November 2008 Archives
After we made the German roulades, I couldn't stop thinking about braciole. Pronounced bra-jool, it is an Italian-American dish consisting of parsley, garlic, and breadcrumbs stuffed in thinly sliced beef, commonly served with pasta and sauce. There are many different ideas on what meat and fillings to use. I think I went with a fairly basic one. People who know what this is seem to love it, and for good reason. My mom made this occasionally and people went crazy for it. Apparently there is an episode of Everyone Loves Raymond where braciole is part of the main plot and the guys on the show speak very highly of it. In Italy, there is a similar dish called involtini that would also be cooked in the sauce like braciole, but would be served as a second course after the pasta. Luckily we are not in Italy, because I like mixing them.
I don't know what initially gave me this idea, but I was very excited to try it. I thought I came up with something pretty original. Bananas can mash just like avocados, so it seemed natural to me. Also, the existence of mango, pineapple, and other fruit salsas validated the combo in my head. I thought of putting it on fish, the way fruit salsas are often paired. Just like every seemingly original idea I have, google crushed this one. There is always some a-hole who has done your idea already. In this case, it was the couple at Ideas in Food. An awesome blog I read occasionally, but not too often cause it makes me feel insignificant. Their food is just that amazing. Anyways, try this recipe and you will like it. Your friends will be impressed by your forward thinking. I think it would rock on fish tacos (if Mandi ever lets me make them). Oh yea, and that side dish we made, it doesn't really go with the fish. Cheese and fish are almost never a good match. We just made them together because we had the ingredients lying around. It was definitely very delicious, but would have gone better with a steak or something.
Food on cartoons is SOO delicious looking. I have compiled 17 of the most tantalizing treats ever put to paper and shown on screen (big and small). Its your job to figure out what cartoon these come from! I cut wide on a few shots to give you guys hints, so scan these pics well! I think this is a pretty easy quiz, so I am going to give you a grading scale that looks like this:
16 - 17: Yabadabadoo!
12 - 15: Cowabunga!
9 - 11: Eat my shorts.
Less than 8: You're not fat, just big boned.
Click through to begin!
After we made the Thanksgiving Ravioli, we had some leftover turkey cranberry filling. I did not want this to go to waste, so Mandi decided putting it into a salad. We cooked it the same night we made the ravs and put it into the fridge fully cooked. Then we just microwaved it the next night to put it on the salad warm. This was a really nice fall salad that was a bit different from a lot of salads we make.
If you are anything like me, you read a lot of food blogs and watch a lot of food on TV. This means that all last week and especially over the weekend, you were bombarded with turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and all other Thanksgiving themed foods. I couldn't take it anymore! By Sunday night I was having serious Thanksgiving cravings. But you can't make Thanksgiving; that would take away from the real thing next week. In this situation, Mandi and I usually make Giada's turkey and cranberry ravioli and it holds us over well. This year, we added Ming Tsai's sweet potato basil ravioli to the mix and the results were fantastic.
It's hard to call something as delicious as this a failure, but really we were unable to do what we set out to do so in my mind I mark it with an F. The goal was to make chicken tikka masala and put it on a raw naan dough. Cook that dough in the pizza oven and basically have an Indian pizza. The main problem here was that naan dough does not have the stretching capabilities that the pizza dough we make has. It is unable to hold all of those toppings and was falling apart in the oven. We should have done the trick of grilled pizza where you cook it on one side, flip and add the toppings, but we did not think of it at the time.
As my really O.G. fans would know, I made chicken tikka once before, but it wasn't that good. The naan was crap and the flavor was bland. Now that I am a little more experienced in Indian cooking, I found this to be easy and much more delicious. I suggest this dish to anyone (just not the pizza part).
This is one of the first things Mandi and I started out making all the time; but until the other night we hadn't made it in a really long time. It is very easy and can be elegant or casual depending on how you dress it up. I had it in a restaurant one night and re created it at home in one try, that's how easy it is. I have told you many times how much I love the combo of roasted red peppers, arugula, and steak, and this is yet another way I enjoy that trio of flavors.
Chili means many different things to many different people. There are Texas varieties that only have the sauce and meat. These are more "purist" chilies that people seem to be passionate about and angry when others choose to make it differently. Mexican con carne is even more authentic than that. In the Midwest chili is served over pasta. In some areas it is more tomato based while in others the stock is more based on the chile peppers it is named after. Some varieties use sweets to finish it off and add unique flavor like chocolate or vanilla. There is also the mystical and delicious world of vegetarian chilies I will revisit in the near future. And then the eternal question of beans or no beans. Well I am here to tell you all today that I don't care about any of this. Yes I love tradition and passed down recipes. I love all the chili varieties from coast to coast. But when I make it, it is a big pile of awesome following no rules but my own. I'm a rebel that way.
When I was in Boston 2 weeks ago, Kim hosted an Octoberfest dinner party at her house. It was a lot of fun and we made some really great stuff. We made pretzels again, spaetzle with caramelized onions and gruyere, and beef roulades. We had German beer and German cheeses to try as well. None of us are even close to German, so we can only hope that these foods were somewhat authentic, but what we do know is that they were delicious!
Top Chef starts next week, and I am very excited! As with last season, I am going to pick a contestant that will be sponsored by TFIMB based solely on their facial hair! Last year, there were only 2 choices. Andrew was my final choice and turned out to go pretty far and be a favorite of mine the whole way. Will I be as lucky this year? Click below to see my choices.
I love carbonara. It's fast, simple and cheap, yet very filling, warm and comforting. I generally don't like it when I get it at a restaurant which is surprising to me because it is so easy to make! Today we used bacon rather than pancetta for a few reasons. We have tried both in this dish, and I prefer bacon. Also at the store I went to, they didn't have the really good pancetta, only the thin round kind which I am not a fan of. Thirdly, we watched Giada at Home the other day and saw Aunt Raffi saying that when she is in the US, she uses bacon instead of pancetta because in the finished dish it tastes more "like it did back in Italy." Those are enough reasons for me, so here is my recipe for pasta in the style of the coal miner's wife.
After work on Friday, we took the rest of our spiders and ghosts over to Amy's for a party. Thursday we actually got together too to make some of the food. Amy made a few things, but Mandi and I's main contribution was a pumpkin dip. I was trying something random and it didn't come out all that good. It could have been a great thanksgiving side dish if tweaked a bit. I also think it had good dip potential if we had put more love and attention into it.