17 July 2010

MMM Beef

Oh dear! I'm posting again already! What has happened to me? Oh right, the new layout. I just love it! Anyway, I was dreadfully divided about what to cook for dinner. You see, I was craving spaghetti with beefy tomato sauce, something that has no recipe whatsoever because the sauce comes from a jar. But I also have a super fantastic recipe for a hearty, beefy ragu that I've been wanting to try for a few weeks now. What's a pregant girl to do?

No, I didn't make both! Are you crazy?!? I haven't been able to eat leftovers lately so the last thing I need is an overabundance of spaghetti meals in my fridge. Gross. I went with the recipe, obviously, so that I could have something to share with you. Oh man, am I glad I did! It was exactly what I've been wanting today. Beef and tomatoes and pasta. Pretty sure the only thing that could make it better would have been some alfredo sauce (mmm, pink sauce). I also added some spicy Italian suasage because I wanted to.

And can I just say that I'm addicted to bread at the mo? I seriously need to get my lust checked out or learn how to make it myself before I go broke buying it from the store. It is seriously that good right now with some butter. I might actually need to go break off another piece before I finish this post up. Gotta keep my energy up to give you the recipe now don't I?

Penne with Hearty Beef Ragu
Recipe by Confections of a Foodie Bride, adapted by me

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
12 oz ground beef, extra lean
2/3 cup red wine (I used beef stock cause the mell of wine does things to my insides that is not fun)
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 2-3 inch section of Parmesan rind (optional; I did not use this because I didn't remember to buy fresh Parm)
1 lb whole wheat penne (I actually debated on just using spaghetti but then I thought about and decided to do the whole wheat penne; I was good)
  1. Add the olive oil to a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary and cook until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp water, if needed, to keep the pan from drying out and the vegetables from browning.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the alcohol has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and aromatic, about 40 minutes. Add the Parmesan rind and cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Before the sauce is finished, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta. Remove the rind and add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

14 July 2010

Let Them Eat Cake!

That's funny. Marie Antoinette was not talking about cake-cake (and there is speculation that she was even the person to coin the phrase; it has been attributed to Marie-Therese, wife of Louis XIV, as well). She was talking about something much different. According to The Straight Dope, Marie's "cake" can be defined as follows: The operative term was brioche, a flour-and-water paste that was "caked" onto the interiors of the ovens and baking pans of the professional boulangers of the era. (The modern equivalent is the oil-and-flour mixture applied to non-Teflon cake pans.) At the end of the day, the baker would scrape the leavings from his pans and ovens and set them outside the door for the benefit of beggars and scavengers. Thus, the lady in question was simply giving practical, if somewhat flippant, advice to her poor subjects: If one cannot afford the bourgeois bread, he can avail himself of the poor man's "cake."  Certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth to think of eating something like that.

I didn't make a cake (or "cake"_ for Bastille Day. I did make Pain au Chocolat. I cheated though. This literally calls for two ingredients and the patience to wait for them to bake. Sure, they're not as good as what you'd get from a street food vendor on the streets of Paris, but it's kind of like the cake/"cake" thing. This is the poor-man's chocolate bread! Honestly, I had no intention of making these at all. I had got it into my head that I wanted crescent rolls and picked some up at the grocery store on my way home. Then while looking at the cans chilling in my fridge I thought about the pain au chocolat I make with them and knew that I would be doing so again this evening.

On another note, how do you like my makeover? I have the lovely Blog Fairy, Emily to thank for it. I am beyond happy with it and even feel a little back to my old cooking self. If you're in the market for a makeover, definitely check out her portfolio. She's very reasonably priced and is a wonderful person to work with. Now on to the recipe!

Pain au Chocolat (the poor-man's way)
Recipe from some magazine I read years ago

1 package crescent rolls (I use Pillsbury extra flaky, but any brand or style will do)
Dark chocolate chips (10 chips per crescent)
  1. Preheat oven according to directions on package. Open package and roll out crescents. On the fat end, place your chocolate chips (if you use the bigger crescents instead of the smaller ones, you'll want more chips). Roll up and repeat with each crescent.
  2. Place crescent rolls on a large baking sheet and bake according to the directions on the package. When the crescents are golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove from tray and eat warm.

13 July 2010

Some Changes

I know it's been far too long since my last post, and I'm not even sharing anything with you this time around. I'm a horrible blogger at the moment. I did want to let those of you still lurking around that there will be changes coming. I've got a great blog designer working on a new layout and design that will hopefully give me the kick in the butt that I need to start cooking again.

If I'm lucky, when I finally enter the second trimester, I'll actually like food again and be more willing to cook it as well as eat it (it sucks to not want to cook, but it's even worse to not want to eat). Soon and very soon, I'll be back with something fun and tasty.