Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our friends, the E's, invited us to dinner last night. Andrew cooked a chicken recipe from a Patricia Wells cookbook, along with carrots and some other veg, a beautiful salad and I brought my gnocchi. Unfortunately, I cooked it at their house and it should have been in the oven a little longer. We also brought some blush Cava and it was a nice meal with nice people. I am quite fond of their little ones and we had some lively discussions going around the table.

Got to see son #2 for a little while yesterday afternoon and sent him on his way with cash, homemade meatballs and fresh fruit. He also absconded with my Dutch oven. He's a pretty good cook himself.

Today is a super bowl gathering at the B's. I had big ambitions yesterday when I planned everything I would bring but today have just been reading and relaxing so will be taking a simple dish - smoked trout, cream cheese, capers and grated hard boiled eggs. The trout comes from Sunburst Farms, here in the NC mountains. They have had some problems with their business being closed off and on due to a robbery and then a fire, but I was happy to find their products again a few days ago at Earth Fare. The smoked trout had been a staple of us for appetizers. Hooray!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Have I ever mentioned how much I love all things Italian? I didn't think so......well, I LOVE all things Italian! AND, we're going back again this summer! I can't wait - or maybe I can - the anticipation is almost, but not quite, as good as being there. For the last two weeks we've been knee-deep in airline fares, schedules, availability of Steve and Charles' villa, etc. It finally all came together and we purchased the tickets on Tuesday. Now the fun begins....planning, making lists, dreaming up menus ideas, trading dollars for euros. Our friends, Steve and Elizabeth, are traveling with us this time. I will miss Cindy and Dennis, our previous travel partners in crime, but sadly, they can't come along.

So last night for dinner, we went to Salvino's for simple, wonderful, hearty Italian fare. We are becoming regulars there at this point. Trish, our waitress, knows our names, knows we never have dessert and treats us with care - she's an excellent waitress, the kitchen staff is on top of things and the food comes out at the proper pacing.

Mitch, our 22 year old son, accompanied us last night. He and I both had the veal chop special. Heaven! (Imagine I sang that and that I have a good singing voice). Tender, perfectly cooked, light white wine sauce with mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Sides of mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Bruce had eggplant Parmesan - also excellent. But I really must talk about the soups....they are incredible! Mitch had the pasta fagioli, I had lentil and Bruce had butternut squash....each one was perfect and would be a meal in itself, with a slice of their bread.

Ok, by now you get the idea....this place is pretty much perfection - and the portions are so large that we can dine again for Saturday lunch. The only thing better would be having this cooked in my kitchen so I can eat in my jammies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Has the craziness around here finally ended? I seriously doubt it but it's time to move on and get back to writing.....and what better way to begin again than with a dinner at the best restaurant in town serving manna from the Gods (Italian fare), Salvino's. Celebrating the end of the refinancing process..although it was smooth, it's always stressful when financial things are happening. B and I went to dinner early and began with cocktails....I have finally grown up and can now drink something like a cosmo without grimacing at the taste of liquor. But after that, the real beverage was served....prosecco... sweet tasting bubbles dear to my heart.

Mussells with fra diavolo sauce was our first course....what else needs saying? Well ok, just in case, it's a light, spicy tomato sauce. Mussells cooked just until they open...delizioso. Course number two: one order of veal (delicately thin piece with mozzarella and proscuitto wrapped inside, served with a light sauce and a side of spaghetti) and one order of shrimp pasta primavera (rotini, vegetables at just the right firmness and an absolutely beautiful sauce). I could cry. And the amazingly wonderful - my new favorite phrase, thank you Ashley B., (just put amazingly in front of any other adjective) part of it all, is that I get to enjoy it all again in about 4 hours with leftovers for my lunch. I will throw in a glass of vintage box and it will be a very happy Thursday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mamma Agata

Italian food is like eating heaven - wonderful, flavorful, satisfying and so easy....last night we had a pork loin roast - fresh sage and rosemary tied onto to the roast with cooking twine and then browned in olive oil and butter - add some white wine and veg and let it simmer - simply devine. Serve with roasted new potatoes and a cauliflower side dish that had an Italian flair - black olives, olive oil and proscuitto, finely sliced.

It was the first recipe I've cooked from Mama's cookbook - I intend to make my way through the entire book. She teaches a cooking class in Italy on the Amalfi Coast and it is my dream to go there and learn from her one day.

Italian food is also good for the soul. Too many things are going on right now that are sad, depressing and this simple food and enjoying it with Erika and Bruce last night was a really refreshing break from anxiety....of course the white wine didn't hurt.

Serves 4

1 (2 - 2 1/2 lb.) pork loin
8 sage leaves
2 rosemary sprigs
3 1/2 T. butter
5 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. white wine
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 T. sea salt (I used less)

Wrap the outside edges of the loin with fresh sage leaves and rosemary sprigs, using kitchen twine to hold the herbs in place.

In a large pan, melt the butter and oil over a low flame. Add the loin and sear all sides of the meat to seal in the flavor. Add a portion of salt to the loin as you brown it. Continue turning the meat until all sides have been browned.

Once the meat is brown on all sides, pour the white wine over the meat. Cover and cook over a low flame for about 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the pan. Cover and cook over low heat for one hour, gently turning the pork every 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit 10-15 minutes before serving. The vegtables can be served as a side dish or pureed and served over the top of the meat.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sick of Fish

Ok - we did have pizza on Sunday but only because my hubby, Bruce, requested it. He had been at the coast fishing and we could have dined on lovely, fresh fish but as he put it, "I'm sick of fish," so pizza it was. We get ours delivered from Pie Works - very tasty and not anything like Papa Johns or Dominos.

Last night we did have fish - fish tacos. They were great and simple. Bruce dunked them in milk and then lightly breaded them with flour (seasoned with chili powder, salt and pepper). He "woked" them. Warmed up some corn tortillas on the grill pan and served the tacos with garnishments of chopped cabbage, monterrey jack cheese, slicced black olives, sliced green onions, guacamole, jalapeno peppers, fresh salsa and a mix of sour cream/plain yougurt. In hindsight, I would have "spritzed" the fish with some fresh lime juice.

Tonight's dinner is already in the works (at noon). Chuck roast, covered with thick slices of onion, topped with peeled potatoes and carrots, and a bayleaft - in the crockpot. When all is cooked to my liking, I will drain off the juice and remove the fat and then thicken it with flour for gravy. I will quickly saute some mushrooms and add them to the gravy.

Served with fresh bread, sliced apples and some slices of good cheese. I think all food groups are covered here and now I will go and do something more fun than cooking - I'm going to go to Great Harvest for some nice, freshly baked bread.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper's Last Meal with Terrylene

First a moment of silence for the late, great and misunderstood genius Dennis Hopper.

Well when I started this blog, I had all kinds of ideas about what I was going to do with it but instead, just started writing, and as many things do, it just "got started". At this point, the beginning, looks like a lazy woman's guide to cooking...hmmmmm....

Case in point---no one but me for dinner last night and I could have ordered pizza but I chose to "cook" instead. What I did was only slightly lazy I guess....lightly fried a ground chuck burger, seasoned with lemon pepper & garlic pepper and eaten as a "steak", along with some of my secret stash of pasta from Italy and a decent jarred marinara sauce. Greek salad completed the meal and later in the evening while watching "The Hangover" (did you know that Asian guy in the trunk is from Greensboro?)...some creme brulee (obviously not from scratch - Fresh Market helped out here). Drank some lovely white table wine.

Today, my oldest moves back home for a few days while his new place is being finished. My crafting room is being filled up with a kid again - oh dear!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lighting and Thunder and Ramen Noodles

Uptown ramen noodles last night. I wasn't going to make dinner - husband away fishing at the coast, Sam at work and Erica out and about. Just as I was deciding which leftovers to use up, Erica came home because the weather was getting really bad. It was almost 9p.m. and a not so perfect time to be eating dinner but she and I were hungry. Sam is working at the marina 1 & 1/2 blocks away and had ridden his bike there. All of a sudden all hell broke loose with the weather. Lighting and thunder scary big. I drove over and picked Sam up to "save him from the lightning". We all sat down together for a bad weather, quickly prepared and quite tasty dinner.

First hardboil some eggs and peel them. Chop up whatever veg and leftover cooked meat you have. We had grilled pork chops, sauteed snap peas, & green onions from the night before. Cook the ramen with the spice packet that comes with it - put the meat and veg in before it starts to boil. Add the eggs and dig in. If you want spice, add Chinese chili sauce. Perfect by itself but we had a fresh French baguette and each had a slice of that. Served with an excellent vintage (box o'wine, 2010).