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Recipes of EH MEH GEHDness

Yesterday I went to a cooking class (I'm feeling lame with the cooking skills, so GOOD TIMING) and it was all Italian food. (The chef explained the reasoning behind the recipes/flavor combos, etc., then we all chose a dish to prepare while he supervised. You're supposed to help everyone prep. I don't necessarily think that's a good idea : too many cooks. *G*) Then you crack open several bottles of wine and enjoy. Um... what's not to love? The recipes under the cut.


First off, because the chef is my friend's husband, ALL RECIPES ARE THE PROPERTY OF TAOS COOKING SCHOOL (www.cookingstudiotaos.com) and can not be reprinted for sale. Don't send this in to your church cookbook, in other words. (Oooh, and they have this gorgeous spread in Taos where you can go for a week and have cooking classes everyday. And there's a spa close by. Sounds like the best vacation, or the best vacation EVER?)

The main dish:

Polpette in a Light Tomato Sauce (enough for eight - can be stored)

3/4 # ground beef (15% fat content, no more)
3/4 # ground pork
1/2 C finely mined red bell pepper
3/4 C evap. milk
2 ribs celery, fine dice
1 medium onion mined fine (1 1/2 C)
8 large cloves of garlic
1 1/2 C toasted bread crumbs
salt/pepper
1 tsp. crushed red chiles (or to taste)
1/2 t thyme (or a handful if fresh)
1/4 C olice oil

Tomato Sauce
8-10 Roma tomatoes (X the bottom, boil 30 seconds, peel skin)
garlic, finely mined (we used 8 cloves, yum)
salt/pepper/cayenne to taste
1/5 OZ Vodka (hello)
1 C whole milk or heavy cream

Polpettes
1. Saute the finely chopped onions, garlic, celery, and red pepper together in butter for 4-5 minutes - Do not overcook!
2. Add the spices and continue to saute for another minute. Add the evap. milk and allow it to mix thoroughly with the other ingredients and reduce slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Will be added to the meat.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the beef and pork. Add the cooled vegetable mixture and mix all thoroughly, then add the bread crumbs. Watch the consistency so it's not too dry, or they won't form patties. Too wet and they'll fall apart.
4. Form the patties like making tortillas (note: this was the fun part: flinging meat.) Slap the ball (golf ball size) from palm to palm to make them bind, the flatten into a 2 inch oval, about an inch or 2 in thickness. Flat ovals cook more evenly than meat balls. Lay the formed patties on an oiled cookie sheet until ready to cook.
5. In a hot skillet (pref. raw steel) heat combo of oil and butter, sear the meat patties on each side. Remove from heat and place on a serving dish with the light tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce
1. Peel and dice the Roma tomatoes. In olive oil, saute the garlic and tomatoes until the tomatoes break down (begin to liquefy.) Add the spices and continue to saute.
2. Add the vodka (flame on!) and deglaze slightly. (note: swirl the pan to get the crumbly bits off the bottom - no fan to keep the flames from shooting up, haha) Taste for doneness. Serve with polpettes on top.

Make sure the polpettes are just GOLDEN, not burnt. This was utterly delicious, and the lack of egg as a binder made the patties surprisingly light tasting.

Risotto with Chicken and Butternut Squash (enough for eight as a side)

2 C Aborio or Carnaroli risotto
Olive oil (about 1/2 C)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast (both lobes), cubed
1 T garlic, chopped
1 C onion, chopped
1/2 C Parmesan
6 C chicken (or if veggie, veg.) stock
1 butternut squash (check stem for greenness to determine freshness)
4 T butter, but into small pieces
1 C dry white wine

(cut the squash in half, then quarters. Two quarters get little pats of butter on them, then bake in 400 degree oven until fork tender, then pureed and set aside. Takes 40 minutes to bake, so prep the other stuff while baking. The remaining half gets cut into small dice, then sauteed in oil and butter until soft, then set aside.)

1. Saute the cubed chicken in olive oil until it's golden, then remove (do in small batches, don't turn the chicken until the one side is brown so it's seared - you want it still pink inside)
2. Saute the onion and garlic in butter until they are just soft, stirring constantly
3. Add the rice and 1 T butter to the above and heat thoroughly (this toasts the rice and opens the kernal for a) flavor and b) faster cooking)
4. Deglaze with the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until almost dry
5. start with additions of stock, adding by ladle about 1 1.5 C at a time, keep adding, stirring and cooking until rice is half done.
6. Stir in the butternut squash (both) and reduce heat to very low. Taste for doneness and then stir in Parmesan and butter and serve.

I would eat this every single day. The best risotto dish I've ever had, and it's the butternut squash that made it unbelievably creamy. Can do without the chicken if wanting only veggie friendly. <3 U Jess.


Carciofi (for eight)

4 Large artichokes (or 8 small)
1/3 C olive oil (we used SO MUCH olive oil, holy crap)
1 T dried oregano leaves (4 to 5 stems if fresh)
1 heaping T of Kosher sea salt
1 t. thyme
1 t. crushed red chiles

1. Trim the leaves of the artichokes (I'd not ever cooked artichokes before, so this was hacking off the top and snipping the tips of the lower leaves) and cut off the stems at the bottom
2. In a HUGE pot, fill halfway with water. Add all ingredients minus the 'chokes and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Slip the artichokes in UPSIDE DOWN and place a heave plate or a glass bowl (what we used) over them to keep them in the water. Slow the heat to a simmer, and cook for almost 45 minutes. (Don't over cook, or they'll fall apart.)
4. Drain the 'chokes and hold them with a lower to remove the center leaves and choke (usually purple in color.) With a spoon GENTLY scrape the last of the choke from the heart, leaving that intact. (my favorite part!)
5. Cut them in half if large and serve with dipping sauce of your choice. (note: we ran out of time to make the aioli sauce, but with the addition of seasoning in the cooking water, I didn't think it needed anything.)


Arugala and Basil Salad

1/2 # of arugala
20 basil leaves (no stems - too bitter)
1/2 C pine nuts, toasted (or sunflower seeds! I liked that taste as well - we made two versions)
juice of two lemons
1 oz/ vinegar (white distilled)
1/2 C olive oil (maybe less - taste it)
Kosher salt
1 small shallot

1. toast the pine nuts, if needed
2. mix the basil and arugala in salad bowl Mince the shallot finely and toss in processor or blender.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon, vinegar, SOME oil, and salt. - add to processor/blender. (note about blenders: take twice as long to chop so really let it run for a while)
4. Process the dressing, taste - adjust oil/salt as needed. (We only used about a 1/4 C of oil, and had some left over. Will keep for a week, refrigerated.)
5. Dress the salad right before eating, add nuts at the end.


Very fresh and cleansing on the palate. The lemon is strong, but pleasant. The basil was FABULOUS as a salad green.


Dessert: Risotto Dolce (what I made - HOLY MOTHER, SO DELICIOUS.)

1 C Italian rice
1 T butter
1 vanilla bean
1/2 gallon of milk (min. 2%)
1 1/4 C sugar
4 eggs
1 oz. vanilla extract (about a tsp. and a splash more)
tiny pinch of salt

1. In a deep (3-4 qt. pot) melt the butter and toast the rice. Stir to toast them all. (note: do not leave this dish. You need to stir almost the whole time. Bonus: can be made ahead of time by two days, max.)
2. Slowly add all the milk while stirring, along with the split vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to simmer, do not stop stirring (I made this with a woman who kept stopping to talk to people, and I gently nudged her out of the way to take over the stirring after the milk boiled over the side twice. She'd never cooked with milk before, wtf? IT WILL BURN, PEOPLE.)
3. Continue stirring (see?!) and when the rice is almost cooked (taste for doneness) beat the eggs, sugar, extract in a bowl. Temper the egg mix (add a ladle of the hot milk to the eggs - STIRRING CONSTANTLY to heat them up before mixing the eggs into the simmer mix. We all know this, right? Otherwise you get scrambled eggs.) then add to the simmering rice/milk, stirring constantly.
4. Pull out the vanilla bean, let cool slightly. Taste the mix for doneness - should be slightly chewy, but soft. Remove from heat. Scrape the beans from the pod and mix them in, pour into ramekins (8 - 10) or a SHALLOW baking dish, cover and refrigerate. Sprinkle the tops with sugar before serving and torch them to carmelize, like a brulee.

I wanted to bathe in this. The vanilla flavor so delicate, but perfect. Chewy and delicious. It still felt light after eating all the food we had, not like if you had a heavy dessert. I'm going to the store later today to get the ingredients to make this again. I can't stress enough how flavorful everything was.


He's coming back in 6 weeks to host an Indian themed class, and another class on Spanish cooking. I'll be going to both. YUM.


Last night Mr. S and I got a copy of the Police's Synchronicity tour on DVD, cranked the stereo and rocked out. That may be one of my all-time favorite albums EVER. Also, all the shots of Stuart Copeland in small white shorts with arms that are too pretty by half wasn't too shabby, either. I cannot express how hot I find drummers. MY GOODNESS. The arms! The rhythm! The short shorts so their legs can work! UNGH. Not to mention that Stuart uses a jazz hold - the traditional drumming style that rockers don't use - so he tapes his hands up and can do that WHILE PLAYING. Like, tape one hand and play with the other. WHAT?! He's a bad ass. What's funny is how my husband is a total fangirl about him, too, ahahahaha. Watch that second vid I linked and TRY and tell me that he's not FREAKING AWESOME. (And they're HAULING ASS through those songs, too!) Okay, I'm done nerding out on music now. :D

(And I need a drumming icon. I need an animated shot of Copeland being badass. *gets on finding something asap*)

[ETA] spikendru just sent me a cute Cinco de Mayo card (thank you!) and I forgot to post my margarita recipe for those of you that want to celebrate appropriately today! (Pinata in the shape of George Bush is up to you.) Under the cut!



First and most importantly is the tequila. (NO. JOSE CUERVO. He is NOT a friend of yours. Anything with a worm is RIGHT OUT, people. Ewww.) I prefer Milagro, but if you can't find that, Silver Herradura es muy excellente, I like silver tequilas over Anejo (triple distilled and gold) for the mellower taste. But then, I drink tequila straight, so...

Made By The Glass (and I use big ol' drinking glasses):

Crushed ice
1 1/2 jiggers of tequila
1/2 jigger Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
limeade (seriously - just make a pitcher and keep it in the fridge)
Squeeze of half a lime and a little bit of orange, if you want to make it FABULOUS.

Shake gently and guzzle.

I think to make a pitcher it's like... 1 1/2 C tequila, 3/4 C Cointreau (or Triple Sec), three limes, a half of a large orange (squeeze the juice only) and a ready to go frozen tube of limeade and two fills of water. Does that make sense? You know those frozen juices? They say to make it with 4 containers, I say only 2 to 2 1/2, depending on how limey you like it tasting.)

Bueno Cinco de Mayo, ay yi yi!!

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Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
brandil
May. 5th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
sounds like bunches of fun!
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
It really was! There were two women in the class that "knew everything" and funny how they... messed up two dishes. :D I loved listening to the chef talk about food. I can't wait for the Indian and Spanish classes. YUM FOOD!!
brandil
May. 5th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
know it alls, are highly entertaining.

made your marguerita's last night to much approval and drunkenness from the men.
southernbangel
May. 5th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
First, those recipes sound DELICIOUS. I am writing them down right now to try at some point. (Ooo, I'll be sending you an email in just a few with the recipes from my cooking class a few weeks back. The raspberry dessert I told you about? BEST THING IN MY MOUTH EVER.)

I LOVE FOOD.
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, MAN! I want to hear about this class of yours, too! (Oh, my chef was all with the Paula Dean love and Rachel Ray hate, HAHAHAHA.)

Those risotto dishes (which, I love me some risotto, mmmm) were two of the best I've had. The creaminess of the butternut squash was fabulous.

I want that raspberry dessert recipe!! I'm all jazzed about cooking again, and I haven't been for a while, so YAY CAKES!
southernbangel
May. 5th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
Check your email--just sent it.

I admire anyone who is a fan of Ms. Paula. How cannot you love someone who's all "Does this have enough butter? Let's add a couple of more sticks. And cream! And sugar!" Also, a woman that drinks melted butter (!!!!) is woman enough for me.

I adore risotto--I don't have it as much as I would like for lo, I am lazy like whoa when it comes to cooking sometimes, but I definitely want to try those recipes.
essene
May. 5th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I've always wanted to take a cooking class. But I pretty much suck as a student--I'm too much of a control freak.

That risotto looks awesome!

Gotta say that while old Police is pretty, I really think that Sting is one of those guys who only got better with age. Mmmm...age.
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
(Ha, I'm a control freak, too. But this was nice, because I made the dish - essentially - by myself. My "partner" was more about the chatting, which worked for me!)

ANd yes - Sting is GORGEOUS. (But for me, it's all about the drummers. Mmmm.)
superplin
May. 5th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, did they give you the portion sizes? As in, did they suggest the risotto as a recipe that "serves 8 as a side"? Because in Italy, risotto is never served as a side dish, always a first course (just like a pasta dish), so I'm curious about how they presented these things in class.

And yeah, Synchronicity is definitely in my top five albums ever.
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
Well, I say it's a side dish because we had the polettes, as well. It was a LOT of food on the table. The actual recipe says 4 people. We had 8, and we had leftovers. :D (We each had a ladle-full on our plate. You'd normally eat more of that and a salad, right? So.)

All the food was done about the same time, so we sat and passed dishes. It was about learning to prepare the food, not about the proper way to serve course.
superplin
May. 5th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
That's what I figured. I didn't mean to criticize, I was just curious about how they described it, because sometimes I have heard of cooking instructors saying some odd things.

The actual serving size might not really be all that much more than a ladle, depending on whether you had a second course afterwards. That would be the traditional way, but for various reasons a lot of families now just stick to either a first or second course.
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
No, no! Just wanting to clarify, is all. I'm all about the clarification. Especially when it's butter. Mmmmm, butter.

And what was fun about this guy is how knowledgeable he was in so many foods. Indian is his specialty, which is funny considering he's an Egyptian Jew that grew up in both Cairo and Brooklyn. :D Holy fusion, Batman!
thebratqueen
May. 5th, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
The Police - teh AWESOME. That is all.
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Ahahahaha, THE ICON. I clearly remember that episode!!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
SO. GOOD!!!!! *sneaks some leftovers to you*
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
How much do I love that you picked up the song? 44 Woodpeckers, that's how much!!

I HEART YOU BETH. Very much, and I'm proud of you too. Now go eat your cheese. ;D
entrenous88
May. 5th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I like the sound of the sweet risotto, and...

*reads entry more closely*

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We should totally go on a cooking school vacation together one day!
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Seriously!!! Would that not be the BEST vacation ever?? Taos is GORGEOUS. Throw in some spa treatments and I might think I died and moved into nirvana. :D
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
May. 5th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
Well, I do a lot of make-em-ups, and I think I don't make a lot of food from scratch, like I used to, that's all. *hugs you*

The Police ARE going on tour! I think it may have started, in fact, and Mr. S and I are going to the June date here in Dallas, and just be aware that I may choke up with emotion when I'm there. *g* I clearly remember dressing like them/the people in the concert footage, so add me in on that "how old am I?" tally. Heeeee!
cityphonelines
May. 6th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
The salad sounds awesome! Simple clean flavors. And a vodka and cream tomato sauce? My weakness.

The other day I made a dandelion greens salad with walnut crusted herbed goat cheese (lightly sauteed) with cranberry walnut dressing. So good. And last night I made a barley salad with basil, yellow grape 'maters and champagne vinegrette. Yum. This unemployment thing is so great.
stoney321
May. 6th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
That barley salad sounds SO GOOD. (All of it does, I just have a bag of barley in my pantry...)

COME COOK FOR ME, THANKS. :D
solipsiae
May. 7th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
You are so cute! You remind me of Amy Sedaris (irl)! I'm glad we finally got to meeeeeeeeeet!
stoney321
May. 7th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
No, YOU ARE!! *prepares to cut you with my knife if you argue* Angie, you are FREAKING ADORABLE. I called Beth the next day and spoke of your charmingness. I hope to see you again, SOON!!! *squish*
solipsiae
May. 7th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
POUNCY KITTEN ICON GAAAAAHHHHH

We'll pressure Beth to have another shindig for us to rub elbows at again soon!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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