Thursday, March 26, 2009

Creamy Asparagus Cavatappi Pasta

I have to say upfront, once again, punch photo helped me with these pictures, and by help I mean... he took them

This month on the Foodie BlogRoll joust the ingredients were Asparagus, Lemon Grass, and Almonds. It is my first "joust" and this is what I came up with. Go by and see what everyone else had to do and vote for who you like best,1218.msg10058.html#msg10058t

1 lb pasta
3 tbs butter
1/4 lb prosciutto diced
1 onion minced
1 clove garlic grated
1 lemon grass stalk, cut into several pieces
2 tbs flour
1c. dry white wine
2 tbs flour
¼ milk
2 c. of cream
½ c. of grated parmesan
1 cup almond slivers toasted
1 pound chopped asparagus blanched

Heat oven to 350 and start water for pasta.
Once oven is ready put the almond slivers on a baking sheet and toast for 7 minutes. Set aside.
Chop about ¼ of the prosciutto, and put in a very hot skillet. Cook until just a bit crisp. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and wilt onions.
Add the garlic, lemon grass, last tablespoon of butter and ¾ of the prosciutto and cook another 3 minutes.
Sprinkle flour in the pan and mix until everything is coated and a paste is formed.
Slowly add the white wine (I prefer a super dry wine)
Let this cook over low heat until sauce has thickened to the consistency of a pudding.
Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus and put the pasta in to cook..
Once the wine has thickened add the milk and again let thicken to the consistency of a pudding.
Finally slowly add the cream mixing well. Cook until just slightly thickened (about 2 minutes).
Throw blanched asparagus (make sure to dry it) and parmesan in the sauce and toss .
Once pasta is done and drained, toss with sauce, top with the fried prosciutto and almonds and serve.

Serves 4

Okay yet again, I have to implore you to go to visit these blogs:

Cate at . She has a carrot-apple-ginger spread you don’t want to miss!

Five Star Foodie she has a poblano, and cheddar cheese soufflé that looks and sounds do good I can’t stand myself right now.

Finally, Joie De Vivre at . She has to recent posts you don’t want to miss, clams in a red sauce and some sourdough that looks…. mmm,mmm good!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Herbed Escolar and Scallops

It often amazes me how little I know. For instance, I would see on some of these lovely blogs I read, seared seafood, often scallops. Try as I might I couldn’t get it. I would get the oil hot, throw in the scallops. In return they would throw off water and I would essentially end up boiling the buggers. I don’t know why it never dawned on me that the oil wasn’t hot enough, but it didn’t. Not until I read something that told me, that the oil had to smoke. Smoke you say?? Isn’t that passe‘? Not at all. I tell you, one tiny bit of knowledge, one that I know all of you had… admit it… you did, has changed my life. There is no meat safe in my house at this point.

2 tbs of chopped parsley
1 tbs chopped oregano
1 tsp chopped rosemary
½ tsp chopped thyme
Salt and pepper
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ lb escolar
½ lb scallops
1 lemon wedge

Heat the oil until smoking (yeah, yeah… I know you knew that!), while heating salt scallops and fish.
Once oil is ready add the fish and scallops and cook until good and brown, turn down the heat to medium low.
When fish is almost done throw the herbs over the fish and cook covered about another 1-2 minutes just until herbs are a bit wilted.
Squeeze with lemon and serve.

Okay my lovely’s now is the time to talk about who I am going to give some blog love to this week. The folks this week will actually get two weeks. The reason is I will be out of town from Saturday until Wed, so that means no blogging for mommy here. However, I am getting out of town, with no children, for four whole days. Yep you heard me right. Do you realize it has been over 4 years (and probably more like 5) since I have had that much time alone with my husband. I am as giddy as a school girl I tell you!

Anyway here are the blogs you need to go visit:

Joie De Vivre at . Her blog is wonderful and if you go today you can see a shot of her sweet hubby helping out with the kids and cooking! I believe that is a shot of a man never before captured on film (oh come on guys… I am just kidding!!)

Cate at . I love her blog. I love her pictures and I love her little chefs. Plus her recipes are fabulous. It will make you want to move to NY and hang out with her and let her little chefs whip up some appetizers.

Finally go to Five Star Foodie she has amazing pictures and some of the most unusual and lovely recipes. She will make you think of ingredients in different ways and I love that.

Finally I just wanted to give a big shout out to one of my blog choices for last week. Donna at gave me an award. It dictates I have to pass it on, and I will be, just not today. Now how is it she is giving me an award while I am profiling her blog. I swear, she really is the best blog buddy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Finally Have Great Buns!

I have this weird affinity for a good yeast roll. Now, I know some of you are wondering what a yeast roll is and the best way I can describe it is, like a parker house roll, but lighter and with a distinct yeast flavor. If you have ever ate at a southern diner or cafeteria and had a roll there… you have had them. I love them. Love ‘em.

However, I have never been able to make them. They mock me… really. I have tried tons of recipes to no avail. Cue the new neighbors. Can I just tell you I love them, for many reasons. They are fun, the are good spirited, they are community builders. They are good folks. However, I simply knew that I had to make them my friends when at Christmas they dropped of some homemade fig jam and a loaf of bread. Why did this endear me to them so much you wonder?? Yes, I am getting to it. Besides being kind and neighborly, that loaf of bread they brought, was none other then my sought after yeast roll, but in a loaf form. Joel and I polished the loaf off in 1 day. No, sadly, I am not joking. So I asked her for the recipe and she gave it to me!! The one thing that struck me about it was, “Man this dough would sure make a good base for a sticky bun.”

I love a good sticky bun (Donna, I can feel you mind in the gutter already) or cinnamon bun. However, they are very, very hard to find. The best I ever had was on my honeymoon in NYC at this little pastry shop off of Amsterdam (I think it was Amsterdam, that or one block up towards the park). ANYWAY, my problem is the dough typically is to dry or tough, that is why I thought this dough would be so good for it. It is soft and gooey.

I was right, so very, very, very, right. These came out so soft, and tender and oooey and gooey…and well YUMMY. Joel ate 4 yesterday, and that was him restraining himself (how he stays so slender….it kills me).

If you just want to make the bread just follow the recipe, I will let you know when I break away from it to make the cinnamon rolls. If you want to make rolls as opposed to a loaf, I would try a muffin tin??? Just a thought.

1 package of yeast (2 ½ tsp of bulk yeast)
1 c. sugar
3 tbs of instant mashed potatoes (you read that right… just come on the ride with me folks… really)
2 c. of room temperature water

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, mix together and cover with tin foil with holes poked in it (it must have holes or you will have a mess on your hands). Let starter stand for at least 8 hours or up to 7 days.


1 c. of starter
½ c. of vegetable oil
¼ c. of Sugar
1 tbs salt
1.5 c. of water
6 c. of bread flour

Combine all in a pam sprayed bowl and mix well with bread kneader or hands (you might want to put some grease on your hands)
Cover with greased wax paper.
Let rise overnight.
Punch it down and divide into 2 loaf pans and let rise for 4 to 8 hours (this is where I break away for the buns go below)
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
When you take them out of the oven take the loaves immediately out of the pans and place on a bakers rack to cool.

For Buns

Filling (this is if you make the full dough recipe, it will make about 20-24 buns)
1 sticks of butter
2 cups brown sugar
1.5 cups of walnuts roughly chopped
2 tbs cinnamon ( I like a lot, but you can use less if you like)

After you punch dough down, still divide and take a coated rolling pin and roll out each of the two sections of dough.
Use half the filling for each and sprinkle over the rolled out dough. Then roll the roll up to from a long log (think jelly roll).
Cut in 1.5 sections and put in buttered baking dish. Let rise 4-8 hours.
Put a pat of butter on each bun and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until it begins to brown on top.

Immediately remove from baking dish and let cool on bakers rake.

Try not to eat them all at once.

And don't forget some ladies that have some pretty nice buns of their own...

Donna She just make a kielbasa soup that looks good… you know how this women loves some kielbasa and if you don’t… you need to go find out why…

Chef E Please go check out her Ethiopan dishes. Man alive!

Bunny Trails at

Friday, March 20, 2009

Asian Noodles on the Cheap

Over at the Alchemist Chef they are calling for some recession proof dinning. Seeing how I started family meals for less, (but never did much with it) I thought it was a great idea. Money is tight for some many of us, and the reality is you can still eat great food that is healthy on a dime. So for this post I also included the price of the items and the number of servings.

The other day the grocery store had a ton of veggies on sale and that is what inspired this. I think you could put any you like in (I thought asparagus and tomato would also be great)but this is what I did.

1 bunch of broccoli broken into small pieces ($1.65)
1 bag of matchstick carrots ($1.25)
1 zucchini (I used a peeler to ribbon mine, but you can chop it too) (.75)
1 bunch of green onion chopped (.75)
1 lb chicken (1.99 on sale, 3.99 otherwise)
1 package of soba noodles (1.75)
2 tbs sesame oil (.50?)
4 tbs soy sauce (.25?)
¼ c. of sweet chili sauce ($1)
Salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of red pepper
1 tbs olive oil

Serves 6
The total cost if you get the chicken on sale is $8.99 it is $10.99 otherwise

I started by seasoning the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper. I heated the oil and added the garlic to pan and cooked the chicken. Set aside and let it cool.

Meanwhile cook the soba noodles and drain.

Toss the soba with the vegetables and shred or chop the chicken and add. In a small bow add the sesame oil, soy and chili sauce and mix. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss.

Just a reminder, please stop by to see these blogs!!

Wonderings .
My Tasty Treasures
Chef E at Behind the Wheel Chef

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Springy Fried Wontons

I tell you, I love the first signs of spring. We got a really good dose back in the very beginning of March and then it got cold again. Finally, yesterday it was 70 degrees and lovely here after a long cold, wet spell. So what is a girl to do? Drinks on the patio!

Friends of our recently had a new baby (as opposed to the old kind???) and I called them up to see if they were up for venturing the block over to our house for snacks and drinks. I was particularly psyched they agreed to come because he is a really amazing photographer ( check out his blog here, there is some true food porn…if you are in to that sort of thing :) ) and I was hoping to pick his brain a bit. While I can find my way around the kitchen, I am totally lost with a camera in my hand. The more blogs I see the more I realize how woefully inadequate my pictures are!
For munchies I did some non-traditional wontons. I didn’t really write things down as I went (hey, the kids were sleeping so I was working against the clock!) but I will tell you what I did. I did two different types of wontons.
Chicken, Blue Cheese and Walnut
For this I took a pound of raw chicken breast, put it in the food processor, and added 2 shots of Pear Absolute and salt and pepper and processed. I then added about 1/3 c. of blue cheese and about the same of roasted walnuts. Then I just put a drop of the mixture into the middle of a wonton wrapper, pinched it together and fried, until golden. (Note: Do not to get the oil too hot otherwise you will have a black outside and raw inside. )
I will do these again, they were good, however next time I would also put some fresh pear in, it needed a bit more sweet for me.

St. Andre’ and Apple Butter

This was even easier, just put a small bit of the cheese in the middle of the wonton and a dab of apple butter pinch it together and then fry.
These were good, almost like dessert. I love cheese any sort of fruit concoction though. If you don’t, just do the cheese alone or the cheese and some fresh herb would also be wonderful.

It was a perfect way to end the day. The weather was wonderful, the children played and I got to enjoy some really wonderful company. God I love spring!

Just a reminder you need to get by to see Donna she has this stuffed flank steak that makes me want to weep.
Go by to Wonderings really, her most recent post might just be a “Ah Ha” moment for you too.
For a good drunk (Drunken Irish Hash) go and see Chef E . While you are there do NOT miss her March 14th post. I swear I drooled on my computer over that one.
Finally for more pictures of our wonderful evening go by Punch Photo

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Baked Chicken with Onions and Green Peppers and One Crazy Husband

So the other day my husband says to me, “Why don’t you ever make that chicken you used to with the caramelized onion and peppers and provolone?”

What the??? Damn it, Joel have you gotten into the bourbon again? I had NO idea what he was talking about. Really… not a clue. So a few days after that he decides to make dinner. It was nice, he used to cook a lot PK (pre-Kids). He is actually wonderful. He once made this filet with oranges and balsamic vinegar… sheesh… I digress , anyway, he cooked the other night. You will never guess what he made? Yep. Then while we were eating it he said, “Yeah, I remembered you didn’t make this I used to get it at the Depot Grill.”

I swear…men!! Anyway, there is not a lot of recipe to it. He sautéed 1 orange pepper ( you could use any color…go ahead get crazy) and 1 small onion, until they were nice and brown and caramelized. Meanwhile he heated some oil until smoking and put the chicken in (he had seasoned the chicken with  red pepper flake, garlic and salt) in and seared it, cooking about 3-5 minutes on each side. While doing all this he heated the oven to 350. Once the chicken was good and brown on the outside he put it in a pan topped it with the caramelized onions and green peppers, topped it with provolone and popped it in the oven for 10 minutes.

Man alive that was good. I mean good, it really was much better than it sounded to me, and it was nice to sit back and relax.

If you haven't (even if you have...) go by and see... really, just trust me!

Wonderings .
My Tasty Treasures
Chef E at Behind the Wheel Chef

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One Year of Bad Blogging at Mommy Gourmet???

There are so many things I manage to do okay. Take care of the house, keep the kids clean (reasonably), I am a good neighbor, usually a good wife and I am a pretty good friend. However, one thing I fall short on is being a great fellow blogger.

I love my blog. It is hard to explain, but my blog was born about the time I began to panic thinking…holy cow, I am done with having children (I think), and in a few short years mommy needs to figure out what I will be when I grow up. I thought WHAT am I really good at?? I felt, a little used up and like I would never amount to much outside of my four walls (strike the violins). Let me just regress, like every mother does when we say such a thing, I LOVE being a mom. I am privileged I got the opportunity to stay at home with y children. That said, I am apparently innately greedy and wanted to have accomplishments that were solely my own. Thus, Mommy Gourmet was born. Actually Novice Epicurean was born, but I didn’t like the name so it got switched.

I have gotten two things out of blogging (at least). First, it gave me something tangible, that was mine. Just mine. My thoughts, my inventions, my call. No having to consult and compromise. Good or bad it was all me. Plus it connected me to this whole world of super supportive people. I can’t tell you how many times I was having an awful day (translated into, baby just bit me and big brother just broke something…again) and would get a comment and it would make my day. Consequently it made me a better mom and wife.

However, the reality is I have two children 4 (3 when I started) and 18 months (a wee 6th months when I took this on), and if I get a blog posted everyday, it is amazing I was able to carve that time out. And for me, that can sometimes be the worst part about blogging. There are so many amazing blogs. I often fanaticize that when the kids are in school I will get to leisurely read and extensively comment on all these blogs I love. However, that leisure time, is just so limited right now. So when I get to one of my favorites I am typically a week or more behind and it takes me forever to get caught up (I hate feeling I missed out on anything… shut up Sondra). What this makes me is a bad blogger. The reality is blogging is a community and to get support you got to give it, but so often I don’t get to visit my favorite blogs as often as I wished (I wished daily but would settle for every couple days).

Deep breath. Exhale. So in the not to distant future I will be coming up on my one year anniversary of Mommy Gourmet. This has got me thinking I would like to do something to commemorate it. I was thinking a give away or such. I still might. However, what I really want to do, is give bit back to the bloggers that have supported me so much over the last year.

There is no order in which I will do this. My goal is to highlight 3-4 bloggers every week. I will post about you guys, throw a link to your site and update you on my blogroll (sorry I have been terrible about keeping that updated). For the week you are my bloggers of choice I will include a link to your site in each post I do.

I just want to give a little of the love and support I have gotten. This way even if I can’t visit your sites every day, I can throw some support your way.

So to kick things off……

I have to start with my very first follower. Bunny Trails at Wonderings . Her honesty and openness is addicting. One day I hope to get to actually meet her face to face (we live in the same city), as I am POSITIVE she is as utterly charming in real life as she is on her blog. So go check her out, you will be glad you did.

Next has to be Donna at My Tasty Treasures go on …go there now I will wait….. SEEE!!! Isn’t she a riot, and her food…ohh la la. The reality is she is a good blogger on so many levels. Her blog is one my favorites. She is make you laugh unti milk shoots out your nose, funny. However, even more, she supports her fellow bloggers amazingly. Honestly, read her blog, you will be glad you did.

Finally, Chef E at Behind the Wheel Chef she is a must see. She is witty and open and has amazing recipes and photos. She has been a real source of inspiration to me and encouragement.

So please take time and go check these site out. You will be happy you did. And don’t worry I will be doing this every week for awhile so just wait you will see yourself soon, and thanks for the support.

A.K.A Mommy Gourmet

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tuna with Corn Cucumber Mint Relish

As my husband noted, this recipe was very summery. Too bad, the weather had taken a cold turn and it was 40 degrees and rainy outside. Ahhh Virginia weather, I give up!

1-2 lbs tuna (4 tuna steaks)
1 cucumber chopped
½ red pepper chopped
½ c. corn
¼ onion chopped
1 tbs mint chopped
¼ c. rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper

Mix together and set aside for an hour. The longer the better though.

For the tuna, I seasoned it with salt and pepper and rubbed it with a bit of cut garlic. I heated about 2 tbs of olive oil and got it nice and hot. Then I laid the steak on and let it cook for about a minute on each side. At that point turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook for about 2 minutes each side (give or take on thickness and how done you like them).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pork Tenderlion and Asparagus

This pork recipe I came up with on the quick. I have to say the pork came out really well and the asparagus was wonderful!

2lb pork tenderloin
¼ cup olive oil
½ c. balsamic
½ tsp mustard
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper
one bunch of aspargus cleaned

Preheat oven to 350.

I love a mortar and pestle, they really amp up the flavors in herbs…especially ones that have been sitting on the shelf for a bit. I start by adding the Italian seasoning, salt, rosemary (I had fresh if you have dried use about a teaspoon) and salt. Use the pestle to grind the seasonings a bit. Add the oil and vinegar and set aside.

Salt and pepper the pork and lay the pork out in a baking dish. I surrounded the pork with asparagus. Poor the oil and vinegar over.

Put the pork in the oven and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes (will depend a bit on size of pork loin). Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ginger Shrimp Pasta

This recipe is a bit odd, but I do have to say came out really well. I will be making this pasta again. It all came about very haphazardly, I needed a quick dinner for that night, I saw the cilantro and that started it, I knew I had shrimp at home and that would be quick and I wanted something spicy. When I saw the coconut milk it all started to jell in my mind.

1/2 lb pasta
1 tbs oil
½ sweet onion
½ red pepper
2 small cans diced tomatoes
1 tbs ginger
2 tbs soy sauce
¼ c. red wine.
1 lb shrimp (cleaned, I used precooked because it is what I had, raw shrimp would be far better)
1 clove garlic
red pepper flakes to taste (I used about ¼ tsp)
½ bunch chopped cilantro
½ can coconut milk

Add oil to skillet and heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.

Meahwhile, put pasta on to boil.

Add the tomatoes, ginger, soy, red peppers and wine and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile coat the shrimp in salt and red pepper flakes.

Once pasta is done, drain and set aside.

Add shrimp and cook and additional 5-7 minutes. Add cilantro and coconut milk cook 2-3 more

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Bit Blogged Down

This was an interesting week here. Wednesday was Tristan’s Birthday and we took him to sled in the first decent snow of his four years. Saturday was his party where family came to wish him happy birthday, and it was 80 degrees and sunny. Go figure.

I got a little off track with cooking. For his birthday, Tristan wanted Mac and Cheese, and so that is what he got.

For dessert I made him cupcakes. I cheated a bit and used a box for the cake but I made the cream filling and icing. He tried so hard to keep them away from his sister,

and like most women, she found a way of getting what she wanted.

On the day of his party he had fun playing on a new (to us that is) swing set….mostly assembled,

and his sister was a perfect angel (obligatory halo included).

We had pizza (per the birthday boys request) and cake on the patio and good time was had by all.

Luckily for Mommy and Daddy we got to go to a friends house for an AMAZING dinner that night and amidst the chaos of that day it was a wonderful thing to look forward to.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Apple and Blue Cheese Coleslaw

In my mind this started as pear, blue cheese and walnut coleslaw, but something happened. The first, and most idiotic thing, was I simply forgot to ask hubby to get walnuts at the market. The second, my husband picked the very best pears the store had to offer and by golly you could play baseball with them. They were little and hard and I wasn’t about to use them. Luckily he got some wonderful cameo apples so I developed a plan B. I still want to try this with the pears, but that is forItalic another day. However, the other thought I had was that it would be great with some pineapple and cilantro… just a thought folks.

1 bag of the coleslaw mix by fresh express (or about ¼- ½ a cabbage shredded and one carrot)
1 apple cut into small pieces
3 heavy tablespoons of blue cheese crumbled
2 tablespoons minced onion
5 sliced of bacon cooked and chopped
½ cup mayo
¼ white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
¼ c. sunflower seeds
Salt and heavy pepper

Mix all ingredients and let set for 1 hour.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Italian Espresso Chocolate Brownies Sans the Espresso

I found these brownies on Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice
and knew right away I had to make them. We recently had our outstanding neighbors over for dessert and drinks and I knew I would try these out on them (poor guinea pigs!). It really was the prefect excuse (shut up! I hear the sniggering… I know I have never required an excuse before). I love baked goods… I really, really do. I ADORE brownies. These were hands down the best I ever had. I did not have instant espresso, so I opted not to use it. Instead I added 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips. Also I baked mine in a 8 x 11 and mine baked for about 55 minutes. They likely COULD have cooked a bit longer but I loved how soft and gewy they came out.

Please note Cinnamon and Spice indicated on the blog that these were adapted from Tyler Florence
Stirring the Pot page 200. I need to get that cookbook I think! I stole the recipe word for world off her blog. I also have to say her pictures are far better, and she has so many other lovely things so go check out her blog


2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon Instant Italian Espresso dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water or 2 tablespoons Amaretto
1 and 1/2 cups chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 by 9 square baking pan (again I jused a 8 x11) with parchment paper, making sure paper hangs over the edges. Grease paper with butter ( I was a real slacker here and used a heavy hand of cooking spray) so the brownies don't stick. Melt butter and chocolate over a double-boiler and stir gently until smooth and shiny. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk together eggs, sugar and Espresso in a mixing bowl until combined.

Pour in chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until combined.

Gradually add flour mixture, then add walnuts (this is where I added the chocolate chips) and incorporate with a wooden spoon. Transfer batter to baking pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the pan. When done, invert onto a cutting board, remove paper and cut into squares

I simply have to say one more time that these were just… beyond words. I will be making these again and soon. And I really want to find some espresso powder now too, because I suspect they might border on nirvana with it.

Again, thank you a million times over Cinnamon and Spice and you guys go give her some love!