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simply homemade: zucchini “pasta”

2 Feb

Ahhh how my loves for a good carb surmounts almost all of my passions. Soft or crunchy bread and fresh made pasta dance in my dreams.

Yikes.

Recently, I have been working to improve my carbo-loaded lifestyle and cut back on the no carb left behind mantra I normally sing. I reached out to a friend who practices a mostly raw diet for help and she opened me up to the world of veggie spiralizers and zucchini pasta.

Rushing over to her mountain-top pad, we spiralized and chopped to our little hearts desire producing a delicious and ridiculously nutritious meal that FAR exceeded my expectations. Tasting a bit like bruchetta, this room-temp “pasta” was to die for.

In the mix (adapted from Whole Living)

8 ounces cherry tomatoes sliced

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts

2 tablespoons torn fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Sea salt

1-2 zucchini, spiralized

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, basil, and oil. Season with salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Toss with zucchini and garnish with basil.

So easy, fresh and delicious, I whip this up in minutes when I’m hungry for a quick dinner or snack.

simply homemade: fettuccine with truffle butter

3 Jan

Happy New Year everybody!

For almost everyone, the holidays are a wonderful time with friends, family and culinary indulgence. The past two weeks were just the same for me, but I have to say that I think I probably had the most delicious culinary indulgences the season had to offer…

fettuccine. with. truffle. butter. sauce.

This was one absolutely fantastic dinner (if I do say so myself)…

Mom and I decided to whip up a recipe that had caught BOTH of our fancies (on separate occasions!-shocking!) and boy did it pay off.

After three stores were called, we came upon the white truffle butter at Whole Foods and wham-bam we had the most delicious pasta possibly EVER.

in the mix:

Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white truffle butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8.82-ounce) package egg fettuccine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (we used green onions, no chives at the store)
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler (best trick ever)

1. Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low, and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.

3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook about 4 minutes until al dente. When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan and toss it with the truffle-cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserved cooking water, as necessary, to keep the pasta very creamy.

4. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Bellissimo!

simply homemade: pimento cheese

16 Nov

Unapologetic Disclaimer: Although this blog is meant to be dedicated to the pursuit of all things delicate and beautiful and europa, I couldn’t help but digress into the deepest of deep Americana today.

So, I was cruisin’ the ‘net the other day and this little streaming bit of joy jumped into my consciousness. Nestled among the other bits of joy on my favorite site The Hairpin, I discovered Pimento Cheese, a Southern staple that I had yet to ever hear of.

Pimento cheese is neither delicate nor beautiful, but hot damn is it tasty.

Enthralled with the video and entrenched in the history of this odd cheesy spread, my usual cravings got the best of me. After obsessing over it all day, per usual, I rushed to Trader Joe’s after work to pick up all the fixin’s.

In the customary style of my impulse craving grocery shopping excursions, they did not have the central ingredient, PIMENTO, so I settled on buying a jar of pimento stuffed olives and pulling out the insides. Genius, I know. No need for applause.

In the mix:

Extra extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (NOT pre-grated)

pimento (duh)

1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise

salt and peppah to taste

crackers and celery

After shredding my extra extra sharp NY cheddar and adding a dollop of mayonnaise (reduced fat…sorry Southerners) to the bowl, I stirred and mashed until the spread was “done” (I have no idea what that really looks like, but I was hungry so I called it good.) Spread on some plain white crackers (they suggested saltines or Ritz, but I panicked in the check out line and grabbed what was next to me) and celery sticks, this Southern treat was the perfect little dinner for one girl and an episode of Pan Am.

great expectations: cravings

28 Sep

So, yesterday something came over me. Something strong, sweet and unlike anything I had in my direct vicinity.

I wanted my grandmothers famous strawberry cake and I wanted it NOW.

With my mother as my greatest resource and only an email away, I pleaded and begged that she help me out of my vast and sudden misery and bake this cake for me.

Luckily and shockingly, she obliged.

We stirred, mashed and combined until, voila! an hour later this pink beauty appeared on the cooling rack.

Joy of joys descended upon us as we slathered it in strawberry glaze and savored the fruits of our labor.

Here’s the funny thing about cravings- they come on fast and then when ‘it’ (whatever it may be) finally sits in front of you, you’re full at 5 bites.

Ahhh the beauty of leftovers…

you want some?

simply homemade: wheat fusilli with asparagus and heirloom tomato

14 Sep

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In much need of a night in, a friend and I decided to share a bottle of Pinot and settle down with a cozy bowl of pasta.

Knowing that there was a limited selection in the fridge, I went with my old staple, homemade evoo based sauce tossed with wheat fusilli.

Reminiscent of my time in London where fresh veggies were always hanging around, I had extra asparagus in the fridge and decided to go with it. The asparagus added a new dimension and did a good job complimenting the heirlooms that so often make appearances in my home cookin’.

In the mix:

1/2 box wheat fusilli

1/2 container cherry heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half

1 small bunch asparagus, sliced into fourths (I prefer to buy the skinny asparagus, it’s just more tender in general)

EVOO

garlic salt and peppah

shaved Parmesan to garnish

Begin to heat the oil in a large sautee pan and add the sliced tomatoes. Allow them to soften for about 5 minutes before adding sliced asparagus. Add a bit more evoo and salt and pepper. Allow to cook until asparagus is tender and tomatoes are soft, pressing down on them to release juices occasionally. Strain and add hot pasta to the pan, tossing with sauce. Add a bit more evoo if necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Parmesan, sip some wine and enjoy!

simply homemade: labor day libations

6 Sep

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What a simply lovely weekend!

I hopped up to Marin for the long weekend to visit some family and had a nice relaxing time full of food, fun and family.

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Scenic Sausalito

One highlight was the red wine sangria that my dad whipped up Saturday night after a day of rocking out to The Romantics at the Sausalito Art Festival.

Deliciously simple and easy to make on the fly, I suggest you give this a test drive for your next shindig.

In the mix:

1 bottle of red wine

2 c. Ginger Ale (we used classic, maybe next time ‘diet’ to being down the cal count…)

2 shots brandy/cognac

2 tbls. sugar, liquefied with a little water

1 orange, sliced

1 lemon sliced

Place the fruit slices in a large pitcher and pour the wine over and add the shots and liquified sugar. Stir. Allow to soak for as long as you have then add the ginger ale and stir again. Garnish with an orange slice and serve chilled.

This is the perfect complement to a mexican feast, whip up some guac and enjoy!

simply homemade: spicy shrimp and arugula salad

10 Aug

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Dinner last night was born from minor laziness. Not wanting to walk to the grocery store, and armed with the promise of shrimp in mom’s freezer, I scrounged the fridge and a delicious and healthy meal was born.

Armed with some frozen shrimp, arugula, left over lemon/olive oil dressing and half a giant heirloom, we set to work creating a lovely dinner.

In the mix:

12 shrimp (6 each)

arugula

1/2 large heirloom tomato, cut into cubes

lemon/olive oil dressing (evoo, juice of 1 lemon, mustard, salt/peppah, whisk it around!)

1 tbs. olive oil

red pepper flakes

salt and peppah

shaved parmesan for garnish

Thaw the shrimp under cold water for about 3 minutes, put into your skillet and toss with evoo, salt/pepper and red pepper flakes. Let marinate while you wash and dry arugula and chop tomatoes. Turn on stove and cook shrimp on one side until turning white/light pink, turn each over and cook until it gets pink (but not too long or they’ll get tough!). Toss the arugula with dressing and arrange tomato and shrimp on top. Shave on a biiit of parm and there you have it!

 

 

SUPER delish, quick and easy dinner!

 

p.s. can you tell my arugula obsession runs strong and deep? It makes such a more delicious salad than plain old romaine or whatever…

simply homemade: burrata breakfast for two

9 Aug

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Admittedly, I have been a bit of a pathetic lately. Thus, my mother felt is was necessary to take me under her wing for a good ol’ fashioned sleep over last night. Tucking me into bed with a glass of water, I was awoken this morning with the scent of freshly ground coffee and the promise of a better day.

(I may or may not have run a camera-mounted red light yesterday…)

She pronounced that she would make me breakfast, proposing a Stone Fruit and Burrata salad as her good-morning offering.

OBVIOUSLY, I jumped at the chance to have cheese and fruit for breakfast. Little did I know what a joy this would be.

In the mix (I think…):

Stone fruit, sliced and cubed (Rainier cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums?)

Burrata cheese

Balsamic vinegar

Fresh mint

Walnuts

As far as I can tell, she mixed it all together, drizzled with some of the vinegar, sprinkled with walnuts and se magnifique, breakfast is served!

Add a side of delicious coffee and the Today Show and no one (not even me…) can go to work grumpy.

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simply homemade: bonding pasta

4 Aug

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Waking up slightly groggy this morning was surprisingly enjoyable as I knew it came from a fun night spent chatting and sipping wine with my adorable roommate.

I was ravenous upon getting home from work and trolled the kitchen for whatever food I could find. All that was around was a measly 1/3 bag of brown rice pasta and some left over veggies. I decided to make some pasta for myself and upon her arrival, the roomie. With so little pasta left (hardly enough for two growing girls…), I beefed it up with all of the ripe things lying around that were just screaming to be eaten.

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In the mix:

2 small servings of brown rice pasta

2 ripe red tomatoes

2 large handfuls of arugula

1/4 red onion

2 tablespoons evoo

garlic salt

salt and peppah

shaved Parmesan cheese to top

Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. While that is cooking, sautee the sliced onion in the evoo until soft, adding in the tomatoes, salt pepper and garlic salt to taste, allowing the tomatoes to simmer and shake until soft as well. Throw in a splash of white wine and the arugula, letting it wilt a bit and turn bright green. Toss with the hot pasta and top with the Parmesan.

I chose to serve ours in bowls to up the coziness factor, as well as copious amounts of New Zealand white wine and some damn good conversation…

Do the same, you can thank me later.

simply homemade: kitchen salad

27 Jul
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beautiful disaster

As you know, I have quite a few fresh veggies sitting in my fridge drawers that are just begging to be consumed by moi.

In an effort to free them, I decided to have a fresh ‘kitchen salad’ for dinner in order to make room for incoming groceries.

What came out was colorful, vitamin packed and ridiculously delicious if I must pat myself on the back…

In the mix:

1 boiled leek, sliced

1 ripe red tomato, sliced

1 c. arugula

~1 oz. hard goat cheese, crumbled

evoo

balsamic

salt and peppah to taste

Toss it all on a plate and savor–the flavor in fresh, ripe vegetables speak for themselves.