Thursday, May 26, 2011

Before May is out . . .

I thought I would put up my Mother's Day comic, finally!  As always, click to enlarge!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Timpano: Part Five, the Conclusion!

OK, here come the photos showing how we finished making the timpano last night!

A. cooked the pasta.

 I oiled the pan well!
 Rolled out the dough to almost the size of our table!
 Placed it in the bowl.
 Lovely drape.
 Mixed olive oil and some sauce with the pasta.
 Dump it in! (first layer)
 Add layer of chopped salami and provolone.
 Yum, hard boiled eggs!
 Wheee!  In they go!  Note: I messed up and didn't put the full half in this layer, but that just meant the second layer had a lot more.
 Add some meatballs and wait for romano cheese flurries!
 My other photographer and the wee one!

 Add sauce!
 More pasta, salami, provolone!
 Meatballs and sauce and romano!
Final layer of pasta and sauce!  Did I mention that the fillings are supposed to only barely fill the pan?  Hey, just following instructions; I don't know how we got overflow!

NOTE: I really messed up here because I forgot to add the 4 beaten eggs at this point, and that certainly contributed to our issues with solidity once it was done!
 Folding over the dough!
 Almost done!
 Trim the excess!  I didn't worry about having too much extra dough; I like dough!
 Ready for the oven!
 In it goes!
I don't have photos, but after it's a bit browned, you cover it with foil and cook it to 120 degrees -- so here it is partway through, when I added the foil and thermometer!
 Finished baking!!
 Mmmmm, dough!
 Our only big platter was barely big enough for this thing!  But it worked!  A. does the flip and . . .
 I cut the 3" circle in the middle (something to do with it being a support for the pieces as we cut them),
 then, the first piece!
 Onto the plate!
 Yummy mess of bread and meat and goodies!
Again, wow!!

So, how was it?  Well, it was quite tasty . . . but A. and I are both rather critical people, and we thought up a bunch of changes we would make!  (Did you really think I could leave it at "it was quite tasty"?)

I was happy with it, but it needed WAY more sauce and WAY more cheese.  When we reheat pieces for leftovers, I am totally going to top them with jarred sauce and thick mozzarella slices. Yeah!

I wish it was more solid, but that is partially my fault for forgetting the egg near the end.  I thought it would be more like some sort of giant pie/dumpling with meatloaf consistency and some noodles thrown in, but it was very noodley.  More like a pasta dish with a bit of crispy crust.  The meatballs were not helped in the final melding, unfortunately.  However, the hard boiled eggs were an extra nice touch!

 A. was particularly disappointed; he could tell along the way that the proportions weren't what he imagined, and he could just not forgive those meatballs!  He agreed about it needing MORE sauce and cheese!

If/when we make this again, we have decided to experiment and make it however we want with all kinds of crazy combos!  But see, I made the official recipe, so now I'm allowed to play. :)  I also think a dessert version of this would rule -- cake bits, brownies, custard, pudding, ice cream, chocolate chips, cookie dough, brioche, etc. etc. etc. all in a giant pie crust bowl of awesome -- that's what I'm talking about!!

Anyway,  I hope you enjoyed our crazy project!  Who knows what we'll make next . . . . :)

Timpano: Part Four

Last night we made the timpano!  On Saturday, A. made the dough and hard-boiled the eggs.  Here is a picture of our assembled ingredients as a placeholder for that.

I have to get organized with the rest of the photos from the actual creation and cooking of this crazy dish!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Timpano: Part Three

Last night we made the meatballs!  We were pretty tired from the day, so for the forming and frying we were sitting down at the stove, ha ha!  Oh, I feel old.

First we ground some beef.  Ever since I got my Kitchenaid grinder attachment, I've been doing this regularly anyway (SO MUCH better than pre-ground hamburger!).  We needed to re-stock, so we ground more than we needed for the recipe.

Yummy yummy beef!

The next step was actually ridiculous.  You know that bread I've been drying for 3 days?  Well, you put it in a bowl of WATER and sort of reconstitute it into a slimy mess, take the crusts off, and squeeze the water out.
(sorry for the poor photo quality)

If anyone can tell me WHY you do this (and why the drying), I'd like to know!  I've done dry bread crumbs and soft bread crumbs, but this was bizarre -- and led to kind of crappy results, but I'm getting ahead of myself . . .

Next, A. put the shredded romano, garlic, and parsley in a bowl,

and added the meat and an egg.  Then you put in the soggy bread globs and mix!  I'm not providing a picture of the resultant mix, because let's be honest, it looks a little gross.  The smooshed bread looked a little gross, too!

Now, you're supposed to fry up a meatball to check it for taste, adding more salt and pepper or cheese if needed.  Well, we found the sample meatballs to be . . . "light".  As in, more bread than meat.  Sort of ooey gooey in a bad way.  Bland.  What is up with that watery bread??  It kind of ruins these meatballs.  So A. grated a bunch more cheese in, added more garlic, and more importantly, put in about a half-pound more hamburger!!  Then we fried them:
(This was when we were exhausted and sitting on chairs!)  You are supposed to make these meatballs really small, and A. tried, but they were so darn wet they wouldn't stick together properly, and they turned into little patties instead of actual spheres . . . and fell apart, and it was kind of like a sausage crumble kind of thing going on.  Still, I got them to brown nicely.

When we were totally done, Moxie got a treat . . .
Mmmm, licking raw meat off A's hands, ohboy!

And here is a pic of the finished meatballs (after a night in the fridge, oops).
All in all, I was unimpressed with this particular recipe.  Hopefully these meatballs will meld with the rest of the timpano fillings in an exciting and fulfilling way, because on their own, they're pretty lame.

So we made these last night, and today we went out and finally found some salami and provolone cheese.  These two items (in a non-sliced format) have been nearly impossible to find around here!!  Winco, Costco, and Fred Meyer didn't have either, and we finally found the salami (not "Genoa", I might add, but some generic thing) at Trader Joe's, and got the deli lady to chop us off a hunk of provolone at Safeway.  Can I just say that I totally miss Penn Mac, because they could certainly fulfill my every cheesy desire!!!  And they'd probably have the salami to boot.  Ah, Pittsburgh, I miss you for your food. :(

Tonight we're aiming for the dough and the eggs, and tomorrow we're assembling and cooking this thing, woot!  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Timpano: Part Two

Yesterday I made the sauce for the timpano! (See previous post for what the heck I'm talking about.)

First I had to puree the tomatoes in the food processor:

And brown the two types of meat: beef . . .
Ta-da!  And pork:

I chopped up garlic and onion:
(I don't know why my photo got rotated, but whatever)
and added it to the pot, meat removed:
Then I added a few other things:
(that is the bowl o' meat on the left)
and cooked it for a bit!
Next up was to add all those pureed tomatoes and some basil and oregano!  (I didn't have the fresh basil so I used dried, oh well!)
Then I cooked it for 30 minutes . . .
. . . and put the meat back in, to cook for about 2 hours!
And then it was done!
BONUS: We got to eat superdelicious chunks of meat for dinner, since you don't use the meat chunks in the actual timpano recipe!  Soooo good!  I need to eat more beef, yum yum!

Next up: the meatballs!  We will be doing this tomorrow (I hope)!