Pasta al Pomodoro w/ roasted squash & peppers

When I received the special May Italy issue of Bon Appetit, I knew immediately I had to make that silky pasta sauce which coated the bowl of spaghetti on the front cover.  It’s a basic pasta al pomodoro, and they’re certainly on point when they say it’ll be the smoothest sauce you’ve ever made!

I doubled the recipe for a group of 8, and added some browned ground veal, and roasted squash and peppers to the mix.  Topped with a bit of fresh parsley and grated parmesan, and it was a hit!

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Thrift store finds.

I always seem to find things when I’m not really looking.  Like accidental trips to Goodwill and The Salvation Army stores in my sweaty yoga gear!  lol

I came back with these treasures most recently.

I had been looking for vanity trays to use for my perfumes, etc., and I think these work out nicely.  I hadn’t seen the glass/metal ring variety in so long…I’m surprised it’s still around, as the bottom glass is so thin!  And the beveled star cut into the bottom is just beautiful.  The other piece is a tray, pink glass, with a texture like small hobnail on the bottom, and dainty, scalloped handle edges.  I love them both, and they cost me a whopping $6/each!  lol

My little slice of Paris.

I finally hung the small canvas I bought off a street artist while in Paris last fall, and had framed as soon as I returned.  It’s a painting of a small cafe in the same area in which I stayed, St. Germain.  So I get to see it each day, and remember that trip and the times I had in those 2 weeks.  :)

Chefs for Farmers

I’m a bit late on this post, as I tweeted the heck out of it while there and uploaded to Facebook in real time, but here are even more in-depth pics of the glorious event.

I attended Chefs for Farmers last month, thanks to a thoughtful invite by Randy Potts, and man did we have a good time!  This was the 3rd annual, but my first time at the event.  It was held at Highland Park Cafeteria – and we literally took our tray thru the line and had 17 chefs load it up with some of the best food I’ve ever seen and eaten!  Everyone was given a ballot to vote on the best dish, and Diane and Justin Fourton of Pecan Lodge won for their “burnt ends” – bits of smoky, crunchy, charred brisket, so amazing!

I can’t wait for the next one!

When life gives you stale bread…

…you make your own bread crumbs!

I had a few partial loaves of bread collecting dust in the back of my fridge.  No longer appetizing as toast or for a sandwich, yet not wanting to waste it all, I decided to toast it off and give it a buzz in my food processor.

You want to get the toast really dark, you don’t want any moisture to remain in the bread so that you can store it in a canister.  I happen to keep mine in a zip-loc in the freezer, which is even better.  I throw in some of Cento’s Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and pepper, and whir it up until they’re tiny crumbs.

Bag it, date it, toss it in the cabinet, or freezer for future use!

Some new vinegars.

I’ve got me some new vinegars to play with from A l’Olivier!

The cassis (black currant) vinegar I’ve already tried, and it’s excellent blended with some olive oil and pepper, makes a perfect salad dressing.  The pepper variety I got because it reminded me of the style of BBQ sauce used in the northeast.  In the Carolina’s and Virginia’s, their BBQ sauce is more vinegar based, very thin and peppery, not gooey, thick, and sugary like our sauces here in the south.  Brisket acts like a sponge to soak it up, and it is amazing!  The only restaurant I’ve found in the Dallas area that offers something close is Smoke.  It’s pretty darn good!

Modern Dallas Review – Komali

My latest review for Modern Dallas is up, this time I wrote about Abraham Salum’s second restaurant, Komali.

The lamp shade wraps are Abraham's grandmother's pattern shipped from Mexico - so beautiful!

You’ve got to try one of his many mole offerings, and his fresh tomatillo salsa is outta’ this world!

Is there a cookbooks anonymous?

Because I need it!  I also need another cookbook like a hole in the head!  And yet, I continue to buy them…I buy them a LOT.  And why?  Well, why not?  They make me happy, and they’re always there for me on a rainy day, or a day when I’m bored, or even better, as a literal reference library for when I need to feel inspired to make something new.

They’re kinda’ like shoes.  They ARE my shoes.  Well…they’ve become my shoes.  Like every other flippant gal in her 20’s, I loved my shoe collection just as much as the next gal…ten years ago!  I collected them like crazy, hit up every clearance sale I came across, tried them all on and strutted around my apartment on rainy/bored days.  (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

Then, something happened when good ole’ mother nature rolled the clock over three-oh.  Like, omigod, she made me realize my feet hurt, a lot, like totally.  And so began the shoes to cookbooks replacement therapy.  And I shall blame it on Nigella Lawson.  Yup, her How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook was one of my firsts.  Bought it on a whim, in my 20’s, because I liked the cover art and the title.  But even though I read it cover-to-cover, I wasn’t completely hooked even then…see, I was still on the shoes.

I bought a few cookbooks here and there along the way, but it wasn’t until I went to work part-time at Sur La Table almost 4 years ago that I really got bit.  That’s when the Nigella cookbook I had became my first signed cookbook!  Yup…she came to Dallas for a book signing for Nigella Express and signed her new cookbook for me, as well as my Domestic Goddess one.  “For Kerrie: Happy Baking!”  And get this, I wasn’t even there, I was on vacation, so I didn’t even get to meet her!  Crazy, I know…I’ve always regretted it.  But I’d left the books for her with a sweet note thanking her for coming “across the pond” to see us, which my manager later told me she read and tucked away in her purse.

So, I can honestly say, because of Nigella, I have an entire section of my bookcase dedicated to signed cookbooks!  lol  I have many, many others that aren’t signed, but there is a special place for those that are, and she kicked it all off – love her.  Oh, and here’s what I’ve picked up in the last month and am reading now:

I’ve got a couple of canning books in here to read up before the summer-ripe fruits and veggies arrive, the quintessential guide by Ball, and a new book about Canning for a New Generation – that’s me!  A few baking staples w/ the Magnolia Bakery cookbook and Jim Lahey’s My Bread masterpiece about his rise to fame with Sullivan St. Bakery, and his amazing 12-18 hour proofing technique!  Edible, a great cookbook to have if you follow the Edible communities/magazines for your area, or even if you don’t, it’s a beautiful book.  If you’re into eating local and the Slow Food movement, this book is for you.  The SLT Art & Soul of Baking is a given…we put out some great books, and I wanted to learn more about souffles. Memorable Recipes was on clearance at SLT, had some yummy looking things when I skimmed it, so why not?  Maxine Clark, her books are just great, she is definitely a go-to for Italian cooking.  Click the link and look at the cover, how could you pass up a book like that on clearance!?  And of course, my lovely Beekman Boys, Josh and Brent, whom I follow so dearly and enjoy immensely.  The Bucolic Plague is their latest, run out and get it for an amazing story – and follow their new 2nd season on Planet Green which starts tonight!  I promise, you’ll love me for it.

Okay, I gotta get to bed so I can take a stab at this stack of books on my nightstand…night peeps.

Dreamsicle Whoopie Pies

Check out these awesomely tasty whoopie pies I was gifted by my friend Bethany for my bday!  She makes them by hand, all different flavors.  These are orange cake with a cream cheese filling.  They’re actually a cross between a cake/cookie consistency, and she hand cuts them to fit inside Ball canning jars.  She tops them with a swatch of cute fabric, some raffia string, and a cute note.  Such a sweet, cute gift – and tasty!

Dallas – Nosh Euro Bistro

On my b-day I had lunch at Nosh Euro Bistro with my good friend Ann.  Chef Avner Samuel has some nice things on his menu, we chose:

Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Paté with black currant conserve
Slice of Baby Ice salad with creamy blue, apple wood bacon, tomatoes, and candied pecans
Roasted Red & Yellow Beets salad with baby arugula, goat cheese, and pecans, and raspberry vinaigrette
Tagliatelle and Italian Sausage with roasted tomatoes and hand made pasta
Espresso Braised Beef Short Rib with cheddar stone grits and blistered tomatoes
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with espresso ice cream

I’m not even a dessert person, let alone chocolate, but that croissant bread pudding is exactly what you think it is, chewy, chocolatey, creamy goodness.  I’d go back just for that.  Everything we had was great, the vinaigrette and infused olive oils used in the salads were bold, but very accommodating to the other flavors in the salad.

Ann’s short rib was extremely tender, while the exterior remained perfectly seared and crusty.  The pasta was good, I ordered it because it was the special, and I always try to order any pasta dishes where the pasta is made in-house.  Although next time I visit, I want to certainly try the flat iron steak.