Filet with port sauce

After getting back to the states from a long break I have to admit it was difficult to get really excited about anything ( anything except for cooking that is… I discovered quite a few things I wanted to try ) Well, and our dog because our dog is pretty cool! But anyway, it was back to life and to work, or at least it was supposed to be. I was planning on quitting. Let’s just say, I have been less than satisfied at my current job, and that would be putting it mildly. I/we, decided after a long enough time away ( and feeling so incredibly happy in that time) it would be best for me to leave, and find something a little less…. awful?? That was the plan. Then, I got home. I reluctantly went back to work only to find 247 emails (apparently no one received my out of office). As I was weeding through the necessary, and unnecessary, deleting, and then the highly-unnecessary, and then the are you serious with with this… my boss called and said he needed to talk to me. Head in my hands, I thought that’s great because I’d like to talk to you too. I was planning on leaving. Turns out, I was being offered a different position. One that in my mind( which at this point was/is very corrupt) considering corporate america…seemed so much better. So after one conversation, one interview, a talk with my husband( not necessarily in that order). I accepted that new position, proudly. I accepted change, which is always good. I accepted a very progressive change, which is even better. More than anything, I didn’t quit.

And now on to the recipe I promised….. Ooh, and this one is gooood!!

Port wine 2 cups
Beef stock 1 cup
1 shallot
4 tbsp butter
1tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
( you can add herbs, such as a sprig of rosemary, or thyme, or whatever you may like, I didn’t but I’m sure it would be equally delicious).

Chop shallot and lightly saute in pan with butter, until shallots are soft, not crisp. (3 minutes on medium heat)
Once shallots are tender, add pepper and port. Turn heat up to high and let boil, or begin to reduce you don’t want to burn it, but you want to bring it to a light rolling boil (reducing is when you heat a liquid so that most of it evaporates).
Once it is reduced to 1/2 add the beef stock. Once again, let it “boil” a bit and “reduce”. ( approx 20 min)
At this point you can taste it. You can always add a pinch of salt, or pepper if you feel it necessary, I did not. Also, you can add a tsp more of butter if you feel necessary. Remember cooking is an art, it’s about tasting. Recipes are a guideline, not a rule. Be creative, and prepare what tastes good or done to you!
Once your sauce is done, remove it from the heat and strain it through a cheese cloth. ( I didn’t strain mine because I happen to like the look and texture of shallots and cracked pepper however, you know the drill).

be sure you have your perfectly cooked cut of beef prepared, to serve with this velvety, rich, smooth, and unforgettably delicious sauce.

I hope you enjoy!

Ciao fo now,

Writtenwell, or well written.

So tonight I did it! I re-created what we had in a tiny, little restaurant in Rome. Filet al porto. It turned out perfectly.

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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) 🙂
~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.

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.

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 sautĂ©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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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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Review of a restaurant

I love to cook, which invariably means I love to eat. My husband and I like many fortunate others are able to enjoy the liberty of dining out. I do see this as a luxury as so many go without even the basics, yet we consistently have the opportunity to pick and choose how we feed our bodies. So before I begin, let’s just consider ourselves blessed.
We recently branched out to a new dining establishment. When I say branched out, I mean it. We live in Minneapolis, and this restaurant is located in Arden Hills. Like I said, we live in Minneapolis, and there is more than just a sense of city pride that I carry over the fact that we don’t live in the suburbs. In fact, I don’t like the suburbs. I don’t like anything about them. I don’t like the strip malls. I don’t like the mega-plexes. I don’t like the cookie cutter chain restaurants. I don’t like the homogenized neighborhoods, some even called by numbers, each one bearing the same un striking resemblance of it’s predecessor. I don’t like the tedious drive from my perfectly imperfect city, which somehow makes my skin itch whenever we leave Minneapolis proper and venture in to suburbia. However, I do like food, and for that mere fact am willing to suffer the suburban rash to experience what could be a perfect ten dining experience. Well, nine really, as being stationed in suburban America, I have to consider the path to arrive and you already know how I feel about that.
I read about this Steak house which serves Prime Beef. Not only do they serve Prime Beef, but apparently they only serve two different steaks, and one seafood dish. I though I had uncovered one of the cities best kept secrets. If you are a restaurant, and you only do three different steaks ( all of which are broiled) how can your food be anything but amazing? Let me describe to you how amazing it actually was.
We arrived at Lindy’s after a long and windy ride in to the fine City of Arden Hills. The restaurant didn’t look like much from the outside. It sort of resembled a trailer house type of exterior, except this definitely had an addition put on at some point. I’d probably have to say it was at least a double-wide in size. Any one who has ever been to, or lived near a trailer court knows exactly what I’m referring to. The rest of you who don’t know what I’m referring to… just consider yourselves more blessed. The entry was nothing more than a wooden porch with a Menards window door on the front. I thought for sure with the shabby exterior, we were in for a culinary delight. ( they clearly waste no money in design or decoration, it is all poured in to the three basic menu items they have surely perfected! I couldn’t wait to order. Our server arrived and cheerfully explained our three entrĂ©e options. Prime steak, Prime chopped steak, or broiled shrimp. We opted for the prime steak. All of the entrees come with “family style garlic bread, mixed greens salad, and greaseless hash browns” We also decided to add-on one additional side and one of my favorites, sautĂ©ed mushrooms.
Family style garlic bread and salad arrived. The salad was square chunks and wilted brown pieces of iceberg lettuce joined by shreds of purple cabbage. The Garlic bread was… get ready for this, toasted white hot dog buns. Yes, and not because they ran out of the regular bread, they just serve good old white hot dog buns. Nothing much more to say on that except that I was now certain we were in for a taste sensation. They don’t even waste time with lettuce or bread because their main course is so far above and beyond that anything else is simply unimportant. Steak arrived, it was sizzling, and that’s about as exciting or flavorful as it got. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, sadly having little or no flavor. Along with the steak came the greaseless and flavorless hash browns and the freshly canned, heated and then served mushrooms. I tumbled from a hopefull nine to a four quickly, and decided surroundings and location considered, we were at a stable two… oh the pickled watermelon may have nudged me up to a two and a half, but I didn’t try the recommended accompianment for the already lackluster offerings.
I have to say we probably won’t make the drive to Arden Hills anytime soon. I guess, I expected that if you do one thing, and have the kahones to advertise that you’re only doing one thing, you should probably do it pretty well. Once again, I’ve explained how I feel about that.
It wasn’t all a loss; we got to have dinner in a new place. We shared a meal that was average at best, but we shared it together… and we shared a lovely conversation which is always, priceless.

Until later,

Writtenwell or well, written.