I have to admit, blogging hasn’t been my No. 1 priority as of late. Doug and I moved our wedding date up to October 15, 2011, so I’ve been in mad rush to get everything planned, from the photographer and caterer to my wedding dress and the bachelorette party. If you don’t think a wedding can be planned in 4 months or less, than you’ve never met a Linnemann. Hell, my mom could have planned this whole thing for July. What can I say? I’m one lucky woman in both love and family.
Despite all the craziness, I’ve still been cooking. And baking. Lots of yummy things, like genoise cake with vanilla Italian buttercream and Campari-spiked simple syrup between the layers and chocolate-dipped strawberries on top. I’ve made Vanilla-Ginger Creme Brulee, eclairs filled with coffee-flavored pastry cream, and I even attempted a guava cheesecake a month back. It was the first failed dessert I’d made in a long time. It looked alright, but the guava was overwhelming. Some tweaks definitely need to be made to the Cooking Light recipe.
Anyhow, I thought I would give you a sneak peak into all the wonderful stuff I’ve made for family and friends over the past couple of weeks that probably wasn’t going to make it to the blog anyway, either because I didn’t get enough beautiful pics, I forgot to write down the recipe, or because I’m just plain lazy sometimes and don’t want to spend 9 hours of my life writing an explanation of how to make ravioli stuffed with farm-fresh egg yolks. And you probably don’t want to hear me complain about how I had to do it by hand because I didn’t have a pasta maker and, although it was good, it would have been much better if I had had my old-school counter-top one. Alas, it was sitting in the pantry at my mom’s house in Kentucky, which is oh so far away from Doug’s kitchen in Chicago. Still, the photo below gives you an idea of how we did it: a bed of ricotta supports the egg yolk, which is the encased in the other half of the ravioli and sealed.
I had the opportunity to cook some really fun stuff lately, including a mole recipe from Rick Bayless with two of my best culinary school buds, Kris and Rick. Doug and I trekked up to Milwaukee a few weekends ago to help Kris prepare for her annual Mole & Margaritas party. The party itself was lots of fun (and the margaritas, incredibly strong), but what made the day so great was being able to have a cooking adventure with my friends outside of class. We used Rick Bayless’s recipe for Lacquered Chicken, which also appears in his new book, Fiesta at Rick’s. Kris and I were both nerdily (yes, I made up that word) excited because Rick brought along his Vitamix Blender for us to use—and it’s already been added to my Amazon wedding registry! This really is the blender to beat all other blenders, and I dream of the day I own one. It might sound a little sad to a non-epicurean, but it’s so very true.
Then my friend Rae and I put together a four-course Italian feast for her boyfriend Lucas’s birthday two weekends ago. We started with chicken liver crostini because Doug fell in love with the stuff when he had it for the first time a few weeks ago at Anteprima in Andersonville. Not only is the homemade stuff incredibly delicious, it’s also super cheap to make. One pound of chicken livers was only $1.70! If you’re scared, don’t be. This stuff is what Florentine dreams are made of.
Besides the chicken liver pate for crostini, we also made the farm-fresh egg ravioli pictured above, saltimbocca alla Romana, aka pan-fried veal with sage, prosciutto and white-wine pan sauce, and Vanilla-Ginger Creme Brulee. Rae was dying to purchase a blow torch for this task, and she did a great job of firing them off when it was time for service. Check out the giant torch she got at Home Depot!
Last, but not least, I picked up my first batch of fresh rhubarb from Green City Market last weekend and decided to make this Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze I found on Epicurious. I didn’t have puff pastry, so I used filo dough instead. It worked, but I suggest using puff instead if you have it. I think the tart is even better with some ice cream on top. I used butter pecan because it was what I have in the fridge, but I think sorbet would be great too.
So, what kind of cooking adventures have you been up to lately? I’d love to hear all about them in the comment section!