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September 2008 Archives

Give the Gift of Lasagna

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HOW TO MAKE AN AWESOME MEATSAUCE


I am sure right about now you are saying to yourself... "But Dannnnnn didn't you just recently make manicotti which has practically the same ingredients as lasagna? And didn't you also already show us how to make sauce in that very same blog entry? What can I possibly gain from reading today's post?!?" This may in fact be true, but looking back I noticed that the pictures and instructions I gave you last time for my sauce, well they just were not that good. And it wasn't even my perfectly ideal sauce variation anyway. I make about 5 or so different tomato sauce varieties, this one is similar to the manicotti sauce. And although lasagna does share many of the same ingredients as manicotti, it is different and special and it deserves its own post! I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that lasagna makes a great gift. It is easy to make a few at a time and then give one away. It tastes GREAT right from the freezer, it is fairly cheap, and people will always be grateful!





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Veggie Soup

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Over the past 2 weeks I have had a lot of strange and exotic foods on here, so I have decided to step back a bit with some awesome yet more basic dishes for the next week. I am starting today with a nice veggie soup. This soup began in my head as a healthier cream of broccoli, but sort of turned into a huge pot of veggie party. The reason was that I wanted a lot of mirepoix to kick up the flavor, and I also wanted a potato and some cauliflower to make it extra creamy. I wanted these veggies for the extra creamy factor because I wanted it to be healthy so I was using (not much) milk instead of (a bunch of) cream. I didn't want to use much cheese either.





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"The Gang has a Failure with Avocado Ice Cream"

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I find that when I have a failure, there are multiple things that fail at one time. Today we have 3 in this one little dessert. I had really wanted to make ice cream since we hadn't in a few months. Mandi has wanted to make avocado ice cream since the day we got the ice cream maker and saw Alton make it. I figured the Peruvian party would be the perfect time because we weren't cooking or prepping much for the night. I guess I figured wrong.If you are fairly new to the site, click the failure tab on the left to see some funny past errors in the kitchen.





Peruvian Night - Part 2: Ceviche

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This post is continued from yesterday. As I mentioned, just after we ate, Sebastian pulled up with his ceviche ingredients as promised earlier. He finally got out of his volunteer event (at the beach) and came right over. We were all full, but thought we could eat some ceviche in an hour or two, which happened to be the exact cooking time! Sebass assured us that ceviche is not like other foods and does not fill you up, but rather gives you energy and power! Mandi, Amy and I had all had ceviche a few times and were nervous about making it at home. We all kinda equated it to sushi and were nervous about getting fish that was fresh enough. Soon we all realized that this traditional ceviche is much different from the stuff you get at the swanky restaurants; only lightly dressed in lime and served almost immediately. A more traditional ceviche has much more lime, salt and onions(all cooking agents) and truly cooks after sitting for an hour and a half. What I ate that night was absolutely not raw fish.





Peruvian Night - Part 1

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A friend of mine keeps telling me he is going to make ceviche. He grew up in Peru, and the plan was to have a Peruvian dinner at my place. We finally planned to do it on a Saturday afternoon. Amy was making a potato side dish, and Sebastian would make his now infamous ceviche. Just before we were supposed to start, we all got a text. Sebastian was stuck at a volunteer event and was unsure if he would make it. We sprang into quick recovery mode and grabbed some meats and veg for the grill.





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Hot Sauce

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I have a quick post today after a longer one yesterday. What do you do with a tree full of cayennes that you know will go bad before you are able to use them all?? Make hot sauce! Another thing we did with some cayennes was cut them in half and put into a bottle of vodka seeds and all! A week later the vodka was spicy spicy. I don't have any pictures of that though. Click through to see the hot sauce.





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Banana Leaves

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When I noticed all the banana trees in our yard, one of the first things I thought of was cooking with them. When we saw the place, there was actually a bunch of bananas growing off one of the trees. Unfortunately they were gone by the time we moved in (1 week later!? There are a lot of banana thieves in Bermuda). After looking up recipes online, I saw that Malaysian cooking uses the leaves often. I found a sort of tapas or dim sum of Malay cuisine called Pulut Udang that I was excited to try. Another way banana leaves are used is to wrap around and steam fish. I decided that these two dishes would make a great pairing. After going to several Pilipino and Asian sections of grocery stores here, I could not find the dried shrimp that goes in the pulut udang recipe. It was probably a good thing, because this dish was already a bit shrimpy tasting for our western palates. We substituted ground beef as the recipe says you can.





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Wine Glasses - Creating Akward Moments Since 50 A.D.

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I enjoy wine from time to time, but it is definitely NOT my drink of choice. However, now that I am "growing up" there are events where wine is not only the sole option, but also the topic of discussion. I'm at a dinner Saturday night. A "grown-up" dinner with adults. I acted like a grownup as well. I did not drink more than I should, tasted the wines and wrote my observations, engaged in intelligent conversation over hors-d'oeuvres and dinner, and all in all was proud of myself for a respectable performance. Then it happened. In slow motion, the moment I hoped wouldn't happen had arrived. I watched a full glass of red wine bounce off the tips of my fingers, tilt from the table where it was sitting and float through the air aimed at an unsuspecting diner's white skirt. The act was over; the adults realized I was not one of them. Why wasn't there a kids table? Someone should have brought keystone light for this amateur. Does this happen to anyone else? I know it has happened to me once before this occasion and to Mandi as well. Wine glasses are so easy to spill!! Click below to see a few ideas for better wine glasses.

Thai Green Curry Soup

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Two curries in a row? Sorry if this bothers people, but my posts are kind of all over the place and I need to organize them. This was a random weeknight meal we decided to make as work was coming to an end one afternoon. It turned out to be a really simple and really great meal. The dumplings were not needed, and actually made the soup much more effort. If you still want meat, make the dumpling filling and cook it in the pot before adding the curry paste.





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Quick Cauliflower Curry

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I haven't quite put my finger on the word curry and its meaning. Wikipedia is no help really. For one, it's a spice, but the spice is really a blend of other spices. Second, there are curry leaves which are a mystery to me, because wouldn't you think curry powder would be made from this curry tree? Third, it is a name for hundreds of dishes from all over Asia that are completely different from each other! When I first started having curries, I only liked Thai curry, so as I made a few, I started to think that the meaning of curry had to do with mixing a blended paste with coconut milk, and simmering. After making a few Indian curries as well, my current definition of curry is: Curry: Any dish where you puree a bunch of sh*7 including lots of spices BEFORE cooking. Can anyone help me on that definition? I think it's pretty accurate, but I am guessing it will become even vaguer as I continue making curry from different areas.

Anyway, today I have a quick, healthful, and delicious weeknight meal for you to check out. I saw the recipe for the cauliflower on the food and wine website a few days ago, thought it would be good with fish, and made it that night.





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Fajitas: The Perfect Meal for One

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Fajitas! I have always loved them. They were a common dinner at my house when I was younger. Fajitas are pretty easy to make, and when I was on my own for dinner recently, I realized it is a perfect meal to cook for only one person! Follow these 12 simple steps, and you can eat Fajitas in less then an hour, with very minimal effort, and NO CLEANUP! You only use one small dish, one large dish, one knife, fork, and spoon. If you don't have a grill, you will also have to dirty one pan, skillet, or grillpan, to cook the steak in the center, and the peppers/onions on the sides. This quick one-off fajita was delicious, but not my ideal fajita. Stay tuned after the quick version to see the more involved one to make with friends.





Quiz - Fictional Chefs

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I have a new quiz for you today. This is a tough one, but I am really happy with how it came out.

RULES: There are 2 points on each picture, 1 for naming the character, and one for naming their restaurant, or where they work. A perfect score is 32, but if I were to take this (before doing all the research and finding the pictures), I would get a 24. I watch a lot of TV, so lets say:

24 - 32 - Genius
15 - 24 - Pretty good
10 - 15 - Average
Less then 10 - what do you do with your time? Read? Pssh!

Remember, don't cheat on Google!!!! I will find out.

Click Below to Start!

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Holiday Weekend Risotto

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On a holiday such as Labor day in Bermuda, all of the stores are closed. On Sundays, stores are only open a few hours, so if you miss that short window, a Monday holiday can be tough. A lot of times we will go out to eat because we are unable to get any cooking supplies. Since we just moved, I was excited to see some new stores in the area. I called one and they said they were open. Considering that they have another branch near my old apartment that is one of my favorite stores on the island, I figured it would be a large store with everything available. When we got there it was tiny and had little to no fresh produce or meats. We had to pull together an idea of a meal with a meager selection. When I saw the ageing (not in a good way) meats, I immediately started thinking what I had at home. Some leftover bacon from breakfast, a few chicken tenderloins in the freezer, I can work with that. We went to the pasta section and my eye caught risotto. Lets go get some spinach! Nope, they had neither fresh nor frozen. Ok ok, hmmmm. We bought some canned artichokes, chickpeas, and surprisingly good feta and headed out.





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Pasta Fagioli

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Pasta Fagioli is my favorite soup. By far. When I get it at restaurants, it is much different then the version I grew up with, and when I see Mario and Giada make it, it is definitely different from either of those. So what gives? Well after doing some research, I realized that this soup started as a meal of leftovers. Whatever you had that was about to go bad, throw in the soup. Pasta Fagioli really just means pasta and beans, so if it has those two things, I think you are on the right track. Here is my take on my grandmothers version. She gave the recipe to my mother a few years ago after years and years of hiding it, and we were all surprised it was so easy. I changed a few things to protect the family secrets...errrr I mean because I like it this way! I know first week of September is still pretty hot for most people, but that chill is seeping into the air. If you make this on the first chilly or rainy day, you will be extremely satisfied!





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Italian Donuts

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Store hours in Bermuda have caused me to be pretty creative a few times before. When everything is closed, my fridge is empty, and I am hungry, my first thought is often flour. I remembered Giada making some donuts with leftover pizza dough and I set to work.




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Animated

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In college, my roommate Rich and I were developing ideas for a website called 'eXactLy iNaccurate'. We had a ton of characters, games, designs, wallpapers, and interactive fun. At the center of this site was a comic strip called...
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Steak Egg and Cheese Bagel

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Fast food is a touchy subject in the food blog world. People love to hate it. The mere mention of a fast food joint on most food blogs causes 50 comment wars about corporations and global warming and McDonalds being the root of all evil. Such hostility! Well guess what folks, I partake in the occasional fast food indulgence and I am NOT afraid to say it! Sometimes, you just crave a dollar double cheeseburger or a cheesy crunchy gordita. There are a lot of commercials for fast food, and when its late night here in Bermuda and one comes on the screen, it's hard to handle since there is no fast food on the island! One of the things Mandi and I crave most, is McDonalds breakfast, it's a must when we are off the island. We recently tried to recreate a McDonalds steak egg and cheese bagel and have had near perfect results. I thought this would be a great recipe to share for all those college kids out there who love a hung-over McDonald's breakfast but rarely make that 10:30 AM cutoff!!





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