Saturday, February 27, 2010

Don't Try This At Home!

PV = nRT

Boyle's Law - The relationship between pressure and volume ~ is what I am told as to why this happened.

Blah, Blah, all I know is that I DO NOT recommend leaving a beer in the freezer.

My husband can quote Boyle's Law but can explain why a bottle of beer explodes when left in the freezer.

Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making Gnocchi

Two recipes, one evening and a story to tell.

So my good friend C of Mele Cotte came over to keep me company the other evening. Since we both enjoy cooking / baking I thought it would be nice if we made a few "new" things while we were together.

We started our cooking adventure by trying a recipe I read about on the "Pioneer Women Cooks" blog. I really wanted to try out the Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme because it sounded so interesting. If they turned out yummy I planned to make them again for a shower that I am attending next month (Sorry Marsha the secret is out - I am trying out recipes for the shower - don't read on...).

The muffins looked so good when they went into the oven and when they came out of the oven.

BUT there was a huge problem - they wouldn't come out of the pan.

Now C explains many reasons for why they might have stuck to the pans but I really didn't know. I thought Pioneer Women said I could use cooking spray in the tins and that would take the place of the butter and flour she used. Not sure what happened but it made me want to cry. Pretty, yummy, little muffins that would not come out of the pan. I only know they are yummy because as we pulled the tops off of them and tasted them and they were very good ~ just stuck!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even though we had a kitchen upset we did not stop there b/c we still needed to make dinner. I recently bought a Jamie Oliver cookbook and the Arugula & Potato Gnocchi caught my eye.

We used the Jamie Oliver recipe but made a few changes

6 medium potatoes ( we boiled our potatoes - seemed faster)
Olive oil
Whole Nutmeg, grated
pinch of salt salt
pinch of pepper
1 egg yolk
1-2 handfuls of plain flour ( we added more than two handfuls but it could have been
b/c I washed the arugula and it wasn't completely dry).
1 bunch (about 3 cups) chopped arugula
all purpose or semolina flour

Boil the potatoes with the skins on until tender. Drain. Remove the skins. Press potatoes through a ricer (we, really C, did this right on the counter top).

Make a well in the potatoes, add the nutmeg, salt, pepper and egg yolk (we added the whole egg )

Add the arugula and about two handfuls of flour to bind the mixture together. You can add more flour if the mixture is too wet.

Then divide the dough into pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface into long tubes. Cut each of the tubes into 1-inch pieces. Place them on a plate or tray sprinkled liberally with flour, and allow to sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a soft boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water in small batches because you don't want them sticking together. The gnocchi will rise to the surface and that is when you know they are done.

The gnocchi are very tender so it is best to use a slotted spoon to remove them rather than dumping them in a strainer.

We served our gnocchi with the recommended butter, broth, lemon and cheese mixture.

Ahhh ~ Success!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Foil Baked Tilapia

For those nights when you are tired and really don't feel like cooking you should consider making fish in foil. It is one of the easiest ways to cook fish.

Here is what I put together:
2 pieces of Tilapia
2 tbsp butter
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/3 cup of leeks, sliced
a pinch of lemon pepper seasoning
Capers ( which I added after taking the fish out of the oven)

Wrap the fish in foil and put all ingredients on top. Seal the foil. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes depending on how thick your fish is.

This is an incredibly easy way to make fish. The foil locks in the flavors and keeps the fish nice and tender. Another benefit is that the foil wrapped fish makes clean up a cinch.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese

The February / March issue of Fine Cooking has some great recipes. The following recipe is one that we couldn't pass up. Cheese is a staple in our house. On any given day we usually have at least four different types of cheese in our refrigerator for different recipes. So when I read the Pulled-Pork Macaroni and Cheese recipe in Fine Cooking I knew we had to give it a try.

Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese with Carmelized Onions and Four Cheeses
One 4-lb. smoked pork shoulder
12 oz. dried ridged pasta, preferably radiatore
Kosher salt
4 Tbs. (2 oz. ) unsalted butter
2 small yellow onions, chopped (1-1/2 cups)
1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
3-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. grated Gruyère (1-1/2 cups)
4 oz. grated Emmentaler (11/2 cups)
4 oz. grated fontina (1-1/2 cups)
2/3 cup panko
2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 cups)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Put the pork in a large heavy-duty roasting pan, cover with foil, and roast until the meat is falling off the bone, 5 to 6 hours. Cool until warm enough to handle, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water according to package directions until just barely al dente. Drain and set aside.

Shred the pork by hand, pulling it into 2-inch-long pieces. Discard the bone and any excess fat. Set aside 1 lb. of the pulled pork (about 4 cups) and save the rest for another use (see "Leftovers," below, for ideas).

Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. Melt the butter in a large 8-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and very soft, about 20 minutes.

Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream. Raise the heat to medium high and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, 3 to 5 minutes.

Whisk in the white wine, sage, and a 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly.

Reduce the heat to low and use a wooden spoon to stir in the Gruyère, Emmentaler, and fontina.

Stir in the reserved pork and pasta until well coated. Pour the mixture into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a small bowl, mix the panko, Parmigiano, and olive oil. Sprinkle evenly over the mixture in the skillet.

Bake until the topping is browned and the cheese sauce is bubbling through the topping and around the edges of the skillet, 40 to 45 minutes. (If the topping begins to brown too deeply, tent loosely with foil.) Let the macaroni and cheese rest for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.

This is an amazing dish. It is rich in flavor and absolutely delicious!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Buffalo Wings

This post comes with a health warning:
the dinner I am about to share with you is NOT healthy!
A recent issue of The Food Network Magazine included
a variety of hot wing recipes and so we thought why not?
It gets worse though, we also made onion rings to go with the chicken wings.

Alton Brown's Buffalo Wings
12 whole chicken wings
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Place a 6-quart saucepan with a steamer basket and 1-inch of water in the bottom, over high heat, cover and bring to a boil.

Remove the tips of the wings and discard or save for making stock. Using kitchen shears, or a knife, separate the wings at the joint. Place the wings into the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the wings from the basket and carefully pat dry. Lay the wings out on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Replace the paper towels with parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook another 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.

While the chicken is roasting, melt the butter in a small bowl along with the garlic. Pour this along with hot sauce and salt into a bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken and stir to combine.

Remove the wings from the oven and transfer to the bowl and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.

And the Onion Rings:

A Perfect Match: