Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pasta Primavera - serves 4 with leftovers

 I know, I know... it's been awhile since my last post however I've been a cooking machine lately.  And, this is a rather unimpressive recipe but can be done in a flash and will up your family's vegetable intake in one sitting.  I've been really busy lately.... my business has really taken off.  So much that I've acquired a new sous chef, our dog Scout. 

As you can see, he's great (finally) at just sitting still.  He watches me cook everyday and knows his boundaries.  He's not allowed in the kitchen and has made a permanent spot for himself right outside the kitchen.  When something looks good (or smells good) he gives me the sign of approval by sitting up and wagging his tail.  Can't beat that kind of approval.  Scout has just returned from "charm school", as my husband calls it.  Gone for 8 months.  Yes, you heard it, 8 months.  My husband was hoping for a highly trained martial arts dog that could seek dove on a single bound.  What he got was a highly expensive house pet who still shies away from gunfire and hates the taste of dove in his mouth.  So, now I have a sous chef.  A sous chef who gallantly wags his tail at the sights and smells of good food and worth every penny.  And, he doesn't spit out my food which is a sign that I'm doing pretty well, even for a dog, and lucky for those dove.


1 pd fettuccine, cooked to package directions
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced squash
1 tomato, diced
1 cup green beans, cut in half
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan, bring minced garlic and olive oil to medium high.  Simmer for about 30 seconds.  Add broccoli, zucchini and squash.  Mix well and cover for about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and green beans and mix.  Cover for about 3 more minutes.  Add red pepper, salt and pepper and mix well.  Pour vegetables to large bowl and let sit.  Meanwhile, add milk to same pan and bring to a simmer.  Add Parmesan and mix well, until thickened.  Drain pasta and toss with olive oil.  Add sauce and pasta to vegetables and mix well.  Serve in pasta bowls and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Attend October 16 2010 Erin Willis Backyard Dinner via @constantcontact

Corn Salad with Fresh Basil - serves a crowd or just 4 with leftovers

We had a few friends over this past weekend and decided to have "clean your freezer so the men can put more game in it" party. As we pulled out elk and venison sausage, our friends brought wild caught Alaskan salmon and more venison sausage (can't have to much with men around).  The other set of friends brought hummus.  And wine.  Kind of have to laugh at that one.  Her husband looked rather depleted when the rest of the guys threw out their weapons, but then again, they brought wine.  That's worth something, isn't it? I'm not even sure the guys ate any of it.  The girls devoured it along with some Manchega cheese, almonds and of course, the wine.  The men, they just ate meat,  the only thing that they're like, really, really good at doing.

Anyway, instead of cooking up more meat, I decided to whip up a quick corn salad to eat up any fresh corn that we have left.  It's a great side that will accompany just about any meal and won't make you feel depleted in the end.  Then again, maybe it will.


8 oz small yellow potatoes or small red potatoes
2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1015 onion or sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 cups arugula
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 oz fresh goat cheese

Place potatoes in a small saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; cook 11 minutes or until tender.  Drain and chill.  cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Combine potatoes, corn, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl.  Combine the next 6 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated.  Drizzle over corn mixture and toss well.  Add arugula and basil and top with goat cheese.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Raviolis with Arugula, Peaches and Tomatoes - serves 4

Our weeks are packed with not only school stuff, but after school activities as well.  If we aren't dashing off to soccer then we're going to rock climbing.  The great thing about the latter, is that my husband takes them to their team practice which leaves me with two nights during the week when I can just be STILL for 2.5 hours.  (I've been still only when I sleep and that's even a challenge.)  I even make the dog stay in one place and we have staring contests.  It's quite enjoyable, really, however even better when I can get a neighbor to partake in the solitude.

This week, a dear friend came over before we had to once again, dash off to a HPA meeting, but not to quick to enjoy a glass of wine, which is quite helpful before such meetings.  (shhhhhhh.)  I needed to get dinner done for when hubby and kids got home so this is what I came up with.  This could go in a magazine it's so pretty.  These raviolis can be found at your local super market as well as the arugula (unless you're my neighbor and you could come here).  As for the peaches, well, you better grab 'em fast because unlike this heat, they're on their way out, sad to say.

Unfortunately, my girl pal and I had to leave without tasting my creation, but once I returned home, I found it was a pleaser.  What I didn't do for the family, but for myself, was top this off with the balsamic vinegar I bought in Italy.  Once again, shhhhhhh.......


1 pd spinach raviolis (I prefer Lucido's pasta in Dallas, but you can get it anywhere), cooked to package instructions
1 1/2 cup fresh arugula
1 peach, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Splash (just a splash) of cream
Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
In a small bowl, toss diced peaches and tomatoes with a little olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

After raviolis are cooked, place 4 servings into 4 bowls.  Splash with cream and top with arugula and peach mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trout with White Bean Stew, serves 4

Back at home, with magazines I do read, I came across a recipe similar to this one, using mussels.  I do love mussels however my freezer is full of trout.  Still.  So I improvised, changed this and that and came up with something a little different.  Wouldn't it be great if we could do that all the time with anything or anyone?  Just a little tweak here and there and it's good to go.  My husband for instance, if I could tweak his nasty habit of dipping, I'd be tweaked myself.  Or, tweaking that patch of whatever you call it under his lip, that he thinks is cool.  It's like dirt left on his face. (I have a special name for it that might deter you from reading my blog ever again.)

At any rate, that's what's fun about finding recipes; making them your own.  Now if only a little salt and pepper could fix the dipping and patch.


4 trout fillets or your favorite white fish, skins removed
3/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs of Srirachi sauce (located in Asian isle)
Two 14-oz cans cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt or sea salt
3 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Crusty bread for serving

In a deep skillet, combine the trout sherry and wine.  Bring to a simmer and cover and cook over moderate heat until the trout is done, about 5 minutes.  Remove the trout and set aside.  Strain the broth, reserving 1 cup.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the olive oil in it.  Add the garlic and Srirachi sauce and cook over moderate heat heat for 1 minute.  Stir in the beans.  Add the broth, season with salt and bring to boil.  Add the trout and the parsley and heat through.  Serve the stew with crusty bread.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Carmelized Chili Shrimp (from my mother in laws Southern Living) - serves 4,

Who knew.  My mother-in-law, bless her little heart, has taken a downward spiral when it comes to cooking.  If I could tell you about our Thanksgiving dinners, you'd be aghast (and oh, how she tries). However, she does, every now and then, come up with a magazine, that she rarely looks at or even cooks from, that I will find a recipe that's worth trying.  Hence, this months issue of Southern Living.  I don't read this magazine except when we are at the in-laws, doing nothing, and all there is to do is watch hunting shows, watch the saturated fat come out of the pantry and get eaten, and read magazines.  The selections are either Southern Living, People, Playboy or Cabela's Hunting Catalog.  You get the picture of what it's like.  And, there is no way on God's green earth that my in-laws would eat this meal.  If it doesn't come with ketchup or Mrs. Baird's bread, then the whole meal becomes a different thing all together.

My family did enjoy this and it just might become a favorite.  And, if not, I'll always have the ketchup in the wings.


6oz rice stick noodles (vermicelli)
1 lb broccoli florets
1 green onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tbs sugar (or 2 tbs honey)
1 tbs water
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbs low sodium fish sauce
1 lb shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a heavy 12 in skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling on high.  Add noodles and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until just tender.  With tongs, transfer noodles to colander.  rinse under cold water and drain.

When water in skillet returns to boiling, add broccoli.  Cook 3 minutes or until tender-crisp; drain and transfer to large bowl.  Toss with green onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Wipe skillet dry.

In the same skillet, cook sugar (or honey) and water on medium high heat (stirring until sugar dissolves) 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture turns dark amber.  Stir in oil, garlic, and red pepper.  Cook 10 seconds, then stir in fish sauce and shrimp.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp have turned pink, stirring occasionally.  Add broccoli and stir to incorporate.  Turn off heat.  Plate with noodles and top with broccoli and shrimp.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Field Pea Salad with Fresh Arugula and Pecorino - serves 4

Summer is good for really one thing, assuming you don't like the heat.  Summer is good for it's wonderful bounty of fresh vegetables, fruits and a plethora of peas and lettuces.  I have grown fond of the latter, particularly when it comes to growing my own.  My arugula has done phenomenally and has given me an abundance of meals to create.  The difference from my arugula to the arugula you get at the grocery store is quite extraordinary.  It's like eating a green apple with fresh ground pepper in every bite.  I've had friends who don't believe me until they pick a fresh leaf, straight from my designated arugula plat and taste.  It pretty much knocks their socks off in flavor.  And, they now tip-toe their way, secretly coveting my little green paradise to take for their own.

Arugula, at least mine, can grow thin or wide leaved.  The wider the leaf, the milder the taste.  Either way, it's a flavor like no other and can be used in just about anything to spike it up a notch.  Use it as a salad, in a pre-made salad, sandwiches, pesto or add to a pasta dish.  Or, if you're like me or my sneaky friends, a pick off the shrub is just fine.


1 pound fresh creamer peas (recipe to follow)
8 oz (or more) fresh arugula
2 cups sliced baby Roma (cherry) tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup champagne vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Fresh shaved Pecorino cheese
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Combine first 3 ingredients in large salad bowl.  Whisk olive oil and vinegar in small bowl.  Pour over salad and toss well.  Add Pecorino and season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and serve.

Cooking peas

Per pound of fresh peas, add 2 cups vegetable stock.  Add onion, garlic (minced) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover for 45 minutes or until soft.