Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marlo's Wedding

My cousin Marlo married Chad June 19, 2010.
The festivities were a celebration of past and present full of sentiment and joy! The pictures speak for themselves. Gwendolyn was every present in our hearts, thoughts, and spirit.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Not too long ago Jim and I stopped over at my cousin Megan's for a visit with her, Charlie, and the twins. We enjoyed reading, laughing, and cuddling. A good time had by all! Megan had the house spotless, and warm brownies just out of the oven on a serving platter waiting for us. Fragrant candles beckoned us to enter; all of these sweet touches made the house feel so warm and welcoming - just like them! Their home is lovely - again - just like them!

Recently, photos of the twins, and their cousins were taken at "Little Maw Maw's" house. Megan and I along with our siblings and cousins have many memories growing up playing at our great grandmother, Maw Maw's, home. The photos have taken me down a sweet memory lane. In my mind I'm going back to Maw Maw's as it was when she was alive, when the smell of coconut pie would lure you in from the garden. And her sweet, soft voice would have you wanting to listen to her for hours. When the autumn breezes would put us in a peaceful trance as we swung on the old swing watching the world float by. Those were the days....those are special treasured memories.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes With Fusilli Pasta

Long Fusilli with Roasted Tomatoes

Recipe By: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
Serving Size: 6
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs -- coarsely crushed
2 tablespoons capers -- drained and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil -- chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/3 cups Pecorino Romano -- grated
10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes -- fresh ripe
2 plump garlic cloves -- sliced
1 pound long fusilli -- fusilli lunghi
8 sausages (optional)

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375ยบ

Put the bread crumbs in a medium-sized bowl and mix the chopped capers, 1 tablespoon of chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the red pepper flakes, oregano and 1/3 cup grated cheese. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil over the crumbs tossing to moisten and mix thoroughly

Rinse and dry the tomatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Oil the baking sheet lightly with a bit of the olive oil, working over the bowl of bread crumbs, cover the cut side of each tomato half with a layer of crumb mixture. Compress the crumbs lightly so they stay on and set the tomato crumbs up on the baking sheet. Separate tomatoes as much as possible on the sheet, so all sides are exposed to the heat, drizzle with more olive oil and place in oven.

Pour 4 tablespoons olive oil in small bowl, drop in garlic slice and let steep--you'll use the infused oil for dressing the pasta.

Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes until the crumbs are nicely browned and the halves are slightly shriveled. Remove sheet from the oven and let tomatoes cool for 15 minutes or so, then slice each one lengthwise, making two narrow wedges, or 3 or 4 if tomatoes are very large.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in 6 quarts of salted water until al dente. Heat a pasta serving bowl with a cup or so of boiling pasta water and drain. Lift pasta out with tongs, when cooked to your liking, and place in warm bowl.

Immediately scatter with garlic-infused oil and garlic slices and toss well, top with tomato wedges and serve with additional chopped basil and grated cheese.

We use mushroom asiago sausages or some type of sausage.  We grill it, and add to the dish. 

Such a simply delectable dish which we enjoyed this past Friday night with Bo and Tess in our laps; and yes they are wanting a taste!

Source:  "Lidia's Italy" Copyright: "2007 by Tutti A Tavola, LLc"
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 271 Calories; 24g Fat (76.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 296mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 4 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Suprises!

While blogging my last post I remembered a sweet memory this past December.  Jim and I were preparing two chicago style pizza's, and we got a phone call.  It was one of my dear friends from college, Kristin, and she was in town!  She came come over, and we all enjoyed dinner together.  What a special fun time.  Those are the best kind of suprises!

Pizza Making Stages


Stage 1:
Get Your Ingredients Prepped And Out

Stage 2:
Roll Out Your Dough 
Nicely Coat With Olive Oil And Pepper

Stage 3:
Add Your Sauce
Can Be White Sauce (cheese) Or Marinara Or Pesto...
...Just Your Base Sauce

Stage 4:
Start Adding Your Toppings
Fresh Mozzerella

Homemade Pesto

Grilled Mushroom Asiago Chicken Sausage

Stage 5:
Put In The Oven Or On The Grill on 400 for 10 mins
...worthy of a blog - I should blog on this next.
(we predominantly like to grill our pizza's, but be sure you
have a very good pizza stone that can take the high heat such as All Clad)

Stage 6:
Carefully Remove The Pizza
Slice The Pizza
Serve The Pizza

Stage 7:
Clean Up
Gotta Wash All Those Clean Plates ;)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta

We, but more so Suzanne, adores pasta and all carbs for that matter.  However, a diet on just carbs would lead to many terrible things so no, no, no, to pasta and carbs for ever meal.   But on the other hand everything in moderation! 

When we make our own pasta we use the kitchen aid pasta attachment and so far use the recipes that come with the attachment.   Sauver has a good no knead recipe we should check out.

Basic Pasta
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt, if desired (or/and other seasonings to change up the flavor)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
3 large eggs

Insert metal blade and add flour, salt, oil, and water to work bowl. Crack eggs into a cup measure. Turn on machine and pour eggs through feed tube all at once. Process for 15 seconds after eggs go in. Pasta mixture will almost form ball. Stop machine and scape work bowl. Process for another 30 seconds. By this time, dough should just about gather into mass that barely moves around work bowl. If dough has not completely formed ball at this point, do not be concerned. Carefully remove all dough from work bowl, scraping metal blade and work bowl clean, and place dough on large sheet of waxed paper or similar product. Compress dough into one lump with your hands. Dough should feel slightly moist but firm and not at all sticky. Next step is to knead dough with the metal blade. Again, insert metal blade, and turn on machine. Tear off walnut size pieces of dough and drop them through feed tube one at a time. After all dough is added, process for another 60 seconds. Dough should form a ball and move about freely around the bowl. Once ball is formed, process an additional 60 seconds. Remove ball of pasta from bowl, place in a plastic bag with a couple tablespoons flour to coat the ball and keep from sticking to plastic. Flatten slightly and let rest for 30 minutes.

Rolling and cutting pasta:
Cut flattened ball in half. Slightly flour a large surface and roll dough to 1/16 inch thick with rolling pin, into rectangular shape. Flour pasta ever so lightly, either roll up as for cinnamon rolls and then cut into slices of noodles with knife or leave open and cut into noodles with pizza cutter. Repeat with other half.

Cooking pasta:
Fresh pasta cooks in practically no time at all. Bring 6 quarts of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil over high heat. Drop in pasta and give a little stir. Allow water to come back to a boil and start testing pasta for doneness in about 1 minute. Test pasta frequently, and drain when "al dente". Serve at once with your favorite sauce or plain butter.  From: Cook and Tell

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy.  Your basic pesto shrimp pasta was our dinner last night.  We used basil from our garden to make the pesto.  Italian cuisine is a staple in our house as our family on Jim's side is from northern Italy - Lucca region. 

3 tightly packed cups basil leaves (can substitute 1 cup with Italian Parsley leaves)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
Pinch or so of coarse salt
1⁄2 cup grated pecorino sardo
1/2 cup of parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of parmigiano-reggiano for serving
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 box of spaghetti or whatever type pasta you prefer if we don't make ours homemade we like De Cecco or Barilla.

Using a mortar and pestle (as the Genoa preferred way) or food processor (what we do), make a paste with washed/cleaned basil, garlic, olive oil and salt.  Adding basil a little at a time.  Gradually add parsley leaves, marjoram leaves, grated pecorino sardo or parmigiano-reggiano, and more olive oil till it's the consistency of choice.

Peel and Devein Shrimp and saute with a clove or two of garlic and olive oil.  With the olive oil in the skillet heat it up to medium high heat so the oil is hot then add the garlic and cook for 30 secs.  Then add the shrimp and saute about 1.5 minutes (90 seconds) each side on medium high heat.

This recipe is so basic.  The hardest part is cleaning the basil.  We've tried several versions and the one above we prefer.  We don't like to use the traditional nuts whether pine or walnut, and the pecorino cheese gives it just the right bite.  Using the parmigiano - reggiano instead of regular parmesan intensifies the flavor.  You can use pesto for so many and bruschetta to name a few.  It's most delectible and the basil is like gold because it takes so much to make pesto.

Another Easy And Even More Basic Pesto Recipe
Carton of basil and one bunch of Italian parsley
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup fresh shredded parmesan with microplane
Around a little less than 1/4 cup of olive oil
A little pepper

Put all in blinder – start with garlic clove and a handful of parsley then add some olive oil blend, then more parsley blend, then olive oil and more parsley, then blend add salt, then basil, then parmesan, pepper, a little more olive oil blend.  Once all blended use or freeze. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thoughts On Father's

A Father's Love
A father is respected because he gives his children leadership...
appreciated because he gives his children care...
valued because he gives his children time...
loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most - himself.

The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.
Proverbs 20:7

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. - Sigmund Freud

Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad.  - Anne Geddes

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. - Clarence Budington Kelland

Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, singers of songs.
- Pam Brown

A father's love: while you can't buy it or wrap it, perhaps it may be the most valuable of all gifts.
- Suzanne Bartolomei

My father and my Grandfather are true Dad's in every essence of the word - they lead by example, they protect, they give of themselves - they are my hero's.  My mom and grandmother tell me how much I loved the men in my life from day one.  I'm so thankful to have their love, their support, their guidance, and most of all their friendship. 
See how tight my left hand is grasping my Dad's coat ....AW!  Throughout life I've learned it's hard to let go even when it's time, and it's what's best.  And then there are other times when it's not so much letting go, but just loosening that grip!  And on the other hand it's holding tight to the "good" things and memories that makes life special as it can and should be!

Summer Garden

We are excited about having tomatoes this year!  Last year tomatoes were a wash for us.  Last night we mixed our cherry tomatoes from the garden in an avocado butter lettuce salad paired with steak tacos.  Delicious!  Photos were taken in May and June.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Sister For Bo

This week our family is getting a little bit bigger as we are bringing home a new family member - sweet little Tessie.  So excited about the addition of "Tess" to our lives!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Remembering The Departed

May brought with it several losses to our family. I've made short little videos for each.

It's never easy letting go, but I find comfort in Emily Dickinson's words...."Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality." ~ Emily Dickinson.