All posts tagged: Italian

Lasagna!

Okay, you all know me. I don’t usually endorse any product. Like most of you, I have my favorites – and barring some natural disaster that wipes out their factory… and their delivery trucks… and every single case of product distributed across the country, it’s not likely that I change my buying habits. And, most of you feel the same way – I get that. I particularly like Red Gold Tomatoes, and over this past year, Red Gold  has approached me several times to do a sponsored post including themed recipes for their products. Unfortunately, It’s always been something that just wouldn’t meld with the way I cook. Call me snobbish about my recipes, call me.. well, whatever…. it just didn’t work out. Until this month. I love lasagna… I mean, make a pan and eat the whole thing kind of love. However, My own recipe is long, drawn out, and involved. It takes forever to make so I never get around to making it very often. With this month’s promotion, they sent me a ridiculously …

Kitchen Fodder ~ Gettin’ all PC (pressure cooker) on some sauce

 Test #1 of the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt. Microwave Pressure Cooker First of all, I’m going to do a bit of housekeeping and apologize to Jane. .. the rest of you can look at the picture for a bit. You’re absolutely right… this isn’t your exact recipe. The spice blends are there.. and basically, it’s the same.  However,  I had to make a couple of alterations in order to keep it from turning to just mush in the pot, and a couple of things had to change to cope with the shorter cooking time.  The vegetable chunks are larger, but generally, it has the same feel, taste, thickness, and richness.  And… We’re back. So, like I said yesterday, you’ve got to futz with the settings a bit to sync the temps and times up to your own microwave. For example –  I use a 1200 watt micro, so the bulk of what I do is at 60% power  and 10 less minutes on the unit for any of the recipes in the provided cookbook. Because of that, …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …

Bread Whore – The Hirohito / Mussolini Method

In another time, I might have given the dough a kinder, more compassionate name. But with that Cold War machine out there priming the pump, I’m feeling a tad evil. Generally speaking, this is the focaccia recipe from last month. – but – after making my usual weekly loaf of Hokkaido style TangZhong bread, I had 1/2 of the cooked roux left over. So… I says, “hmmm…. wonder what this would do in the focaccia recipe?” and, “What if I tweaked it and made pizza crust with it too?” So, I did. Axis Powers Pizza / Focaccia Dough Makes 1 Focaccia and 1- 20″ Pizza Ingredients 2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour 1/3 Cup TangZhong Cooked Roux (click through the linky to get the preparation on it) 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Syrup (or Barley Malt Syrup) 1 Cup Hot Water 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil To make a Focaccia: Follow the focaccia procedure as you would for a  normal loaf. To make Pizza Dough: after kneading  with …

The Unfinished Manuscript – Leg #1 ~ Dahlonega, Georgia

Several months ago A fellow food writer and friend – Julie @ Cookbook Fetish – found an unfinished cookbook manuscript in an “antique” store. We sort of giggled about it at the time, wondering why someone would go through the effort of writing a book…. then trashing it. We mused about the idea of cooking all the recipes in the book and – in a sense – finishing it. And… wouldn’t it be fun to send it around and let other people cook some recipes and write about their experiences with  “The Book” Julie cooked the first recipe out of  “Mr. Preliminary Version 1997” and wrote about it here >> Hunter’s Style Chicken << It was, in a word, uninspired (not the post… the recipe). Then Julie sent it on to me in November. Unfortunately things happen and life gets in the way – and I promptly lost The Book until last week. I spent the weekend thumbing the pages trying to decipher the layout and get a feeling for what the authors had in …

Baleful Bounty ~ Melanzane al Funghetto

With the garden production winding down, there’s been very little in my little hay-bale heaven to harvest. Except for eggplants. Typically, I get 2 to 3 decent sized aubergines out of my one plant… and that makes me happy. This year, I decided to plant 4 plants: 2 Gretel White Pencil Eggplants – similar to Asian style aubergines, only less sweet and a firmer bite 1 Black Beauty – the green grocer standard you find in the market 1 Juliette – a striped, amethyst  jewel-toned, egg shaped aubergine The Juliette fell early victim to the overly wet spring and cut worms devastated the remaining 3 plants off and on throughout the summer, so I really wasn’t expecting much of a harvest at all. However come August, I was awash in eggplant. I ate Eggplant Parmesan until my ears bled. I  made casseroles and terrines. I named them and drew Sharpie faces on them… I gave them away by the dozen… and still my plants produced. Even now (in late October) there are another 2 Black …

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 …

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 …

A Whirling Vortex…

small memory sapping rocks at the bottom of a lake… and feral cats playing some really hypnotic piano… O – Kay  …. I have no viable excuse. It’s been 35 days since the last post. And to be perfectly honest, I just lost interest in being interesting. It really started when I got back from the beach wedding… (yes.. I know I promised the recipes) and discovered that none of the food pictures resembled anything close to edible food. Which meant that I would have to re-cook everything just to get a picture of it….. (which I will get to, eventually) But expectation overload, sleep deprivation and post function funk got the better of me… and    I    just     didn’t     wanna… So I’ve busied myself with anything except that. I spent 2 weeks hauling dead fall around in the woods making walking paths. I researched making a stumpery. I started collecting data for a spring hypertufa project… note: All non-food projects. and, sadly.. I’ve taken to watching Giada De Laurentiis…. Man, she’s …