Friday, March 13, 2009


Fun, Crafts and Recipes

#1. Olive oil. What kind do you prefer to use?

Well, first off, I use olive oil almost exclusively; I only have other oils (ie, vegetable oils like Wess0n) for a few recipes I don't want to mess with. So, I usually buy the biggest cheap container of EVOO. I prefer the "light" ones--but in this case light is referring to flavor, not calories, so don't be fooled. I like Colavita best but it is often too pricey and we use a ton so I go for cheap instead.

#2. Meatballs. Do you make them from scratch, buy premade cooked or buy premade frozen?

We are lucky to have a great butcher near us who has an awesome deal on frozen meatballs that are as good as anything I've ever made. They sell the bag, a humongous vat of red sauce and a bag of rolls for parties, or just the meatballs in a bag. I almost always have a bag in the freezer so I can throw a few in the oven if we're having spaghetti.

#3. Do you use napkins at home? Paper or cloth?

On a "green" kick, I try to use cloth. But realistically, we end up using paper a lot. We need them anyway for the preschooler's lunchboxes and then when too many spills in too few meals wipes us out of all our cloth napkins, it's on to paper.

#4. Share a recipe for a white sauce.

VALMG was looking for a good Alfredo sauce. This one is (supposedly) the original, and original or not, it is a total winner. This will not score you any points in bikini season, but it comes from--you guessed it!--my cookbook of the winter, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. I made a slightly modified version of it for some leftover noodles and ... oh my. The story behind it is excellent, so I continue to refer you to the book, but I will skip to the white sauce and take it you know how to boil your own pasta to al dente.

The True Fettuccine Alfredo (abridged)

1 lb imported fettuccine
6 Tbs butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used the Trader Joe's in the bag)
salt & pepper

When your pasta is boiling, put the butter in a straight-sided 12-inch saute pan and place it over medium heat. Melt the butter, taking care not to let it color. Set the pan aside until the pasta is done.
Once the pasta is draining, reheat the butter over medium high heat. Turn the pasta and the cream in to the saute pan and toss to thoroughly coat the noodles. Continue to toss the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes so the cream can permeate the pasta. Ther should be very little cream in the bottom of the pan.
Finally toss in the cheese, starting with 1 1/2 cups and adding more to taste. Toss for 20 seconds. Season the pasta to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Immediately turn it into a serving bowl and serve it hot.
(Serves 3-4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a first course; eat right away.)


Lora said...

I never know what kind of olive oil to buy. Are you good at that stuff? I feel like if it is good to cook with it isn't good "raw". Is there a kind that I don't have to add butter too when I cook because if I don't add butter, it always burns. What is good to make salad dressings with? Cheese marinades?
Oh, and I also mix it with vinegar and polish my wood furniture.

JMom said...

I use olive oil a lot in my kitchen too so I get the humongous ones at Costco and it costs a lot less than buying the smaller containers at the grocery store. I'm starting to sound like a Costco commercial. lol!

MemeGRL said...

Funny you should mention that about the olive oils. I have had mixed success with ones that I like for everything. And I am a fearful fryer so I haven't found any that I'm really gung-ho about for anything about a mild saute. I always have one small "good" bottle for things like salads and then a general bottle for all-purpose use (cooking, bread dipping if gussied up, etc.)
No ideas on a good cheese marinade but wow, that sounds totally worthy of experimentation! We'll work on that next. Mmmm....

brandy101 said...

I often buy the el-cheapo bottle of olive oil, but then I decant it into another bottle and add fresh rosemary sprigs (I have a rosemary bush as a houseplant) and some whole peppercorns, sometimes some whole garlic coves, too.

You could also add lemon peel, dill, olive peel, dried mushrooms...

I love using the flavored oil in sautes - especially the frozen french style green beans from Trader Joes! I sautee them (frozen from that bag!) in olive oil, sometimes adding a drop or two of sesame oil, then add garlic salt and soy sauce - they blacken on the ends a bit from the soy sauce but they are DELICIOUS.

I have found that for salad dressings, I prefer a really light-tasting one because I prefer the flavors of the herbs and balsamic to come through.

Karen said...

Oh wow! Does that ever sound good. Too bad I am trying to watch my diet.

Karen said...

I am so glad to be learning how to make cheaper olive oil flavorful! Thanks.