Sorry I didn’t post anything last week but I have been cooking. Cooking like crazy. Cooking up a storm. Cooking like there’s no tomorrow. You get the point.
It’s funny what happens when you start cooking for a purpose other than just for your family’s enjoyment. In this cookbook writing process there are a lot of components. The most frustrating part for me is the picture taking. There are recipes I have made dozens of times with zero issues. Then, I realize I never took a picture of that in the past so I need to make it again… just for the cookbook picture. No problem. For example, Aunt Sheryl’s banana bread- it is delicious and I have made it a thousand times. Each time a complete success. I have given it to strangers and they have told me it is the best banana bread they have ever had. So, I will just make one real quick to take a picture. Maybe this time I will make it in a bundt pan, just for fun since I’ve never done that before…
Beautiful bundt, don’t you think? And it didn’t stop there. I decided to make my Aunt Joy’s cheesecake for the first time. It cracked a little on top but I can live with that, I don’t need everything to look perfect, as long as it tastes great. And it did, it tasted GREAT! And I stick by the comment that I don’t need it to be perfect but this…
… this takes it a little too far. Oops. Think a future potential publisher will love this picture or what! And what killed me is that it wasn’t stuck at all, that little ridge on the springform pan was my downfall.
But for every mishap there are also several successes that will be heading your way when the cookbook is finished. The Clam Chowder and Beef Brisket turned out beautifully. Roasted Pork Loin was amazing. No problems with my Italian twist on Ratatouille, Grandma’s Green Beans & Potatoes, Croque Madame or Beef Tenderloin. And their pictures even turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Here’s a sneak peek…
Anyway, I have been cooking a lot and was feeling like I was making pretty good headway. I have almost finished compiling all the recipes I want to use and most of them have been written down. I took an inventory, if you will, a couple of weeks ago about how many things I still had to actually cook thinking it wasn’t going to be an overwhelming amount. Well, I was wrong. I have A LOT of food to cook still!
So, I made a list and I decided to have a few theme nights to really get things going. The first one was last Saturday. I invited a couple of friends and a couple of family members over and we had a gigantic Italian themed lunch. On the menu were Chicken Cacciatore, Zucchini Casserole, Spedini, Salsciccia Casserole, Lasagna and three different types of Scaccia.
I am happy to report that it was a success! But, even with 8 people, there are still a lot of leftovers. Everyone took something home (thank goodness) but even so, we will be eating Italian for the next few days. Not only are there leftover dishes, there are leftover individual ingredients. But, that is just an opportunity to get creative.
For lunch the other day I made a little Italian Style Tartine. Tartine is a French term for an open-faced sandwich. So, I looked at my leftovers and figured out a good combination. You could do this to use up almost any leftovers but here is what I did:
2 Slices (leftover) Italian Bread
Goat Cheese (or Cream Cheese)
Salsiccia (aka Italian Sausage)
Grape Tomatoes, quartered
Preheat the boiler
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Toast the bread in the toaster
Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each piece of bread
Sprinkle on tomatoes
Meanwhile, cook the salsiccia in a skillet and break into crumbles.
When the salsiccia is cooked through, turn off the heat and squeeze some lemon juice over the salsiccia; give it all a stir.
Sprinkle the salsiccia crumbles on the toast
Top with a little bit of mozzarella and grate a little Romano cheese right over the top.
Put under the broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and a little browned.
Pull the tartine out of the oven, squeeze some more fresh lemon juice right on top and sprinkle with some fresh basil.
This would be a great appetizer too if you cut the bread slices into quarters!
Thanks to my friends and family for your constant support and not complaining when I always try to pawn food off on you. These themes are going to have to continue so I can keep checking things off the list. We need to have a brunch night and an appetizer night but coming up next… desserts!