Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Date Night--Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Well if last week was Asian week at the Saxes, tonight we are toasting Italia!

I'd like to share a bunch of recipes, but the bottom line is, much of the meal came out of my little ol' head.  I did have inspirations, but I veered so far from them (who puts raisins in their braciole?) that I'm not even going to share them.

Cocktail--

Manhattans!  I think Frank and Dino would approve.

Appetizer--

Bruschetta.  I have had lots of tomatoes this year.  So dice 'em up, add some garlic, basil, and onion.  Dress lightly with balsamic and olive oil and whammo--you've got your bruschetta.  I made my crostini from a sandwich roll I bought three days ago.  It was the perfect amount of stale to crisp up in the oven.

Main Course--

Beef Braciole (pronounced bra-zhole).  What is braciole, you'd like to know.  According to Dictionary.com it's  "a flat piece of veal or beef rolled around a filling and baked in stock and wine."  In my preparation, it's been cooking in my homemade gravy in my crockpot.  That's the way my grandmom always did it

What cut was it?  Emily Bites (my loose inspiration) called for 1.25 lb of beef top round roast.  She wanted me to beat it down to a .25".  Easier option?  Have the butcher slice it for you at .25"!

With what did I fill it?  EB rolled hers with onion, garlic, spinach, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, and, wait for it, golden raisins.  Me?  I chopped (in my food processor) a very generous amount of fresh parsley, a handful of baby spinach, 3-4 garlic cloves, and .25 c each Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Oh, and I drizzled in a little olive oil.  It was very green, but very tasty..

Now as for the rolling.  I took each slice of meat, seasoned it with salt and pepper and slathered the whole thing with my parsley/cheese/breadcrumb concoction.  I secured each roll with butchers' twine and seared them in pan on the stove.  

When the braciole was  browned on all sides, I transferred them to my crockpot and deglazed my pan.  I used some reserved tomato "liquid" thinned with water for the deglazing as that liquid with all the fond was next into the crockpot.  Followed by 3 c of my tomato sauce and 1 c of crushed tomatoes.

And there they have been for the last 4 hours on low.

The braciole will be served with spaghetti.

Side Dishes--

Salad.  I should say saladS as mine is different from Josh's  Josh has a chopped spinach salad.  I tried my best to emulate Wildfire on this.  I chopped the the egg, the mushrooms, and the pancetta.  "Pancetta?" you say.  It's an ITALIAN meal, it should have Italian bacon.  I made him croutons in the grease from the pancetta.  And then I made him a mustard vinaigrette.  I'll warm it before I serve it.

My salad?  Thanks for asking,  I've been enjoying greens with fresh salsa as the dressing.  Tonight I'll use brushetta.

Dessert--

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies.  This one I can share a recipe.

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Larger Image
2PointsPlus Value
Serves: 24
These cookies are the perfect combination of vanilla and chocolate. If you prefer chewy meringues, make them the day before you plan to eat them.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200ºF.
  • Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray; coat with a light dusting of flour and shake off excess.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form; gently fold in chocolate and vanilla extract.
  • Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, making 24 cookies.
  • Bake until lightly golden and no longer sticky on the surface, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and let cookies sit in oven for 1 hour. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving.

Notes

  • You can make these cookies mini if you prefer. Just use heaping teaspoons of batter; not tablespoons.
I actually found these a little too sweet. Next time I'll cut the sugar to .75 c. 

So that's whats been cooking in my kitchen today.  How 'bout yours?

happy cooking!