beef mani--err, rigatoni (WCC #14)

there was lots of meticulous planning happening today on account of my impending birthday and my intense, izzie-stevens-like baking craze.

so of course i got clobbered at the grocery store. i had this grand list, i’d been working on it all day. i’d plotted out my strategy to make dinner and also start making a cake from dorie in time for wednesday (yellow buttermilk cake, with alternating layers of white chocolate ganache and bittersweet chocolate pastry cream). i even remembered to defrost the beef for the manicotti.

i stood in the dry goods aisle, surrounded by cans of tomato products and bags of rice and boxes and boxes of pasta. in spite of this overabundance of carbohydrates i could not find a single box containing manicotti. all i could find was rigatoni. oh, hell, i figured. surely i could mix up the filling and just layer it in a baking dish full of the pasta.

this, as it turns out, was completely true, and very reassuring. the beef was so moist and tender, which i chalk up to the fact that it was local and organic and all of that good stuff you look for in meat. i decimated my stock of cheese, pulling out ricotta and mozzarella and parmesan.

i should mention my other clobbering, which was my complete lack of cornstarch. i should have expected it. just last week i was cleaning out the crevice i call a “pantry” and found an empty box of cornstarch. forgot to replace it while i was shopping today. so even though i had gone so far as to triage my cooking tasks for tonight, i had to shelve my plan to make the pastry cream until tomorrow. i suppose i could make the pastry cream without the cornstarch, but i have enough trouble with pastry cream as it is without removing an ingredient that will help thicken and stabilize it!

today at work i was reading old journals and marveling in my delight in the fresh fruits of summer. it’s cold, and blustery and still winter and i usually try to not buy non-seasonal fruit in january but i was reading about the fresh july strawberries and i couldn’t help myself when i saw the piles of chilean and california fruit stacked up all neatly at whole foods. a small basket of strawberries, a container of raspberries and a container of blueberries found their way into my cart, along with what i expect will be a final sack full of blood oranges (these were noticeably less tangy than usual).

in order to make the best of this unusual harvest, i present my WCC #14 - a fruit salad. while i was digging through all of the cheeses in my fridge, i also found half a tub of farmers market mascarpone. the solution was obvious: cannoli cream fruit salad. it’s a giada de laurentis recipe that i usually keep handy during the summer months. i decided to bring it out of hibernation a bit early...

fruit salad with cannoli cream
(adapted from giada de laurentis)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
sugar, to taste (i used splenda)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
fresh fruit: 1 segmented blood orange, a scattering of blueberries, a double handful of raspberries and 3 strawberries, hulled and halved

mix cheeses, sugar and chips until creamy and smooth. dollop on a plate with fresh fruit (macerated, if you like that sort of thing, maybe with a squirt of lemon juice to keep everything tangy)

since it is winter and i can’t live in complete denial, shivering here in my apartment, i whipped up some hot chocolate.

triple chocolate hot chocolate
(adapted from emily lucetti’s a passion for desserts)

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
pinch salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. white chocolate
1 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

simmer milk and cream, then temper all 3 chocolates and salt until melted and smooth.

No comments: