Much like last week, I didn’t have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Last week it was because of our trip to Chicago. This week it was due to my incredible schedule. Beginning on Sunday I had something on the calendar every day. Quite honestly it was a few somethings on the calendar every day. For starters, I had my Dad and sister over on Sunday to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. My Dad had been requesting that I make cannoli since the beginning of the summer. For one reason or another (usually due to the fact that I was short an ingredient or two), I got to the end of August, and hadn’t honored his request yet. So I decided to make them for his birthday. In addition to the scrumptious cannoli, I made pasta cheech which I featured earlier in this blog. But we are talking cannoli, so let’s get to it. I started with the shells. I am not a fan of deep-fried foods, and I don’t own a deep fryer, so I had to improvise. I decided to use my pizzelle press to make the shells. If you haven’t ever eaten a pizzelle, I suggest you do… and right away. They are delicious Italian cookies that look like snowflakes. They are usually anise flavored, but I have made almond, vanilla, lemon, and marble pizzelles…YUM. They are crispy and light and I love them. Growing up, my Aunt Pat used to make them all the time, and in fact she still does. I had a pizzelle press on my “kitchen wish list” for a few years, and then a few years ago, my parents bought one for me. I don’t use it a lot, but I do love it. It is so cute, and the cookies are delicious. Pizzelles are a cinch to make…as long as you have a press. I decided on anise flavored pizzelles for the shells. All I did was bake the cookies in the press as indicated, and then while the cookies were still hot and pliable, I curled them around a wooden dowel. Voila! Homemade cannoli shells that are not deep-fried! YAH! Then I made the filling, and just piped it into the shells right before we ate them. The resulting cannoli were good, but not great. I used ricotta cheese to make the filling, and I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled with the final texture. Turns out no matter how much you mix the ricotta, it remains a bit grainy. Next time I think I will try mascarpone as it has a much smoother texture. I am happy to report that my Dad did like the cannoli. He agreed about the texture, but said the flavor was great…mission accomplished.
Here is the link to the recipe that I used for the filling:http://gracessweetlife.com/2010/06/cannoli-siciliani-the-ultimate-italian-pastry/ If you have a press, here is the recipe for pizzelle cookies that I used as shells: http://foodblogga.blogspot.com/2007/12/italian-pizzelle-cookies.html
Monday was a busy day too. We had a great play date with my good friend Tia, and her adorable daughters Alexis and Aynsley. The kids always have fun together which is a huge blessing. It is one of those uncomplicated get-togethers in which you know beforehand that it will be easy and fun. Well it was.☺ After that Victoria had to go to the orthodontist, and get impressions for her retainers made. She gets her braces off on September 13th, and she cannot wait. After the orthodontist we did some back to school shopping for jeans as Old Navy was having a sale. Tuesday was just as busy. We had to be at school so I could pick up a check so I could purchase all the food for the annual back to school open house at the elementary. I then had to go to Gordon’s Food Supply to pick up all the said food, and then deliver it to the school. Next, I had to take the kids to get their flu shots, drop Victoria with Dan at the chiropractor, and after dinner Ryan had soccer practice. Wednesday, I had to get a blood draw, and then get to school by 1:30 for the open house. After the open house we headed into Richmond so Dan could pick up some soccer supplies, and we took Ryan to the library as he was out of books. Thursday I had to work. Friday, I went to Trader Joe’s and to Whole Foods to stock up on food for the kids’ lunches as they go back to school on Tuesday. As a side note, do you ever leave the house with the knowledge that you are going to bump into someone you know? Well I had that feeling on Friday, and as I got to Trader Joe’s, I saw my Aunt Pat in the check out. We caught up for a few minutes, and my suspicions were proved correct…AGAIN! P.S. don’t ever doubt that inner knowing voice…but I digress.
So with all of that craziness, I didn’t have a ton of time to experiment with new and exciting recipes. I did manage to try a recipe for eggplant cannelloni. Our neighbors were kind enough to give us more veggies from their garden. This time I got three big eggplants, and about five really big zucchini. I used one of the eggplant and one of the zucchini for dinner on Thursday. I breaded them, baked them, and we ate them with marinara. Well I had two eggplant left, and I wanted to do something different. I have a recipe for “eggplant bacon” that I have been really wanting to try, but I never have all the ingredients. While at Whole Foods on Friday, I picked up the last ingredient necessary for the recipe…a dried chipotle chile. I have never cooked with one before, so I was excited to try it. As I type this, the eggplant bacon is still in the dehydrator. I am excited to try it. I am also a bit anxious. The recipe required a lot of steps, and I hate to think I wasted all that time, and all of my ingredients, if I don’t care for the finished product. We’ll see.
Anyway I was left with one eggplant, so I decided to use it and make eggplant cannelloni. I made my own filling as the recipe called for goat cheese, and I NEVER have goat cheese. Truth be told, I am not crazy about goat cheese. I did have ricotta left over from the cannoli, so I decided to use that to make the filling. I just mixed 4 ounces of ricotta with garlic powder, salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil, and some minced capers. I also had some left over marinara, so I skipped making the sauce as well. The resulting cannelloni got a mixed review. Victoria gave the recipe a “B.” Dan gave the recipe a “A-.” My filling, however, got an “A++.” I liked the dish, but have made other eggplant dishes that I liked better. I am glad that I tried it, but I probably won’t make it again anytime soon. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2007/10/eggplant-cannelloni?mbid=row0405
As this is my last blog of the summer, I took a few minutes to reflect on all the new recipes I tried. There were 38 recipes that I blogged about from June 6th until today. If I was hard pressed to pick a favorite I really would have a hard time. A few really stand out as recipes that I will definitely add to my regular rotation. In fact I already have. I have made fried couscous salad more than a few times. I have also made the arrabbiata sauce, and the vegetarian chicken burgers a few times. I have plans to remake the kale pesto pasta, and the kale bread casserole again soon as my kale continues to grow like mad. Lastly, I am NEVER without garlic herb butter. Since the first time I made it I was smitten. We put it on toast, crackers, pasta, potatoes, corn…you name it….basically it is good on anything except dessert. This summer was way too short. We did accomplish a lot though. Dan had his last business trip of the year. We got a new pool. Ryan finally learned how to ride his bike. We went to Chicago. We went to library like a million times. In short, we spent a ton of time together. Looking back, my only wish is that we had a little bit longer. I hope you try a few of these recipes, and I hope you have a great last weekend of summer. Enjoy! ♥