Last weekend I decided to test out my new enameled cast iron pot with an Italian classic: bolognese sauce. I photographed each step as it simmered on the stove for over 6 hours. The recipe is from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. Basically the process is adding liquids and cooking them down, then adding more liquids.
You start with cooking chopped onions in butter and olive oil.
Add chopped carrots and celery to complete the Mirepoix.
Add a combination of ground beef, veal, and pork.
Cook until no longer pink.
Cook it down.
Add white wine.
Cook it down.
Add chopped tomatoes.
Cook it down.
Simmer for 3 hours.
And there you go -- 6 hours on the stove and we're finally ready to eat. I served the sauce on homemade fresh pasta (see post a few below this one).
Our theme for Christmas this year is "low-budget." We're hardly buying any presents (none for each other), and I'm doing my best to spend as little as possible. For these projects all I bought was a spool of ribbon and a can of spray paint, and some floral wire. All the other supplies were found outside or in one of the many boxes in my studio.
Here's the window in our entryway...
And the door of the mudroom, decorated with sprigs of pine (free from the place we got our Christmas tree), pinecones (found on our street), a sprig of berries (I used the ones I bought for Halloween and added red glitter to them), and a ribbon (bought many moons ago from Michaels when they had the holiday ribbon on sale for 50% off). I made 4 of these and placed them around the house.
These are my planters transformed for Christmas. I found the branches and pinecones on our street, then spray painted the branches silver and glittered the pinecones. I used old snowflake ornaments to decorate the tree.
And here's the other planter by the stairs.
Lastly, here's the porch decorated with lights and garland we bought last year. I just layered pinecones in the windowboxes and added some pine sprigs.
I estimate that I spent less than 20 bucks for all these decorations -- not bad, huh?
I haven't made a pinecone wreath in years -- it's very messy (pine sap is impossible to get rid of), and pinecones aren't plentiful in the District like they are in New Hampshire.
A few weeks ago I spotted a tree dropping pinecones on our street, so I started collecting them as they fell on my way home from work each day. Finally I had a full box, so I headed to Michaels for a wire form, floral wire and a spool of ribbon.
I didn't start with a plan, I just started wiring, and this is how it looked after the first row. (Unfortunetly I forgot to take a photo of the second row.)
I finished it outside on the grass because the sap was out of control. The third inner row was pretty tricky -- I went through almost a whole spool of wire.
And here it is on our front door -- I was really happy with the way it turned out. All I have to do is switch up the ribbon and I'll be ready for Christmas!