Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 Ps - Pea, Pancetta, Pasta

David made this dinner for me the other night when we were both exhausted and were in the mood for a nice warm pasta dish.  This is a recipe from his mom and I'm happy to share this as another amazing dish cooked in my kitchen.


1 lb farfalle pasta
1 cup frozen peas
4 slices bacon
1 cup heavy cream

To make:

Step 1) Start pasta water boiling on the stove, when it is ready add the box of farfalle pasta.  At the end of the cooking, be sure to remember to save 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
Step 2) While pasta cooks, lay the bacon on a paper towel on a plate and do a quick cook in the microwave (1 minuter per piece).  When the bacon is done, carefully remove from the microwave and let the bacon cook and then chop into bite size pieces.
Step 3) Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until bubbling, be sure to stir this as much as possible to avoid burning the cream.
Step 4) With two minutes to go on the pasta, add the peas to the boiling water to allow them to thaw.
Step 5) Reserve a cup of water and then drain the peas and pasta and return to the pan.
Step 6) Add cream to the pasta and peas and then add 1/2 cup of the water (if it is too dry after 5 minutes, you can add the rest).
Step 7) On low heat, cook the cream and peas and pasta and allow to mix together and really combine.
Step 8) About 5-7 minutes later, remove from heat, stir in the bacon and serve in bowls topped with fresh ground black pepper!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fondue with Vegetable Melange and Fingerling Potatoes

1970 called and it wants it's dinner back but TOO BAD SO SAD!  My first time making fondue and needless to say this is an extremely easy yet surprisingly gourmet dinner that could also make a wonderful appetizer.  The great thing about this dish is that with the fondue base you can add any fruit, vegetable, protein or carbohydrate you like and could almost consider this healthy!

Fondue base 101 Cookbooks

Serves 2 for nice size dinner


4 oz Gruyere cheese grated
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup white wine (pinot gris or sauvignon blanc)


Any blanched vegetable, including broccoli, green beans, brussels sprout, etc.
Roasted zucchini or asparagus
Boiled potatoes
Day old toasted bread cubes
Apple or Pears
Grilled chicken pieces from a previous night's dinner

To make this prepare all of your dippers in advance then start on the cheese sauce.

1) Combine flour, salt and cheese in a bowl and mix until coated
2) Put wine in a sauce pan on the stove and heat on medium until simmering
3) Add cheese mixture a handful at a time stirring constantly
4) Reduce heat to low and allow mixture to cook until it bubbles, remove and serve immediately.

If the cheese starts to cool while you are eating, you can put it back on the stove for a minute or two and it will be just as good as it was at the beginning.

Enjoy this amazing new weeknight go to dinner!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Single Girl Dinner #2 - Nibble plate

This one is simple....as in KISS (keep it simple silly)

Nice prosciutto or nice deli meat
Asparagus spears (roasted under the broiler with a simple oil and lemon seasoning)
Grilled baguette slices
Hunk of MANchego cheese

Put on plate and pat yourself on the back for being awesome!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Frittata

I really dislike frittatas but this recipe (nicely inspired by the cauliflower cake from Smitten Kitchen, my favorite!) is a whole new take on frittatas.  This was definitely not "eggy" and really had a nice consistency, especially with the sauteed Brussels sprouts!


1 medium head of cauliflower (broken into bite size pieces)
8-9 Brussels sprouts (thinly sliced)
1/2 onion or 2 shallots diced
A few basil leaves thinly sliced or chopped
6 eggs (plus dash of milk)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of parmesan cheese (grated)
1/2 cup of mozzarella or any other white leftover cheese (goat cheese would be amazing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put cauliflower pieces in pot of salted boiling water on the stove an let cook until tender (about 15 minutes)
2. Meanwhile, add sliced Brussels and onion to hot saute pan with a little olive oil and let cook until tender and beginning to brown (about 7 or 8 minutes)
3. Once sprouts and onions are cooked, remove from heat and let cook
4. Mix eggs and a dash of milk together and set aside
5. Mix flour, cheese, baking powder and salt and pepper in another bowl
6. Cauliflower will be done now, drain in the sink in a colander
7. Using the pot from the cauliflower, add the sprout mixture and then whisk in the egg mixture
8. Slowly add the flour mixture to this pot and whisk together to remove clumps
9. Pour cauliflower into baking pan (I used a springform but a cake pan or a 9' x 13' would work too) and then pour the egg/flour/sprout mixture on top, evenly coating the cauliflower.
10. Pop in the oven until brown on top and toothpick comes out clean (about 45-50 minutes).

This is definitely best served with some hot sauce and a nice refreshing salad.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gnocchi Heaven!

Let me preface this by saying this is most definitely a Sunday night dinner.  You need some patience with this recipe and Sunday is THE day for it.  Making homemade Italian pastas and dumplings is not the easiest, but it is definitely worth it!  Serve these dumplings with the Single girl dinner vodka sauce and you really have a fabulous dinner!

This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman.  Through trial and error I've added some steps and removed most of the confusion (I hope).

Serves 2 hungry people


1 lb russet potatoes
1 1/3 cup flour (plus more for the inevitable potato fail)

1) Peel and cube potatoes and cook in boiling water until tender (about 15-20 minutes)
2) Drain and mash potatoes in separate bowl and add salt and pepper to taste (so far so good)
3) Let the potatoes cool about 10 minutes in the fridge
4) Put a large pot of water on to boil
4.5) Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a banking sheet with olive oil (you might need 2 baking sheets)
5) Remove flour from fidge and add initial 1 1/3 cup of flour to potato mix and knead into the potato for about 2 minutes
6) Pinch some dough off and see if it holds it shape in a pot filled with boiling water, if it holds it shape you are ready to go
7) Take about a cups worth of dough and roll into a snake (Playdough worm style), if you are having trouble rolling the dough it is either too hot (READ: put back in fridge) or you need more flour (READ: add some).  It is most likely a combination of both so add a little flour and mix in and then put back in the fridge for five minutes.  This really helped our gnocchi develop into the correct texture of dumpling.
8) Cut the gnocchi worm into inch size pieces and don't let them touch each other
9) Carefully toss the pieces one at a time in the boiling water and remove when they float to the top and hang out for about 15 seconds extra (you can have more than one gnoccho in the pot, but put them in separately)
10) As you remove these from the water with a slotted spoon, place on the baking sheet.  Don't worry if there is a bit of extra water as this will cook off in the oven
11) Once you have a filled baking sheet, lightly spray again with olive oil and sprinkle a dash of salt and pop in the oven until a golden brown color on top (about 15-20 minutes)

12) Remove from oven and serve with favorite sauce and freshly chopped basil and parmesan cheese!

These do not keep in the fridge but you are kidding yourself if you think you will have leftovers (trust me!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Single Girl Dinner #1 - Vodka Tomato Sauce on Roasted Cauliflower

Last year when my husband was away at school for five months, I would often find myself having a "single girl dinner" aka something I would never cook for my man because I know he wouldn't go near it with a 10 foot pole!

So if you find yourself in the mood for something truly delicious and are cooking for 1, this is the perfect dinner!

Vodka Tomato Sauce (from Giada- love her!)

1 can plain tomato sauce
3/4 cup vodka (yeah girl!!)
1/2 cup heavy cream (at room temperature)

1) Combine tomato sauce and vodka in a sauce pan and cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes
2) Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream
3) DONE (so easy and yet so tasty)

Roasted Cauliflower

Head of cauliflower (if you have extras this is a great lunch so don't worry)
Olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped capers
Parmesan Cheese
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees
2) Chop cauliflower into bite size pieces and toss with oil and capers in a roasting pan
3) Put in the preheated oven and let cook about 10 minutes
4) Remove from the oven and stir to mix up the veggies
5) Top with breadcrumbs and cheese and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes

Put sauce on cauliflower and pour yourself a glass of wine :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Out of this Disneyworld Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

I was in Disneyworld for a work event last month and we had one of the most amazing desserts EVER.  This is really special and a great combination of tasty and sweet flavors.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


1 1/2 cup milk plus 1/4 cup dairy creamer (if you are really going all the way on this one this is definitely recommended)
1 egg (could use egg substitute as well)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 cups of two or three day old baguette, cut into bite size cubes
2 bananas sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 Theo Chocolate milk chocolate bar (www.theochocolate.com) chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup brown/white sugar mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Mix milks, egg and vanilla and set in the fridge
2) Place baguette cubes, banana and chocolate in mixing bowl and mix well
3) Pour cold liquid over the cubes and toss thoroughly
4) Pour into a 9'' by 13'' greased baking dish
5) Evenly top with almonds and sugars
6) Pop in the oven and cook about 40 minutes (or until sugar and chocolate are nicely melted and bread is a golden brown)

Serve with caramel sauce or whipped cream and enjoy every minute of this amazing bread pudding!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Serious Stir Fry

I haven't made stir fry in almost two years but this was UNBELIEVABLE! Meant to be made with whatever veggies you have on hand, this mixture is not to be underestimated!


1 cup of rice (cooked per package directions)
3 cloves garlic
2 cups thinly sliced fennel (onion if you prefer)
2 cups chopped kale (or boy choy or spinach, the list goes on)
1 cup chopped broccoli (chopped into bite size pieces)
1 cup shittake mushroom (roughly chopped)
Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce Soy Sauce
Red Pepper Flakes (to your own liking)

Serve with wedges of lime and plum sauce

1. Heat vegetable oil in wok over high heat
2. When oil is nice and hot, add garlic and then quickly add fennel and stir to coat.  If the pan is super hot at this point you can add a 1/2 cup of water to help steam the veggies.
3. Let the wok do its magic for a few minutes and then add the kale and broccoli
4. About 5-7 minutes in your veggies should be looking really tempting but to spice things up add the sesame oil, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  Turn heat down to medium on the stove.
5. Now comes the hard part....the longer you let this cook the BETTER your fry will be.  After about another 7 minutes on medium heat you can add the chopped shittake mushrooms and let those cook down another 4-5 minutes.
6. You've waited and now you get to enjoy this delicious dish served over rice.  I definitely recommend a nice plum sauce (Hoisin Sauce) to add a little sweet to the spicy dish.