~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ultimate Tagliatelle Bolognese

 I have to say the family had no problem finishing this off. It was a Sunday, I had plenty of time...and taking your time with sauces make all the difference.

Bolognese...the sauce...not this!...comes from the Emilia Romanga region of Italy...where many legendary food items come from, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma. With all that yummy stuff...how could the sauces not be great? I could eat my way through Italy.

There are many variations. One interesting thing to me is herbs are sparingly used in a classic bolognese sauce, not heavy on the oregano or basil. You could finish it with some chiffonade of basil (which I explained here how to do it on a previous post)...I have seen some versions with a small amount of marjoram, thyme or a sprig of rosemary added while it was cooking away, so since I have a giant rosemary bush, why not? That's the only herb that I added. Same with spices...other than salt and pepper, I occasionally have seen nutmeg.

I thought it was going to be "Battle Royale" in the kitchen as Mrs. Blogger Man is whipping up some of her scrumptious oatmeal and raisin and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies from a handed down recipe...but we played nice and the cookies helped fuel me. Yum!

I want to apologize and say something about the messed up photos. I took them with my iPad (they came out just fine), only to discover I could not upload them onto my blog. So I had to get the Photobucket app, save them there then get on the laptop and bring them back down then load them to the blog. I think those generations is what messed up the quality.

The sauce begins simply with an onion, garlic, a carrot and one rib of celery.

Whirl up the onion and garlic...

...and get it going in your heavy pot in some olive oil.

Many recipes call for pancetta (a fancy type of Italian bacon) at the beginning for obvious flavor and the cooking fat. I didn't have any but I did have a piece of chorizo, not too spicy but full of flavor. It wasn't too big either so I knew it would not make the sauce into a Mexican salsa. So now the chorizo is getting happy with the onion and garlic.
And while that is cooking...

buzz up to finely mince your carrot and celery...

...and add  it to the pot with some S&P.

 Once the veggies are becoming soft, add in one pound of hamburger

After you no longer see and pink meat...

I added in smidgen...not a pinch, not a dash...of nutmeg...a little goes a long way.

The rosemary sprig...

...and about 1 cup of red wine. Again, other versions use white wine. Whatever.

I added the tomatoes, a 14oz can of crushed and another can of petite diced, both with the juices.

Add 2 cups of whole milk and let it do it's thing...stir it once in a while over very low heat with the lid on. Taste it and adjust for salt and pepper. I let this go for about 2 hours.

So I though if I was going through all this work I should serve it with fresh, homemade tagliatelle pasta...which is a wide, flat pasta. To do it the old school way, dump 3 cups of flour right onto your work area and make a well in the center...

...add 4 eggs, about 1/2 teaspoon salt and good drizzle of olive oil into the center well.

 With a fork, carefully mix and swirl the eggs, gradually incorporating more and more flour, trying all the while to not break the round dam...

...keep going, you're getting there...

...fast forward...all mixed and kneaded for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a bowl, cover and let it rest for at least a half hour.

 Divide into 4 pieces, keep 3 under wraps and...

...flatten one out with the palm of your hand...

I'm the lucky owner of Kitchenaid pasta attachments, a roller and spaghetti and linguini cutters. I have tried (once) to roll it out by hand with a rolling pin before I owned them...again I only tried it once.

...run it once through the pasta roller on #1 or the thickest setting, fold over and repeat...

......then run it through each size setting until you reached the second from last. It will be about 2-1/2 feet long and about 6" wide.

Cut the final sheet in two, roll it up length ways and slice...remember they expand so think ahead on what width you want...3/8" is about right

Then you have this! Make sure you sprinkle it with bit of flour so it won't stick together.

To finish the sauce I tossed in about 1/3 cup of pecorino romano

For a side dish, I made a quick vinaigrette...S&P, garlic, some herbs, red wine vinegar and EV olive oil and tossed it over some veggies from the fridge. The ratio is 3:1 for oil and vinegar...and if you can't remember which is which, just think "do I really want to taste 3 times the vinegar?"...so for this it was 1 tablespoon vinegar and 3 tablespoons oil...put it all in a plastic container, shake it to coat everything and leave it in the fridge.

Mrs. Blogger Man made some delish garlic toast...

Fresh pasta only takes 2 - 4 minutes (depending on the type) to cook...in GENEROUSLY SALTED WATER...the add the PASTA TO THE SAUCE in a pan. Don't dump the sauce in top of your pasta on a plate. Adding the pasta to the sauce allows the sauce to incorporate into the pasta, some pasta water will help flavor and thinken the sauce and most importantly...because that is just how you are supposed to do it. A good article can be found here about all that.

Toss it all together and serve...I added a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano and few red pepper flakes.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One of My Favorite Restaurants...

Which is it?

Can I go?..huh? can I?...huh?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Real Deal Mexican Meal...

This is a just quick post about a dinner I had when in Yakima on a business trip to a conference. I checked out Yelp for a top rated Mexican spot...well, "when in Rome..."

Antjohitos Mexicanos. An "antjoito" is defined as a street snack. I didn't really scan the menu too much...I was on a limited budget so I wanted the most bang for my buck so I went with 3 tacos.

1 pollo (chicken), 1 carnitas (shredded pork) and 1 carne asada (grilled shredded beef...or maybe grilled beef which is shredded). 

The cool thing about this place is that you don't get one salsa...not two, not three...but 6 different salsas plus some sliced limes.

Like my title said..."real deal"

Here's a blurry picture of them.

From the upper left, clockwise is pico de gallo, sliced limes, a mild salsa, the hot salsa, the medium salsa, a thin avocado/lime salsa and salsa verde.

I was in heaven!

The chips (75¢) were actually 4 crisp, flat tortillas that you break up. Then the trio of tacos arrived...and I was confused. What salsa to use? One bite with each for each taco? Or do I keep it simple? What I did do is try each first with no extra added salsa...then I might be able to tell which make work better.

I didn't help...it was all good, with or without the salsas. The came simple...two 5" soft corn tortillas for each, topped with onions and cilantro...and they didn't scrimp on the meats, they were stuffed. The tacos were $2 each and a $2.50 beer and the chips...I got out of there for about $10. Oh, plus the 2 salsas I bought to-go for $1 each.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ochoco Ranger Cabin

Howdy folks...this here's Ranger Darryl checking in from the Ochoco National Forest in Oregon.  We rented a ranger cabin about 25 miles east of Prineville into the mountains. No cell service, no phones, no TV so I had to send this post in by way of morris code and ham radio.

This place is wild...wild horses...wildflowers...all out in the wild west.

And what better to have for dinner in a place like this...clean air, big Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines, juniper trees, sagebrush, rushing rivers...and a peaceful silence...than chili cooked outdoors and a cast iron dutch oven?

Now I know, we all have cooked chili, so this post is no big deal. Same stuff...just different approach.

One reason to come here is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument...a place we have never been to. I am glad we went.

The painted hills unit was our favorite

The cabin has a make shift fire pit out back...a farmers tractor plow disc welded onto a tire rim. I first got the coals going.

I got out all my ingredients...kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, a pound of ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, mexican oregano, sage, salt, pepper and of course chili powder. I pre-mixed at home some standard chili powder, ancho and Gebhardt's brand. Gebhardt's is long used by competition chili cook-offs. I also brought along some masa flour to be used as a thickening agent if needed.

I diced up the onion and mixed up garlic...tossed it in with some oil and then added the beef. Once that was well on it's way, I added the spices. Doing it at this moment will "bloom" the spices which will help enhance and push up the spices flavors.


I dumped in everything else, set the lid on and let it go...the longer the better.
Again, no big deal here...just chili burbling' away on the campfire. Mrs. Blogger Man is inside whipping up some cornbread for us to drizzle honey over.

Wide open spaces