Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pasta with Truffle Butter Cream Sauce - Happy Valentine's Day

     Don't like to cook.  Don't know how to cook?  This is the dish for you.  If you can boil water, then seven minutes later, you will have a lovely first or main course that will definitely impress that sig other.  Save this for next Valentine's Day or have it this weekend.  We have this once or twice a year and it is always a big hit.  And did I mention that it only takes 7 minutes to make?  How easy is that.

     It is Valentine's Day and obviously, since I am writing this blogspot, I am not really celebrating it. Jamie is in Africa and in 45 minutes, I will be driving Cate off to swim practice so it is basically just a regular night in our household.  But I did think that it warranted a nice dinner and while Cate and I twirled our pasta with our forks and spoons, we opened the Valentine's Day cards that Jamie had left for us.  We smiled and laughed at our cards and felt him here with us.

     A note about the truffle butter...this recipe comes from Ina Garten. Her recipe calls for using white truffle butter.  Truffle butter can be a bit challenging to find so when I do, I but it...whether it is white truffle butter or black truffle butter.  We like the recipe with either.  D'Artagnan sells it online in 3-oz containers which is exactly the amount needed for the recipe.  Locally, I have seen it at Penn Mac, Giant Eagle Marketplace and McGinnis Sisters.

Pasta with Truffle Butter Cream Sauce
Adapted from Ina Garten


8 oz of egg fettuccine or pappardelle
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz truffle butter, black or white
Salt and Pepper
3 oz grated Parmesan
3 T chopped chives (I have used parsley as well)

1.  Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the directions.
2.  Heat cream in a heavy skillet until simmering.
3.  Add butter, turn to low and swirl to let the butter melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Heat two pasta bowls.
5.  When the pasta is ready, drain but reserve a cup of the cooking water.
6.  Add the pasta to the cream mixture and combine.  If the sauce gets too thick (which has never happened to me), add just a touch of water.
7.  Combine until it is nice and creamy.  Transfer to two bowls.  Garnish with chives and grated Parmesan.

A nice Riesling from France accompanies this dish very well.  Make sure it is a dry Riesling...not too sweet.  Chardonnay also works well...let it sit out a bit to warm up.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pizza: Friday Night Comfort Food

     It is Friday night and I am all least for the next 75 minutes.   Happy hour was spent prepping Cate for a Physics exam, which she has on Monday.  No one should have to study on a Friday evening but with two major exams on Monday and a weekend full of events, she felt (ok...I felt...or maybe we felt?) that some studying had to be done this afternoon after school.  Her reward...spending the evening at a friend's house.  My

     I won't complain about being somewhat exhausted.  Jamie is currently on a 9 hour flight sitting next to a three year old.  His flight was delayed almost 90 minutes because there were pieces of luggage on the plane but no one could find the owners...He will arrive in the Ivory Coast around 4:00 am our time and as usual, I will have my phone close by waiting for the arrival text.  

     But back to the pizza...My family will tell you that I lost my pizza mojo when we moved to Europe.  I think I have written about it in earlier posts.  Sometimes, it seems to come back but it really doesn't.  Mainly, it is because I cannot find a good crust.  I have tried to make my own, have paid outrageous amounts to buy crust from pizza joints, have purchased store-bought crust...nothing really works.  Then a few weeks ago, I found a dough kit at the local grocery store from a local Italian company.  It claimed that the flour was "OO" which I had read was the flour to use.  The kit came with a bag of flour and the apportioned amount of yeast.  All I had to do was add water, knead for a few minutes and set aside for the dough to rise.

     It was super simple and actually came out pretty well.  I have enough dough for several more pizzas so I think I will give it another try next Friday night.  Perhaps Cate and I can have a Pizza Night.

     But what gave me back my pizza mojo was not the crust...but the topping.  Actually, it wasn't the topping; it was the cheese mixture.  Who knew that Mozzarella could have so much flavor?  I made a cheese pizza and then topped with my favorite:  Prosciutto and Arugula.  I sat at the kitchen bar with a glass of wine and, in total silence, read a recent New Yorker magazine article on Anthony Bourdain and almost devoured the entire pie.

You have to give this a may never go back to red tomato sauce...or maybe you could incorporate the that is an idea.  Got to run...I have 45 minutes left of silence!

Cheese Topping for Pizza

8 oz Mozzarella cheese
2T buttermilk
2T heavy cream
2T grated Parmesan cheese
Black Pepper

1.  Take 4 oz of cheese and cube it.  Place in a small bowl.
2.  Take the other 4 oz and thinly dice.  Place in a small food processor along with the remaining ingredients.  Process until it is a thick paste.  Add it to the bowl with the cubed cheese.
3.  Spread the mixture over a pizza crust.  Take care not to add too much or the cheese will melt over the crust of the pizza like mine did...but in the end...I liked it that way.
4.  Cook according to directions.
5.  Cool slightly, slice and then add Prosciutto and Arugula.  If you have some Balsamic Glaze...that is even better.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Slider competition: His vs. Mine

Cate is on a school trip to Canada with the World Language Club with her school.  We are hoping that she actually speaks French during the trip; she has told us that her teacher is only speaking French to her.  What does she speak back? She seems to be having a fabulous time.  Yesterday, she asked to adopt this Huski.   There used to be a Canadian comedy show that we watched and in a skit a customer asked the travel agent if he/she could be routed a certain way.  The agent punched in various keys into her computer...waited...and then said, "The computer says no."  I wondered if Cate remembered the show as she saw it as a 4th grader.  So my response was, "The computer says "No."  ' Her response, "The computer has a virus."

While we will not watch the Super Bowl tonight...who wants to see the Patriots...we did plan a very fun meal.  After hearing that Arby's has this great 7-slider menu, we decided to create our own Slider Night.  Jamie took on three sliders and I took on the other 3.  While we deemed it a competition, they were all so delicious...from the upscale to the was a great amount of fun for yet, another dreary day.

So, Jamies:  (1) Bologna, (2) Buffalo Chicken, (3) Fried Chicken

(1) So simple:  Get the best quality bologna and Duke's mayo.  Nuke the bread for 10 seconds to soften; slather may and then several slices of bologna.  Heaven.
(2) Buffalo:  Bake a few Tyson's chicken strips according to directions.  Slather the inside of each bun with butter.  Mix together the Chicken and Frank's Red Hot in a bowl.   Place on bread and sprinkle a bit of blue cheese dressing.
(3) Fried Chicken:  Slather the bun with butter and mayo; top with chicken strips and American Cheese.  

Mine:  (1) Italian, (2) French, (3) New England

(1)  Italian:  Maple Ham, American Cheese, Tomato, Hard Salami, Swiss Cheese, mayo...cover in foil and heat for several minutes.
(2) French:  Spread Dijon mustard on one side of bread.  Top with turkey, thin slices of brie cheese and green apple.  Cover in foil and heat for several minutes.
(3) New England:  For one slider, boil one 3-oz lobster tail.  Drain and cool.  Combine 1T mayo, 1T chopped celery, 1/2 tsp chives and 1/2 t lemon juice.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Brush to top of a warmed slider roll with melter butter; place the lobster mixture on the bottom bun and cover with top.

There were no winners...they were both so good.  Great idea for when the family is together again...but also thinking of a food truck...what would we name it???