Sunday, May 06, 2012

My life with Giada, 5 dishes I've made recently

Giada at Home is pretty much my favorite Food Network show right now. I used to love anything Bobby Flay...but I've been away from cable for 2 years, so my tastes have changed. While I still hold a special place for him in my heart (he's so cute!), I find myself drawn to Giada's recipes. Here are a few I've made lately.

Penne in Almond Sauce
Both my husband and I LOVED this dish. We really enjoyed the flavors in the sauce and the surprisingly fun almond crunch. While the sauce itself is smooth, the almonds may definitely turn some people off because it's a whole different texture level for pasta.
The dish is relatively easy to make, I'd say a 3.5 out of 10. I had a small incident because I don't have a blender. I used a food processor instead, and it ended up making a huge mess. I made homemade rotisserie (style) chicken, rather than using store bought as the recipe directs. I also used mini-penne, and that was a great upgrade because the sauce was able to find its way into even more little crevices! I did not have any fresh basil available, so I omitted that without noticing a big difference. I also may have gone a bit overboard with the lemon zest, so the dish tasted very California-y :-)
The Penne in Almond Sauce is wonderful leftover too! My husband enjoyed eating it cold for lunch a few days, though I preferred it reheated. G ate a bit of the dish. I think the next time I'll make it, she'll like it even more because she's really become a big fan of pastas.
We had SO much leftover!
 Peach and Strawberry Crumble
We love fruit around this house, and peaches & strawberries are two of our favorites. When I saw this dish on Giada's show, I knew I had to try it. I altered the recipe by adding a bit more fruit, using a 9x9" pan, using salted butter, and subbing cornstarch for arrowroot (I looked for it, but never found it at Safeway).  This was such an easy recipe, but it does involve a food processor, so I'll give it a 2 out of 10.
The topping is really light and delicious, but for me, it's the juices of the fruit that make this dish so special. It tastes so summery; I could almost feel the peach juice dripping down my chin when we ate the crumble. The lemon juice and cornstarch really bring out the sweetness from the peaches and strawberries. I served it alongside vanilla bean ice cream, but I know homemade ice cream would be the perfect compliment for a summer time favorite.

Chocolate and Cheese Danish
I've been talking about these pastries for weeks and they did not disappoint. It may have something to do with the fact that I used nearly the full amount of filling but made only half the number of pastries. Both my husband and I feel that normal store bought (or even fancy bakery) pastries never have enough filling. We think there's too much dough and not enough gooey. Home-making your own danishes is the perfect way to solve the issue!
The recipe is SUPER easy because you use premade puff pastry dough, I'd say a 3 out of ten, just because you have to do some folding of the dough. If you do make them with double filling, as I did, be prepared for a mess. The finished product won't look as beautiful, because some filling may ooze out. If you aren't selling them, or competing in a presentation competition--who cares how they look, if they taste good!! And these were soooo delicious!
easy-peasy! Just not cheap (Mascarpone cheese is expensive!)

White Bean and Chicken Chili
I think I mentioned this recipe before too, but it's definitely worth talking about more. I can't wait to make it again because it is just so different. Growing up, my mom would make a white chicken chili...Giada's recipe is so different, I don't think the two can even be compared. The taste is best described as savory and rich. Sure, the taste can be kind of light...but the chili offers such deep tastes, it feels hearty.
I made the dish almost exactly to recipe--except I used 1 pound of ground turkey and 1 pound of ground chicken to save on meat cost a bit. I also omitted the fresh parsley, because I don't have an herb garden. It's not the easiest chili I've ever made, but it's definitely worth a bit of hassle. Nothing about it is particularly hard, I just felt like the prep work took a while (though the recipe says 8 minutes). I'd rate this as a 3.5 out of 10.

Cheddar and Scallion Bread
I love cheesy bread and when I saw Giada serve this alongside her chili (above), I knew we had to try it too. I did not love this recipe. I think the problem may have been that I didn't use ciabatta. I've never been a huge fan of that bread, but in this recipe, it may have served it's purpose. It's a really easy recipe, 1 out of 10, but I don't know that I'll try it again. The cheddar and scallion tastes were lovely, the topping just didn't melt down into the bread as I had hoped it would.

1 comment:

  1. I love this one -


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