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A pasta you won’t forget

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This is easy and so delicious I totally surprised myself.

What you need:
1 lb pasta, any kind will do fresh or boxed. I used Barilla Angel Hair.
6 small tomatoes or a box of cherry tomatoes.
2 cloves of garlic pressed.
1/4 C basil chopped fresh is best ( I had some from my garden I froze I’ll show you that later)
4 Tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or my favorite Aleppo pepper
1 C plain bread crumbs ( made my own but Panko would be great because they are chunkier.
1/4 C Romano cheese or Parm
2 Tbls butter + 2 Tbls olive oil for bread crumbs.

What you do:
Cook the pasta according to directions. While it is cooking
In another large sauté pan heat olive oil, red pepper and garlic on med high heat ( not too hot you don’t want it to brown) then reduce heat to low until you are ready for tomatoes.
In a second pan heat the butter and a little of the olive oil (start with a little add more if needed) put in the bread crumbs and basil and brown. Make sure they are crunchy & toasted the butter adds more flavor.

Back to the other pan ( it might seem like a lot but it’s not at all just seems so in writing)
Put in the tomatoes quartered turn up the heat and gently stir and coat with the garlic & olive oil.
When past is cooked remove with tongs and put right into tomatoes, the pasta water helps the dish come together add about a 1/4 C past water stir completely and put in large serving bowl, pour the bread crumbs over the top and serve immediately & top with some Ramano, and plenty of fresh cracked pepper! So good
Enjoy -T

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Like a kid in a candy store……..

I have never been a huge candy person but if you say to me “like a kid in a candy store” I think of the first time they swung open the door at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  That’s how I felt today walking into Newport Spice Company. Someone told me about it and I had no idea it was there so I had to go check it out. When I opened the door at Franklin Street just off Thames Street in Newport, I was greeted by the smell of a million spices YUM!! I didn’t know where to start. There were huge jars of spices on top of the white cupboards with rows and rows of silver containers filled with every spice you can imagine along with preserved lemons, bamboo bowls, tiny wooden spoons, honey & more!  The owner is there to help you through the maze if need be and to explain what each spice is for. There were spice grinders in beautiful colors and shapes and choosing one is almost impossible (don’t I need one grinder for every spice now?) He showed me books about spices and the new refills that you can get once you use up what’s in your tin. Environmentally friendly too?!, is there no greater pleasure then a spice store for a self proclaimed foodie?? I think not……
So trying to keep my self control and the fact there is not a square inch of space in my spice cabinet  I was able to get out with 1 grinder, 2 vanilla beans from Indonesia and 3 beautifully full tins (the tins are only $4.50 each & the refills are like $3.50) One of them I had never heard of before Aleppo Pepper and I will be trying it as he suggested on sauteed string beans instead of red pepper flakes!
They have a web site and sell online. Check them out if you have a chance it is a rarity to find a friendly person behind the counter and here you will. http://www.newportspice.com

Enjoy,

-T

Ok, by the time I made dinner……

I was exhausted! I took my photos and went to bed early so I did not get the dinner posted for you.
So now that I have the time and I am fully awake here is what I ended up creating around the Marinade Masterpiece.

           BEEF ROULADE WITH BAKED HONEY, BROWN SUGAR SQUASH.

Roulade is a pretty way of saying “rolled” and it is definitely prettier 🙂 So what I did was, after the beef had marinated for about 4 hours (try to do it overnight if you can) I took it out and let the extra drip off. I noticed the beef could be a little thinner for rolling so I put it on the cutting board and covered it with plastic wrap (so it didn’t splatter the Marinade all over the walls and my shirt) and pounded it out a little more. I took out my favorite Christmas gift the Le Cruesset dutch oven and put it over med/high heat and cooked up 3 pieces of thick bacon cut into 1 inch pieces. Once the bacon was just about done I put in about a 1/2 cup of fennel. I decided to do a salad with fennel as well as for the stuffing to complete the meal so I cut half of the bulb in thick chunks and I used my mandolin and sliced very thin pieces with the other half for the salad.
once they were done I removed them to cool so I could handle them and then placed them in the center of the meat and rolled it up (very easy). I used kitchen twine to hold it together and then seared it on all sides. ( if you don’t have twine use tooth picks) Once it was completely seared I added the marinade in and 2 cups of beef stock I had in the fridge (you can use wine or veg stock or water) and put it in the oven on 350 for 1 hour (braising makes any cut of beef very tender).
After the hour I took out the meat and let it rest (VERY IMPORTANT) and strained the  liquid so there were no chunks and put it back on the stove to reduce to about 3/4 cup. If you need to hurry it you can add a little cornstarch to thicken it quickly. After it had reduced and the meat rested, I removed the twine and cut the roulade on the bias so you could see inside and put a few tablespoons of the reduction over it. (Tbls. as corrected by Mom)  The squash & salad were very simple. I baked Spaghetti Squash for 1 hour at 350 then removed it from the skin and put in a baking dish with butter honey and brown sugar then put it back in the oven and  baked at 350 for 25 minutes. The salad was fresh Romain lettuce, crumbled blue cheese and fennel. I will post some of my favorite dressings soon this one had the juice of a tangerine (cuz I had one in the house) so I put a little of the zest on top to make it look nice. Remember the cost of the Top Round was about $3.25!! Hope you try one of these and be sure to let me know if you have any questions or comments.
 Roulade stuffing:
1/2 fennel bulb cut into 1/4 in pieces & fronds for decorating
3 pieces of thick cut bacon cut into 2 in chunks (or reg bacon)
2 c. beef stock

Hello World!

Saffron Mussels Yum!

So for my first post I am giving you the recipe for mussels because it is what I made today.
It was super fast and the mussels were only $2.99 so the dish was very inexpensive to make. I had everything but the fennel so I spent about $6.00 on this and it was just beautiful!

Mom came over and said they were the BEST she had ever had and Karen my next door neighbor said “Oh my God you need to open a restaurant” so I think they were a success:)

I can’t wait to hear what you think.
BTW  (I cook with my eyes and nose and not so much minutes so all the times and amounts are approximate)

2 lbs mussels (cleaned, beards removed )
1c. shallots finely minced
5 or 6 cloves of garlic pressed (oh yea!)
2 1/2c. white wine
2c. chicken stock
1/2 c. heavy cream (or half & half whatever you have)
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. chopped fennel fronds(the dill looking part)
10 saffron threads or more if you have them
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tlbs butter
1 tlbs olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
french bread or baguette toasted for dipping

-in a deep saute pan saute the Shallots on medium heat in the butter & olive oil until translucent about 5 minutes
(you do not want them browned so keep an eye on them)
-add in pressed garlic, saffron and red pepper flakes saute additional 3 minutes or so until garlic is cooked through
(again no browning, it can be bitter)
-pour in wine and chicken stock and turn up the heat! the liquid needs to reduce to about 1/2  stirring occasionally (10min)
-once the liquid has reduced add in the mussels &  fennel  cover  tightly
the mussels only need 5 to 7  minutes to cook
-while the mussels are cooking heat the cream in a sauce pan to a simmer
(adding cold cream to hot liquid will curdle)
-once the mussels are cooked take a ladle of the broth and add it to the cream to make sure it is totally tempered then add it to the pot, sprinkle the parsley and stir
gently so you don’t break the shells and serve in a big bowl with plenty of broth the dip the bread in.

Check out how to clean them on line, that’s what I did and to find out if there are any bad ones. its pretty simple if it does not open after cooked, discard it and if it will not close prior to cooking it, discard it.

-T