I love pasta. A lot. It’s like bread but in a different form and with more seafood (because always seafood). I had the best lobster ravioli of my life in a fabulous little bistro in Boston a few years ago, and I still dream of it. The key? The vodka cream sauce. So I thought it was about damn time to start making some of this cream sauce myself. And you know what? It’s super easy. The only part of this recipe that a well stocked kitchen may not contain at any given time is cream. Otherwise, I know most of us are ready to bang this out with little to no notice.
- Saute 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup minced shallots in butter – 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the flavor
- Add 1 TB tomato paste to the pan along with a generous dash of red pepper flakes (depending on preference for level of heat) and cook until you can smell the spice (1 to 2 minutes)
- Remove your pan from the heat and stir in 1 cup of freshly sliced tomatoes (I use the little guys from the garden – so good!) and 1/3 cup vodka
- At this point you are going to cook it all down until the alcohol cooks off (7 to 10 minutes)
- If you want your sauce to be super smooth, you can pour it into a blender. I leave it with the little chunks – the texture is an added bonus
- Slowly add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to your sauce (because healthy and delicious) and heat until warm.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
This sauce is pretty amazeballs right out of the pan, but if you have guests or someone who may judge you, I suggest pouring it over linguine with garlic butter sauteed shrimp. And of course, green onions to garnish because duh.
See? Easy. Now I’m hungry…
I grew up on Jiffy mix biscuits. They were a pretty regular fixture at the dinner table and I still have a soft spot in my heart for those (mom used a cutter for round biscuits, and dad just dropped them from the spoon). However, we don’t buy Jiffy in our house, so when it’s time to make the perfect biscuit, a little elbow grease is involved.
- Mix 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 TB baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a bowl
- Cut in 6 TB very cold butter until it makes a mealy mix
- Add 1 cup buttermilk and mix until just combined (over mixing is bad)
- Turn out onto a floured surface and press until it’s about half an inch thick. Fold the dough over on itself and press again.
- Repeat the folding process 4 times (this is how you get all those awesome flaky layers)
- Cut with a cutter and bake in a 450* oven for 10-12 minutes
Making the gravy and meaty bits is super easy. Thanks to my friend Colour who turned us on to doing this in the same pan a year or so ago, a process that was already pretty idiot proof got even easier.
- Brown 1 pound ground pork or the sausage of your choice
- Sprinkle cooked meat (don’t drain! Keep the oil and fat because, healthy!! And delicious…!) with 2 TB flour
- Slowly add 1 1/2 cups milk and stir to thicken
- Sprinkle with salt and liberally apply pepper
- Make sure your husband walks by and adds more pepper
- Add more pepper yourself (we like our pepper)
- When thick, spoon over your biscuits and unhinge your face
I bet you didn’t think biscuits and gravy could be that easy, eh?
I have one of those friends. You know. The friend with whom you make the pact of ‘should we not be married by 30, we will move to Vermont together and make and sell applesauce at the end of the driveway and be awesome spinster aunties.’ Ok, so this may be a mix of too many viewings of Baby Boom and a mutual love/fascination/obsession with Practical Magic (btw I am totally Aunt Franny) but it actually happened. Sadly we lost touch for a few years after my 4000 mile move to Alaska, and we both did end up tying the knot (both just squeaking through that 30 year cut off), but we’re back together – in a totally platonic life partner bff kinda way – and the texts are flying fast and furious. With a 4 hour time difference, a shop busy with customers all day, and 2 kiddos under the age of 3 on our collective plates, texting is the easiest. (And no one can overhear you bitch and whine from the next room).
We often send each other photos of what we are canning, processing, cooking or eating as we fancy ourselves to be super cool urban homestead hipster chicks (without any of the negative connotations of course). And one night after a glass or two of my favorite red vintage from a box, I decided that we were going to photograph our dinners each night to send along to the other. It has been a lot of fun, and I think both of us are not only upping our game (I informed the husband last week that we needed all new dinnerware because what we have just isn’t going to cut it for my plating aspirations and photographing anymore. You know, those black square plates I insisted on getting when we moved in together.) but getting some great ideas. It can be really hard to break out of that same 10 dinner rotation – There is absolutely nothing to cook! No recipes in the world!! – much like looking at your literally bursting closet and screaming you have nothing to wear.
I’m having fun with this little project. Not just because it’s an excuse to send more texts to my comrade Auntie Jet…well, maybe that’s the biggest part of it. And hey, if some publisher wants in on this, I bet we could get on board with that, too.
This beautiful recipe, or rather photo of drool worthy food, has been floating around Pinterest for a bit. What’s the hold up? It’s in Russian. My pal Natasha over at Alaska Knit Nat had a friend translate some of the recipe with a translator and ended up with things like “butter sauce.” So, no one is much closer to making this beautiful thing…So I
bribed kindly asked my friend Sergios to translate the ingredients for me as he is super cool and speaks both Russian and Greek (go team Cyprus!).
From there I approached this a bit like a British Bake Off technical challenge. Read: Imma make this up! Sort of.
- Make your pie crust
- Mix 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp sugar, 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl
- Cut in 2 full sticks of butter. (Yeah. 2 sticks. No one ever said vegetables were healthy.) until you have a nice mealy mix.
- Add 9 – 12 TB of ice cold water and mix until the dough holds when pressed. Don’t over mix or your pastry will be tough. And ain’t nobody got time for that.
- Wrap/cover in cling film and pop in the refrigerator
- Run out of the house in your flour covered shirt to go to the expensive (but very cool) housewares store in rush hour traffic. Buy spring form pan because even after all these years, you still don’t have one. And believe me – this veggie tart won’t be nearly as cool if you can’t see the whole thing.
- Dig out your butcher glove (the Michael Jackson thing you use when filleting allthefish so you won’t cut your hand off) and prep the mandolin. Slice 1 full green zucchini, 1 full yellow zucchini squash, 2 potatoes, half a beet and some carrots. Realize the carrots don’t cut as nicely as you would like, and feed some to the dog.
- After your dough has chilled for at least an hour, remove from the fridge, roll, pack and blind bake for 15 minutes at 375*. I’m too cheap to own weights, so dried kidney beans and tin foil won the day. Why do we blind bake? No soggy bottoms!
- Cool your pastry for 10 minutes, and begin layering your veggies in the mold.
After your veggies look super pretty, set aside and begin making your cheese sauce. I did not have Sergios translate the entire recipe (my bribe powers have limits) but from the photo, it looks like a modified cheese sauce.
- Grate a lot of cheese – like 2 1/2 cups or so. I used 3/4 pepper jack and 1/4 cheddar. It was what we had – I don’t judge.
- Begin your roux – 1 -2 TB of melted butter with 2 -3 TB of flour, yadda yadda. (If you don’t know how to make a roux – go forth to Google)
- Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of milk, stir until thick, begin adding portions of cheese and stir until melted and all is incorporated.
- Add a few TB of water because of course you made the cheese sauce too thick. Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
- Feel terrible you are about to pour this stuff all over your pretty vegetables.
- Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 375* – until the pie is set.
While you are waiting for the pie to cook, snack on some salmon spread leftover from last night’s onigiri. Have 3 or 4 slices, because it’s snacking.
Allow your pie to cool for about an hour – you want all that stuff to set and congeal before you hack into it and it all comes rushing out….Make sure someone in your house asks “Is it ready yet? Can we eat it?” every 15 minutes.
Cut, serve and send photos to your friends. This thing turned out amazingly well and it is definitely making it in to our meal rotation. Seriously. Super good.
This is a recipe for the worst zucchini relish ever. I entered it in the state fair last year, and of the 3 zucchini relish entries, I did not place. Not even 3rd. It was that bad. The only nice thing that could be said was “beautiful jar” – the thing I had no actual hand in making. I find this hilarious.
My husband on the other hand loves this stuff. He puts it on pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. We sent a jar to my father in law, and I believe it was gone within a week. So, who really cares what the fair folks say, eh? (Though I totally entered a jar this year…just to see.)
- Grate 10 cups of zucchini into a bowl. Chop 3 -4 bell peppers (red makes for the nicest presentation later) finely, as well as 2 1/2 cups onion. Mix with 5 TB salt and allow to sit in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, rinse and drain the goods that sat overnight. Add to a pot.
- Add 3 cups sugar, 3 cups vinegar, 1 TB dried dill, 1 tsp coarse ground pepper, 1 tsp celery seed, and bring to a boil
- Boil for 30 minutes – start the water in your canner.
- Pack hot sterilized jars with relish, add sprigs of dill along the side to pretty it up.
- Water bath for 10 minutes, and viola! The worst zucchini relish ever.
I don’t usually like relish myself (I’m a picky pickle or pickled eater) but think this is pretty good stuff. Give it a try. I bet you’ll agree. And if you want to come judge the category at the fair, let me know!
We have a bumper crop of green and red bunching onions this season. Also known as scallions, spring onions, green onions, etc. So of course a batch of scallion pancakes was needed. Duh.
- Mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup warm water and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and let sit for half an hour.
- Chop a large bunch of green onions while the dough is resting – 10-15 stems.
- Divide your dough into 4 sections. On a lightly oiled surface, roll one of the dough portions into a rectangle – as thin as possible without breaking.
- Liberally sprinkle the lightly oiled dough with salt, spread a generous amount of onions on the dough and roll into a long rope. Cut in half, coil and set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Roll each cool as thin as possible while a pan heats with a combination of sesame and olive oil and some of that bacon grease you have stashed in the freezer.
- Fry each cake approximately 2 minutes on each side, cut into 4 sections and serve with soy sauce, gyoza sauce or just on their own.
They were amazing and super easy – what is that, 5 ingredients?? If you want to kick it up a notch, add some pepper jack cheese and you’ve got a handheld funky pizza. Hooray! (The husband thought that was pretty amazing)
I wanted to make some pumpkin cupcakes for an event my little store had last weekend. But somehow I was out of pumpkin – the horror!! As I was totally fixated on the idea of these cupcakes, I decided to modify the recipe a bit and came up with applesauce cupcakes instead. And they were pretty mind blowing.
- Cream 4 eggs and 1 & 2/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl
- Add 1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce (I used the stuff I canned from local apples last year – I know. I hate myself for being such a hipster too) and 1/2 cup oil and mix
- Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda and stir
- Add to lined baking tin and bake for 12-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Beat 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup soft butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 cups confectioner’s sugar until smooth. I prefer to mix until whipped and fluffy
- Add to ziplock bag, seal, clip corner and pipe like a professional
- Eat remaining frosting directly from the piping bag
They turned out super moist and delicious. I almost like them better than the pumpkin muffins! Almost…