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Eric’s Broccoli Fettuccine

Eric loves broccoli in anything, and always asks for it. This is his favorite recipe because he get to help make the pasta, which is fun and messy. He also likes grating the nutmeg, but that usually ends up with the nutmeg seed in the Alfredo sauce.

I had been using Giada De Laurentiis’ fresh pasta recipe for years, when my neighbor came across her husband’s grandma’s recipe. We taste-tested, and I like the grandma’s version better! So sorry, Giada… I’ve ditched you! My Alfredo sauce is very similar to Giada’s version, I started with her recipe, and I’ve modified it a bit over the years.

Please understand, this Alfredo is not a healthy recipe. And it’s not something we indulge in very often. But it is very special and yummy! I’d rather enjoy it in all it’s fatty glory very infrequently rather than try to skinny it up with non-real-food chemically substitutes. It just has to be considered an indulgence! The fettuccine is fine depending on what you make with it, and I sometimes make it with whole wheat flour, if that’s what I have on hand.

Fresh Fettuccine
Mix in food processor:
2-⅛  cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
Whisk together in a separate bowl:
2 eggs
¼ cup warm water
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pour the egg mixture in to the food processor, and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal.

Pour the dough out on to a floured surface, and gently knead it until it all holds together in one ball. Refrigerate for an hour or so while you set the table, then run the dough through a pasta machine to create fettuccine.

Wine makes everything better.

Set a very large pot of water with a handful of salt to boil. As you wait for it to boil, make the sauce and prepare the broccoli into bite-size florettes.


Alfredo Sauce
In a saucepan, stir to blend:
2 cups of heavy cream
½ cup of fresh lemon juice
zest of ½  lemon
2 garlic cloves, halved
Heat over medium temperature (do not boil) and melt in:
1 cup of butter (I KNOW! It’s a lot)
Once butter is melted, turn heat all the way down to low and grate in:
fresh nutmeg (about ¼ teaspoon).

When pasta water is at a boil, throw in your bite-size broccoli flowers. Set a timer for 2 minutes, and promptly remove the broccoli with a large slotted spoon into a large serving dish. The broccoli should be bright green, and don’t worry if it seems to be not cooked enough. It will continue cooking while it sits there waiting for everything else.

Throw your pasta in the now-broccoli-flavored water until just cooked through, then place in the same serving dish as the broccoli.  Do not drain or rinse the pasta, but rather scoop it out so some of the cooking water stays on the pasta. This helps the sauce cling to the pasta.
Remove garlic cloves from sauce, and stir in:
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese
Add salt and (white) pepper to taste, and raise temperature if necessary. Then pour the sauce over the pasta and broccoli, and toss all together.
Enjoy!

~Krista (and Eric)

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A Little Effort Goes A Long Way

Forgive me, I’m going to brag for a moment.

I had two mommy meetups on Sunday afternoon, a dinner party at my house on Monday, and a lunch potluck on Tuesday. I roasted a giant chunk of bone-in leg of pork and whipped up an olive tapenade, and had them for all 4 parties, plus dinner for my family on Sunday night. If I had realized along the way how well this would all work out, I would have taken more photos to document…

One of the mommy meetups was a cookie exchange, and I wanted to make the most amazing ginger cardamom bars, but crystalized ginger is having a bad moment (it’s not available in stores!), and I just couldn’t pull it off. I cut my losses (ie, gave up on my goal of DOING IT ALL) and texted the hostess asking if I could just bring wine. Check. Besides, I don’t need a bunch of cookies at my house, right?

While I was shopping at Whole Foods in search of said ginger, I stopped by the meat counter to see about a roast something for dinner. I was surprised to find a big bone-in pork leg for only $3.49/lb. My plan came together!

More on the pork in a minute.

Next stop, olive bar. I’ve pulled this trick before, and it’s delicious. I load up a container with about a half pound of olives of different types. Only the pitted ones! I whir it in the Cuisinart with a couple garlic cloves, a splash of olive oil to help hold it together, and salt & pepper. I bought 3 boxes of cracked pepper water crackers to go with the olives. One box for each party.

When I got home, I prepared the pork and put it in the oven at 200 degrees F and then prepared the olive tapenade and got dressed for Mommy Meetups.

Mommy Meetups: Olive Tapenade & crackers. It was a wine & chocolate party and then a cookie party, so I thought a little spicy savory nibble would be appreciated. Turns out I stayed so late at the first event that I missed all the guests at the second, but I had to be OK with that! {Let it go, you can’t do everything!}

I got home after both events and served my family some of the pork for Sunday dinner. I chose the thinner portion of the hunk o’ meat for dinner that first day, knowing that the rest would be reheated a few times.  Thicker meat = not as well done. And nobody wants tough, overcooked meat!

Monday dinner party: This was a potluck with 12 of my girlfriends, so I knew we wouldn’t need huge portions. There is usually so much food at these gatherings, so a little goes a long way. I heated the pork just enough to be room temperature. I would have heated it all the way to hot, but I didn’t want the meat to be tough. It was perfectly fine at room temp. The olive tapenade & water crackers went out with the other appetizers that some of the gals brought. Poached pears for dessert = super easy and light. I also made poached pears, so I had a starter, a protein and a light dessert – no matter what my friends brought, I knew I had the basics covered.

Tuesday lunch potluck: Once again, I heated the pork just enough to not be cold & coagulated. I intended to bring the last of the olive tapenade and last box of crackers, but I decided to save it for myself & Brian because I’m selfish like that!

It was so nice to do one bit of food prep, and have it carry me through so many events. And I still have some pork left! It will be lunch again tomorrow, I’m sure.

Here’s my recipe for the pork, which from all accounts is AMAZING. I agree, but of course I would think so because I made it exactly the way I would like it best! 

Spices! The shallot salt is notorious for getting clumpy, but it's totally fine if I grind it up with other whole spices.

7 lbs bone-in pork leg (Flintstone’s, anyone?)

In a mortar & pestle, grind up:

palm full, or about a Tablespoon, each of coriander seed, cumin seed, anise seed, black peppercorns, Penzey’s shallot salt, mustard powder, and sea salt.

Pat half of this ground-up mixture onto one side of the pork, then lay that side down on an oiled roasting pan. Pat the remainder on the naked (up) side of the pork.

Drizzle with soy sauce and olive oil, and another sprinkling of salt & pepper. Probably overkill, but that’s what I did.

After about an hour or so in the oven, drench the pork with a sauce of:

3 T tamarind paste blended with 1 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 c orange juice.

Roast the pork for a total of 5 hours, then check internal temperature for done-ness. Pork should be 145F. Let cool before slicing so the juices don’t all run out.

So there’s my recap of 3 days of stress-free parties: say no when you need to, and prepare once for multiple parties. It worked for me this time!

What are your secrets for getting through the holidays without killing someone?

Many cheers,
~Krista

My Flinstones-esque hunk of pork. 7 pounds for 3 meals!

Pork leg at the potluck, day three. Rave reviews!

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Holiday Inspirations: Help for Thanksgiving

I love how supermarkets are stepping up their game. It’s not enough anymore to have good products in an attractive environment, or to offer special deals. No, now they’re offering more to entice consumers, from recipes to mobile apps and Facebook pages that offer localized deals.

Safeway has really gone all out on their Holiday Inspirations micro site.

There are pages and pages of gorgeous photos to inspire you, with recipes, tips and tricks for maximizing your time, and even decorating and entertaining ideas. And wine pairings!

I’m always wanting help to not just get things done, but do them with style. You know, MomStyle. This site helps by offering ideas and inspiration.

This salad not only sounds like an awesome balance for the Thanksgiving meal, but it's SOOO PRETTY. Definitely adding it to the list!

I used to make something like this every year, but I sort of forgot about them. I think the kids would love making these!

Less time in the oven = More time for other things!

One feature on the Safeway Holiday Inspirations site is a their “exclusive” 2-Hour Turkey instructions. Two hours? I was just listening to a guy on NPR talking about a dry salt rub on a turkey, then roasting it at really high heat for a shorter amount of time. That goes against everything I’ve ever known or thought about roasting a turkey, but I’m anxious to try the high-heat/short-time method. I mean sheesh, if the oven doesn’t have to be tied up all day, that’s a good thing! Plus, I’m sure it’s more energy-efficient and you know I’m all for that.

The Safeway Chef Assistant mobile app walks you through the turkey process, complete with a timer. Unfortunately for my Android-using self, it’s only for iPhone & iPad for now, but I downloaded it on the iPad and I plan to use it in the kitchen. It has several shopping-help features that would be great on a smart phone while you’re actually at the store, I’ll just have to wait for the Android version!
Safeway has offered one of my readers a chance to win a $100 gift card! Aren’t we all so lucky?

ENTER TO WIN A $100 SAFEWAY GIFTCARD!
{super easy Rafflecopter giveaway!}

Happy Thanksgiving,
~Krista

Disclaimer: I received a gift in exchange for this post. No other compensation was received and the opinions here are my own.

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{from scratch holidays} Maple, Citrus & Ginger Cranberry Preserves

 I just found a new blog, From Scratch Club, and I’m feeling so inspired! Read their “about us” statement:

We are a small group of women striving for a sustained connection to the whole food we, our loved ones, and our communities consume. We meet twice a month for food swaps, and maybe even a food-related adventure, field trip, cheese-making party or potluck. Once a month we participate in community outreach at various local farmers markets in our area. The rest of the month we are here on the blog, sharing stories, recipes, DIY projects, homesteading tutorials, kitchen tips & tricks and food policy news in hopes of inspiring everyday people to jump back into the kitchen as a daily way of life regardless of income, space & time. Welcome!

A. Now I want to form a similar club. Food Swap, anyone? How about Food Adventures? Yes, please!

B. I can’t wait to start trying some of these recipes. In particular, the one on the front page today is {from scratch holidays} Maple, Citrus & Ginger Cranberry Preserves. It looks so delicious! I’m a sucker for tart + ginger + citrus, so add in maple syrup and I’m sold. This is definitely going on the Thanksgiving list this year.

Happy food,
~Krista

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Flower Mac

Since I am on a whole food kick I have been experimenting with vegetable dishes that my kid might eat.  The other night I came up with “Flower Mac” and it was quite good.

Saute one shallot and garlic clove in olive oil.

De-glaze with wine wine and add one whole head of cauliflower chopped up.

Add plain rice milk (or veggie or chicken broth) and throw in a hand full of thyme.  ( I did add 2 tbs butter, too!)

Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer covered until its soft.  Once the cauliflower is soft puree in blender until smooth.

Use as sauce over your choice of  whole grain pasta.  I topped mine with paprika and shredded carrots to  give it some color.   You can use anything you want to add flair because  its pretty bland looking on its own.

Jim and Z loved it!!

Enjoy good food

dayl

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Spectacular BBQ sides

Do you get tired of the same old BBQ fare? Saying “no” to potato salad, we attended a lovely lunch at our friends cabin on Mt. Hood. They grilled pork tenderloin and shrimp skewers, which were both to die for. But I was really taken by the compilation of side dishes. They weren’t planned to go together, but they all worked beautifully.

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kohlrabi & cucumber slices, dressed with flat-leaf parsley, red wine vinegar and good olive oil

Do you know kohlrabi? It looks funny. I asked my farmer about it one day a few years ago, and he said, “Peel it, slice it thin and dress it with red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. It will be your favorite thing!” He was right! It’s so yummy and crisp and refreshing. I usually add cucumber and flat leaf parsley, which is what I did yesterday. It’s equally good with lemon juice instead of vinegar – just citrusy, obviously. You can make it well ahead of time, but don’t dress it until it’s about to be served, as the acid starts breaking down the veggies. I’ve eaten it soggy the next day tossed on to a green salad, and it’s still good – but hardly crisp.

April brought her wonderful watermelon salad, which was completely devoured by everyone.

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watermelon, feta and mint leaves, dressed with lime juice

It’s such a refreshing combination of flavors! The watermelon is crisp and sweet, the feta tangy and creamy, and the mint bright and green. Lime juiced brought it all together. The key for this kind of salad (in my opinion) is to chop the mint really fine. Mint can be a little woody, so small pieces make it work. April did it perfectly, of course!

Judith grilled the corn on the cob to perfection, and at Yashi’s suggestion, we dressed it with lime juice and our choice of chili powder or curry powder. I chose chili powder, and it was so delicious. What a great alternative to butter and salt! I have to say, I usually grill corn while it’s still in the husk, then peel it back and use the husk as a handle. But I just fell in love with the grill marks on corn. I may have to try a combination of our two techniques in the future.

Gwenn made a wheat berry salad that I need to get the recipe for. It’s so satisfying to bite into those meaty little kernels, especially combined with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, goat cheese and basil. (I think, hopefully she’ll leave the recipe for us in the comments!)

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Wheat berry salad, and grilled corn with lime juice and chili powder

The kids were delighted with everything, and Otis the dog was delighted with Eric, who always seemed to be at the right height to share food.

Patiently waiting, singularly focused.

I love how all these dishes went together so beautifully. I like having interesting and delicious options for all the BBQs of summer coming up. I’d love to hear your favorites!

~Krista

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Tofu Curry Recipe

The kids and I created this fine meal yesterday in honor of #MeatlessMonday. Here’s what we did:

Marinate firm, silky tofu with a couple splashes of soy sauce and one splash of fish sauce (nam pla). I did the splashing, Anna stirred it all together. Eric sampled the tofu.

Meanwhile, smash with a mortal & pestle a palm full of coriander seeds and a palm full of cumin seeds. Both kids wanted to do this step, but both lost their patience with it after a few moments.

In a mini food processor, blend together 2 cloves of garlic, about 2″ of fresh (peeled) ginger root, the crushed coriander & cumin, a small palm full of sugar, and a handful of basil leaves. Anna is really good at pulling the leaves off the basil stems. Both took turns pushing the buttons on the mini prep.

Once those ingredients are smushed up and look a bit like pesto, add a couple handfuls of peanuts (and eat a couple handfuls as well), a few splashes of soy sauce and fish sauce, the zest and juice of a lime, then blend some more to make a paste. Sometimes I let Anna zest citrus with the microplane. It doesn’t seem as treacherous as other graters since it’s so fine, but I pay close attention to her technique so she doesn’t grate her knuckles. Eric, being three, hasn’t gotten to use a grater yet!

Anna squeezing the lime. Too bad my camera sucks.

Sauté a chopped onion in a large skillet (or wok) until soft, then add the tofu for a few minutes, then the veggies. We used red bell pepper, green & yellow beans, and broccoli. I wasn’t going to use broccoli, but Eric insisted on it. That boy loves broccoli.

Remove all that from the skillet so the veggies don’t get overcooked. Toast the paste for a few minutes in the now-empty skillet. Heating up the curry paste opens up the flavors of cumin and coriander seeds. It smelled so good ~ warm and spicy and peanuty, but bright and fresh from the lime.

toasting the curry paste — so very fragrant!

Stir in about half a can of light coconut milk and blend with the now-heated spice paste. Once the sauce is all warmed through, toss the tofu & vegetables in and POOF! Dinner is ready. Oh yes, after microwaving the Jasmine rice for 3 minutes!

This was a yummy, easy meal that pushed a couple buttons for me: it was vegetarian for Meatless Monday, the kids were involved with prep every step of the way, it was super healthy and didn’t take too much time out of playing! The lime was crucial for brightness against the peanuts and spices, and the tiny bit of sugar in the paste helped balance all the flavors.

Cheers,
~Krista

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