Thank Goodness for the January/February Issue!

You may have noticed, we fell a little behind on the writing again.  Ugh.  Who knew so much writing would be required for a blog? Anyway, as usual, we have been cooking in a timely manner, just not updating you on all of our adventures.

So, let me introduce the Jan/Feb 2010 issue!  The Light Issue.  Lots of lean meats and veggies in this one.

I started the year off making the Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Arugula.

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As is often the case with the EF pastas, it seemed a little dry.  I don’t think this would have been an issue if I had doubled the roasted vegetable recipe.  The vegetables were pretty delicious. Roasted garlic, shallot and tomato make a nice, savory combination.

I say, go ahead and make this, just double the veg!

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canned beets to the rescue!

Pasta with beets and blue cheese

Sweet, salty, pasta.  hitting all the high notes here

Sweet, salty, pasta. hitting all the high notes here

This is a delicious recipe.  If you like blue cheese and you’re even on the fence about beets, then this is a good one.  I’d also like to add that this is one of the first foods we fed J after we switched over from feeding him “baby” food to just giving him whatever we eat in smaller pieces with less seasoning.  He liked it!  Best. Baby. Ever.

One quick note about the beets: This recipe has you roasting your own.  That takes forever.  Unless you have a garden or there was an amazing sale on beets, just do yourself a favor and buy canned ones.  Here’s how forgiving this recipe is, it says you can use canned whole beets.  I used canned sliced beets from Aldi (I need a keyboard shortcut for how often I type “Aldi”), and it was 100% fine.  No, canned beets do not have the freshness or depth of flavor that roasted ones do.  But if it’s between no beets and canned beets…advantage canned.  

Rosemary Smells Like Christmas!!!

Baked Shells with Winter Squash

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First of all, this recipe made me realize that I either have not done much cooking with fresh rosemary (I swear I have used it before but I don’t remember it ever being so fragrant!) or else the rosemary I’ve been cooking with has just been really under par.  My kitchen smelled like Christmas from the instant I started chopping that rosemary.  It was so fragrant that I was a little nervous that if I used the amount stated in the recipe it would totally overpower the dish.

I took a leap of faith and threw it all in.  It was not a mistake.  It tasted so lovely with the caramelized onions and parmesan.  It was really comforting but at the same time I didn’t feel bad about going for seconds because it wasn’t overly cheesy or fattening.

I made just a couple of adjustments from the recipe.  I used cavatappi pasta because I love it’s twirly-ness (I did this with the Mac and Three Cheeses last month too).  I also didn’t bother with the bread crumbs on top.  The dish was good enough on its own so it really didn’t need it.  If I had been serving it for guests I might have used the crumbs because they do make it look a little more fancy.

I would definitely recommend this dish to everyone! So good and hearty!

Mac and Cheese!!! (This is one cheesy post)

www.marthastewart.com/313113/macaroni-and-three-cheeses

September 2007, pg. 116

One thing that Everyday Food does often and does well is mac and cheese.  Loads of variations of mac and cheese.  I’ve never tested the theory, but I suspect there is some form of cheesy baked noodle dish in just about every issue.  No complaints here!

Can you tell it's still bubbling?

Can you tell it’s still bubbling?

While I love mac and cheese, I’m usually too lazy to make it from scratch.  It’s not hard or anything, I just struggle to wait for the baking portion to be over to indulge in the cheesy goodness.  So this was a nice change.  And yes, I still couldn’t wait, so I saved a few noodles from the oven so I could do a quality assurance test (a must when there is cheese involved).

While the recipe says you can mix and match your favorite three cheeses, I actually stuck with the original suggestions and used white cheddar (can you get any other kind in VT?), havarti, and muenster. I’m glad I did!  I had forgotten how much I love muenster!!

I did make two slight alterations to the recipe.  I used cavatappi instead of shells and I used crushed buttery crackers instead of bread crumbs, mostly due to laziness again. I already had to wait for the cheesy delight to come out of the oven, I wasn’t going to delay it going in by having to process bread crumbs.

*Small side note on pasta choice.  The bear and I have recently discovered De Cecco pastas.  They are expensive for boxed pasta, but they are sooo worth it.  The texture is so much closer to fresh pasta its unbelievable.  We try to stock up whenever we can catch a sale.  Give it a try if you can.

Anyway, I waited so very patiently and the outcome was great.  It tasted even better the next day!  I would say I plan to make this again, but there are always so many mac and cheese options I suspect I won’t need to do a repeat!