Monday, November 24, 2008
The butternut squash is next. I (Maria) was making dinner the night before I left for St. Louis. I hardly had any food left in my fridge, and what I did have was somewhat random. I had half a butternut squash left so I decided to follow the directions on the sticker. I cut the squash in half so that two spoon-type hollows form. I spooned out the seeds and other mush. Instead of baking in the oven I cheated and did the microwave. I put an inch of water into a glass baking dish and put the squash skin-side-up in. I microwaved for about 8 minutes. I then turned the squash over and spooned some butter and brown sugar into each hole. Microwaved for two more minutes. Delicious! I had just a tiny bit of lettuce and baby cucumber left, so I made a salad. The dressing was olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey and lemon juice.
I also had a small portion of basmati rice and tikka masala leftovers. I had sauteed chicken, asparagus, red peppers, orange peppers and broccoli, then added the sauce. It was restaurant-quality. The meal was all over the place but very tasty.
Editor's note (can't help it, the last one was so much fun): Here's a photo of Maria to appear online until Maria requests that I remove it (and replace it with a photo from New Year's last year, yeah, don't make me go there). Will she kill me for this? She posted this photo on facebook, so I assume it's OK for public viewing.
2 medium eggs
3 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons of butter
5 tablespoons of shortening (or 5 additional T butter)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg (I didn't have any)
Topping: I (Maria) combined some softened butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a bowl and crumbled it with my hands.
Cream together the butter, the shortening (butter) and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, salt, nutmeg and baking powder. Stir in the flour and milk alternately until mixture is just combined. Fill muffin cups almost to the top. Add crumb mixture until cups are filled. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The recipe also required chopping the cranberries. What are these people trying to do? Impale me? The cranberries were rolling all over the place. I found them on the floor, in the egg carten, in the drawer for utensils.But look how pretty and festive they are: Here's a confession that will likely suprise no one: This is what my kitchen looks like after I try baking something. Megan had just washed a bunch of dishes and cleaned off the counter maybe 15 minutes before I came and destroyed it again. Also note the aluminum muffin trays in the background. Good for two reasons: 1.) they're cheap, 2.) they're all I could find at the grocery store. I hope they're not one-time-use, because I will be using them until they melt. Cranberry-Tangerine Muffins: 1 3/4 cup flour 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 beaten egg 3/4 cup milk 1/4 cup cooking oil grated peel from 1 orange (tangerine) 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries Line tray with paper muffin cups. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In another mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, oil and peel (for more orangey flavor, replace milk with orange juice). Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Add cranberries. Batter should be a bit lumpy. Spoon batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Makes 12 muffins.
Monday, November 17, 2008
(I do hate this photo, please trust that it tastes much much better than it looks)
Pasta e fagioli alla Giada:1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 3 ounces pancetta (or bacon) 1 garlic clove, diced 5 4/3 cups chicken stock 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or to taste) 1 teaspoon dry rosemary (or to taste) 3/4 cup elbow macaroni Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add the onion, pancetta and garlic and saute until the onion is tender (3 minutes). Add the broth, beans and herbs. Bring to a boil then simmer and cover until vegetables are tender (10 minutes). Puree 1 cup of the bean mixture in a food processor (this part is super important, I thought it was skippable, but it thickens the soup. Even my food processor can handle it). Return puree to mixture. Bring soup to a boil and add macaroni. With the lid on boil until macaroni is soft (8 minutes). Season with salt, pepper and parmasan cheese.
Al's roommate Sam brought each of the girls aprons from her grandma. Love it.
Last week Al made what she aptly called Spaghetti a la Mom, which is the classic red, meat sauce that we grew up with. Since I've already written about it here, I'll give an even better recipe for Garlic Bread a la Mom.Garlic Bread: 1/4 cup butter 1 teaspoon garlic salt 2 tablespoons parmasan cheese sprinkle of paprika sprinkle of parsley loaf of French bread sliced lengthwise
In a bowl mash up the butter, garlic salt, cheese, paprika and parsley. All the spices should be added to taste, so these measurements are educated guesses and should be used as a guide. Spread butter mixture on bread. Toast bread in oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned and cheese is melted.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Warm Squash and Mushroom Salad: (for one, so adjust as necessary)1 cup butternut squash (or in my case, buttercup squash) 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms 1 tablespoon buttersalt, pepper and coriander to taste mixed salad greens parmasan cheese vinaigrette-based dressing Add butter and butternut squash to pan on medium-high heat. Add salt, pepper and coriander while you are sauteing. Saute until the squash becomes lightly browned on the edges (5-8 minutes). Add mushrooms and saute until the vegetables are browned and cooked through (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and add to greens. Sprinkle with parmasan, pecorino and/or romano cheese. If you don't already have a vinaigrette dressing, you can easily make one mixing olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinagre on a three-to-two ratio--so 3 tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons vinagre, etc.--and add salt and pepper to taste.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I knew as I was dumping in my 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of ice cold butter that the .00001-horsepowered propeller in this kitchen appliance was not going to cut it (pun intended). Left at a standstill (literally), I did what every self-respecting home cook would do: I hid the flour-butter combo in the back of the fridge promising to follow through later that week.
But as my food supply dwindled for the week, the bowl of flour and butter became more prominent. Every time I opened the fridge it called to me; I responded by slamming the door in its face ... up until two nights ago when the tart recipe and I faced off. The game so far is Tart-1, Lainey-0. Even my culinary improvising couldn't save me, but it is not over yet.
I think the problem arose when my food processor overheated and melted what was supposed to by very cold butter, resulting in a mixture not at all resembling dough (as evidenced in the first photo). Instead, I will buy a tart crust from the store (which is probably a good idea since I don't own a pastry pan or a food processor of the proper size to deal with this sort of thing), and I will make something entirely new from the creamy, buttery floury substance now occupying a conspicuous space in an already crowded refrigerator. I'm thinking shortbread.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
There is no written down recipe, or at least I don't own it (I'm being dramatic, I'm sure there is somewhere). This all meant that I called my mom no less than three times last night to make sure I was doing it right. Turns out my mom is actually making this soup for dinner tonight. Scary.
"Can I put garlic in it?" "What herbs do you use?" "How long do I need to simmer the vegetables?" She answered all these with patience, even though I called her four times while she was on the phone with my sister and likely fielding questions from my other sister. I tell you, parenting never stops.
Megs and I ate the soup at 9 p.m. (European style) after we got back to the gym. Below is Megan's addition to the meal: the greenest, healthiest salad ever. It had cilantro and dill in it! I know, you're drooling, it's OK.Note: If you don't already know, I am an inprecise cook. I just made a pile of carrots, a pile of celery and a pile of onion and called it good. So add as much or as little of each as you want. Noni's Tortellini Soup: 6 cups chicken stock 1-3 celery stalks, chopped (with leaves, unless your celery leaves are brownish-pink like mine were, then you should throw them away) 1 cup carrots, chopped 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, chopped (optional) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon corn starch mixed with a bit of cold water (for thickening, also optional) 8 ounces frozen (or fresh) tortellini 1 tablespoon dry tarragon (optional) Saute vegetables in olive oil until onion and garlic are translucent (apparently my mom doesn't perform this step, I just didn't want to wait 30 minutes for the vegetables to get soft, so I helped them along). Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer stock and vegetables for 30 minutes. Add frozen tortellini to stock, boil for 7-9 minutes. Add corn starch and tarragon. Stir and serve sprinkled with parmasan cheese. *If you're confused about the surnames, Leonatti is my mom's maiden name and Bernardi is her grandmother's maiden name. We've got this patriarchal tradition of losing the mother's name, so who knows where this recipe started.