Thursday, October 24, 2013

White Chicken Lasagna Petals with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage- And 15 Years of True Fall


It would be the last time I'd dig my toes into the California sand for over eight years.

We thought we'd be back sooner.  But you know... life happens, and all.

I was 28.  And it felt like the right time.  I braved my 10-year High School reunion the night before, and quit my job two weeks before that.  Not sure if I was just tired of it all.  Or if the grass seemed greener somehow, even in the mountains of North Carolina.  But, we were ready for a change.

We packed up the moving truck and while it was driven across the country, we too, set out for a long adventure.  Me, in my black Camaro, rewinding Sarah McLachlan's side A so many times, I'm surprised the cassette tape didn't snap.  And he in his red Honda Civic, with a stack of Cracker Barrel books on tapes overflowing on the passenger seat.  Not only keeping him entertained, but insuring a stop every few states for a "book swap," and to school us even more on some of the delicacies we'd soon get to know well, in the South.

Hash Brown Casserole. Okra. Cheese Grits. Fried Apples. Country Ham. The fixin's.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shrimp Sorella Diavolo- You Little Devil, You #WeekdaySupper


Move over Fra (Brother), this Sorella (Sister) is turning up the heat in the kitchen.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo, the traditional shrimp dish, is translated as Brother Devil, in Italian.

Why?  Because it's hot, hot, hot! 

But it's not just for the boys.  From what I've heard, Italian women can be just as spicy, especially when it comes to cooking. 

So, this (part) Italian decided to make a version inspired by the feminine side of the family.  Adding some sweetness and depth to the traditional onions with some smooth, mellow leeks.  And some cream, to add richness... and for just enough pink.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Creamy Chicken Picatta Tortellini with Braised Leeks and Bacon- And three reasons why you won't like this dish


Sometimes not having a plan... can be the best plan of all!

Especially if it involves using ingredients you have on hand, and in ways that you hadn't used them before.


If you don't like rich and creamy comfort food... you're not going to like this dish.
And if you don't like bacon and chicken and braised leeks, oh my... you're not going to like this dish.
And if you don't like dishes that come together in practically no time.  That are cost effective, full of flavor... and have a little spice... you're not going to like this dish.

But I do. Oh yes, I do.  Did I tell you I do? 
Man, oh man, this is one delicious dish.

My first bite, the tang from the cream cheese really hit me as I bit into the herby chicken, making me want to go back for more.  Then the fruity acidity from the lemon blended so beautifully with the cheese filled tortellini.  The next bite offered a braised leek, which gave a deep and mellow onion flavor with a nuttiness from the garlic.  And then another bite of chicken, which was scooped up with some bacon, offering a salty, crunch that perfectly balanced the creaminess of it all.