Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pesto Pasta

Totally not Thanksgiving, totally not turkey or mashed potatoes or stuffing. But totally delicious, and totally authentic Italian. Totally.

My friend Michelle is Italian. As in, grandparents live outside of Lucca, Italy. (sigh) I wish!

Luckily for me though, I still get to benefit from the Italian grandma via Michelle. My lovely friend served us this recipe during the summer and I begged her (I will be the first to admit, I am not above begging) for the recipe. She served it over pasta with some grilled mahi-mahi, salad and bread on the side. However, you don't need a second main dish, the pasta can stand alone as well. Bread is a must for me though, especially since there's usually some olive oil in the bottom of the bowl to soak up.

Warning: This is not low-calorie. Look the other way, make it in the dark, promise not to eat anything bad the following day. Do whatever you must, just don't miss out on this recipe!!

And, I hope you totally enjoy this one. We love, love, love it.

Pesto Pasta
from Michelle. Recipe below is exactly as she emailed it to me.

To feed about 4 people and a pound of pasta...

2 cups of basil leaves
1/2 cup of olive oil (fyi- Michelle says 'any kind of olive oil is OK', but I know from the source that she uses Classic Olive Oil for dishes like this. EVOO has too much of a 'bite' she says)
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tbsp of pine nuts

Mix all that up in the food processor until pretty smooth, then put in pan with 1/2 stick butter and 1/2 cup of cheese until mixed together.

You can freeze from there or even refrigerate. Play around, and sometimes I put less
butter if i'm watching fat or whatever but it really does taste best with the full fat flavors in there.....the key is FRESH pesto...it is wonderful on top of fish too or the kids like it spread on bread with crushed nuts on top.

Guten appetit! And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you.

* We'll be skipping Friday's post for the holiday. See you again on Tuesday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellows ('Candied Yams')

Mmmm, yams. Mmmm, marshmallows.

Enough said for this post? I think so. We're keeping it short and sweet.

I love this dish. It came together quickly (use a can of yams to make it even faster), and is always a favorite at Thanksgiving. If you usually puree your yams, or you don't use marshmallows, I encourage you to try this recipe... delicious.

Wondering about the sad side with no marshmallows? That's Tim's end, he prefers the yams without marshmallow - crazy boy!

Candied Yams

from The Farm Journal Vegetable Cookbook

6 medium to large yams
1/4 cup margarine/butter, melted
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Scrub/clean yams under water, then bake until tender - approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool, so you can handle them. Remove skins & slice or cube.

Grease 2 quart casserole (I used 'Pam').

Mix margarine, orange juice, ground cinnamon & yams. Pour into casserole dish.

Top with marshmallows & bake 15-20 min or until yams are hot & marshmallows are lightly browned. (After 20 minutes, my marshmallows weren't browned, but everything was warm. So I turned on the broiler for a couple minutes - done in a jiffy!)

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream

Mama mia, this was good!

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I would like to eat candied yams, dinner rolls (preferably my mom's bran muffins, but homemade potato rolls are also delicious) and pumpkin pie. Hold all other dishes please, I don't need them. I can sufficiently stuff myself silly on these 3 items.

Last year (yes, last year - I obviously made this for Thanksgiving, so it was too tardy to post for last year's Thanksgiving), we were without family for the big meal, but invited some friends over. I made all the usual suspects: mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, a vegetable pot pie, and pumpkin pie. Typically, I would have made the same pie my mom makes... Libbys. Straight from the can, no muss, no fuss, always good. But for some reason, I had it in my head that the recipe called for sweetened condensed milk. Wrong. It calls for evaporated milk. Being a thrifty girl, I couldn't throw out the sweetened condensed milk and knew there must be a pumpkin pie recipe that uses it. Google to the rescue!

Yes, I like plenty of whipped cream! The more the better.

After reading the reviews, this was easily the winning recipe. I liked that it had a bit of spice to it, also carried through in the whipped cream. We were not disappointed! It's crazy delicious. Our guests asked us what was in the pie and whipped cream, all wide-eyed and excited after the first bite. They cleaned their plates and wanted the recipe. Yep, a keeper! This is our new family pumpkin pie recipe, I just can't go back. Sorry Libby.

Happy Thanksgiving and pie eating to you and yours!

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream

from Epicurious/Bon Appetit (Nov. 2003)

1 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, pierced all over with fork (frozen is also ok)
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Bake crust until browned, pressing bottom and sides of crust occasionally with back of fork, about 14 minutes. Cool crust on rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, vanilla, and allspice in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs. Pour into crust (some filling may be left over).

Bake pie until filling is puffed around sides and set in center, about 55 minutes. (Do not fear, the puffiness settles down!)

Cool pie on rack. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight.)

Beat whipping cream, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in bowl until peaks form. Spoon large dollops around edge of pie and serve.

Guten appetit!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh my...

Is it November?! Was my last post on October 27?! Goodness. I have been a lump on a log. Whoops!

What's new? (I'll go ahead and answer my own question, since this is for the most part a one sided conversation) First, we were fully wrapped up in Halloween:

Someone turned 9 months old. Amazing how time flies.

Then took a vacation to Hawaii (where our chef's helper started crawling!):

And now I've been procrastinating in getting back to cooking because what I want to cook is not what I should be cooking. I still have a couple recipes to make for our family cookbook (coming up on the deadline here, but I guess I've always worked better under pressure anyway), and I simply don't want to. They don't excite me. Plus, I'm still in post vacation bliss, where I want to continue to be a beach bum. Nothing wrong with that, right?

However, for your extra special holiday pleasure, I have a couple new recipes to share with you for Thanksgiving. And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, that's ok. You should make the pie anyway, it was de-licious! Perfect for a fall family treat. Celebrate the cold mornings, the first fall of snow, or a day off from school.

Pie post coming on Tuesday!

Guten appetit, my friends.