Comfort Food for Cold Nights

Happy Saturday beauties! My “Saturday” started yesterday when everything was closed due to the 6 inches of snow we got the day before. I spent the morning shoveling snow off of my driveway so we’d be able to get out and go places again! The second I saw the slightest glimpse of asphalt I smiled a sigh of relief. A few hours later, I was on my way to the store to pick up the comfort food I was going to make for dinner. After a long day outside in the cold, you need things like this!

I found this recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, on Food Network the other day and have been excited to make it since then. Its a heavy dish; perfect for cold nights!

For full instructions, visit the link above! Ina explains everything much better than I could!

Ingredients
-Kosher salt
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
-4 ounces prosciutto, cut crosswise in 1/2-inch-thick matchsticks
-1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 large)
-1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
-4 ounces Italian Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
-1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
-8 to 10 ounces tagliatelle or fettucine, such as Cipriani
-2 cups frozen peas, defrosted (8 ounces)
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
-1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

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This dish is called Straw and Hay with Gorgonzola and it’s pretty darn good. I’m not much of a cook and even I could make it. However, I would suggest a few changes to it. The recipe calls for prosciutto to be lightly cooked in a sauce pan in 2 tablespoons of butter. Prosciutto is a rather salty cut of meat (and expensive). I recommend substituting it with either turkey bacon or even thinly sliced, pre-baked chicken. Ina also adds quite a bit of salt into the pasta sauce. If you’re using prosciutto, then only use a half teaspoon of salt when you’re making the sauce.

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Doesn’t that look amazing? At this point, I’ve added the onions (I only used half of what the recipe suggests), the cream, the Gorgonzola, spices, and the pasta. I’m supposed to add in frozen peas for the beautiful green color but I really detest those little green spheres. I didn’t end up adding anything green to this dish. Next time, I’ll try some spinach with it.

*Tip before serving: Strain some of the butter out of the sauce pan to minimize the greasiness. It gets to be too much when you’re eating it.

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Ta da! Here’s the finished product! It tasted marvelous and I’m certainly adding it to my growing list of recipes I can make. I served it with garlic bread but next time I’d do something with less garlic involved. Or none at all. Maybe some walnuts, pecans, and water crackers would be nice to even out the flavors? Add some wine or sparkling cider and you’ll have a delectable meal for a chilly night!

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Sunday Afternoon Bites

Champagne Darling?

Oh Sunday, you were meant for church in the morning and a relaxing day with a pretty drink in the afternoon. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere really pretty for lunch on a Sunday. When I lived in Washington, D.C. there were so many places to go that had lovely views of the river and great food! It was particularly enjoyable during the summer. Everyone was out with friends and family. People would come to eat after docking their boats. It was the life!

For those of you who don’t live near such awesome places, here are two recipes that you might enjoy for a Sunday afternoon! Tip: add Jack Johnson music for a great atmosphere!

Tomato Feta Salad by Ina Garten

4 pints grape tomatoes, red or mixed colors
1 1/2 cups small-diced red onion (2 onions)
1/4 cup good white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds feta cheese
Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and toss well. Dice the feta in 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes, crumbling it as little as possible. Gently fold it into the salad and serve at room temperature.

*Add saltwater crackers for balance

Champagne Sangria by Giada De Laurentiis

1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco or French Champagne, chilled
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups Mint Simple Syrup, recipe follows
1 lemon, zested and thinly sliced
1 lime, zested and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
5 fresh mint sprigs
Crushed ice
Mint Simple Syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

In a large pitcher, combine the Prosecco, orange juice, Mint Simple Syrup, lemon zest, and lime zest. Add the sliced strawberries, lemon slices, lime slices, and mint sprigs.

Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour the sangria over the top. Serve immediately.
Mint Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and mint over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes. Strain before using.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

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