Friday, December 30, 2011

Fresh Pasta Carbonara


In the spirit of destroying a perfectly clean kitchen, I decided to get out my pasta maker tonight to practice my technique a little. I found a recipe online for pasta carbonara, and modified it to make it suit my tastes. The pasta was much better than my maiden voyage!


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices slab bacon, diced
2 cloves diced garlic
2 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken stock 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh linguini
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 eggs, separated
1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets

  1.  Put salted water in a large pasta pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add the oil and bacon to a large saute pan over low heat. Cook the bacon until crisp, being careful not to burn it, about 5 minutes.Remove bacon temporarily on onto a paper towel to drain.
  3. Season the chicken breast cutlets with salt and pepper, then cook for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through. (Will depend on thickness of cutlets.) Remove from pan, to rest.
  4. Add the garlic and stir for 5 seconds. Add the drained bacon, wine, milk, stock and black pepper. Cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Drop the fresh linguini into water and stir to separate strands. When pasta is just undercooked remove it from the water and add it to the pan with the sauce. Gently stir for 1 minute.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, add 1/2 the cheese and the egg white and stir, being careful not to break the noodles. Add the egg yolk and lightly toss. Slice chicken thinly and toss in with pasta. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the remaining cheese.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Curry Chicken Pasta

After our second viewing of A Christmas Story this evening, we decided we wanted a snack, so I raided the fridge and pantry in search of leftovers that could be made into something more. The key ingredient here is the chicken tenders that were left over from asian chicken salads earlier this week. This actually turned out to taste pretty good! And I got to use some of the other items I had in the pantry already.

  • 1 c chicken broth, give or take
  • 1 cup leftover chicken, chopped or shredded
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/3 c almond butter (or peanut butter, but I just happened to have almond)
  • 1/2 a box of pasta - I happened to have ziti, but you could use whatever
  • 1/2 c frozen peas.


  1. Prepare a pot of salted water, and cook pasta - drain.
  2. In a pan, sautee the garlic in the sesame oil on medium low, for 2-3 minutes. Add almond butter, and stir until it is melted into the pan. Add chicken broth little by little, and stir until sauce loosens to the point of being able to coat the back of a spoon. Add soy sauce, peas, red pepper, and curry powder. Stir to combine. Keep on low heat.
  3. Shred left over chicken and add to pasta pot. Add pasta on top of chicken. Add sauce over top of pasta and chicken and combine until all is coated. Enjoy!
This made enough for about 4 servings, but we enjoyed it as a late night snack.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chocolate Banana Souffle

I was looking for a reason to use my new ramekins for something, and I did some internet research for souffle recipes based on some random ingredients I had laying around. I give you: chocolate banana souffle! Yes, it should probably be fluffier, but it tasted delicious and I'll perfect my technique with practice. Definitely worth a try!


  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for preparing souffle dishes
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana, (1 large)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil six 6-ounce (3/4-cup) individual souffle dishes or ramekins or coat them with nonstick spray. Dust with sugar, turning to coat, and tapping out the excess. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate over barely simmering water or in the microwave. Dissolve espresso powder (or instant coffee) in vanilla in a small bowl.
  3. Sift cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a large bowl. Add banana, brown sugar and milk, whisking to blend. Add melted chocolate and the coffee mixture and blend well.
  4. Place egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase the speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and beat on medium-high until the whites hold stiff, but not dry, peaks.
  5. Whisk one-fourth of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently but quickly, fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula. Spoon into the prepared souffle dishes or ramekins.
  6. Bake until souffles are well puffed and browned, but still jiggle slightly when shaken, 15 to 25 minutes, or. Remove from the oven and sift a little confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve immediately.

*recipe adapted from

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Garlic Green Beans

Tis the season for potlucks! I was looking for a way to dress up green beans without making a green bean casserole, so I did some research online and came up with this hybrid for last night's Christmas party. Highly recommended - the balsamic vinegar makes the difference. FYI, this recipe makes 8 servings, but I doubled it for my efforts last night.

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped
  • 8 small new potatoes, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the chopped bacon in a skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet with a lid over medium-low heat, and cook and stir the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked bacon, green beans, potatoes, garlic, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat until the green beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with vinegar, salt, and

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Okay, I rarely make something that makes me want to really toot my own horn, but this one is a winner. I am one of those people who loves really, really chocolaty desserts. This is definitely one of those. It's super dense, and perfect for sharing, which is why I'm making it for a pot luck. Give it a try! Fair warning: it is NOT low calorie! :)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
  3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chili Rubbed Tilapia

We just got some new plates! In the interest of showing them off, I rounded up a quick dinner of chili rubbed tilapia to cure us of our rainy day blues. No kidding, this took 20 minutes to prepare, it's cheap, and it makes use of items you probably already have in your pantry.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound tilapia
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Combine chili powder, garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt on a plate. Dredge fillets in the spice mixture to coat. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook until just opaque in the center, gently turning halfway, 5 to 7 minutes total.
  2. Divide onto plates. Immediately add lemon juice. Serve broccoli or other veggies with the fish.