Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Liquid Comfort

Here is our entry for the Click event over at Jugalbandi!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pasta ..... Terrible Pasta

Okay, the bad thing about using everything you have in the kitchen is that you eventually run out of the good stuff and are left with the stuff you really do not like - chicken basil sausage that was a terrible hit last month, some left over broccoli and a tiny bit of cheese. Now, I did think it would all come together but the sausage was SOOOO bland, I added a ton of salt and Portuguese peppers, shallots, garlic, pepper - nothing worked! Then I cooked up some whole wheat pasta thinking that would at least add that nice nutty flavor - NOT! I think this was terrible. L. said it is okay - OKAY, he ate about 4 servings - that goes to prove the man will eat anything!

Duck Fat Risotto

For one of our holiday celebrations I made Cassoulet. While that bit of heaven was baking all day long, I skimmed off the extra stock and duck fat and tucked it away into the freezer for something special.

Not that cleaning out the kitchen is special but I just knew that special stock would make a wonderful risotto and it did! I kept it very simple, shallots, garlic, a little Thyme, white wine and the hidden gem. Now, L. claims he hates duck, well, he gobbled this up and was quit surprised to learn it was "duck". Served it with some simple sauteed spinach - lots of olive oil, garlic and Meyer lemon zest and the left over bottle of white Burgundy. For dessert we had some of that left over Bittersweet Chocolate Tart. Amazing what you can come up with, with all the things just laying around the kitchen. Too good of a meal for being a Monday.

Monday, January 28, 2008

If life gives you Lemons ...............

make pie! Jen, from The Canadian Baker, was our hostess this month and she challenged us with making a Lemon Meringue Pie. This was my first time making a Lemon Meringue Pie and I even got L. to help out - we actually had a lot of fun doing it together! We made it for a dinner party we had a couple weekends back and our guests loved it. We loved it so much we made, it again, the next day and then again the following weekend!

We did use our lemon of choice which is the beautiful Meyer. As well I do not own a pie pan so we used a tart pan. The pastry dough was light and flaky and the filling was a beautiful shade of yellow and had just enough pucker! Meringue well you just can not go wrong with any sort of meringue. The first two pies came from the same recipe and unfortunately, once you cut into the pie it was more like floating islands on lemon soup - great flavor though. The second time around, we cut the water down but it was still rather runny. The flavor was so fantastic that it really did not matter to us nor our guests!

Want a taste of the drool fest click the blue link!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bittersweet ...

bit·ter·sweet (btr-swt) n. 1. A woody vine of the genus Celastrus, especially the North American species C. scandens and the eastern Asian species C. orbiculata, having small, round, yellow-orange fruits that open at maturity to expose red seeds. Also called staff tree. 2. See bittersweet nightshade. 3. A dark to deep reddish orange. adj. 1. Bitter and sweet at the same time: bittersweet chocolate. 2. Producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure: a movie with a bittersweet ending. 3. Dark to deep reddish-orange.

There have been a few episodes the past couple of months that have been "bittersweet" for me. This event came at a perfect time.

As well, I am a chocolate addict. I would eat it everyday of the week if I could. The darker and the deeper the chocolate the better. No semi-sweet, milk chocolate for me!! It is like a bad drug. For this event which was hosted by Apartment Therapy The Kitchen, I choose a bittersweet chocolate tart - I love it because it is incredibly bitter (70% chocolate) and just a little sweet (hardly any sugar). I love to have it drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, or a drizzle of cream, or maybe a ripe red raspberry; but, this time around, the slight bite of the chocolate and the slight sweetness of the crust went incredibly well with a deep dark espresso! Pure sin ..... all things bad turned into one good thing!

Unfortunately, for you the viewers, the photos are terrible. As it was a very last minute decision, I forgot until half way thru the process that I was suppose to take a few photos of the baking process as well a few of the finished process. Because of chilling times, etc.. I missed all the wonderful natural light and had to work with what I had. I can assure you all ... this is a fantastic tart and you should definitely make it when you are feeling the need to be a little bad!

Pasta e Ceci

During the day on Saturday we had a nice break from the rain and cold; but, it came back just in time for dinner. It was a good night for some comfort and a good night to join Meeta over at What's for Lunch Honey and her monthly mingle - comfort food!

As I mentioned earlier in the week we are using up everything in the house - sort of a pre-spring cleaning. So, we are limited as to what we have on hand. I have been dying to make this lovely soup, recipe from one of Jamie Oliver's books, and lucky for us we have everything in the house. As well, it is pure comfort on a cold and rainy night!

Pasta e Ceci is like a peasant dish - simple, hardy, very easy and full of flavor - onions, garlic, a small amount of celery, chickpeas and a little pasta. If you like chickpeas this soup is for you. We added a loaf of our favorite crusty french bread and opened up a bottle of Italian wine to compliment it (ever since we had a FANTASTIC bottle of Italian wine at Delfina, we have been lushing after them). Was a very nice and cozy evening.