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From Simple To Spectacular - The Game
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stonemaybe
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: From Simple To Spectacular - The Game Reply with quote

Once upon a time zmulls started a thread in The Gallery about a cookbook called Simple to Spectacular, where the authors took a basic recipe and made it gradually more spectacular in five stages (I think).

I was thinking about it tonight as I was making my (very basic recipe!) dinner, and thought maybe there's a game we could play along those lines, with posters adding an ingredient at a time, to improve what's gone before.

Anyone interested? I have no rules in mind, so suggestions about those would be a good idea first!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in...
Now to decide on the basics to start...
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean take something basic, like scrambled eggs or a baked potato and then improve upon them? I think that sounds neat!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time to give this a go?

The first game's dish is Pasta and Pesto. So 'simple' is: Cook pasta, drain it, put it back in pan and stir through a jar of pesto.

A few simple rules for this one:

-it must be quick! Ingredient preparation should not take more time that the pasta takes to put on and cook (8-12 mins),

-cooking time should also be very short, as anything to be cooked needs to be cooked in the same pan as the pasta was, while the pasta is in collander (is that the US word?) draining, before it goes back into pan(so preferably 2-3 mins, maybe up to 5, but that'd be pushing it!)

-the finished product must be re-heatable in microwave so it can do two mealtimes.

-ingredients should be non-perishable as far as possible, or where perishable is used there should be a good chance that most people would have in their fridge. Using something unusual that most people would have to go out and buy, is only acceptable if product has a shelf-life of longer than 4 weeks.

Score your recipe from 1 to 5, with 1 being simple and 5 spectacular. Scores may have to be adjusted after other recipes are posted! Winner by common consent gets to choose the next dish and the rules.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stone...

Are we going to go up to five dishes from the basic?
Or do you want the final dish from the base now?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK...reread the rules.

base recipe rating: 1
what Stone posted, stir pesto into drained pasta and serve.

base recipe rating: 2
add canned drained quartered artichoke hearts

base recipe rating: 3
add canned drained quartered artichoke hearts and pine nuts

base recipe rating: 4
add canned drained quartered artichoke hearts, pine nuts, and drained slivered sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in olive oil

base recipe rating: 5
add canned drained quartered artichoke hearts, pine nuts, drained slivered sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in olive oil, and one sliced sauteed chicken breast, seasoned to taste

If we were taking this further, my final product would be to add a few halved small fresh mozzarella balls

I had actually submitted a similar recipe to Macaroni Grill for a "Create Your Own Pasta" recipe contest several years ago. I know the recipe was accepted for consideration, but never heard anything further back from them. However, a similar dish has since appeared on their menu. Very Happy

Even if they did "steal" my submittal, I think it's pretty cool.

Did I do this right, Stone?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Did I do this right, Stone?


Laughing

I'd sort of decided to abandon the 'add one ingredient at a time' bit, but never mind! Feel free to change post if you want to add more....
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stonemaybe wrote:
Quote:
Did I do this right, Stone?


Laughing

I'd sort of decided to abandon the 'add one ingredient at a time' bit, but never mind! Feel free to change post if you want to add more....


Very Happy

Fair enough...

base recipe rating: 6!! Wink

add canned drained quartered artichoke hearts; pine nuts; drained slivered sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in olive oil; one sliced sauteed chicken breast, seasoned to taste; and halved small mozzarella balls (ciliegine) to the warm pasta to soften (the second size from the right, I believe)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok so I tried your one Menolly - fabulous!

Here's mine, hopefully with a few pics underneath to explain some ingredients! (And I have to admit I cheat slightly, as I make this fairly often, so I tend to keep the ingredients in to make it!)

level 2
Drain the pasta, throw the following into the pan...thinly sliced (about 30 slices) paprika chorizo, fry in olive oil for 2 minutes, put pasta back in on top, mix in pesto and about 2 tsp garden gourmet garlic (out of a tube. I know I know it's not the same, but it's not bad and it's quick and easy!). Stir in grated cheese if you have any in fridge.

level 3
As above but some extremely finely sliced onion or shallot and mushrooms with the chorizo, and a good sprinkling of chilli flakes

level 4
As level 3, but also 2tsps garden gourmet basil, and when you drain the pasta, drain it through about 100-150g spinach leaves.

My level 4 was going to be my level 5, but since trying Menolly's, my imagined level 5 would be my level 4 plus artichokes plus pine nuts.

Clear as mud?

Paprika Chorizo - costs about 1.79 and keeps for ages.


Garden Gourmet garlic

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my take on it:

level 2
Add 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic to the pasta and pesto and toss over low heat to develop flavors.

level 3
Add one can of portobello mushrooms that have been drained and sliced to the garlic, pesto and pasta and heat briefly to combine flavors.

level 4
As in level three, but add about 1/4 cup sherry before heating.

level 5
As above, and after heating top with freshly grated percorino (or parmesan or asiago--any type of hard italian cheese). If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley for garnish. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooooh Shocked sherry! Like it!

I can do that - I've got the remnants of a bottle in my drinks cabinet that was an unwanted gift.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unwanted gift of alcohol? Is there such a thing? Shocked Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wyldewode wrote:
Unwanted gift of alcohol? Is there such a thing? Shocked Very Happy


Very Happy Laughing Normally, I would agree! But sherry... all I can say is that it has come in really useful for cooking!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it is used to flavor a dish, then in truth, it isn't unwanted IMO, Stone.

~Lyr, sherry goes well with pesto? I use an extra-dry pale sherry all the time for my "white wine" in recipes, but I never thought of paring it with pesto.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Give it a try. . . I think it's great with the earthy mushroom flavor. . . that is why it comes after the mushrooms. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK...
I don't think we ever decided a winner for the last recipe, but Stone asked if I was going to post a new challenge, so here goes:

I think this recipe is pretty spectacular as it stands, but it is also easy, easy, easy. Let's see what others can do with it.

Mozzarella Caprese

base recipe (simple):
slice a ball of fresh mozzarella, and lay it on a plate, alternating with sliced ripe beefsteak tomatoes, sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and perhaps some grey sea salt

level two:
In between each mozzarella slice and tomato slice, insert a whole fresh basil leaf so that the tip of each leaf sticks out and adds some color to the plate

level three:
sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil and some good balsamic vinegar from Modena all

level four:
alternate one very thin sliced prosciutto between each full round of tomato/basil/cheese/basil

level five (spectacular):
make the entire thing on your favorite flavored tortilla wrap (leave out the prosciutto if desired) placed on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Place under the broiler until the tomato slices and mozzarella soften
(pizza margherita?)

Your turn...
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

salad? SALAD????? Very Happy you'll have to bear with me on this one, not sure if I can make a saladything spectacular!

I'm thinking onions....
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes yes yes on the onions. Smile I usually add red onion when I do the caprese thing. You could artfully arrange red onion rings over the top of your concoction, before the olive oil and balsamic drizzling.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

glad you agree on the onions Aliantha! Very Happy

Other problem I have, which annoys the hell out of me but is just a fact of life here, is that it is very very very difficult to get tomatoes that have any flavour whatsoever, so making things like this is...chancy! One of my favourite things about going to hot places is tasting salad with flavour instead of just crunch!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a problem here in the States, too, Stone. For most of the year we settle for hothouse-grown tomatoes, which are a sickly pinkish-tinged red and have sort of a mealy consistency. The best time to do a caprese salad like this is in the summer when tomatoes are in season. Best of all is if you grow your own tomatoes. Smile
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