Sunday, December 28, 2008
I've only been married for two years, so my husband and I have not started many of our own holiday traditions yet. At this point we spend the holidays with his family, since they are only a 90 minute drive away. My family is an 8 hour plane ride, so we tend to celebrate by phone calls at this point. Since we're away from my family, I've working on showing Joe our traditions from Christmases when I was younger. He's a good sport about it, especially with the food traditions.
Linguine with Clam Sauce was my family's Christmas Eve meal for as long as I can remember. We'd dress up in our Christmas best for Mass, then have this formal meal at home after church. This is at least the third year Joe and I have shared this Christmas Eve tradition. Two years ago, we got to celebrate Christmas Eve with my family, since they were in town for our December 29 wedding. Last year we did this meal at home just the two of us, and we really enjoyed the quality time and savory food. This year was a little different, because I had to work until 5:00 on Christmas Eve, so we ended up having it as the second Christmas Eve when we got home from his parents house on December 26th.
This pasta always surprises me, because I seem to forget quite how delicious it is. It's RICH and full of butter, so it really is a once a year treat. I find I always want to eat more than I can actually handle, because it's richness makes it much more filling than other pasta dishes. This pasta is a special treat for any celebration, but make sure you're ok with sharing garlic breath with your dining companions!
Linguine with Clam Sauce
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
3 Tbsp basil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups minced clams (about 3 cans)
1 cup clam juice*
1 lb. linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp minced parsley
Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the olive oil, spices, garlic, clams and clam juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 30 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, boil water and cook the linguine. Try to time it so the pasta is finished right around the 30 minute mark.
Add salt to the sauce, then toss with the pasta. Toss with Parmesan cheese and minced parsley, and serve immediately.
* You can buy a bottle of clam juice, or you can use the juice that the canned clams are packed in. As long as the clams you buy are in "clam juice", then it's the same as the bottle.
I made a salad with dried cranberries, scallions, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was great! I wanted to share the combination, and also show you the bowl we got in Mexico on our trip in October. Isn't it cool?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Raspberry Almond Thumbprints
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My mom went through many cooking phases as I was growing up, and one I distinctly remember was the Mexican phase. And I guess really, it was more than a phase, because the Mexican cooking (as well as every other phase) has stood the test of time. But there was a time when Mexican cuisine seemed to be her favorite to cook, and I've experienced numerous flavors and ingredients because of her.
Hominy is one of the Mexican ingredients my mom introduced me to. It was most likely in the form of Pasole, a Mexican stew made with pork and this variation of corn. Hominy is a type of dried corn that is treated to remove the hull from the kernel, which leaves it dense yet puffy. It isn't much on it's own, but when added to a soup or stew it takes the dish to a new level.
I haven't found many ways to use hominy besides in a soup like the Chili I made last night. I need to find other recipes, though, because each time I cook with hominy I'm reminded how much I enjoy it. This recipe for Pork and Hominy Chili is a keeper, for sure. Not only is is great tasting, but it's FAST. Seriously, I was done in less than the 30 minute Rachael Ray time limit. I am not usually the fastest in the kitchen, so I was pretty shocked at how quickly this came together. The pork stayed nice and tender, and the seasoning blended nicely. Other than adding a little oregeno I stuck to the recipe. If you're looking for an easy weeknight meal with a new ingredient mixed in, I think I've found the recipe for you!
2 teaspoons canola oil
Pork and Hominy Chili
Cooking Light, September 2007
8 ounces boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed and cubed
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 (15.5-ounce) can golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup light sour cream
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chili powder and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper). Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste, hominy, tomatoes, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for mushrooms
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for mushrooms
- 1 1/4 cups (or more) heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
Sprinkle thyme and garlic slices over gratin. Toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Arrange mushroom slices atop gratin around edge of dish. Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Continue to bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and potato edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 1 hour in dish; cover and chill. Before serving, cut gratin into 10 pieces. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil and rewarm in 350°F oven, 10 to 15 minutes.