Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: First Installment

Since the last topic here on ppppfffffttttt was lasagna rolls, I thought I broach a new subject and part of my married life and that would be…food.

While dating Robert, I discovered that he has an appreciation and love for good cooking and good food. This has opened my eyes to the world of Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Giada; as well as shown me how fun and gratifying it can be to cook and prepare a meal that someone enjoys.

*Sidenote: It’s not always fun. Weird coconut shrimp and misshapen pancakes have caused me to have psychotic episodes. Robert about the pancakes, “They still taste the same, they’re good! I promise!!” Me about the pancakes almost in tears, “But, they’re not pretty!! I bet your mom has never made an ugly pancake!! I hate cooking!” (Robert’s Mom is basically Martha Stewart cooking and decorating wise. Her friends’ literally call her Martha Stewart. So, I have nothing at all to live up to. Ha.)

BUT, for the most part, I’m finding the more I try out this cooking business the more I like it. Having someone to cook with and for really helps out a whole lot. I don’t think it would be as fun if Robert and I didn’t get to share the experience. Cooking in our little kitchen together listening to the Beatles on this weird iPod dock that Sarah and I got free with our old microwave, it’s pretty nice, even when I’m chopping up vegetables. It’s also become an adventure trying to figure out a meal that both of us enjoy. Robert is kind of picky and I’m kind of a vegetarian…so we try to mesh these worlds as best we can in our culinary adventures.

Here’s some pictures of things that we’ve cooked in our first months of marriage. I get so shocked and excited that we’ve actually succeeded in cooking a meal that I usually have to snap a picture with my phone. I can’t tell you why? But, I thought I’d show you all and keep you privy on our Culinary Adventures, good or bad.

*These were all taken via Blackberry, sorry about the dodgy photography. (The term "dodgy" makes me think of Kelsey Harrod. Sigh. I miss her.)



You can't actually see it, but this was Robert's first sushi experience in Kauai on the last night of our honeymoon. Shrimp tempura roll. Look at that natural with the chop sticks.


Bob and Al love cheese and wine nights. We actually have a relationship with the wine and cheese guy at Whole Foods now. His name is Spuds and he's awesome. If you don't like wines from South America you will after your done talking to Spuds. Spuds is also so savvy with the cheeses, he will NOT steer you towards a bad cheese. If you're at the Whole Foods in Lakewood, please go by and meet Spuds. Tell him Alexis and Robert sent you. If he forgets, say the tall red head guy and the girl in work clothes from the 90's that are always holding hands. (We are those people, I know. Gross. ha.) Anyway, wine and cheese nights are the best because we get to chat with Spuds, then go home use our Italian cheese knives from Mary, the elegant wine decanter from Katie and the fancy marble cheese board from Robert's Dad's friend David, who I've never met. Thanks, David, we are living it up with the marble cheese board.

I feel like we made this after Christmas when we were really trying to get our hands dirty stop eating at Sonic and Whataburger and cook. This is some sort of white fish that I can't remember the name of, maybe tilapia, with sauteed apples and frozen asparagus (warmed up and drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan) We got the recipes for the fish and sauteed apples from our Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook. It's got some good stuff.


This is an apron Sarah Smith got me as a house-warming gift when I moved into our duplex. I love wearing it, it makes me feel like such a serious cook/baker/housewife.

Once again, I don't remember what fish this was, sorry this was in December, I have dementia. But all these recipes were again from The Bride & Groom Cookbook. Caramelized brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes with mascarpone cheese. The brussels were okay, the mashed potatoes, realllyyy good. We haven't made them since though, I don't know why. If you have ever watched Giada (http://www.foodnetwork.com/giada-at-home/index.html) on the Food Network, you will see her constantly use mascarpone cheese. Like in everything. Desserts, pasta dishes, appetizers, she puts it in everything. She also likes low cut shirts almost as much as mascarpone cheese. Robert swears that he can't stand her, but I've recently decided he has a secret a crush on her...his annoyance with her purely stems from an attraction to her emphasized Italian accent.

OMG - This is really what I loooovvveee to do. Bake. When we were getting to know each other, Robert asked me if I could cook, to which I replied, "Kind of. But, I'm way more into baking." Mary and I want cookies right now. I love baking. Okay, anyway, these are Reese's Peanut Butter Blondies that I took as a dessert to Lacy and Stephen's for New Years Eve. Goodness, they were rich, but good and I got to use our Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time which was magical. This recipe is from the Magnolia Cookbook and it called for Heath bar chopped up on top, but I did Reese's instead. I know, I know...I'm wild.

This was my first time using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman http://thepioneerwoman.com/ - I love love love this site. I'd heard of her cinnamon rolls, but never went on the site, until the fateful night when we went over to one of Robert's friends' for dinner. His wife has The Pioneer Woman cookbook and I couldn't put it down. The Pioneer Woman almost makes me want to quit my semi-vegetarian ways. She, herself, was a vegetarian for six years, then met her husband who was a rancher and he made her steak when they were dating and she hasn't looked back since. Go figure? Anyway, this is a Chicken Parmigiana recipe from her site. I was excited that I had made this, I don't know why, maybe because it's on the menu at Olive Garden or something. But, I don't think we were blown away by it, but it was a good hearty meal and I'm glad we tried it.

This is homemade macaroni and cheese a la Roberto Scarff. We had left over cheeses and baguette slices from a wine and cheese night and Robert used the rest of those three cheeses and the baguettes as bread crumbs to make this yummy dish. We had it two nights in a row and it was so good. I think it ended up having like 7 cheeses in it? I can't remember the other methods he used, but I think there was some milk and spices in there too...it was really good and really low fat. (jk on the low fat part).

Closing thoughts....you are what you eat. This means I'm chocolate mousse because I made it on Monday for no reason except that Robert and I watched Bobby Flay make it last week and realized that somehow we had all of the ingredients and that meant I HAD to make it. It was meant to be. Destiny. Here's pic of what it looks like when Bobby Flay makes it and the recipe...go mousse yourself!


Ingredients

  • 5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 14 ounces cold heavy cream
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1-ounce sugar
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional
  • Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.

Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature. With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once. When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until set. Serve in goblets topped with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.


8 comments:

Jamie said...

I am loving this post, Alexis! I can't wait to come to Dallas sometime and you can cook for me! YUMMMM. Alexis Dean.

Sarah Smith said...

GREAT post Alexis. Nothing beats that old iPod dock we got free with the microwave.

Ande said...

um, when am i coming over for dinner? looks like julia childs is staying at the scarf household!

and hello, don't think i didn't see that snuggie in the background of the picture.

Alexis said...

come over anytime for dinner, open door policy at the Scarff house! but there is no Julia Childs, we need her though...i had a smoking oven incident last week which drove me to tell Robert that we were going to eat lean cuisines from this point forward.

Augusta said...

i want to meet Spuds!!!!!!!!!!!

Alexis said...

Gus, just come visit and we will totally go meet Spuds!!!

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