One thing I don’t emphasize enough on this blog is my love for cooking. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t love eating out, but the more I learn to make meals the way I like them the less I enjoy eating out at places unless they have something really special that I am looking for. My style of cooking is a little different, because I enjoy throwing a bunch of different things together, measuring be damned, and hope it turns out good. This is how I’ve always went about the process, and I’ve learned a lot more because of it. Rarely do I ever follow recipes exactly how they are written. I always like to change things and add my own ingredients. This is what makes it fun for me.
I cooked a big dinner the other night which consisted of some of my favorites. I felt the need to share. Maybe next time I’ll try to write down a recipe. Until then, enjoy the pictures.
The dinner started off with an appetizer plate consisting of garlic stuffed olives, grape leaves, artichoke hearts, and a feta spread. The plate is drizzled with a pureed combination of garlic, olive oil, and red pepper. This is how we do fancy over here.
One of my favorite things to make is baked potato soup. Why? Well, to be completely honest because it’s nearly impossible to screw it up. You can throw almost anything into the pot, taste it, and if it needs more of something you just throw it in. Cheese? Great. Broccoli? Throw some in. Sour cream? As much as you like. Chili beans? That’s kinda weird, but sure. It’s like an pot of imagination soup. Oh, and I forgot the best part. The most integral part of any baked potato soup is bacon.
My baked potato soup starts with the most delicious smelling combination in the entire world. Sauteed onions and garlic. Keep this a secret, but I have plans to turn this smell into a candle and market it nationwide. From there I pour in some chicken stock, whole milk, a little flour, and 3-4 potatoes with a dash of salt and a good amount of pepper. I let this boil until the potatoes are soft, then I let my immersion blender go to work. I’m not a big fan of completely pureeing potato soup because I like a few chunks of potatoes in my bowl. After the blending, in goes some crispy bacon, green onions, and whatever kind of cheese you like. I stick with either Romano and/or cheddar.
This particular night I attempted to make a salad. If you’re a regular reader you probably know that I’m not much of a salad guy. Just never saw the point. For some reason I decided that I was going to try and make a salad that I could enjoy. The ingredients pretty much ruined the entire point of a green side dish, but I made a salad. Give me some credit here. My best idea for a salad that I could eat ended up being a buffalo chicken salad. This consisted of baby Romain lettuce, Frank’s red hot mixed with ranch dressing, buffalo style chicken, and crumbled bleu cheese. This turned out to be pretty tasty. If I’m going to eat salad, this is what I’m going to require from now on.
Since a hearty soup and salad just weren’t enough, I made a main course for some reason. I mixed up some ricotta and Romano cheeses with chopped spinach, pancetta, and some random Italian spices, and stuffed them inside of some Manicotti shells. I poured some Bove’s roasted garlic marinara sauce over top, and left them in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. If you’re ever looking for a quick dinner, this is perfection.
I understand this might be the most random combination of foods you have ever seen, but it was a fun dinner. The tastes didn’t exactly go together, but who really cares? The food was delicious, and everyone was full at the end of the night. Until the next time I undertake a cooking endeavor such a this, I bid you good eating. Damnit, that sounded too much like Alton Brown.