Archive for January, 2010
Skills in the kitchen directly translate to the other rooms of the house. Really! Date night will go better with great food and plenty of good wine – so get cooking!
Beef and Mushrooms:
(bouffe avec champignon – use the french. They dig that.)
1 lb. chuck, diced
6-8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
6-8 oz. onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon thyme, rosemary or basil
Remember that the browning (not burning) is the key. Take your time. (They dig that, too.)
Are using meatloaf to help use up the last bit of things? You should! Meatloaf needs no recipe for success. It is one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Before I was a Chef and before I had any game, I had only one lure in my tackle box and it was the perfect net for late night. Pasta. Nothing says I’m reasonably drunk and momentarily “off my diet” than a nice bowl of creamy, cheesy and lighty peppery pasta between midnight and well past midnight.
While in culinary school, I was in survival mode and knew one thing for certain. Pasta is cheaper than cheap! Made from scratch not only made it cheaper, it was now a survival skill and hungry, reasonably drunk friends dig survival skills – especially the creamy, cheesy and lightly peppery kind.
Have this prepared ahead of time. Mix by hand or if you have a food processor, use the blade attachment and combine in the bowl:
1 Tablespoon oil – any
1 Teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
Kneed into a stiff dough adding more flour if needed to obtain a good consistency.
Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until use.
The sauce is:
Greuyere Cheese – grated
Fresh Ground Pepper
Now go party! When you return, put a pot of water on to boil.
Slice a piece of the dough and put it on you cleaned, lightly floured counter. If you have a rolling pin, use it. I didn’t. I used a vermouth bottle. Roll the dough out as thinly as you prefer while maintaining a light flouring underneath and on top. Now roll up the dough sheet and slice into a skilled width. Don’t try for angelhair here. Go for fettuccine. If you get Lasagna sheets, you’re too drunk to cook or otherwise so pack it up and say goodnight.
Drop the strips of fresh pasta into boiling water.
Meanwhile in another pan, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer. The pasta will cook quickly – perhaps 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the cooked, drained pasta and a bit of the pasta water to the cream and continue to reduce until a nice consistency is obtained. Add a nice handful of cheese, some cracked black pepper and your done.
Serve with (more) white wine and Grover Washington Jr.
Turn off the stove and clean up when they leave – tomorrow.
…and I can perfectly understand why. I buy Fage yogurt. It’s a Greek yogurt. (pr. Fah-yeh) This stuff rocks. Smooth and creamy but thick like sour cream, it has a nice tartness about it. I’ve used it on baked potatoes in place of sour cream and especially love it with honey – Greek style. Our infant wolfs it down so much that I decided to make my own to save on the $5 per quart price tag. It takes a while but it is worth the wait if you are going to be going through a ton of it.
1 Gallon of whole milk
1 heaping tablespoon of Fage as a starter culture.
1 Tablespoon sugar – consider it food for the culture
In a 2 gallon soup pot, bring the milk just to the edge of a simmer. (Do NOT boil.) Remove from the heat and let stand until the temp reaches 115 degrees.
In a bowl, mix the tablespoon of yogurt with a cup of the hot milk a little at a time. Then stir that mixture back into the soup pot of milk. Give it a stir.
Take a clean kitchen towel or flour sack towel and put it across the top as a cover. This prevents a skin from forming while it is setting.
Put the entire pot in an oven set on the very lowest setting and maintain the 115 degree temp in the pot for 6-8 hours. (I did mine over night.) Your oven can be tricky and getting the setting just right may take a bit of practice.
Remove from the oven and place into a refrigerator until completely cool. After it cools, it’s actually ready to go – but I like to take it a step further to make it super thick. I bought a fine mesh strainer and strain it in batches in the refrigerator. The water (whey) can be discarded once it is strained out. I’ll even put a piece of parchment and a dish on to to add a little pressure. It can be a long process but the result is super thick heaven at a price that makes sense.
(Next batch, I do a video…)