Monthly Archives: July 2013

The B.L.T. Pasta

I’m trying to remember how I came up with the idea for this meal but something deep inside me wanted it.  I remember we were talking with some friends who were having pasta for dinner and I had suggested having B.L.T sandwiches the week before so I think it somehow came together subconsciously.  It just so happened that the famous Chef John at Food Wishes had this planned out for me already.

I made a few substitutions to the recipe since I didn’t have any arugula or creme fraiche nearby.  Cause who really has those on hand?

I learned a bit about creme fraiche tonight.  First, I thought that yogurt or sour cream would be a good substitute, but read they don’t hold up under high heat and tend to separate.  I then read that Creme Fraiche is just heavy cream that has been soured and thickened.   Since I always have heavy cream on hand I decided to just use that instead.

While cooking the pasta and bacon (separately of course) I diced up the lettuce and tomatoes. Once the bacon was done I added garlic, lemon zest and heavy cream.  Once that had simmered a bit I threw in the lettuce and tomatoes for a minute and mixed in the pasta to create the final dish.  I let this cook for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld together and then it’s ready to serve.

B.L.T. Pasta


Blondes are my favorite

There’s an age old debate between blondes and brunettes and for the majority of my life I have resided in the blonde camp.  There’s definitely some very beautiful and attractive looking brownies, as I like to call them.  On both sides you’ll find some that are rich, a little nutty, dry humored, but almost always sweet.  It’s a tough choice and they both deserve our respect and admiration.

I introduced you to a brownie a few months ago so I’d like to introduce you to this blondie today.  Check the original site where I found her for some better looking photos.  I tend to cook at night under bad lighting so I apologize for my pictures.  My photographer had the night off.

These were super simple to make and turned out great, which is why they call this a “No-Fail” recipe. The best part is making the caramel which is simply butter + dark brown sugar.  You can’t go wrong when you start with that.

Caramel Base

Once melted together you add in the egg, vanilla extract, and flour.

Here’s where you get to have some fun.  Each blondie and brownie out there has their own personality,  that one thing that makes them stand out from the crowd.  I like to call it the special ingredient. I consider myself a traditional kind of guy so I chose the tried and true chocolate chips.  Please don’t ruin yours by choosing nuts. Just say No.

Dry Ingredients

A quick 25 minutes in the oven and you’re left with a beautiful, soft, chewy, blondie that’s ready to enjoy. Yes, I said that.

Baked

Presented

Hope you enjoy them!


The Thumbprint

The Mrs. and I got hooked on Whole Food’s Raspberry Thumbprint cookies a while back.  We have been known to buy a container and eat half of them on the way home.  They’re just so soft and chewy that you mindlessly keep shoving them in your mouth because you lack the will power to close the lid.

Since I don’t like to buy things I can make and I could save myself a trip to the grocery store, I figured I should give these a try.

A thumbprint cookie is pretty basic. It’s buttery shortbread and your choice of jam/jelly/preserve that fills a thumbprint shaped indention on top.  Do you know why we have three names for the same fruity topping?  Apparently jelly goes with peanut butter, jam goes with bread (according to the Sound of Music), and a preserve just sounds like I’m not allowed to eat it.

Notice that I said thumbprint cookies are basic and that’s not the same as simple.  A shortbread cookie is primarily butter (lots of it), flour, and sugar.  The tough part is the choice of egg.  Do you do no eggs, whole eggs or just egg yolks… and how many.  I found quite the debate on this topic and it can drastically change the result.  You could be left with a dry crumbly shortbread or a soft chewy one.

After some reading and debate I went with the yolk only approach.

Initial Stage

We used a teaspoon to make the thumbprint impressions and the Mrs. put a thin layer of strawberry jelly down.

Pressed

Jammed

I was trying to avoid any burnt/dark edges and succeeded for the most part.  I wanted that uniform yellowish/white look of perfection.

Final Product

The final product was a little more crumbly than I would have liked but the next day they actually softened up a bit.  I’ll definitely make these again and maybe add another egg yolk.


Chicken Parm Bake

It was another one of those nights where I hadn’t given dinner much thought but had some standard ingredients on hand.   I always look to Chef John first on these nights and he hasn’t failed me yet.  I figured I’d share the recipe with you.

Hope you like it.Chicken Parm