Posts Tagged ‘simple’

Simple. Rich. Delicious. Addictive.

I found this in Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook. I really love Ina Garten.

Taglierelle with Truffle Butter and Chives



1/2 cup heavy cream

3 oz white truffle butter (I confess, I’ve used black a few times as well)


1 8 oz package tagliarelle pasta

3 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

3 oz shaved parmesan


Add 1 tblsp salt to pot of water and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat cream over medium heat and bring to simmer. Add truffle butter, t tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Lower heat to very low and keep warm over low heat.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook for three minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta. Add pasta to pan with cream/truffle sauce and toss to coat. Slowly add in some of the cooking water to keep creamy.

Serve in bowls with chives and parmesan on top. Add pepper if you like. Enjoy!


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Cucumber Basil Water

September 2009 130

We have an excess amount of cucumber and basil in our garden right now. Easy way to put them to use? Slice up the cucumber, then add the slices and basil leaves to a pitcher of water. So refreshing.

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Apple, Cheese, and Chive Salad

This is one of the BEST salads I’ve ever tried. It’s a staple on Cafe Lurcat’s menu (http://www.cafelurcat.com/). The last time we were in to eat our waiter shared the recipe with us. I expected a laundry list of ingredients, but there are only four; apple, Manchego cheese, chives, and olive oil.

Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese from Spain, specifically the Manchega region and from Manchega sheep. (Thus the name). It crumbles in your mouth, but has a rich and creamy taste.

The beauty of this salad is the apple and Manchego are the same color. The green chives add a vibrant touch.

This recipe serves two people. Making it at home doesn’t quite stack up to the real thing, but it’s still delicious. You’ll need a sharp knife and a little bit of patience for the chopping. Apple, Cheese, and Chive SaladI found that I liked a 2:1 ratio of apples to cheese.


Two red apples (I used organic Honeycrisp)

One packaged piece of Manchego cheese

Handful of fresh chives

Two tablespoons olive oil


Peel and slice apples into small slivers. Do the same with the cheese.

Combine and mix together in large bowl. Drizzle olive oil on top and stir to coat. Add chives and mix more.


Apple, Cheese, and Chive Salad

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Caprese Salad

This salad is so simple and perfect for summer. My lovely friend Alli, (one of the cooking club members), introduced it to us during our grilling-themed July club meeting. It’s simply a caprese salad, sans tomatoes, and replaced with mangoes instead. The sweetness of the mango paired with the bitterness of the balsamic is a refreshing flavor combination.

A traditional caprese salad is supposed to represent the colors of the Italian flag. Obviously, switching out the tomato changes things a bit. Not to worry, the new colors are the same as the Indian flag. Ironically enough, they are also the largest producer of mangoes worldwide.

Ingredients:June 2009 007


Fresh mozzarella

Fresh basil leaves, minced or whole

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper


Peel and slice mangoes into thin slivers. Slice mozzarella into thin slivers as well. Place on a plate in alternating order, mango then mozzarella, and so on.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle basil leaves, salt, and pepper on top.


Caprese Salad

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Panna Cotta

Ok, about a dozen recipes are in line to be added on the blog, but after the feedback from last night I had to add this one right away.  Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert, and literally means, “cooked cream”. And that is, quite simply, about all there is to it. It’s simple and cheap, and if properly plated, sure to impress dinner guests.

The only drawback is that it needs to be prepped at least four hours prior to eating. But to be honest, the early prep diminishes any stress you might have during that small window of time post-dinner and pre-dessert. Once you’re ready to eat, all you need to do is plate everything.

If you’re using the basil leaves, they need to dry for six hours prior to serving. You could make the basil leaves and panna cotta at the same time, and let the panna cotta sit, covered and refrigerated, for an extra two hours. You can make the red wine sauce ahead as well.

Vanilla BeanI combined a few recipes to make this one. They came from Food and Wine, David Lebowitz, and several of my cookbooks at home. 

The key here is using a fresh vanilla bean, rather than extract. Not only does it add a whole dimension of flavor, the flecks of bean are quite pretty.

Vanilla is a member of the orchid family, and one of the more high-priced spices out there. It grows much like a vine, crawling up an already existing tree.  It takes nine months to mature enough for harvest. When packaged, they look much like a very long brown bean that happens to have an incredibly fragrant aroma.

This recipe serves eight.


24 basil leaves

1 egg white

Fine cane sugar

2 cups red wine

1/2 cup plus 10 tablespoons sugar (I used sugar in the raw)

4 cups  heavy cream

Half a vanilla bean

6 tablespoons cold water

2 packets gelatin


First, rinse and pat dry basil leaves. Crack egg, and over a small bowl, pour yolk back and forth between each half shell to separate white from the yolk. Whisk egg white until it becomes frothy.

Late August 2009 052

Egg WhiteEgg White

Now, brush egg white on both sides of basil leaves.

Panna Cotta

Sprinkle fine cane sugar on both sides of leaves.

Cane Sugar

Dry sugar-crusted leaves, on a rack, for six hours.


Pour cream into a deep pan. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.

Panna CottaPanna Cotta

Heat, over medium setting, until sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, split the bean and using a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds. Put seeds and bean into pan, remove from heat, and cover for 30 minutes.

Vanilla BeanVanilla Bean

Add gelatin to the cold water and let it sit. No need to stir it in. After the thirty minutes have passed, whisk gelatin into cream mixture.  Lightly oil eight ramekins, coffee cups, or small bowls. Pour mixture in to them. Store in refrigerator for at least four hours, until ready to serve.

Panna Cotta

Now, pour red wine into a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and stir sugar in, until it dissolves. Red Wine SauceHeat and stir until it reduces by half, for about 10-15 minutes. Pour into airtight container and refrigerate.

Once you’re ready to serve, pull everything out of the refrigerator. Slide a sharp knife along the inside of the ramekin, or whatever container you are using. Flip over your serving plate, and lightly shake it so that it slides out onto the plate.

Pour sauce on the side, and garnish each plate with three basil leaves.


Panna Cotta

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Homemade Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream

There’s really no reason to settle for store-bought whipped cream when making your own is so easy, and more than worth the minute amount of work you need to put into it. Plus you can create your own version to satisfy your tastes. I like putting natural vanilla extract or honey in mine. I haven’t experimented with any other flavors yet. Sticking to the classics for now. Although I am tempted to whip up something different using spices like curry or nutmeg. Chai also sounds yummy, in anticipation for Fall.


Heavy whipping cream

Handheld mixer

Flavor additives of your liking


Pour cream into a deep bowl. Add your flavoring. Whip, using your hand held mixer, for a minute or two, until it becomes fluffy. Don’t over-whip. It will turn into butter. Unless that sounds good to you. What’s wrong with butter? Whip away.

You can store whipped cream, covered, for several hours in the refrigerator. Enjoy on fresh fruit, waffles, sweets, or straight-up off your finger.

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Herb Butter

We have an herb garden in our yard and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to catch up with using everything at the rate it is growing. So, I thought a simple and easy way to put these herbs to use would be to incorporate them into a butter. You can spread it on rolls, use it in scrambled eggs, or even as an added flavor to steamed vegetables. (My absolute favorite herb to put in butter is cilantro. Rub it on corn on the cob, with a little sea salt and pepper. Amazing).

Herb Butter


1 stick unsalted butter

Handful of fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil, rosemary, and chives)

1 or two garlic cloves (optional, I love garlic so anytime I can use it I will)

Salt and pepper



It’s quite simple. Put all the ingredients into a food processor, and process until smooth. About 30 seconds-1 minutes. (Trust me, nobody wants to eat a big chunk of uncooked garlic so don’t hesitate to over-process).

Herb Butter

If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this as follows.

Leave butter out to soften at room temperature. Meanwhile, chop herbs and mince garlic.

In a small bowl, preferably using a rubber spatula, mush herbs and garlic into butter. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and stir it in as well.

Now, I like to roll my butter up and slice it off as needed. Take a sheet of aluminum foil and plop butter on top. Roll up foil so the butter forms a cylinder shape. You can twist the sides of the foil to close the ends. Once it has set, you can also remove and put onto a butter dish, refrigerated. Otherwise, simply slice off the desired amount from your foil roll on an as needed basis.


Herb Butter on Rolls

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