Friday, February 4, 2011

Pomodoro Sauce and The Black Keys

Don’t you just love Fridays? The end of the work week portrays a feeling of celebration and glee, knowing that I will sleep in past 6 a.m. and the next two and a half days are mine to own. Tomorrow afternoon I’ve set myself up for a day of glamour – a hair appointment followed by a manicure. You know who loves a day of “it’s all about me”? Yours truly!

This week was filled with entertaining, keeping me busy in the kitchen. The result of having guests over is that my new year’s resolution to write three new posts a week has been accomplished! Previously I reported on Tuesday’s ginger-lime beef stir-fry. So today’s post highlights a great pasta dish I made Wednesday night.

This particular recipe has no official name. My mom makes this version of a pomodoro sauce, and I love it. The only problem with adopting a recipe from the master mama chef is that she doesn’t follow a recipe. She simply “throws it together”- add a little here, try a dab of this, just a pinch of that, etc. On the other hand, I am a recipe follower to a fault. It’s a rare occasion that I feel confident in taking liberties with ingredients that are called for on paper. So, I always ask my mom a series of detailed questions in order to pull together a sense of direction. Here’s a sample of me trying to transcribe a recipe.

Me: So, I have tomatoes, basil, garlic and white wine. Is that it?
Mom: Well, then I add some chicken broth in there.
Me: OK. How much chicken broth?
Mom: Oh I don’t know. Maybe ½ a cup to 1 cup?
Me: So I cook down the tomatoes and then add everything else?
Mom: Oh wait. There’s garlic too. I add garlic to the tomatoes and olive oil in the beginning.
Me: Is the garlic whole? Minced? Chopped?

This recipe has quickly become my go to favorite when I want to cook to impress without putting in a whole lot of effort. It’s always a hit.

Today's beat is Everlasting Light by The Black Keys. This song gives me a good attitude going into the weekend. I hope it does the same for you!


White wine and tomato sauce:

½ Cup of any white wine
1 Cup of chicken broth
2 pints of cherry tomatoes
2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2-3 sprigs of basil, finely cut
Olive oil

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (whole) and the garlic to the pan. Sauté the tomatoes and garlic until the tomatoes have dwindled down into mush. Then add the chicken broth, white wine and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a light simmer until it’s heated and ready. When you’re ready to add your pasta, don’t drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta directly from the boiling water into the sauce pan. This helps the pasta and sauce stick/mix together. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Let Go with Ginger-Lime Beef Stir-Fry

 I'm not certain why I'm always compelled to try a new recipe, for the very first time, the day I'm having guests over. Is it the thrill of the unknown? The excitement of producing a crowd pleasing dish mixed with prayers and crossed fingers that it doesn't go terribly wrong? What ever the reason, tonight was an A+ for new recipe success.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my friend, Shelby, and I get together about every month for our routine Harry Potter movie nights. There are three staples to a Harry Potter movie night at my house: the movie, the wine, and the cupcakes. It's always a fun occasion.We enjoy the time spent making dinner in the kitchen and catching up over a bottle of wine while Harry Potter plays in the background.

For tonight's rendezvous, I made a ginger-lime beef stir-fry from my Cooking Light recipe book, and it was yummy. It literally took all of 10 minutes to throw this meal together. It's low in calories, low in sodium and is inexpensive to make. If you're feeding more than 2-3 people, I'd recommend doubling the recipe. I served it over jasmine rice and a side of steamed edemame. Delish!
Around 10 p.m., after Shelby left, I stared at the pile of dirty dished in my sink. My kitchen now smells like a Chinese restaurant. And yet I'm completely content with going to bed and dealing with the mess tomorrow. 

For a beat to accompany this spicy citrus entree, I chose Frou Frou's "Let Go".


Ginger-lime Beef Stir-fry

1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1.5 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
12 oz boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup diagonally cut green onion
4 limes wedges

Combine first five ingredients into a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Heat canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak; cook until browned (about 4 minutes) stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Drizzle evenly with ginger-lime mixture. Garnish with onions and lime wedges.