Pappardelle ~ Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint, Saffron Cream

Pappardelle with Saffron Cream
Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint

  • Our 5 Star Makeover Cooking Club is featuring apples for the fabulous September event.
  • My family and friends are celebrating the Jewish New Year 5773. And I’m thinking about noodle kugel. Kugel is a sweet Jewish casserole. I bake mine with egg noodles, golden raisins, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and apples. I was also thinking about my saffron matzoh balls…
  • My little guy Wilson needed some tests. When I dropped him off, his awesome veterinarian gave me a big basket of fresh figs from her garden.

These three events cosmically intertwined. Apples & figs collided with noodles & saffron. And the result was a delightful vegetarian pasta with a luxurious saffron cream sauce. It was an exotic marriage of sweet & savory, creamy & crunchy. The colors were glorious ~ golden yellow saffron, pale green granny smith apples, pink salmon-hued figs, and bright green mint.

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Construction Dinner

Orecchiette, Avocado Pasta Sauce
Orecchiette with Warm Avocado Cream

The dilemma was how to add more kitchen counter space for prepping, cooking, and cleaning while keeping the integrity of the 1951 style, leaving the character of the original design unchanged without knocking out any walls. My friend Kirk had a brilliant idea to convert the adjacent room, which had been used as a bar, into an extension of the kitchen.

My home is a unique style for Southern California, the charming Cape Cod is an East Coast design – a style adapted to the stormy New England weather. Common features include: a steep sloping roof, chimney with fireplace, dormers, multi-pane double hung windows, shutters, constructed of wood and covered in wide clapboard, having a symmetrical appearance with the door in center, center-hall floor plan, and hardwood floors.

This remodeled room may have originally been designed for use as a breakfast nook sixty years ago. Now, it is an extension of the cooking area, with a stainless steel sink and 9 extra feet of counter space!

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5 Fabulous Bloggers: Proud Italian Cook

Proud Italian Cook, Window Pane Pasta

Windowpane Pasta with Basil Pesto
Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes & Tiny Cubes of Fresh Mozzarella

Hi everyone, it’s me Marie, from Proud Italian Cook, I’m excited to be guest posting here today for my friend Lori Lynn. I was honored when she asked me along with four other bloggers to be a part of her fifth year anniversary celebrating her exquisite blog Taste With The Eyes.

Lori Lynn and I both started our blogs back in 2007, and since then I have had the pleasure of meeting her in person and sharing a fabulous meal with her and her wonderful family here in Chicago. I’ve always said to Lori Lynn from day one, that she couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name for her blog.

Taste With The Eyes is a visual feast, from the moment you arrive you’re instantly drawn in by all her gorgeous photos, her fabulous food and glorious surroundings, and every time I leave here I feel like I’ve just experienced fine dining at it’s best and can’t wait to come back!

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Linguini, Smoky Avocado Sauce, Black Beans, Lime

avocado pasta

Linguini, Grilled Avocado Sauce with Lime & Cilantro
Topped with Black Beans, Red Onion & Serrano

Been seeing the avocado puréed, and used as a sauce or dressing a lot lately? I sure have. With pasta, as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad, as a substitute for hollandaise with fresh fish or vegetables. Great heart-healthy ideas all!

Here, I take flavors that pair well with avocado such as lime, green chile, red onion, cilantro, black beans…and re-mix them into a refreshing green pasta dish. And by adding one more layer of flavor – smoke – the silky sauce takes on another dimension. Lime juice keeps it bright, and serrano kicks up the heat. It’s a healthy pasta fiesta!

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Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Baby Candy Stripe Beet Fettuccine, Beet Syrup

Fresh Egg Fettuccine with Braised Red Cabbage, Red Onion, Roasted Red Beet
Red Wine Butter Sauce & Beet Syrup
Thyme-Scented Baby Candy Stripe Beet with Fresh Chervil

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t toss those adorable blushing baby candy stripe beets into the pasta. Their charm would have been sadly lost. So the thyme-scented little chioggias were simply sliced in half and arranged around the pasta, with the most incredible concentrated beet syrup, and dainty little sprigs of fresh chervil.

We’re celebrating betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their fantastic color, which also happens to be a powerful antioxidant. Candy Beet Fettuccine is the second course in a striking beet-centric vegetarian meal prepared for the 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group’s monthly challenge featuring the BEET. It joins first course, Baby Golden Beet Salad, in a color competition, posted yesterday here. Red, pink, or gold?

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Lobster & Okra Fettuccine, Spicy Gumbo Sauce

Lobster & Okra Fettuccine, Gumbo Sauce
Maine Lobster & Homemade Pickled Okra
Tossed with Fresh Fettuccine
Spicy Gumbo Sauce
Ground Sassafras & Celery Leaf Garnish

Lobster & Okra Fettuccine, Gumbo Sauce
Will you be entertaining anytime soon? May I suggest this dish as a pasta or main course, it’s a show stopper. A twist on Louisiana’s gumbo, but with fettuccine and pickled okra. The depth and complexity of the gumbo sauce made from a golden brown roux will WOW your guests, as, of course, will generous morsels of fresh Maine lobster. Pickled okra counterbalances with a refreshing zing. Those not too fond of okra will be impressed, there is none of that usual slipperiness.

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