Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pancetta Basil Scramble

I don't make breakfasts worth blogging about very often, mostly due to the fact that my low blood sugar makes breakfast more of a necessity than a pleasure. That said, sometimes on the weekend I do get a bit creative. This was QUITE good and very easy. If you know how to scramble eggs, this recipe is more detailed than you'll need.

As my husband remarked, this recipe probably "collides with most of the American Heart Association guidelines." Not for every day consumption. :)

Serves 2 (serve with toast)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
6-8 slices pancetta
6 large leaves fresh basil, shredded
2 tablespoons soft cream cheese (diced from a bar)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper

  • Pan fry pancetta in skillet then set aside on a plate covered in a paper towel. Absorb the extra grease with paper towels. Reserve any brown bits and grease in the skillet. When pancetta has cooled, chop it.
  • Whisk together the eggs and the milk, adding black pepper to taste.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat (yes, with the pancetta drippings).
  • Once the butter begins to bubble slightly, pour in the egg mixture and start scrambling it around with a wooden spatula.
  • When mixture is half cooked (50% resembles scrambled eggs, 50% resembles runny eggs), add the pancetta, basil, and cream cheese.
  • Finish cooking to your desired firmness (note: the cream cheese will make the eggs look moister (runnier) than they actually are) and serve!
NOTES: If the pancetta drippings had been enough to cook the eggs in, I would have left out the butter. I definitely recommend using unsalted butter and adding NO SALT to the eggs--the pancetta does this for you....quite well. :) Do not add the basil too early because it will overcook and turn black.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Curried Carrot Slaw

Curried Carrot Slaw with Wild Rice Pilaf-Stuffed Chicken Thighs

This is a hit at every summer potluck/bbq, super easy to make, and extremely versatile as a side dish. It is my mother's recipe which I've doctored up just a tiny bit.

  • 1 bag of whole carrots, peeled and shredded (tip: use the food processor!)*
  • 1/4 cup t0 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (you may wish to use less depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well! Chill for at least an hour.

A few notes:
  • you can make this up ahead of time, but do know that the spices and salt will draw a fair amount of liquid out of the carrots. For this reason, you may want to adjust the amount of mayonnaise you use.
  • If I want it to have more kick, I use more curry powder. If I want a sweeter slaw, I include more shredded coconut.
  • You can buy "shredded carrots" but they tend to be thicker in texture and will not absorb the flavors as well. On the other hand, they retain their own moisture better and will stay crunchy, whereas the hand-shredded carrots get a little "soggy" (hence the raisins for texture and flavor).
  • Add slivered almonds or sliced macadamia nuts for more texture.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jacqueline F.'s Pasta Carbonara

At long last, I find myself back in the kitchen! For roughly a month, we have been dependent upon my husband's culinary talents, our local restaurants and take-out. It is amazing just how often a "granola bar" can actually constitute a "meal."

So, tonight I cooked Jacqueline F.'s Pasta Carbonara! I went to junior high with Jacqueline's sister (Monique) and through the wonders of Facebook, have been able to keep in touch with her. Knowing that I like to cook, Monique shared Jacqueline's blog with me and I'm VERY glad she did. I love how Jacqueline writes and the recipes strike me as pretty no-nonsense--major plusses for a food blog! I've been subjected to pasta carbonara in a heavy cream sauce before, so I was happy to hear that cream shouldn't even enter the picture (according to Jacqueline). I will admit that I felt a compulsion to add white wine--I didn't--but I wanted to. Perhaps it is some subconscious belief that wine will cut the fat from the lardons? ;-)

I will tell you that this recipe is super tasty and SUPER EASY. I'm all for simple, basic ingredients. I didn't have any red pepper flakes, so I subsituted a little bit of cayenne and chili powder. I'm sure it would have been even more wonderful with red pepper flakes. But what I love most about a good carobonara (and this was no exception), is the way the bacon/pancetta infuses the sauce with its flavor. I served it with steamed carrots and a green salad, and a lovely GrĂ¼ner Veltliner. :)

Making this dish also came with a dose of unexpected nostalgia. Monique and I worked on the literary magazine together all those many years ago. She was a very gifted writer and someone for whom I had a great deal of respect (not something I could say about all my friends in junior high). While we were not close then, it has been really wonderful to find out how much we have in common---especially when it comes to musical and artistic taste. I'm absolutely thrilled to be a enthusiastic reader of her sister's blog (Rocket Lunch) now, and I look forward to trying more of Jacqueline's recipes--especially the No-Knead Bread!

I look forward to cooking and posting more regularly! If you have a recipe you'd like me to try, drop me a line and let me know!