JULY 27 2011


So far, I have really enjoyed all the salads in the Frankies cookbook and this one is no exception. I was a bit concerned at first because all of the ingredients are super intense. A nibble of escarole proved it to be really, really bitter, to the point of almost spitting it out. Add to that 1 cup raw sliced onions, 1 cup raw walnut chunks and 1 cup sliced pecorino romano then toss it all with a raw walnut dressing. Sounds like a mouthful, right?!

walnuts and sliced red onion ready for the salad



JULY 23 2011

This recipe marked a number of firsts for me: first time using a whole vanilla bean, first time cooking with gelatine and the first time making panna cotta. I must say, it all seemed to go pretty smoothly! First I scraped the insides out of the vanilla bean.

scraped vanilla bean

Then stirred the gelatine into cold water to "soften". It ended up looking kinda weird, but I guess that's probably how it's supposed to look!

softened gelaine



JULY 20 2011

First off, you're probably wondering "what the hell is cheese broth?!?" Me too, believe me. It is essentially cheese rind tea that is used in saucing pasta and making polenta. Didn't seem too hard... just simmer pecorino romano or parmesan rinds in water for a few hours, strain and it's done. There are three recipes in Frankies that call for cheese broth so I picked up a few rinds from New Seasons (cheaper than buying 5 wedges of cheese and trying to quickly use it all) and brewed myself a cauldron-full.
cheese rinds ready for the pot
It started off innocently enough and even smelled pleasantly like cooking cheese.



JULY 17 2011

This one is pretty much just like it sounds... slice some veggies and grill them. And it's sooooo good!! In the summer, I regularly toss veggies with olive oil and throw them on the grill until lightly charred. It's the best solution I've found for my annual zucchini overload. So I barely felt like I was following a recipe at all. 

But follow it I did. I tossed 2 sliced eggplants, 2 sliced zucchini, 1 sliced red onion and 2 quartered bell peppers with minced garlic, salt and... wait for it... 1 cup of olive oil (!!).



JULY 13 2011

You know what I love? Caesar salad!! I was excited to make this one not only because I knew it would be delicious, but also because it was dead easy. Blend together the dressing, toss with romaine hearts and sprinkle with cheese & black pepper. Bam! Done!

So I collected all the dressing ingredients and the lettuce and got to work. Put everything except the lettuce, 1/3 of the cheese and the black pepper into a blender. Puree until smooth. Nice.

Now time to assemble.



JULY 11 2011

Well, what can I say. I am totally unimpressed with the cheesecake. I thought it was overly fluffy, kinda dry and just missing a zip of some kind. It needed a fruity topping or something to make it sing. The crust was the other half of the pate brisee recipe from the chocolate tart, but it didn't live up to it's first half. Just dry and brittle.

Now believe me, there is a VERY high probability that I totally screwed it up and all of these flaws are completely my fault. In fact, I would probably bet on it. And I have a few ideas of where things went wrong...

I don't ever really bake so I'm not sure when the egg whites have reached the point where they "hold stiff peaks". I dumped them into the mixer, cranked it up, and let it go for a while. They may possibly have been overwhipped. Could that be the cause of the "over-fluffyness"?




JULY 9 2011

"Oh man, so so good". What can I say? The Braised Short Ribs are fabulous. Most of the action happened Thursday when I roasted the short ribs, sauteed the flavor-enhancing veggies, then braised the whole lot in wine for 2.5 hours.

roasted ribs, ready for a winey bath

Once the meat was falling off the bones, it was pulled out of the braising liquid and set aside.


JULY 9 2011

A lovely hot summer day like today calls for extreme refreshment so I decided to bust out some Frankies Lemonade.


Deadline... what deadline?

After careful reflection on the first month of my admittedly self-imposed Frankies challenge, I have decided to adjust one major parameter to help ensure my success and overall enjoyment of this thing. I am extending the deadline for myself until the end of 2011. I know, I know! How can I just change one of the two rules because it's convenient to me? Well... because I want to :)

I swear! I have very good reasons! First, I embarked on this project just over a month ago and in that time have managed to complete 20 of the 89 recipes. Which, I must say, is pretty darn good. But I'm not sure I can sustain that pace considering all our big summer plans. And I really want this to be fun and not stressful.




JULY 1 2011
Using the remaining parley pesto, I whipped up a batch of avocado crostini for a BBQ today. The parsley pesto also was used to marinate the steaks and season a cut-up cauliflower. It worked great!

Back to the crostini. Baguette slices were swiped with parsley pesto and quickly broiled. Then topped with avocado slices, a drizzle olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and white pepper. Delicious! The creamy avocado balanced perfectly against the crunchy crostini.

They disappeared quickly! Yummmmm :)

But then later I was flipping through the book and took a closer look at the avocado crostini recipe I thought I had so deftly prepared earlier. Wait... black pepper? Not white pepper? WTF? I thought everything used white pepper so I had only glanced at it. Dang!

What do you think? Do I have to re-do it because I used the wrong pepper? Technically I guess so. Luckily they were delicious so I am not too sad about it. I had better make sure to use the correct pepper, though, so I can cross it off my list with no guilt!
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