A little story…and Filet al Porto, tomorrow.

There isn’t a recipe in this entry. There is however a story. Let me know what you think?
There is a recipe to follow tomorrow. Fillet al porto. It was in Italy. And it was AMAZING!!!! I’m going to attempt to recreate it for dinner tomorrow night. We actually went to the same place twice, once the night before we left Rome because it was so, so, good.

We were recently on a fantastic trip to Italy. We went on a what I realized was a vacation in the middle of our vacation. What I mean is we went to Malta. Malta was much more relaxing, quieter, smaller although none less spectacular than the rest of Italy which we saw. We chose, and were fortunate enough to stay at a very nice hotel. The kind of place where you show up and the staff greets you with hot towels and fresh squeezed juice in served in fancy glassware, to refresh you from your travels of course. We shared a couples sea salt scrub and massage amongst other delights. There was also a sauna, steam, gym pool we were able to relax in. One night my husband and I decided to relax in the hot tub. We dressed appropriately in our bathing suits, white fluffy robes complete with matching terrycloth slippers and ventured to the spa area. I have to tell you I don’t like public hot tubs. I find them disgusting. In my mind it’s a bunch of strangers being given the opportunity to slough off their dead skin while they sweat who knows what. Then, their dead skin, sweat and all it’s little organisms are given the opportunity to stick or seep in to my skin. It’s not that I’m any better, I simply find this thought to be unsettling to say the least. In fact my husband actually calls the hot tub contents “people soup”. I recently asked him to stop if he was ever going to get me in one again. That said, we were on our honeymoon, and well what one won’t do for love and togetherness. So, we got to the hot tub, and actually it wasn’t that daunting for me as there were no people in the soup. We got in and I realized why, it was a warm tub. Really, maybe 60 degrees. Okay, given my precious explanation on hot tubs, we didn’t stay. We decided to take a sauna. At least that would be hot. We found the cozy little room and went inside. It was warm. However, it was the kind of sauna with the rocks to pour water on to make it hot so I figured we were in business. The only problem was that there were two british men in there already who didn’t seem to mind the slightly warm, damp air. So much for that… My husband left as it got a little hot when I poured the last cups of water on the stones… The two British men ( older and a bit round, in speedo’s of course) The older gent sitting across from me, was sort of leering at me because, when I splashed the last bits of water on the stones, some of it hit his leg, and he didn’t like it too much. It was a total accident. It also turned his somewhat tepid sauna into an inferno. At any rate he was leering at me or looking me up and down like a piece of candy. I was getting w bit uncomfortable, and thenI leered back and I noticed that he had larger breasts, a little hairy, and I thought they resembled little mariachi men ( you know the mexican guys with the sombreros, and the long curly mustaches, okay, well that’s what his nipples looked like..) I had to focus on something because not only did I make it uncomfortably hot for everyone, I accidentally burned someone and wrecked their relaxing evening. I realized then I had to leave the sauna, and couldn’t wait to share the story.
One cool hot tub. One hot piping hot sauna and a new name for when I’m feeling uncomfortable… Mariachi nipples. It was quite the show in my head!!
Ciao for now,

Written well, or well written.

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) ūüôā
~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 ūüôā 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.

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 saut√©ed 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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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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Biscuits with Rhubarb lightly drizzled with love….

A dinner is never complete without Dessert. Tonight we enjoyed Homemade Biscuits with Fresh Rhubarb and a cinnamon sugar glaze, compliments of our good Friend Leah.
Biscuits
Brown Sugar
Water
Vanilla
Cinnamon
Homemade biscuits, or you can use the always consistent and delicious store-bought brand.
Flatten each biscuit and place chopped rhubarb in the center. Wrap edges over the top and seal.

Biscuits with Rhubarb and a kiss of brown sugar

Flip over and place sealed side down in a baking pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and pour mixture of water, brown sugar and vanilla over the top of the biscuits. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately!

These were quite a surprising treat. Light, flakey, buttery pillows of bread, stuffed with semi tart, fresh rhubarb, and the perfect accent of a brown sugar glaze with the added hint of vanilla and just a kiss of cinnamon. Yum!

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Dinner from Italy… in Minneapolis ( It’s a stretch, but I’m trying)

So, I decided to start a blog. ¬† I have been having such a hard time trying to figure out exactly what it should be, ¬†or how it should be written, that I realized… I wasn’t writing anything. ¬†A week had passed and I had the blog set up but no content. ¬†Beyond the ambiguous barrage of a few words initially intended to explain why you were here reading, and why I was in fact writing… ¬†I had done nothing. ¬†What I wanted to do was share my experiences, with life and cooking and write about it. ¬†So, now I’m going to do that. ¬†Not in any specific order, as apparently that ¬†idea stresses me in to a paralyzed state, ¬†where I do absolutely nothing. ¬† ¬†And I really do have some really great stories to share. ¬†SO, On with it.

It’s Sunday, November 29th. ¬†I have spent the day with my husband running errands ( one of my favorite pastimes) and cooking… ¬†easily my FAVORITE pastime, hobby, form of inexpensive therapy( actually anyone who cooks, knows the inexpensive part isn’t all that true, but when the result is SO great, who’s counting) Anyway, I’m in the middle of making a giant cauldron of my families very own spaghetti sauce. ¬†It’s actually become my recipe, as I have tweaked it over the past few years… ¬†in lieu of ever really being given the actual recipe I’ve had to go on¬†memory, and largely trial and error…. ¬†to finally discover what I consider ¬†to be close to perfection. ¬†Anyway, I’m making a giant batch of it to give ¬†as part of a christmas gift. ¬†So while that’s simmering for the 8th hour, I decided to make my husband’s favorite, ¬†homemade pizza.

Homemade Pizza Dough:

2 cups of  white flour ( you can use any kind you want, just know that with a thicker heavier flour, you may need to add more water)

1 tsp yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp ¬†olive oil ( use your discretion, some like more, some like less but 1 tbsp is safe , again you don’t want the dough too wet)

3/4 cup of warm water ( you want it hot, but not burning, test it on your finger, washed of course and don’t burn yourself)

Mix the dry ingredients together to evenly incorporate them.  add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix  with a heavy spoon ( wooden works well) until a ball forms.

If the dough is  too dry ( flaky and not forming into a ball very well) add water, 1 tsp at a time until a nice moldable  ( not sure about that word) ball does form.  Adversely, if the dough is too wet ( really sticky )add flour, pinches at a time.  Once you have a nice ball formed, knead the dough for about 5 minutes ( this will help it to rise once the dough is resting)

Set dough aside on floured area for 45 minutes to an hour

The dough should about double in size within an hour.

On the floured surface, push the risen dough down to get most air bubbles out of it. ¬†So, now you’re sort of kneading it again. ¬†Shape it into a ball and begin to flatten it to make a pizza pie. ¬†You can work the dough into a circle pushing out from the middle and when you feel ready to use the rolling-pin, roll away. ¬†this is where you can make the crust you choose. ¬†Paper thin crispy, cracker like crust, or a thicker, heartier crust, the thinner you roll the thinner it will be. ¬† I must warn you here, it’s really annoying to roll the dough too thin and then develop holes because of it. ¬†So again, use your discretion.

Once you have the desired thickness, move your pizza to your baking stone, or pizza pan. ¬†I use a pizza pan, some people prefer a stone, it comes down to preference. ¬†You can either move it by picking it up carefully with your hands or a pizza peel works great. ¬†Now, add your sauce ( whatever sort of sauce you like) and then layer your toppings. ¬†Usually you would do cheese, pepperoni, onion, etc… in that order. ¬†Again, this is your pizza. ¬†You are the master designer and creator, have fun with it!

Bake it in the oven at 425 for about 18 minutes. Watch for the cheese to get a nice golden brown, and once again, use your discretion, like I said, it’s your pizza. ¬†I like mine crispy so I opt for more time. ¬†Watch and you decide when it’s done.

Making pizza is¬†¬†really fun and you can get really creative with it…. and your friends, family, whomever you’re sharing it with,typically ¬†will love ¬†it! ¬† So try it a few times, ¬†a few different ways, ¬†and see which way works best for you. ¬†You’ll find a pan, an oil, a cheese and toppings you will use again and again, I know I did!

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or requests… please leave them. ¬†I’d love to hear from you!

Until later,

Written Well… or well, written!

life stories

My name is Lisa. I am a woman with about twenty years of life experiences, who just happens to enjoy cooking and ¬†writing. I enjoy writing however, unlike my username suggests, I wouldn’t necessarily say I do it well. I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that. ¬†I prefer to look at this as a way to possibly relate to, or maybe even help someone, somewhere, who is going or has gone through similar situations as me. I’ve really ¬†been around for more than twenty years, I just think as far as relevant stories or experiences, only twenty of the years are probably important enough to ¬†write or to read. So what this blog is, or is planned¬†to be, ¬†is a way for me to communicate my life, my struggles, my cooking adventures, my thoughts, my successes, my failures, ¬†and hopefully along the way someone will find comfort, understanding, and even humor in the life we all share. ¬†We’re all people going through life, experiencing similar things at different times. It’s so great¬†to share, connect and laugh, in the best and worst of times. ¬†I must warn you however, I can be a very sarcastic person. ¬†Please enjoy my life stories and recipes, written well, or well… written.