February 7, 2007

Giada in a Jiffy

My Italian Goddess Giada made 15 minute recipes the other day. Every single item on the menu set looks delicious and super duper easy. I tried out 2 out of 4 which are all that I'd actually try because the third item is salmon--remember, no seafood at the Borens--and biscotti + nutella + gelato needs no experimenting with. :)

First, Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs. I opened my 2-buck Chuck Beaujolais and they were fantastic together.

My notes:

The meal could've been done a few minutes after the pasta is finished. But I had an epic struggle with the ancient Cuisineart food precessor. It's Brandon's mom's old one with all of these little pieces to put in for the thing to work. I didn't know THAT! Once he helped me assemble the thing, it was easy. And good lord, this old girl is powerful ! I mean, at one point I thought it was going to take off into space!

Anyways. Back to the recipe.

Brandon doesn't care much for roasted peppers--and I forgot to pick up a jar at the store--so I substituted in a can of Italian seasoned chopped tomatoes, drained. But in reality, I only got half a can in after a little draining accident over the kitchen sink. Heh. It did give the sweetness and moisture to the dish.

Giada didn't add any salt or pepper to the finished product, saying that the croutons are flavorful enough. Mind came out a little bland, so I did indeed add some S&P.

I also upgraded my olive oil from my everday EVOO to Extra Light olive oil. In certain recipes, like making a vinaigrette, I found the olive oil taste to be a little distracting. Well, there you go with "Why you should invest in good olive oil" lecture from Ina Garten. Instead of diving in head first to luxurious imported olive oil, I saw "Extra Light taste" Bertolli so I picked up a bottle. Not bad, really. Sweet and delicious without too much olive-y taste.

Finally, Giada didn't top this with any Parmesan. A little odd for Little Miss I Love Cheese. But hey, I grated some on top of mine. I also happened to have leftover bacon on hand so I tossed that in there too. And it was just PERFECT.


Now, the second recipe I had just finished eating is Croissant Panini. It is absolutely divine. The cheeses melted together so well and the buttery croissant just brought it all home. I'm going to make another one to take to lunch tomorrow!

My notes:

What is it with our local grocery store not carrying any arugula? I didn't want to drive another mile for it, so I settle for a bed of Italian parsley instead. Oh, and because I had it, I also threw in shredded carrots.

I didn't even take the time to grate the Gouda. I mean, the store sells them pre-sliced so I just tore the slice up and positioned it on the sandwich.

Now, the grilling. I do not own a panini press. And the George Foreman is way deep in the cabinet. So, I employ Alton Brown's Pie Pan and A Soup Can method.

Heat up a pan. Set the sandwich down. Put a pie pan on top of the sandwich and top that with a soup can. Leave it like that for a few minutes. Take everything off the top. Flip the sandwich. Repeat. And voila! Instant Panini Press!

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