Thursday, November 14, 2013


My in-laws have come to visit, and are staying for a month, so I doubt I'll be updating the blog much while they're here. They're off on a tour of the National Archaeological Museum here in Naples right now, so I'm stealing five minutes to knock out a quick post.

I made (Bowties) al Ragu (pg 113 of Rome), because Charlie's revived his food-related stubbornness, and I thought surely he'd eat it, as he asks for "red spaghetti" all the time. I was wrong. Wouldn't taste it. This sauce took two hours to cook, and came out tasting exactly like my Grandma's. That's not a good thing. Grandma is German. Her red sauce comes out of a can. It's fine, but hers takes a whopping three minutes to make/heat up.
Conclusion: Just okay. Absolutely not worth the time, effort, or 1/4 cup of wine that could be put to better use in my glass.

The following night, I made Spaghetti alla Carbonara (pg 98), because it's one of Charlie's go-to restaurant orders, and I wanted to try it at home before my in-laws arrived. They both have assorted fat and carb-related dietary restrictions, so I didn't want to serve it to them. Not the greatest carbonara I've ever eaten, but very good, and Charlie INHALED it, exclaiming all the while, "This spaghetti is AMAZING." This has never happened before, for anything I've cooked. I wish more food made him happy. Despite the caloric consequences, carbonara may need to show up at my table a little more often.
Conclusion: Liked it, calories be damned.

My mother in law is a fan of biscotti, so I made Tozzetti (pg 173). I'm rarely totally happy with how my biscotti turns out. Either it's the wrong texture, falls apart when I'm slicing it, the chocolate melts all over the place, etc etc. This hazelnut biscotti recipe was a pain in the ass in dough form. It was super sticky and wet, and the directions ("using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to the prepared baking sheet") indicate that it was not supposed to be. There was no transference via spatula. I basically had to glop it over with my hands and form it into a mostly-oblong shape. However, once baked the first time, they sliced perfectly, and turned out exactly the way I expect a store-bought biscotti to be.
Conclusion: Loved them.

A few from Feast: 

Know how I'm always disappointed by "fast" Indian recipes by non-Indian people? Nigella's Keema (pg 234) is a wonderful, quick version of the minced meat and peas that I like to make when I have two hours. It's not as flavorful as Jaffrey's version, but it's got lots of spice and lots of flavor, and takes a third of the time. I can now eat Indian on a weeknight. Thank you, Nigella.

Conclusion: Loved it.

The Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake (pg 272) is moist and rich and delicious. This is one of my favorite things I've baked in a long time. My one complaint is that the recipe says to line the loaf pan with plastic wrap. Nigella puts your worries to rest, saying, "Don't panic, it won't melt." Lies, I tell you! Lies! It DID melt. It disappeared into my cake, so I cut thickly around the sides and bottom of the cake. According to the FAQ on her website, she has changed this instruction to line with buttered foil. Didn't help me last time, but it will help me next time.
I had to serve this to company. Good thing it tasted good.
Conclusion: Loved it.

Slime Soup (pg 350) is a nice, easy, more-filling (it's blitzed with mozzarella) pea soup made from frozen peas. It's from the Halloween section, thus the title. I served this to my in-laws, without sharing the name with them, and they liked it.
Conclusion: liked it.

1 comment:

  1. The plastic wrap issue sounds like the same problem we have with French Fridays - they must have some amazing wrap not known to us mere mortals that doesn't melt...