01 February 2010

Allez cuisine!

Let me just start this first by saying... I love that my husband loves Iron Chef (America). Now, I'm not saying it's his favorite show, but he more than just tolerates it, and it's become somewhat of a weekly tradition. We even watched this season's Next Iron Chef. Of course, our favorite part is always the Chairman's announcement of the secret ingredient. And our favorite clip of ALL time is...

NEVER not funny.

I think of this now because we just started watching this week's new episode -- Battle Avocado. Yum! And, quite hilariously, Antonia Saboto, Jr., is a guest judge. Jagger! Where is Karen? Ha! (Brad just exclaimed, "I knew that's what it was!" He correctly identified a chimichurri sauce being made. Good job, hubby.)

Anyway, the new Food Network magazine inspired me this weekend and I sat down and actually mapped out a full week's worth of dinner menus. Last night we started with tofu Parmesan subs, also my first attempt at cooking solid tofu. I NEEDED to eat it the second I saw the pic + recipe. And guess what? I DELETED my pics. ME! I never do that. So, friends, I am sad to say I have nothing to show for myself (but the link has a little pic, the one that so inspired me).

The recipe was pretty simple (despite just narrowly avoiding disaster when I threw the tofu into the oil before coating it in egg and breadcrumbs -- luckily I caught it almost instantly. Duh!), and the tofu was perfectly easy to work with (* sigh of relief *). We quickly discovered these subs are the messiest meals of all time, so have a steady surface ready for eating if you make these! Taste wise, my first time around with this recipe, I give it a C+. I undercooked the tofu a little (my fault) and the sauce was actually really bland -- Meijer was out of fresh basil, so I had to use dry, but I can't imagine this was the total culprit. Next time I'd use a prepared spaghetti sauce, or maybe even a pizza sauce. Brad said "eh, I don't think I really like this." But, I got him to give me another chance, so we'll try this again soon and hopefully I can perfect it (I must note that I had a leftover one for lunch today and the flavor was improved some).

Tonight I took another stab at the Food Network mag's
lightened mac. I've had good success with this recipe and the consistency -- super creamy. But I haven't gotten the cheese mixture quite right, so I wanted to try it out again (plus, I got to use my food processor to whiz the cauliflower! Woooo!). This time I used a little more Parmesan in the cheese mixture and a little more sharp cheddar and a little less muenster. Then for the top, for the broiling portion, I used sharp cheddar again instead of muenster. PLUS, I used an ENTIRE small can of chopped jalapenos (ha, oops. I wasn't thinking...). So this time, the cheese flavor was stronger, the creaminess was still there, and the peppers gave us a little bit of the mac and cheese sweats. I think I'm 95% there with this recipe. I WILL perfect you!

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