My Tangent – Stuffed Manicotti And A Pink Strawberry Thing… Oh Yeah, Bavarian Cream

09 December 2009

Morning,

Last night’s supper was my first attempt at two things; Stuffed Manicotti and a Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Believe it or not, both were edible, but certainly not a get-in-the-kitchen-and-fix-a-fast-supper-sort-of-meal.

The Strawberry Bavarian Cream, not a problem. Strawberry Jello, strawberries, water, Cool Whip… that’s it. It’s the easy method, a very easy method… but I think it has something to do with timing. You know the timing of how long to let the strawberry Jello set before one mixes in the Cool Whip and the sliced strawberries. The recipe called for some added sugar but I couldn’t figure out if the Jello was not one of the sugarless types, and if it wasn’t why would I add more sugar. I didn’t.

Oh yeah, I didn’t forget to spray the container mold with Pam. I did it sort of lightly, then wiped the mold thing off cause I really didn’t want that Pam-after-taste on my tongue. The result… it turned out okay, tasted nice and somewhat light, but to look at it, even in its Tupperware-molded shape, it looked like the creature from the movie, The Blob dressed to the nines for a red carpet event.

And what about the Stuffed Manicotti? Here’s the rub, I don’t like preparing formed pasta, especially the type of pasta that is supposed to keep its shape in the aftermath of preparation when placed on the plate. And so I’ve avoid stuffing any type of pasta all these years. I just know that I am that much of a klutz that I would destroy the pasta shape just at the point that I’m ready to use it.
Yesterday I thought I would like to take a chance and create Stuffed Manicotti, with some leftover ham. The other ingredients onions, which I was out of so I substituted scallions, green pepper, garlic, Swiss and Parmesan cheeses, flour, milk, butter, salt and pepper. And I was suckered in to the prep-time indicated on the recipe… BS 35 minutes; it took me about two-and-a-half hours preparing the stuff. I just wanted to make sure that everything was right.

Oh yeah, and then there are the manicotti tubes. Recipe called for 14 tubes, so we got one box. I think the plastic and the cardboard and the packaging of that one small box costs one hell of a lot more than the pasta. Inside the box were 14, that’s right 14 neatly organized and spaced in each of 14 plastic compartment, tubes. But here’s the pain about it… The recipe stated that I should prepare more than the required number of tubes needed, cause of possible breakage in packaging. So in other words the marketing ploy is to buy 28 tubes, if you only need 14 cause this neatly ordained and compartmentalized packaging was not necessarily gonna guarantee you 14 useable tubes. Wrong? All 14 were in perfect, not broken or chipped shape.

It’s the hot-tub effect that ruined a couple of my tubes. While cooking, that is, submerged in their hot water bath, three tubes split down the sides, making them mini-lasagna sheets. And I only had 14. Well I got around that… and it was all in the stuffing, the stuffing of the tubes, that is.

The recipe was correct about one thing. It stated that it was probably more conducive to use one’s hands, even though it would be messy, to stuff the tubes. Very right! I had stuffing all over the place. Another thing I learned, wait till the stuffing cools down. My fingers were beginning to lose their feelings when I struggled down to the 13th tube. Oh, and I solved the “split-down-the-side” mini-lasagna problem. I created a tube-like sort-of shape after I sandwiched some stuffing on the mini-sheets and tucked in the sides.

All my stuffed tubes were placed in a large baking dish, 13-by-9, which the recipe called for, but I could only fit 13 in. The 14th never happened. The made cheese sauce was poured over top and then the dish was baked in a 350° F oven for 50 minutes. It’s amazing what a nicely baked and brown sauce will cover when you take the results out of an oven. (Also there was no food photographer around to touch up the aftermath.)

And believe it or not I quickly made a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and had a very good supper. Salad, stuffed ham manicotti, and strawberry Bavarian Blob…

Enjoy,

Jim

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