Saturday, February 27, 2010

The day after dancing... time for pasta

gamberi diablo
Lasagne Verdi Al Forno
rotoli di aglio
chocolat de lave
Marinated spicy prawns, baked green lasagna with meat sauce, garlic cheese rolls, yeah, the lava cakes. I need to do a seperate blog just for those and my friends back home who harass me for the recipe non stop. haha so i will probably post that one seperate. ...maybe.

I am so mad about my camera. If it does not work tonight I am going to get a new one. My cell phone pictures stink! So I have to have a good camera! Those potatoes were perfectly round too!
Lasagne Verdi Al Forno
Any way. Time to make some ginormous noodles for my lasagna. Yum. I am making big spinach noodles because I love them. Did you know that Italians generally don't use ricotta cheese for lasagna? They use their béchamel sauce to attach the noodles together. But I found NO where in my Italian cuisine book where it called for ricotta. But guess what?!?! I can do whatever I want! It is my kitchen. I love a lil ricotta in there. This is 100% my recipe. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

1 lb HOT Italian sausage
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup parmesan
2 eggs
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup ricotta
1 TB Italian seasoning
2 TB chopped Yellow Onion
½ white wine
1 TB garlic
1 lb mozzeralla cheese

If you make homemade marinara (which I have done so many times) then great. Tonight I will refer to "Jars" of marinara. While I encourage home made. The closest thing you can find on the shelf in my opinion is Bertolli's olive oil and garlic marinara. So if it is homemade or bertolli... all measurements are in jars. If you do make your own marinara, store it in jars. It is so cheap to make and so easy to store.

I posted how to make Béchamel sauce previously. Make it again. 3 cups milk, 6 TB butter, 4.5 TB flour. ¼ tsp salt.

Make some sheets of spinach pasta. (½ ten ounce package frozen leaf spinach, thawed and cooked). 2 eggs and 1 ½ flour… probably will need more. Knead roll, knead roll, add flour, knead roll…etc…Get your booty a kitchen aid mixer so it’s not so hard.

Prepare the meat sauce by cooking Italian sausage together, add 1 TB garlic and wine.... Set aside and cool.
Prepare the Béchamel sauce. Then set aside.
Once meat is cool add 1 egg, bread crumbs and parmesan. Add 2 Jars Marinara, stir over heat until warm, Set aside
Season ricotta with 1 egg, and Italian seasoning and stir it in a bowl together. Set aside.
Preheat oven 400.

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Then add 1 TB salt. Once it boils again. Add sheets of spinach pasta. After it returns to boil (about 10 to 20 seconds) remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a wet towel.
Smear large 14 inch lasagna dish with butter AND Pam. Put a little meat sauce in the bottom.
Put 1 layer of noodle, smear with meat sauce, bechamel, a lil ricotta and mozzerella... repeat until ingredients are gone, or pan is too full.
Bake middle rack for 20 minutes . Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

here is what it looks like before the oven.

In the oven

gamberi diablo  for the appetizer (Coppi... this recipe is for you. You have to make it. One of the best ever Spicy Shrimp)

1lb prawns shelled and deveined
2 TB tequila
2 TB Sherry
2 TB olive oil
3/4 fish sauce
1 cup oranges peeled and sectioned and sliced
1 tsp gren peppercorns chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 TB finely chopped green onion
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TB cilantro
4 Butter lettuce leaves

In a small bowl, combine the prawns, tequila, sherry, oil, fish sauce, oranges, peppercorns, garlic, green onion, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the prawn mixture and saute stirring often until the prawns are evenly pink.  Divide among butter lettuce leaves.

How it looks when you put it in the fridge.

Yum. Finished shrimp. Spicy and good.

rotoli di aglio (garlic rolls)
3/4 cup milk slightly warmed
6 TB butter
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mesure ingredients into bread machine in order given. select dough setting. When cycle is complete. Remove and make little 1/5 inch balls out of the dough. Put rolls into well greased 11x13 pan.

Now you need 8 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
1 cup parmesan cheese

Mince garlic, melt butter completely, combine and pour over rolls. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Cover and let rise for at least an hour in a warm place (not in oven, just warm) I cover mine with saran wrap and then put a towel over them.

Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
finished cheesy garlic rolls

On the plate:

Lava cakes have a seperate posting.

My lava cakes

I usually double this. This is just for 4.

To download the recipe card, click on the title of the recipe.
Molten Lava Cakes

4 squares Semi Sweet baking chocolate
½ cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
2 full eggs
2 egg yolks
6 TB Flour
Preheat oven to 425. Butter 4 custard cups and place on a baking sheets.

Microwave chocolate and ½ cup butter in large microwavable bowl for 3 minutes at 50% power. If you do full power it will burn the chocolate. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide batter between custard cups.
Bake 12 minutes.

Homemade whipped cream:

1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Combine and whip till thick. Hello kitchen aid!
There, enjoy and now you can stop calling me for the recipe.

Here is what they look like before you cook them.

And here is the finished product:

Chocolate Chip cookie dough cake

Here is the recipe for my cookie dough cake as asked for:

USE only fresh eggs please. Since there is raw egg in the recipe it is important to use fresh eggs and to only store and eat the cake for 48 hours. Store the cake in the fridge covered in plastic wrap.
TIP: if you put a few toothpicks in the top of the cake, it will keep the plastic wrap from sticking to the ganache.

Preheat oven 350

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks lightly salted butter, room temperature, plus additional for greasing the pans
2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs

Cookie dough filling:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels


8 ounces chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until smooth and add the sugar. Continue whipping until the mixture becomes fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Note: this process can be done with a whisk by hand. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, taking care that each egg is thoroughly integrated. Add the flour mixture and combine.

Grease the 2 pans with butter and fill each with half of the batter. Place the pans in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm or when the tip of a small knife emerges clean when it pierces the center of each cake, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly, 1 hour at least. Once completely cool, using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally to form 4 equal layers. Place the layers on a flat surface. Set aside.

For cookie dough filling: Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels

spread cookie dough on each layer of cake as you build it into one cake. Melt ganache together, then pour on top of the cake.

Here is a picture of it submitted by a reader. She did it in 2 layers which is just fine too.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thank God it is Friday. Time to eat a little Vino and dance.

This Just dance for the wii is so much fun. My friend over at mentioned we should get one. So I did, and now when I finally get a chance to chill.. we dance! I wake up sore the next day, but happy becuase I know we worked it out on the dance floor. Up to 4 of us can play at the same time so it is a lot of fun. So we will eat, then dance off the calories. Anyone who has a wii should get just dance.

Tip of the day: Whenever, and i mean ANYTIME a recipe calls for chilling or refridgerating an item for a specific time... DO IT! If not it will change the whole outcome of the meal. It is allowing for ingredients to settle and firm up. Read through your recipe first and if there are any that need to be put in the fridge do it in the morning, or the night before. It will be ready for you when you go to cook dinner.

By the way. I took pictures of everything and my STUPID camera LOST the pictures! "No Images" f#$*@#! so you will have to deal with directions. Sorry. The meal was so good. yum.
Here is a quicker meal less complicated meal.

Bifteck saute Bernaise
carciofi alla romana di stile
patate fritte
Steak Bernaise, Artichokes roman style, fried potatoes

I would start with the artichokes, then move to the potatoes, Do the Bernaise and cook the steak last. All the ingredients really work well together. Here are all the recipes.

Bifteck saute Bernaise

Sometimes it is always best to go back to basics. Julia child covered all the basic sauces (meaning basic french sauces) so I tend to go back to her style when it comes to any steak sauce. While any pasta sauce I would refer to Batali or Hazan.
When I was first learning Julia Childs book explained that the difference between Béarnaise sauce and Hollandaise sauce is the base. Hollandaise is based with lemon, while Béarnaise is based with a wine/vinegar reduction. There is my little knowledge for today. Ha!

¼ cup wine vinegar

¼ cup white wine

1 TB minced shallots (anytime I say this just use green onions people)

½ TB dried Tarragon or parsley

1/8 tsp pepper

And a pinch of salt

SOUS: mince up the 1TB shallots before starting. Seperate 3 egg yolks and set aside.

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and turn to moderate heat until the liquid has reduced to about 2 TB.

1 stick butter

2 more TB cold butter

3 egg yolks

2 TB fresh minced Parsley or Tarragon

This is the only “complicated part” of the sauce. Egg yolks must be heated gradually so they will thicken into a smooth cream. Too sudden will make them granular and they should never get above 160 degrees. AND you can only add a little butter to egg yolks at a time, or they will absorb it too fast. So you have to do it in steps.

Cut the butter into pieces and melt it in pan over medium heat. Then set aside.

Egg yolks go into my kitchen aid mixer and turn on the beater. Beat until they become thick and sticky. Strain in the previously cooked reduced vinegar mixture while beating (hello kitchen aid mixer, have I told you how much I love you today?) Transfer to a saucepan. Add 1 TB cold butter, and thicken over low heat. Beat in 1 more TB cold butter again until thick. Now over low heat, beat in melted butter one droplet at a time. Set sauce aside because you will be adding some steak juice in a bit. Once you add the steak sauce from the below recipe... serve in a sauce boat.

For the steak:
Steak, butter, salt and pepper

A 1 inch steak takes 8 minutes to cook for Medium rare. 10 minutes for medium.

Melt 2 TB butter and 2TB oil (you do this because oil added to butter allows for the butter to cook at a higher temperature without burning) in a large skillet. Place over high heat until you see the butter foam begin to subside. Sauté the steak on one side for 4 minutes. Pick up steak, shake oil around and now cook other side. I like it medium, Hubby likes it raw. So I do 3 minutes each side for his and 5 minutes each side for ours. Medium rare is when you observe a little pearling of red juice beginning to ooze at the surface of the steak.

Remove the steak, salt and pepper it. Keep warm for a moment while completing sauce.

Deglaze the skillet with ½ cup dry white wine then beat the liquid 1 droplet at a time into the béarnaise sauce. Add the sauce to the top of the steak and serve.

This meal is wonderful with sauteed potatoes. While time consuming, the potatoes turn out wonderful if you make them into little olive shapes. It is because they can roll around in the oil as you shake the pan and they cook evenly. I once laughed at Julie Powell cursing Julia childs advice on this manner... only to read her blog later and have her insist that this be done or they won't turn out correct. She is right. It is just worth the extra time.

Patate fritte
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes
4 TB butter and 2 TB oil mixed.

Peel potatoes and cut into oval shapes. Dry well in a towel. If they are wet, they will not brown and crisp up like desired.

Heat butter and oil on high heat and when the foam begins to subside put the potatoes into the skillet. Leave them for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes shake the pan back and forth to roll the potatoes and sear them on the other side for 2 minutes. Continue until potatoes are browned all the way around. usually another 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and roll one more time. Lower heat and cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes, shaking every 3 to 4 minutes to prevent sticking.

carciofi alla romana di stile

4 artichokes
1/2 lemon
3 TB finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp crumbled mint leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
You will need a casserole dish with a lid.

SOUS: 3 TB finely chopped parsley,1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic,1/2 tsp crumbled mint leaves.

Preheat oven to 350.

Being careful not to snap off the stems... begin preparing an artichoke by bending back and snapping off the outer leaves at the very top of the artichoke. Do not pull the leaves off all the way to the base because the whitish bottom of the leaf is tender once the central cone is revealed. slice off an inch of it eliminating all the inedible green part. In the center of the choke use a knife with a rounded end and cut off all the little purple prickly leaves as well as the choke underneath them being careful not to cut away any of the heart of edible parts. Rub down with lemon to keep from browning. Pare away The outer green part of the choke and rub down with lemon all edible parts. Taking care not to break the stem trim away the outer green part of the stem.... basically you are peeling the whole gosh darn artichoke. No wonder they were on sale this week.

In a bowl mix parsley, garlic, mint, and salt. set aside 1/3 of the mixture. Put the rest in the cavity of the artichoke that you made. Place artichokes tops down, stems up in a casserole dish. Rub the rest of the mixture you had set aside on the outsides of the artichokes. Soak 2 paper towels in water and cover artichokes with them and then cover with a lid. Cook at 350 for 35 minutes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pollo al marsala and an attempt at home delivery

I was up until 2am last night finishing my dog clothes catalog for my spring 2010 release. What a relief to have that over and done with! Now I have a lot of work regarding email marketing and such, but for now… time to cook!

My friend Maria is in surgery today. She comes out this afternoon so I am going to take her family dinner. She is ok, it was a problem with her shoulder, so she won't be able to move much and I think during these times people need to help out. I am not good at many things, but I CAN cook... so I am going to double up our meal tonight and take half of it to her.

So before I cook a gosh darn thing, I am pouring a glass of wine to sip during the process. I am going for one of my favorites: a Petite Syrah. Listen, after the week I have had I deserve to sip some wine while I cook. Fair enough?

One thing I thought I would add is "Tips and tricks" Today's tip is to always sous as much as you can ahead of time. I have these little handy rubber dishes I put my stuff in. If no one is here to help me prep. I chop up everything I can ahead of time. Then it is sitting there waiting for me when the recipe calls for it. If you don't prep, you will find yourself overwhelmed really fast. Randy used to sous for me, when Penny is here she does it, and when Devon comes over she does too. Randy has pretty much stopped, probably because I am bitchy. Oh well. haha. Here is my sous solution:

Pollo al Marsala is as my wine lover book says “as traditionally Italian as it gets". I was going to make her lasagna, but my lasagna has Italian sausage in it which contains pork. They are Jewish and don't eat pork. So hence the chicken. You can serve Chicken Marsala with pasta, but I have chosen to serve it with the mushroom risotto.

To make the Marsala you need:

2/3 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (they are Jewish)

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 TB dried oregano

1 tsp fennel seed toasted and ground (to toast seeds spread on a baking sheet in a preheated oven for 7 minutes)

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, rinsed and dried (please always remember to dry your meat otherwise it won't brown)

2 1/2 TB olive oil

4 ounces pancetta - I had to leave this out... Pork!

8 ounces cremini or shitake mushrooms ( I used shitake and you must stem shitake mushrooms)

2 cloves garlic

1 large shallot

1 2/3 marsala wine ( look, who in the heck has marsala wine? Gross! It is nasty. So I have found in recipes

Mix these two ingredients together and you have a great substitute for Marsala. •1/4 cup of dry white wine (chardonnay)& •1 teaspoon of brandy )

3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

1 TB tomato paste

1 1/2 balsamic vinegar

4 TB unsalted butter

1/2 cup fresh minced parsley

in a small bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, oregano, cooked fennel and stir. Coat this mixture on both sides of the DRIED chicken breasts and set aside on waxed paper.

In a large skillet, heat 2 TB olive oil until surface shimmers (375 degrees) brown chicken in oil on both sides (usually 5 min 1st side, 4 min second side). Transfer to a plate and keep warm until ready to serve.

If using the pancetta (which I did for ours, but not for theirs) put pancetta in pan until crisp (5 min) and transfer to paper towels to drain.

Add remaining 1/2 TB olive oil to pan. Slice, then Sauté mushrooms until they brown. My favorite Julia quote: "Don't crowd the mushrooms" You really need to do the mushrooms in 2 batches because if you crowd them, they won't brown properly. Add minced garlic and minced shallot. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add "marsala" and stir to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add stock, tomato paste and pancetta (or leave out pancetta if going for kosher). Simmer to reduce the sauce until thickened. Add balsamic and juices accumulated on the plate from the cooked chicken. Remove from heat and whisk in butter 1 TB at a time. Season with salt and pepper (if you didn't use pancetta it will need salt). Serve on a plate and cover with sauce. I served over risotto and covered with the sauce.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Unexpected visitors while cooking... the cucumber chocolate chip peanut butter thing Frenchie always makes:

I am also making the Insalata di cetrioli which is the best throw together salad you can ever make if you like tomatoes and cucumbers. I have made it before, but here is the recipe:

You need:
Olive oil

I use about 10 fresh basil leaves. Wash, then mince. don't bother with dried. Yuck. It won't even taste the same at all. I pull mine from my garden or just buy the leaves from the grocery. Rinse, dry then chop. Chopping can be tricky cuz they like to stick together. I roll the leaves and then slice like so:

I mince/crush 3 cloves of garlic, add basil, cover with 1 TB olive oil and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and put in the fridge for at least an hour. The vinegar and oil do a civeche style of naturally cooking the raw garlic. Right before serving peel, core and cube up cucumbers, core and cube tomatoes. Add to bowl and salt and pepper to taste. Serve. It is that easy and it is really really really good.

I am not going to bother posting up the risotto recipe.  Anyone who has an ounce of patience and google can make risotto.

Then I got to thinkin... they need some sort of dessert! So I made Creme Freche and Chocolate dipped strawberries. My friend Penny recently went to Mexico and brought me back some killer vanilla.

To make my whipped cream I put in 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and whip the tar out of it. That of course is why I love my kitchen aid mixer. Did that while I typed this. ha! Strawberries were $0.50 per box this week. So I washed. Dried. Then melted some semisweet chocolate with butter. Dipped, put on waxed paper and refridgerated.... Then put on top of prepared cream. It is that easy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am so excited! My new plates came today! Just had to share!

Some questions from my readers answered

Where can you get the garlic roaster: Target, Fred Meyer… pretty much anywhere that sells anything kitchen. You can also order one online at It is the easiest tool to use. You just cut off ¼ of the garlic, put cut side down. Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle salt, then close lid and hit the button. 20 minutes later you have perfectly roasted garlic. EVERY TIME! We got mine online at amazon for $20.

If you could have just one kitchen gadget what would it be: Kitchen aid mixer 100% all the way, no questions asked. I use it 5 or 6 times a night, sometimes more. It is my life. If it ever were to break I would hop in my car and go get another one immediately. From whipping, to making pasta, cakes, folding soufflé’s… this puppy does it all. It comes with basic attachments, but I have bought pretty much all the extras too.

What is my opinion on the pasta roller, hand or electric? For me, electric all the way. Only because if you have the kitchen aid you can whip out fresh pasta in under 15 minutes. Course you have to cook it after but still. It is so easy. The only pasta attachment I have that I do NOT use is the ravioli one. It is really a pain and does not do a good job. I prefer to roll out the ravioli by hand. Plus my dear friend Maria gave me a pasta stamper and it is a lot of fun to use. Any way here is what the pasta attachments look like:

They run you a $100 though. But I use mine like 3 times a week. I am told a hand roller works though. I just know it will take a lot longer, and it seems like your arms would get tired. I would do it if I had to though. To me boxed pasta tastes like cardboard now. Plus homemade pasta is so much healthier. Boxed pasta is made from flour and water. Homemade is eggs and flour, plus I throw in spinach or sun dried tomatoes or whatever veggie I want and it makes it even better for you. Not that pasta is GOOD for you, but I can’t live without pasta, so I might as well make it as healthy as I can right?

There is also a pasta press and I have it, but I have never used it, cuz I LOVE fettuccine the best and the press is for spaghetti and angel hair etc. I will use it though, just haven’t got to that point. Here is what the press looks like:

What is the grocery game and how will it help me?

The grocery game is a site someone put together to make coupon clipping and saving a snap. First let me say that you can sign up and cancel AT ANY TIME. First month is free, so if you don’t like it, then cancel before your month is up and you won’t be charged. You add your stores in your area. For me it is $5 a month per store. I just use 2 stores. Once you sign up, you log in, you'll get a weekly list (called Teri's List) of the lowest-priced products at your supermarket matched with manufacturers' coupons and weekly specials -- advertised and unadvertised. The Grocery Game does all the hard work and research, and presents it to you in a straightforward format. The List is color-coded. Black items are a good price. Buy these if you need the item now. Blue items are for stockpiling. We do not expect this item to go lower so stock up while the price is at rock bottom. Green items are free. These are not "Buy one get one free" but are actually free after sale and coupon. To try it out you go to clip your weekly coupons, print off coupons, and add coupons to your store club card. I saved $800 last month by doing this. I don’t have time to do this myself. From The Grocery Games Site:

Why can't I just do this on my own?

Coupon pros spend hours preparing to shop. They research ads and match their coupons to sales, only to discover twice as many un-advertised sales once they get to the store. More hours are spent standing in the aisles sifting through their files for coupons to match those sales. They save a lot of money, but most of us don't have the time for this type of shopping.

Members of The Grocery Game eliminate those time-consuming hours and usually save even more than the coupon pros. For example, just because an item is on sale doesn't mean it’s time to play your coupon. Our databases track the sales history on nearly every item in the supermarket, waiting to use a coupon on rock-bottom sales. Now, the best possible savings are quickly accessible to busy professionals, overworked moms, single adults or anyone who wants to cut their grocery bill by 50% or even more.

Look, I used to NEVER clip coupons, didn’t have the time, now I just open the weekly list. Click what I want, print it, meal plan according to what it on sale, and my family eats expensive gourmet food for under $250 per week.

If you have any more questions email me!!

Leftovers today. My fridge is packed! I have a ton of work to do. I am finishing up my dog clothes catalog today... (fingers crossed)More cooking tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shrimp Cakes, Beef and Potatoes oh my

Woke up to 5 voicemails on my work phone. Questions from "Will this dog pajama fit my 50 pound lab" to "how long will it take this dog shirt to get to me"... all questions that are answered on our FAQ page on our site, but that is ok. I am learning to be nice and after all they pay my bills right? I do love my job and I realize some people would rather me just tell them than read it. I am going for a short work day today. I want to cook and get some wii in if possible.

Today's Menu:

gamberetti dolci (shrimp cakes)
Brasato di manzo in salsa di vino rosso (Beef braised in red wine sauce)
rafano aglio purè di patate (horseradish garlic mashed potatoes)

Ok I got the beef through coupons 4 lbs for $8.
The shrimp was on special, buy one bag, get one free
The potatoes were 10 lbs for $3
The rest of the ingredients I fill my pantry with as they are on sale. As for herbs. They are growing outside in my garden as well as anytime I use lemon, lime or orange. I live in Cali... so they all grow outside.

The recipes are below. Please note that you really need to start with the Marinated Braised Beef first, because it needs to cook for 3 hours. These are easy recipes and when done the presentation can be such that you would find at a gourmet restaurant. You can do it!

Gamberetti Dolci to serve 4 ( you can double if you want it as a main course)

The shrimp cakes have a spicy sun-dried tomato and red pepper sauce. The shrimp are not too finely chopped so it gives it a good texture. I got the base recipe from "The wine lover cooks with wine" but I changed it up and added some of the Le Cordon Bleu techniques to it. Listen, I promise that this is not hard. I have written it out step by step with pictures and how to prep. You can do it! Especially when your local grocer has buy one get one on shrimp!! Fresh shrimp is great but in our busy lives sometimes you gotta just get the bag that is already cleaned and deveined. In a shrimp cake it won't matter much.

Everything you will need: olive oil, shrimp (12 ounces cleaned, shelled and deveined), white wine, mayo, Dijon mustard, fresh flat leaf parsley (listen folks, you really need to use fresh herbs ok?), fresh tarragon (or if you HAVE to, dried tarragon), fresh chives, tobasco sauce, balsamic vinegar, panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Things you can prep ahead (From now I will call this section: SOUS)
  • mince parsley into 2 TB
  • mince chives into 1 1/4 TB
  • soak 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in water
  • chop 1/2 cup yellow onion
  • mince 1 TB green onion
  • mince 1 1/2 fresh basil
Heat 3/4 tsp oil over medium heat (usually means about 375). Add the shrimp and 1/4 cup wine and cook 2-3 minutes until they are evenly pink.

Using a slotted spoon (don't drain... USE THE SPOON), transfer the shrimp to a bowl. When cooled enough to handle coarsely chop the shrimp. This is important. No mushy shrimp please. If it is mushy then the texture will be all wrong. Then Simmer leftover liquid for about 30 seconds to cook-off alcohol and fishy taste, then set aside.

In a large bowl combine 1/4 cup mayo, 3/4 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 TB minced parsley, tarragon, chives, tobasco sauce, balsamic vinegar, and pan liquid and whisk thoroughly.Add chopped shrimp and bread crumbs. Gently form 4 patties ... you may need to add more bread crumbs. cover and refrigerate FOR AT LEAST 1 HOUR.

For the sauce you need: sun dried tomato halves, oil, onion, minced green onion, red bell pepper, capers, FRESH basil, cumin, cayenne pepper, white wine, chicken broth, salt and pepper, mixed greens (I used butter leaf lettuce).

Soak tomatoes in a bowl of water for 45 minutes. Drain, and then chop. In skillet heat oil add 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 TB minced green onion, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, and the sun dried tomatoes. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add 2 tsp capers, 1 1/2 TB minced basil, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1/8 tsp cayenne (if the kids weren't eating it I would add 1/4). Cook for 2 more minutes. And 1/2 cup dry white (chardonnay always works for me) and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook to reduce by half. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add another 1/2 cup chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

Putting it together:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet to 375 . This is where I love to have an electric skillet because you can control the temp. If you don't have one, I would recommend getting a thermometer. If the oil is too hot it will burn, if it is not hot enough, then they are left too oily. Add 1 TB oil (canola works best for me for frying).sauté the shrimp cakes until browned on one side (5 minutes) turn carefully and cook until browned on 2nd side.. Usually 3 -4 minutes) . Put in pan and cook in oven until cooked through... about 5 minutes.

I used butter lettuce as a garnish on top of the pepper sauce. Here is the finished appetizer:

Rafano aglio purè di patate (Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes)

Horseradish and garlic go so well together, especially when served with beef. For this recipe you must use Yukon gold potatoes. Russets are too grainy and it will not turn out right.

You will need 3 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes. I head of roasted garlic. 2 TB horseradish, 2 TB Minced fresh thyme, ½ cup whole milk, 6 TB unsalted butter, chicken stock, salt pepper

  • mince fresh thyme
I have a handy garlic roaster. If you don’t then. To roast, cut off the whole heads ¼ of the way from the top.
 Place in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool for 5 minutes then squeeze the garlic out from its husk. I am telling you this handy garlic roaster is $29 and I use it 2-3 times a week. Takes 20 minutes and you just push a button.

Any way bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil add 1 TB salt. Once it returns to a boil put potatoes in. ( you peel after you boil.. it is all the rage in cooking school. ) Drain, let cool slightly, peel potatoes. In food processor or blender, process the potatoes in batches until almost smooth. If you process them too long they will become like glue so don’t do that. Transfer them to large bowl after each batch. Add roasted garlic, horseradish and thyme. Blend. I use my hand blender. Transfer potatoes to a large saucepan. Place over low heat and stir in the milk and butter. Thin if necessary with chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Serve now or keep warm in a low oven for up to 30 minutes.

Brasato di manzo in salsa di vino rosso (Beef marinated in red wine sauce)

You will need: oil, 1 4lb beef roast, 1TB butter, 3 TB coarsely chopped yellow onion, 2 TB coarsely chopped carrot. 2 TB coarsely chopped celery. 1 ½ cup red wine (Pinot Noir, not cab). I cup beef broth, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes. Pinch of thyme, 1/8 tsp Marjoram.

  • 3 TB coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 TB coarsely chopped carrot
  • 2 TB coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a skillet to 375 degrees. Poor enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Salt and pepper all sides of roast. When heat reaches 375, brown the meat on all sides. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
In a casserole dish that has a lid, Put 2 TB oil, butter and chopped onion, carrot and celery. over moderate heat melt butter. I don't like mushy vegetables, so I just barely braise mine. If you like mushy veggies then cook til they wilt.
Drain all juice off meat into a skillet, Put the meat into the casserole dish on top of the veggies like so:

add wine and boil for 1 minute only to get all the browning residue off the pan. Pour on top of the meat and veggies in casserole dish. Add broth to the dish. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring heat up to a boil. Then cover and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours. Turning the meat every 30 minutes so it stays juicy. If all liquid evaporates before the 3 hours add 3 or 4 TB broth more.

Here is the finished meal. Oh my, it really melted in my mouth. I wanted to eat more. It was so good. I really highly recommend this.

Once my fancy white plates get here I can make it look all fancy gourmet. They shipped. I wonder how long it will take?
Ok that is all for now. I won't always post all the recipes. but I was feeling like I needed a challenge today.

New plates!

I am SO excited! My new white square plates are coming! I ordered them last night, so I removed them from my kitchen wishlist. oh yeah. The things I can do with those plates!!! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 22, 2010

maiale fritto in pastella di formaggio and the Lo Scrigno di Venere

Yum. Still in a food coma. The hubby actually got in on the action this time. I changed from a salad to split pea soup. Same amount of veggies... just tastes better =)

Making the split pea soup is pretty easy. Throw all ingredients into one pot and there ya go:

Then after covering and simmering for one hour, you get this:

cheese fried pork chops were  good. But I am not a meat lover, so they are just "eh". I mean if I have to eat meat, then I love them.
They are easy to make. Dip in parmesan, dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, then fry.

The pasta on the other hand. Well I perfected it, even got fancy this time. Check it out:

This is the finished meal. It was seriously good. If you open the noodles this is what you see:

But there is a cream sauce too. It was super good. Now I get to clean up and play just dance to burn off all the calories.
No recipes today. Maybe tomorrow. But I still had a great time cooking!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

savings and menu

Just got back from Vons. Our grocery bill was $240 before club card savings and coupons. What we paid: $104.96. I am telling you ... way worth the time and effort. With that this is what I am making this week:

maiale fritto in pastella di formaggio and the Lo Scrigno di Venere again... I loved it and must have it again.
So it is cheese fried pork chops and yellow pasta shells stuffed with spinach fettucine. and a ceasar salad.

Lasagne Verdi Al Forno 
rotoli di aglio
Insalata di cetrioli
baked green lasagne with meat sauce, garlic cheese rolls and cucumber salad.

gamberi diablo
tilapia in camicia con salsa al burro di limone
limone broccoli aglio
marinated spicy prawns, poached tilapia with lemon butter sauce, lemon garlic broccoli

Bifteck saute Bernaise
carciofi alla romana di stile
patate fritte
Steak Bernaise, Artichokes roman style, fried potatoes

gamberetti dolci
Brasato di manzo in salsa di vino rosso
rafano aglio purè di patate
Beef braised in red wine sauce, horseradish garlic mashed potatoes, shrimp cakes

Pollo al marsala
risotto ai funghi
Chicken marsala, mushroom risotto and a light crisp salad.

I have not "planned" out my desserts yet. I know I will be making some, so stay tuned. Also this is just the weeks menu, not in order. I will switch days around. Pics to follow.
No cooking tonight. Date night with hubby.

Meal planning for the week

After a very late night of eating and playing just dance, which conveniently helped work off that cake, I am sore and tired. But it is grocery shopping day here at the Silbaugh house, Which means meal planning. Not only do I cook pretty gourmet for my family. I do it for about $250 a week Which usually the type of food I make it would be $100 per meal, so I am happy. Thanks to coupons, reading the weekly sales and which helps me stock my pantry for next to nothing. Last month I saved over $800 on groceries, by working maybe 1 or 2 hours per week on meal planning and coupon cutting. Once the meals are planned, it makes for a really easy week. I plan my meals around what meat is on sale. for instance this week Top Sirloin steaks are 60% off. So I plan on making top sirloin ... pretty easy. I have so much work to do this week. It is the week before my product release of dog clothes. An entire new line I designed from fabric, thread, buttons... will be made public March 1st. It is a lot of work. Now I am working on the new catalog too, so I need to plan out my week or nothing will get done. Plus I need the release time in the kitchen. That is my relaxation. To go in there and create... then I get the joy of eating my creation. I am wondering if I can ever make a better cake than that one last night. Wow. Thank you Bon Appetit for that one. Usually I change recipes, or create them myself, but that one was perfection. I will not change a thing.

on to meal planning. I will post my week menu when I am done. I am super excited too because my le cordon bleu advanced technique textbook came today. So I plan on mastering that puppy during the next few weeks. OH and my friend Devon, her Dad runs a sport fishing company and he is going to give us fresh fish June-November. I am SO excited. Lobster too!!! I think that if all I had to do was cook, I would be the happiest person ever. 

Does anyone know where I can get restaurant supplies at wholesale or affordable? I am running into issues where I need special tools, or certain shaped bowls and plates. If anyone knows of a place, email me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Menu

Capesante al curry con zenzero e salsa di burro, vino bianco (Curried Scallops with ginger and white wine butter sauce)

Lo Scrigno Di Venere(Yellow Pasta Shells filled with Spinach Fettucine)

Brasati costole corte (Braised Short ribs)

Formaggio Polenta Cynlinders(Cheese Polenta Cynlinders)

Dessert -

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple-Espresso Glaze

no translation here… it is what it is!
Oh and I could not sleep last night, so there is some creme brulee that devon and I whipped up at 1am also.

Woke up to what sounded like rain! Rain! Sure enough I looked out the window and it was raining! Now it is sunny 30 minutes later. Gotta love Southern California!

Doesn't phase me a bit today. Hubby headed to the market to get all my ingredients bright and early. I get to spend the day in the kitchen.

I started with the most important... THE CAKE!!!

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple-Espresso Glaze Cake (Bon Appetit):

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

3 cups all purpose flour, divided

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple extract

4 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk


1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

print a shopping list for this recipe

PreparationFor cake:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons flour in medium bowl. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and maple extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.


Mixing the chocolate chips with a little flour before adding them to the batter helps the chips stay evenly suspended in the batter and evenly distributed throughout the baked cake (otherwise, they may sink to the bottom).

For glaze:

Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder in medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.

1st course (appetizer):
 Next moving on to the scallops which will be our appetizer, paired with sauvignon blanc.
You have to start out with the sauce in a heavy saucepan, melt 1 TB butter over high heat. Add 1TB  minced shallots (just call them green onions people!) and 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger... saute for 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine. Cook to reduce to a glaze. Add 1/2 cup grapefruit juice and fish stock or clam juice ( you know, who has fish stock or clam juice on hand? Found clam juice at the store thankfully). Bring to a boil and then simmmer and cook to reduce by half.  Strain and return to same pan. Remove from heat and whisk 6 tablespoons butter into the sauce, 1 TB at a time. Cover and set in a warm place. (I just covered and put over a double broiler that was off heat).
In a large bowl combine 16 sea scallops, 1 tsp curry powder, a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss and coat. (this is where I go all cheap and I put them in a large ziplock bag and shake it around.). Melt 3 TB Butter over high heat. Saute the scalllops... turning often about 4 minutes total.
To serve drizze the sauce evenly onto plates. put scallops on plate. Sprinkle with minced fresh chive.
Serve with a sauvignon blanc wine to start off your palate right!

2nd Course:  Lo Scrigno Di Venere(Yellow Pasta Shells filled with Spinach Fettucine). This is from one of my culinary school textbooks and I have been dying to try it. YUM!
This is a long drawn out process recipe. Supposed to be a test to see if you have mastered all of the pasta making. So we will see how this goes. I am not putting up the whole recipe, but will post my process. You start by making a Bechamel sauce. This is a basic staple recipe for all italian cooking. A white sauce that consists of flour, butter, boiling milk and salt. Pretty basic and it is in a ton of italian recipes.

Next making homemade spinach pasta. This is a first for me. my text book said if I mastered this, that I have mastered pasta. Guess what?!?!?!? YAYA BAYBAY!!!

but seriously... this was the best dish. DA BOMB!!! You gotta try it. For real!

You have to realize that this was a challenge. But so much fun. You have to make 1 huge noodle.

You have to make the cylinders to make the soup.

and you have to make bechamel sauce.

the inside of the pasta

3rd Course MAIN COURSE: Braised short ribs with leeks and green peas. and cheese Polenta ( I hate peas, but they are on there for people who like them. And you have to use fresh ones or I will barf.)

4th course: CAKE! see previous pics

Personalized TARGETED Nutrition saved me!

Personalized TARGETED Nutrition saved me!
It can save you too! Take the free health assessment (it can even hook up to your DNA test results) to see what your body REALLy needs.