November 22, 2009

Slippery Little Fellas

For dinner tonight, I made a quick pasta with some broccoli rabe, sundried tomatoes, shallots and garlic. I topped it off with some toasted pine nuts and the king of cheeses (as Mario would say). Yummy! But alas, no pictures. It was all eaten! Even Josephine and Lucy preferred it to their frozen Elmo Whole Wheat Pizza that I heated up for them. But here's the thing -- the sundried tomatoes needed to be chopped fine, and those buggers are slippery, even under relatively sharp knives! Is there a secret to chopping them? Discuss.

November 18, 2009

chef academy, episode 1

or, emmanuel delcour is awesome.

as previously mentioned, i am unable to resist a food/cooking-based reality show. add in this guy, and i'm positively licking glued to the tv.

bravo's chef academy is a kind of jumble of cooking show, talent contest, and docudrama featuring famed chef jean cristophe novelli. the chef and his about-to-give birth girlfriend arrive in the US from the UK to set up a branch of his esteemed school of cookery.

up first? visiting the location, picking the contestants, the requisite melodrama, and a glimpse of the students' er, chops. i won't go into too much detail, for those of you who haven't watched. it's quite enjoyable. the fact that it's on monday nights at 11:00P is a bit odd; why no tie-in with top chef? anyway, watch it and report back. there may be a quiz.


ok, i lied. spoilers after this point (if only so i may get on my soapbox for a bit. this has nothing to do with food, so feel free to move along if pseudo-serious social commentary is not for you)...

as it has already been alluded to in the teasers from next week's show, video previews on the website, and various and sundry blogs, mr. delcour had a previous incarnation, under a pseudonym, as an actor in adult movies. read: he was a porn star. (and, might i add, the only porn star that has ever made me actually want to watch. but i digress.)

i was hoping they weren't going to include this fact in this new show. not because i have any problem with the profession personally, but because of the inevitable puritanical backlash that seems to come with any such admission. already i've seen bloggers posting about 'outing' him and comments that bravo should have done a better background check.

while i understand that pornography is obviously a loaded issue, and not exactly considered to be a mainstream subject of discussion, i personally find it frustratingly hypocritical that a society that spends literally billions of dollars on porn annually can simultaneously turn their collective noses at anyone involved in said industry.

anyway, my point, and i could go on at length but i will restrain myself, is this: i hope that this show doesn't turn into a disdainful attack on a former porn star while it obviously capitalizes on any resulting publicity. of course, i'm not sure why i would expect adherence to such a standard from a reality tv show, but it would be refreshing, would it not?

okay, class dismissed :).

November 17, 2009

It looks pretty good, but


One of my food hobbies is renovating recipes, that is, attempting to make them healthier without sacrificing (too much) of the flavor and texture. This one didn't quite work. It's a baked shells dish with tomatoes, Italian sausage and broccoli rabe. The original is a recipe from Everyday Food, which for the life of me I can't find on the website. Maybe they don't post recipes until the next print issue is out? I don't know. Anyway, I digress. Of course. For this recipe, I decided to use brown rice pasta instead of regular medium shells. I used Tinkyada, a brand of brown rice pasta I've used often, but this time with disastrous results. Despite seriously undercooking the pasta in the boil phase of the recipe, it was already seeming overdone. Once it was baked -- completely fallen apart. Gnarly.

I did however, have great success with the other renovation to the recipe: using non-meat sausage (oh, I know some of you are rolling from that phrase)! I used Field Roast Italian Sausage, and I thought it was yummy. It added the oregano and fennel flavor of sausage, along with some of the texture and chew of meat, but left out the fat, calories and then ummm... animal part.

So I guess I was 1-1 on this reno. I just can't get the squishy rice pasta texture out of my mouth. Eeww.

November 9, 2009

twice baked

another meal based on what we had left in the fridge...this time good ol' twice baked potatoes.

i've discovered that if i have cheese around, it's possible to make something at least passably good to eat.  (or, of course, we can just eat the cheese straight up.  truth be told, cheese is one of my main food groups.)

the gorge made some delicious meatballs (more on those later!) and baked potatoes for dinner last night. so today i scooped out the leftover potatoes, threw them in a pan with butter, smoked cheddar cheese, some parmesan, sour cream, a bit of milk, chopped scallions and some salt and pepper.  when it was kinda melty and mixed through, i filled the potato 'shells' and added more parmesan (cheese, glorious cheese) and baked them.

i was wishing i had bacon to put in them, but the smoked cheddar added a surprisingly bacon-y quality. not a revolutionary recipe, but quite yum-o, to borrow a phrase!

crepes two ways

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or, how to make something when there's nothing to eat.

there's something quite satisfying about cooking with what you happen to have in the fridge or pantry (or, more accurately, the cabinet). there is something even more satisfying about cooking without spending money when you have recently relocated across the country in the midst of this current economic ridiculousness.  but i digress!

where was i? oh yes, crepes. crepes are one of those things i have made over the years when i didn't have anything sweet in the house and really wanted dessert. so the other day, while thinking of what on earth i could make to eat with the cupboards nearly bare, i thought crepes. (well, i thought pancakes, but i didn't have any baking soda or powder!)

it was too late for breakfast, and i wanted 'real' food as well as something dessert-y. i decided to try savory and sweet versions of crepes. i used the same crepe recipe for both options, deciding to not add sugar as is suggested in most sweet crepe recipes. while i usually use the betty crocker cookbook (my all time fave) for these kind of recipes, this time i was too lazy to even walk the four feet to get it out of the bookcase, so i used this one by alton brown.

why is it so much easier to look recipes up on the internet, even when you have cookbooks galore, as we both mentioned earlier? damn that modern technology.


i filled the savory crepes with the carrot-habanero jam that my bro made, a combo of grated sharp and smoked cheddar cheeses, and some chopped scallions.


i had some dulce de leche that i had made in the fridge, so i thought that would be lovely as the base of the sweet crepes. we also had two bananas laying about, so i decided on a 'bananas foster' type concoction. butter, brown sugar, dulce de leche, and bananas, melted together and poured over the folded crepes. the gorge went nuts over it. of course, he has rarely met a sweet food creation he didn't like, but still, it was quite tasty.

November 8, 2009

amanda was robbed

i'm not sure how it happened.  somehow, after poo-pooing reality shows for many a year, the gorge and i are now basically obsessed with watching competition shows involving food (and american idol, truth be told, but that's another, er, kettle of fish). top chef, ramsay's kitchen nightmares (UK version: HI-larious), the next iron chef.   amanda freitag was my pick to win the last of these...she's cool, her food looks delish, i like her judging on chopped (oh, there's another one!), and she's, rather obviously, a woman.  so i was quite annoyed to see tonight's episode!  she was robbed, i tells ya. it's like torvill and dean all over again.

by the way, for those of you who also enjoy some food reality, there is a new show, chef academy, coming up on bravo...and it features one of my obess - um, one of my favorite actors :).  be sure to tune in!

(wow...lots of links in that post.  i'm not getting paid for product placement, believe me!)

November 3, 2009

Even More New Cookbooks

Proof for my husband that we need a bigger house (to house all the cookbooks): The BA Foodist's list of new cookbooks, with commentary by the owners of Rabelais in Portland, ME, which is apparently a culinary bookstore. WHAT? Wait -- we don't have one of those here! All the bookstores here only sell crappy diet books and Gossip Girl novels! Well, at least I can visit Rabelais online. Which ones will you add to your Christmas list?

November 1, 2009

Stooped to a New Low

One of the problems of having two young children, I find, is that the grownup eating suffers tremendously. Tonight I ate microwaveable mac and cheese for dinner. Since this is a food-oriented blog, I won't tell you what it looked like or tasted like. Seriously. Gross.