Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Italian Feast Paired With Beers

A few weekend past, some friends and I did what I enjoy most, cooking a nice meal, and joking around.  I chose to do a taste of  Italy at harvest time, to be paired with a variety of beers (Belgian, French Canadian, Italian).

Antipasti – insalata di pomodori con bocconcini y prosciutto – Birra Duvel
Primi – Bucantini all’Amatriciana – Birra Moretti
Secondi – Salsicca all’Uva e Spinaci alla Genovese – Birra Blanche de Chambly
Dolci – Ricotta con Mielle, Pesche e Canella – Birra Pecheresse

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spaghetti in Tomato and Apple Sauce

I've been watch catching a number of episodes of Lidia's Italy on TLN, and she was exploring the food of  Trentino and Alto-Adige, and a very interesting and unique dish is Spaghetti con salsa di Pomodorie e Mele.  I started with Lidia's recipe but modified it for my taste so here my take on a Trentino fall classic.

1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup dice carrot 
1 cup diced onion
1 lb, Granny Smith apples (or similar), cored, peeled, and shredded
6 Tbls  EVO
3 Cloves garlic minced or pressed 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + 1/4cup at the table 
1/4 cup chopped parsley 
Salt and pepper to taste  

1 lb Spaghetti 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Social Stockmarkets


One of the new distractions I have lately has been playing with Social Networking Markets
The main two I've started playing with are

Empire Avenue is Social Networking Market that lets you trade in people, your friends or followers on various social networking websites.  Your value is based partially upon supply and demand of your shares, and by your value.  Valuations are a fun calculation of your social media presences (i.e. twitter, facebook, flickr), you share holders are paid a dividend based upon your value.  You use an e-cash called eaves, and you can purchase more eaves, or other special items that help increase your networth. (BTW that ugly string on the top of this post verifies to EAV that this is my blog for future value calculations)

Hollywood Stock Exchange lets you trade in upcoming movies, actors, television programs, derivatives, and funds.  It is much more like a stock market because they do let you short holdings as well as place stop losses. You can earn extra cash by doing movie trivia, you can compete against friends and test your love of movies in one fell swoop.

More Later....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

I regularly catch Lidia's Italy on TLN, Lidia  was talked about the Lazio Region of Italy, and she proceeded to make Bucantini All'Amatriciana based upon a dish from Amatrice. Originally Lidia used Guanciale, which is hard for me to find so I used pancetta, so here is my rendition of her dish:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, Quartered and thinly sliced
6 Cloves Garlic, sliced
1 28oz Can Plum Tomatoes passed through a food mill, (preferably San Marzano)
1/4lb Pancetta, 1/4" slices chopped.
1/2 tsp Peperoncino ( more or less to taste)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley Chopped
1lb of Bucantini or Perciatelli
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

I used a technique I saw on the program, put the sliced onions in a hot pan, with some water (I added a 1/4 cup of water + 1/2 cup white wine), to steam the onions and cook them without colouring them.  Once the water has evaporated, move the onions to one side of your skillet and add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and peperoncino.  Once the garlic has some colour, mix it with the onions and clear a space for the pancetta.  Once the pancetta is rendered add the milled tomatoes with the liquid from the can, reduce the pan to a simmer.  As a side I add a couple teaspoons of the parsley stems finely minced for extra flavour while the sauce simmers.  Taste for seasoning, adjust pepper and possibly peperoncino to taste.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pear, Avocado, and Cucumber With Goat Cheese Salad

I've been experimenting with some fresh produce and making fast delicious salads to reduce my tendency to be a carnivore.  This one tastes yummy but doesn't photograph well, I did try, and I don't share images I'm not happy with.
1/2 English Cucumber Diced
1 Avocado Diced
1 Pear Diced
2 oz Goat Cheese Crumbled
4 Basil Leaves Chiffonade
1 Garlic Clove minced

2 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice from 1/2 Lime
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Take your favourite mixing bowl toss everything in and mix it up.  The colour can be a bit questionable, but it is very tasty. I normally use Bartlett pears, but Bosc or Red should be tasty as well.

Buen Provecho.

More Later...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rapid Sauces For Dinner Plates

When you are doing "Fine Dining" most things have a tasty sauce, but in a French kitchen there is a dedicate person called a Saucier is responsible for these tasty concoctions... here are a couple of quick and easy tips to get a light sauce, and a cream sauce:
4:2:1 Chicken Stock : White Wine : Cream.
That is 4 parts low-sodium chicken stock, parts white wine, and if desired 1 part cream.

For each 2 parts chicken stock we sauté 1 medium minced shallot in tbsp. of oil or clarified butter, when it's translucent add 1 clove of minced garlic.  Stir for 30 or 45 seconds and add liquids, then reduce by at least half.  When it's reduce test for salt and pepper.  Add some minced parsley, and spoon over your vegetables, fish, chicken or what ever you need to sauce.

For a variation, I sometimes add a splash of Madeira or Marsala, or the juice of a lemon.

buen provecho

More Later…

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fast Flavourful Chickpeas

Sorry for not being a good host and providing at least a weekly note or idea; I'm hopefully back now and can rebuild my readership.  I've been playing with some of the America's Test Kitchen recipe magazines, and came across their Pan-Roasted Chickpeas recipe.  Here's my tasty spin on it…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Movies of Educators to Inspire...

Over the last little while I've been recalling some of my favourite movies dealing with education from an educators perspective.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a list that is worth a gander

The Emperor's Club -- Kevin Klein is a Roman history teacher, that clashes wills with the son of a senator.  When Klein believes he has failed, he gets surprised by his successes.  To quote one of his students "A great teacher has little external history to record. His life goes over into other lives. These men are pillars in the intimate structure of our schools. They are more essential than its stones or beams, and they will continue to be a kindling force and a revealing power in our lives."

Dead Poets Society -- One of my all time favourite Robin Williams performances.  Robin Williams portrays a teacher that returns to his Alma mater, to enlighten and mold his students into aspiring thinkers, with some tragic consequences.  "Captain, my captain" still rings in my mind when I'm feeling a little rebelliousness stirring in my heart and mind. If you can find it, the directors cut is worth the extra time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Football Movies

There are a handful of good, inspirational, football biopics that are kicking around

Brian's Song — The story of Chicago Bears' running backs Brian Piccolo and Leo Sayers.  Their friendship and of course how they deal with adversity.  It's one of the few movies where men are allowed to cry.

Invincible — 30 year old Philadelphia bartender turned Eagle's wide-receiver Vince Papale.  Sometimes the dream can become reality.

The Express — The story of Syracuse running back Ernie Davis, who became the first afro-american to win the Heisman Trophy; his struggles with racism, and his untimely death from leukemia.  Even if there are some historical issues with the movie, still inspirational.

The Blind Side — Balitmore Raven's offensive tackle Michael Oher, was born on the wrong side of town.  Through some twists of fate he eventually was adopted by Ole Miss boosters the Touhys.  This movie has a great performance by Sandra Bullock, and is worth a gander.

There are so many other reviews on the net, you can read the specifics there,  but with us closing in on SuperBowl XLV (45),  I thought this gives you something else to watch and still maintain a football theme...

More Later....