Fresh pasta with Artichokes, Italian sausage, and love

What do you make when you have one heat source that happens to be an electric warmer ( meaning a euro plugin unit)? And you have access to all of your favorite foods… freshly prepared and available just steps from where you are staying, in Rome, Italy??? You make the one heating unit work and you make a fantastically delicious, truly Italian style dinner. Sure it takes a little patience, and a little creativity but the end result, is an unforgettable home-cooked meal with the finest ingredients available. And one of many culinary delights we recently enjoyed while traveling. I did this with a roll away cart and one electric warmer. I'm now convinced anything is possible, in almost any kitchen.

What you'll need:
If you're in Rome Get the fresh pasta. If not, then unfortunately you have to either learn how to make it ( I'll do it next week and share it with you) or you are forced to buy the now less than satisfactory boxed type. The kind with an Italian type of name stamped on the box. It really surprised me what we're missing out on here.

So we have pasta or so-called pasta
~Marinated Artichokes ( you can either buy pre marinated ones) or if you're feeling really creative and you have a ton of time, you can steam, chill and marinade your own. I have a day job, I love to cook and I don't have time for that now. So, get the marinated quartered artichokes. ( you should be able to find these at the supermarket, next to the Italian food. I'm kidding, I don't know where they are.

~Italian Sausage It is just what it says it is. Just go to your meat department and get some fresh Italian Sausage. There's really not a lot we can do about how different it may be here.

~White wine ( about cup)
~one small shallot
~Butter ( 3/4 stick, this is ALWAYS open for discussion, I say the more the better, that may upset some but that's how I cook, and this is my blog) 🙂
~Salt and pepper to taste ( this is exactly what it sounds like, add it when you're almost done, while tasting to make sure you're not overdoing it. There's nothing worse than taking a lot of time to prepare something then ruining it with too much salt. So maybe I should just say 1 tsp. to be safe. I told you before, I'm terrible with writing recipes.

Boil pasta, if using fresh pasta only for 3 to 5 minutes, If you're using boxed pasta it should be 8 to 10 minutes depending on the type of pasta, and in this case the type of stove you're using 🙂 Most likely you're using boxed, so read the instructions, follow them loosely. DON'T OVERCOOK! You can start testing it after about 8 minutes, it should be firm, not crunchy but firm.

Remove pasta from heat source and drain. Rinse in cold water to prevent it from cooking further and set aside.
Sautee Sausage until cooked through. REmove from same heat source and set aside.
Heat wine and shallots until most of the wine is reduced. This should be done with higher heat.
Lower heat to a simmer and start adding butter. Small pieces at a time, stirring consistently.
Add in artichokes, there should be some of the marinade with them, this is a good thing. It has extra flavor form the olive oil and herbs used in the marinade (you want this in there)
Toss pasta in a pan add your freshly prepared sauce, and heat over a low heat only to re heat the pasta ( hot food should never be served luke warm) Remember I'm doing this from one heat source in Rome.

Serve on a plate with your favorite type of fresh bread, along with a high quality olive oil, and a nice slightly sweet balsamic, and Bonappetito.

This was one of a few dinners I successfully prepared while we shared a perfect time in Italy.
There's plenty more to come, including some pretty great things I can't wait to try making now that were back at home where we have a counter top, cutting board, oven, and a stove… Watch out!

I hope you all had a great holiday, and Ciao for now.

Writtenwell or well, written.

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Fried Chicken Fingers, in 25 minutes ( or so)

My husband is from Texas originally. One of his favorite “comfort foods” happens to be Fried chicken. If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be deep frying anything, let alone chicken, I would have told you that you were crazy. I would have thought you were really ignorant. And I probably wouldn’t have talked to you any more, as I would have found myself to be far more superior than you. It shows you what I know. You see I grew up in a home where my dad would make breakfast, and I would wear it for the entire day. He fried, bacon, sausage, ham, deer, anything meat related really, until it was smoking and dead. He usually did this frying it in any variation of butter, oil, grease, bacon fat. It created a canvass of an unforgettable odor filled smoke, which inevitably would saturate the entire house, and my clothes. I’d open my bedroom door to start my day, and instantly would curse the fact that my father was such an unhealthy eater…. and because of that, I would have to smell like bacon, all day long. I may have said something to him directly however, the morning breakfast haze made it very difficult to see anything, or anyone. So I just swore I wouldn’t have that, in my home. My sisters and I actually coined a phrase, Ron’s Kitchen. Any kitchen we’d go to that was a “frying” type of place, was referred to as Ron’s Kitchen. It gave a good idea of what type of food was there without saying much more. That said, my husband likes fried chicken, and I now have found myself creating my form of “Ron’s Kitchen” What one will do for love.

Skinless Chicken breast ( sliced in to strips, or you can buy the pre sliced chicken strips)
1 Cup of Flour
1 tbsp of salt ( Lawry’s is best in this case)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Cracked pepper

Egg wash ( that is whisked eggs so the flower mixture will stick to the chicken)

One large pot, or whatever will hold your chicken to fry it.
Vegetable oil, to fry….

Heat about 1 quart of oil in a pan.
Coat chicken pieces with egg
Toss chicken in flour mixture, and be sure it is well coated. Place in hot oil for about 7 minutes, remove with tongs or a sieve.

Serve, with white gravy, if you live with and are married to someone from Texas. Vinegar, if you are from Canada. Marinara, if you think you’re italian. Ranch, if you live in the suburbs. Cream of mushroom soup if you’re from MN, but if you do this then you need the crispy onion toppings too.

You can serve it with whatever you want, it’s really good, homemade fried chicken, from Ron’s Kitchen.

Bye for now,

Writtenwell, or well, written.

Calzones and choices


Choices are good, right? I’d like to think in most situations the power of choice, and actually making a choice is a really great and empowering concept. yes, some choices leave us a little bewildered, but then we gain that great perspective some refer to as wisdom, and hopefully in all of our wisery we don’t make the same bad choice twice. So, choices are good. I’d like to say that is unless you work at Subway, in the Skyway over a lunch hour in Downtown…. If there are ever people reading this who don’t know what a skyway is, it’s a way to get around to all the businesses and buildings on Minneapolis proper, without walking outside. When you live in a place that hovers around below zero temps for about three months out of the year, the skyways are a necessary evil. Think of them as the NY Subway as far as connectivity, only in Minneapolis, and they’re much cleaner, and not to mention the obvious, much smaller too. Now that we’re on the same page there is a Subway restaurant in the skyway. I eat there often, as it is quick. I know exactly what i’m getting, and it’s consistently average… but it’s consistent. It never fails, I get up to the sandwich artist line, there are probably five people working and ten people coming from “being ordered” to ordering thir subway sandwiches “their way”. If I worked for subway, I’d wish for no choices. Here’s why. “I’d like a 6 inch turkey on wheat, wait I mean white, or, no, do you have no fat, low carb, flat bread?” This is all while the line that is growing longer by the second, seems to eagerly await their turn to express their power of choice. ” Would you like cheese?” “Um, no, well yea but only on half.” ” And I want a little lettuce, ugh, not that much, tomatoes, more tomatoes, peppers, can you add a few more peppers, no no that many, olives, and pickles, oh, can I have some more olives, and then just a few more pickles… And just a little ranch, wait do you have ranch, okay yeah, and some mayo, only a little, and just a little olive oil, and that’s it”. “Oh, salt and pepper too.” Seven minutes, one average customer, and the perfectly created choice filled sandwich later, “would you like a value meal today?” ” No, Thank you sooooo much!” One down, 467 more to go, Providing choices, one sandwich at a time. This is one place where choice, is just a bad idea.

On to my recipe:
Calzone:

Pizza dough, rolled out in to a rectangle shape ( it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get close) you don’t want it paper thin, maybe 1/4 inch thick.

Chopped ingredients, I used onions, peppers, boars head pepperoni, and sliced meatballs, lots of mozzarella cheese.

Layer the ingredients in the middle of the rectangular piece of dough, again use your own taste buds and imagination, this is your calzone, you have choices!

Wrap the sides over top of one another and pinch together, be careful not to tear the dough, you don’t want your ingredients spilling out while baking. Seal well and flip over sealed side down. Bake in a pre heated oven, at 425 for 25 minutes or until its a golden brown.

Serve with your favorite marinara sauce immediately.

Enjoy!

Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Lamburgers, roasted garlic red pepper puree and yukon golds with dill

I made Lamburgers, Yes, hamburgers with ground lamb. If you like the distinct flavor of lamb, then these burgers will be a treat. If you’re adverse to a little gamey flavor, then maybe you should stick to the regular hamburgers as you will find these to be a little lame – y. (I’m trying to convey my sense of humor) Either that or, add a lot more salt than I did. And don’t pair it with the velvety, sweet and slightly tart red pepper puree… Which is wonderful for almost anything, except for lamburgers. I’d use a cucumber dill sauce next time, it would’ve been much more well received by the juicy little rounds. I’m not going to say the meal was a wash, because it wasn’t. In fact it was good, possibly even great. Simply put, I typically don’t like lamb, therefore, I don’t prepare or eat it. However, I saw it at the grocery store, and it looked different from the norm, so I wanted to give it a shot.

Basic Lamburgers:

Ground lamb
A few cloves of chopped garlic(minced
one small chopped onion (finely chopped about the size of a clementine, or 1/4 cup)
Breadcrumbs about 1/4 cup
one egg
salt and pepper to taste ( I didn’t add enough salt)
Mix the ingredients together and form into patties ( I made mini lamburgers, because small things are so great, and I’m not even sure why) they look great and are very easy to eat, but go ahead and make the monstrous patty that would make a grill drool. Remember it’s your dinner, your experience, your reputation, and if it doesn’t turn out, you can say it was a bad recipe you got on line. No ownership, no accountability, nothing lost except the cost of the dinner, and quite possibly a few appetites ( depending on how many burgers you’re trying to serve) Set prepared patties aside
Preheat oven to 475
Place red pepper in a pan with olive oil, bake turning every 10 minutes until very soft ( 30 min)
remove form oven and let cool. Once the peppers are cool you can skin them. First remove the seeds, and the stem, then remove the pulp from the skin. Put the pulp in a food processor, add a few splashes of olive oil, a clove or two of garlic, and a pinch of salt ( blend with whatever you have food processor, immersion blender) you want it to be a paste in the end so whatever you have that will produce the desired outcome. So much of cooking has to be improvising, because not all of us have the same equipment, so we have to use our imaginations… and how sweet it is when we try one of our own ideas, and it works!!
Boil Yukon gold potatoes, for about ten minutes, or just until a little tender ( you don’t want them overcooked, otherwise you’ll be making mashed potatoes)
toss slightly boiled yukon’s in a bowl with butter and a few pinches of salt. I like butter, once again, it’s your food… at least two tablespoons… go up from there, or stay at a safe, and decently tasting two.
Broil on high( about 6 inches from heat source) until potatoes are a crisped golden brown. Remove from oven and dust with fresh dill. These were undoubtedly the highlight of this meal as far as I was concerned.
Back to the patties get them cooking:
Okay, so while the patties are being, grilled, fried, broiled, whichever way works best for you ( I fried mine because we live in MN and it’s 7 degrees outside) but if you’re fortunate enough to be able to grill, I recommend it.

After all that, viola Lamburgers, Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper puree, Yukon Golds, with dill.

On a scale of one to ten I give this a 10 on effort and creativity, and I give it a 6 on flavor.

If you try it, let me know what you think.
Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Mini Lasagna Rolls almond, garlic beurre blanc…that turned out… perfectly!!

I started these lasagna rolls yesterday but had to stop due to life happening… like I said it was one of those days. I will save the story for another time. What I am going to tell you is how I made mini lasagna rolls… a little something I though of while making lasagna, rather than throwing out the extra pieces of pasta.

What you’ll need,
Everything you use to make lasagna, meaning, your cheese mixture, noodles and a baking pan.
My lasagna requires:
Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and Romano cheese.
Eggs, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
Lasagna noodles.
Almonds, crushed( it’s really easy to crush them with a rolling-pin)

Minin Lasagna rolls, garlic and almond beurre blanc


Once I’m done making the pan of Lasagna, and I;m left with extra noodles I cut them in threes ( length wise)
I use the cheese mixture that’s already been prepared, I like to add sautéed Italian sausage to the cheese mixture, it adds a definite zing to the rolls!
Wrap noodle around about a tablespoon of stuffing. Place seam side down, in lightly oiled baking pan. Cover and Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.

When Lasagna rolls are done baking:
Make a garlic beurre blanc.
Santee garlic and shalots in about 1/4 cup of white wine. Once it cooks down, turn the heat down to low and whisk in chunks of chilled butter, one piece at a time ( use about 5 tablespoons) you may need to add a little heat, to continue melting butter but don’t add too much, you don’t want to break your sauce. Once sauce is finnished to your liking, salt to taste.

Plate lasagna rolls and lightly drizzle with beurre blanc. Top with crushed almonds….

Viola…. You have just made a delicious,gourmet meal!

… and sometimes things just turn out!

Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Mini Lasagna rolls, that didn’t turn out.

I just have to be honest. I had a very crappy day. I don’t need to bore you with the details, but sometimes you or in this case I, Just don’t have the inspiration to ” make it work in the kitchen” which is usually the mentality it takes to consistently yield something really great… despite any errors on my part. That said, I intended on preparing a fried lasagna of sorts, but I had to punt based on my wildly emotional state. I will return to the mini Lasagna rolls soon and I truly hope they are a smashing success.. Tonight however, consisted of eating popcorn, a little chocolate, a few tears, and the unwavering support from my loving husband. Tomorrow is a new day, and thank God for that!

Bye for now,
Writtenwell or well, written.


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Chocolate Truffles Simple, and Delicious

I told you yesterday I would be making Truffles in the Suburbs. If you’ve read an earlier entry on the review of Lindy’s you know what I feel about the Suburbs. However, my sister lives in one of the many that seem to surround our city. So, often I have to make the trek, pack a lunch, fill up with gas, and get a map to make it there… And that’s just to get in the general area. Once, I get to the City of Chaska, It’s a crap shoot on which house it is… I pass by neighborhood’s one through 7 and know I’m getting close yet, I still have to call my sister(partially my fault, I get her house numbers transposed) to ask ” exactly which one is it again?” and then Boom, theres the inevitable house clone farm… block after block. I could pull in and ring door bells for an hour, and still be wrong. So I call again, feeling like a total idiot… She answers… ” It’s the white one, with shrubs out front, you know the paved drive way, there is a SUV parked in it.. We just put up a fence.. ” Still, am wrenching my neck to see which white fence she could be referring to.. Alas, I made it. And we made truffles. They turned out great! And they really are easy to make! Please do keep in mind, I am not a Photographer…..


Truffles:

Chocolate Truffles with White chocolate drizzle


1 cup whipping cream to 1-1/2 lbs. milk chocolate OR 1 cup whipping cream to 1 lb. dark chocolate
Break up the chocolate into pieces so it will fit into a microwave safe container for heating. Keep a few small chips out to add at the end once the chocolate is melted.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Do NOT over heat. You will need to stir it regularly as the good chocolate will retain its shape as it is softening. (See instructions below, although I have never used a thermometer when melting the chocolate)
Scald the whipping cream on the stove while the chocolate is melting.
Once the chocolate is melted add the remaining chips and stir until melted. Transfer mixture into the bowl for your heavy duty mixer.
Add the scalded cream a little at a time while the mixer is on. Mix well.
Add the flavoring oil to taste. Start out adding a little and taste. The Lorann Oils are very concentrated so be careful. The amount to add will depend on the amount of chocolate you are making and your personal preferences.
Mix well until the mixture is very smooth. Cover and refrigerate several hours until mixture is firm.

To prepare for rolling the truffles get some spoons & bowls for the sprinkles. It helps to make a tray for the paper liners before you start rolling with the liners separated. Put on your gloves and scoop a small amount of the chocolate mixture. Roll into a ball. While still soft on the outside from the heat of your hands, place in a bowl of sprinkles and roll around until thoroughly covered. I find a spoon works well to move them in the sprinkles and pour some over the top for complete coverage. Transfer the truffles into the paper liners with the spoon. Place in boxes.
I suggest keeping the truffles in a cool location once they are make. Any extra chocolate can be store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for future use (assuming the family lets it last that long).
This part of the process is fun for a group and is done quickly when everyone helps.
Good luck with the Truffles!!
Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Breakfast in bed

The only thing better than being able to sleep in on a weekend is sleeping in and having breakfast in bed. I was up very late last night finishing the second batch of my sauce. I went to bed very tired… woke up feeling even more tired ( not sure how that works) but anyway, my husband surprised me with a breakfast sandwich in bed! He mentioned he was using the same recipe ( I should say instructions or guidelines) that I mentioned earlier this week! ALthough, he did say that his Egg Spinach and Bacon sandwich took more than ten minutes. Ten minutes or not, we enjoyed a modified version of my quick breakfast sandwich on lovely Sunday morning! I took a picture of it too. He even garnished the plate with shredded cheese… I think I have a fan!

Join me tomorrow for a really exciting trip to the suburbs to make Milk Chocolate Truffles…. mmmmm!

Bye for now, and I hope you have a great week!

Writtenwell or well, written.


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bread

A Narrative by Writtenwell:

Bread, one of the best, and most versatile foods. I am so thankful that I was never involved in the anti carb movement, because first off I found it terribly annoying, and secondly, I found it to be very ignorant to simply nix carbohydrates out of ones diet entirely. ( everything in moderation, right? ) And I never wanted to be one of those people who would order a double burger extra meat, add bacon, mayo, mustard, skip the ketchup ( too many carbs) add more mayo, no tomato, but add a fried egg, no lettuce, and extra cheese please… Oh, and no bun, I’m doing the no carb thing”. I think you get my point. I enjoy all sorts of bread so very much. I simply can’t imagine a juicy burger without the perfect, butter touched, lightly toasted like bun. Or my favorite pasta with a Low or no carb or cheap imitation of a crusty hearth baked loaf. Or, the perfect bowl of soup, without the wedge of a schmaltzy french baguette, Even a PB&J wouldn’t be the same without the soft white or even wheat everyday bread. I could go on and on, but I’d like to get to the recipe for your sake.

Homemade Bread, Ahhh, a true delight fresh from the oven! The actual recipe for this photo will follow, as soon as it is given to me. A very dear friend and I have a pretty serious love of baking bread which generates a friendly competition at times… it’s always in good spirit and fun. He brought his perfectly crisped loaves over for dinner tonight, and so I felt the need to share them. Like I said I can’t provide the exact recipe yet but Stephen, if you’re reading this, will you please do me the honors and add your recipe for Stephen’s Crusty Buns?

Stephens Crusty Bread

Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


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To Everyone who is looking for a blog to read:

Hello,
If you like food. If you like to laugh. If you don’t mind a bit of sarcastic humor… and if you can handle the fact that I’m just learning how to write down recipes for the food that I make ( i’ve never followed recipes), and… if you don’t mind getting a throw in, life story, about something very humorous…. YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG!!! I’d love to have you as a guest!

I’m always cooking, and I’m always trying new things. I hope you join me on this adventure.. It is fun!!

Writtenwell or well, written.


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