Howdy, howdy! I’ve missed you, bloglets. Here is the 30-second update: we stopped playing Fantasy TCAS because I was kicking my hubby’s ass so badly (and relatedly, that Target challenge was el stupido), I’ve been to Winston-Salem and back TWICE over the past two weeks, and now we are in NYC for the long weekend (thanks, dead Presidents).
In an effort to get back in the swing of things, I figured I’d write up this recipe while looking at the snow fall over Manhattan. This is a nice winter dish, since the warm pasta is so comforting and it’s relatively easy to find golden beets (they had them aplenty at my local Whole Foods, where I was accosted by another shopper who wanted to know what they were and what I was going to do with them). Husband and I both wished there were more greens in the dish – like all greens, they cook down a ton – but otherwise we really enjoyed the meal. You could make the dish with regular beets, but the end result will be very pink pasta.
Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and onions to same skillet and sauté until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until onions are tender and browned, about 30 minutes longer. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.Meanwhile, cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve, passing additional cheese.
Okay, I know I am terribly behind in terms of Top Chef - last week’s Italian-themed episode didn’t really leave me with a whole lot to talk about (I just thought it was a lackluster elimination challenge, and don’t even get me STARTED on that ridiculous quickfire), and I couldn’t keep the ol’ eyelids open long enough to watch last night’s episode. I’ll get right on that.
In the meantime, how about a recipe fit for Valentine’s Day? Yes, I think V-Day is stupid (you should tell your loved ones how you feel about them as much as possible, not just on some arbitrary day in the lamest month imaginable), but I’ve had this truffle recipe sitting in the hopper since Christmas, so what better time to bust it out than when the store shelves are already filled with candies and chocolates galore?
Truffle-making is supposed to be pretty easy, so I thought I’d up the ante by using a Cooking Light recipe. Nothing tends to screw up a good thing like making it healthier, right? In any case, they WERE pretty easy to make, but I certainly didn’t get them 100% right on the first try. The flavor was great (I used high-quality chocolate, which I’m sure made a difference), and the texture was fine (they weren’t gritty or grainy, despite the lack of tons of full-fat dairy), but they got REALLY hard while in the fridge. Like, hard to the point where I couldn’t scoop or shape them. So, I wound up with a bunch of oddly-shaped little brown things – my husband, the guinea pig, said that they tasted good but that they looked disturbingly like what our dog deposits in the grass every day (thus, no photo). Not the high praise I was hoping for.
I’m going to try them again, this time chilling them for about half the time. If anyone tries this in the near future, let me know how it goes.
Combine brown sugar, milk, cane syrup, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and vanilla extract. Add chocolates; let stand 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Pour into a shallow dish; cover and chill 4 hours. Heat a tablespoon measure with hot water; pat dry. Scoop chocolate mixture with spoon; dip in cocoa. Roll into balls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
I try to keep a can of pumpkin puree in the pantry at all times. For pumpkin pie? Nope. For my dog. Yes, my health-conscious pit bull LOVES him some pumpkin. He also loves sweet potatoes and squash (all varieties, but I suspect his favorite is butternut), for what it’s worth. At least SOMEONE in our house gets excited about winter produce.
When I saw this recipe in one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks, I knew that the pupster was going to (temporarily) give up his pumpkiny treats – that can of puree was going to be sacrificed for delicious enchiladas. They couldn’t be easier, and they were absolutely bursting with flavor. For the roast chicken, you can use any recipe you like, or you can use a store-bought rotisserie bird. I opted to keep the seeds in the jalapeno, and I used a “Mexican” shredded cheese blend that I happened to have on hand. The result was a spicy, rich, satisfying meal that took practically no time to put together (I had roasted the chicken the day before). I hope you enjoy!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a blender, puree pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold top firmly as blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. Lay tortillas on work surface; mound chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese.
Place dish on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.