Sunday, September 20, 2015

Recipe tweaking

Nothing really major has happened this month - which in itself is kind of major, because it seems like such a long time since that has been the case. We had our first dinner guests in the new house last weekend, which was the first real cooking I'd done in the new kitchen - marinated goat cheese and pita chips to start, followed by braised short ribs of beef, gratin dauphinois (with a layer of blue cheese and caramelized onion in the middle), and Swiss chard for the main course (plus bread), and finishing up with brownies topped with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.

This generated quite a lot of leftovers; I used the leftover short ribs as the basis for a thick bolognese-type tomato sauce, and we had that on Tuesday night with gnocchi and shredded kale. On Thursday, I tossed the leftover gratin and chard into the slow cooker along with some leftover short-rib sauce and stock, and blended them into a thick soup for dinner. I wanted a little something to top it, so I rooted around in the fridge, pulled out some odds and ends, and made pangrattato with a twist:

Pangrattato, in case you don't already know, means "grated bread", and it's an Italian invention - basically fried bread crumbs, most often used to top pasta. For this version, I threw a leftover (cooked) Italian sausage into the food processor along with the bread; then toward the end of cooking in the frying pan, I threw over a handful of grated pecorino romano cheese. Both tweaks highly recommended.

On the sweet side of things, I've finally found most of my baking equipment, not least of which is the abovementioned food processor. Miss B has fallen in love with jam drops this year, and asked if we could make a batch not long after we moved in. I had to improvise to put a batch of dough together, including using a pastry cutter to blend the butter and sugar. This made for a very warm batch of dough which, when shaped, filled, and put into the oven to bake, spread like crazy. The cookies were delicious, but not neat or easy to eat out of hand.

She asked for another batch to take to a school party last week, and this time I thought I would do things a bit differently: I made the dough in the food processor, then rolled into a cylinder and chilled in the fridge overnight. The morning of the party, I scooped mounds of dough off the cylinder with my cookie scoop and arranged them on a baking tray. I made a thumbprint in each mound and filled with jam; then I chilled them again for 30 minutes or so. Then I baked them and voila!

Not quite magazine-ready, but definitely an improvement over the first batch. I'll be carrying on with the chilling from now on. I used this recipe, which as you'll note doesn't suggest any of that - odd when you consider how perfect the ones in their picture look!

That's all the exciting news from here - more to follow shortly, I hope!


Beck @ Golden pudding said... Best Blogger Tips

I love transforming left overs into something new, well done on getting so many meals out of one...

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

@Beck @ Golden pudding Thanks, Beck! My next challenge is using up the remains of last weekend's Thanksgiving dinner - any creative ideas on using cooked peas?

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