Tuesday Dinner: Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

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One of the things I learned early on about The Wife is that she really liked carbonara. It’s a great sauce, and for a long time, I thought it got its name from the black pepper, resembling coal loaded into charcoal burning carbonari.

Apparently,  I was wrong. According to Dr. Jeremy Parzen, a food historian, Italian translator and proprietor of the Do Bianco blog. He mentions the historical significance of the carbonari — a secret society of Italian revolutionaries — and the fact that alla carbonara is a Sicilian cooking style that uses cuttlefish cooked in its ink. So, the coal miner thing is out. Continue reading

Dave Makes Good Nuts

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I’ve never met Dave Gadlin, but he seems like a good egg. His company, the aptly named Dave’s Meat and Nuts, launches a Kickstarter campaign on Saturday in order to raise capital and capacity.

Dave, who identifies himself as the Chief Executive Jerk of Dave’s Meat and Nuts, a CIA-trained chef that spent years working in New York City restaurants. He got out of the Big Apple and relocated to California’s Napa Valley, where he may have been seen recently in newspapers nationwide cleaning up after an earthquake. Surrounded by quality ingredients and great partners, he set out to make Dave’s Meat and Nuts a full-time business. Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Sweet Pea Soup

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I’m not sure I can quantify The Wife’s dislike for peas. It’s odd. They are innocuous little things, full of vitamins and fiber, and they’ve never done anything to harm anyone, particularly her. Still, there she is, sneering at the little buggers when I serve them.

In an effort to get her to eat some peas and see if the appearance of the green sphere would take some of the edge off, I went with a soup from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. It’s a nifty little book. Anyhow, Kelsey purees the peas, mixes them with some stock and dairy, and BAM!, soup. So, how did it go over? Continue reading

Grocery List: October 25, 2014

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Mr. DeLong. I blame him.

For the past week or so, I’ve been fiddling with WordPress code in an attempt to set up a new website. Some of the stuff is over my head. I cannot figure out how to set up the cute little tiles on the page that would direct one to a featured article or recipe. It’s in the template and it’s one of the reason I elected to use this particular theme. But, two journalism degrees later, I find myself staring at the 13-inch screen on my MacBook Pro with no idea what to do.

It’s Mr. DeLong’s fault.

You see, my guidance counselor was the one that said, “If you want to be a sportswriter, go to a good journalism school.” Never once did it cross his mind to say, “Listen dumbass, newspapers are dying. In 15 years, you won’t even be a subscriber. Start paying attention in class and do something useful like computer programming or software designer.”

So, instead, I’m writing my weekly grocery list post and thinking about how to deal with these stupid sliders on the page of the Al Dente 2.0.

Seriously, who encourages someone to “follow their dream” and do what interests them?

Thanks Mr. DeLong. Thanks a lot. The least you could do is figure out my website issues.

Thursday Dinner: Mushroom Risotto

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I have made mushroom risotto here before without thinking much about it. Usually what happens is that I sweat some mushrooms, make a basic risotto, and combine them at some point.

What I liked about this offering from Closet Cooking was that it took the mushrooms more seriously than the rice. You actually create a mushroom broth to supplement the flavor of the risotto. The recipe is for a true mushroom risotto, rather than just a risotto with mushrooms. Continue reading

Wednesday Dinner: Rustic Chicken In Garlic Gravy

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Our second visit to Seasons & Suppers is a shot at Jennifer’s pan-roasted chicken thighs. We’ve talked at length her about how I prefer chicken thighs to other cuts of the bird, and I think we have even touched on my family’s attachment to garlic as an element of cooking.

Naturally, this recipe’s call for 20 to 22 garlic cloves caught my eye. The last time I cooked with this large quantity of garlic was a stab at sopa de ajo, where 30 cloves were put into play. Co-workers complained that I was emitting a garlic scent during the day and that they could not sit near me. I wasn’t sweating, but my natural Jared scent had been poisoned by a high concentration of garlic. I didn’t notice it until the first time I had to use the restroom that day. It turns out that eating large quantities of garlic has the same impact on your excretory system as consuming asparagus. Continue reading

Tuesday Dinner: Pasta With Mushrooms in a Mustard Cream Sauce

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The Sister pinned a recipe the other day on Pinterest that looked really good. As I tend to do when this happens, I repinned the recipe to my Things I Want To Cook board and checked out the originating website.

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I was struck by the beauty of the design, followed by the wonderful array of recipes displayed at Seasons & Suppers. Written by a Muskoka, Ontario resident named Jennifer, S&S cues up recipes based on the seasonally available ingredients in her hometown, located just east of Lake Huron in the central part of the province.  Continue reading

Meatless Monday: Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Soup

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The best reason I can come up with for why I don’t use more black-eyed peas is that I never really ate them while growing up. We all branch out and try new things, but when it comes to things like beans, I think we just lean on the familiar. Cannellini beans are popular in Italian cooking. Black-eyed peas are popular in Southern cooking styles and dishes like Hoppin’ John. So, maybe it’s not so unusual.

Anyhow, black-eyed peas are high in calcium, folates, protein, dietary fiber and vitamin A. When paired with kale, high in vitamin A, C, K and calcium, you can get a lot of nutrients out of a meal.

The original recipe included sausage, but it was easy to eliminate it for Meatless Monday purposes.

Continue reading

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