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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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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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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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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Bruschetta pronounced bru-sketa

This is one of the best Italian appetizers that anyone can prepare. It’s quick, beautiful, and so full of fresh delicious flavor… I highly recommend it!

What you’ll need
Italian Bread or French Baguette ( your choice) If you’re feeling especially motivated and creative you can make your own homemade bread, I usually do. However that recipe is for another time so for now we’ll just use the lovely Italian Bread provided by Kowalski’s Market!
Olive oil
Heirloom tomatoes ( if you can find a few different shades of red,orange and yellow it will be most visually pleasing)
Fresh Basil
Garlic
Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Chop tomatoes, peel and chop two cloves of garlic, ( you want to chop it pretty finely) chop a few leaves of basil too ( use your discretion , meaning it’s not called basiletta, the basil is to accent the other flavors)
Place tomatoes and garlic in a mixing bowl, add a nice drizzle of olive oil, a splash or two of balsamic vinegar ( no more than two splashes) toss together to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 325
Slice baguette or bread about an inch thick, and brush lightly with olive oil.
Place bread on baking sheet and bake for about 5 -7 minutes or until bread is slightly toasted.
Remove from oven and top with tomatoes…. serve immediately!

That is my recipe for the day, I hope you enjoy! I know I always do.

Wait, I have to mention one more thing. I said I like to cook, and I do it quite well. I also said I like to write, and you have seen the way I sign off… ( if you haven’t noticed my signature, please take a minute to scroll down and look at the end of this entry) meaning, I like to write I didn’t rate my ability to do so. I never mentioned photography as a strong suit of mine. I did realize that taking and providing photos might help out for the sharing aspect of this… Please just note: I’m using my iphone, no enhancements, or perfect lighting, I’m not even doctoring anything in photoshop…. I’m just a girl who loves to cook and wants to share it with you, whoever and wherever you are. Thank you!

Bye for now,


Writtenwell or well, written.


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