Archive for January, 2009

Way too tired to write a description for this one tonight. But I want to publish it while it is fresh in my mind. Take my word – this is easy, gourmet, and delicious. One of the better pastas I have ever created. I have been reading Essential Pasta, a fantastic book Matt gave me for Christmas – it’s got some great recipes along with some solid techniques and foundations for preparing restaurant quality pasta. I’d recommend it to anybody. Excited to keep reading and trying recipes. However, tonight I took a few concepts from the book and made it my own. Too bad I was home alone t – would have loved to have shared it with somebody, in particular the gf. I’m definitely going to do this one again. It was damn good.

Spaghetti with Prawns, Sundried Tomato and Basil (serves 2)

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, diced

3 oz sun dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped

10-12 large prawn (about ¾ lb), peeled and deveined

Juice of one half lemon

1/8 c dry white wine

4 T cream

5 large leaves of basil, julienned (Check outFabulously Classic’s tip on how to do this here)

4 tablespoons coarsely shredded Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook till al dente.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are starting to become slightly translucent. Take care not to brown them. Add the sun dried tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the prawns, white wine, lemon juice and cook until pink and barely translucent. Increase the heat to high, add the cream, bring to a boil, and stir constantly, for about 30 seconds. Cream should quickly reduce in volume and thicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Add basil. Turn heat to low.

When the spaghetti is al dente, drain it and add to the prawn mixture in the skillet. Lightly toss entire mixture over heat for until well incorporated. Transfer to plates, sprinkle parmesan on top, and serve immediately.


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This one is a killer. The flavor is brilliant and the presentation owns. Easy to make, extremely light, yet it packs a punch. Gentlemen, take note and file this one under “baby makin meals” – if you want a quick way to impress a date, this one if for you.

Let me share some thoughts on the inspiration behind this vinaigrette. First off, I can’t stand greasy salads. There is nothing worse than an oily salad. I intentionally go light on the oil and let the citrus do the talking. Second, this dressing really accents the flavors of other ingredients in the salad without overpowering- while perfect alone with just greens, I’d highly recommend getting creative and having some fun with what you add to the greens – blood oranges, chevre, apples, dried cranberries, basil leaves, etc are excellent choices with this vinaigrette. Finally, the dressing itself is versatile. I’ve used it as a marinade for chicken and prawns. I’ve reduced it and used it as a base for sauce, thickening it with coconut milk and serving it with fish (fantastic). This dressing tends to come off pretty sweet depending on the orange juice concentrate used, so I prefer more bitter greens to contrast the sweetness of the dressing. Spinach, arugula, mixed greens, and frisee are the winners for this one. Avoid romaine or iceberg- way too bland.

Parmesan frico? What are they? Answer: crispy cheese waifs fashioned into bowls to serve your salad in. While they appear fancy, don’t be intimidated. I was taught the recipe and frico making technique by one of my mentors, Diane Runo, owner of Tastefully Yours. She runs a business from her home, teaching cooking classes and catering high end multi-course dinner parties.

Citrus Vinaigrette
1 heaping tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsalmic
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1/3 c canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt, pepper and oil in a blender or immersion blender. Mix together well and then slowly add the oil while on high. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mixed Greens
Handful dried cranberries
1 apple- thinly sliced (I typically go with a gala or golden delicious)
2-3 cunces chevre
Candied pecans

Parmesan Frico
2 cups shredded parmesan (no need to buy expensive stuff for this – preshredded Trader Joe’s parmesan will work fine
1 T lemon zest
2 T julienned fresh basil
Fresh cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop 2 tablespoons of mixture and place on a silpat on a cookie sheet. Many of us aren’t fortunate enough to own a silpat. Not to worry – line a baking sheet with tin foil, then spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400 until the cheese is completely melted and starting to be golden in color. Remove from the oven and immediately flip a small water glass upside down and gently stretch and pull the cheese over the top glass (golden part of the cheese on the outside) forming a small bowl.b Work quickly as the cheese sets in a matter of minutes. Let them sit for 10 min.


Lightly toss the greens and frisee in some of the salad dressing. For the beginners, go easy on the dressing. Start by adding a few tablespoons of vinaigarette to the entire green mixture and see if it is enough. Nothing is worse than too much! You can always add more. Add chevre to top of mixture, then arrange 2 or 3 apple slices vertically. Top with a few dried cranberries and pecans.

Quite the little salad

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