Today was a pasta kind of day. You know those days. It was rainy all morning and wet and even though it cleared up this afternoon, it just seemed like a day that was destined for noodles covered in sauce wearing some sort of delicious cheese. We have pasta pretty often, though, and I wanted something not quite the same as the usual linguine or rigatoni with meatballs or meat sauce with ground beef. So we went with a variation on the theme with a more traditional ragù. Sometimes ragù is known as bolognese sauce, although traditional bolognese is made somewhat differently (served with tagliatelle or green lasagna and containing beef (sometimes pork or lamb), pancetta, onions, carrots, tomato paste, broth, red wine and sometimes cream or milk) and comes from Bologna, Italy.
So what did I do?
I went shopping. I had to. We were actually almost entirely out of pasta, which is very rare for us. So on the way home from work, Josh and I headed to Busch’s and picked up a package of beef stew meat (I would have used a cheap cut of shoulder and chopped it up myself, but there were none), a can of crushed tomatoes, onions, a bag of shell pasta (conchiglie) and a small block of parmesan. Including the cost of the pizza dough from yesterday to make garlic bread with, the entire dinner worked out to about $10 not including spices. Woot!
Now, generally I can make a pasta dinner for the two of us in a half hour. Tonight it was an hour and a half, and most of that was simmering the sauce to cook the stew meat long enough to let it start to melt into the sauce. I’m a big fan of packaged beef stew meat for slowcooked meals. It’s cheap, it’s delicious when properly seasoned, it responds well to long cooking times and hey, who doesn’t love the iron and the protein? Vegetarians, that’s who. Continue reading
Josh and I had a late-ish dinner tonight and decided to go with something light and easy: grilled pizzas. We were encouraged by our first efforts to try it again…because it’s delicious.
Going off a tip from Jodi (thanks Jodi!) about sprinkling garlic salt on the crust, I doctored ours up with a bit of the steak seasoning we’d gotten for our NY strip steaks on Friday. We hadn’t liked it much for the steaks but I thought the garlicky-ness of it would go great with the bread. Continue reading
Are like space.
They are my final frontier. There is so much to explore with them and yet, I’ve only been so far as the moon. Which is made of mozzarella. Not green cheese. Well maybe it gets moldy from time to time.
Anyway, it was an off-again-on-again rainy kind of day and it’s been kind of a tiring week, one of those weeks where I’ve been craving comfort foods all the time. So far this week there’ve been hot dogs, barbecue, pizza, Hunan chicken and today, pasta. Rigatoni. With red sauce. And chicken meatballs.
Two things came into play this evening. No, three. 1) I had leftover pepperoni in the fridge from making toast pizza. 2) It’s summer and I prefer to grill food whenever and wherever possible in the summer–I mean, I have grilled breakfast before. I won’t turn on the stove if I don’t have too. 3) I really, really, really did not want to eat another burger. Instead, I thought to myself, “Hey, self! Let’s grill pizza for dinner instead.” I figured I could pile it with veggies and low-moisture part skim mozzarella since, after all, we did have lunch at Bill’s and wanted something healthier but just as tasty as chili dogs for dessert. So pizza! Josh was all about it. I mean, we are married for a reason.
So on the way home from Bill’s, we stopped at the store and stocked up on a few things–pizza sauce (Delallo’s was on sale), baby spinach, frozen pepper mix (Josh’s favorite) and a ball of frozen pizza dough. While Josh and I do enjoy making our own pizza on a fairly regular basis, this would be the first time for either of us to really grill a pizza. After leaving the dough ball on the counter to thaw for a few hours, and giving our appetites time to return, the moment was at hand. Continue reading
So we didn’t really wake up until almost 10am this morning. By the time I finished taking our dog Winston on a 2 mile morning walk, breakfast was pretty much a no-go. So Josh and I each downed a bit of fruit and then pondered what to do for lunch. I was already of the opinion that we should have hot dogs, because hey, I’ve been in a hot doggy kind of mood lately. In lieu of trekking to the store, picking up what we’d need for do-it-yourself dogs (I mean, there’d have to be buns and peppers and Josh gets one kind of sausage and I get another and side dishes and eh), we decided on taking the dog for a nice jaunt over to Bill’s Hot Dog Stand in Ypsi.
Bill’s is…well, it’s a little yellow shack, really, on Michigan Ave in Ypsilanti (waaay far in Ypsi) around the corner from where I grew up. Bill’s has been there…forever, pretty much. My entire life anyway. It’s an old school car-hop kinda place and they mean serious business. They do hot dogs. And root beer. And that’s all they do. Seriously. You can only buy three things at Bill’s: hot dogs, homemade root beer and Ruffles chips. And I will be damned if it is not the best root beer in at least the state, if not the entire western hemisphere.
Tonight’s meal, in pictures:
Dolce bleu cheese, heirloom tomatoes, green leaf lettuce
Grilled corn on the cob with lime and grated parmigiano cheese
Bleu cheese burger!
You will need:
1 quart fresh whole strawberries, washed and sliced
4 1-inch slices poundcake
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or just regular sugar) Continue reading
I like meat. That’s about all there is to it. Sure, I go vegetarian from time to time and that’s fine, too. But I like meat. Like steak. Steaks are good. Satisfying on a primal level.
Josh doesn’t really like steak too often. Opposites attract, right? But after having a good steak at a wedding we went to recently, he decided that maybe we should start having steak more often. Jackpot! Sure, I said, trying to contain my gleefulness, whatever you like. So of course, the first thing to do when experimenting was to conduct a bit of research and educate ourselves on the various cuts of meat and how they are best cooked. This site came in handy for that. The next was to go shopping. Which we do almost every day anyway.
So we’re standing at the meat counter in Whole Foods, staring at row upon row of red fleshy goodness. Now, Josh and I aren’t overly crazy about organics. In terms of dry goods, I rarely care. In terms of produce, some organics are more important than others–and local always takes precedence anyway, which is why we get a lot of our produce in the summer from our CSA. But when it comes to meat and dairy, we’re pretty selective and tend to go for free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic free when given the option. So anyway, we’re standing at the meat counter, chatting with the butcher (who we find out lives in our apartment complex, handily across the street from said Whole Foods, how awesome is that) and Josh picks a cut of meat. And he picks ribeye. Of course. Because if there’s a way to a man’s heart, it’s a ribeye steak.
Now, I believe in letting the natural flavor of good quality meat shine through, and that great steak is best when kept simple, so that was my plan tonight. I prepared the meat as simply as possible and Josh picked just a simple side of mashed potatoes to go along with, and we (well, I) washed it down with a bit of his homemade root beer. Below is the recipe (more or less, I’m terrible at measuring when I cook) for our delicious meal tonight. Also, yay I finally charged my Nikon camera to get decent pictures! Continue reading
Today, Tyler Florence did a cooking “class” via Twitter on “The Ultimate Chili Dog.” The full recipe and an image (of, let me say, an impressively giant chili dog) are available on his blog.
He’s using all-beef hot dogs, which I applaud, altho I do prefer mine to be uncured, and his chili is full of goodness: olive oil, onion, ground beef, ketchup, chili powder, mustard, thyme, garlic. He tops the whole thing off with a homemade coleslaw. I’ve often wondered about the coleslaw topping thing. I think Josh used to get dogs topped with coleslaw at Red Hot Lovers but it’s just never been my thing. I’m not a huge fan of coleslaw and I prefer it to be a side item rather than a topping for my hot dogs, burgers and pulled pork sammiches. But that’s just me.
Anyway, this fantastic little series of tweets (who says Twitter is totally useless? Right, me) also featured a recipe for homemade potato salad, which you can find at the bottom of the chili dog post.
Enjoy! Follow Tyler on Twitter or check back on TylerFlorence.com every Friday for more classes.
Tonight, it’s just me and the dog. Josh is at a Computer Society meeting; he’ll be having dinner there. So I get the rare opportunity to make dinner just for me.
Being that I’ve almost always had roommates, or ended up cooking for get togethers, I’m used to cooking for a lot of people. When it got to be just Josh and me, I had to adjust a bit to cooking for only two, and occasionally on nights like this, I get to relearn how to cook for just one.
Well originally I thought I’d make myself a nice pesto pasta with chicken meatballs (cough), because after all, my basil plant needs cutting down and besides, it’s a rainy night and pasta is usually good for those. But after lunch it occurred to me that really, I just wanted some pizza. So I figured I’d make my own. Continue reading
BonAppetit has a guide of “global hot dogs” on their website this month. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Some of the entries are just downright ridiculous (why would you put vegan mayo on a hotdog? Why would you put mayo on a hotdog at all?), while others are…interesting enough that I’d try it out but not so interesting as to be completely unappetizing in my particular opinion, and some are just genius. Continue reading
Every family has their favorite dishes, things that appear at every get-together and every holiday. My family has baked macaroni and cheese. We’re connosieurs of it, really. Don’t get me wrong; deep down, the poor kid in me still loves something about Kraft easy mac, and the grown-up in me still likes to experiment with my own homemade version of the stuff, but really, truly and absolutely there is no substitute for a good, hearty backed macaroni and cheese casserole with tons of gooey cheese and a good crispy crust.
This is the version I make. I got it from Tyler Florence (the man is a god amongst mortal chefs) and I make it with or without the bacon (depends on whether my vegetarian mom is partaking) altho Josh will say that it’s not the same without bacon. It’s a pretty easy recipe to scale, and I’ve made it for as many as 25-30 people. It always gets rave reviews.