Recession Chic

a down economy does not = ugly shoes

Chocolate Souffle, because it’s time February 23, 2011

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 9:44 AM
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In all of my years of baking, I’ve never made a soufflé. Why? I have no idea. I guess no one ever requested one, and I only think about it when I see it on a dessert menu after a fancy meal. As I planned my Valentine’s Day menu (so much better than dealing with the crowds, prix-fixe menus and cheesy decor), I thought it would be a perfect time to try to make some soufflé.

I’ve read a lot about baking soufflé over the years, so I knew this would be a delicate process. The good news? I found a recipe that sounded delicious (thanks Giada) and discovered that I could do all the prep work the day before and just refrigerate the mixture. I made a few mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

Towards the end of the VDay meal, I placed the soufflé (with their ‘warm water bath’) into the oven and tried my best to not watch it too much. Not gonna lie, after 20 minutes of baking and minimal rising, I started to freak out. However, just like clockwork, after 40 minutes they looked perfect — except for the messiness.

Since I swapped dark chocolate for the milk chocolate suggested in the recipe, they were über rich. And, after a meal that consisted of brie and apple salad, grilled fish with brown butter, asparagus and three cheese risotto — neither one of us could finish the dessert. But, I think that was for the best. Oh, and here are photos of the rest of the meal for all who are interested.


Completely Homemade Mac-n-Cheese February 14, 2011

Filed under: Dough Diaries,Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 10:10 AM
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My need for comfort food continued for another week; therefore, it was time for a round of mac-n-cheese. Since I had some extra time before dinner time, I decided to make homemade macaroni noodles. Something I learned from the lasagna adventure was the benefit of  using fresh, uncooked noodles to make sure the dish wouldn’t turn into mush during baking. Unfortunately, I only made it about halfway through the pasta making process before getting distracted and the dough dried out. Thankfully, I just needed to grab another extra large egg and flour to make another round of dough. The noodles were far from perfect but definitely looked homemade.

For the cheese sauce, I made a mornay sauce with white cheddar cheese and just a some Dubliner cheese shreds for a little bite.

I added some panko and regular bread crumbs for a crisp top. I baked the mac-n-cheese for about 20 min to melt the cheese and cook the pasta. Below is the final product (which was super delicious). I paired it with a mixed green salad dressed with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette to help cut the richness.


Spaghetti with Vegetarian Meatballs February 7, 2011

Filed under: Food & Drink — karakrautter @ 11:05 AM
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Texas Winters are something to behold. Freezing temps, ice, snow during the week and then 65 degrees and sunny on the weekends. Planning meals during this season can be a bit challenging because a warm soup may be perfect for a chilly Tuesday night, but if you wait until Thursday — no one will eat it with you. However, the solution can be pretty simple: comfort food. If it’s cold or even just mild outside, a warm bowl of love will always fit the bill.

My ‘Jeffrey’ will happily eat almost every type of food, as long as it is prepared well. Over the past 6 months he has really fixated on one particular dish when we go out for dinner, spaghetti bolognese. Now, for most cooks, this wouldn’t be a hard thing to try to replicate at home. But, as a vegetarian I really wanted to create something we both could enjoy. Mission vegetarian meatballs.

One of my new favorite meat substitutes is LightLife (in the produce section, near the tofu). Since it is refrigerated instead of frozen, you can do a lot more seasoning and cooking rather than just warming up the veggie protein. I used Gimme Lean Beef as my base for the meatballs and added one egg, panko bread crumbs, Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. After forming them, I pan-fried the meatballs in a little butter and set aside in the pan.

When it was time to boil the pasta, I added some spicy tomato sauce to the meatballs and heated.

The whole process was quite easy to do at the end of a work day. And, with a simple mixed green salad, it was the perfect, filling meal. Of course I loved it, but more importantly my non-vegetarian dinner companion was impressed with the flavor of the ‘meatballs’ and took home all the leftovers.

Behold the bowl of yum.