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Drunken Pasta

December 31, 2013 2 comments
Drunken Pasta

Drunken Pasta

Once again the end of a year is upon us.  Time to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014. But before I usher in the new year, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect, like most others do this time of year.

Let me state that while 2013 had its share of bad moments (life is full of ups and downs),  I’m strictly going to focus on the positives (which was actually one of my resolutions for 2013).

  • I’m the healthiest I’ve been since my Navy days.  I’m doing a much better job of watching what I eat and have committed to an overall healthier lifestyle including exercising regularly.
  • I took up running back in April, and was able to run two 5-K races this past year, the second of which I ran in under 30 minutes.
  • My step-son was accepted to college and recently finished his first semester with a 3.40 grade point average.
  • My good friends Chuck and Josh finalized the adoption of a wonderful, precious boy, Thatcher.  He recently had his 1st birthday and boy does this kid light up a room.
  • My wife and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.
  • I completed my 18th year with the same company.  In this day and age of uncertainty with employment,  I’m extremely happy for that.

I’m sure there were plenty more good moments, but those were a few that stood out.

So time to change the calendar and welcome in 2014.  I’ll do that with a few good friends, a couple bottles of wine, and a wonderful meal (Standing Rib Roast and Crab Legs in case you’re wondering).  Only one thing that remains missing….but I’ll save that for another day.

Hope you all had a wonderful 2013 and an even better New Year.

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For my last post of 2013, what better way to go than with a meal with “drunken” in the name. Like many recipes I try, I found this one on Pinterest.

At first I assumed it was named Drunken Pasta because its made with wine.   However, after reading further, I realized the author stated it was a play on the Thai dish “Drunken Noodles.” Or maybe its because her last name is Beer?

Since I like wine a lot, I’m sticking to my version and blaming the name on the wine.  Enjoy!

Source: Ingrid Beer.  The Cozy Apron – Italian Drunken Noodles, modified slightly

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Sweet Italian Sausage Links, removed from casing
  • 2 Large Hot Italian Sausage Links, removed from casing
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienne
  • 1 package of large, wide pasta noodles (Pappardelle)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until just browned.
  3. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
  4. Add onion to pan with the sausage drippings and cook until just browned (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, stir to combine
  6. Add peppers and saute with the onions for about 5 minutes, or until just slightly tender
  7. Add garlic and wine, cook to reduce.
  8. Add tomatoes and juice from can.
  9. Add the cooked sausage and fold to combine.
  10. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  11. Add parsley and 1/2 of the basil.
  12. While sauce is simmering, prepare the noodles according to directions.
  13. When noodles are completely cooked, drain, and toss gently with the sauce.
  14. Serve equal portions and top with a drizzle of olive oil and some of the remaining chopped basil.
Pasta and Wine - Always a great combo

Pasta and Wine – Always a great combo

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Pasta in Garlic Sauce

August 4, 2012 4 comments
Pasta in Garlic Sauce

Pasta in Garlic Sauce

If you run a food blog, love to cook, or you breath, then chances are you’ve heard of Pinterest.

If you’re unfamiliar, Pinterest is a site where registered users from all over the world “pin” just about anything they think of. Movies, books, fashion, photography, funny quotes, and of course, recipes.  Its an online bulletin board of sorts meant to peak your interest and inspire.

When I first heard of Pinterest I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  But then I started looking over my wife’s shoulder as she browsed the site.  Seeing all of the magnificent looking desserts she viewed, I decided to give it a whirl on my own.

I’m glad I did.

I mainly review the food and drink “pins” and I’ve been incredibly inspired by so many talented food bloggers that I discovered.  The blogs I found through Pinterest have given me tons of recipes of to try.  Pinterest may have even been the final piece of motivation I needed to start my own blog.

Most recipe “pins” are unique, but sometimes there will be one or two “pins” that keep showing up over and over again.  These recurring “pins” are known as a ‘repin’ and serves as a measure of popularity.

Such is the case with the recipe I’m about to share. I’ve seen this recipe pinned so many times that it was virtually impossible for me not to want to give it a try.

Pinned as “Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes”, this recipe is a refreshing summer pasta dish that makes excellent use of fresh cherry tomatoes that are cropping up in backyard gardens all over the country.

I thought the name was too long, plus I omitted the chicken, so I simply call it Pasta in Garlic Sauce.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Godess of Scrumptiousness Blog

Ingredients:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (box) pasta
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes

Cook pasta according to package.

Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.

Add garlic and saute approximately 1-2 minutes or until garlic is soft.

Add flour and stir.  Cook for approximately 1 minute.

Another Roux

The start of another roux: a recurring theme on my blog

Add chicken stock and simmer until thick.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add basil and drained pasta. Stir to combine.

Add tomatoes and cheese and gently toss.

Plate the dish and top with a small sprinkle of basil and a bit more cheese.

Summer Pasta

This is summer

Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops

June 7, 2012 1 comment
Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Chops with Sauteed Mushrooms

Basil-Garlic Rubbed Grilled Chops with Sauteed Mushrooms

Recently I came across a recipe for grilled pork chops that I couldn’t wait to try.  The picture of them looked fantastic and with the simple, fresh ingredients, it sounded like a winning combination.

I made a special trip to the store and dashed to the butcher counter.  There I would have the butcher hand pick a few of the best looking, thick, bone-in chops I’d ever buy.  I thought he would be annoyed when he would pick one, and I would kindly tell him “sorry, but could I have the one next to it.”   Some people don’t do this and settle for pre-packaged shrink wrapped meat, but I say if I’m paying for it, I should get what I want.  You should too.

Once home, I assembled the ingredients (minus the pork) and gave them a quick death via the food processor to make a nice green paste. With my silicon pastry brush in hand I was happier than Bob Ross (rest in peace) as I painted my pork chops with the phenomenal smelling mix.

After an hour or so in the fridge, all that was left to do was fire up the grill. I stepped outside, lit the grill and impatiently waited for it to pre-heat.  I needed some serious heat to acheive the kind of sear I wanted on these beauties.

With the heat from the grill at nearly 500 degrees, I gently placed the chops atop the grates.  The sound of the meat sizzling as it hit the heat was music to my ears.

Then, out of nowhere the wind picked up and the sky turned to black.  The heavens were about to unleash grilling hell upon me.

Nothing ruins a date with the grill quite like rain

Nothing ruins a date with the grill quite like rain

With the chops sizzling away, there was no turning back.  I simply had no choice other than to finish what I started.

But it wasn’t about me.  I could care less how wet I got.  It was about those glorious hand picked chops.  Would I be able to achieve the success I was looking for while darting in and out of the rain (for the record, an umbrella would not have helped here)?  I needed to cook for a few minutes, rotate, flip, cook, rotate.  Each time I would need to lift the lid, exposing the meat to buckets upon buckets of H2O.  Could I pull it off?  Would these be the pork chops I had hoped they would be when I first saw the recipe or would they land on my plate as mediocre hunks of the other white meat?

With the chops fully cooked (plus 5 minutes of rest and relaxation) it was time to transfer them to the plate for the tasting.  Without hesitation I sliced the first bite and stabbed my creation with the steel tines.  Fork to meat..fork to mouth.  VICTORY!

OK, so after writing this I realized that I really, REALLY, over-dramatized the situation.  Yes it rained and yes it sucked and that was my point.  I just hate to grill in the rain.  But for these chops, which I think were the best chops I’ve ever tasted, I’d do it all over again.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Good, fresh ingredients

  • 3 or 4 thick cut bone-in pork chips
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (or course salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

While the food processor is running, add the garlic to mince.  Stop and add the basil and pulse to chop.  Stop. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and process to make a thin wet paste.

Painting my dinner with this

Painting my dinner with this

Spread mixture on both side of pork and let stand at least 15 minutes (up to 2 hours in the fridge – which is what I did).

Preheat grill to high.

When grill is hot, place the chops on the grates and grill 4 minutes.  Rotate the chops one-quarter and grill 2 additional minutes.

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Just getting started

Flip then grill for 3 minutes.  Rotate one-quarter and grill an additional 2 minutes.

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Grill + Rotate + Flip + Grill + Rotate = Grill Marks

Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes (if you can).

ENJOY!