Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baked Crespelle with Bolognese Meat Sauce

Can I just say, "Yum!"? Yum! This recipe was a pretty time-consuming one, but since I had an open day, I didn't mind "dinking" around in the kitchen! The Bolognese sauce takes a minimum of 3 hours to simmer and thicken, but the wonderful aroma wafting throughout my kitchen made it worth it! This sauce has a fun process, too--after sauteeing the onions, celery, and carrots, and after browning the ground sirloin, the mixture simmers in a cup of milk until the milk reduces out. Next, one cup of white wine was added, and then cooked until it evaporated. Finally, I added the tomatoes! Cooking the meat in the milk before the wine and the tomatoes protected the sauce from the acidity of the wine and tomatoes. And, even better yet--there's a secret ingredient: nutmeg! Wonderful! Overall, the flavors were wonderfully balanced.


Next came time to make the crespelles. Basically, they are like a crepe, or a very thin pancake. The batter was super-smooth and each crespelle was made out of 2 tablespoons of the batter. Quick and easy, but making about 16 of them (one at a time) took a bit of time. Fortunately, if I ever served them to company, they can be made in advance.

The recipe called for another sauce, a Bechamel sauce (looks better when the accent mark is over the first "e" like it is supposed to be!). It is a basic white sauce that is combined with the meat sauce for the filling and the topping. It made the meat sauce creamy.

The finished dish, fresh out of the oven! A sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and 5 minutes in the oven. I broiled them for a couple of seconds before pulling it out, just to crisp them up a bit. As you might have guessed, there are none leftover! (Sorry I didn't stage the plate better--we were anxious to eat!)
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Here We Go!

Here is my first meal from my cookbook! It was absolutely delicious!

Frittata with Zucchini and Basil
Macerated Orange Slices

This meal was simple, both in ingredients & flavor, and in preparation. The oranges were supposed to refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours; however, due to some poor planning on my part, they only were in the fridge for about 2. They were still delicious! So refreshing!

I baked the frittata in a cast iron skillet in the oven. (The skillet was my new find today from TJ Maxx!). It turned out great!
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Welcome!

Welcome to my newest adventure: Cooking through an Italian cookbook!

Now, before you accuse me of copying "Julia & Julie," the movie was not the inspiration behind this blog.

A couple of things you need to know about me:
*I love to cook. Absolutely.love.it. I am inspired by it, and often, cooking re-energizes me in a way that few other things do.
*I love Italian food. Pasta, garlic, basil, olive oil, tomatoes. Love, Love, Love!!
*I love to talk about food.
*I already blog about my family.
(So, it is only natural for me to blog about cooking!)
*I am not Italian. I wish I could claim such a rich cultural and culinary heritage. But, I am simply a small-town American girl.
*My husband is not Italian, either. But he loves garlic, basil, olive oil, tomatoes, and most of all, pasta! He loves to eat; I love to cook. It is the perfect marriage!

I am excited to cook my way through this cookbook, learning our tastebuds' preferences as well as learning to cook Italian-style. I will post pictures as often as I can of my finished meal, but my camera is a bit lousy, so I make no guarantees about this. I will not post the recipes, as I don't want to have any copyright issues. You can reference the recipes via the cookbook.

Oh, another thing. I don't have an ending deadline, like the aforementioned movie had. Nothing magical happens after a year. I simply want to cook, and cook my way through this cookbook. It is my hope to do this as authentically as possible, and I don't want to rush the process. So, if my family and I decide at some point that we are going to have chipotle enchiladas for dinner, I will feel zero guilt about that! I'm just sayin'.

I am going to go ahead and go live with this blog, but hang on as I tweak and "decorate" it to my style and tastes.

I love reading comments, so please leave them! And often!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure! I'm excited!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen! My name is Karla and I am a 30-something wife, mom of 3, and a self-taught cook. I love spending time in my kitchen, creating something fabulous tasting. I often have several different things going on at the same time, but I find that I enjoy the multi-tasking facet of cooking. Of course, like any journey, this culinary journey of mine is constantly changing as my experiences grow and my tastebuds explore new flavors and textures.
You must know this about me: I love, love, love my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I would run back into my burning house (if my house caught on fire, of course!) to rescue it. I have affectionately named it "Betty." I am looking foward to accessorizing Betty with a pasta maker and an ice cream maker in the near future.

Last year, I spent some Christmas money on another great addition: a Cuisinart 7-cup food processor. It is lovingly called "George." George makes a wonderful 30-second pie crust---Amazing! I have been known to refer to all my meals pre-George as "rubbish." ;)

So, grab a cup of coffee and let's get cooking!