Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Danish

Oh.
My!

This dish-- this.... this cinnamon chip danish... this was so heavenly. Brian and I had it every morning for breakfast (practically) for like a week. Once I even had it for dessert. I just wanted more and more. It could be because I'm hopelessly addicted to cinnamon. It could be that we love pastries. I don't know. It was just... tasty, tasty, tasty. Now that I'm posting about it, I'm tempted to make it again. Maybe I'll make a cherry or strawberry danish instead?? Or chocolate? Because... I mean, right now I really want chocolate. But it's Spring!! It's time for fruits and berries and amazingness!!

But whatever!! Cinnamon chip danish, you are my hero. Actually, I watched Inglorious Basterds twice in the week that I made this, and I kept thinking of the scene where he orders Shoshanna whipped cream and a danish (growing up, my best friend was named Shoshana, and I thought of her a lot because of that movie), and so every morning when I cut slices for Brian and myself I made sure to serve them with whipped cream on the side. It seemed necessary, and went well with our coffee.

It was really fun to make this. Sure, it took awhile (I made it the night before with some soup, I believe), but it was fun. I like making pastries and bread items-- I like letting them rise and kneading them and cutting the pieces and folding it to be pretty. When it came out of the oven it made me so happy-- it was so pretty. I believe I squeeled and was like "Look how pretty!". And since it was breakfast, the pictures turned out nice too. Also, Brian turned out nice to, he's below. ;)

Look at him enjoying my danish, isn't he cute? This picture makes me want to give him a hug, but he's still at work. I will give him a mental hug right now.

The inside of the pastry is cream cheese, sweetened and folded with cinnamon chips. It's rich-- definitely, and not as dry as a lot of the cream cheese filling in danishes I've had in the stores (probably the yolk --> cream cheese ratio, which looks something like this [ cream cheese > egg yolk ]). The cinnamon chips, which my mom got for me while I was at home for Christmas because I can't find them here (which is funny, because I've had this recipe in my box for like, a year and a half now, and I made this like over a month ago... oy, I'm so bad at this updating thing.)

I liked making thick slices and heating them briefly in the toaster oven and then topping them with whipped cream. Once we put butter on, but it didn't taste as good-- the other flavours were weakened. So boo on butter. Give me sugar cream!!

We would eat like, two slices each a morning, but it still lasted us about a week. By the end of the week it was kinda dry, but I wrapped it in plastic every day and tried to make it last. It was still pretty moist for staying out that long though.

I don't think I have anything else to say, but wanted to break up these images. This was so good. My mom is here (she and the rest of my fam delivered to me my furniture from Savannah where I went to school-- they also brought me a buttload of stuff for my kitchen. A box was still left at home, but I now have my kitchen scale back... means I can make french things a bit more easily, no? Hah! No more conversion for me!!)


Cinnamon Chip Danish
Recipe from The Other Side of Fifty


The Filling

6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups cinnamon chips, divided

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolk until well blended. Set aside three tablespoons of the cinnamon chips for garnish. Stir the remaining cinnamon chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

The Dough

1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice plus enough milk to make one cup (warm to 100-110 degrees in microwave)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons honey
3 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups flour

Combine the honey and warm milk in bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
Add in the butter, salt, wheat gluten, and flours. Mix until the flour is incorporated.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's all smooth and elastic, this should take about 8-10 minutes. Turn the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled in volume (1-2 hours, depending on room conditions.)
Like the original poster, I preheated Brian's oven to it's lowest setting (170 degrees), then turned it off, and this is where I let my dough rise.
Punch the dough down, then turn it onto lightly floured working surface and pat it into a ball.
Roll the dough into a 12x18 rectangle. Spread the cream cheese mixture lengthwise down the center third of the dough rectangle. Cut 1-inch wide strips from the edges of the dough almost to the filling. Begin the braid by folding the top row toward the filling. Alternately fold the strips at an angle from each side across the filling toward the opposite side. Fold bottom row toward the filling and finish by stretching last strip and tucking under to seal. Transfer to baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or you can use parchment paper to cover the baking sheet.
Brush the loaf gently with a beaten egg and cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the loaf 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool.


To Glaze....

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp softened butter
enough milk to make of the desired drizzle consistency
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a dash of cinnamon

Stir the powdered sugar and butter together in a small bowl. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix. Add milk until you have the needed consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled danish and garnish with reserved cinnamon chips.



Friday, March 19, 2010

Chorizo Kale Soup


Can't remember how long ago it was that I made this-- but it was in my whole 'kale' phase. I think I've made all the kale recipes for now-- just in time, it's leek season. I've gotta put leeks in EVERYTHING. Now it's Spring, so I keep wanting fresh vegetables and fruits... its a dire craving. Unfortunately, I'm pretty broke. I try to keep my expenses cheap then, and while fresh vegetables aren't exactly expensive, they don't last as long....

But whatevs! This was an AMAZINGLY flavourful stew. This was so good! I loved the spicy chorizo in it. The recipe I took it from suggested chorizo, though they used Italian sausage. I kind of thought the chorizo would be slicable-- and maybe sometimes it is, but the chorizo I bought just fell right apart and became mushiness in the pan. And in the soup-- but that was fine! It led to a bright red colour, which I appreciated.

In the original recipe they called it Portuguese Kale Soup, but I dunno, I don't know enough about the history of this soup to be like, yeah, this is from Portugal. So I'll just say it's Chorizo kale soup.


Brian and I really enjoyed this with some bread. It made enough that we had leftovers for two or three days, and every day it just got better. I didn't have some of the stuff that they originally used in the original recipe, so I adapted it to my own use. Which I did, in fact, enjoy greatly.

I keep getting distracted as I write my post because my new kitten is chasing my cat, Tseng, around the apartment and attacking him. Tseng is usually pretty mild mannered, but he's chasing her back. He's much fiercer with her than he has been previously, but he still never hurts her. She's silly, though, because she keeps attacking him, then running and hiding. Coward, hah!

Anywho. Yes... soup... right now it's really chilly in my apartment and I could go for another bowl of this. I made this like... forever ago, though. So I definitely don't have any left. In fact, I don't think I have any soup. I could make oatmeal, but I'll probably end up making tea and an egg or something. I haven't had a lot of protein lately (this morning Brian and I had bagels for breakfast) so that's probably a good idea.

I'm actually catching up with my posts!

This recipe, by the way, was really easy to make. I totally suggest it-- it's like... a piece of cake, and really worth it. Serve with some bread, it's awesome!


Chorizo Kale Soup
Recipe from One Tree Past the Fence

1/2 pound of kale
4 cups of chicken stock
1 pound of chorizo
2 cans of white northern beans
1/2 to 1 cup cooked white rice (depending on preference)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion
salt
pepper
Cajun essence
3 drops hot sauce
1 drop lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the chorizo. Remove the chorizo when cooked thoroughly and add the onion and garlic and saute. Once tender, add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the kale, simmer for about five minutes then add the rice. Continue simmering until the kale softens. Add the beans and chorizo back in. Add in the hot sauce, cajun essenese and lime juice. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saffron Scented Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese has long been one of my favourite meals. When I was a kid it was basically all I would eat (the Kraft kind, which is still something I eat all the time). I feel like I made macaroni and cheese before and talked about that but since I can't find any posts about macaroni and cheese under 'pasta' or 'cheese' that must not have happened. Perhaps that was me preplanning THIS post in my brain. It's like the weirdest sort of deja vu...

Anyway... yeah, so I totally adored Kraft macaroni and cheese. I remember once my mom moved to Chicago for a brief period because she was working as a contractor for Kraft and I was like... "Mom, does that mean they'll give us free macaroni and cheese all the time?"

They didn't. How little did I know back then. If only they had, my little life would have been the best.

I remember also my favourite dish as a kid (I partially remember this because I wrote it in one of my diaries which I then later read-- I remember reading my words, more than the actual feeling, though I still have that somewhat too) was my mom's pork chops with macaroni and cheese, green peas, and lemon poppyseed muffins. Big meal for a little kid, but man, I loved eating it. I think the flavours complemented each other well, I guess I had a taste for things before I even knew it.

I can't say this was the best macaroni and cheese I've ever made (I'm sorry!). I had to break down the recipe because only Brian and I were eating it, and even then it made too much-- but the cheese flavour wasn't strong enough. The cream cheese helped provide the creaminess, but really, I had to add sooo much cheddar to even start making flavour happen. I'll have to retool this and figure it out better-- I think if I make macaroni and cheese again (which I will), I might try to find very flavourful cheeses to see if I can make the most flavourfull macaroni and cheese ever. I mean, for this dish I could see why they did a softer flavour-- if you cover up the saffron with cheese flavour, whats the point? But still, this was missing salt, which I added, and just... general flavour. But then again, I like my stuff cheesy.

Anyway, we made it cheesier and saltier and I still tasted the saffron so that much was good, but it was neither of our's favourite dish. We also added broccoli to it, because broccoli is awesome. I also used rotini, because rotini is awesome (also it reminds me of Kraft Spirals, which is also my favourite).

Hah, I'm a childish dork. :)



Saffron Scented Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl

1/2 pound elbow pasta
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 1/2 cups non-fat milk
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
small pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)

An hour or so before making the macaroni and cheese, grind the saffron threads into a powder using a mortar and pestle. IN a small bowl combine the ground saffron and the hot water and allow to steep. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, then return to the pot.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook onion in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and whisk in the flour, cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. whisk in the milk and bring to just a boil lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, and the cream cheese and cook. Add cheddar cheese (remove from heat0, stir until smooth, add the saffron water and onion. Add to pasta and stir until combined. Season.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Colcannon

For a last minute minute St. Patrick's day festivity offering, I decided to make Colcannon for the honey, who I believe does have quite a bit of irish (he describes his chin as Irish. I believe it's because his beard is reddish, but he said something about it's shape, I dunno) in him. I've made colcannon once before, when I was younga'-- in college. Everyone came over, I had made colcannon and irish soda bread (from scratch!). I can't remember what I thought of it back then.
Apparently it's a tradition in Brian's family to have boiled corned beef and cabbage. I've never even had corned beef, so I wasn't about to step into those britches. Boiled cabbage I could do-- and for the amount of colcannon I have I'll have plenty left over for him to have with some...... uh, chicken, I guess.

As I'm boiling the cabbage I am aware of the odor it is releasing. Apparently this is a problem for most people, but I think it actually smells rather tasty. It makes me think of butter. Hmm.
Colcannon is apparently a traditional Irish dish-- with ham, or leeks, or kale, or cabbage, or any combination thereof. It's basically mashed potatoes. I'm making mine with red potatoes, because last night when Brian and I were e-mailing back and forth, he said "red potatoes!", and I like to give him things he likes. Skin on red potatoes, cabbage, salt, and a pool of butter. I'm looking forward to the butter, myself.

I'm also adding leeks to this.... I've read its often done. Partially just because I -love- leeks. I love them. Brian's not a huge fan (though I added some to our pasta the other night and he said they 'weren't bad'. Hah!!).

I think the hardest part about making this will be waiting for Brian to get home. He may or may not be off of work right now (he tends to leave any time between 5:30-6:30), but I already started making it. Because I'm sort of silly. Also, I avoid things I have to do and sometimes cook instead. But waiting to eat it will be hard-- I might try a bite before he gets back.

I did--it was good, and he enjoyed it as well. :D
It did make us a bit stomach-achey after some beer that night though. Forewarning. Anyway, yay!! Colcannon!

Colcannon

1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes
1 small head of cabbage, decored and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
A few leaves of leek, chopped
milk
salt and pepper
a dash of mace
1/4 pound of ham


boil the cabbage in a large pot until tender. Remove from water and drain. Fry in a pan with 1 tablespoon of butter until dried out a bit. Add the potatoes to the cabbage water. Boil until tender. Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat the chopped leek and milk. Mash the potatoes, add salt, mace, and pepper. Add the leek and milk. Add the cabbage and mix until fluffy. Add the ham and mix a bit more.
Serve with a well of salted melted butter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuscan Ribollita


Tuscan Ribollita is basically a bean stew. An extremely delicious bean stew. It's hearty, it's rich, it's warm... It's everything a girl like me could want on a cold day. This particular batch was shared by my ex-roommate Vicky, Brian, and I with a loaf of sourdough bread. I don't completely remember what it tasted like, except that it smelled amazing and tasted very rich and good. It was very hearty, and filling-- I felt like I should live in a much colder climate than Los Angeles to be eating this meal. Which is funny, because when I imagine Tuscany I sort of envision sun and ripe grapes. But, as I've never been to Italy (as we've gone over before) what do I know?

I do know that when I was younger I didn't really like beans. I mean, I liked refried beans/pintos and cheese from Taco Bell, but if I got minestrone soup I wouldn't eat the beans, or if something came with beans in it, I'd avoid them. I liked green beans though, and lentils. So it wasn't a thing against legumes. I'm not sure what it was. I think maybe beans filled me up too much-- I still sometimes avoid them because they start making me feel very full very fast. Which is what happened with this stew. As you can see in these photos, each of us didn't have a very large portion, but it was more than enough to fill us up (though this may also be because of the bread).


Vicky will hate me for posting this photo of her, but I think she looks cute. Oh, yeah, we had this with red wine. I believe on Shutterbean it was a suggested serving, but I don't remember what kind of wine we had with it either. Man, I really need to start posting these closer to when I make them so I remember more about them. It's just-- it's just stuff came up! (Like the Eggland contest!!) And I also get distracted by life.
I have a casting for Ed Hardy today. Wish me luck!! I ate one of my macarons from a few days ago just a few minutes ago. Probably not good 'I'm-about-to-prance-around-in-my-bathing-suit' food... but I don't regret it.



Tuscan Ribollita
Recipe from Shutterbean

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 oz pancetta, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 a 15 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup chicken broth
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 bunch kale, roughly chopped
1/8 cup toasted bread crumbs
grated parmesan

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the first five ingredients in2 tablespoons of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the beans, broth, and rosemary. Simmer, covered, until the beans break apart-- about an hour. Add the kale and cook for five to seven more minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs and serve, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cheese.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Adventures in Eggland: Chocolate Rose Meringues

I made that baked alaska last night and had leftover meringue, so I just mixed in some honey, and rose, and nomnom. I baked them up, then Brian distracted me (by showing me this clip for his improv group, Hot Biscuit, that he's been working on) for a good time, and I let them cook a little long. I think this is time to pull out one of my old internet-dorkiness faces. -.- That will be close enough. My friend Mark used to do one that definitely looked more irritable than that. Don't know how to do that anymore, I feel like those are key strokes only known on AOL. Hah.

All kidding aside, I wasn't irritated.

Pink, rosey, and chocolatey. I don't have much else to say-- they came out a little tender, but I really like the flavour. I should have made these for Valentine's day. Oh, I guess I should mention how I made them pinkish. I had some pink luster dust leftover from a few Valentine's Days ago. And I used that. I just mixed it right in, which made the meringue even shinier and pinker and prettier. I really enjoyed the look of it (maybe more before I baked it).



Once I got these little rose meringues that were supposed to be meant as perfumey breath mints. They were rose flavour too! Which is what kind of gave me the idea, but I liked the idea of the chocolate.
Nomnom.

OK! Enjoy the pictures!!
If I think of anything to say I'll come back and edit it in! :x




Chocolate Rose Meringues

1 egg white
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon rose water
pinch (I know, terrible measurement) cream of tartar
chocolate powder for dusting

Oven at 200 Degrees Fahrenheit

Beat the egg white until foamy and add the sugar, honey, rose water, and cream of tartar. Until fluffy and stiff peaks form. Spoon onto a non-stick baking sheet, dust with chocolate powder and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Adventures in Eggland: Dreamsicle Macarons!!


Unlike my Baked Alaska, I have had macarons before, and these are not perfect. However, despite their flaws (not quite crisp enough, didn't grind the almond fine enough, the cream is a little runny, didn't quite form the right foot but they still don't look too bad) they were very tasty. These turned out to taste exactly like I wanted them to-- very dreamsicle esque. They're super sweet, with a rich orangeyness and a strong vanilla flavour. Its not separated like a dreamsicle is, but all melded together, like when you've mixed it somewhat. I dunno, I really liked it. This was after it took me forever to figure out what flavour I wanted to do. At my disposal I have things like chocolate, rose, lavender... more common macaron flavours (though I doubt dreamsicle is uncommon) but I wanted to do this. I thought it'd be tasty. And different.


What's important is that they turned out pretty good, though! I'm happy with them. And they really could have been a big disaster as I was taking a bunch of recipes and converting them to the cup/tablespoon system (instead of grams, I don't have a kitchen scale!!). And also I was using my measuring spoons and kept getting distracted by my kitten and measured my egg whites (which were previously frozen btw) with my 1 1/2 tablespoons measurement instead of my 1 tablespoon measurement, so my recipe below may not be 100% accurate to what I actually made. :x It will probably be better. But whatev'.

Look, I made all the photos and all the cookies! This recipe only made 8. Well, my macarons may have been a bit big-- I got a bit over ambitious when piping (also, my piping bag sucks. I like to sometimes think to myself, when I have money.... alas, I don't think that will ever happen). Anyway. They're really rich and sweet. So... I kind of have to have pieces of them at a time, with tea, that's not sweetened. I gave one to Brian today for him to have at work (yes, I am posting the same day/day after of making them! Gasp!) but I don't know what he thought of it. So I guess we'll find out. I imagine he'll say something like "Oh, it was good, darling! Very sweet. But I loved it-- thank you!" and he'll kiss me on the cheek/forehead or give me a hug. Because that's very like him.

Have I mentioned that he makes me happy?

The colour scheme of these pictures is vaguely the colour scheme of my kitchen. There's this silly yellow tile (that I love) and I'm painting one of the walls robins egg blue. And there's a brown oven and stovetop, and the microwave is red. It doesn't quite fit in, but it works. :)

And I'm done. Enjoy!!


Dreamsicle Honey Macarons

1 cup icing sugar
1 cup almond flour
1 vanilla bean

2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Oven at 390 Degrees Fahrenheit

Grind together the powdered sugar almonds, and vanilla. Grind until fine.
Whisk the egg whites and sugar until stiff. Fold in the almond mixture with spatula, then fold in the honey carefully.

Pipe onto non-stick baking sheets. Let rest for five hours (or until a skin forms). Bake for 8-10 minutes until cracking and forming feet and fantastic. Let cool. While cooling, make the filling!!

3/4 cup butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade

Combine all ingredients and whip until creamy and fluffy! Spread on one half of a macaron cookie and put the other half on and voila!!

Adventures in Eggland: Neapolitan Baked Alaska


I'm trying to finish up these posts for the Eggland's Best thing. I did soo many recipes with those eggs (so it felt, to me) so it's been hard... I had a lot of leftover egg whites, after everything, and with those I finished up with this Baked Alaska.

I admit, I had more egg whites left over than I could fit on the baked alaska so I separated them once they were beat up and added some rose water and honey and pink and made little meringues. Which weren't very crispy-- probably because I didn't really look up how to make meringues. But whatever, they taste good!!

But yeah, the baked alaska was sooo goood!! I loved the idea of making it Neapolitan flavor. I had leftover chocolate french toast from my visit to The Griddle. And... and, I'm sorry Jodi, but I couldn't eat it all, so I used it. :x It was still topped with marshmallows when I put the strawberry ice cream on, and then the meringue, and then...

Threw it in the oven to make golden brown and creamy. This is it first removed from the oven-- you can see me in the background putting stuff in the dishrack of my new apartment, yay!!! I baked it on a silicone sheet, because I thought it wouldn't stick-- but for some reason they've been sticking more than they used to. I don't know why, it's silly.

Gotta get that sucker off. It was stuck tight. But I did it, with Brian's help.

I have a lot of pictures for this post, I just had a lot of fun with the camera. Hah. Here's the meringue. I loved how crispy the outside was. I made sure to make it very vanilla-y, because that definitely went with the whole Neapolitan thing. It was soft and tender on the inside, too, which I believe meringue is supposed to be. I haven't had a lot of meringue. (I know, failure). It's all soft and squishy AND crispy. Wowza.

Ok, I don't really know what else to say, I should probably just group these images, especially because I have two more posts to type up. Brian took this while I was digging into the first bite. I made some funny noise at him like "ehwakjerhjwer put the camera down and eat it!"


The strawberry custard/ice cream is beginning to melt out. OH! I know something I wanted to say about this. Whenever I make certain recipes (like my pasta carbonara) I think of the Sims.... because even since the first Sims game they made things like pasta carbonara, baked alaskas, and lobster thermidore. When I first began playing the Sims I had no idea what those things were-- I'd never had carbonara (later, when I was dating Ryan, he introduced it to me, it was his favourite) and until today I'd never had a Baked Alaska. Still haven't had lobster thermidore-- but there's still time. I'm only 24 after all. But it's nice to make things and be reminded of how nerdy I am. It's kind of the same thing sometimes when I have certain Japanese foods. I'll think of glistening Hot Bowls from Slayers or ramen from various things, or often, Final Fantasy VII foods-- which aren't really mentioned.

Look how gooey!! The chocolate french toast was sooo good under this (though a brownie or cake probably would be better. I mean, bread is bread after all. But still, soo tasty). The marshmallow completely melted on top of that, and then covered by the melted strawberry gooeyness. Meringue on top, traps the whole thing in so that it all melts and gets caught and-- and-- okay... I bet you just want to make it for yourself now. Look below!


Neapolitan Baked Alaska

1 chocolate cake, of moderate size (or some chocolate french toast, or something)
1 large scoop of strawberry ice cream

2 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
a dash of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl, add sugar and cream of tartar and some vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form. Layer the strawberry ice cream and meringue on top of the cake/brownie/whatever. Stick it in a preheated oven until baked and melty and freakishly amazing.
Serve immediately.


All gone!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in Eggland: Beef Ragu with Papardelle

As part of the Eggland challenge through Foodbuzz I made homemade pasta. I really enjoyed the experience, though it was tough (warning, it took forever). I made two types out of the one recipe, and had plans for both-- the other was this strozzapreti with kale, potatoes, and browned butter. The other was this delectable beef ragu inspired by Jason Cooks.

I really-- really enjoyed this ragu. It took awhile too make, which is always tedious, especially when sometime smells so good. Letting a sauce reduce is hard-- just out of pure impatience. I'd never really made pasta sauce before, either (well, I've made alfredo's and carbonaras, but not a tomato based sauce) so that also added an extra challenge.

And I gotta say, it turned out amazing. Brian LOVED this dish-- he devoured it. It was rich, the cabernet was strong and aromatic. The beef tasted amazing-- it was seasoned well (from me tasting it so many times). Yes, indeed, this was a fantastic italian dish. I don't know if I'll make it again any time soon-- after all, making the pasta was a long drawn out process, and making the sauce was equally so. But, I did enjoy it, and I wouldn't mind eating it again.

Papardelle is also like, one of my favourite pastas. The first time I had it was for an anniversary dinner a couple of years ago (or Valentine's, it used to be that they were very close together for me) and it was amazing!! It was served with a rich wine sauce and chunks of tender beef. It wasn't quite a ragu, but it was amazing.

I really enjoyed that serving of pasta, but I gotta admit, I like the homemade love of this one.

It was homey and rich, without being too overdone. A few days ago I watched this movie called Everybody Wants to be Italian, directed by a photographer I know named Jason Todd Ipson who is, in fact, a really cool guy (we've been talking about doing a shoot posing with food-- because come on!) and in it the girl is pretending to be Italian and her Italian neighbor is teaching her to make a ragu or some sort of sauce, and is like... a way to a man's heart is through his stomach (that old proverb). I don't know how true that is-- though my boyfriends have always loved me and my cooking, I don't think any of them are truly blown away by the amount of good food I put infront of them. But this ragu makes me think of that movie (now, even though I watched the movie after eating the ragu) because if I had an Italian grandma neighbor making me pasta, I think it'd taste something like this.

Also, Brian's roommates Dan and AJ just got back from a trip to Italy (like, two days ago?? It was AJ's Birthday. Happy Birthday girly!!). I've never had true Italian pasta-- heck, I've never been out of the country (despite my desire to. Please send me out of this country, Next Models. Let's work together to get me some work. Even if you won't sign me for print. Oh, fickle modeling agencies)-- but I dunno. It might also be something like this, right? I guess I have to go to Italy to find out. Maybe Dan's family will make me some pasta. I know AJ has been trying to make a variety of recipes for Dan/etc, and from what I hear they've been pretty amazing.
I just realized this post doesn't have much to do with the ragu anymore.

But yeah, it was good. Very rich, very flavorful. I loved the extra basil I added-- but that's because Brian and I are kind of in love with Basil for life. FOR LIFE!!



Beef Ragu with Papardelle
Recipe adapted from Jason Cooks

1 pound beef - I used some steak, since you can't really get a pound of beef chuck roast. But it was a chuck steak. Unfortunately, too long ago to remember specifically.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 basil leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprig of thyme
1 carrot
1/4 onion
1 shallot
3 oz mushrooms
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1/3 bottle cabernet
2 garlic cloves, peeled and seperated
1 cup beef stock

pappardelle
basil
parmesan

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear the sides of the beef. Add all the vegetables and cook until slightly tender and aromatic. Add the flour and stir in. Add the crushed tomatoes in and continue stirring for a few minutes. Add the garlic, beef stock, and all the herbs and leave on the stove too simmer for 3 hours or until reduced by half. Continue checking and stir occasionally, and when close to being finished start shredding the beef with a fork.

In the last 30 minutes of cooking the sauce, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the papardelle and cook until al dente. Drain and pour into two bowls. Serve topped with the ragu, shredded basil, and a heaping of parmesan cheese.