I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think lasagna is my favorite pasta dish. Ever. I want to say it always has been. But unfortunately, I was a rather fickle child known to tell horrendous lies just to get out of eating food I decided I didn’t like for whatever reason. Like, uh, I told my family I was allergic to spaghetti one time. Immediately after polishing off my slice of pizza. [people, those are exactly the same ingredients..] I was a weird kid. But anyways. I’m pretty sure I’ve always liked lasagna, and now I’m sure I LOVE it with all caps. Like, LOVE love. big time.
Homemade noodles were one of those bucket-list things for me. Which probably makes me a pretty boring person considering most people have awesome! fun! exciting! things on their bucket list, like, I don’t know, skydiving or swimming with sharks. Me? I wanted to make noodles. But I don’t have a pasta machine. I have one teeny tiny, low, wood laminate counter. And a rolling pin. And some determination. And I made noodles.
Turns out they shouldn’t have been relegated to my bucket list, they should have been on my do-this-right-now-like-immediately list. Which means you should probably put them on yours too, because, uh, they are awesome. And really not hard at all. Seriously! It just takes one tiny counter. And a rolling pin. and some determination, in the form of arm strength. But not a lot of strength. I mean, shoot, I did it. Also, they taste like no noodles you’ve ever had before. Unless you, unlike me, eat at fancy restaurants where they actually make fresh pasta. Or unless you, unlike me, have discovered the joys of fresh pasta eons ago and think I’m waaay behind the times. I generally am. But I’m catching up.
We Love Nick. What’s that? You have no idea who Nick is? That’s okay. I have a feeling you love him too, you just don’t know it yet. Nick is my cousin’s fiancée, and also our friend. Because we like him. So, well, you probably don’t know him. But let me tell you about him: he gave me this recipe. It was delicious. And deliciously easy. I think that’s all you need to know for now.
Do you know how awesome walnuts are? Um.. they’re like one of those superfoods people talk about a lot these days. They’re one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat and they are really high in omega-3-fatty acids which, if you didn’t know, make you smarter. Fact. Or something like that. Anyways, this sauce is mostly walnuts which means this pasta is ridiculously healthy for you. Another win. Because it means you can eat giant servings of it for several days in a row and feel really good about yourself. And have an extra-large milkshake for dessert. It’s called balance, people.
So. Grab yourself a bag of walnuts (okay, I know they are kind of pricey. But you can get a three pound bag at costco and eat walnuts for the rest of forever. Just make sure you keep them in the freezer so they don’t go bad.) And let’s say a silent ‘thank you’ to Nick for this kick butt pasta sauce recipe. Thanks Nick!
ps. check this recipe out on the Magic Bullet Blog too!
Walnut Pasta Sauce (courtesy of Nick. and also his mother, whose recipe this really is. I think. I adapted it only slightly.)
So not only is this recipe ridiculously easy to make (like, blend and dump easy) and ridiculously healthy for you, but it is also vegetarian and could oh-so easily be made gluten free. I’ll mention below what you can sub out to make it so!
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted until deep golden brown (you can do this in a 375 degree oven or on top of a stove, tossing them often, just watch them carefully if you do it on the stove so you don’t burn them. But don’t skip the roasting step! it’s what brings out all the nutty flavor of the walnuts)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup half and half (you could use milk or cream or whatever you have. or even a non-dairy alternative.)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- a large 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
- 3 tsp fresh squeeze lemon juice
- 1 lb linguine, fettuccine or other pasta; cooked and drained (if you use brown rice pasta, this recipe is gluten-free. Ta-da!)
These are the instructions as they were given to me: Blend first  ingredients. Dump onto pasta.
I’ll add that you should then mix it well and serve it with some wine. But that’s just me.
I’m going to tell you a story about chimichurri. Except I don’t know anything about it at all. Never even heard of it until Brett decided he wanted to make it. So. Let’s have wikipedia tell us a story about chimichurri. Well. Apparently it is a sauce for meat, originating in Argentina, but also found in Uruguay, Nicaragua, Columbia, and Mexico. We ate it. Here in Hawaii. So now it’s come really far. And you know what, it was delicious. So I’m going to go ahead and insist that you try it, wherever you are, in which case the humble sauce of Argentina will travel the entire world. Wouldn’t that be thrilling? I have no idea if this is actually a humble sauce. But it’s a delicious one.
You know what else is cool? It turns your meat green. Which, if you, like we, bring it to share at a BBQ, well it just might turn some people off with its hue. Which means you don’t have to share all that much at all. Not because you didn’t try or anything. Double win.
So I realize that chili is different things to different people. And it’s one of those foods that gets people all riled up. Y’know, the kind of food that can start a fight. Because people, they love Their Chili. Not just chili. Their Chili. And they’ll get all up in your grill if you do/do not add beans/fresh chilis/ground beef/beef chunks/ veggies/tomatoes/doyagetthepicture? I guess you could call it a contentious food, even. Well, I’m sure this here chili that I made is gonna get some of you all riled up (as will my cornbread, probably, since that gets people plenty riled too!). And I’m about to tell you something that’ll get you even more riled up..
Not only was last night the first time I ever made chili… but up until, oh I don’t know, a couple months ago maybe, maybe as long ago as a year, I had never eaten chili. Seriously. Never. (Whenever it was chili night at my house growing up I ate cottage cheese. Like, people, I ate cottage cheese with crackers for dinner. What the eff was wrong with me?!) So clearly I am not of of those chili experts and I’m not gonna try and tell you what does and does not belong in a chili. But I will tell you this: this here chili I made.. it was fantastic.
I wasn’t there to witness the inception of this chicken, but from what I understand, it probably took place after several beers, and was basically the result of, well, whatever was in our friend’s cupboards at the time. But as it turned out, Brett and his friend Paul (is it cool if I mention you by name, Paul? I’ve done it twice now so I hope it’s okay.) made quite a tasty little marinade in their state of questionable inebriation. Good on you, boys.
What’s in it? Well, basically everything you have sitting in your cupboards right now. Yep. Somehow when you take all that down and throw it on top of some chicken thighs and then let those thighs take a nice long bath, and then slam those down on a nice and hot grill you end up with crispy, crunchy, juicy, altogether yummy piece of chicken you’ll be glad to have at your next bbq.
Many things happened to get me to this here recipe that I’m about to share with you. And they happened in such a way as to make me say, oh, jeez, it seems like fate that I must make this. NOW. So I did. Boy, howdy am I glad I did.
Firstly, I love pumpkin, and do not understand why it is relegated only to the time between Halloween and Christmas. That’s just not fair. Plus, you can do more with pumpkin than just pie, right? Secondly, I saw this recipe on Frugal Feeding’s blog and it made me drool. Thirdly, we went vegetable shopping in Chinatown and the pumpkins were ridiculously cheap. And finally, I got a nifty new gadget in the mail last Saturday. Boom. Kismet. (right? is that what kismet means?) So, with my pumpkin in my hand, my inspiration in my mind, and my (magic) bullet on the counter, I set to work in making my own pumpkin risotto.
Recently, I had reason to celebrate. Brett and I have been together for 3[!] years. Holy dang. I know that may not sound impressive to some of you (yes, I’m talking to you, parents-who-have-been-married-for-26-years), but for me? That’s a serious accomplishment. And since we’ve never bothered to celebrate any anniversaries before (in fact, we made up a date, but that’s normal right?) I thought we ought to at least recognize this one. So I decided to be fancy and nice and make dinner! [and possibly drink too much wine, I’m not telling.]
I had been wanting to make paella for-ev-errr and had a recipe bookmarked in my cookbook. So when searching through it to find something to make, lo and behold, the book fell open to the paella page! Perfect! I don’t know if I’ve ever had paella before this… but it sounded really good and looked a little fancy (I mean, it had shrimp and mussels.. can’t you call that a little fancy?) so decided to splurge on the saffron and go for it.
Turns out, my grocery store is not as well-stocked as I expected. I could find no chorizo, no saffron and no mussels. Hm. Issue. Okay, I figured, we have fresh fish that Brett just caught, we can use that instead of mussels (which I wasn’t entirely sure either of us liked anyway) and I can use portugese sausage instead of chorizo..but no saffron?! It seems like that would be kind of essential, right?! After much searching and fretting and eyebrow scrunching and asking the workers oh-so-nicely-yet-with-a-slight-tone-of-desperation-and-urgency-and-yes-I-might-cry-if-you-don’t-have-saffron, I found both saffron and real chorizo. In the fancy section. Yeah, uh-huh that’s right, my grocery store has a separate section for fancy things. Why? Probably just so they can charge me more. But hey, I’m a sucker for fancy packaging so I bought. Mussels were still on the outs though, but I didn’t cry about it or anything. Really. Continue reading