Jun 28, 2010

Pasta Alla Vodka

Yessss I know, I'm a horrible slacker and I haven't posted in forever. I have more food pictures from Hawaii, however I can't post them today. All my pictures are on my computer which I sent in to Apple to be fixed. So! Pictures will be posted at a later date!
I have also had an epiphany. As I'm sure many of you have noticed, there tends to be a trend in my writing. Every now and then I have a weight loss/healthy eating epiphany followed by a week or two of actually trying to be healthier before I give in to a bag of Doritos. But not this time folks! I've decided that my problem is not so much what I eat but how much I eat. I will clean my plate even if I'm full. I'm going to go ahead and blame everyone else for this issue. Everyone knows that phrase "Finish your food, there are starving kids in China/India/Africa etc." Well I won't give in to that anymore! I am not going to finish my food! I am going to pace myself and not finish my food, because chances are I'm already full. TADA! EPIPHANY! and this one's going to last.
And now a recipe that is the complete opposite of weight loss/healthy eating. But I didn't eat that much of this and it was followed by a salad, so I think that's good still. This is: Pioneer Woman's Pasta Alla Vodka. The reason I made this is that I was curious. SO CURIOUS! How does vodka make food taste better? It has no taste! What will it add? I have been wanting to make this for a while, but I wasn't able to before because I was at school. I'm not old enough to buy/drink alcohol and I wasn't about to go find some just for one little pasta dish. But now that I'm home, I can make this for my family and it's ok! My parents were curious about it too, but admittedly not as curious as I was. So here you go! Pastaaaaa!
PS. Again, no pictures sorry. I will try harder!!!!

Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped (or half an onion if you don't like onion.)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup vodka
1 14oz can tomato puree (I used sauce)
1 cup heavy cream
red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 cup Parmesan

First get your water boiling and pasta cooking. Just let it do it's thing but don't forget to check on it every now and then. Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onions and garlic and let cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Then (This is important people!) TURN OFF THE FLAME. Please don't pour vodka into a screaming hot pan while the flame is on. Your eyebrows will burn off. After you have turned the flame off, pour the vodka into the pan and stir. Now you may turn the flame back on. Oh, if you're using an electric stove you can ignore that. Let the vodka cook down for a few minutes. Also, don't put your face over the pan unless you like getting evaporated alcohol in your sinuses. But if you do, please by all means, go ahead. After the vodka has cooked down a bit, add the tomato puree/sauce, stir, then add the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the salt and pepper.
Here's where I changed it up. I added another can of sauce because I didn't like how it tasted. I know that vodka is supposed to be flavorless, but I completely disagree. It tastes like alcohol! And it is gross. So when I tried the sauce it tasted like tomato sauce at first, but then I got this intenssssse flavor of alcohol. Maybe I just didn't let all the alcohol cook out or maybe I'm just a baby, but I didn't like it. Even after adding another can of tomato sauce, I still tasted that ting of alcohol in the back of my throat. My other theory about that is that maybe it's because I'm not a drinker? I'm not used to the flavor of alcohol, so therefor I notice it more? My parents didn't seem to notice it at all, so I think I'm going to stick with that theory.
Now before you drain the pasta, grab a cupful of the pasta water to thicken the sauce if necessary. I didn't need it, but you might, so do it anyway. Throw the drained pasta into the sauce and toss. If the sauce is too thick and goopy, so ahead and add a little pasta water. Then add the Parmesan cheese and stir it all up! We all added even more Parmesan cheese to our own bowls, because really people, is one cup of cheese enough? No. Never.
So there you have it, Pasta alla Vodka!

Jun 23, 2010

The Feast at Lele

So right now I'm on vacation with my family in Hawaii. Me, Mom, Ejner, Stephen, and his girlfriend Virginia. So here we are in Maui and it's freaking amazing!!! I want to be on vacation here forever. But just to clarify I don't want to live here. Because then I couldn't sit on the beach all day. BOO. I just want this vacation to last forever and I want a non-stop source of money so that I can go shopping and do activities etc etc etc. Damn, I wish I had a fairy godmother or something.
Anyway! Enough with the wishing. Last night we went to a luau which was soooo cool. It's called the Feast at Lele, which apparently is the ancient name of the town we're in. The whole outline of the Luau was a tour of the Polynesian islands. So each course had a different theme and show attached to it. The first course was, of course, Hawaii and featured dancing from the different islands. The second course was New Zealand and the dancers did Haka and had face paint and everything. The third course was Tahiti and they had some beautiful outfits for this one. Headdresses as tall as they were! The last course was Samoa. The dancing for this course didn't impress me that much. But then it was followed by a fire dancer, which was definitely the highlight of my evening.
Here's the menu and I will be posting pictures later, when I have better internet access. With a four course meal, trust me, there was plenty of food. Thought I was going to need a wheelbarrow to get home!

Course 1: Hawaii
Imu Roasted Pig: The tradition at a Luau, a pig cooked in the ground ancient Hawaiian style. Served with Poi which really doesn't taste like anything at all.
Pohole Ferns and Hearts of Palm salad
Fresh fish with Mango Salsa: It was the catch of the day, but I forget what it is now.

Course 2: New Zealand
Duck Salad with Poha Berry Dressing
Maori fishcake
Hatore Kumara: Roasted mushrooms, sweet potato, and garlic
Special alterations for Natalie: for this course I was served a salad. Kind of boring. Not my favs.

Course 3: Tahiti
Fafa: Steamed chicken wrapped in taro leaf with coconut milk
Poisson Cru: Another fresh fish of the day
Scallops on the shell: baked scallops pretty much
Special alterations for Natalie: For this course I had the chicken and this side dish that was sweet potato and spinach cooked in coconut cream. I'm going to figure out how to make this at home because I never thought that I would like it, but it was so tasty!

Course 4: Samoa
Grilled Steak
Palusami: squash with taro leaf and coconut cream
Shrimp and Avocado with Lilikoi
Special alterations for Natalie: For this course they just gave me unmarinated steak that I ate with the squash.

Course 5: Dessert
Macadamia nut tart
Chocolate truffle
Fresh fruit: Strawberries, Papaya, and Pineapple.
Special alterations for Natalie: I just had the fresh fruit. BORING. But that's ok because I was way too full to even think about eating a chocolate tart.

Jun 17, 2010

finally some food

Ok FINALLY a new post. I made dinner for the family last night and it was... surprisingly tasty. I hate hate hate hate hate spinach. But there's spinach in this dish and I liked it! So I'm pretty sure this dish is picky-eater proof. I mean, come on, I ate it and it has my leafy mortal enemy in it!
Also, I am going to Hawaii this weekend! My family and I are going on vacation and it's going to be awwwwwwesome. I'm going to lie on the beach, get a massage, and learn how to hula dance. So posts next week will probably not be food-related; they will most likely just be pictures of Hawaii.
Also also, sorry that the pictures on this post are so crappy. I took them with my phone in a dark kitchen.

Adapted from What Megan's Cooking
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/8 - 1/4 cup water
red wine
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil (I used about 1 tsp fresh basil)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb pasta (I used the twisty kind. Just don't use spaghetti)
9 oz fresh spinach
12 oz precooked chicken sausage (I used chicken apple sausage), sliced length wise and chopped
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and preheat the oven to 400F. Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onions until soft. Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, and basil. I changed it up here because I thought that the sauce was too thick. I added a little less than a 1/4 cup water and a dash of red wine just to give it a little kick. I thought it made the sauce much more interesting. The fresh basil helped a lot too. Let the sauce simmer for about 1o minutes then add the cream and simmer for at least another 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off and wait for the pasta to be done. When your
pasta is just about done cooking, throw the spinach into the pot and let it wilt. It's really fast, maybe like 15 seconds. Then drain the pasta/spinach and put it back in the pot. Now add the sausage, sauce, and half the mozzarella. Mix it all up and then throw it into a lightly greased baking dish. 9x13 should do the trick. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and the parmesan, bake for about 20-30 minutes and dig in!


Jun 15, 2010

Hello world?

Yes yes yes I've been gone forever. Hang in there, I'm making dinner tomorrow night and there should be a posting shortly after that.

Who am I even talking to...?
Sometimes I don't know if anyone's there.

Jun 7, 2010

I'm alliiiiivvvveeee

I'm here! I know, I've been MIA for the last week. I promised a recipe and then I didn't do it. :( IM SORRYYYYYY! I've been crazy busy and things are only just starting to cool down. I'm back home in the bay area now, about halfway unpacked, and just sent in my last paper of the year. So it is officially summer for me!
And now, as promised, here is the recipe for the Portal cake. This is a kind of strange recipe because it uses a cake mix and then adds a lot of other stuff. But gooooo with it. I promise, you'll love it.

2 cans vanilla frosting
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 package chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
7 egg whites
3/4 butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can coconut pecan frosting (I used double chocolate fudge chip frosting)
6-8 maraschino cherries

The night before you make the cake, mix the cocoa powder with 1 1/2 cans of vanilla frosting and put it in the fridge. The next day, take it out of the fridge when you start making the rest of the cake so that it will be easier to spread. In one bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a larger bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Then mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients by the cup full. Pour the batter into two greased cake pans and cook for 30 minutes in a 375F oven. I took the cakes out a little before half an hour, just test it at around 25 minutes by sticking a knife or toothpick in the center. When it comes out clean, it's done. Let the cake cool for at least an hour. Then it's time to put it all together! With a knife, trim the top of the cakes so that they will lie flat. Frost the top of the first cake with the coconut pecan frosting and put the second cake on top. Then frost the entire cake with the cocoa powder-vanilla frosting mix. Be careful, the frosting is really thick and is a little hard to spread. Then cover the entire cake with chocolate chips. Put 6 or 8 dots of vanilla frosting on top of the cake in a circle then put one cherry on top of each frosting dot. TADA! Portal Cake. Not a lie.


Jun 1, 2010

The cake is NOT a lie! Part I

I am a nerd. I am. I've accepted it. Luckily, my roommates are nerds too! Next week is one of my roomie's birthday and I decided that he needed a birthday cake. He's not much for celebrating birthdays, but I told him that I didn't care, and I'm really only making this cake for me because I like cake. However, I did give it a theme that I thought he might like. This...is a portal cake. Portal is an awesome video game that's kind of a mind explosion. You have a gun that can create portals and you have to get through these complicated puzzle rooms by shooting "portals" into walls. here's some pics to make my description clearer.

Oh and at the same time, you are being led on by a computer named GlaDOS. She seems nice....but she's totally trying to kill you. In the game, GlaDOS tells you that once you get to the end of the "tests," you will get a lovely cake. But you never get the cake, which leads you to believe that the cake is a lie. But at the end of the game, there's a little clip of the cake in a storage room.

So the cake is not a lie! And I made it!

Also here is a companion cube I made out of silly putty.

< :D <-- Happy nerd with a birthday hat

Now that I've explained what Portal is, I think I'll leave the recipe until tomorrow. The recipes pretty crazy long, so come on back tomorrow for how to do it yourself!