Thursday, June 24, 2010

Classic Carbonara

One of the best things that I ever ate while in Italy was their authentic Carbonara recipe. Lots of flavor even though it's a very simple recipe.

I cannot begin to express how delicious I find this dish and am unsure what else to add to this post to get that point adequately across. You want to make this. You probably need to make this. Now, today.

Cheesey, creamy, with the yum flavors of pancetta and then peas to pull everything together. If this is the Italian version of bacon and eggs, America simply pales in comparison.

Pasta alla Carbonara Recipe

-1 tsp olive oil

-8 oz pancetta cut into 1/4-inch cubes

-1 medium onion, 1/4-inch diced

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-3 whole eggs

-2 egg yolks

-1/2 – 3/4 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, or a combo of both

-1 pound dried linguine or spaghetti

-1 cup frozen green peas, thawed


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add at least a tsp of salt. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often until it is well browned and crisp. Remove to a paper-towel covered plate. Lower heat to medium and add the diced onion and saute until caramelized, (5 minutes-ish). Add the garlic and saute til browned. Remove pan from heat and set aside. Cook the pasta. When the pasta is al dente, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks and cheese until well combined. Add 1/4 c of the hot pasta water to the bowl and whisk well to temper the eggs. Add the hot pasta and toss, adding more pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce. Toss with the peas, onions, garlic, and cooked pancetta. Serve with a smile :)

Easy Peasy Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream!!

Summer is made by things like lemonade, sunshine, and basking in the long, slow days. And then there is ice cream which is just the creamy delicious ice cream on the perfect cake of a season.

That's completely illogical metaphor now. But come on, this ice cream cake is so good, it is allowed such ridiculous phrasing.

For the layering of this cake, you need to pick out 3 flavors of ice cream to use. I made mine with peanut butter (the middle), peanut butter cup, and then ben and jerry's version of peanut butter cup. All of them share a common theme- peanut butter cups :) !! I used the favored candy to garnish and also selected peanut butter ice cream sandwiches to make it completely over the top.

It's a peanut butter cup overdose.

But, I have made this cake several different ways! In the summer, fruit is also always refreshing. I have layered it before with stawberry, oreo cookie, and then strawberry again, topping the cake with strawberries. It was pretty delicious but, I am sure you can come up with even more fabulous flavors when you give it a go yourself :)

(Also! In this particular cake, I was a ditz and forgot to add milk to the oreo crust to hold it together. Thus why it's crumbly in the photos. Don't forget the milk! Or you too shall suffer the consequences...)

Layered Ice Cream Cake
-15 oreo cookies
-2 tablespoon milk
-6 to 9 ice cream sandwiches (depending on size of pan)
-3 pints of ice cream of various flavors
-Candy or whipped cream to garnish (optional)

Coat the bottom of a round springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line side with wax paper, using nonstick spray to help adhere. Trim paper to the height of the pan. Finely crush the cookies, add the milk, and set aside. Unwrap ice cream sandwiches, working quickly, cutting them first in half, then quarters. Stack the sandwich strips in the pan, packing snugly together along the wax paper. Once they complete the outside, put the crushed oreo crust in the bottom of the pan, making sure it reaches the edges of the sandwiches. Layer your ice cream flavors one pint at a time, dumping ice cream and spreading before adding next layer and flavor. Garnish as you like and freeze overnight. To serve, remove the side of the pan an then the waxed paper. Should look lovely :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Steak Marinated in Teriyaki Sauce & Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Ah, steak and potatoes. The epitome of the traditional meal. Delicious, comforting, and satisfying.

Working out of an apartment with no grill, I decided to make pan fried teriyaki steaks, baked garlic potatoes, and steamed snap peas with honey for the occasion of final meals in Apartment 431. Everything turned out to be delicious, particularly the potatoes which are a family favorite of mine and endlessly delicious.

The teriyaki marinade is also well used and loved in my family. I am typically one to shy away from ginger but, in this recipe it doesn't make itself known in an overpowering way.

The snap peas are just to be unfrozen as directed with a teaspoon of honey mixed in once they are finished steaming. Simple and simply delicious.

The marinade and potatoes are slightly more complicated but, still in keeping with the easy cooking theme. Make these two recipes together or not, either way both are a treasure. Make and enjoy :)

Teriyaki Marinade
-1 cup brown sugar
-2/3 cup ketchup
-2/3 cup vinegar
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 cup veg oil
-5 cloves chopped garlic
-2 teaspoons ground ginger

In a medium bowl, combine ingredients and mix well. Marinate steaks overnight.

Garlic Roasted Potato Wedges
-1 bag red potatoes
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 425. Cut potatoes in half, length wise; cute each half into wedges. In saucepan, cover potatoes with enough cold water to cover. Bring to full boil. Cook until tender (8-12 min), drain. In 9x13 baking pan, melt the butter in oven. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add potatoe wedges, coat with both sides in butter mixture. Bake for 10 minutes and turn the potatoes. Continue baking 12-15 minutes or until browned.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aunt Carol's Cheesecake Brownies

If you love cheesecake and also happen to be a fan of chocolate chip cookies, this recipe is going to blow your mind.

EXTREMELY RICH, but totally worth it, and these fit with the theme of the recipes posted so far in that they are painfully easy. Plus, with just 6 ingredients, these are pretty simple to just toss together if you have the dough/cream cheese. Not too much spending to make.

P.S. Sorry about the low quality 2nd picture. I didn't have my camera, just my cell phone, and it had to do in a pinch because they were quickly eaten after I snapped the image...

Cheesecake Brownies
-2 8oz cream cheese
-2 rolls chocolate chip cookie dough (I like Pillsbury for this recipe)
-2 eggs
-1 tbs vanilla
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1/2 cup sugar

Grease 9 by 13 pan, slice/press 1 roll cookie dough to cover bottom of pan. Set aside 2nd roll of dough. Mix ingredients, spoon over dough bottomed pan. Top with layer of other cookie roll. (I just try to lay out smaller flattened dough pieces, close together. Should bake and appear layered: cookie crust, cheesecake, cookie crust). Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let set/cool 15 minutes. Serve hot or cold, however you find you prefer.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mr. P's Infamous Bruschetta

I got this recipe from a very lovable, very passionate, greek man who, while built like a 7 foot bear, has a true flair for cooking. This dish is PHENOMENAL.


It's so good that it forces you to take a moment, close your eyes, and savor as you "mmmmmmm" and purr like a cat from the pleasure of all these flavors combining into ecstasy.

This dish makes me question how anyone could dislike tomato. Clearly, tomato is the secret to life happiness.

I made two large cookie sheets (this recipe yields a LOT but I doubt you'll waste anything) and my roommate and I ate them for dinner for the next two days. With some white wine and our patio door open to let the spring air in, I can't think of a better dinner ever had.

I hope you can make these with the same results. These are garlic heavy so, prepare to brush your teeth and down a few mints once you're through ;)

-6 Roma tomatoes
-10 cloves garlic
-Fresh basil
-Dried oregano
-Dried basil
-Olive Oil
-Lemon Juice
-1 package crumbled feta
-1 loaf italian bread

Dice your tomatoes and dump into bowl. Finely chop your fresh basil and add to the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Chop your garlic as small as possible and then add it, and remaining spices, into your bowl. Everything is to taste here but, go for heavy flavors, after the garlic, it's pretty impossible to overpower. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of the lemon juice to keep things fresh as possible and put into the fridge to let things combine into each other.

In the meantime, slice up your italian bread into about 1/2 inch thickness and then slice in half so you have decent size, not overwhelmingly sized, pieces of bread. Lay out on cookie sheets and spread with butter. Broil in oven about 4 minutes or until golden and crisp.

As with anything BROILED, watch like a hawk or it WILL burn.

Once fresh from the oven, let cool a bit and then spoon a hefty amount of the bruschetta over each slice. Top with the feta and serve.

Do NOT forget the feta. It is KEY. I have done a taste test with and without the cheese, not usually much of a feta person myself, and without it, the bruschetta is good, amazing even but not "ohmygosh, give me some time alone with this" good.

Ha, make and enjoy ;)