Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Italian Feast

We had my parents and an old friend over for dinner the other night and I went all out on the menu.  I have been intrigued by a recent Bon Appetit article about meatballs from different parts of the world.  So I tried one of the recipes.  The name is really long and I can't remember it, but it was the Italian version of Spaghetti and Meatballs.

The process, though somewhat time consuming, was very straightforward and the results were tasty.  I don't think I let the sauce thicken enough before serving, so the texture was off (my cooking fault, not the recipe).  The meatballs were very flavorful and tender.  I enjoyed them very much. 
Obviously, I made pasta to go with the meatballs and tossed a simple salad with green onion and roasted asparagus.  I also made the French bread mentioned in a previous post. 
And for dessert, by request from Dad...a pumpkin cheesecake.  This is his favorite dessert that I make...this time it could have been a little better, but it did taste right. 
I think I must have been off in the texture department the other day...hmmm.  Oh, well.
We had a great time at dinner and played a new game called Things.  Lots of fun, lots of laughs.  Thanks for the fun evening!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bread Making for the Month

As stated in a previous post, one of my resolutions for this year is to learn how to make bread.  I have had a 66% success rate thus far and thought I would share with you my results. 
The first attempt at bread was the easy way out...I made pita bread.  With the help of the bread machine (purchased by my husband a scant 3 and a half years ago), the dough was prepared.  This was not without some trouble because I did not realize how difficult it was to seat the bread pan in the machine...you really have to push down hard to get it in the right spot.  So after Drew's help and encouragement, I got the pan seated properly and in a short time had dough!  I threw it in the oven for the specified time and... SUCCESS!  It tasted really good too!
The second attempt was for Jalapeno Bread.  Drew was very excited about this prospect.  This was the first time I tried to prepare the bread from start to finish in the breadmaker.  I don't know what went wrong, but the bread did not bake properly.  It was not finished when the machine said it was finished and so I put it on a timer for another 20 minutes.  It still was not cooked because the machine shut itself off after about 5 minutes.  FAIL!
The third attempt, I got a little ambitious.  I decided to make French bread for our guests on Saturday night.  As per the first attempt, I made the dough in the breadmaker and then finished it in the oven.  This was the first time I had to deal with timing on rising and baking.  It came out just great!  SUCCESS! 

I am not sure what to make this week, but I have discovered finishing the bread in the oven has been my only successful mode of breadmaking.  I want to give the machine a chance to redeem itself this week.  Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stir Fry Light

I have been cooking lately on an infrequent basis.  I am trying to remedy this, but the motivation center in my brain is still on vacation.  Yes, I know it has been three and a half weeks since we got home...oh well. 
But lest you think we have not been eating, I have been cooking and then waiting to post about it and then thinking it is way too late, and then, and then...this is a track procrastination has taken most of my life.  Oh for an actual workable routine again! 

So here is what we had for dinner one night this week...Shrimp Stir Fry from Cooking Light.  One of my favorite dishes to make is stir-fry because of good young kid food memories and because of its ease of preparation.  The thing that takes the longest when making Stir Fry is the rice (and I have a rice cooker for the microwave from PC that is wonderful to this task).  So this one had a sauce, broccoli, onions, and shrimp.  It was good and it was pleasing to the eye.  I did think it had a little too much rice wine vinegar in the mix and would modify future incarnations to remedy this.  Oh, and my Stir Fry pan from PC is my favorite pan (don't tell the others).