Pan de Mej [Pani de Mie] Sweet corn buns

This past weekend I stayed at home and decided Sunday my oven was going to go into overtime.  I had the bug to be in the kitchen and do some major cooking.  And when our big baby – Rufus (the dog) started to bark at 7:00am to be let out, I took that as a sign that I needed to put on the apron and get to work.

I started by fixing some baby zucchinis (more on that at a later post) then moved over to do some potatoes that turned into a hot pocket (yeah I going to share that one too). But, after all that savory cooking I knew I needed to end the day in a sweet note. 

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Daring Cooks Challenge: March 2010- Risotto

And since I’m now in 2 baking clubs.. I needed to balance the scales a bit and I decided to give the Daring Kitchen a try, so I have become a Daring Cook.

 

I know the madness never ends.

 

Tom loves it, because well he is eating more than he has ever eaten before.  And I love it because it’s forcing the lazy side of me to cook on a regular basis.  And being daring in the kitchen at the same time.

 

The March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of Melbourne food Geek and Jess of Jess the baker.  The challenge was to make our own stock from scratch and of course as many variations of risotto that we could come up using the risotto base.  The various components of their challenge recipe are based on imput from teh Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

 

I’m Italian.  So this was right up my alley for me.

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Peperonata

After checking the photo above, you are probably wondering if we eat actual food around these parts.  Especially since my latest post have been about sweets, dips and spreads.

Nothing of substance, as in a meal.

Would you believe me if I told you I have never cooked so much food as I had in the past 2 weeks? I have made fresh past to build lasagna (not once, but twice!), I have made Bolognese sauce, and a béchamel sauce all to help built that before mention lasagna.  I have cooked a risotto and some shrimp scampi.

Yeah, I have.  

So to respond to your next question, “where in the hell are the post to those?”

Let me enlighten you:

The lasagna and everything that took to built it (pasta, bolognese and béchamel sauce) got cooked in the middle of the night – meaning not enough light to take good pictures, so that means it has been put on the redo list.  The risotto is coming, since its part of the Daring Cooks February challenge, which I’m so totally late on the posting.  And the shrimp scampi, was such a last minute thing, I totally forgot to take pictures of the whole thing before my family wobbled up the whole dish.

But, I do have this recipe and like the Eggplant Dip that I posted a couple of weeks ago, this one comes from “la Nonna” as well, except with a couple of different twist here and there that I have added over the years to bring the original to such a high standard, that the whole family adapted to it.

Ingredients

3 red (or combinations of yellow, red and orange) bell peppers.
1 large yellow onion
3 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoon sugar
Lime zest – about 2 teaspoons (optional)
¼ cup of lime juice (about 2 limes, if small, one if large)
Salt (to taste)
Cracked pepper (to taste)
Fresh herb of choice roughly chopped/shred (Basil, thyme, mint, oregano)

Wash, stem and seeds the peppers.  Cut them in julienne fashion or in squares (this is really up to you, I like the long strings)

Peel the onion and slice thinly.

In a deep frying pan over moderate-high flame, melt the butter and olive oil together for about 2-3 minutes just to the point where the butter is foamy (don’t let the butter burn).

Add the onions and peppers. Add a bit of salt and pepper at this point and cook another 2-3 minutes. Pour the lime juice, stir and cover.  This will help sweat the peppers and coat them with the acidity of the lime juice.  Leave for about 2-3 minutes.

Uncover, add the sugar and stir. At this point, you can see a bit of sauce at the bottom of the pan, if the dish is a bit dry, you can add a bit more of olive oil and butter. (About 1 tablespoon of each).  Lower the heat to low flame and cook until the pepper are soft, about 12 minutes or so.

The last step is to add your choice of herb to the cooked peperonata. I always tend to use basil or thyme which pairs nice with the freshness of the lime.  I also add the lime zest as well at this stage.

Pour into a serving platter, and set aside.  The dish is usually served lukewarm.

Agnolotti with Tomato Alfredo Sauce



This is simple and easy.. why? Because the ingredients are all pre-made and when you are in a hurry, trust me buying at the supermarket makes sense.

Now I'm old school, make it from scratch, because well there is nothing better than homemade.  But, I have to be realistic as well... I sometimes don't have the time to make from scratch. I do however have time to take the supermarket bought stuff and modify it to make it taste like I been in the kitchen slaving away all day long.

This recipe is going to be one of those times.   You will need:

Ingredients
1 package of Buitoni Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti 
1 container of Buitoni Alfredo Sauce
1 fresh tomato, diced up into small pieces
1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves
1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk (if needed)
2-3 tablespoon of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use cracked pepper)
Parmesan Cheese to taste
In a deep pot, place water over the stove to boil for the fresh Agnolotti.  When water starts to boil season with salt and pour the Agnolotti, cook until a bit al dente or follow the package instructions.
 
On a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter, once its bubbling, throw the dice tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir, let them cook until they are soft, about 2 minutes or so.  Then add the fresh spinach and stir once more.  The spinach will quickly start to wilt, season with a bit of salt and pepper again.

Next step is to pour the Alfredo Sauce over it and mix together... if the consistency is too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoon of the heavy cream or milk.  Stir together and taste, if needed add a bit of salt and pepper.  You can also add a bit of parmesan cheese at this point too.  The end results will be a creamy, smooth sauce.

By this point, your Agnolotti should be done.  Take from the pan and using a spoon start adding the pasta to the sauce.  Slowly move them around and coat each of them.

Served on a bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!