Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

In which we find the Buffalo’s Wings.

Posted: April 30th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 31 Comments »

There has been much cooking since last I posted. Never y’all fear.

On Friday, we had planned to entertain some friends with macaroni & cheese, beer, and board games, but those plans fell through. Instead, Jesse and I went to a personal favorite restaurant, French Roast, for steak frites, steak au poivre, and creme brulee. It was fabulous.

Saturday night I worked late, as will be the norm until June.

Sunday, after working again, I made Friday night’s Roni Cheese. I feel like this was my best crispy crust ever, mostly because I think the sauce didn’t reduce enough, which meant that it could sit under the broiler a little longer to get crispy. Plus, I used freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano as opposed to canned or pre-grated parm. Huge difference, I feel.
Anyways, it was pretty delicious and while I’m sad that we couldn’t have Steele and Laura over for dinner to enjoy it too, at least it was delicious.

Monday, I made a recipe from Rachael Ray’s 365 No Repeats, which is one of my older, and favorite cookbooks. It was: Fresh Tomato and Basil Chicken, with Super-Creamy Polenta.

I love polenta. Especially when into the polenta, you stir Mascarpone and Parmigiano. It’s like eating grits for dinner!!! Plus, the chicken cooked itself into this really nice sauce, and there were grape tomatoes included…. and it was lovely.

Last night, after the shopping, I made a full menu from Rachael’s 2,4,6,8 which consisted of Bollywood Inspired chickpea and Tomato soup, and spicy chicken patties in a pita. Also, while in Trader Joe’s, I saw some beautiful orange and yellow tomatoes. I bought them, and sliced them with some red onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil as an appetizer.
Jesse is wary of tomatoes, so he wasn’t 100% enthusiastic about it — although he ended up enjoying the salad (which he doesn’t think is a salad, because it only had two vegetables in it, and no leafy green….. discuss….) I think.

The soup was very nice, and I think if I’d used lamb instead of chicken, the patties would have been great. Ground chicken as a rule is pretty dry when you make it into a patty, since you have to cook it all the way through. But with lamb or something, it would have been a little moister, a little nicer, but it was still nice.

Tonight, I made Buffalo Chicken pizza. We made the crust with some Hefeweizen, which was pretty badass. I do love beer crust, because it’s a little airier, although the beer doesn’t really get a chance to develop the same flavor as beer bread, but it does give lots of bubbles and stuff, and a great consistency. The chicken element was generated by grilling the chicken and then tossing it with some jarred buffalo sauce and butter…. then baked it with some jack cheese, blue cheese, and scallions.

It was yum-tastic. I’m very proud of it.

I love making pizza. The crusts are generally varied, and the toppings of course vary — you never get the same pizza twice and I love that. I feel that regularity with pizza is overrated when you make it at home. When you order it, of course, your pizza should be similar each time. But basically I like the quirks in pizza, the air bubbles and the burnt toppings and the cheese that stretches all over the place… it’s better. It’s way better than regular old boring pizza.

And in other news, tomorrow I starve, and Friday, the Burger Meister returns!!!

In which I’m blogging to convince myself I’m not starving.

Posted: April 24th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 24 Comments »

Right now, I’m blogging from my boss’s house. Their daughter is asleep in the bedroom, right next door, and I am posting this because she needs to sleep for a while longer before I can really order food or anything.

Tuesday night, we had tacos. I never find tacos to be that spectacular, although I always enjoy them. We had great guacamole, which was a team effort between the boyfriend and myself… meat, beans from a can, rice with a packaged spice mix (the shame….) and various veggies and cheese.

I guess tacos just don’t really inspire me. They’re yummy, but since the packaged seasonings you buy from Ortega are so good…. I really can’t figure out why one wouldn’t use them (besides the desire to not die from the amount of salt in the packet…. that, I get). And really….browning ground beef isn’t inspiring, and everything else involved is kind of just chopping…. I don’t know, it’s not that much fun for me I guess. But, They are a fun thing to eat together, and they always disappear, so those at least are good things that I take with me.

Wednesday (actually, the whole past week, come to it) was gorgeous. New York at this time of year, when you get a week like this, really reminds you why you live here…. especially after a dark and dreary winter. I’ve been having troubles going home lately, since I live so far away from Manhattan…. when I leave work I wander for a while, and then by the time I get off the train, it’s 7:00 and I’m going inside for the night, save for walking Bruno, our foster-dog. It’s depressing, when there’s still daylight and warmth at 7:00, and there’s nowhere to go in our neighborhood, and I’ve wasted an hour of daylight underground getting home.

I digress.

Yesterday, I was feeling those same feelings again. Plus, there’s no natural light in our living room or kitchen, so it just feels dark. So I was sitting in Madison Square Park, with Jesse, when I got so sad about the idea of going home, of wasting another beautiful evening inside a train and a dark apartment.

So, he suggested we get milkshakes from Shake Shack and maybe walk across the Williamsburg Bridge to get home. While the rest of the plan didn’t necessarily work out, we did eventually get milkshakes and cheese fries from Shake Shack, and we sat in the park and enjoyed them and each other. Because this place is so awesome, it took us well over an hour just to get to order our food – an hour well spent talking, enjoying the sun, getting freckles, and listening to The Crooners jam out. It was wonderful, and it was so nice.
I felt a little guilty, which I know is silly, because Kristin was at home and I didn’t know whether I was planning to be home or to cook or what…. but I came home eventually, once I felt better and the sun had gone down.

I made Salmon and Angel Hair.
I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper, a small drizzle of oil, and lemon juice. I put lemon slices on top, and sprinkled dill on top of that. I broiled them, but since I’ve never broiled salmon filets before, I didn’t know how long, and ended up having to flip them over (losing the lemon slices and most of the dill) to finish cooking. The angel hair, I tossed with a sauce of butter and olive oil, which was simmered with a few crushed garlic cloves that I removed before serving, and parsley.
I squeezed lemon over my plate before I dug in, but I didn’t recommend it to others because I was unsure. It was nice.

Next time, I will remember to season both sides of the salmon. And to broil both sides. Next time, I will not let the butter brown. Next time, if Kristin asks if I want to cook or if she should just order a pizza…. I will let her order the pizza.

Tonight, I’m working late as a nanny, earning my keep or whatever…. so I’ll probably order takeaway in a few minutes, which is lame. Oh well. Such is the life of someone leading a double life.

Next time,
In which Mac & Cheese is Entertaining!

In which we go to Kiev, for dinner.

Posted: April 21st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 25 Comments »

Ok. We didn’t really go to Kiev. But we had chicken kiev. And it’s almost the same thing, isn’t it?

Chicken kiev is one of those “20 minutes of active prep, 20 minutes of baking, tastes like it takes hours to make” dishes. My mom used to make it, when I was a kid, out of this cookbook that went out of print in the late 80’s, that she used for lots of things. I always see it come out when Thanksgiving rolls around, when she needs to roast a turkey. In 2006, I mentioned that I might like a copy of that book. My mom had to break a few ankles, threaten a few lives, and eventually she found it on Amazon, for way more than she’d paid for it in the early 80’s, because it’s out of print now.

So I got it for Christmas, and I’ve been cooking from it and using it as a reference book ever since. Chicken Kiev is one of my favorite recipes from it – something that my mother made exceptionally well when I was a kid. Or at least, that’s how I remember it.

I’ll give you the recipe, although pretty much, you’ve heard this song before. It’s too good not to share, in case you haven’t.

Chicken Kiev
Chop 1 shallot, 1 clove of garlic, three springs’ worth of thyme leaves, and one big sprig of rosemary leaves.
Smush them into about half a stick of softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the freezer while you complete the next steps.
Melt 5 tablespoons of butter (I know, it’s a weird amount, but still, it’s right).
Pound out as many chicken breasts as people you’re feeding. You want them thin. About a quarter of an inch. I use my rolling pin and sandwich the chicken breasts between plastic wrap.
Season one side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Cut off a piece of the compound butter (If you’re feeding 3 people, cut it into thirds, 4 people, cut it in fourths, and so on. If you’re feeding more than 4 people, use more butter) and smear it on the bottom of the chicken breast. Sprinkle this with shredded gruyere cheese.

Roll up the chicken breast like a burrito, and place on a plate to hang out. If you want to, you can use toothpicks. If you don’t want to (I never do), just put the seam down, to wait.

When all the chicken breasts are done and rolled up into little packages, roll them in the melted butter, and roll them in bread crumbs. I’d say about a quarter cup of breadcrumbs. Season with salt, pepper, and shredded cheese if you want to. I’d say shredded parm is good. Freshly shredded is excellent. It’s a good way.

Put them seam-side down in a baking pan, and drizzle with the remaining melted butter.

Bake in a 425 oven for about 20 minutes, until they’re not pink and the juices are clear.

The cheese will be gooey, the butter will be runny, and if you’ve rolled them up right, you’ll have a little buttery, cheesy sauce when you cut into the middle of them. Gorgeous.

I served this with a salad of spinach, salt, pepper, olive oil, Cassis Balsamic Vinegar, and shredded parm. It was lovely.

There, you harpies. See? Dinner.

I had a Riesling with this, which is my favorite white wine. I’ve recently become an Albino Wino. Heh. When I told Jesse that, he said that his brain had been broken. But, honestly – I have! We definitely haven’t bought red wine in a few weeks.

Ok, so here’s the deal. Until next time:
In which we go south of the border… for tacos. Heh.

In which everything is Gnocchi-Dokie!!

Posted: April 20th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 31 Comments »

Today was a great day.

I spent the morning getting brunch-drunk with some friends, the rest of the day walking around the city with my wonderful roommate, and the night making dinner for friends.
There’s nothing I like better.

I made Gnocchi from a recipe in Food & Wine. I’ve never made gnocchi before and I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t perfect. But it was pretty good. They were a little mushier than I was hoping, and I think that was a combination of not drying the potatoes out enough, pureeing them too much (I got lazy and decided that I would puree them in the blender. Bad call), and not adding enough flour. I’ll not make that mistake again. I was just afraid of them being too tough. It’s probably a common bread-baker’s fear. Anyways. I didn’t add the whole 3/4 cup of flour, because it seemed to have come together. I know better now. Next time, no problems. Maybe.

Anyways. I cooked for Jesse, my roomie Kristin, and our friends Steele and Laura. Along with the gnocchi, I made a combination of Chicken francese, and chicken marsala. Basically, it was thin-pounded chicken breasts, dredged in egg and flour, browned in oil and butter. I added sliced cremini mushrooms, and removed the chicken breasts. Then, I poured in some white wine, and some more butter. The pan sauce was fabulous. I put the chicken back in, covered it, and put it on low. Then, I sauteed the boiled gnocchi, heated up the sauce, and served.

Kristin took a picture of her plate, the first one I plated, which I’m about to show you all:

The Gnocchi should have been browned more. But they still tasted ok, and I think everybody got a few that had the perfect texture. I certainly did.

Everybody thought they were delicious, which was nice.

Even Bruno:

He jumped onto my lap to lick my plate.

Clearly, it was nommy even though it wasn’t perfect.

But at least there’s room for improvement. Next time.

IN fact, let’s go with until next time….
In which we start all over again.

In which I become the Burger-Meister

Posted: April 19th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 27 Comments »

So I’ve been having burger troubles lately. Maybe this is because my choice of cooking medium is not ideal. Maybe it’s because I’m adding egg when really, since I’m using 85% lean beef, I don’t actually have to use an egg. Either way, they’re not browning, and they’re falling apart and sticking to my beautiful ridged on one side, flat on the other Lodge Cast-Iron Griddle pan. So last night, I went back to basics. On the burgers, at least. Ground beef, a third of an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper. No funny stuff, no herbs, no egg.

I made the rolls.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in New York, high seventies, cloudless sky, beautiful sunshine, so I spent an hour after work sitting in Hudson River Park, watching the river and generally being calm and collecting freckles. I didn’t want to come home, but I knew that I needed to make the rolls, so I had to come home and start things. Especially since Jesse was at NerdHerd ‘08 and the reason I’d said I’d make the rolls was because I had time, since he was going to be there until close of day (8pm).

So reluctantly, I shirked the sunshine, shouldered my bag, and abandoned my bench to head home. Once there, I opened a bottle of the Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager we’d bought for the purpose, mixed it with the yeast and sugar, and set to making bread. (Sidenote: you can find the recipe for the bread here . To make it beer bread, just mix the yeast with a cup of beer instead of a cup of water, and pour the rest of the beer in when mixing the yeast mixture into the flour, and then add tepid water to compensate for the rest of the liquid in the dough.)

THe beer was lovely — once you swallowed it, you could totally taste strawberries, not beer, and it was just so light and beautiful. I took a sip before I started, to make sure it was a good choice. I love making bread with fruity beers, because you get this lovely yeasty/wheaty taste, with just a hint of sweetness from the fruit. It’s gorgeous.

In a rare moment, I got everything to happen at exactly the same time. The burgers were done and sitting wtih the lid on, off the heat to melt the cheese, when the rolls were finished. Kristin, my roommate, gave me the great tip that since the best way to know if bread is done is to thump the bottom and see if it sounds hollow, if it sounds the same at the middle as at the outside with a couple minutes left in baking, you’re pretty set. Everything was great. The burgers stayed together, the pepper-jack was just right, and the onions that I’d caramelized cooked a little quicker than I figured (my stove doesn’t have a low enough setting for caramelizing…. they cook too quickly. I need a heat diffuser. or a a better stove) but they were still nice and sweet and not browned.

It was great.

And it really made me feel good about burgers again. I’d been feeling pretty badly about mine, since they always tasted nice, but never really looked good, since they’d fall apart or stick to the griddle. Maybe it’s the fact that I didn’t use the egg. Also, probably I need to do some research and season my griddle, on both sides, so that it doesn’t have the sticking problem anymore. Sunflower oil alone is not enough. So, things to do, things to do. Always.

Tonight I don’t really have a plan for dinner, because Jesse may not be home, and because Kristin may be out, and because I had the luxury of knowing these things far enough in advance to decide that I’ll just make myself some scrambled eggs and sauteed spinach, or something akin to this, for dinner tonight. Or whatever else I feel like. Maybe I’ll buy a slice of pizza. Who knows.

Tomorrow night, though, I’ve got slated a recipe for Food and Wine for Meyer Lemon Gnocchi. My nanny boss advised me not to waste money on Meyer lemons in a situation like this, where you wouldn’t really appreciate the flavor and the essential oils produced. She said that regular lemons would work just fine, and while sometimes she’s a jerk, I trust her on food, at least when it comes to actually saving money. They’re splashy spenders, so if she says to save my money, I’ll take her word. She also mentioned that I don’t need a potato ricer, as long as I’ve got a sieve or a food mill. I’ll have to pick up another sieve, since mine is actually a flour sifter. But no biggie, they’re not expensive.

Plus, tomorrow morning I’ll be out and about, because one of my friends is entered in the NYC Run for the Parks tomorrow, and after that a bunch of us are going somewhere (I’m not sure where) for a $20 all you can eat (and drink) brunch consisting of (hopefully) lots and lots of mimosas/bloody marys. We will be worshipping at the Temple of St. Debauch, and all who are so inclined are invited to join in our worship, regardless of location. Heh.

After that, Kristin and I are going to walk across the Williamsburg bridge, so she can bust out her shnazzy camera that hasn’t seen nearly enough daylight this year, and take photos. Maybe she’ll even photograph the gnocchi prep as it goes on.

Also, one of my friends suggested I post pictures of my cooking. In all honesty, I would if not for 2 factors, one pressing and one just kind of a fact. THe first factor is the fact that neither I nor Jesse have a camera that actually works and is charged. This puts a damper on food photography, as well as photography of other kinds.
I could use my roommate’s camera – she’s just offered it, but this kind of brings us to the second factor. My food isn’t beautiful. For reasons on which I’m not 100% clear, I’m way more interested in the process of creating food than I am in the actual presentation or even the eating of the food. I mean, I want others to eat it, and I desperately want them to enjoy it as deeply as possible but for me, the enjoyment is all in the preparation. (Obviously I like to eat, but I much prefer to cook. Is this weird? I need a ruling on the field.)

So, I’m not sure what benefit photography would serve, since I’ve know photos of food to actually put people off their appetites. Although honestly, my breads are ready for their closeups, and the steaks I made last week deserved some face time as well. SO, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll start posting photos.

I AM the Burger-Meister, Meister-Burger. Heh!!!

Ok, till next time,
In which everything is Gnocchi-Dokie!! (I hope)

In which I do not burn the house down. At all.

Posted: April 17th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 31 Comments »

I’ve never broiled steaks.

I’ve grilled them once. My dad for some reason does not let me do the grilling, even though I am at least as good as he is, and have the potential to be better because I learn from his (occasional) mistakes.

On Friday night of last week, I undertook to broil a couple steaks.

I was feeling kind of flush, because I’d gotten my tax return and would be getting paid in a few days. So, I bought a couple huge steaks from Whole Foods, and got ready to cook some steaks. I consulted Alton Brown and my mother, to find out the particulars about broiling. Then, I coated my huge steaks with the dry rub my uncle gave me (which is basically salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a couple herbs — what I would have put on them anyways), and let them sit out at room temperature while I made the potatoes ready for the mashings (which means I cut them up and put them in the pot with water and salt, to boil).

Although I was very nervous, I fired up the broiler, got a cookie sheet lined with foil and my cooling rack. The recipe I’d read said the steaks needed to be 3 inches from the broiler – I couldn’t find the happy medium so I figured I’d just cook them for less time.

It turned out, I didn’t need to do that. Basically, I managed to cook it for 4 ish minutes on one side and 5-6 minutes on the other side (these were inch-inch and a half steaks. One pound each. HUGE) and they came out Beautiful!!! Medium-rare to rare, very juicy, well-seasoned. The juices that ran out while they were resting were a beautiful compliment to the Gorgonzola Mashed potatoes. I made too much, too many, which was happy because it meant that the next day, after I worked as a nanny for 15 hours, starting at 5am and ending at 8pm, I ate leftover steak and mashed tatoes and was happy.

Saturday, after my marathon day that began with the most awful night’s sleep ever, a cabbie calling me at 4am to ask me if he had my address correct, same cabbie calling at 4:38am to tell me he was there (I’d requested a car for 5am. Really?!), I fell asleep after watching Chefography on the Food Network until midnight (Rachael Ray was on!!).

I was a waste on Sunday, so my roommate cooked, a nommy situation of pasta and meat sauce, and just what I needed considering that I was so tired I slept for 11 hours AND took a nap. Or two. Heh.

Monday after I got out of work times two, I looked forward to getting home and eating dinner, but the MTA had other plans. I didn’t get home until after 10, when I’d left work at 8:30. Absurd. Stupid MTA. Anyways, Boyfriend and I created the coming week’s menu and went to sleep.

Tuesday was supposed to be Pumpkin Sage pasta with Sausage and Wild Mushrooms. However, my nanny boss had other plans. Unbeknownst to me, I had agreed to work on Tuesday night ( which I would never do), and even though I had things to do, I had to come through. So, Boyfriend and I did as much grocery shopping as we could before I had to dash to work.

I didn’t end up getting out of work until midnight thirty, which was approximately 3 hours after I assumed I’d be getting out of work. Jesse and my roommate ended up eating the sausage we’d bought, and when I finally got home round about 1am, my lovely and wonderful boyfriend made me Annie’s Mac & Cheese so I didn’t starve.

Last night we finally got back on track, after missing out on a chance to see Forbidden Kingdom for free and early (the line was so long! People had been waiting since noon), we came home and had Spicy Tomato Soup (boxed tomato soup, with cumin, chili powder, curry powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce) and Grilled Cheese Shaminses (the little girl I nanny for says “shamins” instead of sandwich…. SO cute) with Muenster cheese.

And tonight. Tonight real men made quiche.
Or at least, they made pie crust.

My boyfriend made the crust for tonight’s quiche, and when I got home from work at 9pm, it was Saran-Wrapped and waiting in the fridge for me to roll it out and blind-bake it. I love my blind-baking paraphenalia. Because honestly, it’s a piece of aluminum foil and some dried cannelini beans. And it’s going to be that until someone decides to buy me a set of pie weights. Which means I’ll be using foil and beans for a very long time!! :)

The interior of the quiche involved sauteed mushrooms, spinach, gruyere, eggs, milk, cream, and red bell peppers.

It was delicious.
Absolutely delicious.

And tomorrow morning, on my way to work, I will have something to munch on. Yummy Quiche Leftovers!!!

Tune in next time:
In which we feed the boyfriend after NerdHerd ‘08 (aka the New York ComiCon)

In which I remember what I planned to make for dinner tonight!!!

Posted: April 10th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 23 Comments »

One of the pitfalls of having a plan for dinner every night is that sometimes, you forget what you were meant to be making for dinner that night. Especially when it’s Thursday, and you made the menu on Sunday night, when you were on the verge of a massive head cold. I barely remember Sunday night.

Anyways, tonight’s menu was Chicken Pot Pie.

Because I’m sick, and I knew I’d have to nanny tonight, and I knew my nanny boss would not be true to her word and try to get out early from class (she doesn’t remember little things like…. her daughter got her nanny sick, so keeping them together when they’re tired, maybe not a good idea), so I asked my boyfriend to do some of the beginning steps, that would be easy-ish, but time consuming when arriving home from work at 9pm.
*Quick sidenote about my boyfriend – he’s a very smart guy and by his own admission, he used to be a very competent cook. However, as a result of living with excellent cooks for nearly the last ten years, he hasn’t ever….had to cook. So, he has lost his confidence. Tragically.*

So, I asked him to poach chicken breasts for me, and to make the pie crusts. I was pretty sure that I could fix any mistakes he made on the crusts (which are notoriously fiddly, and based on feel, rather than on precision measurement), and if it was a total wash, which I wasn’t expecting, I could whip new ones together and not let them rest in the fridge. I left him specific instructions, and he complied with them.

I came home to find that he had only completed one crust, which makes sense when making your first crust, I suppose. He cranked out the second one within 15 minutes, though, and they hit the fridge while I made the rest of the components (namely, sauteeing a diced shallot, a box of frozen veggies, and 5 sliced crimini mushrooms in butter, adding worcestershire, rosemary, and poultry seasoning, and then making a cheesey bechamel sauce into which the chicken and veggies were mixed).

When I rolled out the first crust, I realised it had gone perfectly. Perfectly.

The second was not so lucky, but it was only a bit dry. And frankly, a bit dry is WAY better than gummy or too wet. So I patchworked it onto the pie, sprinkled it with cheese, and set it in to bake.

It’s delicious.

Freaking delicious.

If I wasn’t more interested in going to sleep than in anything else, I’d probably eat more now. I’d definitely eat some for breakfast tomorrow, but I will be too busy running from the shower at 7:10 back to my bed for 20 more minutes’ sleep while my roomie is in the shower.


So, until next time,
In which we steak a claim!!! (see what I did there?)
In which Joh tries to not burn down the kitchen broiling steaks.

In which we experience the Risott-Ohhhhh Face

Posted: April 9th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 1 Comment »

I made risotto tonight. I’m pretty darn good at making risotto. It’s yum-tastic.
Tonight, I made risotto with spinach, mushrooms and gorgonzola. Even better than yum-tastic.

Basically, since I haven’t been able to taste much, I’ve been kind of disappointed and disheartened about cooking. Plus, for as grateful as my boyfriend is about my cooking, my roommate still takes for granted that I’m cooking dinner for her every night for free.

Tonight, I sucked it up and made the risotto. These flavors are so strong, I figured I couldn’t miss them. Stupid sickies.

I sliced up cremini mushrooms, and sauteed them in butter and garlic. Once they were soft and lovely, I added salt, pepper, and a few handfuls of baby spinach. I sauteed that too, briefly, and moved the lot to a bowl to cool down.

While all that was going on, I heated up the chicken stock. About 4 cups, plus a cup or so of water. I also chopped up a few cloves of garlic and a shallot. A big shallot. Sweat them in butter for a few minutes, with a pinch of salt, while measuring out 2 cups of Arborio rice. Throw the rice in the pot and stir it around for 2 or 3 mintues. It should go from looking white, to looking clear. NOT BROWN. NO BROWN. BROWN IS BAD!!!!

Add lemon juice or a glass of wine. I’d say from my experience, lemon juice is better. Then, add ladlefuls of hot stock, one at a time, with a pinch of salt, and once the liquid evaporates into the rice, add the next ladleful of stock. Turn the heat down all the way, as low as it can get.

Keep ladling in the stock until it’s all gone. With the last ladleful, throw in a lump of butter. Mix it in, then grab the bowl of mushrooms and spinach. Stir that in, and get your Gorgonzola crumbles. Add about a handful, or more if you want more. Taste taste taste, and then serve. Eat. Smiiiile.

My boyfriend made his “mmmmm” face, the face that’s the reason I cook, when I made this for him tonight. I’ve re-named this face the “Risott-ohhhhh” face. Like the Oh face guy from Office Space. Y’know, Oh!??


And on that note, we close. Until next time,
In which we remember what Thursday night’s planned dinner is.

In which we get a feeble excuse.

Posted: April 7th, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 22 Comments »

I haven’t been posting. I could chalk it up to being sick, but I only got sick yesterday, and I’m worse today. Mope.

The cassoulet was pretty good, although when it first came out it was kind of bland. It set up and was pretty delicious.

Saturday, we didn’t eat together, because we each had plans that night.

Sunday, I made biscuits and fried chicken. The biscuits were heavenly. THey were heavenly. Light, flaky, airy, they were delicious. You’d think I was southern. But…. I’m not.

The fried chicken wasn’t as great as it always is, but it was still pretty good. SOmething was just off. I’m not sure if it was the preparation or what, but something just wasn’t as awesome as usual. I’m not disappointed though, because the biscuits were so bangin’, it makes up for it.

Today, we were supposed to go grocery shopping because I’m supposed to work tomorrow night, but I’m so sick that I couldn’t work with the baby tonight. In fact, I came home after work and crashed. So, I ordered from Fresh Direct, and was able to reasonably replicate the dinner we had planned for tonight. Tomorrow should be salvageable too, since it’s left-overs. Hopefully by the time Wednesday rolls around, I’ll be able to taste, so I’ll be able to cook.

Also, until I’m able write about my cooking (and sense of taste) again, watch this and marvel:

It’s hot. I promise.

In which I handle some meat.

Posted: April 3rd, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 23 Comments »

Making burgers can be pretty zen for me. I like to do it. Basically, it’s not something I worry about screwing up, even when I’m making them for other people, and things like that are rare for me. Not that I worry about screwing up when I cook a lot, but, I am typically concerned about things not going as planned. It’s very nice when I get to make burgers, and they go as planned. Very nice indeed.

These burgers were kind of disappointing, because they fell apart rather than holding together. I think I need to go back to basics. But in all honesty, they were pretty tasty. Plus, they had amazing cheese (porter cheddar) and delicious french fries on the side. It was a good din din.

I promise to write more tomorrow, when we make cassoulet. It should be delish. It’s my Gourmet Magazine recipe of the week. :)

In which I make my own breadcrumbs.