coqauvin2.jpg

When I originally proclaimed Wednesday night to be “leftovers night!” I feared that Kevin would revolt. We had a lot of Leftovers Nights when I was growing up and they were usually met with reactions that ranged from mild groans of dissatisfaction to downright tantrums of refusal (those were the nights that Ali or I (why couldn’t we ever coordinate, I wonder, because it would have been a lot more fun together) would remain at the table until we ate two/three/four more bites. We’d be there for hours, in some cases. Funny, I have absolutely no recollection of how those stand-offs resolved themselves. Did I really eat the bites? Did my mom cave? I’ll have to ask her.

coqauvin3.jpg

Anyway, back in 2008, it turned out that Kevin was thrilled with the idea. He was delighted to heap a stack of leftover pizza slices next to a dollop of refrigerated-for-two-days risotto. He was more than happy to nestle in a few forkfuls of Monday’s chicken cacciatore (the clear winner among the leftovers, by the way). And, quite expectedly, he had no problem capping the whole thing off with a remaining wedge of chocolate almond torte.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Lasagna: Layer by Layer

January 24, 2008

lasagnanext3.jpeg

After my sister, Ali, upped the ante last week with her dinner pick (which she was forced to make in the wake of her Biggest Loser Bowl loss), I knew I had to come up with something pretty good when one of my teams got booted next. And if there’s a dinner that’s only too happy to one-up all the other dinners, it’s lasagna. A couple reasons for my choice …

lasagna2.jpeg

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & a layer-by-layer recipe of sorts.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Beef Bourguignon

January 17, 2008

beefbourg2.jpeg

I am bursting at the seams to tell you about all of the action in my kitchen over the past couple days. As I’ve said, I’m busy cooking and baking for back-to-back parties this Friday and Saturday. Since Friday’s more of a casual, small gathering, the real kitchen action has been dedicated to Saturday night. And I’d love to tell you all about it. Really, I would. And I will. I promise. But one of the two guests of honor on Saturday night has expressed her desire to be surprised by the line-up of tapas and treats. And, when I take a teensy tiny step back, I too realize that it will be much more fun for her to be surprised.

beefbourg1.jpeg

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos and the recipe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

pork2.jpeg

I may have just planned my last Family Dinner for quite some time. Oh, don’t worry: the Family Dinners will continue. Its just that I might only be cooking and enjoying them, rather than menu planning for them. Let me explain.

pork1.jpeg

Ali, Kevin and I have entered into a friendly wager involving the latest season of The Biggest Loser. Let’s face it, the TV pickings are slim these days. What’s more, we don’t have a team in the NFL playoffs, the Bulls are completely awful and March Madness is half a January and a whole February (complete with an extra day for Leap Year!) away. So, folks, we’ve created our own sport.

pork5.jpeg

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe)

Read the rest of this entry »

pasta2.jpeg

Santa was very kind to me in the kitchen department this year. As you’ll see in a slew of upcoming posts, I was lucky enough to receive a host of cooking implements. One such gift was clearly in response to one of my recent kitchen failures. One weekend this fall, we endeavored to make our own ravioli. Well, the fillings we created were delicious, but the pasta itself was a disaster. I had read in a few places that it was entirely possible to roll out pasta sheets for ravioli by hand. Well, it might be possible, but it certainly didn’t occur when I tried it. Most of the raviolis ended up in the trash (Kevin was kind enough to eat a few, but I couldn’t take more than one). Santa must have known about this disaster and, in response, he got me this:

pasta1.jpeg

It’s not quite as scary looking as our potato-ricer-disguised-as-torture-device, but it’s definitely a somewhat ominous-looking contraption. It’s a pasta-making Kitchen Aid attachment. Various inserts allow you to make linguine, spaghetti, fettucine and even sheets of pasta. I spent quite a bit of time perusing the instruction manual and the reviews of the attachment online. Let’s just say that they didn’t exactly ease my fears. In what I thought was an effort to increase our chances of success, I decided to use Kitchen Aid’s pasta recipe included in the instruction booklet and the least risky-looking of the inserts, which promised to yield a thick spaghetti strand. Well, thick it was. And also completely bizarre looking:

pasta3.jpeg

Using the machine itself was a challenge. After mixing and kneading the pasta, we began feeding the dough into the attachment in walnut-sized bits, following the instructions. And when I say “we,” I mean it. Using this thing kind of reminded me of assembling Ikea furniture: half-way through the instruction manual full of user-friendly photos depicting two people assembling a dresser you turn the page and–bam!–suddenly there are three people in the photo with the dresser. Likewise, this pasta attachment requires at least two people. At least it does if you want to remain halfway sane during the process.

pasta4.jpeg

The difficulty and odd-looking results aside, the pasta was actually really tasty. Especially tossed in two of the three sauces I’d prepared for the evening. You see, my sister was spending the night with us. Her Friday nights typically involve stories along the lines of: “When that place closed we went to X and when X closed we finished off the night at Y. Oh and we stopped off for some food at Z on the way home.” So the least I could do to entertain her on a Friday night in with old, boring married people was create a “bar” of three sauces ready and waiting to douse our weird, but homemade!, pasta strands.

pasta5.jpeg

Kevin’s choice was carbonara, a sauce I know he loves (cream, bacon and eggs: shocking that a sauce featuring these ingredients floats his boat, I know). Ali opted for a spicy tomato-and-sausage sauce, with a touch of cream. I went for a porcini mushroom sauce (any time I make myself something that Kevin won’t be eating, it’s a safe bet that it will involve mushrooms). Ali’s and Kevin’s sauces were both really good–I’d recommend them both without reservation. Mine, on the other hand, was not great–runny, bland and, frankly, a waste of $10 worth of dried porcinis. And after my trials and tribulations with the Kitchen Aid, I needed something great. Fortunately, our dessert (recipe and photos coming soon) more than made up for it.

Read the rest of this entry »