Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Manicotti, Garlic Cheese Bread

The plan to make Manicotti has been in the works for weeks (recipe from Gretchen)! Jeff and I were both so excited to have a yummy meal made of pasta, cheese, and bread. I bought the ingredients last week, but at the last minute got invited to dinner with Clark and Gretchen Grose at C.B. and Potts, so I saved them until last night. I shouldn’t even tell you the monstrosity of the burger I had at C.B. and Potts, but I will, so don’t judge! Hamburger bun, burger, bacon, fried onions, a fried egg and mayonnaise, no vegetables, fries, ranch, and a margarita on the side. Healthy? I think not. On my way home from work I picked up a loaf of bread and some Italian salad. On the way out of the store I did a classic Jenna move, much to my embarrassment. I was so overwhelmed by the wonderful smell of the fresh baked French bread that I held the bag over my nose like it was a gas mask as I walked to my car. I was in la-la land, choosing to breathe in bread air instead of the normal stuff; I became obsessed and lost all thought of normal society. How could I forget that people in the parking lot may find this behavior strange, or crazy? I received an astounding number of looks before I realized, maybe this kind of behavior should only be done in the privacy of one’s home. I cowered in my car, took a few hits of bread fumes and drove home. I made it back to the house in one piece…but the bread did not. My smelling led to a deranged desire to eat the bread. I snacked on pieces until I realized I would have to explain what I did to Jeff when he saw the chunks missing. I tried to close the bag, so he wouldn’t judge me when I got home….just one more piece! Okay, seriously no more….ok just one more! I walked in the apartment and Jeff had started to cook the manicotti tubes at my request. I started to mix the cheese up and made a grave mistake (“You said grave mistake, is there any other kind?” A few Good Men movie quote…look it up). In my haste to indulge in Italian goodness, I grabbed the tablespoon instead of the teaspoon. I then proceeded to add way too much salt and pepper. Once I realized my mistake I look a dip of the cheese mixture…as expected, pretty salty (I am having flashbacks to my first cheddar fondue experience). Jeff tried to convince me it would be okay and he thought it tasted great, but I was frustrated and really just pissed off (“but it’s better than being pissed on”-Jan Knowles quote). I poured some Jamison leftover from a St. Patrick’s Day party and pouted until Jeff convinced me to persevere. We stuffed the manicotti one at a time, a little time-consuming and baked the dish up.
Once the oven was free, I put olive oil on the glorious French bread, a little garlic salt, mozzarella cheese, and parsley and broiled it for a few minutes. I didn’t burn the bread this time! Dad and Mom are you proud? You have to be careful with that dang broil function. Last time I cooked for my parents I burnt the French bread to a crisp and set the fire alarm off. Luckily I was with an experienced cook (my mom) who has been in this situation before; she expertly cut the burnt pieces off to yield usable bread.
Jeff put out the salad, we added lemon halves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to use as dressing. This style of dressing is very common in Chile. When he traveled there, his host Mom always made salads like this. So here is our dinner; Manicotti that tastes like a salty heaven, warm garlic cheese bread that is not burnt, Chilean salad, and some vino to top it off. The sun is still out, there is an episode of Bones on, and Max is on the floor ‘watching’ Bones but secretly he has his ears back listening to us talk; great dinner!

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