Tonight I get to see Sera Cahoone play a show here in B-more and tomorrow Rosie Thomas is playing in our living room! But Sunday...Sunday I leave for Seattle to be reunited with family, friends and to get married in just one week. I can't quite believe the wedding is almost here, but am thrilled that it's true. We have so much to look forward to.
I'll be take a few weeks off the blogging front, but have a few posts lined up in advance...so stay tuned.
These little inspiration boards can be a bit corny, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to do a little self-affirmation. So here goes...
Okay people. This recipe for Pesto Trapanese is so easy and delicious- you have to try this recipe over the weekend!
Pesto Trapanese is a variation from the classic basil pesto that we all know and love, as it calls for almonds instead of pine nuts and utilizes fresh, raw tomatoes within the sauce. The almonds and the tomatoes truly change the character and texture of the dish altogether, and the level of creaminess achieved due to the almonds will make you swear this recipe was packed full of butter.
My version was vegan (for calorie saving purposes... I know, I know). Despite not adding cheese, the finished version was fantastic. I wouldn't change a thing. That said, feel free make up for the cheese I didn't eat and include it on top of your piping hot dish of this utterly fantastic pasta dish.
Pesto Trapenese served with Spinach Spaghetti
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted, raw almonds
2 big tomatoes, quartered
*1/4 cup pecorino, romano or parmesan cheese (The sauce tastes great without the cheese, I promise!)
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 bag spaghetti, linguine, or a package of Trader Joe's fabulous pre-made gnocchi. (Fresh pasta would inevitably taste 10x better, but we're not fooling anyone into thinking we eat fresh pasta regularly, are we?)
In a medium saucepan, boil the pasta water.
While the water is boiling, toss the almonds, garlic and olive oil into the food processor. Let it chop chop for a good minute until chunky and the solution begins to look creamy. Add the basil and tomatoes and process for another minute until smooth. Season with a healthy dose of salt and pepper.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until al dente. This is very important- don't overcook your pasta in the water. Drain the pasta when it is still chewy on the inside, but reserve one cup of the pasta water.
Add a little pasta water back into the pan with the pasta and turn your stove on to medium heat. Add the pesto sauce 1/4 cup at a time, stirring with a spatula so the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce. Alternate by adding more water and sauce and stirring generously. The pasta will gently cook the sauce for a few minutes while it absorbs the starchy water that it was cooked in. The sauce recipe should leave you with a little extra left over.
Serve the pasta hot or cold with a little extra salt and if you so choose, a few shavings of a nice ripe, dry Italian cheese on top. Bon appetite!
Fennel Orange Salad with a Citrus, Brown Sugar, & Dijon Glaze.
I don't know where this idea stemmed from, but I must say, if you are a fan of the licorice-y taste of fennel, this is a salad for you. This salad has fabulous flavor and texture alike and is a nice change a pace from the traditional array of green salads we're all so used to eating at home.
I used a citrus, brown sugar & Dijon glaze, but you could switch it out for something more simple, like olive oil and sea salt, for the uber-minimalist.
For the salad:
1/2 fennel bulb
2 Navel oranges
For the glaze:
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp brown sugar
Cut and discard the bottom of the fennel bulb with a sharp knife so that the knotty root is removed. Thinly shave the bottom of the bulb with precision cuts or use a julienne slicer so that each slice of fennel is thin and delicate. Set aside.
Remove a few springs of the green, dill-looking fennel stem and chop thinly. Set aside to mix with the glaze.
Peel the oranges and remove as much white pulp as possible. Slice the oranges 1/4 inch thick and set aside.
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and stir quickly to dissolve the sugar. Add the chopped fennel stem and squeeze the juice from the both ends of the oranges into the dressing for added sweetness, then discard the squeezed oranges.
To plate:Set half of the glaze aside in a tiny bowl and dip and cover the oranges carefully in the remaining glaze in the small bowl. Lay each slice carefully in a serving bowl creating a circular pattern, stacking the oranges on top of one another. Lay the fennel on top of the oranges and drizzle the remaining glaze on top. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt for a pop of flavor contrast to the sweetness of the oranges. Voila!
Sylvia and I (see below) have been working together for a few months to create the perfect cappuccino foam, known in the coffee world as "microfoam".
Since we became acquainted in June, I've watched YouTube videos, taken advice from barista friends, and watched the Rancilio instructional videos online on how to make perfect foam.
But I feel like I've hit a foaming plateau.
I made this cappuccino this morning.
While it's not terrible looking, it's still not microfoam.
This is Sylvia. She makes it all possible.
So, coffee drinkers and makers alike...what are your tips? I've tried frozen, refrigerated and room temperature stainless steel milk frothing cups, boiler light on/boiler light off, angled wand, straight wand, fully submerged, slightly submerged, rolling milk, swirling milk...list the goes on. Where's the good stuff?
I'm thinking the only thing left to do is apprentice with a foaming master.
Here in B-more, there's still a little summer to squeeze out of the season. What better way to spend these final days than to eat gobs and gobs of summer freshest fruit: the tomato!
Clementimes' Summer Stack:
1 large heirloom tomato 1 healthy sprig of basil (at least 15 small leaves) Olive Oil Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Pine Nuts
Thinly slice the tomato to about 1/8 of an inch.
In a small bowl, stack the slices of tomatoes in between two or three basil leaves, depending on how big they are and how much you like or love fresh basil.
Once stacked, drizzle olive oil all over the stack, letting it sink to the bottom so the bottom of the bowl is covered in olive oil. Then, gently drizzle balsamic on top.
Finish with a generous dose of sea salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Sprinkle pine nuts on top and serve with a thick slice of fresh ciabatta. Use the bread to sponge up all the salty-sweet deliciousness left over once you've devoured the tomatoes. Enjoy!
I've been checking The Sartorialist regularly over the last several months. And the only friend of mine I could envision being photographed by him is Emily O. Her eclectic eye for fashion is rare, unique and reminds me of these lovely gals...
The fabric in this woman's shorts is so Emily.
Emily has many bags that look like this one.
Emily has pants that look a lot like these.
Emily would put those yellow pants with that printed tank, tucked and all.
Congrats on your new job, Em! See you oh-so-soon....
I'm usually not one to swear by a beauty product, but this stuff has changed my mind. Kiehl's Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil is my skin's most favorite thing of late (thanks Jenny and Alicia!).
Somehow, when I put it on at night my skin actually looks illuminated in the morning. It dries fast, eats up bad bacteria, and leaves my skin feeling nourished.
I use a few drops of water and a few drops of Argan oil on my neck, chest and shoulders at night for moisturizer. I don't think my skin has ever felt softer or healthier. I'm hooked (and fully realize I sound like an infomercial spokesperson- but it's true!).
Last night (in preparation for honeymooning in a tropical climate) I did sit-ups, inversions, and push-ups... in between episodes of Spain: On the Road Again. Of course I preceded the exercising with the closest thing I could get to Spain: a few glasses of French Grenache.
Mario Batali is from Seattle, too!
His fleece vests are a dead give-away of PNW roots.
GP, on the other hand...stripes and scarves: New Yorker.
Watching this series made me reconsider our plans to go to Tahiti and New Zealand for our honeymoon, but then I remembered how completely spoiled rotten we are for going to Tahiti and New Zealand...
It may be 90+ degrees here in Baltimore, but that doesn't stop my inner clock from ticking Fall!
There's something funny that happens in late August and the first days of September. It just feels like Autumn, even if it's still hot outside or school hasn't begun.
For me, this occurred last weekend. I don't know what it was, but all it took was one gray day and I was busy making creamy mushroom soup and listening to Harvest Moon by Neil Young.
Since moving to the mid-Atlantic, I have so enjoyed the long summer months (especially the extra dosage of vitamin D). I never thought I'd say this, but I actually think I'm ready for fall: cool misty mornings, hot apple cider, and a few things like this...