More Food

I've been doing a lot of cooking this summer.I've included some pics of the recipes that were fairly successful below.

We begin with Ropa Vieja a Cuban dish of shredded beef, spices, peppers and onions. I serve it over rice with tortillas. It takes about 4 hours to make this, but it's delicious and very hearty. You start by boiling about 2lbs of flank steak with celery, onions, carrots, garlic and a couple of bay leaves. After that, you take the beef out and let it cool - you need to make sure it's cooled completely or you'll burn your fingers when you shred the beef. You reduce the boiling liquid, saute some garlic, onions, green peppers, jalapenos, add some cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. At that point, you add the beef back to the reduced liquid, stir in the sauteed veggies and add a can of tomatoes, let simmer for an hour or two and enjoy.

Next we have a very simple dish. This is a homemade pizza that the kids like to call "spaghetti and meatsauce pizza." There is no spaghetti on this pizza. There is the meatsauce that I normally serve over spaghetti on top of the pizza with pizza cheese and viola! spaghetti and meatsauce pizza. There were no leftovers of this dish.

This poorly taken picture is of spinach and mushroom ricotta stuffed chicken. No one liked this dish so I probably won't make it again. I thought it was pretty tasty so if I lived alone or only cared about myself, I'd make it again. I also ended up with a metric buttload of the ricotta mixture left over and have no idea what to do with it...so I bought some phyllo dough and am going to layer it for a spanakopita kind of thing. No one will eat that either. but I think it'll look pretty and I know I'll eat it. Go me...I like food.

This next dish was a huge success. This is my Four Cheese Stuffed Shells dish and this was devoured by the family. It was crazy easy to make. I also think it will be replacing my lasagne dish that I normally make for new parents as a gift of sorts. What were the four cheeses? I thought you'd never ask, thanks. I used low fat ricotta, parmesean, mozzarella and (here's the kicker) asiago. I also came up with a recipe for a simple tomato sauce to accompany the shells. It's pretty simple - saute onions and garlic (with salt and pepper) in a little bit of olive oil till they're translucent, add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, allow this mixture to steep for about 20 minutes, then add some chopped fresh oregano and you've created a pretty tasty marinara type sauce all your own that will taste 100X better than prego or ragu. The Rapunzel Barbie cup is John's. He loves drinking his milk out of that stupid thing.

The next dish was really fun to put together and will definitely be a "do-over." This is shrimp etouffee. I made a nice chocolate-colored roux, added the celery, peppers and onions. From there, I added some clam juice, spices and then the shrimp. We served this over rice. Next time I make it, I'm going to try it with chicken and andouille sausage instead of the shrimp. Not because I don't like shrimp, but because shrimp is expensive, time consuming and the things are bottom-feeders that look like cockroaches on the bottom of the ocean floor. More and more shrimp are kinda starting to disgust me and I don't serve them nearly as often as I used to...

And...that's it for now. I'll cook again. There are people who live in my house who expect it from me. I try not to disappoint them...


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