Archive for January, 2012
Manicotti is a child friendly food. Most kids love spaghetti and pasta. What could be more fun than stuffing tubes and then eating them? Kids can get a little messy, but that’s their job, right?
My friend, Chef John Farion, came over and brought me a large container of cottage cheese. I did not think that Spane and I could eat if fast enough for it not to go bad, so I decided to stuff something with it. Quite frequently, cottage cheese is used for lasagna, but I don’t like meatless lasagna, and I wanted it for Friday. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed already at home, so I bought some manicotti and brought it home.
The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.
When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.
I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.
I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.
I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.
We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.
So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.
What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.
When I was in high school, one of my best friends was Libby. She lives in another state, and we have been corresponding on Facebook for a while. She said she was coming into Glendale to visit her mother and suggested we get together. Her mother lives a block from Spane’s school. What a coincidence! I haven’t seen her in 36 years, and today, we are going to the park and have a reunion picnic. I am so excited!
Libby has been liking my recipes on Facebook for a while, and even asked me if I remembered making a lemon pie that she liked so much. I decided that she deserved to have a special lunch, so these are thing things I have made:
- Rosemary Garlic Chicken Cream Cheese Purses with Lavender Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Ham and Spinach Quiche with Goose Fat Crust
- Dulce De Leche Lemon Meringue Pie
Libby was picking us up at 2:00. I thought about making it at 12:30, so I didn’t have a lot of time.
When I went to get my ingredients together, the most important one was missing, the Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. I went through my kitchen with a fine toothed comb trying to find it, but to no avail. Finally, I spied a can of Dulche de Leche.
Dulche de Leche is caramelized condensed milk. It will happen naturally if your can of milk is kept in a warm spot for a very, very long time, or you can make it by boiling it for four hours, or you can dispense with all that and buy it in a can. It is much thicker, very rich, and has a caramel flavor.
Recipes in this Post
When I made the Roast Goose for Christmas dinner, I had a lot of goose fat. I didn’t want to waste it, so I rendered it, and have used it here and there. It’s wonderful stuff. I thought I could make a pie crust out of for the Quiche I was making for the picnic today.
Most of the time, I buy a ready-made crust in the refrigerated cookie dough section. The reason I do this is because my crusts don’t usually turn out that well. Today, whist visiting The Smitten Kitchen’s Pie Crust 102, I found out why – I have been using the wrong tool for the job – I’ve been using a food processor. So, if you’re using a food processor and your crust isn’t turning out flaky, that’s why.
Making a crust by hand is not that difficult. You just need a pastry dough blender, and a little elbow grease. My pastry dough blender died a couple of years ago, so I used a heavy fork. It worked just fine.
Recipes in this Post
I love to find things on sale, especially things that would usually be expensive, like ground veal.
I love cream. Why do I love cream? I love cream because you only need a little, and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I also like it for those occasions when I have run out of milk for my coffee. I prefer milk.
That’s what happened to me this morning, I ran out of milk last night, and not wanting to the store unwashed, I used a little cream in my coffee. I’ve had that cream in my house for quite a while, and I knew today was the very last day to use it.
When we were at the supermarket today, someone was buying red sauce for spaghetti. That almost sounded good, but I wanted to use up what I had in my refrigerator. No problem, I thought, I can make spaghetti and meatballs, but use the veal, and make the sauce with the cream.
Veal has very little fat, so these meatballs are a good choice for those watching their weight. Omitting the cream makes the sauce another good low calorie choice. If you have vegetarian friends, serve the meatballs separately.