October 29, 2010

Bacon, Corn, and Pesto

Three of my favorite things!  And when combined, make a creamy sauce reminiscent of cabonara.  First things first.  I don't like corn on the cob, it gets in my teeth and it's hard to eat and is messy.  So I always take my corn off the cob before sauteing it.  And as my mom the gourmande taught me, the best method is this:

Use a bundt pan to hold the cob and scrape the corn off with a knife and it all falls into the pan!  And takes no time at all.  And onto the corn pesto.  Stud and I are huge pesto fans, so I will try any and every version.  I already posted about classic pesto, and I have a recipe for a tomato pesto that I haven't made to post yet, and then I saw this corn pesto when I was reading my Bon Appetit.  With bacon!!  Must try.

Corn Pesto
4 bacon slices cut into small pieces
5-6 ears of corn, corn removed from the cob
1 garlic clove
1 1/4 t. kosher salt
3/4 t. black pepper
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted
1/3 c. olive oil
1 lb tagliatelle or fettuccine
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy.  Remove from skillet and drain the fat until there is about 1 T. left in the pan.  Add the garlic and saute for a moment and then add the corn, salt, and pepper.  Cook until corn is tender, about four minutes.  Transfer about 1/3 of the corn to a small bowl and set aside, add the rest to a food processor.  Add the Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.  With the food processor running, adding the olive oil and blend until the pesto is smooth.  Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  When the pasta is finished, add it back to the pot with the corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, bacon, and chopped basil leaves.  Toss together until well combined.  And enjoy!

Stud LOVED this recipe.  I thought it was interesting and definitely something different, a good way to enjoy some summer corn.  We didn't have any fresh basil so I just threw some basil pesto into the food processor and I think the fresh basil would really add a lot.  Also, it made a ton!  The Bon Appetit recipe calls for 8oz of pasta and we used a whole pound and it was still a lot of sauce.  So you could probably cut back to 4-5 ears of corn, or make more pasta.  And have more leftovers!

October 28, 2010

Gram's Pumpkin Bread

In the spirit of it finally being fall, I thought I would share at least one decidedly fall recipe.  This is a recipe that actually came from my Mom's mom - I called her Gram.  So this is the copy I got from my mom as to directions to make pumpkin bread:

Thank goodness I can at least read my mom's handwriting, but that's pretty much all I have going for me with this one.  So I went in order of most baking recipes and hoped it worked - mix the dry ingredients together and add to the wet.  Mix until just combined.  Looks like it worked pretty well!

Gram's Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves)
4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
2 t. backing soda
1 t. salt
1/2 c. water
1 can pumpkin (Libby's is my fav)
1 c. oil
4 eggs
Optional - 2c. pecans or 2c. chocolate chips

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  In a large bowl, combine the water, pumpkin, oil and eggs.  Add the dry ingredients in four matches mixing only until combined.  Add pecans and or chocolate chips.  Distribute evenly between two large loaf pans and back for about an hour at 350.

Since I was experimenting and the recipe makes two, I split the batter up into two bowls and added 1c. of pecans to one and 1c. of chocolate chips to the other to see which I preferred.  And the winner is...Pecans!  I think the chocolate chips over-power the pumpkin deliciousness too much.  And next time I might add some more spices and kick up the flavor.  But it's pretty amazing as is.  I love fall food!

October 27, 2010

Winter Prep

I LOVE Old Navy's coat's for this winter - and through tomorrow, you can get 50% of one outerwear item with the code OUTER50.  For a printable coupon to take into the store, use this one.  That yellow one with the ruffle collar - now mine!  It was a tough decision.



I linked them all up to the Old Navy site, so go, shop (!!) before they are all gone!  And any local readers, I got mine at the Summit Old Navy and they had TONS!

October 26, 2010

Daily Fluff - Tornado Edition

I took an early-ish lunch today to head home and hang out with Beau - we were expecting some pretty serious storms.  Sure enough, as soon as I turned on the TV - tornado warning.  So off Beau and I went to the basement, and all he did the entire time was roll around on the floor whining since he couldn't play outside.  And attempt to sneak up the stairs.  And get into things he's not supposed to touch.  Clearly Beau is missing that sixth sense some dogs have when it comes to storms.

When the worst had passed, I let him outside.  It was still raining sideways, but he thought it was the best thing ever.  He spent a good ten minutes sprinting laps around the yard.  No common sense.

October 25, 2010

Chicken Taco Salad

This recipe comes from some issue of Cooking Light, so might not actually be jammed with calories like the rest of the recipes I post here!  This salad dressing is so delicious and is actually what I used as the sauce on the fish tacos I made for Stud's birthday.

Pretttty cell phone pic!
Chicken Taco Salad
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
2/3 c. light sour cream
1 T. minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce (I freeze the rest in tablespoon size dollops to use later)
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
4 t. lime juice
1/4 t. salt
Salad ingredients (ideas):
4 c. shredded romaine
2 chicken breasts
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 peeled avocado
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 can black beans
1 can corn

Mix all the dressing ingredients together, I used a food processor to get the chilies to basically a paste.  Serve over whatever salad ingredients you like!  The dressing has quite a bit of kick, and is also great as a chip dip, you know, if you are hungry while your chicken is cooking.

And check out my newly organized recipe page!

October 22, 2010

Daily Fluff

Beau is a dog that decides he should always try something first, and then see if he gets reprimanded, if so, then he knows he has to be more sneaky.  Example 1:  Beau is not satisfied with the two dog beds he has.  The couch is much nicer.  But he knows he shouldn't be up there.  So he will quietly wander off and I'll find him here, hours later, when I finally notice that Beau has been missing and VERY quiet for a few hours.  Never good. 

October 19, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna

Confession.  I don't really like lasagna - wait - I'll always eat lasagna and sometimes I love it.  But sometimes, eeeh, not so much.  I'm still trying to figure out what it is.  Maybe too many Stouffers in high school and college?  And I don't think I really like the ricotta cheese.  But I love everything else about lasagna - the layers of goodness with a crunchy top??  Yum.  So I decided to make a white version because it has more cheese and milk, and the Barefoot Contessa's version looks pretty tasty.  It's a recipe that's actually from a cookbook I own!  Part of me hates using Internet recipes because I feel so weird cooking and referring to my laptop screen for the recipe instead of a book (or magazine).  I need to sit down and read the cookbooks I have and maybe do a month with no web recipes.  Go old school.  I just like it more.  I guess I should also mention I have a new love for mushrooms ever since the chicken tetrazzini.  And it frustrates my mom the gourmande to the extreme - I would have NEVER eaten this had she prepared it for me.  I referred to mushrooms as fungus exclusively until a few years ago.  Now I love them.  Maybe some stuffed mushrooms are next??

Mushroom Lasagna
3/4 lb. dried lasagna noodles
4 c. whole milk
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
Olive Oil
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 T. fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 lb. mushrooms (According to the labels at the grocery - I used a mixture of shitake, cremini, and portobello.  I can't tell mushrooms apart, so I'm sticking with those)
1 c. fresh Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions.  A helpful hint I learned somewhere - when the noodles are done (works for any pasta) and they don't need to stay warm, you can rinse them in cool water and it prevents sticking!  Or you can use olive oil.  I think the water rinse is easier.  For the mushrooms, discard the stems and then cut the mushrooms up into 1/4 in. slices. Saute in two batches with 2 T. of butter and 2 T. of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt for about five minutes until they are tender.  Set aside.

To make the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer (I used the microwave) and melt one stick of butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add the flour and cook for one minute over low heat, stirring constantly to make a roux.  Add the warm milk to the mixture and add 1 T. salt, 1/2 t. nutmeg, 1 t. pepper, and thyme and cook (keep stirring!) for 3-5 minutes until thickened.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the white sauce over the bottom of a 8x12 baking dish.  Add the first layer of noodles.  Then add more sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 grated Parmesan, and the repeat two more times.  Top with a final layer of noodles and then the rest of the white sauce and then the rest of the cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes and let sit for 15 minutes when it's finished before serving. 

Lasagna had quite a learning curve for me.  I learned that it's probably smart to actually COUNT the number of lasagna noodles you need.  I ended up a noodle short on the top because I was a poor planner.  I would have used 4 per layer, so I needed to cook 16 noodles.  Also, assembly was a mess.  I should have used a ladle for the white sauce - it was all over the counter.  Lesson learned.  BUT despite all the oopsies, it was so so so delicious.  Stud and I had some friends over to break in the new fire pit and this was perfect with some red wine and salad.  The mushrooms add a great flavor and I think even huge meat eaters would be a fan.  This lasagna was a HUGE hit.

October 18, 2010

Daily Fluff

Here is little Beau Man approximately a year ago.  Maybe a little less.  Stud and I went to "just look" at puppies. HAHHAHAHA.  And Beau wooed us with his brown eyes and silken red fur.  My dad asked us last night if we had any regrets about getting a dog.  And the only thing I can think of is when he eats the garage and poops nine hundred times a night.  But at least he knows to ask to go outside.  Good dog Beau.

October 15, 2010

The Best Vacation EVER

 I don't think I will ever go on a vacation that tops our honeymoon. And I'm OK with that. If my honeymoon is the best vacation I ever take, sounds good to me. It was luxurious, adventurous, and just plain amazing. Stud and I spent a week in St. Lucia at Jade Mountain where the service was beyond anything to which we are accustomed. We had our own personal butler. And a box of snacks in our room every afternoon.

The package we booked was all inclusive and also included some additional activities - massages, half day sailing, snorkeling, two scuba dives, a tour of the volcano on the island, etc... And we took advantage of everything the hotel had to offer. Like the all inclusive food and drink. It was really good food and drink.  They never had plain chips, they had these plantain chips which I have never really liked in the past.  But here.  Oh my.  I could not get enough of them.  They sliced them thinly and then fried them up and they had the lightest dusting of salt.  I ate them endlessly.  I also have a new love of cucumbers.  The hotel also had access to two beaches and one had "the best burger on the island."  And I can believe that.  It had this bun made from pita bread that was not fully cooked so still a little bit doughy - so delicious.  I am determined to recreate this.

Plantain chips....amazing.
Best Burger on the Island
The rooms at the hotel were open air, which means we had no AC, but I never felt like I needed it since we had our own infinity pool in the room.  If I was hot, I just jumped in and cooled off.  And it was pretty cool at night.  It felt like we were camping, but in the lap of luxury. 

The hotel also had a rooftop patio where Stud and hung out pretty much every night to watch the sunset and have a drink or three.  This would be followed by a delicious four course gourmet meal at the hotel restaurant.  With menu items like crab and lobster meatballs, or crispy goat cheese salad, or lobster paella, or spicy duck confit eggrolls.  In other words, my body has been struggling this week without the huge breakfast, lunch, tea and afternoon snacks, and four course dinner.  And all day drinks.

But now our honeymoon is over and it's back to work for both of us.  Stud is back in the hospital learning more big words and how to save people.  Important doctor stuff.  And I am back in the office.  I guess it's time to get back to reality.

October 14, 2010

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Back to food!  I told you I had some good stuff.  I originally made this recipe when Stud and I had leftover Italian sausages and didn't know what to do with them.  And I love risotto (it's so creamy), so I googled sausage risotto and this recipe from Marta Stewart looked promising.  I have made this a few times in the past, so I have a few changes that I've made.  And I'll probably make more next time.  It's how I roll.

Tomato and Sausage Risotto
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 T. olive oil
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 c. Arborio rice
1/2 white wine
1 bag fresh spinach
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Red Pepper Flakes
2 T butter

In a small sauce pan, combine the can of tomatoes and 3c water and bring to a simmer and keep warm.  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the sausage and onion and cook, breaking up the sausage and cooking until the onion has softened.  Add the rice and stir until well coated and then add the wine and cook until it's absorbed.  Add two cups of the tomato/water mixture to the rice and stir constantly until it's absorbed.  Keep the rice over medium heat and continue adding one cup at a time until the rice is tender and delicious.  It should take about 25 minutes and you might not use all of the tomato mixture.  I like to add some red pepper flakes in a this point, but not necessary. Also add in the spinach and mix until it's all wilted.  Salt and pepper to taste and then add in the Parmesan cheese and butter, mixing well.  Serve immediately.

This is a great recipe to do when Stud wants to help out in the kitchen because he loves to stir and there is a lot of stirring in this recipe.  And if you've ever made risotto before, the process is nothing new.  It's time consuming, but the result is so creamy.  It's like you've made a hugely fattening sauce, but it's just the starch released from the rice. 

October 13, 2010

The Wedding that Finally Happened

I thought I would do a little recap of what I have been up to since I went on my blog vacation two weeks ago.  As I have already mentioned, Stud and I got married!  Wedding planning came to a peak those last few days before the wedding, but everything went smoothly.  Here are a few happenings from the wedding:
  • Weather - it rained.  Not all day, not all night.  Pretty much just during the ceremony.  Oh well.  We still did get to take pictures outside.  And the ceremony turned into a giant cocktail party so things got moving a littttle late.  Please appreciate the ominous black clouds.  And then check out our ride.
  • Ceremony - was amazing.  Even though it wasn't outside, I loved the casual laid back feel.  Standing room only, the only people with chairs were parents and grandparents.  And my uncle officiated the ceremony and he kept everyone laughing and dried up Stud's tears.  He broke our pact.  NO TEARS.
  • Bridesmaids! - my heroes for the day slash past seven months.  And then they danced with the band.  Amazing moments.

  • Food - Of course my mother the gourmande planned the entire menu (lets be honest...along with most of the details) and she did, along with the chef, an AMAZING job.  Pates, a delicious cheese spread, fresh bread, sirloins, roasted veggies.  YUM.  I did get to eat some, but I wish I could have hovered over the cheese for a good hour.  Oh how the bride suffers! 
  • Reception - It flew by.  Everyone told me it would but I was convinced I would remember every moment.  I have no recollection of who I talked to, what I said or really where I spent all my time.  And I only had a wee bit of champagne! There were so many friends there that I don't get to see all the time and I wish I could have actually held an entire conversation with them.  The biggest surprise - Stud actually danced with me.  In public.  I guess it's a perk of the whole being married together forever thing.  

Go Deacs!
  • Band - They were so much fun!!  I went to a wedding where they were the band last summer, so I knew they were the band I wanted to use because they can get the crowd dancing.  And that they did.
  • Late Night - Having chicken fingers served at 11pm was one of the few things I insisted on during the wedding planning.  I have a sick obsession with them and have since I was about two... Fried food, of course I love it.  Stud and I left soon after, it had been a very long day and our flight for the honeymoon left bright and early the next morning!

And a special thanks to all of my friends who took all of these pictures.  Especially Haudge becuase I know he will appreciate the credit.

October 12, 2010

Daily Fluff

I know you all have really just missed seeing this little precious face every few days.  And while Stud and I were honeymooning, we missed Beau's first birthday!  He already got his present - a new big boy leather collar.  Now I am just waiting for the magical puppy-to-dog calm-down that supposedly happens at a year....so far, no luck.

October 11, 2010


So Stud and I are officially married!!!  And back from an amazing honeymoon.  More pictures to come!


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