Monthly Archives: January 2010

Bechamel Sauce p. 57

I was a little intimidated at first by the fancy name, but this is not a complicated sauce. In fact, I don’t even need to look back over the recipe to remember how to do it.

Start off by melting two tablespoons butter (you can use olive oil if you want). When its melted, add in two tablespoons flour and whisk quickly. Whisk for a couple of minutes. The book says it should turn tan, but mine never really did. Then slowly pour in milk or cream. I used about a cup and half. Whisk while adding a bit at a time. Let it cook until the sauce is a thick. Season to your liking and serve.

I wish Mark Bittman would have given a few suggestions for use of the sauce because I would love to use it more in the future. I had purchased some creamy pumpkin ravioli from a local shop and served the sauce over it. It was perfect together. Creamy and rich.



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Shrimp Stock p. 159

After making spicy shrimp, I saved the peels to make stock. Put your shells in a pot with onion, carrot, and celery or whatever you have or not. I love it when things are optional. I had carrot and celery and that’s all I used. For this stock you only add about 5 cups of water, so it doesn’t make as much as say chicken stock.

Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Once cool you can refrigerate or freeze it.

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Chili con Carne with Tomatoes p. 429

We had some very cold weather not too long ago and every time it gets really cold I crave chili. My mom makes the best chili, but I had never tried making it myself before.

This recipe calls for using dried beans, which is not how Mom makes it, but I was up for the challenge. Put the beans in a pot and cover with water. Let it boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the beans are soft. Drain the water once the beans are tender. Add in chile (if you want), cumin, oregano, and garlic. I opted to add tomatoes, so I added 1 can of chopped tomatoes. I also opted for ground beef. Throw your browned meet in at this point as well. Let it come to a boil and then cover and turn to low. Let it cook for another 15 minutes before serving.

Mark Bittman suggests serving with cilantro, which was nice, but I can’t have a bowl of chili without a huge sprinkling of cheddar cheese.


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Mixed Spicy Vegetables, Thai Style p. 374

This is an interesting vegetable dish for a week night. Its also very flexible to what you have and what is in season. While not exactly in season, I used squash.

Start by cutting your vegetable into chunks. The recipe calls for onions, but of course, I had to leave them out. Heat some oil in a pan and throw in your onions if using. Let them soften. Then add chopped garlic, chiles, and your vegetable. Cook until the vegetable softens. Add coconut milk and lime leaves (I used zest. I had never heard of using leaves before.) Let it simmer for a few minutes and add soy sauce or fish sauce. I had recently purchased fish sauce out of curiosity and found in this dish that I do not like the flavor. Use soy sauce instead.

Serve warm.


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Pizza!! p. 178-181

Bryan loves pizza, I don’t care for the chain pizza or the frozen stuff, so I’m never really up for pizza. But one night, I wanted to surprise him. So I prepared some pizza dough and got out a variety of toppings.

To make the dough you mix flour, yeast, and a pinch of salt. I mixed mine with my new stand mixer to make it easier. Once it turns into a ball remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for just a minute until its a nice ball of dough. Put it in a bowl, cover it, and let it rise for an hour or two.

Once its risen, divide it in half. Each batch of dough makes two decent pizzas. Bryan ate his in one sitting, but I saved a few pieces for lunch the next day. So prepare accordingly. I made two batches of dough at the same time (different bowls though) because we were having company for dinner.

Once divided, wrap it in a towel and let it sit for another 20 minutes. I’m not sure why, thats just what the book says.

Now we’re ready to make pizza. On a floured surface or on a pizza pan, roll or form the ball of dough into your pizza. I rolled out one, but found the best way for me t was to work it out with my fingers. It was also, weirdly calming.

Mark Bittman gives lots of variations and ideas for pizza toppings, but I just pulled out anything I thought might work and let each person make their own pizza. Once topped put it in the oven for only 6 -12 minutes, keeping an eye on it. Pretty easy.

We used pepperoni, left over cooked chicken, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, marina sauce, and fresh rosemary.

The crust was delicious. I love a bread-y crust and thoroughly enjoyed each bite.

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Spicy Broiled Shrimp p. 574

Ingredients:garlic, salt, cayenne, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice, shrimp.

This was an easy recipe that is great for either appetizer or light entree. I’d love to try this at the beach with really fresh shrimp or scallops.

Mix together all ingredients except for shrimp. Then dip or coat your shrimp in the sauce. Broil or grill until cooked.

Yep, that’s it. It was indeed spicy, but you can control the heat by how much cayenne you choose to use.

Be sure to drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the finished product for an added zing.

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Chicken with Yogurt and Indian Spices p. 650

Ingredients: chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne, cumin, coriander, cardamon, tumeric, cinnamon, yogurt, cilantro.

Start off by heating your oil. When hot, throw in your chicken pieces (I used boneless breasts) and brown them on all sides. Remove from the pan. Next you will cook your onions if you are using them, I did not. Next you will throw in your chopped garlic and ginger as well as spices. Stir in the yogurt. (I have tried several similar recipes and those all called for the yogurt towards the end with minimal cooking time. I was worried about this step and I think my fears were not for nothing.)

Add in your chicken pieces and lower the heat. You will cook until the chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked through. I had to rearranged my chicken pieces every 5 minutes so that they were all evenly cooked.

In the end, my dish had a very weird consistency that I fear was from over cooking the yogurt. Everything tasted fine and it was delicious, but I just don’t think it was supposed to end up this way.

Served over Rice Pilaf

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