Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Baked Egg Caprise June 14, 2012

It’s hard to believe I’ve lived in Indy for 6 months now. It was an adjustment, getting used to living in the city, since I’ve lived in small towns my whole life. But there are so many benefits. I’m close to work, there’s so many great restaurants and bars and breweries here. I’ve made so many new friends I can’t even count them.

Another benefit I have discovered this summer is that the farmer’s markets are much better here too. More people = bigger venues = more vendors. I have not made it downtown yet, as the market is on Wednesdays while I am at work. But the one just north of me is wonderful.

I picked up a couple of tomatoes this weekend. I normally associate tomatoes with late summer, but these looked so good I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve had leftover roast chicken the last three nights, and while it is delicious, I was ready for something new. This was the perfect remedy. I just did one in a custard cup, but you could do this easily in a muffin tin if you are feeding a family or a group! Would be great for breakfast too!

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Baked Eggs Caprise
Original Recipe

1 tomato
1 egg
1 basil leaf, torn or cut into pieces
Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut the top off the tomato, and with a spoon, scoop out some of the insides. Leave plenty of meat on the tomato though!

Place in greased custard cup.

Crack egg into tomato. Top with basil and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until whites are set.

Eat! I didn’t do this tonight, but I bet some good quality olive oil would be fantastic drizzled over the top. Or some balsamic? YUMMMMM…

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Vermicelli with Peas May 30, 2011

I’ve been finding myself a little burned out lately. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and just not really taking much time for myself. Even my weekends have been busy. This long weekend was much needed. I had a graduation party Saturday evening, so I went home for that. But that was my ONLY event the whole three day weekend. And OH how I relished the peace. I watched scary movies, drank some wine, visited with some friends, and caught up on my YouTube Subscriptions (PhillyD and Shaytards. I love them.). I finished a book, and started another.

Today was a little bit more productive. I cleaned my kitchen, did some laundry, made stock. I cut up a fresh pineapple and put the rind and core in vodka to infuse for a week. And the big one–I mowed my yard! Ok, just the front part. I still need to do the back half. This was the first time I’ve ever mowed. My neighbor has done it for me a few times this summer, but it was time for me to learn to do it on my own. The only problem? I couldn’t get my mower to start. I had a friend come over and take a look at it. He jostled a few bits around and got it to start for me. Oh man, mowing is hard work. I have a GIGANTIC hill in the front of my house, and that was not easy. I’m just a little too short, the mower a little too big, and the hill a little too steep. I can’t pretend that there wasn’t lots of cussing and more than a few tears. But I got it mowed. I’ll do the back half another day…or I may just find some high school kid who I can pay to do it. I’m not afraid to admit I felt more than a little defeated.

The rest of the afternoon I just relaxed. I watched a movie and listed to some music. I was planning on just popping some popcorn for dinner, but, as usually happens on my productive days, I decided to play with my food. The following is what came out of that little game. Very springy tasting, very fresh (even if the peas were frozen). The sage is what is left of my herb garden last year–it grew back! And the purple flower was mixed in with that super plant. Pretty (I didn’t eat it, don’t worry)!

Vermicelli with Peas
Original Recipe

6-8 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp Butter
1 half white onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful Sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, Optional

Boil and salt a pot of water, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan over med-low heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown and soft. Add garlic and sage, cook another 2 minutes.

Add peas, cook until heated through. Add lemon juice and a Tbsp of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to pea mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with Parmesan.

 

Country Onion Soup May 1, 2011

I have always been fascinated by storms. I remember one summer, when I was really young, my dad pointed out a massive storm cloud gathering over the fields, and told me, “That’s where tornadoes form.” I remember Mom freaking out one afternoon because Dad had taken off to follow a funnel cloud. Ever since then, I’ve watched the clouds, curious about what makes one thunderstorm different from the cells that form tornadoes. I watched Twister so many times, enthralled by the power and beauty (only now do I realize how awful that movie really was).

Thanks to the Internet, I can do something I’ve always wanted to do–Chase storms. Ok, so I’m not ACTUALLY out in Kansas with radars on my truck, but it’s still pretty thrilling. This will be my third season watching StormScapeLive.com, with Michael Phelps behind the wheel, teaching all of us amateurs/wanna-bes what is happening as a supercell develops. There’s 20-30 of us regulars who have really become a family on the chat. We always look forward to storm season, not just for the cells but also for the conversation.

This has been a particularly crazy season so far–the kind that us storm nerds both love, and hate. The storms that have hit America so far have all been in majorly populated areas, in Wisconsin, and the southeast, instead of in the middle of nowhere in the plains. As much as we love seeing the awesomeness of an F5 sighting, when it devastates an entire town, we are struck silent in the chat, we are praying, we are mourning. None of us want to hear that 200+ people are gone forever, thousands are injured and suddenly homeless. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the storms this spring.

Minestrone di Cipolline (Country Onion Soup)

Adapted from Smoky Mountain Cafe

1/4 cup olive oil
3 small yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp sage leaves, minced
1 small can of tomato sauce
6 cups chicken stock
4 cubes beef bouillon
1/4 cup red wine
10 oz vermicelli
Grated Gruyère or Parmesan

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Cook onions 8-10 minutes until golden-brown and caramelized. Add garlic and sage, cook another minute or two until soft. Add tomato sauce, cook another 2 minutes.

While onion mixture is cooking, put bouillon cubes in one cup of stock, microwave 2 minutes, or until dissolved. Add this and the rest of the stock to the onion mixture. Simmer for 15 minutes. Salt & Pepper to taste.

Bring to a full boil. Add pasta, cook until very al dente (You want to keep the pasta with some bite to it).

Serve hot with lots of shredded Gruyère or Parmesan over the top. You can broil the cheese French Onion style, only without the soggy bread.

 

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans March 2, 2011

I love pasta. It’s kind of my “everything but the kitchen sink” type meal. When I’m pushing my budget for my biweekly pay cycle, but have a gourmet craving, it’s so easy to throw whatever I have into a pan and simmer for awhile.

This is one of those great dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans are two ingredients I stock up on when I have some cash and keep them in the pantry. And when have you ever not known me to have garlic and pasta? I used bowties but I think longer pasta would be great with this, like fettuccine. A splash of lemon juice, if you had it, would brighten things up even more, and play off of the tart tomatoes.

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans
Adapted from Amateur Gourmet

4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups pasta

Boil your pasta in salted water.

Pour 1 Tbsp of sun-dried tomato oil into a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, let cook for 1 minute, until just soft. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cook for another 2 minutes.

Add 1 ladle of pasta water. Simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in beans, a pinch of salt, and another ladle of pasta water. Simmer for 4 minutes.

Add pasta to the sauce and toss together. Serve and relax!

 

Pasta with Sardines and Sun-Dried Tomatoes January 17, 2011

Filed under: Fish,Italian,pasta,Quick and Easy — hmills96 @ 7:26 pm

There’s just something about trying a new ingredient. Something you’ve never tried before. It opens so many new doors, new flavors.

I remember the first time anyone introduced me to sardines. It was in our high school Home Ec class (or whatever they were calling it then). My teacher pulled out a can of sardines and dared people to try them. Well, I have to admit, I didn’t have the balls at that time. Or the palate either. Boy did I miss out.

Lately I’ve been curious about them. I think it’s probably from watching Anthony Bourdain eat the bigger, European version on his show. They always look so good. The great thing about them is that they are really rather inexpensive. Cheap food is good on my budget right now. Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes and oh man your taste buds come alive. Seriously, don’t be a doubter, try this.

Pasta with Sardines and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Adapted from AllRecipes.com

8 oz fettuccine
Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin sardines, boneless
6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon, divided

Start your water boiling, salt it, toss your pasta in.

Heat oil over medium heat, add onions. Cook the onions until they are just soft, add garlic. Cook for about another minute. Add sardines and tomatoes. Squeeze 1/2 lemon into sauce. Cook until pasta is done.

Add 1 ladle pasta water to sauce. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over pasta, stir to combine. Serve immediately.

 

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout December 9, 2010

Can you believe it? I cooked AGAIN last night! I’m on a roll here. Part of it is, I bought too many mushrooms at the store last weekend and needed to use them before they rotted. (I have a really bad habit of buying mushrooms and forgetting about them until it’s too late.)

The other part is that while I’m toning up in most areas, I haven’t seen much of a difference in my weight, especially in my tummy area and it’s frustrating to me. Cooking at home is so much healthier than eating out somewhere. I’ve been using Livestrong.com/myplate to track my calories and the difference between where I eat is astonishing.

This dish is really simple to make, and fairly rustic on the plate, but man is it delicious! I’ve always been a firm meat eater, and would never have thought of putting beans in a sauce like this. I really enjoyed the flavor and texture though of this, I think cannellini beans will make more appearances in the future.

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout

1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of Fresh thyme and sage (or 1 tsp dried)
1 pint mushrooms, sliced (I used shittake but I think button would work better in this)
1/4 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
28 oz diced tomatoes
Handful parsley

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Toss in onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover for 8-10 minutes until soft. (Watch the temp on your garlic, turn it down if it starts to burn.)

Add mushrooms and white wine. Cover for 6 more minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until some of the juice has evaporated.

Serve over polenta or some kind of heavy noodle. (I used egg, penne or bowtie would also be good.)

****I’m not at home so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from. I’ll add it later when I have the recipe in front of me. I do have pictures too!

 

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce November 29, 2010

Filed under: garlic,Italian,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:51 pm

Wow! What a holiday! Can anyone say FOOD OVERLOAD!!! I’ve learned that when I go to my parents’ house, all I do is eat. And Eat. AND EAT. I made a new version of my turkey, I’ll try to share that recipe with you here soon. It’s a little bit more involved of a recipe.

Anyway, after all of that over the top food and snacks, I definitely needed something healthy tonight. I thought about just a salad, but that wasn’t going to satisfy the taste buds after the deliciousness of the weekend. I had a tomato and orange bell pepper that I bought before the holiday that were getting ready to turn, so I cut them up with a head of garlic and tossed them on a sheet pan, drizzled them in olive oil, and roasted them for a little while. When they were soft I turned them into a pasta sauce. Oh man. SO SO good. And, only 193 calories (according to Livestrong.com/myplate)!

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta

Original Recipe

1 tomato, quartered
1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 head garlic, sliced though girth to reveal all cloves
Olive Oil
Salt
1 Tbsp butter
Italian seasonings
Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Chambourcin wine (or any spicy red)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. On a sheet pan, spread out tomato, pepper, and garlic heads. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or just until garlic and veggies are soft.

Melt butter in small saucepan on medium heat. Add roasted veggies and garlic. With a hand blender, puree mixture (if you don’t have a hand blender, puree veggies in a blender or food processor before adding the veggies to the pot. ) just until there are no visible chunks of each veggie, but the mixture is still rustic.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken.

Serve over favorite pasta–Ziti or penne is really good with this.