Sunday, August 21, 2011
The risotto itself was a bit more complicated, although not by much. I started with some olive oil, and roughly chopped carrots, celery and onions. That mixture got a touch of salt and pepper before I let it sweat down and soften in preparation for the rice. Risotto pretty much requires arborio rice, and who am I to buck tradition and science? The rice went in with the sweated veggies to toast for a minute or two before I started ladling in chicken stock.
This is the part where risotto gets "complicated," although it isn't very difficult. Risotto requires constant stirring, and the slow addition of stock. I spent roughly the next 30 minutes adding stock to the bubbling mixture one ladle at a time, as the liquid was absorbed I would add the next dose of liquids. As I said, not complicated, but very labor intensive because the whole thing has to be stirred pretty constantly. Part way through it looked a bit like this in the pan:
Friday, August 19, 2011
I've been to the Pigeon Hole where this dish originated several times, and despite raving reviews from many of my friends, I've never been impressed. The eggs were decent, but unseasoned, the toast was nice and crisp, but made of fairly bland white bread and soaked through in butter, and the hashbrowns were just bland and uninteresting. Its possible I have simply made poor choices, but when comparing the meal I had here and the meal from day 38, I'll pay the premium for better food every time. It was nice, it suited my mood and brought back some memories of family vacations, but honestly, just not worth going out for when I can do better at home.
Ok, onto the food itself. Corned beef and hash is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Delicious, salty corned beef mixed in with wonderfully crispy sauteed hashbrowns. This particular rendition came complete with a pair of fried eggs (probably best when over easy, although I prefer my eggs a bit more cooked) and a wonderfully creamy rich hollandaise sauce over the top. Everything mixes together to form a really enjoyable filling breakfast that definitely sticks to your ribs. Honestly, it was a bit too much for my tiny ribs and stomach and I had trouble finished the entire platter, but I enjoyed every bite for as long as I could. The others in my breakfast group grabbed a couple other simple and hearty meals, all of which I had a taste of, and all of which were filling, and warming, although certain things, especially the sauteed mushrooms, were under seasoned. The trip was probably a bit overpriced, but still a good way to start the day, and certainly something you won't regret waking up to.
The process was actually incredibly simple, and pleasantly tasty. I set out the dough and let it rise for about 45 minutes, it probably would have been better to let it go for longer, but I was in a bit of a hurry so I decided to just go for it. The dough was incredibly sticky and glutenous (perfect!) as I worked with it, but after a bit of effort I was able to get it stretched out into a fairly thin rectangle of potential deliciousness. I spread out some thin tomato\pizza sauce (also purchased at Harris Teeter) over the crust, tossed down some cheese, and spread the sliced sausage out over the top of it, in the end it looked something like you see below, note that it is only covered on half the dough.
With the dough prepped I slowly folded it over to form my calzone. It was something of a pain as the dough stuck to the mat I used (in spite of the flour I had thrown down over top) but I made it work. The giant doughy mess went into the oven on top of a pre-heated pizza stone for about 10 minutes. When it came out it was incredibly dough heavy, but that's ok because I prefer a thicker doughier pizza. It was also really pretty tastey for something that was this simple and direct. I was quite pleased with the overall outcome.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The sandwich was pretty good, the bacon was nicely smokey and salty, the flavor of the chicken was just as great the second time through, and the tomato added a nice touch of sweetness. Unfortunately I ran into one small problem. The bread I used came from a ciabatta roll from a day or two ago. That roll had already gone slightly stale, and in-spite of the toasting, it was just a little too tough for the sandwich. Still, simple, quick and tasty.