Today is "take your parent to school day" at their HIGH SCHOOL. No thanks!!! I get sick really easy. A school full of 3,000 teenagers is a hospital visit waiting to happen for me. So every year on this date I let the kids stay home with me. It is release time at my work. Dog clothes galore, and I am very busy so it is hard, but I am going to spend some time teaching the kids a thing or two in the kitchen in between working. Sometimes you just have to take some time to re-ground yourself. For me that time is cooking. The happiest memories I have are in my kitchen.
I bet you think we are all 500 pounds from all this cooking. Not the case. Yes we use real ingredients and butter and oil and lots of it, but I have actually lost weight. Making food from scratch and not eating processed food, boosts your metabolism. For instance the noodles I make are eggs and flour. The noodles you buy in a box are enriched flour and water only. Eggs and flour has a much higher protien content making it much better for you than just plain old flour. Leaves you feeling much more satisfied. I also try to serve a light appetizer, so that when the main meal is served I am not as hungry. Several times a week I serve dinner with a glass of red wine. Good for your heart. Sipping wine in between each bite, brings out the flavor of the food and slows down the eating, letting you feel when you are full easier. And finishing the meal off with a little dessert is good. Not processed store bought garbage. Knowing that there is a treat in store, helps me control my hunger through the rest of the day. I only eat fruits and veggies during the day, but at night I go all out. We rarely eat out, and when we do it is usually a romantic gourmet meal on a date with my husband at The Market or somewhere that they make everything fresh as well. I don't really believe in diets any more. I believe in a way of life. For me that has to include fine food and wine. For me I find that spending time creating masterpieces in the kitchen keeps me satisfied and not craving the food that is bad for me. Any one who knows me can tell you I have my weak spots just like anyone else. I try to keep easy grab food out of my house. Otherwise I will most likely grab and eat it. There is a saying "The whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead". I live by that. Make your body process food, don't buy the stuff that is almost already digested.
For an appetizer I am making:
Lime crevettes marinées au gingembre. I got a this 2 lb pack of fresh jumbo shrimp for $12. It was regularly $32. I love it when I get a great deal with my coupon hunting like that and can make something extra yummy with it.
For dessert I am making chocolate Zeppole. They are like little doughnuts that you dip in chocolate. I am making these for my son. I think he will like them because he is a chocolate doughnut addict. He spends his allowance at 7 eleven buying chocolate doughnuts all the time. That and video game cards.
TIP OF THE DAY: When chopping alot of veggies I LOVE my Veggie Chopper. You can get them at most stores for under $15. I use it every day. It is a quick way to chop things with minimal mess. It is how I sous most things when I don't want to get out the food processor... which is every day pretty much. It is also a great thing to have if you are cooking with kids or teens. Then you can have them help chop without the worry of them cutting off their fingers.
Lime crevettes marinées au gingembre - Ginger-Soy-Lime Marinated Shrimp
•2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
•1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
•4 cloves garlic, smashed
•3/4 cup soy sauce
•1/2 cup fresh lime juice
•2 tablespoons sugar
•1/4 cup chopped green onions
•1/4 cup peanut oil (can use sesame)
•1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
•2 pounds large shrimp, tails, shelled and deveined
Place shallots, ginger, garlic, soy, lime juice, and sugar in a blender and blend until smooth. Here is what it looks like before blended.
I put it in the blender though...Add the green onion and oil and blend until combined. Season with black pepper, to taste. Place shrimp in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. NO LONGER than 30 minutes or it will begin to cook ceviche style from the citric acid. Spoon Shrimp into hot skillet and cook until done (usuall 3 - 5 minutes). Serve Imediately I put over an arugula salad. Gets your greens in. =)
Ok let me tell you that there is NO way to make rigatoni pastini style noodles at home. The kitchen aid macaroni attachment is a joke. I was determined. So I came up with my own way. When it worked out I danced around singing "i am so smart".
First I rolled the pasta
Then I needed to make them round and hollow. So I decided to wrap them around straws and seal them with a little milk:
20 seconds in the water is all it took. I put them in a strainer and pulled out the straws easily.
Then I used my kitchen scissors to cut them into rigatoni length. Hey, it may not look totally professional but HELLA good!
Pollo al forno e Pastina - Baked Chicken and Pastina
•2 cups pastina pasta ( you can use macaroni or penne or whatever, I am making mine from scratch)
•4 tablespoons olive oil
•1 cup shredded chicken breast
•1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice OR 29 ounces of fresh chopped tomatoes.
•2 cups shredded mozzarella
•1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
•1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1/2 cup bread crumbs
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan
•2 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to box instructions. If making fresh, then dip them in water for 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft then add the shredded chicken (precooked). Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter.
•1 stick butter
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 cup sugar
•1/2 cup water
•1 cup all-purpose flour
•Vegetable oil, for frying
Additional 1/2 cup sugar for dipping
•3/4 cup cream
•1 cup (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
Directions For the Zeppole:
In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return the pan to low heat and stir continuously until the mixture forms a ball, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, (or kitchen aid) add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. beat until smooth.
Set the other 1/2 cup sugar into a wide and shallow dish. Set aside.
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot oil. Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked zeppole to the dish with the Sugar. Roll to coat in the sugar. Continue frying the remaining dough.
For the Chocolate Sauce:
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling. Pour cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the Chocolate Sauce into a dipping dish. Serve the zeppole alongside the Chocolate Sauce for dipping. (shortcut: you can add the cream and chocolate to a pyrex glass 4 quart measuring cup and microwave it for 3 minutes on 50% heat, remove then stir until mixture is smooth)