Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Linguini alla Carbonara Attempt 1

I do not believe I have had pasta alla Carbonara in any sort of restaurant setting, or ever for that matter, and as such I have no idea how it is supposed to taste.  What I made certainly tasted good, but I can not speak to whether it tasted proper.  Regardless the recipe is an interesting one which breaks some of the safety norms my Mother and Father instilled in me at an early age.

The preparation of linguini Carbonara shown in a recently watched Diners Driveins and Dives episode inspired me to try this dish out for myself.  I have very little to say about the recipe itself which is not already said on the Food Network site since I followed it fairly closely.  For those like myself who are accustom to cooking our eggs before eating them out of fear of salmonella, dropping raw eggs into the pasta after it is off the heat was rather counter-intuitive.  Doing so however leads to a very rich velvety texture and taste.  It's definitely a heavy dish however and I would not advise having it along side a meat course (or if you do, have a very limited amount).

I am definitely no food photographer.  Not the most colorful plate either.  If you are going for presentation value I'd suggest getting some greens to sprinkle on the dish.  If you're going for taste, it doesn't matter as much.

Also, if you are making it for your wife, I advise waiting until after she has eaten it to tell her that it contains raw egg.  If I had told Laura before hand I question whether she would have had it in her to actually consume the dish.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Dates

This week I was inspired by my last meet up with my co-author Stefan to cook come bacon wrapped dates.  We attempted to cook some at his house some time ago while making pulled-pork monte cristos (something I may or may not write about in the future), however, since we were slow cooking pork butt in the same oven (temperature was too low to cook the bacon properly) and since we had both had too much Bourbon (we weren't paying that much attention), I do not think they turned out as well as they could have.  Determined to one-up the prior experience, I added a ricotta stuffing to my dates prior to cooking.

Making bacon wrapped dates is remarkably simple.  The hardest part, in my opinion, is finding the dates.  I was able to find some pitted dates by the prunes and raisins at my local Dominics.  After finding the dates, the next complex part is the stuffing.  I used store bot ricotta, spooned into a zip-lock bag.  I then cut out a small corner of the bag to create a make-shift piping bag and used that to squeeze the ricotta into the whole left from the pitting process.

The components involved in the process - sans toothpick (not to minimize the contribution of the toothpick)

Then comes the bacon wrapping.  The size of the dates I had was not overly large so I was able to use a quarter strip of bacon to wrap them (cut the bacon in half length wise and width wise).  The package is held together by a toothpick (tip: don't forget to soak your toothpicks in water so they don't burn) and placed on a parchment lined baking sheet.  For myself and Laura I made 10 dates since they are very rich and I did not want either of us to be too full since I was making carbonara later (maybe another post).

After all that, 450 degree oven - 15 minutes.

End result - delicious.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Fried Chicken Revisited

Tonight I revisited my Fried Chicken post.  Since the initial post I've found some reasonable gluten free flour so now I toss the legs in a flour spice mix.  To date however I've been working primarily with rosemary and thyme.  Today I wanted to take a stab at the "11 herbs and spices" variation on fried chicken and thus used a little more than the two spices. 

I was actually going to count out 11, but around 6 I forgot to continue counting, because I was yelling about something ridiculous happening on The Bachelor in the other room.  Some of the spice highlights are:
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
The chicken did not turn out tasting like KFC, but it did turn out quite nice.  

I've read that many chickens are rushed to market, a scant 20-some days after hatching, which evidently is too short a time for them to develop full flavor.  This being said I have no idea how to find more mature chickens, but if I do find out I would love to do a side-by-side comparison.