer the pieces onto the pan.
Make sure the Kale is all in one layer (not bunched up or on top of each other). I cooked my kale at 325 degrees for about 10 min.
The result is an amazingly crisp and yummy chip. The taste is a hint of Kale, but also of salty goodness. I couldn’t stop eating them!
January 20, 2011
I suppose I’m in a beany mood this week. After I made this chili, I decided to continue with my bean phase and make some Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup*.
The soup called for shallots. I didn’t have any, but I did have this giant onion. So I used part of it.
Since I had recently used cannellini beans, I used garbanzo beans instead
I was given this hand held puree as a gift for Christmas. Making this soup was my first time using it – the maiden voyage, so to speak. I absolutely loved it! This thing is amazing! Made my soup in a few moments.
Isn’t it frothy and lovely?
The end result was very good. I added salt and pepper to taste.
*Recipe attached as a link
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January 19, 2011
I usually only like seaweed in certain dishes – seaweed soup, for instance. But D’s mother had served me some EXCELLENT seaweed that was crisp and salty (previously seen here). Well, D found the seaweed in the Korean grocery store, and it looks like this: