August

Does it seem like time is flying by? Somehow it’s the middle of August and back to school shopping has commenced. I really hope we make it and there isn’t a state wide “oh shit” and we all end up in lockdown again…sigh.

Still plenty of pool days.

A few weeks back we had a blast at Boots in the Park. It was an all day country concert at Waterfront park with five artists/bands. Our seats were amazing, the view was amazing and the reason we went, Old Dominion, were AHmazing! So much fun.

The fountains were on until the sun went down, it provided a cool down when needed.

Ryan Griffin
Dustin Lynch
Scotty McCreery

I made a couple of my favorite recipes to make for guests. One being Chrissy Teigen’s meatloaf from her cookbook Cravings. I am not a meatloaf fan, I mean….meat in a loaf, no thanks. I remember my mom making it when I was young and she put mashed potatoes on top, well I think that’s a memory. Anyhow, I had to douse mine in BBQ sauce to eat it. But this recipe has half ground beef and half spicy Italian sausage along with mushroom and onions. It’s really good, as good as meatloaf can get.

I also made this gazpacho, which is my most favorite of all time recipe for the cold Spanish soup. However, I did tweak a couple of the things from the original recipe to make it my own. It will not disappoint, I promise.

Here is what you need to do.

Grab 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and wrap them in foil

3 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)

1 medium cucumber ( I use

1 green anaheim pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 medium sweet onion, unpeeled

Throw all of the above ingredients and grill or roast until the skin in charred and they begin to soften. F&W says “about 8 minutes for the tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers, 10 minutes for the garlic and 15 minutes for the onion.” However I think it takes longer, so allow 30 minutes for this.

Once they are cool enough to handle without you swearing as you burn your fingers, peel and discard any seeds or stems from the veg and then run a knife through them. Then toss them all in your food processor or blender.

Then grab.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley and Basil, plus more for garnish

1 cup cold water

croutons

Salt and freshly ground pepper

While blending add the olive oil, then the vinegar (use sherry vinegar if you can). Taste for salt, i think it always needs more. Add the herbs and taste again. Pour into a big bowl, stir in the cold water and stick it in the fridge until cold and ready to serve.

Serve in individual bowls and drizzle with your best olive oil and garnish with herbs and croutons.

Then watch your guests happily slurp it up. It’s delicious

Please make this and tell me how much you LOVED It!

Sicilian for a Day

I took my first Sur La Table cooking class last weekend. The theme was exploring Sicily which is one place in Italy I have not been. There were six of us in the kitchen and it started out with our chef walking us through the footprint of the class.

After a brief introduction and a quick knife skill refresh for some (obviously not me because I am amazing) we started on our first course.

Caponata, the Sicilian sweet and salty version of ratatouille. The longer it sits the better it gets. Served on a toasted baguette with a drizzle of olive oil, it makes a wonderful starter.

fullsizeoutput_e8

Second course was a Fennel and cara cara orange Insalata, now I am pretty sure those oranges are not Italian but…..I kept my mouth shut.  Raw fennel isn’t my favorite, I much prefer fennel seeds, but this salad shined.

fullsizeoutput_ed

The main course was grilled hanger steak with castelvetrano olive tapenade. The castelvetrano olives are Sicily’s most used bright green snacking olive. It has a meaty, buttery and mild flavor, absolutely delish.

We marinated the steak in olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh herbs and red pepper. Showered it with flaky sea salt and then grilled to our liking, rare obviously.

fullsizeoutput_ec

The tapenade started with poaching some garlic in olive oil and then we sat it aside to cool. The olives, capers, anchovies, lemon and red wine vinegar all got to know each other in the food processor. Just enough to marry the flavors but still have some texture. It paired very nicely with the grilled steak.

fullsizeoutput_ee

Dessert was Cannoli tartlets and we actually started them early in the class. We made a basic pastry crust with the addition of some marsala wine. It hung out in the fridge for a half of an hour before we rolled out the dough and cut into small circles and then pressed them into a muffin tin. They baked for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm.

The filling for the tartlets was a delicious mixture of mascarpone cheese, ricotta, vanilla bean paste, zest of an orange and powdered sugar all whisked together until combined.

The filling was spooned into the tartlet shells and then we sprinkled chopped dark chocolate pieces and pistachios on top. It was very tasty.

fullsizeoutput_ef

It was a really fun class and I am looking forward to taking another one soon. At the end of class our chef asked me if I was a spy for the Food Network, I asked her why she thought that and she said it’s because my knife skills were great. Insert told you so.

I have already remade the hanger steak and it might be one of my favorite cuts right now, absolutely buttery and delicious.

 

 

 

Bolognese + Garlic Cream Sauce

You know what marriage is? it’s bumping into the same person in your kitchen day after day and not killing them. Also known as true love.

The other night I made a recipe that I got over a year ago with a wine shipment. Dunham cellars in Walla Walla, one of our favorites in town.  Most of the recipes we received from them looked good, but this one I knew I was going to make, I just needed an excuse.

The recipe read like it was a  Bolognese meets Alfredo sauce, where is the fault in that?  My first step after reading a recipe, any recipe is to pick it apart. Most of the time I will counter it with multiple other “similar” recipes and come up with my own ending.

The results were pretty fantastic. Sausage and garlic can do no wrong, just make sure you get an Italian sausage in casing that has fennel, otherwise you’re wasting your time with this dish. I am not sure what my final measurements were so I will give you the original recipe. Do as you wish but don’t leave out the sausage or the red peppers, trust me.

Oh, and for some reason the original recipe is named “Tagliatelle Bolognese”. I am not sure if the person who submitted this recipe couldn’t find Tagliatelle and just grabbed the nearest fettuccine and “forgot” to tell us, or they  just didn’t know. But the two are different. With that, it really won’t matter what you use, although if you can find fresh Tagliatelle than by all means use that. I couldn’t, well I didn’t want to drive down to Little Italy, so I used fresh Fettuccine that I found at Sprouts.

Happy cooking!

FullSizeRender-3

 

Ingredients

Meat sauce

3 oz. ground beef (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 3 oz. Italian sausage (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 1/8 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
• 12 oz. Plum tomatoes (seeded, drained, chopped)
• 1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
• 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced
• 3 Tablespoons roasted red pepper (cut into ¼” strips)
• ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 lb. Fettuccine
• Parmesan, finely shredded
• Fresh parsley, chopped

Garlic Cream sauce

• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 cube butter
• 1 pint whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
Meat sauce: Preheat 12” sauté pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle salt over the bottom of the pan to aid in browning and prevent meat from sticking. Add ground
beef and sausage a little at a time. Meat should sizzle and smoke. Let meat brown on one side then stir. Cook to medium rare and drain off excess fat. Add all other
ingredients except olive oil. Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes until thickened. Stir in olive oil and set aside.

Cream sauce: Heat butter in a heavy gauge sauce pan until melted. Add minced garlic and simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper. Let
simmer for 45 minutes until reduced in volume by 10%, stirring often.

Heat meat sauce, then add the cream sauce and heat until it bubbles and reduces. Cook pasta, drain and add to the sauce, thoroughly coating noodles. SERVE IMMEDIATELY. Garnish with shredded parmesan and parsley.

*recipe from Dunham Cellars

Chicken Pot Pie

I decided Easter was a perfect day for me to try my hand at making a pot pie. I told Shane that it will be our Easter tradition. Something the girls can complain about years down the road, having to eat moms chicken pot pie…again. I think that sounds like a great tradition.

I decided they would be indivual per Shane’s request and that I would not make the pie crust from scratch, at least this time because duh. I decided on this Ina Gartens recipe but I did a double crust. The filling was so good it could be eaten on its own so I knew adding pastry was going to make this dish extra ordinary…and it was. 

I only made a few pies so I had quite a bit of filling left and now it’s in the freezer for the next time I want to make one. The store bought pie crust was pretty good, it was no homemade but the easy factor was worth it!