misc notes

Mar. 15th, 2011 10:25 am
nothavanas: (Default)
 Bisteeya with chicken was a wild success; I used a recipe from Epicurious and added extra spice blend. It took 4 hours to make, though. Part of that was prepping the ras el hanout spice mix, and part of it was cooking the chicken (in homemade turkey stock) for an hour. Filo isn't hard to work with, but it is slow.

Lauren made macaroni and cheese pie with a cheese topping; there was bacon to crumble on top for the not-vegetarians around. We decided bacon would be better mixed in, and there was some discussion of gourmet cheese in addition to sharp cheddar.
nothavanas: (Default)
Last night I made pasta with Creative Sauce.

I reduced down about 3/4 a bottle of a $10 shiraz/cabernet wine I got ages ago at the grocery store. I added a couple good pours of evaporated milk, since we had an open can in the fridge. I reduced that down as well; with a lot of whisking. Then I threw in a stick and 1/4 of butter, bit by bit, whisking it in. I added some browned fake meat, which has a rather mushroomlike tang to it.

The sauce went over an ordinary batch of pasta, 2 c white flour to 3 egg whites, and the noodles came out exactly right. I've been making larger batches mostly, because I'm feeding at minimum 4 people and often lots more. The larger batches don't ever cook quite right, although they do come out tasty.
nothavanas: (Default)
This was from Alton Brown.
While the water boiled, I chopped the chard, separating the stems and leaves, onions, and garlic. The chard leaves blanched for 3 minutes, then I fished it out and put the pasta (stripy bowties!) in the same pot. I cooled and chopped the chard, then saut├ęd the aromatics (including the chard stems, which were yellow) in some olive oil. I added a paste of equal parts butter and flour, cooking that for about 5 minutes, and then added lots of canned diced tomatoes. The next step was to add chicken broth, which I substituted with my homemade vegetable stock. I will be sad when I use all of that up. Then I added the chard and the pasta and tossed it to warm everything up, and finished with probably more Parmesan than it called for, a little rosemary, and some salt and pepper.

This is fantastic. The sauce has some of the same tomato-garlic flavor that makes our pasta sauce so amazing, but it's tempered by the roux and the stock, so it is a little creamy and the bitter chard really shines.
I did a lot of the prep in advance, as the water heated and as the chard and pasta cooked, so the actual cooking part went very smoothly.
nothavanas: (Default)
I threw a birthday party for one of my roommates, which turned out to be dinner and cake for 13 people. No pressure for my first dinner party! :D
Monday I baked the cake, using White Cake II from the '97 Joy of Cooking. I added an awful lot of food coloring and made a green and yellow checkerboard cake with three layers.
Tuesday I did the rest of the prep. I filled the cake with raspberry preserves (heated and strained directly onto the layers), frosted it with Butter Frosting (from Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book) tinted a lovely shade of purple, and decorated it. Sooj added some lovely flowers, lavender and sweet pea. Then I baked Olive Oil Bread, using 1.5 cups white flour and 1 cup white whole wheat. I keep trying to use a pizza stone and it keeps coming out thin and crispy, and oddly shaped. I need to reduce baking time a lot, and maybe try a better improvised peel. I set up the standard tomato-and-garlic pasta sauce, using 4 15-oz cans of tomatoes and scaling up appropriately. I measured out the oil, which ended up being a little too much. Next time I just eyeball it, as usual. After the sauce was simmering, with some Yellowtail Shiraz added, I prepped 5 ears of corn, cutting the tips and ends off and cutting each ear in half. That was a little harder than I expected, but I stuck them in a dish in the microwave, with some water added and saran wrap over them, and just let them wait. They eventually got microwaved for 4 minutes on high, and came out excellent.
The salad consisted of lots of different lettuces and also arugula, all from Boistfort Valley Farm, and I put the birthday girl in charge of other vegetables (carrots, red bell peppers, and celery).
I brought my food processor to a standstill making pasta with seven egg whites and five cups of flour (three white, two whole wheat). I ended up turning it out onto the counter to mix and add more water and oil to, and then back into the processor to finish. The dough came out just fine despite that.
That much pasta just barely fit into the pot, and it did boil over once or twice. I served the salad and the corn while waiting for the noodles to finish cooking, and then brought the pot and the skillet to the table.
Everyone loved all of it, which made me very happy. The sauce was exquisite, the noodles were tasty, and the cake was rich and buttery and very very colorful!
Pictures of the cake, the food, and the party to follow.

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