September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
I have been obsessed recently with a cookbook I’ve had for a few years now but have re-dsicovered: Rozanne Gold’s Radically Simple. The techniques and processes are so basic (with very short ingredients lists) yet the results taste so sophisticated. I was looking for a pasta that veered from typical tomato-based sauces and I was super-impressed with this dish. I can’t believe something I made tastes so exotic (it is a riff off a Turkish dish).
1 pound fresh cheese or meat tortellini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
1/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook 8 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine 5 tbsp. of the olive oil, the smoked paprika, garlic, and a large pinch of salt. In another bowl, whish together the yogurt, 2 more tbsp. oil, salt to taste. Drain the pasta well, shake dry. Toss the pasta with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and add salt and pepper. Divide among 4 bowls. Top with the yogurt, mint, and drizzle with the smoked paprika oil.
Because I served mine immediately, I did not toss the pasta with olive oil, salt and pepper and this was fine. I also served this with a spicy wine braised lamb that was the perfect accompaniment–the yogurt and mint make this a really cool pasta and a nice balance to the spicy meat.
September 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Like most everyone I’m sure, I have a love-hate relationship with the cheese samples at Whole Foods. My trips there always start out so innocently–running to grab some milk or ice cream celery when we are out.Even if you try to enter at the produce section, you’re assaulted by enticing treats. I typically can’t resist whatever I try so I go home with some new finds–like Kenny’s Farm House Tomato Basil Cheddar. My last visit ended with a nice wedge of Paranno cheese and I have been loving it.
Parrano is a cow’s milk Dutch Gouda cheese. It has a semi-firm texture like cheddar but the taste is much milder with nutty notes like Parmesan and is salty and maybe even a little smokey or sweet? Mostly I can just eat this plain but it’s an easy topper for crackers and because it melts so well, I even added it to my eggs with some bacon as well. You really can’t go wrong.
And speaking of bacon…I don’t want to create any chaos here but GET YOUR FILL NOW before the bacon shortage hits!
September 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last night, my fiance and I were treated to a lavish Sunday night supper at his parent’s home. Called out of the the blue and for no other reason than to catch up and watch some football, it’s easy to see how it’s the little moments and spontaneous get-togethers that knit a family. So after a glorious hike at Radnor Lake (if you haven’t been, you must. Like now. Stop reading. Get in your car) we headed over to be spoiled and stuffed.
September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Kindled by my City House experience, I ran out the very next day to purchase, cook and consume my very own spaghetti squash. It was eye-opening—who knew a vegetable could so utterly transform with just a little heat? I decided to bake mine because even though the cook time was longer than microwaving, most of the time was hands-off.
Preheat your oven to 375° while you take some time hacking this thing open.
While that’s baking, why not separate some of the squash seeds and sautee with salt and pepper in a little bit of butter?
Now this is the really cool part. After about 50 minutes to an hour, the flesh will be very tender to the touch and fall away easily from the skin. When you rake your fork down it literally shreds it into perfect spaghetti-like strings!
If you are cooking for one, this squash yields a lot of “spaghetti”. Like dinner and lunch and then dinner and lunch again. So you may want to mix-up the way you serve it.
Now your mouth knows this is not real pasta, the texture is tough and the taste is nutty and sweet. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable with traditional spaghetti accompaniments but I preferred the Moroccan spices inspired by Smitten Kitchen.
September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have a bucket list item to cross off: City House Sunday Night Supper. It was a wonderful place to bring our out-of-town guests since the building itself is gorgeous and rustic (much larger than it appears on the outside), has a really cool atmosphere (complete with hipster servers, eclectic music mix and attractive guests) and an amazing ever-changing menu (which includes an entire dedicated “pork snacks” section). I love the shared plates style so you can sample as much of this yummy, creative cuisine as possible.
The popcorn was a quick and tasty way to whet our appetite. Rich and salty… methinks we were onto something with our gourmet toppings here.
I am normally a huge octopus fan–the meaty texture, the smoky taste. But I am more accustomed to lighter Greek/Mediterranean preparations since I found this pairing with the sausage a little too salty.
This. Pork. Butt. Is. Delicious. I think this was my favorite bite all night. The meat was perfectly tender and succulent and the biscuit was buttery and a pleasant surprise accompaniment.
I was so impressed by this spaghetti squash that I ran out and bought one the next day and cooked it. I’m not kidding, I’ll document it here. This pairing was better than anything I made though since there was melted cheese all over but it was kept bright by the lemon and parsley.
This pizza had my two most favoritest components: extra thin, crispy crust and ricotta cheese. I could’ve eaten the whole thing myself.
Our waiter informed us that the pork meatballs are actually included on the menu every Sunday. They are popular for a reason–super soft with an acidic perfect tomato sauce. I only wished I had more bread and sauce to mop up!
September 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
When I found out that Wine on the River would fall on the same weekend my best friend was set to visit, I felt like the stars were aligning. What could be better than sipping all different wines outside taking in gorgeous views of Nashville with someone you’ve known since (practically) birth? Not much. But you definitely did not need out-of-town guests as an excuse to take advantage of this event. Unsurprisingly, tickets sold out and the bridge was packed. The goal is simple: sample wines and spirits from different regions around the world–plus there’s fun music and tasty eats. I will definitely have to make this a new annual tradition in Nashville.
Something new I hadn’t seen before, Darcie Kent Wine Kegs.
I was this close to trying the Pumpkin Spice Moonshine but once I took a whiff, I chickened out. I guess I’ll have to take a trip to Corsair Distillery to redeem myself.
September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
What to do with spinach and quinoa that you are bored with and don’t want to eat? You add blue cheese, bacon and sweet dates of course! Now, you and I both know that blue cheese and bacon do not a healthy meal make so I really wasn’t even planning on sharing this. So I’m telling you this as a warning: don’t do what I did kiddos. I remember this day exactly, I had already had pancakes for breakfast so I guess it was really a curse-you-diet kind of day…
First, get a big pot of water going for the quinoa and cook per instructions. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes once done.
Then sautee the spinach. Harmless so far.
Oh, but then here comes the bacon.
And it’s all over with the blue cheese…
I kept the dressing very simple: tbsp balsamic vinegar, tbsp olive oil, tsp honey, tsp dijon mustard
And then mix it all together and toss in some sugary, sweet diced dates, just for the heck of it.
Now don’t say you got it from me–can’t have my name associated with so decadently transforming what could be a healthy lunch.