Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fresh from the Garden - Pesto with Roasted Garlic

Our new basil plant is growing like crazy! Catching up a post from last week, this is a delicious pesto with roasted garlic. I tossed in some sauteed chicken breast and whole-wheat rotini for a healthy meal.

For the basil, I kept the ingredients simple. Fresh basil leaves, roasted garlic, olive oil, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper. Put all except oil in the blender/food processor. Blend, slowly adding the oil so it emulsifies (gets completely blended). Here's a tip on quick roasted garlic. For those of you in Boston - it comes out just like what you get at Vinny T's!

Quick Roasted Garlic
2-3 cloves of garlic, not peeled
Olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees
Put a piece of foil on a baking sheet
Put garlic cloves on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Cook for about 20 minutes, turning the cloves about halfway through

Peel and either enjoy with bread or add to your favorite recipe

Monday, May 25, 2009

Long Weekend...Time for Breakfast!

I've got a few posts to catch up on from the long weekend. While I'm busy working on those, here are a few ideas for your next weekend breakfast at home. Brew your favorite coffee, get the paper (or put on a good movie) and whip up one of these quick recipes! Cheaper and faster than your favorite diner.

Breakfast Idea #1 - Honey Nut Waffles with Banana

Waffle mix
1 to 1.5 tbsp. of honey (we keep Jiffy baking mix around the house)
2 tbsp. of chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla (or vanilla extract)
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1 banana, peeled and sliced into quarter-sized rounds

Prepare your favorite waffle mix according to the directions on the box
Gently mix in the honey, walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon
Preheat your waffle iron
Pour in about 1/4 cup of the waffle batter
Place 3-4 banana slice on top of the batter and close
Cook according to your waffle iron directions

Keep waffles in a 200 degree oven until you are done cooking all of the batter
Serve with honey or maple syrup

Makes 6-7 waffles depending on the size of your waffle iron. You can also make pancakes this way - just prepare your batter according to the pancake recipe on your mix.

Breakfast Idea #2 - Goat Cheese Omelet

I had some leftover goat cheese from the Farmer's Market on Friday. I decided to make a nice omelet and throw in the goat cheese. The trick to getting this nice and fluffy is to whisk the eggs really well, and then not to disturb them in the non-stick skillet. Just lift the edges and let the uncooked eggs run underneath. When it looks just about set, either flip it or use a large spatula to gently flip it over. Turn of the heat and top with the goat cheese. After about a minute, fold it in half and slide out onto your plate. Better (and less greasy) than any omelet you'll get at your favorite breakfast joint.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"When He Fends For Himself"

This post is the first edition of what will be a regular feature on this blog titled, "When He Fends For Himself". More often than not, at least one night a week the main cook has evening plans which puts me on my own for dinner. Because I knew I wanted to blog about how I managed without her, the meal I choose for this week is a classic, a staple, and my favorite go to meal.
Macaroni and Cheese. In recent years I've switched from Kraft to Annie's. It was a great move on my part. Annie's is all organic (so I think it's good for me) and instead of yellow goop, the cheese is a nice white cheddar. Also, instead of traditional macaroni, it is in shell form. It is very tasty and I highly recommend it.

For this meal, we had run out of the microwavable three-minute version, so I went the old-fashioned route and boiled some water. What I like to do when I boil water is turn on the burner to about half-way (this drives my wife nuts) so that the water can really ease its way into the boil. While I'm waiting for it to boil, I usually check my email, surf the net, watch TV, or just try to stay awake because the stove is on.

Once it's reached a boil, I pour in the shells, stir it once, and walk back to whatever it was I was doing as I was waiting for the water to boil. At some random time (8-12 minutes later, most likely), I return and strain the water. I then add a nice hunk of margarine. I like to add the margarine first so that it can begin the melting process. I then add some milk (half 'n' half makes it taste extra good) so that there is sufficient moisture available before mixing in the cheese.
Once the cheese is mixed in, I'll dump the whole contents of the pot into an extra large bowl (see picture) and dig in. About a minute later all the shells have been eaten and I am completely satisfied.

Really, the best part about eating macaroni and cheese alone is that I can eat the whole box. If the wife is around, she will say things like "Don't you know there is more than one serving in that box?" So, I'm guilt free until she gets home. Don't get me wrong, I've got to be the luckiest husband on earth because not only am I married to a beautiful, funny, and smart woman, but she also loves to cook. But there are nights when I'm on my own, and when I am, I'll let you know how I managed...


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