Jump to content

WGB Cooking School (with images)

Recommended Posts

I will profit to raise one of my favorite threads from the limbo.  WGB Cooking School, a way to show off easy and not so easy cooking, and because I personally like food porn.


As we had spent the summer holidays in Tuscany, for family meals this year I have been focusing on Italian.


It all started the day before, as some dishes have to be made in advance.


First a general view of the kitchen




The most time consuming was the ragout for the lasagna, Bolognese style, as related by a friend from Reggio Emilia. The meat is 50% beef and 50% fresh pork belly. The fat is needed to get the right texture. I buy the meat and then mince it at home. 150 grams per person.








While four spoons of olive oil heat up in a big but low pot, I chop the vegetables. Carrots, onion and celery. In this case I had no celery so I added a shallot instead.




Start with the vegetables over a medium fire. You have to walk the line between confitting and frying. Once the onions start to get transparent, add a glass of wine and once the alcohol is gone, add the minced meat and stir strongly till it is well browned. Add four tablespoons of tomato puree. Then stew for three hours, adding wine if it dries up.













While the ragout is cooking, time to start with the pannacotta. Get one gelatin sheet every 150 ml of cream, and put them on room temperature water to soak. After five minutes, get them out and reserve.






Warm cream (not normal cooking cream but whipping cream, as you need the fat to get the right texture) in a pot. It is important that it never gets to a boil. Once it is warm, add fine sugar, 10 grams every 100 ml of cream. I also add a few drops of caramel flavor, but that is me and my family. Once the sugar is well dissolved, add the gelatin and remove till it disappears. Once you add the gelatin you cannot allow it to cool down.










You will need a mould. A typical flan mould is perfect. You could add caramel, but I prefer the white of the cream. However I add a small amount of amaretto as it supposedly helps with the demoulding. Then fill the mould and let it cool in the fridge for at least six hours.






Once the ragout has cooked for three hours, it is time for the secret ingredient, a glass of milk. It will balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and give a great texture. Let it cook fifteen minutes and adjust salt and pepper according to your preferences. Keep it refrigerated.




There is one last thing before finishing. As the pannacotta is too fat and unhealthy, I want to propose a second dessert, so I also prepare Tiramisu. Soak the savoyard biscuits in a tray with espresso coffee and amaretto (I also use sweet wine or Kahlúa, but amaretto is my wife's favorite).




Separate the yolks of three eggs. It is very important any contaminants remain with the yolks. Mix the yolks with three tablespoons of sugar, and once it is homogeneous, with 500 grams of mascarpone. Then beat the whites as hard as you can. There are many tricks, but the only one I use is a pinch of salt and lots of patience.






Add the whites to the mascarpone mixture. Try to incorporate them with slow movements, to get a homogeneous but airy mix.




Add the mascarpone over the biscuits, smooth and cover with cocoa powder. As it is also good on coffee and other desserts, I keep a salt shaker full of the stuff. The Tiramisu will be better the day after.




Now we are in the day of the meal. First, bechamel for the lasagna. Bolognese is a so called, "dry" lasagna, so the bechamel has to be quite thick. I used 50 grams of flour, 50 grams of butter and 250 ml of milk.


Melt the butter and add the flour to make a "roux". It should stay warm so heat the milk also so it does not cool the mix when you add it.








Then add slowly the warm milk while stirring. Adjust also the salt and pepper.




Once the bechamel is ready, it is time to build the lasagna. I use precooked pasta squares, as they make my life much easier and I usually break most of the normal ones while soaking them. So bechamel, the ragout, the pasta and a lot of parmesan cheese.




Using a pyrex oven tray, a first layer of bechamel, that will be acting as glue. Then pasta, ragout, parmesan, another layer of pasta and the bechamel to cement it in place.












Forty minutes in an oven at 140ºC, with a bowl with water in the oven to keep it from drying too much. I did not take any photo of the final product, except at the end.


After the lasagna, who was the main dish, or "segundo", I needed a "primo" and some starters, or antipasti. Rather than pasta, as there was pasta in the lasagna, I prepared a mushroom risotto, using shiitake as they are much more affordable than porcini. I also made a starter from black rice, Venere, that we had brought from Italy. It is a steamed rice, so it is not good for risotto, but I just cooked it and then sauteed it with walnuts and gorgonzola, to combine with the nutty taste and hard texture of the rice. It was the biggest success. There are several "risotti" in the previous thread, but if you have questions, feel free to ask. 






















Once the cooking was over I forgot to take pictures. But these are some images on the table. The antipasti is a classic Caprese and Bresaola and beaten gorgonzola and mascarpone.










  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for monopolizing! Mr Wolf turkey.




Did that fancy turkey carving thing and it worked out pretty good!




Only thing wrong with this plate is there's nothing green on it. I'm not going to get fussy about vegetables though.


The apple and cheese crumble thing is like one I did on my blog. except I used less cream/milk and more cheese (one more little log, fines herbes) to go with two plain ones. It was in the oven at 350F for just under an hour and browned up nicely. Very successful dish if just a little cheese-heavy, but better than the last one.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

This was the New Year's Eve dinner. We were only three, cooking for my wife and my mother in law. As we were a bit saturated and there were still many festive meals to go I picked a dish that keeps for several days, and with fish and vegetables. A marmitako, a traditional fishermen pot.


The ingredientes for four (we were counting on having leftovers) are:


One green bell pepper.

One red bell pepper.

Half an onion.

500 grams of Tuna, bonito or even salmon. This works best with blue fish.

600 grams of potatoes.

1 liter fish stock. I usually buy it instead of making my own.

Olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, according to preferences.

Chorizo pepper, or as that may be hard to come by outside Spain, smoked paprika (ideally Spanish, of course).


Chop the vegetables and pile together, as there is no need to cook different times.




Add enough olive oil to a pot to cover the bottom and cook the onion and pepper till they start to get tender at low-medium heat (10-12 minutes). I use the time to peel the potatoes.






Once the vegetables are tender, break the potatoes rather than cutting them (that will release more starch and thicken the stock) and add them to the pot. Stir-fry them for a couple of minutes.




Then add the fish stock, crushed garlic and salt and pepper according to preference.




Then add the chorizo pepper, which is a paste, or smoked paprika.




It has to cook for thirty minutes at medium, uncovered so it concentrates the taste. It will turn dark red.




I had the fishmonger cut the tuna in cubes.




Once the potatoes are cooked, make a last adjustment of salt and pepper, add the tuna and stew for three minutes. No more or it will get tough and dry. It will hold for days but if you heat too much you can overcook the tuna and get it too salty.






It was a big success, but it was even better the 2nd of January.


  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Avgolemono Soup (my version)


Take your typical boring soup; veggie or chicken rice or veggie chicken rice of whatever is in the fridge and make it exceptional!


So you have your soup cooking.


You take a couple of eggs (room temperature if you can) and separate the eggwhites. Keep the yolk.

or you can be adventurous and do one full egg but it's more difficult to keep the eggwhite from cooking when you mix it in the soup.

So for a better chance of success.... you just keep the yolk.





you mix the eggs pretty well.

Then get the juice from one big lemon.

I got 3 lemons cause I love the lemony goodness in this the most!






mix the lemon juice with the eggs. stir it slow but make sure it's all well mixed. no egg pieces floating around.




and here comes the big secret.

take broth from the cooking soup and start mixing it with the egg/lemon mix.

little by little warm it up with broth from the soup.




mix it in with the egg/lemon mix, slowly but well. Repeat as much as you need.




once the soup is done cooking take it off the stove. Let it sit for a few minutes so it's not boiling any more.




and then while the egg/lemon mix is still warm and the soup is cooling

mix it up while stirring the soup so the egg doesn't cook.






Bon appetit!

I always add fresh ground pepper on top.







  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...





lentil recipe from Trader Joe's:




2.25 cup of lentils (which I forgot to wash)
5.125 cups of veggie broth
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar (replacing 1/4 cup white wine)
1 tablespoon salt
.5 tablespoon "Mrs Dash Steak Grilling Blend"
.5 tablespoon ground black peppercorns




 Bring to boil in saucepan
Lower stove to low, and cover
Simmer for 35 minutes




Conclusion: they turned out well

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have photos of this (sorry!), but if anyone else is like TM and I and eating low-carb/keto/HFLC but missing nachos - pork. rind. nachos. 

Spread your pork rinds (plain salted or garlic flavor) on a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment), sprinkle with shredded cheese, and broil just until the cheese melts.
Top with all your favorite nacho toppings and ENJOY!! 😎 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn’t make in-progress pics, but I made my first choux pastry and did some creampuffs. Mark Bittman pastry recipe, Culinary Institute of America pastry cream recipe, bc even though I have Jacques Pépin’s recipes, I could not be arsed. They turned out swell!



  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the oldest Minibot (aka Baby Razorgirl) is turning seven tomorrow, today I created a cake!

My brief as per M was: a layered chocolate cake, with purple buttercream, a panda, her name, and green bamboo around the sides.



I made two layers of Bean Brownie Cake:

6 eggs

1 drained/rinsed can of black beans

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons yogurt (plain, vanilla, Greek - whatever you have!)

1 - 1.5 cups of sweetener (I used Splenda and add it to taste)

Blend together and bake in two 8-inch round layers (350 for 25 minutes or so, until it tests done).


Then I decided that it would be fun to have a filling other than more buttercream, so I made creme pat. It was my first attempt and I think it turned out well! I halved this recipe and used Splenda instead of sugar. 

I made vanilla Splenda buttercream and colored it with neon food coloring :D 

And then, decorated! The panda has mini chocolate chips as well :) 


I tried to keep it a surprise from Miss M at first but she was so excited she couldn't stay away and supervised the decorating process - and then proceeded to watch a "Cake" episode of The Great British Baking Show :D 


(I use Splenda instead of sugar and make non-wheat-flour versions of foods to fit TM's food restrictions for his health and to fit better into the macros I'm trying to stick to for weight loss. We're completely used to it after eating like this for... well, TM has for 7+ years now!)




  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I just do rice and steamed veggies pretty frequently, with a packet of tuna thrown in for flavor and protein. It's my go-to easy meal.


1/3 cup Basmati rice in a microwave safe bowl with 3/4 cup water

Nuke 3 minutes and chop broccoli, mushrooms and mini bell peppers up while it's cooking.

Throw all veggies in on top of rice and nuke 9 more minutes.

When done, the rice should still be moist but not with standing fluid. Adjust according to taste and microwave.

Stir in a Lemon Pepper tuna packet and a dash of olive oil or soy sauce, to taste (I pretty much just do Costco olive oil these days).

I also sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese on it usually, but that's optional.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Black beans and rice, start with a little oil and an onion, season with Sazon Goya (just pick a flavor), add a can or two of drained and rinsed beans, simmer for a while. You can add more spices and things as you like. Sometime I'll put corn in, too, or some sausage or chicken (if you do that, cook the meat first), and it's good on rice with a little salsa for texture and bright flavor.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

You could switch it up from black or kidney beans every so often and do a chickpea curry! 
Similar to db's recipe, start with a little oil + a little butter and chopped onion, add turmeric + garlic + curry powder + garam masala. Add a little tomato paste, then your can of chickpeas. Taste, add salt if needed. Simmer. 
Eat with brown or basmati rice, you could top it with a little fresh cilantro if you're not a cilantro-tastes-like-soap person. :) A bit of naan would be nice with it too! 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...