My Perfect Bolognese

You guys know by now that I am obsessed with food. I love meat. I love carbs. Put them together, maybe add a little cheese on top? Foodgasm…I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. That said, it will come as no surprise when I tell you I am total sucker for a good Bolognese. It is hard for me not to order this when dining at an Italian restaurant. Some of my Seattle faves for a bowl of this meaty goodness – Cantinetta, Il Terazzo Carmine and La Spiga.

I have wanted to find the perfect recipe and make a batch at home, but the timing hasn’t been right. I don’t typically have 2-4 hours of simmer time available, which is what you’re signing up for when you make Bolognese (normally I make Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese). But yesterday, I did have the time, and it was a perfect day for it. I went to the UW game on Saturday night with college friends, we had so much fun, maybe a little too much. Tailgating like it was 1994, but with triple cream brie and wine. The weather was awful, raining sideways, winds up to 60 MPH, my power ended up going out. I think we watched like 20 minutes of the game. Good thing I had my wellies to keep my feet dry! Read More

My Sh*tty Dinner – Defeated by a Rump Roast

I consider myself to be a pretty decent cook. For the most part, I follow recipes and it all works very well. I am choosy about the recipes I pick, I only make stuff with a 4+ star rating. I read the reviews carefully and take the other comments into consideration before I make a dish. I am a thoughtful cook.

GFY Rump Roast  Rump Roast Dinner - it looks pretty

This doesn’t happen to me very often, but last night’s dinner was an abysmal failure. Like really, really bad. That roast beef was such a disaster, I had to throw it away. I hate throwing food away. I had visions of choking, this beef was so tough. I tried to get Oliver to eat it (after cutting it into the smallest pieces ever) and he said he didn’t like the “crunchy” meat. Yeah, I don’t blame you honey. Me either. He also didn’t like the rice. He loves rice! Part of the reason I made this recipe was the rice! It was long grain, white rice cooked in chicken stock, butter and salt – I mean, what’s wrong with that? It was actually pretty good, especially with the gravy from the roast, which did turn out deliciously. But he wouldn’t eat it. He did however, eat the roasted kale, so I got that goin for me.

Look, I’m sure the recipe is actually great, I just totally f’ed it up. I think things broke down with the cooking time/temp. The recipe called for cooking a 3 – 3.5lb rump roast at 275° for 1.5 – 2 hours, until the internal temperature reached 130°. I bought a smaller roast, 2.5 lbs, used my oven’s temp probe, and made the decision to cook at 325° (other roast recipes cook at that temp, it wasn’t that crazy) since it was getting a little later than I anticipated. The internal temp got to 130 in about 40 minutes, but the meat was clearly just not done and I had to continue putting it back in the oven. Meat no worky.

Please, please send me a recipe for your favorite Sunday roast. I need help. I figure I should be honest with you about the failures so you know I don’t just say everything I cook is amazing. It ain’t and this wasn’t. Just keepin it real.

 

 

Devirginizing the Kitchen – Skillet Rosemary Chicken

Yesterday was the first Sunday in a while that felt normal. Oliver and I woke up, snuggled on the couch for a movie, had my friend Courtney and her little guy Luca over, and did our Sunday grocery shopping. For dinner, I decided on one of my old faves, Skillet Rosemary Chicken and served with roasted kale.

One of the best additions in my new house is speakers in the kitchen and living room. I got the Sonos hooked up and had a little dance party while cooking. Oliver has some sweet moves, just sayin. I cannot even describe how much I love my new kitchen. It is so functional and beautiful and spacious, I feel like the luckiest lady ever. Cooking is a dream.

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Skillet Rosemary Chicken (courtesy of Food Network Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1lb cremini mushrooms, halved

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon. Stir things around so mushrooms and potatoes get coated by the sauce.
  4. Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

I can’t wait to see some of the search terms that come through after adding “devirginizing” to the post. Actually, I’m scared. You have no idea how many “best bloe job” (yeah, people who are searching for porn aren’t the best spellers) terms I see.

St. Patty’s Day Feast with Friends

I am not Irish. Although I am often told I look Irish, I’m actually a mix of German and Russian. That doesn’t mean I don’t have respect and appreciation for corned beef and cabbage because I do. I love it. Deeply. For the past 4 or so years, I’ve been doing the full meal deal for St. Patrick’s Day and it’s a dinner I look forward to making and enjoying with friends.

Jen was up for a visit from Portland this weekend and get ready for it, she’s moving to Seattle! I am beyond excited! We headed to Capitol Hill for dinner on Saturday at one of my new Seattle faves, Mamnoon. A “modern union of middle eastern cuisines”, the space is so cool, cocktails are delish, and the food is amazingly flavorful. We dined on minced lamb kabobs, lamb dumplings, steelhead tartar, (lots of) pita, hummus, and fried cauliflower. Oh the fried cauliflower. I dream about it. The first time I went there, we ate this and asked how they made it so amazing. They deep fry it. Yep, that does it.

Sunday we decided to have friends over and do the big St. Patty’s Day dinner. Our friends Farrah and Nicole and their kids joined. It was perfect. Good friends and good food (and good wine). Nothing better.

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St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Menu

Corned Beef

  • Market House brined corned beef (purchase at Metropolitan Market) – 5lbs
  • 2 cans Guinness
  • water

Directions – In a large dutch oven, place corned beef fat side up and cover in Guinness and water. Turn stove on medium until liquid heats up and then turn to low and cover. Cook for 3 1/2 hours then turn off stove and just let it sit until you’re ready to carve and serve. Note – we did a taste test of 2 different kinds of corned beef. No contest. If you live in Seattle and like corned beef, you must try Market House. It is the best.

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Roasted Carrots, Red Potatoes, Onions

  • 1 bag organic carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 bags red potatoes, halved lengthwise and quartered
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and cut into thick slices
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Directions – preheat oven to 375°. Place veggies in a large boil and coat very well with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake for 40 minutes, tossing along the way. After 40 minutes, turn heat up to 425° until veggies are browned to your liking. Toss with parsley before serving.

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Cabbage Two Ways

  • 3 heads green cabbage, centers cut out, sliced thinly (divided in half for each method)
  • 3T butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 3T stone ground mustard
  • liquid from corned beef pot

Ina Garten Sautéed Cabbage – Method number one for cooking the cabbage is so simple, it’s stupid. So deliciously stupid. I don’t even understand how it can be called a recipe, but Ina Garten did it. Her recipe calls for melting butter in a large saute pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, to taste, and serve warm.

Sautéed Cabbage with Stone Ground Mustard – Method number 2 was Jen’s idea. We took liquid from the cooked corned beef, about 3T stone ground mustard, salt and pepper and sautéed until brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Just keep tasting and adding elements to your liking!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not wearing green, Oliver will happily give you a little pinch.