What are you having for dinner? (wanna share your recipe?)

Pasta Carbonara

- Pasta of your choice (we used tagliatelle tonight)
- Bacon, chopped
- Onion Chopped
- Egg
- Parmesan &/or Pecorino Romano
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Extras >>> chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, spicy peppers, squeeze of lemon, etc.

Whilst your pasta is boilin to Al dente, sauté bacon & onion.
Turn off heat under bacon/onion
Add cooked pasta and splash of pasta water to bacon/onion
Break an egg over the top
Swirl in pan to create creamy sauce
Add any extras
Add cheese(s)
Swirl again
Plate and crack some pepper over top
 
I did this last week. Costco has these packages of seasoned chicken chunks, 10 individual portions to a pack, so I used eight of them, equals roughly a pound and a half, we are metric here, and I also had a bag of their real bacon crumbles. I nuked them for a minute to crisp them up and render out some of the fat. Easy pantry meal, you could use a rotisserie chicken or leftovers. I had all the above already at home:
 
Not for dinner but I made Basque Burnt Cheesecake and was putting it away for tomorrow because the recipe said it tastes better after being in the fridge overnight, and I got a little taste and holy moly 😲 the flavor profile is complex!

Here’s how I made it based on a couple recipes:
Prep a loaf pan or springform with parchment to make it easy to pull the finished piece out. I used something like a springform. Do not cook in toaster oven because parchment can catch fire there apparently.
Preheat to 450
The golden rule of cheesecake mixing, it seems to me, is to scrape the sides after every addition
Two bricks of cream cheese (8 oz each) room temp
Blend with 3/4 c sugar until creamy. Scrape.
Sift 2 T flour into a cup of heavy cream
Add that and blend until creamy. Scrape.
Add three eggs and one yolk one at a time, don’t forget to scrape those sides
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Blend.
Pour it in and bake until the top is literally black and barely smoking, which is about 30-50 minutes. Do not open oven before 30 minutes. The middle should be still be very jiggly.
I accidentally baked it at 425 and so mine might end up being too firm but the flavor is so amazing! Kind of like flan but more depth. It’s interesting to taste the bitter burnt part with the creamy sweet inside. I’m considering adding some blueberry compote.
 
I think I cracked the bean code!

I have tried making beans in a myriad of ways. Soak with baking soda. Soak with changing the water then briefly boil, change the water then simmer. Cook with veggies, cook without veggies.

I don’t have a pressure cooker so I’d cook them for hours and still they would be a bit mealy, not creamy. My city has very hard water so I sort of gave up. The flavor was usually bland.

I made two changes. One is I discovered baking soda brine!

You soak them in a solution with baking soda AND salt!

I soaked three cups of pinto beans (traditionally my least favorite bean) in 2 liters of water with 36g of kosher sea salt and 10g baking soda for 24 hours.

In a big pot I cooked chopped carrots, celery, and onions (about 1/2c each) in 3T of fat until soft. Added smoked pork neck and the beans which were drained and rinsed. Then 6 cups of filtered water (not hard tap water ) and some seasonings (spoonful of boullion, chili powder, and some dried epazote). The strange seasonings I added were a heaping teaspoon each of cocoa powder and decaf espresso grounds plus a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar.

I simmered for a good hour and a half to two hours. At the end I tasted and added a bit of salt and pepper. Winner! 🏆

I didn’t mash them but I could easily—so creamy! I like the soupy versión. The neck meat is great but we had to be careful about little bone bits. I drizzled mine with balsamic reduction that I made yesterday and that gave it a great sour note which made it almost like baked beans.

Regarding the balsamic reduction, it was my first time making it and something worth noting is that vaporized vinegar is quite irritating to the eyes! About the same as onions—had to turn a fan on and open windows because it took a couple hours to reduce six cups to about 1 1/2 cups. (Good thing Balsamic vinegar is pretty cheap, about $1 per cup.). In the reduction I had 3 T honey, 3 bay leaves, and 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Apparently some people put balsamic reduction on vanilla ice cream! Or strawberries. Am curious to try both.
 
Ottolenghi’s Turkey Zucchini Meatballs


This is the kinda thing that only takes about 20 minutes to make… and I make them all the durn time… that I have -no lie- spent the past 4 hours making. NOT because I’m catering a zillion of them, it’s just been a stop&start and stop&start and stop&start kinda day.

Hence deciding on this, because the whole “I can’t follow directions” thing tends to last a week or so, and I’d like foodables to eat over the next few days that require zero effort.
 
Had pasta with sautéed zucchini and lemony Alfredo sauce. Was making the Alfredo sauce—which is super easy (butter, cream, garlic, Parmesan cheese) and as I was getting out the cheese from the fridge, I accidentally dropped it, which wouldn’t be a problem if I had bought the stuff in the green can (no longer grating my own—no time for that) but I had bought the *fancy* stuff in a glass jar 😱. Yes I yelled a cuss word! And am reminding myself right now that I swore off buying things in glass due to my butterfingers 😤

Anyway, I had two other cheeses possible: cheddar and cream cheese. Went with cream cheese. And the results?

Texture was pretty amazing! Velvety! But it was missing a deeper and maybe bitter(?) quality that the Parm brings. It needed more salt than usual and a bit more lemon—but definitely yummy. Am feeling quite satisfied!
 
I made mushrooms in cream — can you tell I like cream? ☺️

Thickly slice a pound of mushrooms. Season. Simmer in butter about 15 minutes. Add a cup of cream and boil down. Add parm-romano-Asiago.

I felt like Remy 🐀 👩‍🍳 from Ratatouille. So good! Ate it with a baked chicken thigh—cooked in butter and lemon juice—and some roasted veggies.
 
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