March 17, 2011

What Didn't Make The Cut

There were a lot of great things cooked over at the Dog Eat Blog house during the last few months, but between bad lighting, busy nights, and sheer laziness, they were never properly documented for you.  And they were good enough that they deserve to be shared.  So I wanted to make a list, with short, quick recipes, of some of the things I delighted in making and eating over the past couple of months.

1. Baked Beans- If you've never had homemade baked beans, especially made from dry beans, you are missing out. They are the perfect breakfast with a fried egg or side dish at lunch or dinner.  E made a big batch using Great Northern beans, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, bacon, and hot chilies, all with a bit of beer to add liquid.  You can tailor the sauce to whatever flavor profile you like. If using dried beans, soak overnight (I think dried beans make a much more toothsome dish).  Otherwise, pour a few cans of beans into a bowl with the sauce, stir it up, throw it into a baking dish and let it cook until the sauce is thick and you can't handle how good your kitchen smells.  (FYI- Dried beans will need more liquid and will take longer to cook, but after soaking can be combined with the sauce and baked until tender.)

2. Apple-Gingerbread Upside Down Cake- I ate this for breakfast every day for a week.  It was phenomenal. Just some sliced apples dotted with brown sugar, maple syrup and butter in the bottom of a cake pan, with a good gingerbread batter poured over top.  Bake, cool, invert, and enjoy. I used a pretty simple recipe like this one, but since I detest molasses, I used brown sugar and some maple syrup instead- and it worked out beautifully. Hurry and make this before the cold nights are a distant memory and you'd rather be sipping a margarita than warming by the fire with a slice of spicy cake. It's too late for me already, but if there's a hint of winter in your town, this needs to be the last thing you make for the season.

3. Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream- for the afore-mentioned cake, although it tastes great by the spoonful as well. Just add a tablespoon each of bourbon and maple syrup to a cup and half of whipping cream, and whip.

4. Roasted veggies redone- big chunks of radicchio, cauliflower, and red onion roasted in the oven, then right before they're done, spinach sprinkled on top until it wilted (just a minute or two).  Meanwhile, I cooked up some garlic in olive oil, then whisked in mustard, lemon juice, white wine and reduced it all. When the veg came out of the oven, I poured the sauce over everything, added some toasty bread crumbs (from a good 12-grain loaf), and was in vegetable heaven.  I think this will be a fun dish to try on the grill, too. 

5. Butternut squash spice bread- based on Heidi's recipe, but with extra squash and almond meal thrown in. It was the perfect breakfast toasted with some butter or maple syrup drizzled on. And I know, you're probably really sick of hearing about butternut squash from me.  Just know you can use any other winter squash in place of it.

6. Arugula pesto- this went in soups, got tossed with fresh pasta and goat cheese, spread on bread with fresh ricotta or bacon jam, and on spoons destined for my mouth.  It stayed fresh for weeks, and wasn't garlicky enough to offend anyone.  Just pureed arugula, pepitas, pecans, a tiny garlic clove, salt, pepper, a tiny bit of parmesan, olive oil, and lemon juice.

7.  Tortellini en brodo- This is what you need when you're sick.  Homemade pillows of pasta stuffed with fresh ricotta and spinach, suspended in a light broth.  It's light but filling, and can be whipped up in a hurry (esp. if not using homemade pasta.) Just boil broth of your choice (I'd recommend vegetable broth), add tortellini, cook thoroughly, then pull off the heat and serve with a pile of grated parmesan on top. Or stir in some arugula pesto.   

And now, because I absolutely love making lists, I'm going to give you another one.  This is a compilation of the (mostly) non-food things I've been doing lately:

1. Dreaming about this book on my coffee table.

2. Wondering if this could really be as useful as I think it would be.

3. Receiving the best Valentine ever.

4. Enjoying this blog. 

5. Falling in love with her photographic style. 

6. Contemplating becoming a microbial artist

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