Archive for August, 2010

Turn orzo into something outrageous

We usually think of pasta as something to be drenched in a rich marinara or a heavy, cream-based alfredo sauce. We also usually think of it as something that comes in long ribbons or strands.

Orzo is a type of pasta that turns that latter notion on its head, and used in the recipe below, does the same for the sauce that it’s served with.

Upon first glance, you might mistake orzo for rice. That’s because it is shaped just like those little grains. But orzo is indeed pasta, and is made from the same kind of wheat used for more familiar shapes like fettuccine and angel hair.

Because of its small shape, orzo is easier to eat than your average plate of spaghetti – no slurping needed. It can also be served as a side similar to rice, or as the main ingredient. But orzo’s small size can spell trouble if it’s paired with big, traditional partners like marinara or alfredo; the granule can get lost in a sea of sauce.

A better – and healthful – alternative is to use orzo in a vinaigrette-type sauce of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Combined with a bounty of vegetables, herbs and one secret ingredient, orzo becomes a star player that is not only seen in all its glory on the plate, but bursts with flavor once in your mouth.

Ready to give it a whirl? Let’s make some Extraordinary Orzo

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Homemade whipped cream is perfect in a parfait

Here are two of the sweetest words you’ll read all week: whipped cream.
Who doesn’t love the thick, rich, saccharine clouds of deliciousness topped on desserts, fruit, or just about anything else?

Too bad most of us equate whipped cream with stuff that comes bursting from the nozzle of a can or, even worse, sitting in a tub.

Real whipped cream is a treat that can be made at home in about five minutes with the proper equipment, and, via that proper equipment, is as easy as pouring ingredients and then flicking a switch.

As you might have already guessed, that “equipment” I’m referring to is a mixer. Doesn’t matter much what kind. From a cheap hand mixer to that anchor of a KitchenAid Artisan that is a proverbial favorite on wedding registries, the idea is to have a machine that can mix fast enough to incorporate enough air into cream to transform it from a milky like substance to the sweet fluffs we know as whipped cream.

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Yes, I’m still cooking!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, but fear not, my fellow foodies: I Want To Cook is still cooking up a storm.

While I haven’t posted a recipe here in a couple of weeks (sorry!), I’ve been toiling away with developing some others and writing another one of my food columns for The Orange County Register, Food 101.

(As some of you know, my full-time job is Automotive Editor for the O.C. Register, where I get to play with some fine cars for a living.)

I also recently shot a video with Daily Grill chef Phil Kastel, above left, who demonstrated how to make grilled artichokes. They are beyond delicious, and I highly recommend trying them before artichokes go out of season. Click on the image above to check out the video.

Regarding the next recipe here, hold tight for another couple of days. I promise you this week’s recipe will be worth the wait, and will easily satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.

Here’s a hint: It involves plenty of whipped cream.

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