Okay, so it's only taken me FOREVER to sit down and write this entry. But see, what had happened was... (isn't that how all good stories start?)
So it's not that good of a story so much as a condensed explanation. Our 30-year-old heater gave up the ghost sometime last week, and it's been wicked cold at this foodie's house! It's been far too cold for me to sit down and type out an entry. After a few minutes of sitting down, a body gets chilly fast (and if you don't have gloves, your fingers will feel the chill faster than the rest of you). Having said that, although it's still cold, this entry has been on my mind and heart... and I'm taking a few precious minutes to type it now before I get too cold and have to take refuge under the covers.
Today's recipe (and pictures) are compliments of epicurious.com, which is where I obtained the recipe for this dish. I haven't made this in quite a while, so I needed a reference recipe. I like this one, which involves white cooking wine (you could use a dry wine like Chablis or a dry Chardonnay if you have it rather than actual cooking wine. If you're too broke for wine, you can opt to skip it... but make sure to add the butter and some of the cooking liquid from the pasta). Before I get into the ingredients, let me just post a picture of it... it's too gorgeous for me not to give you a preview first.
Now that I got you salivating a bit... ingredients list!
4 large cloves garlic
1 lb of 20-25/lb shrimp
¼ c.olive oil
½ tsp. dried pepper flakes
½ c. white wine
1 tsp.salt, plus some extra for the pasta water
½ tsp. black pepper
5 Tb unsalted butter
¾ lb. cappellini (angel hair pasta)
½ c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Tools that you'll need are: a cutting board and chef's knife for the parsley, a pot for boiling water for pasta, measuring cups and spoons (unless you like to eyeball, of course ), pepper mill (if you have it), a sauté pan or medium sized skillet, and a garlic press, if you have one. If not, feel free to use a chef's knife to mince the garlic.
Get your pasta water boiling and salt the water. Salt before or after it boils... either way, salt your water. Put in the pasta and cook to appropriate doneness. Meanwhile, get your shrimp ready for cooking. I recommend buying them raw and fresh, if possible. If you buy them fresh and the fish monger hasn't deveined them for you, do NOT forget to do this at home. You can also remove the tails if you want, but I left these on for the sake of presentation. If your shrimp are frozen, be sure to thaw them out gently without cooking them. A good way to do this is to let the bag sit under warm running water until they are thawed. Don't use hot water or they'll cook. If your pasta has finished cooking at this point, drain and have at the ready. You'll want the pasta to be done before you go to the next step... because things will move quickly at this point and burn easily if your attention is divided.
Put the sauté pan on the stove over medium or medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, put in your oil and the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper, and cook on both sides until the shrimp turns pink. When it's pink, it is cooked through and can be removed from the sauté pan. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl for later. Add in garlic through black pepper, and swirl it in the pan for no more than a minute. We don't want to let the garlic burn (which is what I did the first time). If the heat is high, the garlic will cook in a matter of seconds. Add the butter to the skillet (cut into small pieces so that it melts quickly), and stir until completely melted. Add the shrimp back into the skillet, cut off the heat, and toss. Toss in the cooked pasta as well until everything is coated in the sauce. Add in the parsley, toss, and serve.
And yep, in case you were wondering, that was all my portion.
Just kidding. I shared. Some of it. It was delicious and I loved the heat. I will add this sidenote, though: if you're sensitive to heat or have young children that will be eating this, you can cut the amount of red pepper flakes in half. I think the kick adds a little life to the dish and cuts through the richness of the butter and oil... so I don't recommend cutting it completely unless you really can't take it.
All righty guys! That's it for today. I'll add the link to the recipe below, and here's Miss Ray signing off from the cold kitchen in PA: live life, eat well, and make it a great day! Happy Friday everybody!
So at church this past Sunday, we had the pleasure of receiving bread to sow. No, literally. Bread. Loaves of bread and bread type products, like bagels and english muffins. Why, of all people, did the girl that loves food and that has a food blog end up with cranberry english muffins? Even though I knew the point of receiving the bread was to give it away, the temptation to taste it was too great. Moreover, I started thinking of how it would taste if I used it to assemble a breakfast sandwich. Since I wanted eggs and bacon anyway, I decided to try it out.
the ingredients you'll need for this are:
1 fresh egg
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper (black or white pepper... whichever you have), to taste
2 slices of bacon or one piece of canadian bacon (if you prefer more slices and can fit them in the sandwich, go for it!)
1/8 tsp honey, optional
a very small amount of oil for frying the egg
the tools you'll need are:
a nonstick skillet or something like it (even if you don't use nonstick, do NOT use a stainless steel one. I made this again this morning, and the egg stuck to the pan. It made a PERFECT mess. You need a world of oil if you use a stainless steel skillet... but you won't want to use that much oil seeing as you will be frying bacon in the same pan. nonstick just seems to work best for eggs).
a spatula to flip the egg
a plate or napkin to put the sandwich on
Heat the skillet on medium-low heat. Get the egg ready to be cracked, and your two slices of bacon ready for frying. Put in your spot of oil or butter (mostly for flavor if your pan is nonstick... but if your nonstick pan is old like mine, it will make it easier for you to actually be able to flip the egg) and crack the egg into the pan. Season it with the salt and pepper. I did a basic fried egg-over easy. I like a runny yolk. If you like a runny yolk also, you could achieve this same result by poaching the egg. It would cut calories, that's for sure. I just did it this way so that I only ended up using (and cleaning) one pan. Scrambled eggs is another option.
If you're frying your egg, wait until the white is set enough for you to be able to flip the egg. Flip it... and for an over easy egg, let the underside cook for no more than 2 minutes. If you want the yolk cooked longer, then just keep it in the pan longer. I think a medium cook is like 2-4, and over hard is like 4-6 minutes. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat so the egg gets done faster. Eggs are delicate things. Once your egg is cooked to the desired doneness, turn it out on the toasted english muffin that is sitting on your plate.
Now, turn up the heat to medium or medium-high. Wait for it to come up to temperature, which shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. Put your bacon in the pan and fry. Use the fork to turn the bacon. Once it is fried and looking that reddish beautiful colour that we all know and love... take it out of the pan and put on top of the fried/poached/scrambled egg.
If you're using honey, drizzle on a little teeny bit. This won't need a lot of sweetness because, despite the fact that cranberries have some tartness, they're actually a little on the sweet side in the muffin. Once your breakfast sandwich is assembled, put the lid on it, and eat!
It's a very simple sandwich with very simple flavors... but it's very good and enjoyable to eat. If you can't find cranberry English muffins, don't despair! One way around it is that you could possible spread a thin layer of cranberry or raspberry preserves on the bottom part of the english muffin before you put the egg on. Or heck, it would be just fine if you used a plain english muffin (or possibly a raisin one). The THIRD option is that you could probably make your own. Yes, make your own english muffins. I said it. Cranberries are in season around this time of year... so what you could do is get the cranberries and venture out on making your own english muffins. You could probably also used dried ones if you wanted. So... if you're feeling adventurous, make your own english muffin! OR... A BISCUIT!!!! If you're feeling indulgent, divide a big biscuit in half and put everything on a biscuit. This is yet another delicious option.
There are probably several different ways and combinations to make this sandwich; this just happens to be one of them. Whatever option that you use, make sure you combine this sandwich with a good cup of coffee or black tea (spiced tea works if you lack the coffee, and the flavors in the tea and sandwich compliment each other nicely).
That's it for now. Stay healthy, eat well, and as Eric says on Gardenfork, "Make it a great day!"
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a fun and safe time on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day… and that you’re all well rested(and hopefully not nursing a bad hangover, if you’re nursing one at all).
So this year, I decided to make new year’s resolutions.Before you start groaning, I was there with you. I had no interest in making a list of things that I should do in this new year that, like most people, I won’t stick to. However, this year is a little different. I don’t feel like my life is going much of anywhere; so I think that making some resolutions is going to do me some good. I noticed, however, that half of the resolutions I made had to do with food. So, I decided to branch off on this and make what I call my Food Year’s Resolutions. Here’s a list of them in random order:
BE BACK IN COOKING SCHOOL BEFORE THE YEAR IS OUT. This one is the one that is nearest and dearest to me. I miss school very much, and I want that bachelor's degree. It's just one of those things I need to do for me. I know I don't need it per se, but frankly, networking is much easier when you're in school. Plus, it looks better if you have a bachelor's in something. Plus plus, I know what I learned in school has to be outdated by now. Sure, I do keep up by reading a lot, but the education will do me good. And plus x3, the school I want to attend is out of state. I've been feeling stuck, and I think going to a new place will do me some good.
BAKE BREAD ONCE A WEEK OR ONCE EVERY OTHER WEEK. In line with that, I need to stop being cheap and get loaf pans. I don't have any, and for regular bread, it would be good to have some. Even if I decide to make French baguettes for the rest of my life, I do like pound cake, pumpkin bread and banana nut bread... all of which require a loaf pan. Don't talk me out of this one, y'all. I've been cheap about this for too long.
MAKE MY OWN...
ice cream. I have 2 books on ice cream that I have yet to put to good use. It used to be 4, but I gave 2 of them to a friend for Christmas. I can't say I was using them except for to look at the pictures (and trust me when I say they were drool worthy).
pasta from scratch. I have done this before, but I used a pasta machine when I did it. I need to justify actually getting one, so I'm just gonna go on ahead and do like the little Italian grandmothers used to do and make it by hand. It ain't gonna kill me, that's for darn sure... and I know the results will be well worth my efforts.
stock. This is a necessity for the home cook as well as a frugal one. Plus, I think I like the flavors better as well as that mouth watering aroma that fills the place in which you are simmering the stuff. It's savory heavenly bliss.
KEEP A FOOD DIARY. I started doing this a week and a half before Christmas, but I didn't keep up with it. I want to do this because I want to be more conscious of what I'm eating on a daily basis. My reasoning is because I want to know if I have sensitivities to anything or if there are foods that have actually improved my overall energy level. Overall, I'd just like to be more aware of what I eat and how it's affecting me.
VISIT PHILLY ONCE A WEEK OR EVERY OTHER WEEK. Reading Terminal Market. Enough said. Okay, maybe not. But it's a darn good reason, that's for sure.
MAKE GOOD USE OF...
"The Frugal Foodie Cookbook". I saw it in Borders once many moons ago, and I finally got it. I liked the tips and I figured it would give me some ideas on how to eat well without killing the budget (plus, I found it for a good price on Amazon).
"The Essential Asian Cookbook". Yes, I do have one of these. I also got it from Borders. No, I haven't made good use of it except to drool over the recipes and the pictures. Shame on me. As much as I love Asian food (and have a mad crush on Indian and Thai cuisine), I haven't made good use of this reference/cookbook that's been at my disposal for quite some time. Part of it had to do with money... but after I got a little bit of money, I still haven't done much with it. That needs to change this year.
Filippo Berio's 101 ways to use olive oil. This really intrigued me, and I've been meaning to use it. If any of you have ever seen "Julie and Julia", I was tempted to do something similar with this little online brochure. I haven't done it yet. Even if I hit one thing a day, I gotta do this just because. It would be fun. Plus, I get Filippo Berio coupons. So when that stuff goes on sale, I'll just get a lot of it and go to town with that list. (by the way, here’s the link: http://www.filippoberio.com/JustForYou/images/Brochures/101_ways_brochure.pdf).
"The Little Black Book of Smoothies". I was very obsessed with it at one point. I had all of the smoothie fixings, and had even chopped up a big bag of bananas to freeze so they would be at my disposal, ready for smoothie related bliss. Yeah, I got that serious. I don't know what happened, or when it happened... but the inevitable took place. The passion died out, the bananas became frost bitten, and I forgot all about that little blessed book. I stumbled across it again in the very place where I had left it all that time ago... atop the microwave oven, which is different from the one it used to sit upon (that's how long ago it's been since I picked it up. We got a different microwave oven within that time period... and a different blender, too. The original one we had died. That's just sad that it took that long for me to pick it back up).
GROW MY OWN HERBS. I have the seeds. They've been there for a while now. I have the pots and the little starter things for seeds. The only thing I don't have at the moment is soil, but I'm gonna fix that. Walgreens apparently has a sale on potting soil for $.99. If I don't have that, well then I need to borrow it and grow my own herbs. It seems downright silly to buy herbs when I have the seeds to grow my own. All I need now is the right lighting. I had grown thyme before and it grew like wildfire... but all it needed was partial sunlight, and I had the place for that. I don't know if I'll grow thyme again because I don't know what to do with it most of the time... but if anything, I know I'll be growing rosemary and Italian flat leaf parsley since I use them most often. I'll try to grow basil again, but I need a place that has full sun. I haven't found this place in my house. I considered finding one of those growing lamps for plants so that it gets the sun it needs... but I don't know. I'll figure out something because I would definitely like to have some basil, too. And some mint. I don't know what I'd do with the mint like that, but I sure do want it. It's delicious and I love the scent.
EAT OUT AT LEAST TWICE A MONTH. Philly is a HUGE food town, and that's not even getting into the hot spots outside of Center City! I need to eat through the town more, especially since I'm considering leaving to go to school. I need to have something to miss and look forward to when I come home to visit.
HIT UP THE MARKETS MORE... with particular emphasis on: Reading Terminal Market, the Italian Market, Linvilla Orchards, H Mart, Maido, the Indian food market next to where I went to school, and Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ. Yeah, yeah... it's a Jersey market, but that thing is a BEAST. I've never seen an Asian market that big before, and they sell the most delightful cherry blossom tea that I haven't found in any other place. Yep. I haven't been there in a couple of years. That needs to be fixed ASAP.
WORK THROUGH "100 WAYS TO STAY YOUNG". I know I'm not that old, but I don't want to get old, either. There is a section in this book about food. What is nice, too, is that some of the foods make great beauty treatments (I used a few when I was strapped for cash. They worked out very nicely). I'm working towards using more natural ways to care for my body, and food is one way of keeping yourself young inside and out. I'm excited about this because I want to see how simply changing what I'm eating (and paying attention to what I eat) could possibly change how I look and feel. It's going to be wonderful (I'm such a nerd...)
So, I think that’s all of them. I have other resolutionsbesides those, but I wanted to highlight my food resolutions for this year.
Do you have any food year’s resolutions? If so, what arethey? Feel free to share… and if you don’t have any, why not think up a few?They could be serious or silly, but have fun with them… and at least resolve tohave more fun and adventures with food this year.
That’s all for now! Ciao everyone! Live life, eat well, andmake it a great food year.
So, I think that’s all of them. I have other resolutions besides those, but I wanted to highlight my food resolutions for this year.
Do you have any food year’s resolutions? If so, what are they? Feel free to share… and if you don’t have any, why not think up a few?They could be serious or silly, but have fun with them… and at least resolve to have more fun and adventures with food this year.
That’s all for now! Ciao everyone! Live life, eat well, and make it a great food year.
So... it's only been quite a while since I made an entry. Ironically enough,the first time I made an entry in forever, it was also on quiche. After making it that time with a store bought crust, I vowed to start making my own crust.Well... make my own crust I did. This is actually my 3rd time making the quiche with a homemade crust, and it is FABULOUS. To me, there's a big difference in the taste and mouth feel. So here I am... with a quiche with a homemade crust,and an entry telling you all about it.
So the crust/dough used for the quiche is called pâte brisée. It's a great tasting crust (mostly because of the amount of butter used in it), and it is not only used in quiches, but in pies. I got this crust recipe from the Internet. It’s been the only one I’ve used so far, but I went back to it because it wasn’t hard to make, and I loved the end result as far as how it tasted.
This crust is SO easy to make. No complicated tools,and no more than 5 ingredients (Claire Robinson would be proud). To make this crust, you’ll need: flour, butter, an egg, salt, and crème fraîche (or sour cream if you can’t find crème fraîche). If you don’t want to spring for the crème fraîche for whatever reason(mine happened to grow a fur coat, so I couldn’t use it anymore), you can getaway with simply using water to bind it. Next time, though, I think I’ll have to not skip that part. It gives the dough a slight tang that I kind of dig. You will probably need cold water to bind it anyway even when all of the ingredients are in. And yes, the water must be cold. You don’t want to give that butter any reason to go soft on you.
You need 1 stick of butter in the recipe that I used. Other recipes may call for more or less… but no matter what recipe you use, you MUST have cold butter.COLD. Butter. If it’s too soft or melted, it won’t yield the desired texture,which is the flakiness that we like in a pie crust. Cut the stick of butter into cubes. Once it’s all cubed, put it in a small bowl for a second, and put away in the fridge fora moment. Next, get a big bowl and a sieve or a flour sifter if you have it. I used a glass bowl, but I don’t know if it needs to be nonreactive. The glass one just happens to be my biggest bowl. Sift flour into your bowl… 1¾ c. to be precise. After that, add ½ tsp of salt. Now, go get that butter. Take your bowl of butter that you set aside (IN THE FRIDGE. You DID set it aside in the fridge, right?), and dump it into the bowl of sifted flour.Now… this is when the fun begins.
At this point, you want to incorporate the cold butter into the flour to distribute the fat that will give us that flakiness later. When you do this, it will look kind of like bread crumbs. This is what it should look like.
To do this, you can use a pastry blender or a fork if you like to minimize the heat that your butter comes in contact with… but if you don’t have a pastry blender,don’t despair! You already have been bestowed by the good Lord in heaven with the best butter distributors the world has ever known: your fingers and thumbs.When doing this, you want to move your thumbs against your fingers as if you’re trying to snap your fingers. You might really get into it and get a little bit obsessive, but try not to. The more your fingers stay in contact with the butter, the greater a chance there is that you’ll warm it up… then… disaster.Don’t be too paranoid about this, but keep it in mind.
Once the fat is evenly distributed through your sifted butter, make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, as if you were going to make homemade pasta. Crack1 egg in the center of the flour/butter volcano, and beat the egg with a fork.Once the egg is beaten, start to add the flour mixture to the egg in the center bit by bit. Before it has all come together, add your crème fraîche (or sour cream) if you have it.Now start bringing the dough together and sort of knead it to try to bring it together. We don’t have to be as vigorous with the kneading as with bread dough; just try to get it to come together. If it doesn’t seem to stick, give it a little bit of cold water. Go easy on the water, though. This dough should NOT be sticky. Simply give it enough water for it to form a ball that doesn’t fall apart too much.
Once you have your ball of dough, carefully divide it into 2 balls, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least ½ hr. If you don’t use both balls of dough within a couple of days, they can be frozen until you are ready to use them. I believe you can freeze them for maybe a month. I don’t know exactly how long because mine didn’t last any longer than 2 weeks.
After the dough is rested, take it out and roll it to the desired thickness and dimensions. Follow the directions for what you are using the dough at this point. In this case, I used it for quiche. I just rolled out the dough until it fit into my deep 9” pie pan, put the quiche mixture into the unbaked crust, and baked it like that. If you find it breaks apart a few times while you’re rolling it out, this is okay. That’s what it should do. Just gently press it back together, and take pieces off the en to fill the cracks if you need to. I pressed it a lot to fit into the round glass dish, but it was enough dough. I was VERY pleased with the end result. It was flaky, buttery, and far from dry.It was everything a good crust should be. Pictured below is one of the quiches that I made with this crust.
Now I’m sure there are variations that can be used that don’t involve the egg in case anyone has an allergy. The egg is used as a binder for the dough to get the desired texture… but I’m sure there are dough variations that don’t include egg. I haven’t used one, so I don’t want to post something that I haven’t personally used. If I find a recipe without egg that looks good, I’ll use it and let you know what I think. Just know, however, that while this recipe is a good one, it’s not the only one.
Well, that’s it for now, folks. I got a new cookbook, so I’ll let you know if I dig into some of the recipes.
I just wanted to stop by and make a quick post (well, as quick as a quick post is for me). I didn't go to work today because I wasn't feeling well. Although I'm still not feeling that great, I wanted to make an entry on a quick fix recipe. This idea was born on one of those nights where there wasn't much in the house save for the basics plus some lemon and fresh parsley. I wanted pasta, but I didn't feel like using tomato sauce. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, that gets tired fast. I thought of an episode of Lidia's Italy that I saw where she made a pasta dish with lemon in it. I think she made a lemon cream sauce... but since I lacked cream (except for some half and half that I'm using for something else), I thought maybe just some lemon juice along with the zest and the pasta water would make a good light sauce. Plus, the addition of some cheese would help it out, too.
To make this pasta, all I really used was: pasta noodles (you can probably use straight ones. I just didn't have any), one lemon (use the zest and the juice), parmesan cheese (or another good grating cheese, such as pecorino romano or gruyère would go well with this), a couple of garlic cloves, fresh or dried parsley, salt and pepper, and for a touch of heat, red pepper flakes. Also, have some olive oil for finishing. I will admit that I cheated and peeked online for something just to get an idea on amounts. This is how I got the idea to even use garlic. I was just going to throw the lemon juice and olive oil in there and hope for the best. I was kind of hungry folks, so thinking was about to be out the window.
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente... or just a little under that since it will go into a pan to be tossed. It's up to you. Meanwhile, mince or slice some garlic and parsley (parsley first, then the garlic just because the garlic oils will be all in the parsley if you do it the other way around. unless you wash the knife in between). If you need to grate your cheese because you have a block of it, grate it at this time. Do a fine grate on it, and I'm suggesting around ¼c. of the cheese of your choice. If it's an already grated cheese, simply have it at the ready. Again, I used Parmesan for this.
Heat up a bit of oil in a skillet. When your pasta is done, drain it, but reserve a bit of the cooking liquid. Save as much as ½c. of it, but no more than that. Remember, this is supposed to be a light sauce, and you will be adding lemon juice as well as olive oil to finish it.
When the oil is heated up enough (it doesn't have to be hot), add in the garlic first. Allow it to cook for half a minute. Once you've done that, add in the red pepper flakes. If you're using dried parsley, add it with the red pepper flakes. Toss for another half a minute. The lemon juice and zest goes in next as well as the saved pasta liquid. Allow the lemon juice and pasta liquid to bubble for a moment or two. Once it has bubbled, add the pasta and the parsley. Toss the pasta in the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste. When everything has been tossed together, finish off with the Parmesan cheese and some olive oil. Cut the heat. Toss everything together and plate. Serve while hot.
I have to say, this was pretty good considering that it was my first time doing it. Having said that, there are a few variations on this recipe that you could try that would probably add an extra layer of flavor:
while heating the spices, add 1 Tb of butter with the olive oil that you use for cooking.
roast the garlic before adding it to this dish. yeah, it might take a while, but that particular garlic flavor would be well worth the additional effort.
instead of parsley, use another herb, such as sage or even mint. Remember, if you use a fragrant herb like that, a little will go a long way.
using the above ingredients, make it like a pesto with the addition of lemon juice. Toss with the pasta and serve.
put in a vegetable to add a little something more to it, like spinach, broccoli rabe, or even regular broccoli. and add bacon bits to that. EVERYTHING is better with bacon.
These are only a few ideas, but I think there is a LOT that can be done with this recipe. That's how good food is born: you make tasty variations from one basic recipe. Who knows? You might make something new that you love as much as the older version. Keep it simple or go crazy; either way, make it your own and have fun doing it.
That's all for now. Stay hungry, eat well and don't apologize for doing it.