Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Assorted Ramblings on a Variety of Topics

My father follows this blog, and he pointed out that I have neglected dessert here.  He's got a point, but I'm not sure what to do about it.  I don't often prepare many desserts more complicated than topping some ice cream, and I'm trying to lose weight right now and I'm not really eating sugar.  Given those two facts, it's unlikely that you'll see any great dessert tips here anytime soon.  Maybe when I get down to 200 pounds I'll post up my recipe for Shoo Fly Pie.  I took several recipes, some that I got from family and others that I found online and did some major experimentation.  It took me almost ten pies to get one that I thought was perfect.  Maybe those ten pies are part of the reason I'm trying to lose weight now.

Last week I talked about eggs, and I have plenty more where that came from.  My next blog post will be a quiche.  Quiche is awesome for a variety of reasons.  If you're willing to start with a frozen crust (and I usually am) they are incredibly simple to prepare.  They're also delicious and you can put almost anything in them.  I'll try to buy some pie crusts today...

It's spring, and for a lot of people that means fishing season.  If you're not an angler, you should consider it.  If you are an angler, get out there!  I've been too busy to fish much these last few years and that needs to change.  Fishing is a great way to relax, spend time with your family, and maybe even bring home something fresh and delicious.  I'm not going to turn this into a fishing blog, but if it's been a few years since you wet a line, maybe this spring would be a good time to get back out on the water and try to catch yourself a delicious dinner.

Friday night is Pizza Night at my house, and most weeks we make our own from scratch.  I use the basic dough recipe found here: Garlic Bread, sometimes with a few tablespoons of oregano mixed into the dough, a simple pizza sauce and whole milk mozzarella cheese that I buy in huge blocks and shred at home.  FYI - that dough recipe should make two thin crust pizzas.

Pizza sauce:
Olive Oil
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper
Tomato Sauce

Start with a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan - two or three tablespoons, I guess.  When the oil is hot, add your garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to taste.  I like a lot of garlic.  Three or four cloves of freshly chopped garlic is best.  A good amount of oregano is good too, probably a rounded tablespoon or so.

The garlic will cook really quickly, and as soon as it starts turning brown around the edges add your tomato sauce.  Stir well, reduce heat and bring to a boil.  It's done once it boils.  One large can of tomato sauce is usually enough to make four pizzas, so plan on freezing half of it for next week.

If you want a thicker sauce, add some tomato paste or use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.

We make pizza every Friday, so I'll get some pics up this weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eggs! They're not just for breakfast anymore.

I love eggs.  A simple hard-boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt is about as good as it gets for me.  I like eggs just about every way imaginable.  Fried, scrambled, sunny side up, poached, soft boiled, whatever.  Omelets, custards, huevos rancheros, sauces, you name it.  I just love eggs.

Eggs don't have to be limited to breakfast, and I'm not talking about an egg salad sandwich for lunch.

One of my favorite pasta dishes is Pasta Carbonara.  You can find an endless number of Carbonara recipes in cookbooks and online and there will be quite a lot of variation in them.  My version is exceptionally simple, which is a good thing.  It's also easily scaled from a single serving to a meal for eight or more.

For each serving, you'll need:
Pasta.  Something long and thin.  Spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, that kind of thing.  I usually use linguine.
1 egg per person
2-3 strips of bacon per person (thick cut? 2, thinner slices? 3)
Hard cheese.  I love Romano.  My wife loves Parmigiano Reggiano.  Maybe you love Asiago.  Whatever you prefer, just be sure to buy it in a block and grate it yourself.
Fresh ground black pepper.

Get your pasta water on first, then chop the bacon into small pieces.  I'll usually split the strips lengthwise then cut into quarter-inch pieces.  While the water heats up, start frying the bacon.

You'll probably see the water boil before the bacon is done.  Salt your water liberally before you add the noodles.  Add the noodles and keep an eye on your bacon.

The bacon should be cooked before the noodles are done.  Turn off the burner and let the bacon sit.  Do not drain the bacon grease, some or all of it is going into the dish.

When the noodles are done, strain them and return them to the pasta pot.  Add the bacon and stir.  If you're freaked out by all that bacon grease, don't add it all.  For the full effect, use it all.

Crack your eggs into the hot pasta & bacon and give it a good stir.  The heat from the noodles will cook the egg and make the bacon stick to the noodles.

Plate immediately.  Top with fresh grated cheese and fresh ground pepper to taste.