Homemade Creamed Corn Pasta with Fried Herbs

It’s no surprise that Big Guy and I love to spend time together in the kitchen.  And sometimes we take a “simple” recipe and turn it into quite the adventure.  But the truth is, it’s almost always worth the time, the effort and the mess.  A recipe for creamed corn pasta peaked both of our interest due to all the corn that we have stashed in the freezer.  But we couldn’t just use store bought pasta – oh, no – we had to make our own.

The pasta came together rather “easy” this time around (there was one pasta episode where we almost gave up completely and a voice or two was raised – not naming names).  And while Big Guy was making our noodles, I spent a little time making the creamed corn portion of the dish.  When I hear “creamed corn” I can’t help but think of my grandmother, Mimi, and her creamed corn.  It’s simply one of my favorite side dishes and I remember looking forward to it at all holiday gatherings.  To make this version of creamed corn, fresh corn is cooked in butter until caramelized, about 5-8 minutes.  Once the corn is lightly browned, add in the fresh thyme, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Then add in the milk (I used 2%) and allow the mixture to simmer.  At this point, I reduced the heat to low and allowed it to hang out while we finished up the pasta.  I ended up adding a little more milk to thin it out.  Finally, add in the cooked pasta and the parmesan along with some of the salted cooking water.  I added a good 1/2 cup or more of cooking water to get the consistency I wanted – it’s going to depend on your pasta.

The plate of pasta was topped with fried herbs (thyme and basil) and then I finished our plates with a little lemon zest.  That was a very good idea.

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Absolutely incredible.

We were blown away by this dish.  Such simple ingredients became an absolute stunner of a dinner with a little love and a little mess.

 

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Grilled Artichokes with Bagna Cauda + Roasted Rack of Lamb with Basil Goat Cheese Sauce

This past Saturday was quite delicious!  We were graced with not having ANYTHING on our calendar so we spent most of the afternoon at the pool before heading home to feast on an amazing dinner.

artichokes

I’ve never tackled grilled artichokes at home and while they take a little bit of time, they really are quite easy to make.  I had watched Giada make them on a recent episode of “Giada in Italy” (I wanna go!) and that is the recipe I used.  Big Guy and I also watched a YouTube video on cleaning artichokes that was very helpful – I had no idea how hairy and spiky they are inside.  And I also have a whole new appreciation for jarred artichoke hearts and completely understand the cost now.

To make the artichokes, you combine white wine, water, lemon juice + the lemon halves, thyme, rosemary, a bay leaf, and salt in a large pot.  Add the artichokes (after cleaning!) cut-side down and bring the water to a simmer with a top on the pot.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

Remove the artichokes and drain.  Drizzle with EVOO and a sprinkle of salt and grill about 4 minutes on side.  The artichokes are then dipped into a luscious mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt and butter.

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I simply love cooking new things in the kitchen with Big Guy.

For dinner, we made a roasted rack of lamb with an incredible goat cheese sauce.  I prepped the lamb and the carrots before we even left for the pool.  Simply process EVOO, garlic, oregano, basil, ground cumin, lemon zest and crushed red peppers in a food processor.  Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper then rub the marinade over the top.  Arrange the carrots around the lamb on the baking sheet.  Cover and let chill in the refrigerator.

The lamb is roasted at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then flipped and roasted for 5-10 more minutes.  Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting.

And with the lamb the most delicious goat cheese sauce.  Simply combine room temperature goat cheese, 2% Greek Yogurt, honey, basil, lemon zest plus salt and pepper.

lamb

Those carrots were better than I ever expected and the lamb was cooked to perfection.  Please don’t leave off the goat cheese sauce – it’s TOTALLY necessary.

I am forever grateful for our little date nights at home.  A time to just relax and enjoy one another.

Mushroom Cheese Ravioli with Rosemary Butter Sauce

Say “hello” to your next date night in dinner.  While I love going out to dinner and traveling to fun new cities, there’s something about a cozy evening in with a delicious home cooked dinner and a bottle of wine.  And while we haven’t had one in a couple weeks and I’m not really sure when our next one will be, I couldn’t resist sharing with you the dinner we made during our last date night in.

And don’t be scared of this recipe.  We made homemade pasta but it is NOT necessary.  In fact, the recipe called for wonton wrappers that you find at your grocery store and we made the decision to make the recipe more difficult.  So there is no excuse not to make these raviolis.

The ravioli filling is a mixture of sautéed mushrooms, thyme, ricotta cheese, fontina cheese and parmesan cheese.  The filling is so simple but it really makes the earthiness of the mushrooms shine through.

The sauce is light (aka not full of cream) but still FULL of flavor.  The butter is browned before adding in some garlic and rosemary (is there any better smell?).  Then add in some chicken broth and/or some white wine plus salt and pepper and let it reduce.

The combination of the mushroom and cheese ravioli plus the rosemary butter sauce is magic.  We did not even miss the meat in this dinner.

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Oh, date night, you’re my favorite.

Pimento Cheese Ball + Sweet Potato Mezzaluna

Christmas week is here!  I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend.

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Like  mentioned the only social plans we had this past weekend was Supper Club on Friday night.  We had a blast with our friends and enjoyed seeing everyone during this crazy time of year.

On Saturday evening, after getting a few things done around the house, it was time to simply relax and enjoy some Christmas music.  As an appetizer, we had a pimento cheese ball.  For some reason, the only time I really think about cheese balls is during Christmastime.  They’re such a retro appetizer, in my opinion.  This cheese ball was stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, some habanero Monterey Jack cheese, pickles (!!!!), garlic and of course, pimentos.  The entire cheese ball was rolled in roasted pecans which gave great texture and nuttiness.

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This is an awesome appetizer option for the coming weeks because you can totally make it in advance.

The real show stopper of the night was our dinner – homemade sweet potato mezzaluna with a garlic and sage cream sauce.  Honestly, it’s the best homemade pasta we’ve ever made.  We were still talking about it this morning.  The pasta is stuffed with a simple mixture of mashed sweet potatoes, Parmesan, rosemary and salt and pepper.  Once the pasta is cooked, it’s tossed in a rich and savory cream sauce that was loaded with flavor thanks to a head of roasted garlic, shallot and lots of fresh sage.  Incredible!

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The pasta was topped with toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

By far the best bite of the weekend!

I know everyone has a busy week ahead and I can’t wait to see my family in a matter of days.

6 days…

Greek Marinated Flank Steak + Hummus Platter

This is my new favorite plate of food.  So many flavors.  So many textures.

hummusplate

We put together this plate last Saturday and every bite was epic.

On the platter:

Greek Marinated Flank Steak

Homemade Pita Bread

Roasted Red Peppers

Tzatziki

Garlic Hummus

Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad

I prepped a lot of the food the day before so it really came together fairly easy.  I prepped the salad the day before (added the feta the day of); I marinated the flank steak overnight (it uses the same dressing as the salad) and I made the tzatziki the day before (super easy – simply throw it all in the food processor and whirl).

The key to homemade hummus is tahini and peeling the chickpeas.  Yep, peeling the chickpeas.  If you follow me on SnapChat, you know this already.  It takes a little time, but it’s totally worth it.  I added a bunch of garlic to the hummus because I heart hummus.

The pita bread is a lot like making pizza dough.  The big difference is how you cook the pita.  The dough is split into smaller pieces and rolled as thin as possible.  Once you’re ready for the pita, heat up a cast iron skillet and cook until bubbly, flip and cook for about a minute and flip one more time until browned and crispy.

I am now obsessed with homemade pita bread.

I can’t even pick my favorite part of the plate – it was all amazing!!!!!

I’m looking forward to many more bites like these when we’re in Greece.

 

Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs

First of all, I am 100% aware that most of you will never recreate this date night dinner at home.

BUT my hope is that perhaps we can make homemade pasta together sometime or you’ll come over and let me make it for you.

Consider that an open invitation.

Big Guy and I have had homemade pasta on the mind lately and when I saw this gorgeous roasted beet ravioli, I knew it was the one.  And too be completely honest, it wasn’t all that difficult though we did learn a few lessons.

The dough is a simple mix of flour, eggs, a little salt and beet puree (nothing fancy – just roasted beets whirled in the food processor).  Once the dough was made, Big Guy took over with rolling the pasta.

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The key to not having red hands at the end of it all is to wear gloves.

The ravioli were stuffed with a goat cheese mixture of whole milk ricotta, goat cheese, thyme, chives, garlic and a little salt.

The first two lessons:  roll the dough a little thinner and use more filling.  Next time we want our ratio of dough to filling to be more equal.

Once the ravioli are formed, all that need is a quick dip in the hot tub (boiling salted water) to cook.  Fresh, homemade pasta takes only a few minutes to cook.

After they were cooked through, the raviolis were topped with browned butter and more herbs.

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There is nothing better than a bowl of homemade pasta, stuffed with cheese and then drowned in brown butter.

Am I right, or am I right?

And while the process is a little time consuming, we love being in the kitchen together.  Especially sharing a bottle of wine and laughs.

But don’t think that the “homemade pasta” obsession is gone…we’re ready for our next pasta night in!

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Want to impress your husband?

Make short ribs.

Like tomorrow night.  Or the next.  Or Sunday.

It’s not super fussy but it’s super impressive in taste.

And your house will smell amazing.

So pour a glass of red, red wine and have a date night at home.

shortribs

And to be honest, you’ll love this dinner as much as your husband.

It’s rich and decadent and totally over the top.  But the gremolata on top adds a pop of freshness thanks to some raw garlic, chopped parsley and the zest of a lemon.

The grits are rich and creamy and I made them using a mix of milk and beef broth (instead of milk and water).  The small amount of parmesan stirred in at the end adds so much flavor.

They say a way to man’s heart is his stomach – and I totally agree.