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Archive for April, 2008

Never, never, never, ever use unsweetened chocolate for baking (unless you know how to sweeten it).

Photos to follow.

The end.

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Since I usually cook for one, I am always looking for recipes that will help me use up extra ingredients from other meals. This pasta sauce is basically a simple bolognese sauce, but when I tried to look up bolognese sauces in my cookbooks, they called for lots of extra ingredients that I didn’t have, so I decided to make it up.

I know this is a pretty basic recipe, but I had fun with it, especially using up my leftovers.

Tonight I had several things in my fridge that needed to be used up:

ground beef
mushrooms
half an onion
three slices of pancetta (you can definitely use normal bacon as well)

to this ingredient list I added:

1 can of tomato sauce (you could also use any sauce from a bottle, Classico etc), olive oil, sea salt, pepper, half a box of pasta, and a few red pepper flakes.

First I chopped up the onion and minced some shallots. Shallots are great to use in pasta sauces that you have to simmer because they give a similar taste to garlic but they don’t burn as easily. I sauteed the onions and shallots with some olive oil and waited until the onions turned translucent. Then I added the mushrooms. After sauteeing the mushrooms until they were cooked, but not completely, I added the ground beef.

I should add that while these things were sauteeing, I started the water for the pasta and fried the pancetta in the microwave. I could have fried the pancetta with my onions and shallots, but I was worried about all the fat affecting the taste of the mushrooms. I also have a smallish stove and needed the workspace! I chopped up the pancetta and added it to the beef, onions and mushrooms.

After cooking the beef for a bit I opened the can of sauce and put it in a pot. I turned the heat on low and let the sauce heat up a bit. After making sure the beef was fully cooked I took the whole beef, mushroom, onion mixture and transferred it with a slotted spoon to the sauce. Beef creates a lot of juices which don’t always make your sauce taste that good! A little is okay, but don’t overdo it.

I let the sauce simmer for a good 15 mins. In theory, sauce can simmer for much longer, especially if it is in larger quanities, but I didn’t have that much time tonight. I added the red pepper flakes to the sauce and tasted it to see if it needed a bit more pepper (it did!).

After draining the pasta and checking the sauce one more time, I combined and enjoyed my meal! I had enough for dinner and enough for lunch tomorrow, which to me is the perfect recipe!

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I’m back from my two week trip, and what a trip it was! I saw so many incredible things, I will hopefully try and put together a few travelogue posts, but knowing my sometimes lack of attention to this blog, I’ll have to see it to believe it!

Anyways, it was so good to get away, clear my head, and just focus on having new experiences. The company was the best, the sights were unbelievable, and I saw and experienced many things that I never imagined.

It was my first trip to the Middle East plus all the decadence and fun of Paris, the perfect combination! Looking back, I can’t quite believe it all worked out so well, but I am so happy that it did.

Stay tuned for more on the travel, plus the coming of spring to DC! I’m so happy the weather is warmer, everyone is more cheerful, and there are plenty of fun things to do in the city. Plus April books are on their way, I am in the middle of a page turner right now and I want to finish it before this month’s installment.

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