October 23, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

While Stud was in San Francisco, I still had class two nights a week until 9pm, so both my parents and Stud's parents were very generous and helped me out with Beau.  Beau was able to get dinner on time and also had some time outside to be the insane dog that he is.  To thank them, we had both sets of parents over for dinner and shared some of the wine we purchased in Sonoma along with a large bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.  TO find a recipe, I went to my mom's new favorite, Anne Burrell and modified her recipe for my first attempt at meatballs.

....and I forgot to take a picture.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 large onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, diced finely
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
2 large eggs
1 c. grated parmersean
1/4 c. parsley
1 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 c. water
Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil

Saute olive oil and onions along with a pinch of salt to a skillet and let them saute for about five minutes.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes (to taste) and cook for another minute or two.  Once the onions and garlic are soft, remove from the hear and allow them to cool.  In a large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, cheese, parsley, and breadcrumbs and combine.  Add in the onions and garlic and ix well, then add the water along with an additional pinch of salt.  Shape the meatballs as you wish, we used an ice cream scoop to make them all about the size of a ping-pong ball.  Bake them on lined cookie sheet in a350 degree oven until they are cooked all the way through, ours took about 15 minutes.  Add to marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce:
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomtoes
2 yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
Olive oil

Cook the onions in olive oil with some salt until they are translucent.  Add in the garlic and cook for a few additional minutes.  Add in the tomatoes and add salt to taste.  If the sauce tastes too acidic, add some sugar to cut it, just about 1 T.  Cook the sauce over low heat for two to three hours.  Add the meatballs whenever they are finished.  The sauce and meatballs can be kept in a low oven until ready to serve.  Makes enough for two pounds of pasta.

This recipe makes A LOT.  Stud and I were eating spaghetti and meatballs for a week, not that we were really complaining.  Really, spaghetti and meatballs take time, but not much work.  It's mostly mixing things and then just letting them cook.  Also, Stud cooked the pasta when our parents were here while I enjoyed some wine, so it worked out really well!!  It went really well with our Sonoma wines we served with dinner, and it was a great way to thank our parents for their help with our psycho beast.

October 19, 2011

Not so Spicy Peach Jam

Stud wanted to plant a habanero plant this summer.  So we did, along with four tomato plants, a bell pepper plant, and the typical parsley, dill, basil, tarragon, rosemary, and thyme.  The tomato plants baked in the summer heat and I have one left, the bell pepper plant never really grew, but the habanero plant?  I have probably 50 habaneros.  By far the most successful of our summer plantings.  I decided it was high time we started to use some of them, so I set out to make peach habanero jam.  I was (past tense is key here) so excited about this recipe!  Sweet peach jam made with fresh summer peaches with a hint of heat from one of our habaneros…sounds delicious right??  I had heard about the power of habaneros and their high score on the Scoville scale, so I got some gloves to protect my skin from the pepper power, finely diced one and threw it in my jam.  I thought they smelled funny, but I had never smelled fresh habaneros, so continued along.  As the jam finished up, I tasted it and discovered Stud and I had managed to grow flavorless habaneros. Confirmed when my dad took a bite from a raw one.  HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? The bell pepper was hotter. I have no idea and it ruined my spicy sweet jam, but I still have delicious peach jam that tastes just like summer.

Peach Jam
2 ½ lbs fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and diced into ½ cubes
1 ½ c. sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Put the diced peaches and sugar into a large pot and let sit for an hour or so until all the sugar has mostly dissolved.  Once  the sugar has dissolved, turn on the heat.  Once the mixture starts to boil, set a timer for 25 minutes and cook the jam, stirring frequently.  Once it’s finished, skim all the foam off the top and put in jars and enjoy!

I didn’t bother canning the jam since I knew we would go through it quickly, but it would be great for canning.  And it was super easy.  The hardest part was prepping the peaches.  I am loving the jam on my bagel in the morning and since the temperatures are starting to plummet, it’s been a great lingering taste of summer.

Oh, and I have been “stressing” my habaneros by refusing to water them, I don’t think it’s making them any spicier.  We had great plans!  Hot sauce! Mexican food! Salsa!  Alas, I have about 50 bland habaneros.  Even Beau stole one and thought it was a toy.  They are that bland.

October 12, 2011

Day Two - WINE!

Day two brought wine and sunshine.  We spent the day in wine country with Stud’s aunt and uncle and their friends.  We went into Sonoma to an area which primarily makes red Zinfandels. Our first stop was Chalk Hill, by far the tastiest wine (and most out of our price range) of the day.  So needless to say, the $10 fare for a 5-6 glass tasting seemed like a deal when one of the bottles at one point retailed for $450.  From there we headed towards Healdsburg and lunch, but not before a stop at Seghesio which I think had my favorite wine of the day, their Block 8 Zinfandel.  Bottle #1 – purchased.  We had a delicious lunch at the Healdsburg Bar and Grill, and then it was off to more wine!

 We made a quick stop at Coppola, but it was so crowded!  Granted, the place also serves as a hotel, but we had already grown accustomed to the smaller crowds.  So as soon as we finished up our tasting, we were out of there!  Next was Wilson winery which had just won a couple awards the night before!  Bottle #2 – purchased.

 We attempted to go to Preston, but they had just closed so we quickly swung into Talty, where they were kind enough to bring the tastings back out for our group.  We were the only people there and the guy leading our tasting was great.  He has his own label with Talty making Syrah instead of Zinfandel, and he was so knowledgeable, and entertaining.  Bottle #3 – purchased.

 I loved just driving through Sonoma, the vineyards were so pretty.  And as we pulled back into SF, the sun disappeared and the fog reappeared.  As we crossed the Golden Gate bridge back into the city, you could not see any land there was so much fog.  That night, Stud and enjoyed a nice Thai dinner and then it was off to bed.  We spent out last morning wandering around downtown window shopping before we had to head to the airport back to KY.  All of the wine made it home safely, and two bottles have already been consumed.  We thought it was an appropriate way to thank our parents for helping me out with this psychotic creature while Stud was gone for a month.  He also just celebrated his second birthday.  Maybe he'll calm down soon?

Beau and his new toy!

October 10, 2011

San Francisco!

Finally, an update!  I was able to go and visit Stud for his last weekend in SF, and we had a great time eating, drinking wine, and exploring the city.  Since we were rounding and counted that weekend as our first anniversary (really a week early), we scored a huge room upgrade at the hotel.  We had great views of the city and I loved watching the fog roll in and out from that high up.  I was supposed to get in late Friday night, but thanks to Continental and some bad weather in Newark, I finally arrived Saturday morning around 9:30.  A very hungover Stud met me at the airport and our adventures began.

 We started off with a lovely walk through the Tenderloin and then some phenomenal coffee from Philz Coffee.  They make your cup just for you.  We then headed up to the Painted Ladies and then onto Haight where I had the pleasure of meeting Stud’s landlord, Harold.  Interesting man.  Anyways, someone was struggling a little bit so we stopped in and split a burrito before moving onto Pier 39.  Which Stud had yet to see. Sea Lions!  I loved it.

From there we walked down to Fisherman’s Warf and then on wards and upwards to Coit Tower.  The stairs up were really beautiful, but not somewhere I would ever want to live.  The views from the top of the tower were amazing, I only wish the fog had burned off just a littttttle more so we could see Golden Gate Bridge.  

 I was getting hungry at this point, so from Coit Tower we walked through China Town and had some dim sum!  New favorite thing.  I’m not really sure what we ate, but it hit the spot.  We poked around in all the weird Chinese food shops before heading back to our hotel so we could rest our feet.

That evening, we played major tourists and bought round trip tickets on the cable car.  They turned around literally a block from our hotel, so we were able to hop in line and were off in no time.  We had no real plans for the night, so when we were cruising down Hyde Street, we saw some wine bars with Happy Hour and hopped off to enjoy the evening.  We ran into a good friend of mine from college (random, and so fun) who had some suggestions for dinner in the area, so we had a fabulous French dinner at Hyde Street Bistro.  At this point, I was fading rapidly (I had left my hotel in Houston around 4am SF time), so we hopped back on the cable car towards our hotel. 

 Day one was PACKED.  But day two was a major change of pace.

October 4, 2011

Daily Fluff

So much going on around here, I'll update soon!! Meanwhile, here is an adorable picture of Beau and his new favorite bone.


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