Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day is for Lovers, Food-Lovers that is...

Monday was Valentine's Day!  A day for people to show love, and I did just that, for myself!
I decided to make some homemade sauce for some cheesy mini ravioli I bought last week.  First, I warmed some olive oil and a few tablespoons of prepared pesto on the stove.  Then coated some fresh garlic and red bell pepper strips with olive oil and some basil.  They went into the oven at 350 until they were well roasted.  Then, I blanched a couple Roma tomatoes.  (Blanching is an easy way to prepare tomatoes for sauce.  Just drop them in boiling water for 60 seconds, when you see the skin split, drop them in an ice water bath.  The skins will easily peel away from the fruit.)  I tossed some chopped onion into the pesto to soften, then added the chopped tomatoes.  A quick dash of basil and a splash of white wine, then simmer 10 minutes.  Chop the peppers and garlic, add to the tomato mixture, recover and simmer another 10 minutes.  Spoon over ravioli, sprinkle with parm and shredded fresh parsley.
While I savored this I started reading my Valentine's gift to myself, a new "cookbook". "
I was in the aisles at Ross when I noticed just a couple cookbooks.  One specifically caught my eye, "Secrets from the Southern Living Test Kitchens: Revealed: over 5,000 insider cooking tips, shortcuts, & foolproof solutions".  Upon flipping this jewel open, I found it was more like a cooking dictionary of ingredients, techniques, recipes, etc.  Then the clincher was the $3 price tag on the back cover.  ; )
Here we are five days later and I am 150 pages into this 550+ page book.  I have found so many wonderful things.  There is an alcohol substitution chart.  Have a recipe calling for Grand Marnier?  For 2 T of Grand Marnier, use 2 T of unsweetened orange juice concentrate or 2 T orange juice and 1/2 t orange extract.  The best known American blue cheese is Maytag blue, made by the same Maytags who make washing machines.  Your cakes tend to have a peak in the center?  There are four possible things wrong, too hot oven at beginning of baking, too much flour, not enough liquid, or overmixed batter.  I LOVE THIS THING!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my Valentine's Day, I hope you did too!

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