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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lasagna Bolognese alla Hardy

Lasagna Bolognese alla Hardy

What comes to mind when you think of a bolognese? It’s probably not the same thing that comes to my mind. It is my belief that ragu bolognese is one of the most misunderstood Italian sauces, ever. I’m no Italian, but I do think I can help set the record straight.

The words ragu bolognese usually conjure images of a thick and chunky tomato sauce with ground beef piled on top of a plate of spaghetti. Well, if you didn’t click the wikipedia link above, then I guess I’ll have to be the bearer of bad news. Or good news, depending on your perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Beef, Entree/Main Dish, Food, Pork

 

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Fresh Homemade Semolina Pasta

Fresh Homemade Semolina Pasta

Wow, what a week. A long and busy week. I was definitely unprepared to return to the Army after a month off. Wednesday we ran the dreaded “gulch” which is a four mile route with extreme hills. It’s an ankle, knee, and shin nightmare. Needless to say, after not having run for weeks, I got shin splints. Then Friday there was a short ruck march, but it exacerbated my shin problem and the crappy boots I have gave me some nasty blisters the size of golf balls. That’s what I get for taking time off.

Full days at the motorpool aren’t usually so bad, but this week was a little different. Mostly because I’m used to coming home from work to relax and unwind. Oh, right, I have a baby now! It’s been difficult finding a new groove to get into and my time management hasn’t exactly been super efficient. Then I had 24 hour staff duty sprung on me on Friday last minute, so that just cut my weekend in half.

Alas, I have now found some time to rest and relax. Of course, that means a new recipe (finally!) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Army, Entree/Main Dish, Food

 

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Where does the time go?

I’ve been back to work since Tuesday of this week, and I’m not even sure how it’s Thursday already. Fortunately, Thursdays are “family days”, which means we get released from duty early. I know, the Army is hard. Four day weekends at least once a month and short days on every Thursday. I don’t know how I deal.

The Army isn’t really great at any particular thing, except the infantry of course. Most of those guys are great at what they do, and I wouldn’t stand a chance in their shoes. One thing that the Army is good at, though, is wasting everybody’s time. My days are filled with trips to the motorpool, waiting for the higher-ups to decide what needs to be done and how to do it, and then beginning the task at hand only to find out that those in charge decided they want it done a different way. Oh, but it’s approaching the end of the duty-day, so just wrap things up and then we’ll start again tomorrow. 

Right.

I should’t really be complaining, though. I get paid to do all of this nothing. It just becomes frustrating, when I know that there is so much to be done at home and I’m just standing around in the motorpool or sitting on a picnic table underneath a big tree because I was told to be there and wait. That’s what happens when you’re junior enlisted. The, when I become an NCO, I’ll constantly be staying late because I’ll be in meetings and trying to get my soldiers last minute information so they know where to go sit and wait.

Anyways, that’s my rant for the morning, and one of the reasons why I’ve been a little more absent from the blog. I believe my writing and recipes will probably have to be reserved for the weekend, since my time feels short when I get home from the day.

Coming up (hopefully soon):

Homemade Semolina Pasta Dough
Lasagna Bolognese
Caprese Galettes (might change the name to something else)
Some kind of chicken dish that is still on paper 😉 

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Food

 

Barrack’s Cooking: Moroccan Style Turkey with Chickpeas

Barrack’s Cooking: Moroccan Style Turkey with Chickpeas

I’ve expressed my love for my crock pot many times, but I just can’t help doing it again. I love my crock pot!

I often spend a lot of time in the kitchen putting together a good recipe. I cut, cook, take pictures, assemble, prepare, drink some wine, take more pictures, and end up with an awesome meal and great content for my blog. It’s very satisfying, actually, which is why I keep doing it.

As much as I love the labor in cooking, though, I get even more satisfaction when I put almost no effort into a meal and it still comes out just as fantastic! There are, after all, days when I just don’t have time for an elaborate meal or I’m just feeling lazy but still want something healthy.

This meal is just that. Consequently, this particular blog entry seems short compared to my more elaborate meals. Still tasty, though. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Entree/Main Dish, Food, Health

 

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Bread Baking Basics: Ciabatta!

Bread Baking Basics: Ciabatta!

I absolutely love a ciabatta loaf. It has a great open and airy crumb, perfect chewy texture, and a thin and crispy crust. It’s a perfect dinner or soup bread. Not really meant for making sandwiches or slicing for toast. It’s definitely a grab-a-hunk-and-stuff-it-in-your-mouth kind of bread.

And it’s incredibly simple to make at home. Ciabatta, by nature, is a very wet dough, which is why it has that revered open crumb. The hydration for ciabatta ranges from 75% to 80%, though I’ve seen some crazy people use 85% hydration. It is almost impossible to fully develop the gluten, especially in a home kitchenaid style mixer. Our countertop mixers, although versatile and fantastic, just aren’t optimized for bread mixing, and this is an example where that shows. A stiff preferment is necessary to help out with developing the gluten structure. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Baking, Bread, Food

 

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Bread Baking Basics: Autolyse and Pre-Ferments

Bread Baking Basics: Autolyse and Pre-Ferments

I must admit that I’ve been fairly busy lately. It is my last week of leave before I go back to work, so we have been running around getting things done, as well as trying to enjoy our time as a family. We had a pretty grand time spending our tax return money. A new mattress, tires for Laura’s car, and the rest paid off what was left on my car loan.

That new mattress is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever slept on. It envelopes me and wraps me in fluffy clouds and lulls me to dreamland!

Jack, of course, has been keeping us busy as well. He’s been pretty fussy lately, so we took him to see the pediatrician because we suspected he had acid reflux problems. And he did. Hopefully his medication will start working soon.

So, it’s Friday already, and I realized that I haven’t posted anything significant. Not that I haven’t been cooking and taking pictures, or anything. I just haven’t had a chance to put anything into 1’s and 0’s.

Yep. That was a binary joke. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Baking, Bread, Food

 

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I’ve been trying to keep my mouth shut . . .

But, I just can’t anymore. I’m getting pretty tired of all this Whitney Houston crap I keep seeing on tv. And if I have to hear I Will Always Love You one more time, I’m going to walk out my door, down the steps, out into the street and yell my head off!

Our society is entirely too saturated with media. And, yes, I realize the irony of writing that sentence on my blog. I don’t really want to go on a huge rant, but I’m starting to find our obsession with entertainers, particularly the dysfunctional ones, disgusting. 

I’m also a little sick of the opposite side. If you facebook, then I’m sure you’ve seen a friend or two post a status update or picture comparing the death of Whitney Houston to that of a fallen soldier, the message being that the attention that celebrities get compared to military personnel is absurd. Although I don’t necessarily disagree with the message, I feel like we’re comparing apples and oranges in this case.

But a particular individual did cross the line. Again, I was trying to keep my opinions to myself, but it was upsetting to me when I heard about this. New Jersey governor Chris Christie has ordered the American flag to be lowered to half staff in honor of Whitney Houston’s death

Legally, there is nothing wrong with this. A governor can order the flag to be half staff for any civilian, as there are no real rules against it. Usually, however, this is reserved for presidents, members of congress, government officials, soldiers, or those who have served the community in some way.

In my humble opinion, I feel that flying the American flag at half staff should be reserved for honorable people, not drug addict celebrities. If ind it disrespectful to those that we have lost that made a contribution to our country, government, or communities.

I even wrote Governor Christie a message to let him know. You can too, if you like. Or you can let him know that you agree with his decision. That’s the great thing about our country. We can have our opinions and express them in a respectful way without fear of reprisal, and I encourage everybody to do so. 

So, that’s my little rant. I’ve been cookin away and I have some good stuff coming up for the weekend. Hope my little spiel didn’t alienate any of you 😉 

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Food

 

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