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.

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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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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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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Chicken au poivre ( ah – pwav) and Adult Bubble Tea

Good evening! I have to start by saying that I’m not trying to be condescending when I write out the pronunciation for a name. I just want you to be able to say it the way it’s supposed to be said.

Tonight we had dinner with a group of lovely friends of ours! They are each truly a blessing in our lives. We had sort of a pot luck theme, so I’m just going to go ahead and give you two of the stars, though there were many.. I will save the others for another time.
Chicken Au poivre:

Chicken Breast
shalots
Demi Glace
Heavy Cream
Cognac
Peppercorns
Butter
salt

Drizzle chicken with olive oil, lightly season, place in baking pan, and cover with foil. Bake Chicken breast in 350 oven for about 35 minutes.

While chicken is baking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan add about 2 tablespoons of shalots, and 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns. Simmer until the shalots soften ( 5 minutes)
Add 1/2 cup of cognac and turn up heat until most the alcohol has cooked off.
Add 3 tablespoons of Demi Glace, and 3/4 cup of water, bring to a light boil and stir until all the demi glace is incorporated.
Add 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and bring to a light boil, turn down to a simmer and stir in well, and let thicken.

Once it’s thick, add salt to taste… you shouldn’t need much, be sure to test before you start salting ~
And now you should have a VERY, VERY, rich and tasty, sauce… I’m telling you… it’s good!

Lightly top your chicken, or whichever dish you’re planning to serve it

with and, do the inevitable… ENJOY!!

We also got to enjoy a special treat form our friends Jamie and Suzanne, We’re going to call it adult bubble tea. I guess with the word ‘Adult’ in there you’re going to be expecting something alcoholic, or just ‘adult’.. not really the case. I was just so excited to have a ‘punch’ of sorts that was actually worth making and even more worth drinking, that I had to give it a fun name. In fact it doesn’t even have tapioca balls in it… it’s better, it has raspberries!
Raspberries
raspberry sorbet
Ginger ale
Pineapple juice
Lemonade concentrate
This fantastically fun Adult beverage, packs a refreshingly fruity, citrus flavor, with the soft and slightly tart raspberry zing! I’m just telling you I’m a pretty big fan! It was Awesome!
Nothing though, is better than making some great food and being able to share it with good friends, no matter where you are, or what you may be sharing, or whether or not it’s really Adult Bubble tea! 🙂

Writtenwell or well, written.


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Breakfast, quick, healthy and good!

I recently mentioned that I enjoy cooking and writing. I also mentioned that part of my reasoning for starting this blog was to keep me doing both of these things, while sharing or documenting them ( well the cooking part anyway) I did say I would make an effort to write every day. Since food is a part of my life every day this should be easy right?

I planned Last night to wake up early to actually prepare breakfast… Just so I could share with you a healthy and fairly quick way to fuel your body for the day! And so that I could keep my word.. so here you go~

Open Faced Egg Sandwich, spinach and tomato.

Eggs
Spinach
Tomato
Whole Wheat Bread
Bacon
Butter

Whisk three eggs with 1/4 cup of milk. Pour ingredients into skillet and cook on medium heat until eggs are cooked through.
Microwave a few slices of bacon ( yes I said microwave, I also said this was a quick breakfast Microwave=quick)
When bacon is a little crispy ( 3-4 minutes depending on microwave) blot excess oil with paper towel.
While eggs/bacon are cooking slice tomato ( 3 to 4 slices per sandwich)
Set spinach aside enough to lightly top sandwich
Toast Bread and lightly brush with butter when finished.

Remove eggs from pan put on Toasted bread, layer a bit of leafy green spinach ( think energy, vitality, strength) add bacon ( don’t give it a second thought) add sliced tomato (think antioxidant, vitamins, health) .
Viola!

Open Face Breakfast Sandwich

Bon appetite!

Seriously, this takes a total of 10 minutes, and I guarantee you we are all worth at least an extra ten minutes in the morning!

Bye for now!

Writtenwell or well, written.


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