Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Battle Begins

I am currently battling with my computer. Not that there is anything wrong with it; I am just WAITING for something to be wrong with it. You see, it is brand new. And new things just seem to have little bumps in the road.

I think my computer smells my fear. It knows I am scared of it; so, it is taking advantage of my nerves and acts up just a little. At what point do you decide something is wrong. Or at what point do you decide, Oh this is what it is supposed to do?!

So in the mean time, I hosted one of the biggest events EVER this last weekend and I took ZERO pictures. The amount of cursing in my head about this huge mistake is deafening. I am really mad. I took a couple pictures of the prep work. Okay, only two pictures of the prep work and it was of my red stained hand after rolling Red Velvet Cake Truffles. Woopity Doo!

I hosted the meeting of my parents and my "person's" parents. It was a Saturday night. It was an appetizer type party. There was lots of drinking. The appetizers came out in waves.

The first wave (all recipes will follow):
Rosemary Cashews (a fortuitous gift from a student)
Mini Frittata three ways: bacon and leek, ham and swiss, and potato, onion and red pepper
Cocktail Shrimp
A trio of dips: Salsa (my standard recipe), black bean (my standard recipe), and hummus (store bought)
Carmelized Onion and Butternut Squash Purses

The second wave:
Porcini Mushroom Fondue
Chicken Skewers

The third wave:
Mini twice baked potatoes (My dad called this "a good pill")
NY Strip Cheesesteaks on french bread slices

Red Velvet Cake Truffles
Carrot Cake Truffles...for both truffles, I would not make them again. Just too much!
Pecan Pie Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Bailey's Whip Cream in Chocolate Cordial glasses (they looked like little thimbles)

an Albarino for the white wine
a french Pinot Noir (Klingenfus, awesome!)
Spanish Cava, Rose'...When I brought this out, the "person's" mother thought there was a big announcement. Clearly she needs to learn that sparkling wine should totally be an ALL THE TIME drink!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Mustard Cream Sauce

The sweet potato gnocchi (SPG) was supposed to be my signature dish. It is unique and something not many people would go through the pains of making. Honestly, gnocchi making is pretty fun! And it is so reassuring to know that restaurants who make their own gnocchi, fresh, DON'T do the crazy fork markings. I still do though. It is a cute personal touch. Literally, every gnocchi gets personally TOUCHED!

The recipe that I use makes a POOP TON of gnocchi. And the gnocchi I cooked last night had been frozen, thawed in the fridge, and then rolled last night. So if you freeze the dough, it will still come out as if you didn't. When you freeze the dough, I recommend freezing it in about the size of a bratwurst, wrapped in parchment paper. When thawed, they probably need some flour added.

This recipe is from epicurious, and I think it is the same as the one I have. But I got mine from another website.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter:
2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork

1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces (two pieces will create two servings, freeze the remaining). Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender (uh when they float, they are done), 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi. (This seems entirely too high maintenance...just toss and go!)

Last night, I served these with Pork and a Maple Mustard Sauce (featured in a previous blog entry). This sauce actually went GREAT with the gnocchis! SO I took a picture of the gnocchi atop the sauce. A really nice and different way to eat them. And who doesn't love sweet potato with some maple syrup??

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Who's Ready for a new Apron??

These aren't your grammies aprons! I think Paris might call them, "hot."

So if you like, check out my google page for directions on how to get your very own!: Cook's Wear by Kristy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cook's Wear by Kristy

My cooking focus has been transferred to a focus on aprons. I want to make cute aprons. So I have been learning how to do this. I learn by trial and error, so I bought some patterns and some fabric, and I have been trying to create cute aprons. So far, I have made one. I am not sure if I should take a picture yet.

The idea: I want to sell them. I figure I can sell them a little cheaper than the boutique aprons I have seen at Anthropologie and online.

Soon I'll post my products!

In the mean time, a recap of my week in eating, so you can see how my cooking has suffered:
Monday: Chinese Take-Out
Tuesday: Leftover Chinese Take-Out
Wednesday: Chicken Caesar Salad and Orzo pasta
Thursday: Taco Bell Grilled Stuft Burrito
Friday: Peanut Butter and Jelly for far.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Slippery Slope to 30

Last year I learned about something called the "Golden Birthday". It was quite fortuitous, as it came shortly before the year that IS my Golden Birthday. It is the year where your birthDAY is the same as your age. As all who know me know, 529 takes on mythical meaning with me. It is the time my alarm clock goes off everyday. If an item's total at the checkout is 5.29, it is fate that I purchase it. The last purchase that happened this way: A map purchased at BP on the road to North Canton on Thanksgiving Eve (have you SEEN the traffic on 71 at the holidays??).

On Thursday, November 29th, I celebrated my HALF birthday. Some may find it comical that I even KNOW when my half birthday is. My students don't find it funny, as on their half birthday they can legally get their temporary permit to drive. They certainly are aware of their half birthday.

Truth be told, I used the half birthday as an excuse to open a bottle of wine that I would otherwise never purchase and certainly never drink ALONE. It was a Barolo. It was almost $30. And I drank it with a frozen thin crust pizza that I doctored up with homemade meatballs (transported BACK from North Canton) and banana peppers.

See that wine glass? It exists no more. I shattered it walking from the living room to the kitchen, running into one of those dining room chairs in the dark, after I fell asleep on my new sofa. (FELL ASLEEP, not passed out...I swear!)