Friday, February 25, 2011
Last night's dinner was Linguine Carbonara. Carbonara is made with raw eggs, which makes some people nervous--I get that. Technically, the eggs do cook, they just don't cook like you normally think of preparing eggs. But it's also not like cracking an egg open and drinking it down. It's like when you order eggs over easy in a restaurant, and the menu has that safety warning to cover its butt liability-wise, but hundreds of people eat them that way every day and never have a problem.
I originally made this dish using a recipe from the cookbook Trattoria Cooking by Biba Caggiano. I'm sure how I make it has changed somewhat since I first made it from the recipe, but it's essentially the same. You need eggs, garlic, red pepper flakes, pancetta, and Parmesan. For 2 people, I cook 2 ounces of pancetta with 2 or more minced garlic cloves. Once the pancetta is cooked, you set it aside until the rest of the dish is finished. While the pasta is cooking, (about 2 ounces, dry, per person) I beat two eggs (medium or 1 x-large) with some red pepper flakes and a little salt & pepper. You don't need too much salt because the Parmesan and pancetta add some saltiness to the dish.
When the pasta is cooked, I drain it then put it back in the pot. I take some of the hot noodles and put them in the dish with the eggs, stirring to warm the eggs up a bit. If you don't warm up the eggs before adding them to the hot noodles, you end up with noodles with scrambled eggs in them--not good. After warming the eggs with some of the noodles, quickly stir the egg/noodle mixture into the rest of the hot noodles, stirring vigorously, so the hot noodles heat up the eggs. Next stir in the pancetta and garlic then some Parmesan. Serve topped with a little more Parmesan. This dish is delicious and really easy to make.
Now for the safety warning: You do need to be careful though, because the eggs are not fully cooked. If you are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or aren't confident in the safety and freshness of your eggs, you probably shouldn't make this.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I did the chicken a little differently this time (I seem to always say that). I had chicken drumsticks that I sprinkled with salt & pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. I then sliced up a lemon and laid the slices on top of the chicken pieces before roasting them. The mixture of lemon and oregano was a suggestion from a very nice woman with the Greek Society when we were talking to her about party and food themes last year. I did this once with a whole chicken--sprinkled it with s & p, oregano, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice and put more oregano and 2 cut up lemons in the cavity. So yummy! And a little out of the ordinary for me as that wasn't previously in my repertoire.
I did a little baking this past week or so. I experimented with jam thumbprint cookies. I used a recipe from The Joy of Cooking which starts with a butter cookie recipe. You roll the dough into balls, roll them in chopped nuts, and make a little divot in the top for the jam. I didn't read carefully enough because I apparently was supposed to bake them for a few minutes, then make the divot and add the jam before finishing the baking. I just did it all at the beginning and then popped them in the oven. They really spread out, and I was afraid the jam would end up everywhere. It wasn't too bad, and luckily, I had the foresight to use parchment paper so any jam that did ooze out onto the baking sheet stuck to the paper and not the sheet itself, turning hard as a rock. They tasted quite good but didn't look very pretty.
One other day I made butterscotch brownies also from The Joy of Cooking. This is one of my "go-to" recipes. Super easy, quick to make, and with only a few ingredients. They are basically brown sugar mixed into melted butter to which is added flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. They are thin, but have a wonderfully chewy texture and a rich caramel/butterscotch flavor. Both of these cookie recipes are from a 1960s edition of The Joy of Cooking, but they might still be in the newer versions.
This week also saw some (very early) spring cleaning, much knitting, and dealing with kittens. Eddie decided it would be a good idea to jump into my plate of grilled cheese sandwich and then jump down tracking dirty pawprints across my jeans and the rug. Zeke was shocked.
But Eddie just gave me a dirty look and sauntered off. The kittens did manage to endear themselves though by curling up cutely and taking a nap with the stuffed hippo I got for Christmas (hippopotamus for Christmas).
I experimented today with placing photos within the blog. I'm still not loving the placement exactly, but I didn't feel like putting in a lot of tables so everything lined up all nice and neat. Maybe next time.