Friday, October 31, 2008

cherry tomato spaghetti all'amatriciana.


i tore this recipe out from rachael ray's 'every day' magazine a few months back. i finally came accross it again this week and decided to try it out. pasta dishes of any kind are welcome in our house, as my tall baller can always make use of those carbs. this recipe called for small chunks of pancetta (italian bacon), but i used chopped pieces of parma ham instead (much easier to find in spain). i started out by cooking the ham in a little bit of EVOO until it started to get a little crisp to it. then i added 1 chopped red onion, 4 cloves crushed garlic (YUM!) and a dash or two of cayenne pepper. i didn't have the crushed red pepper on hand that the recipe called for. cayenne did the trick. after about a minute, i added 1/2 cup of vegetable broth (i didn't have white wine or chicken broth), 3 medium sized chopped tomatoes (the cherry tomatoes at our little corner market were ungodly!) and a 'generous' amount of salt and pepper (as the recipe suggested). i omitted the parsley (i only had cilantro in the fridge) and let this amazing mixture of goodness simmer while the pasta had just a few minutes left to go. when i drained the pasta, i reserved 1 cup of the hot water and tossed it back in the pasta pot, along with the pasta and tomato mixture. i gave this all a few big swirls and served it with freshly chopped basil and parmesan on top! now, i'm no meat eater, but the flavor of the ham sure makes a difference. the chunks are big enough to eat around and still enjoy the overall essence of the dish :) fred was in heaven, he had two bowls full! i just found out today that his friend will be visiting us from sweden in a few weeks. this dish is on the menu!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

heather's quinoa recipe.


i found this recipe on heidi swanson's blog, 101 cookbooks, and it looked so good. go figure! her recipes are the best! our local market didn't have basil(i know!) or pesto, so i used la palma's signature cilantro mojo instead. i also substituted brown rice for the quinoa (we had quinoa the night before). the tomatoes, roasted in olive oil and brown sugar, were to die for! basically, this is what we ended up with: brown rice+tofu+spinach+corn+roasted brown sugared tomatoes+pumpkin seeds+cilantro mojo :)

fajita night.


fred's been craving fajitas...so last week we had a fajita night. of course i made his with grilled chicken strips. the rest of the ingredients included 1 big yellow onion and those 3 beautiful peppers you see above. i topped them off with sliced avocado and a little goat cheese. a random, yet delicious, touch! fred says they can make an appearance again anytime.

chocolate chip walnut cookies.




"God gave the angels wings, and he gave humans chocolate." -Anonymous

pasta w/no-cook tomato sauce.


hats off to that rachael ray gal. she's always comin' up with somethin'. i tore this recipe out of her 'everyday with rachael ray' magazine when i was home visiting my grams a few months ago. i had forgotten about it until it surfaced last week...so i gave it a whirl! i crushed a few chopped tomatoes with my hands (so fun by the way!) and added a bit of salt and pepper. then i poured in a little bit of garlic-infused olive oil that i had set to the side. finally, i added some lemon zest and cubes of butter and tossed it all in with the hot pasta. mixed with freshly chopped basil and topped with fresh parmesan, it was delicioso!

hummus en fuego.


i'm a hummus fan for sure. and a fan of heidi swanson's blog, 101 cookbooks. here's to a blessed union of both faves!
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/hummus-en-fuego-recipe.html

apple cinnamon chips.


"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." -Martin Luther

Thursday, October 9, 2008

caramel pear butter.




yes, it IS as good as it sounds! i was introduced to this recipe by my 'swedican' friend julie...and thank goodness for THAT. she and i recipe swap almost every other day and earlier this week she told me about this recipe she found in her bon apetit magazine. 6 simple ingredients combined to make a masterpiece perfect for the fall season. i was crossing everything on my body as i walked to the market this afternoon, hoping they would have pears in the produce department. as mentioned in previous posts, our produce here in la palma is questionable...and i'm often left without what i need. hey, i'm not a bitter blogger, just an honest one ;) but alas! la mercado had pears o' plenty! i wasn't sure how many i needed (as the recipe from epicurious.com was in american conversions and not european), so i grabbed about 10 pears and went on my way! i arrived home, made a quick lunch for the swede and i and got to work on my pears. i could hardly wait! i only had 1/3 of the brown sugar the recipe called for, so i cut the entire recipe into (yes, you guessed it) 1/3. first, i added apple juice and fresh squeezed lemon juice into a deep stainless steel pot. then i peeled, cored and cut each pear into small chunks and added them to the pot. i brought this mixture to a boil for about 15 minutes (continuously stirring)...then lowered the temperature to about medium-low and simmered it for another 20 minutes, covered, but still peeking and stirring every 5 minutes or so. i removed the pot from the heat and gave it a quick puree with my hand mixer. i returned the pot to the heat, added a little more lemon juice, a pinch of coarse salt, a packed cup of brown sugar and a tad bit o' nutmeg...the nutmeg is KEY! it absolutely shines through in the final product. and as my dear grams always tells me, nutmeg is every good recipe's secret ingredient. after boiling this sweet mixture for about 45 minutes-1 hour, i removed it from the heat and poured it in hot jars that i had just sterilized in boiling water. my clever mama taught me a secret to remove the air bubbles...so i took her at her word and held a stainless steel butter knife in the jar as i poured the 'butter' into the jars. apparently that does the trick! i screwed the sterilized lids on tight and put the jars in boiling water for about 10 minutes to 'process' them as the recipe says. after all this, my only complaint is that 1/3 of the recipe only yields about 1 1/2 small jars. i can already tell i'll be pining for more in a few days. i have about 6 pears left, so if i can get my hands on some brown sugar this weekend, i'll for sure be making more. happy october...och tack så mycket söt julie!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

making due.


it's been eons since i've made good ol' standard chocolate chip cookies. so when fred requested them last week, i figured i better get my rear in gear and get to it! i was facing a bit of a dilemma though: 99% of chocolate chip cookie recipes call for baking soda...and that is one ingredient (among others) that little la palma is lacking. i'm not sure it's common in any part of spain come to think of it. i don't recall finding it when we lived in huelva 2 years ago either. anyway, i googled 'baking soda substitutes' and found that i could use baking powder and just double the amount! this was a glorious moment. i made a list of ingredients i needed and took a saturday stroll to the market. i came back with the rest of what i needed and got to making those sweet little cookies this morning. i followed the standard 'toll house' recipe from allrecipes.com. i know there are a gazillion other recipes out there and i just was at a loss as to which one to try...so this time, i stuck with the original. i only had half the amount i needed in white all-purpose flour, so i used whole wheat flour for the other half. we don't have liquid vanilla extract here either, so i used a powder substitute i found at the natural foods store a few weeks ago. chocolate chips are also not a commonality here in spain, so i bought 2 large 70% cocoa chocolate bars, broke them into large chunks, tossed them into a ziploc bag and hacked away at them for about 10 minutes with a sturdy wooden spoon to get them into small enough pieces. even with all the little changes and substitutions here and there, the results were beautiful. my tall swede will be home in about 2 hours...and this plate will be waiting for him with a smile :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

so many ideas...



reasons not to say 'no' to our invite this coming june...you just never know who might bust a move.

keeping in mind.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

spice of life.


so, as i mentioned in my previous post on curry paste, i had a recipe from 101cookbooks that i had in mind for last night's dinner. with that curry paste now in hand, i was able to get started! i didn't have the spinach pasta that heidi recommended, so i used whole wheat tagliatelle instead. the result was fantastic nonetheless. i also used an herbed tofu instead of plain. it was delicious! the combination of the freshly chopped basil and cilantro tossed in right before serving added so much extra flavor to the coconut curry broth. we just loved everything about this dish! it has a little pep to it, but hey, who doesn't like it when their eyes water a little? it's good for us all.

fred scale: to come!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

happy birthday to my nieces!



two of my six nieces have birthdays today! what are the chances?! i just wanted to wish them both happy happy days and big birthday blessings. hannah is 18 and angelina is 3...they are the sweetest peas in the pod as far as i'm concerned. i love them both so so much and cannot begin to express how much joy they've each brought into my life. they are both so beautiful, inside and out. hannah's been like my little sister...since i was 7 when she was born. she is so full of joy and shines like a star. angelina is the perkiest little one i know...she has so much spunk and energy and she just melts my heart whenever she opens her mouth. she is precious in all senses. i'm so glad they were born :) happy birthday to my sweet hannie and angeleenie bean. i am so grateful to be your aunt jessie.

curry paste.


i was thrilled when i received heidi swanson's new recipe today from 101cookbooks.com. it looked absolutely delicious! and when i read the list of ingredients i was overjoyed as i had everything either in my fridge or on the shelf...everything, that is, but curry paste. such a key player too! i just couldn't leave it out. on our way home from the beach today, fred and i stopped at the market to see if they had any. i was a bit hesitant as our local market has let me down more than a few times...but we looked nonetheless. sure enough, no curry paste was to be found. so i came home and thought maybe my good friend Google could help me out. i searched for 'curry paste substitutions' and lo and behold, i found a recipe for curry paste itself! i had all five ingredients on hand too! i tossed chopped onion and ginger, minced garlic, cayenne pepper and curry powder in a bowl and gave it a quick buzz with my hand mixer. in a matter of seconds i had my very own homemade curry paste, ready to use in tonight's dinner! looks like some things are just meant to be.