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Archive for December, 2008

Bowties and Cheese

Before

I make macaroni and cheese differently every time but the basics are the same. You need good cheese, some sort of dairy based sauce, and an al dente pasta (I specifically said bowties in the title because Pat hates it when I say macaroni and cheese when it’s a different pasta).

This time I started with about 3 cups of a few different types of cheddar, a sharp cheddar from New England and a New Zealand raw milk cheddar this time. I took 2 cups of whole milk and began heating it at the same time I started a roux. I took 2 tbsp butter and heated until it began to foam and added 2 tbsp of flour to make a slurry. You want to make sure the flour and butter are thoroughly mixed and the flour is cooked all the way. Raw flour is not tasty in a cheese sauce. I added the roux to the milk to thicken it. I like to grate a few tsp of nutmeg into the sauce to give it a nice flavor.

Sauce

Sauce

At the same time, the water boiled and I cooked the pasta for about 6 min. I like to undercook the pasta so it doesn’t get too mushy when you bake it.

Al Dente Pasta

Al Dente Pasta

I added the cheese to the sauce reserving a few tbsp for the top. I then tossed the pasta into the sauce and poured all of it into my nifty 1970’s casserole dish. I received this dish from a friend’s mom when I moved into my first apartment after college. It had been her mother’s that she found in her crawl space in it’s original box, unopened.

Pre-baking

Pre-baking

I added a little cheese on top and popped it into the oven at 350F for about a half hour, covered. I don’t like a crunchy top but if you do I would uncover it for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Once my mom left the temperature off of a casserole recipe she wrote for me, when I called her she said everyone knew you bake everything at 350F. Its pretty good advice that works 90% of the time.

After

After

Comfort food at its best.

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2009 predictions

In the year two thousand…9

Home molecular gastronomy
With Alinea, The Big Fat Duck, and A Day at El Bulli under many Christmas trees, I think that people will venture into doing a little molecular gastronomy at home.

Dining at home
Not just cooking but dining at home as entertainment. Mostly due to the economy and people still wanting to eat well and have fun with friends.

Big Cookbooks (and food related books) by Bloggers
Books by bloggers have already been done but a big crop is coming out by Chez Pim, David Lebovitz (an author before being a blogger), and Organette and I think they will be very popular.

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5 cookbooks part 5

Cooking for Mr Latte has great recipes and I’ve enjoyed making them but that’s not why this is a top book.

5 cookbooks part 5

5 cookbooks part 5

I love how Hesser interwines food with the rest of her life. I think that food and especially food we share with others is an important part of our lives.

I also love the chapters on moving in together and letting someone else into the kitchen. I am also insanely bossy in the kitchen and moved in with Pat this year. It’s a big adjustment and I love it. However, turns out that I don’t share that well especially in the kitchen. I am working on it.

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Pat’s Lemon Cream Pasta

A few months ago I planned meals for the week by consulting my cookbooks and one of the recipes I selected was from the Barefoot Contessa At Home. It was the Lemon Fusilli with Arugala.

I didn’t feel well the night I was going to make it and Pat took over. It was a great meal and he’s made this dish may times over.

Every time he makes it, its a little different and I think he has it where he wants it now. He has cut back on the amount of tomatoes and changed it from cherry to grape tomatoes. Pat also uses 3/4 of a cup less cream. The amount of lemons has also been perfected; Pat prefers the juice of 3 not 2 lemons, adds lemon zest, and doesn’t serve the pasta with chopped lemon.

Pat’s Lemon Cream Pasta

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten

1 tbsp good olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced into small pieces

juice from 3 lemons

zest from 1 lemon

1 1/4 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste

10 oz penne

8 oz arugula, finely chopped

10-15 grape tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths

Parmesan cheese to grate on top

Pat likes to lay out all his ingredients before he begins

Pat likes to lay out all his ingredients before he begins

Heat olive oil for about 1 min. Saute garlic 1 to 1 1/5 min. Add cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Bring a boil and simmer for 20 min.

Lemon Cream Sauce

Lemon Cream Sauce

Cook pasta to directions. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Heat for 2 minutes on a low flame.  Take off the heat and toss with arugula and tomatoes. Serve with Parmesan. Adjust the salt if necessary.

Pat's Lemon Cream Pasta

Pat's Lemon Cream Pasta

Note: Dinner is even better when someone else makes it.

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cranberry sorbet

The recipe for cranberry sorbet caught my eye on Simply Recipes by Garret.

I love cranberry juice but never eat cranberry sauce or cranberries. It seemed like I should branch out and what better way than with sorbet?

I simmered the cranberries until they burst and allowed them to cool which took much longer than 10 min. I added a little extra sugar to taste because I couldn’t find the white cranberry juice the recipe called.

cooking cranberries

cooking cranberries

Then I blended the mixture and strained it, trying not to get dark cranberry stains on anything. I let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge.

I poured into my ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing. I was struck by how beautiful the color is.

cranberry sorbet

cranberry sorbet

The texture a few days later was perfect. Sometimes I have trouble with my ice creams being a little icy or too hard but this is perfect. I asked about the corn syrup and this seems to be what is helping the texture.

I will definitely make this again when I need a tart treat.

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5 cookbooks part 4

I received The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz as a birthday gift in 2007. I wanted it so badly I was so going to buy it the day after my birthday if I didn’t get it.

5 cookbooks part 4

5 cookbooks part 4

The Perfect Scoop is amazing. I own tons of cookbooks but this is the only ice cream one and I don’t feel the need for another.

There are just great recipes. There is a fantastic orange ice cream, great mint ice cream, amazing chocolate sorbet…and so on.

In the last year,all but 2 of the recipes I’ve made in my ice cream maker are David Lebovitz’s recipes. I just have absolutely loved every recipe I’ve tried and every time I flip through I find something else I just have to make.

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Peppermint Candy Bars

I was going to bring peppermint bark into work but then someone else made some. So then I came up with peppermint chocolate candy bars. Orangette had a great post on peppermint bark and I adapted that and it turned out amazing. I can’t even wait to the end of the post to say you should make this in the few days left before Christmas.

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Bar

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Bar

It’s so simple to make. I added peppermint oil since I don’t have peppermint extract (2 tsp to 10 oz of chocolate) to each layer of chocolate as I melted it.

white chocolate in faux double boiler

white chocolate in faux double boiler

I poured the chocolate into a silicon pan and let it harden in the freezer.

white chocolate layer

white chocolate layer

To the milk chocolate layer, I also added a little cream. I poured the milk chocolate onto the first layer and let it harden. Then I melted more white chocolate and poured that on top.

I smashed candy canes to a fine powder and sprinkled it on top.

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Bar

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Bar

My sister called this the best thing I’ve ever made and then she ate a third of it.

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