At what point do you decide a recipe is too time-consuming to ever attempt?
As I set out to recreate the restaurant meal from my last entry, I began to realize that it was getting a bit…well, foodie-like.
On the counter, I’m cooling heads of roasted garlic to puree for the pasta sauce.
In the oven, I’m baking carrots and asparagus.
On the grill, I’m roasting red pepper and portobello mushrooms brushed in olive oil.
In the fridge, I’m chilling a flourless chocolate torte overnight.
On the stove, I’m reducing a white wine cream sauce and boiling pasta.
Is this sounding easy?
Because it wasn’t.
I’d like to say that it was all worth it but of course, as it is with re-creating any recipe, it can take many attempts before you get it right. I’ll spare you from the two pages of recipe instructions I wrote out (all the while thinking, “Did I really do all that?! What was I thinking?“) and just give you the Coles Notes.
Reduced Balsamic Goat Cheese Salad
Here was the real winner of the evening. I will never drizzle cold balsamic and olive oil on my salads ever again! Reducing your balsamic not only takes all of 58-seconds, it also makes for an incredibly sweet and complex flavor that makes your standard vinaigrette hang its’ head in shame.
Reduced Balsamic Dressing
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan. Raise heat to high and reduce vinegar by 1/2, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and stream olive oil into saucepan, whisking to combine with vinegar. Set aside to cool slightly. Serves four.
Roasted Vegetable Tagliatelle with Herb Cream Sauce
Although I had the highest hopes for this dish, it was sadly lacking. I will say that the notion of roasting/grilling all the different vegetables was a great touch and I look forward to working on this one, despite it’s recipe giving Santa’s 10-mile long Naughty & Nice list a run for its’ money. Definitely a “special occasion” dinner.
And next time I’ll remember the herbs. Slightly important in a herb sauce.
Chocolate Torte with Vanilla Ice-Cream
I already have a great chocolate torte recipe but I did learn a few things this time around. One is that too much of a good thing is not a good thing. I overdid it on the chocolate and used 70% which made the cake almost bitter. I recommend using 50% at most.
Cutting a flourless torte can also be tricky because you need a clean knife but if it’s warm, it will start to melt your very dense chocolate cake. This time, I skipped the final step of taking the torte out of the pan (which is always tedious and typically results in the bottom of your cake taking one for the team) and used a cookie cutter to cut out the “pieces” instead. The trick is to remove a few chunks from the pan to give some wiggle room, press the cookie cutter all the way down and then wiggle it from side to side to break it free from the base of the pan. Lightly push the shape (on the outside edges) out of the cookie cutter and onto a plate.
Happy Birthday Mom!