Prosciutto, Tomato and Olive Spaghetti

I sure picked a heck of a week to do 4 recipes! Of course, the cooking is a welcome distraction. I found out Monday that our 16 year old cat, Ophelia, has hyperthyroid disorder and Diabetes. Now that our son is starting to crawl with confidence around the house, I may have to give the cat injections 2 times a day. It won’t come to that I hope. I found a natural, holistic treatment for the diabetes. We’re changing her diet completely and  she is on thyroid medication. Geez! If it isn’t one of us sick…. Got to stop this cycle.

The week started out with so much promise on Sunday too! We actually followed through on our threat to stop shopping at Whole Foods and get all of our produce (at the least) from a Farmer’s Market. Why we chose the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, I’ll never know. It’s just as exciting and crazy as you would think! 

When we arrived, we realized that we had forgotten bags. Novices! I just threw all of our purchases in the basket of the stroller. The market was so huge, it encompassed 4 blocks (2 blocks of Ivar and one block in either direction of Ivar). And it took us a full hour and a half to navigate the course of stands. And of course, just outside, in full hipster/1920’s garb, The California Feetwarmers, an old timey band.  If you live in LA or ever visit,  the Hollywood Farmer’s Market really is something to experience. Open on Sundays. More info here

On to the first dish of the week, Prosciutto, Tomato and Olive Spaghetti. Don’t let the simplicity of the title fool you, this is not your momma’s spaghetti, unless your momma is an Italian cook who is used to slaving over the oven, “just to get you to eat! You look so skinny!” Or unless you are my son. 

On a side note, my son really likes it when we have spaghetti. He thinks it’s hysterical how the noodles get sucked up into the mouth. I’m sure this isn’t a unique phenomenon, just a very cute one. One of the best sounds in the world is the laughter of a baby. 

I digress. This recipe involves mincing garlic and cubing tomatoes. Things I find very tedious when I am cooking. Of course they always pay off, but still. It takes for EVER! My husband kept the little one occupied while I made dinner. I used Mrs. Lapeer’s corn pasta as corn pasta is the closest in texture and taste to wheat pasta. If you feel better about using brown rice pasta and don’t mind the texture, by all means, try it! 

And after all that marketing, I got home minus two of the ingredients for 2 dishes. So the spaghetti was made without shallots. I couldn’t tell the difference, though I’m sure it would have only enhanced the dish.

After all that going on about how much work it is, it really is delicious. The first of the recipes that I’ve made of my Pinterest board that I really like.  I shouldn’t say that either because I have now made 3 batches of the Salty Bourbon Squares. They are quite good. Time to get my hubby some more bourbon though. 

My husband’s reaction to the spaghetti  was “This tastes like something I would order in a restaurant!” Which is great! New dish that I would incorporate into our regulars? Sure! Though not too much and next time I make it, I would use canned tomatoes. 

Tonight, I hope to make the steak rolls. Looks to be another “easy” recipe. (Read with extreme sarcasm.)  Until then, here’s a shot of the spaghetti from Monday night.

Until next time! Image

Walnut Jam Scones

Life has once again gotten in the way of writing… though nothing as dramatic as being hospitalized. I have missed two weeks of blogging and cooking/baking. I will just have to make up for it by doing 4 recipes in the next week!

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking and baking this whole time. I have! Some new recipes and some of my classics. I even dabbled with a BabyCakes NYC recipe for my son’s 1st birthday: gluten-Free and sugar-free carrot cupcakes. I know what you’re thinking. It does sound awful! But my husband and son both enjoyed them. Cake Smash pictures are soon to be scheduled.

On to the topic of the Walnut Jam Scones from Huckleberry in Santa Monica, Ca. My best friend is a fan so I thought that these would be perfect to make for her birthday. Her husband threw her a surprise tea party with several of her closest friends and asked me to contribute something. I brought these scones.

I mixed them in the morning. Froze them in a pyrex pan lined with wax paper and then baked them in the afternoon! Super easy and very nice with all that tea! Just follow the directions. I liked that I didn’t feel like I had to have special equipment or know certain terminology. They just seemed to materialize perfectly. The ladies at the party also enjoyed them. This isn’t always the case with gluten free baking. One friend even took one home for her husband. Nice!

I would totally make these again. You should try them too. I used the Bronski flour mix, again adding a lot extra because this is a butter heavy recipe. Just add gluten free flour until it is smooth and sticks together well like a nice scone batter should. And do work it with your hands! I used a pastry knife and it totally made the butter disappear into the dough. Might have been even better the way the recipe told me to make them. Rats! I’ll try it next time.

I am thinking since I’ve baked a lot I should cook a lot more this week.  So, to start I’m going to make Prosciutto, Tomato and Olive Spaghetti, Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls , Chile Relleno Grilled Cheese and Carmel-Glazed Apple Bread. Whew! I have got to go grocery shopping… and drink some wine.

The pictures from the Walnut Jam Scones are below. Enjoy!

After Freezing

After Freezing

prepping for baking

prepping for baking

Done baking

Done baking

Scrumptious!

Scrumptious!

The spread at the tea party

The spread at the tea party

 

Salty Bourbon Squares

As I perused the My Pinnable Kitchen Board trying to decide which recipe to do next, I came across the Salty Bourbon Squares. What a perfect way to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary than by stealing 2 tablespoons of my husband’s good bourbon…er. Well, he likes bourbon anyway and I am pretty sure he likes chocolate chip cookies too, so, perfect!

The blog that this recipe comes from, The Vanilla Bean Blog, is quite funny! If you have children, you will relate and have a giggle too. The photos are also quite beautiful. Really great blog!

This recipe was SUPER simple. I made it during one of my son’s naps. If you’re a parent you know that the time a child is napping is precious and fleeting and sometimes endless. But you usually have to be somewhere at a certain time after said nap. So the fact that I started AND finished this recipe during a nap says something.

I think that there is one reason why I don’t usually make everything I pin. I usually don’t have the exotic ingredients that I need. This recipe is one that I didn’t attempt before because I didn’t have Fluer de Sel. It’s an ingredient that is easy enough to get ahold of; it’s just rather expensive and you never know when you’ll need to use it again. Of course, I suppose, you could use it instead of regular salt.

Wow! I just googled what Fluer de Sel is. It’s hand harvested French salt! No wonder it’s $13 for 4.4 ounces! Well, the French do know cooking. And it was worth buying for this one recipe. I will be making it again.

Just from the pictures, you can tell that it was delicious. I have already had Facebook requests for one.

The one issue that I had was with the chocolate. Even though I followed the directions of the recipe and let the sugar and butter mixture cool before adding the egg/bourbon mixture (which didn’t curdle in the sugar), when I added the chocolate, it melted into the batter. As I was mixing it in, a few of the chips (I didn’t have time to cut up a chunk of chocolate) melted! I never thought that it would turn out a lighter brown color, but it did.

I also used the Bronski Gluten Free flour mix. I find that in most recipes, you can substitute the gluten free flour 1:1 unless the recipe is butter heavy. If there is a lot of butter, as there was in this recipe, I always add the gluten free flour at about 1.5:1 ratio, or heap tablespoons full in until the batter looks and/or feels the right consistency. In this case, I figured that since it is a giant casserole cookie (pedestrian term),  the batter needed to look like cookie batter.  This worked out perfectly!

The smell of chocolate chip cookies wafted into the nursery and I knew that we weren’t going to be able to wait on this treat for another day.  I took some to my best friend, whose in-laws are visiting. They all enjoyed. I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe.

Below are the pictures.  This week, I’m making Walnut Jam Scones for my Bestie’s birthday since she and her husband are such fans of Milo & Olive in Santa Monica.

Until then!

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Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake

As I promised, I did make the Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake (<—–recipe link) two weeks ago. We went on a family vacation to Solvang, California with my husband’s family. It just so happened that the second night we were there was my mother-in-law’s birthday, (to avoid any ill feelings, I will keep my M-I-L’s age a secret.  She doesn’t look her age anyway. She looks years younger!) But she, and especially our niece and nephew, LOVE cheesecake. I thought it was the perfect time to try the recipe out on the family.

Making the cake was fairly easy, though I always find making cheesecakes a bit labor intensive. That may be because of my tiny kitchen.  Also, I find that you need to have all the right kitchen gear or it will take an age to get the ingredients ready to combine, much less figure out which pan you’re going to use.  Proper gear is key! You’ll need a 4″ deep springform pan and zester for this one.

When buying the ingredients, you find out why cheesecakes go for upwards of $45 (or $8 a slice!). If you buy high quality ingredients, and who wouldn’t for a birthday cake, plan on spending around $65. While we’re on the topic of ingredients, I substituted the cream cheese with a lower fat European style cream cheese called Neufchatel.  It worked really well in the recipe.  Also, as promised, I used gluten free graham cracker crumbs, by Kinnikinnick.

The recipe at one point tells you to “take half of the batter and add lemon juice, lemon zest and blackberries.” A process which was difficult because I had to eyeball what a half of the batter was. I think I added the fruity ingredients to slightly more than half of the batter. I was a bit nervous how it would turn out but the end result proved that I need not have worried.

I served up the cheesecake and well, it must have been good because the room fell silent for a while. You know it’s good when a 5 year old and an 8 year old are quiet because they are stuffing their faces! 🙂 There was so much that there were enough for seconds the next night!

While I really liked the cheesecake, it was a bit rich. (My mother-in-law suspected that the richness caused her to become ill later that night 😦  Not a happy birthday for her! ) I quite liked the blackberry and lemon layer of the cheesecake, but found that the plain layer lacked flavor. But on the whole a great recipe!

Next up, Salty Bourbon Squares to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary! Until then, please enjoy the pictures of my first fault-line free cheesecake 🙂

See you soon!

Right before digging in:

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Right after digging in:

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Fresh out of the oven:

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