Tuesday, October 25, 2011

World Pasta Day

October 25, 2011...a day so special I didn't even know it existed until several people posted about it on Facebook this morning. Today is World Pasta Day. In honor of this most auspicious occasion, I thought I'd shuffle through my recipes and provide you with some ideas for dinner tonight. I expect all of you to go home and eat some kind of pasta tonight! Mike and I will be having the spinach and mozzarella ravioli from Costco's uber-fancy frozen section. I'll try and take pictures.

First off, here's a recipe of my own, which was my first blog post as well. Quick, easy, and delish.
Amatriciana are a couple recipes I love but can't claim credit for! All are certified winners though.

For those of you feeling industrious today, try this Gnocchi recipe. Time consuming, yes. But completely worth it. And they freeze well. Excellent tutorial.
Gnocchi by Food Nouveau

Need something quicker or simpler? This recipe comes together in minutes. You prep the veggies while the pasta boils, then toss together. Boom. Dinner. Note, you can substitute pretty much anything for the broccoli. Sliced bell peppers work, as do zucchini or even cherry tomatoes. And...not crazy for cavatelli? Use penne, rigatoni or fusilli! Sky's the limit.
Cavatelli & Broccoli

Also...for anyone one there striving for the perfectly cooked pasta? It isn't always as simple as it looks on tv. Remember, lots of water, and lots of salt. Check out this link for excellent advice on technique and equipment.

And if you don't feel like cooking, and you know what, with my crazy schedule, can't say I blame you...go out and eat some noodles. Olive Garden works!

Every have a good day. And for the love of all things holy, eat some pasta! Mangia!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baked Apples with Honey Sauce

Hello boys and girls! It's Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday! Let me get an amen!

Alright....stepping off my lectern. It's been a very busy, and productive week. So that's good. But I'm looking forward to some down time this weekend. As I mentioned several posts ago, I've been doing most of my cooking on Sundays. Usually, I crock-pot 1 or 2 items, and make a third, like a pasta or something. This seems to be working very effectively. Mike and I have not gone hungry! Nor have we succumbed to the fast-food bug. And in addition, I usually make enough so that we have lunches to take to work as well.

It is now midway through October, and so the Jewish High Holy Days are now behind us. Traditionally, on Rosh Hashanah, Jews eat apples and honey together. Being the start of the new year, this is symbolic of starting off the year in a sweet way. And there are many ways to accomplish this. You can slice up your favorite apple variety and dip it into staight honey, you can make apple-honey cake (which is to die for by the way) or, like me, celebrate the beginning of fall with a warm and comforting dessert, Baked Apples with Honey Sauce. This turned out amazingly well. The only thing that could have done better was the coring of the apples. Since I don't have the handy tool that does it in one swipe, I did it with a paring knife so they turned out less then perfect looking. But no matter, the taste made up for it..and then some!

Baked Apples with Honey Sauce
Serves 2 (but easily multiplied for groups!)

2 green apples (yes, green, you want the tartness to offset the sweetness from the sauce!)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and core the apples. This is the first time I have experienced regret over not owning an apple corer. Doing  this with a paring knife is perfectly functional, but left marks on the top side of the apple.But again, the end result is so tasty, the aesthetics are not a big deal unless you're serving fancy company.
Place the cored apples in a baking dish and stuff them with as many cranberries as you can fit.
Weird cut marks, but eh.
In a small saucepan, stir together the water, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. You want to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Once it reaches a boil, carefully pour it over the apples.
Bake the apples for about 45 minutes. Baste them every 15 minutes with the sauce.
Super tender but still slightly tart!

Scoop the ice cream on top...
Welcome to Fall!
In the word's of Ina easy is that? Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're Engaged!

Hello dear readers! Again I apologize for letting my obligations keep me from writing, but here I am. And I have the best/happiest/most amazing news. The man who I subject to all my cooking experiments and bursts of kitchen rage caused by failed attempts of culinary genius.....has asked me to marry him!

We were having a delicious, spontaneous date night at Le Vallauris in Palm Springs and he sprung it on me during dessert. Completely romantic and sweet. I was shocked, but of course said yes!

I would like to tell you all I was a good little food blogger and took scads of pictures of the food, but, obviously I was preoccupied. So I have no pictures for you. However, I can tell you, on my Spicy Spatula scale (1-5), even on a bad day, that place gets like, 10 Spatulas. So that's all you need to know! However, very expensive, so you frugal cookies out there, beware!

Stay tuned kids, more recipes to come, from this newly-engaged and ridiculously happy lady!