Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bathing Suit Season

I'm a fan of the one piece bathing suit.  I own many bikinis and this year I plan on introducing the ever-flattering one piece back into my collection.  I love it because it slims your whole mid-section, instead of framing everything you hate about your chest, tummy, butt and hips.  Those little strings getting lost in the pudge that covers my otherwise lovely hipbones - no thanks!

So this recipe is for all of you who don't plan on wearing the Doritos on strings this summer.  Eat well!

Mac and 'Shrooms

sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons EVOO (twice around the pan)
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I went for the pre-sliced kind, because once I saw how many mushrooms 1 pound is, I laughed at my recipe)
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, quartered (this isn't much, but it makes a HUGE difference)
8 ounces (1 1/2 cup) Gruy√®re cheese, grated
5 ounces grated Pecorino Ramano cheese
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced

1. Make the pasta (aka boil, cook about 9 minutes, drain, reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid).  You know what you're doing here.
2. Meanwhile, in a big cast iron pot or large high-sided skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Stir in flour with a wooden spoon to make a paste.  Let it puff slightly, about 1 minute - KEEP STIRRING.  Temporarily remove from heat and whisk in the milk until smooth.  Put back on the heat and turn up to medium-high.  Bring to a boil, whisking often (otherwise your paste will settle on the bottom and then puff oddly, making it hard to break up and get awesome again).  Reduce the heat to a simmer (med-lo), whisking occasionally, until the cream sauce has thickened and is very smooth (8-10 minutes).  Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile (things should be getting crowded now on your burners) heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the mushrooms and cook until soft (8 minutes). Season with salt.  Push to the sides of the pan and repeat with the remaining mushrooms.
4. Reduce the heat on your cream sauce to low and whisk in both cheeses until smooth.  At this point you'll want to taste test and adjust your salt/pepper.  It is recommended you DO NOT get a spoon and start eating just yet.  I know what it smells like, and it gets even better!  Stir in your mushrooms and the pasta, adding the reserved cooking water.
5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in another skillet over medium heat.  Add the Panko crumbs and saute until golden. Take off the heat and stir in the parsley.
6. Serve in individual bowls and top with the Panko crumb mixture.

You're welcome,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Well Alright

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists."  ~Joan Gussow

On Wednesday, I brought my mother's massive 5 quart bowl-lift Kitchen Aid mixer into my apartment.

When I arrived home Thursday, I received ten flattened box tops with ten corresponding bottoms and innards via UPS.  I also discovered 200 dark brown standard sized cupcake liners in my mailbox.  

I bought 16 sticks of butter on Saturday.  Ten pounds of sugar.  Sixty four ounces of cream cheese.  Five bottles of red food coloring.  Forty-eight eggs.  One massive sack of powdered sugar.  

Over the next few days I'll be cutting out 100 mustaches and lips from varying colors of construction paper attached to 100 toothpicks.  With hot glue.

This Thursday I will be waking up at 8am to make eight cups of coffee and heading out to buy the last four ingredients I will need.  I'll return home and put on the appropriate apron in preparation to bake 200 cupcakes.

Then when Friday arrives, Those cupcakes will be frosted, covered in various adornments, and boxed.  Bed is promptly at whatever time I pass out.  Hopefully not on the cupcakes or the kitchen floor.

Saturday is delivery day.

And yes, that is one butter sculpture of Marilyn Monroe... although it looks more like a drag queen in a wrinkly dress.