Category Archives: Cooking

Purple, Purple, Everywhere!

 

And no sign of flowers in sight!  I am not sure if I was drawn to purple this weekend for the longing for spring flowers, of not having a dreary, rainy day or because it is Easter weekend but everything I did and saw the last few days seemed to be purple. 

It all started with the decision to do something with all the food magazine recipe clippings that I have accumulated over the years.  I am not sure why I thought it was a good idea to cut individual recipes out instead of whole pages to make it easier to catalog, but none the less I am left with a pile of asymmetrical clippings documenting all of the recipes that called to me the last few years.   The result of this endeavor will be chronicled soon (with its own page!) but the important thing was the discovery of a recipe that included “Onion Jam” from Bon Appetite. 

It was supposed to be an accompaniment to a rack of lamb with mint pesto but I immediately thought of using it as base for pizza with goat cheese.   You can find my modified recipe here.  Isn’t it pretty??

                        Red Onion Jam and Goat Cheese Pizzette

I then spotted some tiny purple potatoes at Market District on Saturday afternoon.   I had never even seen these bright beauties before but thought that they would be a perfect star for my ‘try a new food” exercise this week.   After a quick search on the Internet to make sure there was no special treatment needed for these, I decided an Easter morning potato hash would be the perfect way to celebrate.   

Caramelizing the potatos with butter, shallots, garlic and mushrooms then topping with a fried egg was a satisfying and colorful breakfast! 

                                                  Purple Potatoes and a Fried Egg

As if it was known I was having a “Purple” weekend, Saturday night provided me with a gorgeous purple and pink sunset.  I hope everyone else had a delicious and colorful Easter weekend.  What did everyone eat? 

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The Best Pasta Sauce Ever……

While its very well known that I am not Italian (in fact, half Irish and half English), I think it is fair that I can make such an opinionated statement regarding a sauce, or  “gravy,” if you will.   First off, I have no biases towards other sauces.  I do not have an Italian grandmother to which I want to swear allegiance to her pot of bubbling deliciousness.  Rather, I have an Irish grandmother with a penchant for Stouffer’s frozen lasagna.   Some may exclaim that I do not have the Italian palate fit to judge such a claim.  Nonsense.  I have eaten my fair share of over-salted and preservative filled Olive Garden in addition to having my fair share of fresh, bright and luscious sauces in the North End of Boston.   I know a good sauce when I taste/smell/see one. 

My quest to make an amazing sauce started my junior year in college.  At this time I thought nothing of cracking open a jar of Classico and dumping it over generic brand noodles and calling it dinner.   One night I offered to host a spaghetti night for my sorority sisters.   They all groaned and said the only way that they would participate was if I nixed the stuff from a jar.    It was my turn to groan.  Every time I asked someone to share their recipe she said it was a secret family recipe that was impossible to share.  Finally, my big sister stepped up to the plate.  Coming from a close-knit Italian family she often invited me for dinners when going home to NC was just not an option.  She decided I could learn her “gravy” recipe.   From that moment, I was hooked.  I wanted to try cooking all sorts of sauces. 

One day while watching the Barefoot Contessa on the food network I watched an incredible sauce be built before my eyes.  Originally, this is a sauce made at Nick and Toni’s Restaurant in East Hampton, NY.  It had a magical color and I could almost smell it through my television.  Immediately, I knew I had to make this sauce. 

While I can wax on poetically about how good, creamy, rich and downright enjoyable this sauce is, that would get rather boring.  Instead, here is a picture for you to see the magical color on your own, and a link to the recipe.  Trust me, just this once, don’t go with Grandma’s secret recipe.  TRY IT. 

Nick and Tonis Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

You can find the recipe here:

Nick and Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

P.S.  In case my opinion isn’t good enough, the Amateur Gourmet also did a post about this pasta sauce here: Amateur Gourmet’s Post on Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

A Weekend of Firsts

Staying true to my food resolutions, I made sure that I tried new things this weekend to share on The Lone Foodie.  The new food was parsnips prepared in a new recipe that I found on the Amateur Gourmet (Great food blog for those of you who haven’t discovered it yet), Cider Braised Chicken with Parsnips. 

I’m not sure how this vegetable was missed in my repertoire over the years.  I am a huge fan of carrots and potatoes giving me no excuse not to delve into other root vegetables.  Whatever the reason, yesterday I had my first taste, and they were wonderful!  I will definitely be cooking with them a lot next winter.  I can see them being great even as a substitute to mashed potatoes or in a stew.

Parsnips ready for their cider braising!

 Braising is also a preparation technique that was foreign to me, making this recipe a great choice for my flag-ship blogging endeavor.  I had no idea how juicy and flavor infused a simple chicken breast would become after doing this!  The best part is that it was so simple.  Just put it all in the oven after browning the chicken and leave it alone and when it comes out of the oven your meal looks like this:

Cider Braised Chicken and Parsnips
Finally, as you can probably tell from the photos, food photography is also a first for me.   Photography, film, and pretty much everything creative has been left safely in the hands of my brother, Ryan, for the last 7 years or so.  It has been so fun to experiment though and I promise my skills will get better!  My wish list of kitchen toys is now including photography toys, go figure.  I will post this recipe on the recipe page soon so check back if you want to try it!