Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Penne Carbonara (sort of) (not really)

I got my hands on some organic whole wheat penne pasta the other day and it was just asking for a creamy salty sauce to be draped upon it. Yes, yes I know, I did not make the pasta myself. But, it was very nice, served al dente of course.

Here we have:
Creamy Carmelized Onion, Bacon, and Herb Sauce served over Whole Wheat Penne.
(serves 4)
5 strips thick cut American bacon chopped, cooked, and set aside.
Pour off fat and reserve enough to coat the bottom of pan.
Add 2 Tablespoons of butter.
Add half medium diced onion and sautee until golden.
Add 3 cloves chopped garlic.
Add cooked bacon.
Add pinch of both dried Oregano and Basil Leaf.
Pour in 1 1/2 cups cream and reduce by half.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Boil pasta, drain, and add to sauce.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Corn and Bacon Chowder with Corn and Black Pepper Crackers

I needed a simple yet tasty soup to start off the evening's menu for the holiday season. I wanted something hearty and flavorful but not too heavy.
I absolutely love corn; whether on the cob or off, there is nothing like a good corn dish.
After the afore mentioned cocktail, and a few appetizers most of us were feeling pretty good so the following Corn and Bacon Chowder was the perfect next step down our festive path.

I served the Chowder with Corn and Black Pepper Crackers on the side. I cannot take credit for the cracker recipe because I did get it from the NY Times courtesy of my bro.
Here we have the Corn and Bacon Chowder:

(serves 7)
(I used cans of organic sweet corn, but if you have off the cob, by all means)
3 cans of corn
1/2 pound Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 med-large Shallot chopped
3 cloves Garlic chopped
3/4 pound thick cut Bacon
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
3 Bay Leaves
pinch of Saffron
3 Tblsp. Butter

Peel potatoes.
Fill pot with water and boil potatoes until soft.
Drain and set aside.
While potatoes are cooking, chop Bacon into pieces and fry until almost crispy. Drain and set aside.
Pour off Bacon fat leaving just a coating on pan. Add butter and shallots and sautee for a few minutes over low-medium heat.
Add garlic and do the same.
Remove and set aside.
Add drained corn and cook stirring often in pan, until fragrant.
Stir in shallot/garlic mix and bacon.
Pour everything including potatoes into blender and puree. If too thick, add just a bit of hot water. (Or use an immersion blender)
Pour back into pot and add saffron and bay leaves.
Simmer over low heat and add cream.
Simmer for another 20 minutes and serve.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pomquat Sparklers

A bubbly beginning to a Christmas Eve six course meal.
The tartness of the pomegranate juice, the citrus bite from the Kumquats and the kick from the vodka all welcomed the splash of Cava on top of this delightful cocktail.

2 Kumquats quartered (per serving)
3 oz vodka
1/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz pomegranate juice
2 oz Cava (or other sparkling wine)

Muddle Kumquats, simple syrup, and ice in metal shaker.
Add vodka and pomegranate juice, then shake.
Strain into glass. I used champagne flutes, but martini glasses would be appropriate as well.
Top off with Cava or other sparkling wine of your choice.
Garnish with Kumquat.
Cheers and Happy New Year!