I made the bold decision to leave the espreesso out of these brownies, and I feel like I stopped mid-step. I should have left the sour cream topping off, as well.
The brownies were really good – though my marbling left a lot to be desired. The brownie part was dense, the cheesecake part was creamy, and the combination was a delight! I really enjoy chocolate and cheese together in general (so much so that I once attended a chocolate and cheese pairing class at Vosges, where I made a mess of myself eating white chocolate panini, and I would do it again in a heartbeat), second only to chocolate and peanut butter, and this 9″ pan of goodness did not last long in my refrigerator.
However, the sweetened sour cream topping added nothing but a big mess. The taste didn’t really enhance the brownies at all, and it made them difficult to eat in the car – one of my true tests for good feed: can I eat it in transit? Sour cream leaves too much evidence, and it smells if you forget to wipe it off your steering wheel before you leave your cap in a sunny parking lot and board the train in the mornin.
I’m just saying: leave the topping off, then love the brownies.
So, Monday after Easter Sunday I ran home and made the other Easter pie, pizza rustica – a dish that I love my mother-in-law for introducing into my life.
I use a refrigerated pie crust and fill it with ricotta and eggs, but also sausage, parsley, black pepper and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. My mother-in-law also adds hard salami, but I use whatever I have around; this is usually pepperoni, but this year I also had some sun dried tomatoes. A second crust goes on top of the filling and you are good to go.
The photo doesn’t really explain what a wonderfully comforting food this is. Others make it with beautiful lattice crusts and other features that make the pizza bakeshop worthy, but I’m rather pleased with my design. It didn’t last the week in the refrigerator, so the Other Eater in my household must like it just fine, too.
This week marks my entrance into Craving Ellie in my Belly – a new cooking experiment that a lot of the TWD bakers convinced me was a good idea. Ellie Kreiger’s cookbook aims to counteract the damage we all do baking with butter, eggs and white flour on Tuesdays. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
My first try was the Macaroni and Four Cheese recipe, which was chosen by Supplicious (she’ll post the recipe before Nov. 30). A word of warning: the orange hue that reminds us of the Blue Box actually comes from 20 oz. of pureed squash in Ellie’s version. Take that for what it’s worth.
The four cheese are ricotta, cheddar, Monterey jack and Parmesan, but in small enough quantities that I really felt like I had reheated the Pumpkin Pasta I’d made last week. I enjoyed both, I guess, but I was really looking forward to something comforting and cheesy for the cold nights before Thanksgiving. This was more of a vegetable dish. I think I would have liked it better if I had spent a long day at work anticipating a vegetable dinner and not a cheese-laden dinner. Ho hum.
Now, the comforting part of this dish is that it reheats well and is an excellent source of calcium, folate (to regulate sleep, appetite and mood), manganese (for digesting carbs), niacin (to draw energy from carbs), protein, selenium (to protect against heart disease and cancer), thiamin (for lots of stuff) and vitamin A (for better vision, teeth, bones and skin). It’s also a good source of fiber, iron, phosphorus (to draw energy from food) and riboflavin (to benefit red blood cells and draw energy from carbs). Finally, I can eat 2 cups for less than 400 calories. (Ellie lists all the nutritional in each recipe, which I love.) Good stuff all around, none of which applies to the Blue Box.
Long, long ago I watched some TV chefs boil pasta in a mixture of water and red wine. It seemed like a good idea, but varying Internet reviews reported that the wine only changed the color of the noodles, not really the taste.
So I moved on with my life, and continued to boil my pasta in clear, salty water, and serve the average pasta with a nice glass of wine on the side.
But I read more about how jarred pasta sauces contain weird things that drive up the calorie count, and my dread of firing up the stove to brown lots of meats and make my own sauce on a hot July afternoon grew exponentially, I went back to the pasta-in-wine concept. I had a half a bottle of red wine (purchased at Lemon Creek during last summer’s annual trip to Michigan wine country) left over from the previous weekend, I figured I had nothing to lose.
If it turned out really badly, I still had enough eggs in the house for omelets. And you can put ANYTHING in an omelet.
I used this recipe for from Real Simple magazine, and after a quick trip to Whole Foods for some cheese, I was in business (I did substitute lemon pepper for lemon zest and pepper, which seemed to work just fine, and I always use whole wheat pasta).
The pasta had a savory taste without being vinegar-y, and the lemon freshened the whole thing up considerably. The Romano cheese was a nice sharp taste to round the whole thing out.
A fine summer meal.