Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Spaghetti/baked chicken/Asian salad dressing

I chose Bobby Flay's recipe from Food Network (dot com). It turned out awesomely. However, I must point out that the cooking time of a mythical 1 hour is actually 4 HOURS...thanks Bobby...thanks a lot.

I must include at this juncture the explanation of my boyfriend having a complete repertoire of chicken, turkey and for veggies corn and potatoes in his diet. So I always have to make something different for him (when I do make food for him that is, which I must grant is not often since he is good about making his own :) )

For him, I baked a chicken breast the way he likes it. If it were for me or sister of course it would be much more exciting but hey sometimes simple things can be great too.

Sprinkle breast with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning. I make sure to lift the skin gently and season slightly under there too, and don't forget to turn the breast over and get the underside too. I place it in any old baking pan I have around, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan with foil. I also cover the entire pan with foil while the chicken bakes to keep the moisture in. Bake at 400F for a little over an hour, and make sure to cut into the breast to the bone to make sure there's no pink before you serve.

For my spags, here follows Bobby Flay's recipe. I have pointed out where I deviated from the recipe as I tend to do:


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, smashed with some kosher salt to make a paste
* 2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, pureed in a blender
* 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 small can tomato paste
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 small bunch Italian parsley
* 1 Cubano chile pepper, chopped (I used half a habanero pepper, gives it a better kick)
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 recipe Meatballs, recipe follows
* 1 recipe Spaghetti, recipe follows
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup water, (I used BEER instead it gave it the most deep flavour, yum) bay leaf, parsley, Cubano pepper, and bring to a boil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Add meatballs and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and meatballs are tender. Remove the bay leaf.

Add enough sauce to the drained pasta (that has been returned to the pot) to coat and continue cooking briefly, just until pasta is well combined with sauce. Serve pasta with meatballs on top and garnished with fresh basil.

* 1/2 pound ground pork
* 1/2 pound ground veal
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (I used 3 eggs for mois-cha)
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
* 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped and sauteed
* 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
* 1 cup pure olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* I added a finely chopped onion into the mix.

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, except olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Heat the oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry meatballs, in batches as needed, until golden brown, but not cooked through completely. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

* 12 cups water
* Salt
* 1 pound #8 or #9 spaghetti
* Freshly grated Parmesan

Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain well in a colander, return to pot, and toss with sauce. Serve with meatballs and Parmesan on top.

It turned out scrumptious. I used dry parsley flakes because those were all I had and they actually gave the meatballs that cool green-specked "interesting" look. Dry Parsley keeps its colour and doesn't shrink, like most fresh leafies, in the heat.

I also made that Japanese ginger dressing you get in Hibachi restaurants. It was ok, I followed a recipe I found online and most will work. It just was the wrong salad for an Italian meal.

The pic's kind of blurry, but seriously it's all for the better.



I watched Senior Skip Day last night and in this theatrical masterpiece there was a scene involving crepes. The wonder pancake that goes with anything, it’s music to my ears. I’ve never made them before so I decided to go to my life instruction website (i.e. the Food Network) and look up an easy looking recipe. I found one, and it goes as follows:


* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
* 1/2 cup milk
* 3 large eggs
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


In a blender of food processor blend the flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, the milk, the eggs, the butter, and the salt for 5 seconds. Turn off the motor, with a rubber spatula scrape down the sides of the container, and blend the batter for 20 seconds more. Transfer the batter to a bowl and let it stand, covered, for 1 hour. (The batter may be made up to 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled)

Yield: Enough batter for about 20 crepes

TO MAKE CREPES: Melted unsalted butter for brushing the pan Crepe batter (recipe above)

Heat a crepe pan or non-stick skillet measuring 6 to 7 inches across the bottom over moderate heat until it is hot. Brush the pan lightly with the butter, heat the pan until it is hot but now smoking, and remove it from the heat. Stir the batter, half fill a 1/4 cup measure with it, and pour the batter into the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan quickly to cover the bottom with a thin layer of batter and then turn the pan to the heat, loosen the edge of the crepe until the underside is browned lightly. Turn the crepe, brown the other side lightly and transfer the crepe to a plate. Make crepes with remaining batter in the same manner, brushing with butter as necessary. (The crepes may be made in advance, stacked, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled for up to 3 days or frozen.)

I’m off to make them, and I will update you with what they look like. Hopefully they turn out something like above.

Thin, light and fluffy but crisp at the edges.