July 13, 2014

HomeMade Fettuccine with Cream and Butter Sauce

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Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote an entry for this blog. Although I've been too busy since I started my newest job to have time to keep up with a blog, in many ways I've missed it.

Today I was thinking about the year (actually it took us more than a year) that a group of us cooked our way though Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and posted to our Pomodoro E Vino blog. I learned so much during that time and definitely became a better cook. I decided it was time for a big Italian dinner with homemade pasta. I don't even remember the last time I made homemade pasta. It was probably as I cooked my way through that book. I was wanting to use some cream I had in the fridge, so I decided to make a Cream and Butter Sauce, which is really an Alfredo sauce. But not the thick gloppy Alfredo sauce you most often see. Fettuccine would be the perfect pasta shape.

I forgot just how easy fresh homemade pasta is to make. 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, and some strong arms as you knead for 8 minutes and you have perfect pasta.

Here I am tossing the pasta in the sauce. It's important to get each piece of pasta coated in that lovely sauce.
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December 27, 2013

Black Magic Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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For Christmas this year, Scott asked for a carrot cake or a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. We had 2 packages of cream cheese in our refrigerator that needed to be used, so the search was on for the perfect recipe. I knew I didn't want to make a red velvet cake. I just don't get it. It's a chocolate cake with lots of red food coloring. I hate red food coloring as I think it has an awful bitter taste. So I decided to do a google search for chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, and I was brought to the website ofhttp://whiteonricecouple.com/. They featured a Black Magic Cake with a butterscotch bourbon filling and a cream cheese icing. Perfect.

The cake was very moist. And very good. I think I'll be making it in the future as it's a perfect dark chocolate buttermilk cake. It was probably made even better because I used the wonderfully dark rich Valhrona cocoa. The butterscotch was very sweet and well, buttery. And bourbony. And the icing a nice tangy sweet. It had the addition of orange bitters, which I've never heard of using in a cream cheese icing. It was a great addition as it took that overly sweet edge off that icing with powdered sugar can sometimes have.

I would make this cake again. Just beware that it is very sweet. Scott has such a sweet tooth that it was just perfect for him. A couple of days after Christmas and the entire cake is gone. And yes, it was just me and Scott eating it. Some me, mainly Scott. Just so you know.

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December 25, 2013

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Wow, it's been 9 months since I've posted on my blog. Sadly, I didn't really miss it. I'm not sure at this point if I'll begin to post more again, or if just on occasion I'll post some recipes I really like. Time will tell.

Today is Christmas Day, 2013. It's hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. It's been a busy year. This Christmas I feel especially blessed for the travel that Scott and I have been able to do. We visited California wine country in February and in April/May spent almost 3 weeks in Paris. For our Christmas lunch/dinner, I decided that we'd celebrate with some of the wine/spirits we have brought back from our trips.

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Our day didn't go exactly as planned, as we were too full to enjoy all of the food I planned, so I didn't end up cooking it all. Here's what the original plan was:
Lunch-
Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp with Barbecue Sauce
Cheese Soufflé
Salad with apples, pecans and a mustard vinagrette
Black Magic Cake with Butterscotch filling and Cream Cheese Icing
Served with a bottle of Champagne we brought back from France
Dinner-
Salmon Rilletes with crusty bread
Corn Potato Chowder
Biscotti served with Vin Santo we brought back from Italy

We started with just coffee and a few cookies for breakfast. We weren't very hungry and the dishes were taking longer to prepare than I thought, so brunch turned into a late lunch. The shrimp were delicious and I will be serving those again. Easy to make. You could make the barbecue sauce up to 3 days ahead and also prep the shrimp the night before. I'll share that recipe with you here today. The cheese soufflé, a Classic French soufflé made with Gruyere cheese, was also delicious. Perfect with the salad. And the cake? Over the top. The soup wasn't made, so dinner was the salmon. Another recipe I really enjoyed. Much lighter than the salmon dip I thought it would be like.

So, here's the recipe. This was in the December issue of Food & Wine. Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. The light this time of year is low and no sunshine in our house for a couple of months. My special lights were all stowed away, so you'll just have to make believe these pictures are so good that looking at them makes your mouth water.

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Proscuitto-Wrapped Shrimp with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Makes 24 shrimp
Adapted from Food & Wine

Barbecue Sauce-
1 tablespoon exta-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce, preferably a less sweet brand
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp-
24 extra-large shrimp, shelled and deveined, with tail left on
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices of Proscuitto, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons flat leaved parsley

1. Make the barbecue sauce. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and rosemary and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in all of the remaining barbecue sauce ingredients and season with salt and pepper. In a food processor, purée the sauce until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl. (Really, the recipe calls for pureeing this? How did I not see those instructions until just now? I thought that was strange for them to have you leave the onion in slices, but that's what I did and it worked.)

2. Prepare the shrimp. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap each shrimp in a half slice of Proscuitto and lay on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the shrimp with some of the barbecue sauce and arrange them 1" apart. Roast the shrimp for 5 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, brush with more barbecue sauce and roast about 5 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with any remaining barbecue sauce for dipping.

Enjoy!

March 9, 2013

Fig and Fennel Caponata (well, sort of)

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I don't seem to cook from recipes much anymore. I tend to just throw things together when I make our dinners, and yes, if we do have guests over, I follow recipes. But we haven't had anyone over for dinner in a long time.

This morning, I watched Barefoot Contessa. She made what she called a Fig and Fennel Caponata. Caponata usually contains eggplant. Instead, she used fennel. I love fennel, and had to make this. As soon as possible. Never mind that my husband was out of town and I knew I would probably end up eating the entire recipe myself. In one sitting, I was afraid.

So I went to the store and picked up a few ingredients, and a short while after that I had this amazing appetizer. Sweet and salty and tangy. The best flavor combinations. I've only had it on toasted bread so far, but later this week I'm going to serve it on top of halibut, as I think this topping will go really well with the mild fish.

So run to the store and pick up the ingredients to make this. I think you'll be very happy. This might just become my signature appetizer.


Fig and Fennel Caponata
Adapted from Foodtv.com Serves:6 to 8
(If you want specific measurements, look up the recipe at foodtv.com. I didn't measure the onion or fennel, but instead just used what I list below.)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 large fennel, diced (1/2-inch-dice)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup good sherry vinegar (my store was out of sherry vinegar so I used 1/2 sherry wine and 1/2 champagne vinegar)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
8 dried Calmyrna figs, stems removed and 1/4-inch-diced
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, such as Cerignola
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grilled bread for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch saute pan. Add the onions and fennel and saute for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in the vinegar, tomatoes, figs, and brown sugar, stirring to coat everything with the tomatoes. Stir in the capers, olives, orange zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the orange juice and parsley. Taste for seasonings; it should be very highly seasoned. Serve the caponata warm or at room temperature with slices of grilled bread.
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February 17, 2013

French Country Dinner by the Fireplace

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Last night, I was feeling a little (okay, a lot) blah, and I decided to try to cheer myself up by making a simple French country dinner to have in front of the fireplace with my husband. Good food often has a way of cheering me up. And good wine also. I thought I'd open a bottle of Sonja's Suds, a wine I had brought home from our Los Alamos, California trip.

Sonja's Suds is from Casa Dumetz Wines. Their tasting room, called Babi's Tasting Room, is right on the main road in Los Alamos. Sonja's Suds is a sparkling syrah rose. It was a small batch production; only 75 cases were made. Drinking sparkling wines always add a touch of fun to the drink. This wine is not only fun to drink, but delicious also!

Casa Dumetz was started by Sonja Magdevski. Sonja is an adorable, bubbly blond lady who happens to be engaged to Emilio Estevez. They have their own vineyard in Malibu, but most of the grapes used for their wines are from Tierra Alta Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. She makes a variety of wines, including Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Syrah, 2 kinds of Grenache, and the sparkling syrah. Her wines were so good we brought home over a case and had her ship another case to us. Happy me! To read more about Casa Dumetz wines, click here for their website.

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Back to the dinner. I started us off with a typical French salad - green salad with goat cheese toasts. Make a simple vinegrette of red wine vingar, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, and olive oil. Set aside, and make the goat cheese toasts. Cut a couple of slices each of a baguette, spread a soft goat cheese on top, and place under the broiler until it all begins to brown. Toss mixed greens with a little of the dressing, top with toasted walnuts (or if you're like me and out of walnuts, substitute pecans) and top with the toasts. Yum!

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Our entree was a Country French Omelet. I didn't want to cook fish last night, and wanted to use ingredients I had on hand. The recipe is an Ina Garten recipe which was found on the Food Network website.

Country French Omelet Serves 2
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (1-inch-diced) unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Take the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.

Place the potatoes in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until very tender and browned, tossing occasionally to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the same plate with the bacon.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together with a fork. After the potatoes are removed, pour the fat out of the pan and discard. Add the butter, lower the heat to low, and pour the eggs into the hot pan. Sprinkle the bacon, potatoes, and chives evenly over the top and place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes, just until the eggs are set. Slide onto a plate, divide in half, and serve hot.

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We had a very nice evening, and even Bella loved joining us in front of the fireplace.
.

Cindy

About Me

I'm a Physician Relations Representative living with my husband in Eagle River, Alaska. I love food-reading about it, cooking it, eating it, and sharing it with others. Read more

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