Month: February 2012

Torta di Pasta – Spaghetti Pie

Perfect can come in many forms a date a day a moment a bite… Torta di Pasta is the perfect anytime thing. It’s breakfast or a simple lunch. It is the best mid-afternoon snack pulled right out of the fridge. It’s a late night supper or an after-the-club nosh. It has even been known to seal the deal after a date… “Would you like to come in for a nightcap and a little something to eat?~ nudge nudge – wink wink“ I was raised to always keep cooked rice or pasta on hand. “Pasta in the fridge is like money in the bank”, Jane would always say. – and to be perfectly honest with you, this works best with leftover pasta or rice. You want your starch to be slightly dry so that everything sticks and coats well. If you don’t happen to be a starch hoarder – cook the pasta to just underdone (slightly more al dente than you would normally cook it.) And the best part of all? It’s quick. The torta comes together with around 7 minutes of …

Put a Spoon in it…

Ideally, there would have been a post for this: I found the recipe in some page-shredded, coverless magazine while I’ve been sitting around waiting on Jane’s medical results. The fact that every other recipe in the periodical had been lifted – save this one – really should have been a tell. Conceptually it was nice: Yellow Cornmeal, Meyer Lemon with a tangy lemon~honey glaze. I thought it would be the next incarnation of “All that Lemony Goodness” And…  To be honest, it was quite stunning when it came out of the oven…. However… For all intents and purposes, it’s lemon flavored Jiffy Cornbread. Deflated, I put the cake cover on it and ignored it.  (In care you’re not savvy to Jiffy… here it is) And I was going to boast about my Nora  Mills Yellow Cornmeal, and everything… So, with the outlook that every disaster is an opportunity in disguise, I drug the cake back out today and went looking for inspiration. What I came up with was Spoon Bread…   …   …   …   ..  .  . . . …

All That Lemony Goodness – Numero Otto (that’s 8)

Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Cookbook Sundays This post is part of Couscous and Consciousness’s Cookbook Sundays Project. What you say? Pf cooking from a cookbook? Unadorned? Well, it’s true. I know I don’t normally play the “cook someone else’s food” game. I don’t usually play well with others… I’m the run with scissors kind of guy. Cookbooks to me are an inspiration… or food porn… or just a good giggle, sometimes. I’ll read them through, and start making changes straight away. but.. with something over 3,000 cookbooks in the shelves (and some I’ve never even opened), I thought.. why the hell not. Some of these should start getting some use before the pages all stick together… The Tuscan Lemon Chicken recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook. I haven’t monkeyed around with it – honestly there isn’t any need. It’s lemony (and you know I adore lemon), and the right amount of herbiness, and its stupid simple to boot. So this even fits in our Simple Dinner Sunday category. I have added a …

The Sandwich Diaries – ” Stella!!! …”

Sheesh!, What a wuss… and all I keep thinking is, isn’t he wearing just a tad too much jewelry? I can say that because I’ve never really felt about anyone or anything that strongly. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in the “I’ll do whatever it takes, fight anyone I have to, break any law to keep you” relationship before, but when push came to shove – “off you go and thanks for playing our game” … eh, it’s just way more work than I want to invest in. You’re wondering what all this has to do with today’s recipe.. aren’t ya.. here’s a clue… I inherited a several bottles of Stella Artois after the beach wedding. I’m not a huge beer drinker, so they’ve just sort of languished off by themselves in the pantry for the past couple of months waiting on a baked bean recipe to materialize. I never really got in the mood for beans. But, I did get the hankering for some slow cooked pulled pork sammiches. So I dusted off …

Chickety China the Chinese Chicken

Duck in the Hen House Chicken in the Duck Pond Duck Fried Chicken Crispy Fragrant Duck (Made with Chicken) Crispy Fragrant Duck is quite possibly my second favorite Asian thing that I usually wont make myself, for several reasons – none of which is I’m lazy.. With the price of duck these days, I just can’t wrap my head of spending $22.00 for a carcass and frying the crap out of it. In my mind, it’s too much like buying a whole tenderloin and  making chicken-fried steak out of it. So, I am attempting to kinda, sorta recreate the crispiness and depth of flavor you get with duck in a $3.95 small chicken fryer Crispy Fragrant chicken with PF Hoisin Sauce First, a couple of disclaimers: Fair warning, this is going to be terribly time consuming – so plan on three days. I’ve based this recipe on 4 different preparations, and made my own corrections and alterations, so no one recipe gets a particular nod one way or another. While the end result is a rather tasty …

Wash, Rinse… repeat…

You know, one might think that since I only post once every week… or so – that I only cook when I post. Eh, that just isn’t true. I cook every day… sometimes twice… and if I’m feeling particularly generous… all three meals. I just don’t always write about it. Because… How many times can I tell you about a pot roast? Can I really make chicken salad from canned chicken sound appetizing? Do you really want to read about packaged smoked sausage and  steamed cabbage? Does anyone really care that I made a slammin’ tossed salad or whipped up some sauteed apples for this morning’s waffles? Can I get away with telling you about fried corn, mixed greens and pot likker for the third time? Probably not. But cooking every day does do one thing (other than keeping your mad knife skills sharp) it produces a boat load of leftovers… Jane doesn’t eat leftovers. And besides, I’ve used up all my nifty little small portion containers … and I’m going to need them. Since this next week I’ll be …

Perfecting the Perfect – Chicken Vesuvio

I can’t always tell you how I get to the initial inspiration (as it were) for a recipe – it’s either something I read; something I remembered from my childhood; a bit of oral history from my family; a dish some guy was cooking in a movie – that part doesn’t really matter. I keep a list of  things I want to amp up and muddle through them when the mood strikes. I usually spend a lot of time in research reworking a recipe before it makes it way here. I’ll hit the cookbook graveyard and find every possible variation I make a lot of notes I do a couple of dry runs When it came to Chicken Vesuvio it appears it’s pretty much the same as meatloaf – everyone has their own recipe. From whole chickens to exclusively legs, emptying the pantry of every imaginable dried bean and pea to a complete lack of any legume, citrus / no citrus / heavy salt / uber spice / painfully bland… The only thing any of them truly have in common …

Arm-Wrestling the Machine – Fresh Tagliatelle

I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t make a lot of pasta from scratch. I have a pasta maker, it’s very shiny… it’s been out of the box a total of 3 times since I bought it in 2003. Once to retrieve the instruction booklet so I could learn how to use it, once to show it off to an envious friend, and once to mangle a batch of lasagna noodles – they got wrapped around the little rollers and formed a solid mass of dough deep inside the works. I spent the next 2 weeks with a skewer and a toothpick fishing out the crusty, dried eggy bits out of the workings. I wiped the machine down, shined it with Windex, and put it back in the cupboard…way in the back… behind the salad spinner. So, I usually end up buying dried pasta. But in getting ready for the Chicken Vesuvio post (coming up next) I decided that IF I was going through all the trouble of making the dish… I OUGHT to bite the bullet and …

Little Sparrows

Don’t get alarmed, we aren’t talking actual bird-like sparrows, but rather Spätzle. Quite possibly my absolute favorite when it comes to a fresh-made pasta.  Why?  Some of you Italian pasta purists might be asking yourself that very question… Because start to finish they take 4 minutes Because its a close inbred cousin to my other addiction – dumplings Because you get all these nooks and butter grabbing crannies when you make them the traditional way and… Because you can infuse the batter with all sorts of killer flavor boosters – like sausage, liver, cherries and apples… try doing that with penne. Traditional Spätzle is really stupid simple. It is a soft noodle made with a fairly wet batter. The batter is spread over a cutting board and then scraped into salted boiling water. I’ve found an easier way to accomplish the same effect, is to apply the batter to the back of a wide spatula, then scrape the noodles off into the water with the edge of a knife or second spatula. I really don’t want to say …