Destination: Italy ~

26 02 2011

The month of February was Destination: Italy over at My Kitchen, My World.  As much as I cook Italian food these days, I couldn’t miss this one!  I could literally load any one of a dozen or more recipes for Italian food from my archives alone.  But..that wouldn’t be fair!  LOL!  So…setting the Hazan family Italian food collection aside, I reached for some of my other Italian cookbooks.  I settled on Williams and Sonoma’s Italian Favorites.

It didn’t take long to find a nice recipe for brunch…eggs, cheese, cream, pasta and some sauteed leeks to pull it all together.  That’s not a bad way to greet midday!  The recipe is titled, “Angel Hair with Eggs, Leeks and Cream.”  Those are pretty much all of the ingredients…you’ll also need butter to saute the thinly sliced leeks, and some Parmesan cheese to mix with the eggs and cream, and that’s the whole ingredient list.  Put the pasta water on, slice and wash the leeks, saute them in the butter, and set them aside when they’re nice and translucent.  Cook the pasta just until it’s barely cooked…a little firmness will disappear before it gets to the plate.  Trust me.  Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet with the leeks, toss the mixture to combine and stir in the eggs, cream and cheese.  Cook together until the egg is set, but not dry.  Serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan on the side, and you’ve got a great dish!

Tasting Notes~
Bruce was a little skeptical when I asked if he’d like this dish for brunch…but he’s a good sport and said if it sounded good to me, fulfilled a posting need, and I was up for fixing it…knock my socks off!  Then he decided this is a really good dish for brunch, and if I ever feel so inclined again, to please give this another go!  There’s a bit of sweetness coming from the leeks and the cream…and it foils nicely with the pasta salted from the water and just enough at serving time to bring the flavors all the way up.  This is a smooth, creamy, comforting dish.  A bit carb-heavy for midday, but great if you’re really wanting that nap!  It would team really nicely with a bottle of chilled Prosecco as an Italian “champagne” brunch!  I’ll remember that for next time!

FFwD: Short Ribs~

26 02 2011

One of the first things I learned to cook successfully as a young bride was short ribs.  In the mid 70’s they were cheaper than cheap…but then in the mid 70’s a lot of things were cheaper than…let’s not go there.  That’s a whole “nuther” post!  Short ribs have a wonderful flavor and truly benefit from long, slow braising.

Now, I want to confess straight up, I went just a bit astray from the recipe in a couple of places…  I dusted my short ribs with flour before searing them…I didn’t use port…but pretty much beyond that, we were running about the same.  I used a Cabernet for my red wine…I didn’t want to use Chianti, which was the red wine I had open at the moment.  Yes…wine actually gets to serve more than one recipe here! LOL!  I seared my ribs on all sides in a 5 qt. cast iron casserole, then added the chopped veggies and a bit more oil (I’m using rice bran oil and I love it! I just wish someone local carried it!) and stirred things around a bit before adding the cooking liquids.  I have my own beef stock canned, so I used that and the wine to season the pot.  And waited 3 incredibly long hours (you’ll understand when you start smelling it).  I did need to add a little water part way through, because I didn’t use the foil seal.  I used a 5 qt. cast iron dutch oven for a third of the recipe.  You’ll want something a bit larger…7 1/2 qt. or bigger, for a full recipe.

Tasting Notes~
This dish pretty much cried out for mashed potatoes…couldn’t help myself!  The carrots cooked up perfectly in the dutch oven with the ribs.  I started the potatoes about 20 minutes before the ribs were due out of the oven, and we were right on target.  This is one of those melt-in-your-mouth dishes.  Deeply soul-satisfying, home-cooked, comfort food at it’s best.  There wasn’t anything but a bit of gravy left of this dinner.   Note to self…watch for short rib sales!  It was so worth the wait!

I remember the first time we approached the Rendezvous Inn… Kim was preparing short ribs… I knew that was what I wanted for dinner!  Oh my heavens!  The aroma that wafted out into their garden!  I still haven’t had his short ribs.  They sell out quickly every time he makes them.  This dish reminds me of that.

Essentially…absolutely a keeper…whether the recipe is followed precisely or not.