Batter Licker

April 11, 2010

sun-dried tomato-spinach sauce and pasta on broiled portobello plate and poached egg on capellini carbonara

The first time I had a giant portobello mushroom was back when I thought vegetarians were weird and the only mushrooms I had ever known were of the button variety, came presliced and packaged in plastic wrap, and didn’t really do anything for me. But then my aunt served me a grilled burger whose patty was – gasp! – a giant mushroom. The surprisingly meatiness of the mushroom, in combination with its smokey flavor, was so satisfying that I barely missed the meat.

This time around, I got a little too excited at the prospect of using a portobello mushroom as the hearty plate for a smaller pasta dish, and went a bit overboard. Essentially, I made one initially confused dish, but was able to modify it into two separate, fantastic recipes that ended up working wonderfully. Part of the initial problem was that I really wanted to pair the mushroom with a more robust and fresh sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce, while Jay was in the mood for a cabonara sauce (egg, Parmesan, and bacon – or, in our case, pancetta). But, in trying to please both of us, I just did too much.

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So please do as I say, not as I did. The sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce, unlike the carbonara, did a wonderful job of standing up to and enhancing the smokey, meaty portobello. I also liked that the sauce tasted delicious and fresh, and that the whole sauce-pasta-mushroom combination was healthy yet seemed very hearty (despite a smaller pasta serving) thanks to the mushroom.

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While I wasn’t the biggest fan of my initial carbonara-on-portobello combo because the mushroom completely overpowered the simplicity of the carbonara, I really loved how much more fun – and tasty – the carbonara became with a poached egg on top. (more…)

March 27, 2010

creamy pesto sauce with sautéed asparagus and pasta

Way back in college, I was introduced to creamy pesto sauce, and promptly adopted it as my in-a-pinch go-to pasta sauce. Creamy pesto sauce had the fresh zing of pesto with the comforting creaminess of an Alfredo sauce, and could transform a simple, inexpensive penne and broccoli dish into something magical.

Except that, at $3+ per packet at Safeway (before I realized the amazing $1.61 per packet offered by Amazon), the price was less than magic. And, as a lowly sauce-in-a-packet, it contained quite a few of those mysterious -ate ingredients and was not, actually, very fresh at all. In other words, it was a perfect candidate for the 2010 Creamy Pesto Makeover Edition.

Pesto is such a fresh and easy-to-make sauce – just pop the ingredients in a food processor, blend until smooth, and Tah-Dah! Fresh pesto. Whip up a quick bechamel or other cream sauce, add a little of that (more or less, to your preference) to the pesto, and Tah-Dah Numero Dos! Fresh creamy pesto sauce. (more…)

November 24, 2009

veal marsala w/mushrooms & fettuccine alfredo

Filed under: meat,pasta — Tags: , , , , — Kristen @ 6:39 am

DSCN5093-500x373I will readily admit that I am cooking (and eating) at the edge of my conscience when it comes to veal – maybe even over the line.  But once twice maybe three times a year, my desire for the supremely tender meat gets the best of me, and I put on blinders to enjoy the chic delicacy. Somehow (probably due to a combination of expense and being a finicky eater at a younger age), I had never tasted veal until about 5 years ago when I flew to Massachusetts to visit Jay and his grandmother, the incredibly chic and exceptionally knowledgeable about most all things culture-, art-, food-, and travel-related Mrs. Claire H.

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November 10, 2009

lobster mac & cheese

Filed under: pasta — Tags: , , — Kristen @ 7:16 am

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Hello there, friends and foodies.  Apologies to all those who I have recently (i.e., during the past 2+ months) denied to send recipes because my blog entries would provide them oh-so-soon.  And here we are, a few months later, on the verge of law school final exam season, and finally – yes, finally! – after much anticipation (at least, by me) and with a much-less-than-perfectly-designed website and a not-totally-original recipe, I’m happy to post my first official food blogging entry.  It only took 2.5 months for my need for procrastination before exams to surmount my obsession with formatting perfectionism, and now you are the happy beneficiaries.

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Macaroni and cheese is, without a doubt, the ultimate second-best comfort food, after my slow-cooked garlic butter and Parmesan mashed trio of potatoes, which I promise to post about between now and Thanksgiving (I swear! I totally botched that, having just posted the recipe a year and several days after Thanksgiving later).  But this is no ordinary mac and cheese.  Here, the lobster adds sophistication, making this mac and cheese recipe truly decadent.
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