getting ready for fall

i was watching jamie cook yesterday out of ‘the best recipe’ cookbook, and i was feeling all inspired to try some new things. if i ever feel like i have time. i look forward to getting my kitchen implements back from the hamptons, and having weekends and nights to cook without feeling like i only have 1 or 2 nights a week at home.

but what to cook? i want to try many many new things this fall, especially out of the spice book. i also need to give risotto another try, and of course all kinds of pizzas. i want to pull some new tricks from my giada books, and some lovely soups and stews, and maybe just some easy casserole type things. i have lots of macaroni and cheese recipes to play with.

maybe the key this year will be trying to keep it simple, and then playing on friday and saturday nights.
macaronis and asian messes during the week and then fun things like steak and roasts and coq au vin and stews for the weekends!

bring it on!
slowly i will start browsing my cookbooks and recipe lists for some special stuff to put on a wish list.
i like having my goals. it helps me stay organized.


the big cooking with mikey weekend (hamptons cooking)

so, this is, actually, several weeks after the fact, but i’ve been wanting to include a cooking in the hamptons update, and the weekend with mikey was certainly the most eventful.

the menu had been set:
friday night
italian meat antipasto
pizza margherita with yellow tomato sauce (“summer sauce”)
fresh pasta ‘rags’ with pesto
porcini mushroom fettucine with proscuitto parmesan cream sauce
fruit and cream

saturday night
grilled shrimp
marinated seafood salad
rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes
grilled skirt steak
nutella and pastry tarts with fresh fruit (peaches/blueberries, strawberries/raspberries/blackberries)

the menu was a total success, i am pleased to say, and mikey and i cooked together quite well. i was allowed to make most of the pasta. mikey made the pizza early and brought it with us. i was also put in charge of the pastry cream, and i think i am really starting to get the hang of it. almost. maybe.

other cooking experiments have gone over well, too. i’ve made loads of ice cream, mostly the mascarpone base. i tried a gelato (dulce de leche), but the bowl wasn’t frozen enough and i never got more than custard out of it. paella was a great hit, but it took too long to cook on the teensy little stove. i had to simmer the rice in batches within the pan, so it took 4 times as long! i thought it was a blast, but mom was getting antsy and forbid me from ever starting to cook dinner for everyone after 8.30 ever again. ron (marks) marinated the chicken in some rioja before cooking it in the paella, and ron and dino got wasted and made patatas bravas to go with dinner.

by far the best experiment off my wish list was the morning of the chocolate pancakes, the first weekend. i made the dark chocolate pancakes from chocolate, chocolate (i forgot the white chocolate chips in part of the batch) and dino took the leftover fruit and made a compote with some grand marnier. it was, like, sinful it was so good.

i got to play with some of the muffin/cornmeal recipes, and i’d like to do a batch of scones. i also made a triple chocolate mousse cake for camille. the recipe was weird, because it used gelatin to keep the mousse in a shape, but overall i was completely satisfied by it, and even a bit proud that i had managed something so complex.

now we’re beating down on the last weekend of the season, and it’s time to get serious. i want to try one more gelato, and either a sorbet or a granita or both. i’ve still got the frozen sour cherries i lugged up with me the first weekend, and they’re calling to me. there’s certainly no point in bringing them back, after all! i do want to play with my recipes from ‘spice,’ but i’m not sure they are apprpriate. especially since last weekend dino, amanda and i had a total blast just making junk food. dino made sliders, i made my blue corn fried chicken tenders, and amanda made burritos. maybe i’ll just keep it simple, make sure i have my recipes with me, and do something on a whim for a change!