February, 2010 Archive

Saturday, February 27, 2010

baked rigatoni with tiny meatballs

tiny meatballs, baked rigatoni

Did you hear a resounding whine/sigh/moan the volume of the entire Eastern seaboard? Because there’s a fresh foot of snow outside for the 200th time this year and friends, I love snow. I get so excited when it is going to snow. But this? Lacks charm, likely because the first day of this anticipated four day storm was three to four inches of mucky slush.

sleet day

Anyway, I still maintain that complaining about the weather is dull, thus if any one good thing can come of this, it is that pasta, meatball and cream sauce season just got extended by at least another weekend. After the excitement over Marcella Hazan last month, I wanted to share a recipe from her on the opposite end of the spectrum, sort of the Italian version of Italian-American baked ziti. Except, the ziti is rigatoni, which she insists holds up better to being cooked twice (plus has large hollows that nicely slurp up their surroundings). The red sauce is a white sauce. The cheese is subtle and oh, there are wee meatballs scattered everywhere.

about to make the meatballstiny meatballs, one dredged in flourshaking off excess flourbrowning the wee meatballs

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

arroz con leche (rice pudding)

arroz con leche

Almost without fail, January — which is always too cold, too dull, and too overdue for an antidote for holiday excess — puts me in the mood for rice pudding and this year was no different. I played around with it all month. I made my standard. I made a “creamiest” version I found online that landed me with an undercooked eggy puddle and a wobbly belly. I made a baked version that never came together. And I caved to my husband’s repeated request for chocolate rice pudding which is something you will never see on this site because it was, hands down, the most revolting looking dish I’ve yet to ladle into a bowl. (I added 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate added to my old favorite, and nixed the almond. See? Now I’ve saved myself a photography challenge!)

rice!

But it took me until February got me daydreaming of warmer climates to figure out what I’d really been looking for: arroz con leche. Now, here’s the thing — I did it wrong. I mean, it’s inevitable that it will seem wrong to someone who grew up eating it. There are as many versions of arroz con leche as there are Spanish-speaking grandmas who stir it up, and rarely are two versions alike. That’s the best part.

arroz con leche with raisins

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, February 21, 2010

thick, chewy granola bars

thick, chewy granola bars

I know, I know, I just talked up granola bars last September. Waxing on about granola bars twice in six months is just weird, right? I can’t help it, I honestly don’t remember last September. I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was as big as a house. I had a baby two weeks later, which I barely remember either, though that’s probably for the best. I forgot about the granola bars in my freezer too, until at least December and when I unearthed them they were so crisp I had to crumble them over yogurt. With a mallet. Then two weeks ago I bought a house-made granola bar at Whole Foods, sunk my teeth into it’s thicky, chewy, ingredient-laden madness and was consumed with envy; why haven’t I made granola bars that taste like that? (Minus about half the sugar; they’re crazy sweet. )

oatsbig, flaky coconutpecans, walnuts, wheat germ, cherriesmelted butter is always the answer

So I got back to the drawing board which quickly led me to a recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. I’ve been warm to their recipes since they led me to the best whole wheat muffin I’ve ever eaten and this one did not disappoint. With a few tweaks — reducing the sugar significantly and putting it in a smaller pan in an attempt to make them as thick as those from Whole Foods — these were exactly what I had been pining for.

(And seriously, can you imagine a better food gift to bring to new parents? Trust me, few things are more welcome than delicious nutrient-rich food in compact/one-hand-eating-friendly packages.)

granola "batter", to be baked

Continued after the jump »

Friday, February 19, 2010

cauliflower and caramelized onion tart

roasted cauliflower caramelized onion tart

I realize that — short of admitting that I dislike most flourless chocolate cakes and hamburgers generally don’t do it for me — this is going to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever said but here it goes anyway: sometimes I forget to taste all of this delicious food.

sliced onionjust starting to cook the onions30 minute caramelized onionstossing cauliflower with oil to roast

I get busy, you see. Sometimes it’s because I’m bringing it to a party and it gets decimated upon arrival, before I even get a bite or a photo. (See also: S’more Pie.) Sometimes it doesn’t finish cooking until it’s really late and night and I’m full from dinner and forget about it until the next morning and it’s really not breakfast food. (See also: Coq au Vin) But most of the time these days I’m juggling baby while trying to edit photos and jot down notes while willing the baked good to cool so I can cut into it and sometimes, the star of the show ends up hanging out lonely on the counter, wondering if everyone up and left for the party without it.

roasted cauliflowerparmesan and gruyere

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

monkey bread with cream cheese glaze

monkey bread + cream cheese glaze

A while back, knowing my love of any and all baked goods with awesome names, a reader tipped me off to something called monkey bread which turns out to be one of those doughy delights people have either known about their entire lives and cannot believe I have been deprived of or are 54 words into this post and still have no idea what I’m talking about. Don’t worry, prior to that, I’d been in the latter category too.

sticky dough

I researched it briefly but it turned out to be one of those things that I’m sure I’d polish off in ten seconds flat if you placed it before me, but that I’d never make myself because it turns out people largely make it with canned biscuit dough and I knew I’d never be able to bring myself to. Or at least not when I make such damned fine biscuits without cans.

didn't stay sticky long

Continued after the jump »


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