Dish towels

I hate it when my husband hangs dish-towels on the back of the kitchen chair. Not a good look. I mounted this hook on the underside of my granite counter to hold dish-towels. I tried using the “Williams-Sonoma tags with the washing instructions, but they just didn’t work. My solution was to sew some “saved” ribbon that I looped on the corner of the towels and now they stay in place.

20120131-144446.jpg

20120131-144452.jpg

Advertisements

Bolognese Sauce

This is the best recipe I have found to date for Bolognese sauce. I sometimes double the recipe and freeze what I don’t need for another night when I want something good and easy.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 diced onion
1 finely diced carrot
2 finely diced celery stalks
4 oz. finely diced pancetta
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 red or white wine
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes pureed in the blender
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
dried oregano to taste

Heat saucepan over low heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrot and celery and saute until lightly carmelized about 10 minutes. Add the pancetta, beef and pork, separating the meat into small pieces and cook until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in 1 tsp. salt.

Pour wine into the beef mixture to deglaze the pan and stir to loosen the browned bits on the bottom on the pan. Cook for around 2 minutes until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, cream, black pepper and red pepper flakes and dried oregano. Gently simmer for about 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

You can serve this on spaghetti or linguini.

Taste the sauce and season with additional salt and pepper. Grate some parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the pasta and sauce. I also like to add some chopped parsley, if I have it on hand.

I like to use a cast iron pan such as Le Creuset when I make this sauce.

20120131-125715.jpg

20120131-125728.jpg

20120131-125758.jpg

20120131-125825.jpg

20120131-135215.jpg

20120131-205348.jpg

Creamy Roasted Mushroom Soup

This is a great make-ahead soup. I got the recipe from Epicurious about five years ago.

It is from Bon Appetite November 2002. I have substituted my homemade chicken stock for the canned vegetable stock called for in the original recipe. If you are serving this to vegetarians, go ahead and use the vegetable stock. I find the chicken stock just gives a better all around flavor.

If you happen to have some truffle oil on hand, add a few drops to the soup when it is in the individual soup bowls.

I would serve it with a crusty bagette and enjoy!

20120130-135817.jpg

20120130-135825.jpg

20120130-135846.jpg

tulips

When your indoor tulip plants look like this, don’t throw them out. I store them in my basement and when the ground thaws, I plant the bulbs in the garden and they will bloom the following spring. You can do this with any indoor plants with bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths.

20120130-120750.jpg

Savory Crepes

I made a simple mixture of sauteed mushrooms with chopped parsley about 4 oz of sour cream, about 2 oz of chevre and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Meanwhile here is my recipe for crepes:

3/4 cup milk
3/4 water
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Put all of the above ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Batter can be used immediately or refrigerated overnight.

Lightly butter a crepe pan and heat over medium low heat. Add a small amount of batter and swirl. Cook crepe for about two minutes or less per side. You just want them to brown slightly. Crepes can be made ahead of time and stored separated by parchment paper.

Treat your crepe pan like a cast iron and just rinse it with really hot water and dry with paper towels.

I bake these at 300 degrees for about ten minutes just to heat them thoroughly.
If you want to make dessert crepes instead of savory, just omit the salt and add 2 tbsps of granulated sugar.

20120129-175135.jpg

20120129-175154.jpg

20120129-183439.jpg

20120129-183448.jpg

20120129-183457.jpg

20120129-183507.jpg

20120129-183519.jpg

20120129-183530.jpg

20120129-183536.jpg

Chocolate Mousse

This is my standard go-to recipe for chocolate mousse.

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
1/4 cup strong coffee
3 oz. (6 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 fine (baker’s sugar)

Melt chocolate with coffee over simmering water or microwave on medium/low until melted. Stir to combine. Add the butter in small pieces and stir followed by the egg yolks adding them one at a time.

Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form slowly adding the sugar.

Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat cream.

Gently fold melted chocolate mixture into beaten egg whites until just combined. Repeat with whipped cream.

You can either place the mousse in a large bowl or individual dishes. If not using right away, I always cover the mousse with plastic wrap before refrigeration.

20120125-200129.jpg

20120125-200136.jpg

20120125-200146.jpg

20120125-200153.jpg

20120125-200209.jpg

20120125-200218.jpg

Chocolate genoise

Today I am starting on a birthday cake for my daughter. I always do elaborate cakes in steps. The first step is the cake itself. This is a chocolate genoise from Alice Medrich’s book shown in the photo. This book is hard to come by, but if you ever get a chance buy it!

Here is the finished cake. I sliced it in two layers and applied a simple syrup to layers. I spread some of the chocolate mousse to the bottom layer and then placed the second layer on top and applied light pressure. The cake was refrigerated overnight.

The following morning I made a chocolate mocha glaze from the same cookbook and poured it over the cake while slowly spinning my cake decorating turntable. I used an off-set spatula to spread the glaze as little as possible to avoid streaks. I let the glaze set up for about ten minutes and applied toasted, chopped pecans to the sides.

Happy Birthday Alex!
.

20120125-134949.jpg

20120125-134957.jpg

20120126-141628.jpg

20120126-141647.jpg

20120126-141655.jpg

20120126-141713.jpg

20120126-141727.jpg

20120126-141740.jpg