When I was a kid I loved pasta night because it meant that I could take a raw piece of pasta and act like it was a cigarette.
I liked doing this with other things like straws, Fun Dip and Pocky. Even to this day, that is one of the first things I think of when I remove raw pasta from its container…me fake-smoking.
Anyway, pasta for Valentine’s Day is a gigantic no-brainer because it’s the easiest thing to throw together. While bolognese takes about an hour to simmer, this sauce takes minutes. This sauce, if anything, almost goes too fast so you’ll need to prep all of your ingredients before you get started.
So, usually in, oh I dunno mid-January, is when everything on Pinterest begins to be heart-shaped and red. Pancakes, jell-o, cookies, meringues, you name it. And every single time, my internal knee-jerk reaction is to whisper:
“DIE DIE DIE DIE”
I can’t help it. I’m just not a huge fan of Valentine’s day, but over the years I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be a lame holiday. There are tons of ways to have a perfectly enjoyable Valentine’s Day without it being dumb and annoying.
First step: Don’t buy champagne (grocery stores usually mark it up during V-Day anyway). Drink a pét-nat instead. Or beer. I love beer.
Third step: If you’re going to buy the cheesy candy from the drug store, buy it the day after when it’s 50% off. Duh.
I spent the long holiday doing all sorts of exciting things like making sweet corn custard and binge-watching Cesar Milan, which has made me realize that perhaps I’m not what he calls “pack leader.” It’s a devastating realization, actually. I’m guessing it feels similarly when your kid tells you to “shut up, mom” in front of other people. I’m not sure what to do with my beast of a child but this week I’ve vowed to be “calm and assertive”—not my best attributes.
In other news, there’s this perfect summer lunch or dinner. And a giveaway! First, let’s talk about the recipe.
Chicken Milanese might be one of my favorite quick meals EVER! The chicken is pounded to be super thin and then dipped in light, panko bread crumbs. The chicken is pan-fried in a pretty small amount of oil, resulting in delicious, crispness. The salad that usually accompanies chicken milanese is pretty normal; usually some sort of lettuce. Instead of going the ol’ normal route, which I’ll admit is also delicious, I wanted to do something a little bit different.
Watermelon radishes are maybe the most beautiful radish in existence. If the season’s change, or if you can’t find watermelon radishes, feel free to swap them out with another type of radish. Watermelon radishes are mild in flavor–just a little bit spicy, so they’re perfect to eat all on their own. I mixed in a bit of flat-leaf parsley and fresh tarragon for added flavor (I love tarragon and chicken together!). The whole salad is tossed in a easy combo of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Super simple.
It’s no secret that I adore Le Creuset products so it was no surprise that I loved this 3 quart sauté pan. The pan is light yet sturdy and conducts and spreads heat evenly resulting in chicken that’s perfectly cooked.
No matter who you are, you’ll like this recipe. You’ll LOVE this recipe if:
A. You grew up in the 90s and used to go to TGIFridays with your friends where you’d eat appetizers only.
B. You and your parents would go out to dinner at Olive Garden and you’d order fried calamari and the tentacles would terrify you, but you’d still play with them and give them voices.
C. If you went to Macaroni Grill and loved drawing (borderline offensive) things on the paper tablecloths in crayon.
I know I just described my 12 year old self here but I also did all of these things in college, too. Very little spiritual growth happened for me during that time.
I’m not sure if I’ve told you this but I’ve been on this six-week transformation thingy and it’s almost over. It has required that I workout nearly six days a week, which I actually enjoy, and eat a diet full of healthy, non-fun things, which I clearly do not enjoy.
Of course I’ve cheated here and there because food is what I do and it’s hard, man. I’ve learned on this six-week journey that food for me is so social and emotional and in a way, not to sound cheesy, so heavily tied into my everyday life. So, it’s been hard, but I feel healthy and strong, which was my goal from the very beginning.
Last week I made this pasta and ate an entire bowl; as I sat there eating gluten, I thought about how happy pasta makes me. Ahh! I was cheating but I didn’t care. Arugula pesto with walnuts and goat cheese and Spring-y fava beans with salty prosciutto is seriously what makes me happy.
What’s good about this pasta is that it’s relatively light pasta. It’s Spring-y, snappy and doesn’t give you that heavy feeling that’s often associated with meat-based sauces.
Yesterday I asked the question: “What’s your favorite Winter meal?” The answers have been so fun to read through and I’ve gotten so many new ideas as to what to cook for the remainder of this season.
This plate of awesomeness you see pictured is my favorite Winter meal. It’s filling, rich and so so good. Bolognese will forever be my favorite thing to eat on a cold night. It never isn’t satisfying to me. This rendition highlights cremini mushrooms, which give it a nice earthiness and meatiness.
For the recipe and other stuff, head over to The Mushroom Channel’s blog. (Throughout the year I’ll be sharing some other recipes I created for them featuring our favorite ingredient…mushrooms!)
How 80s is the word “stroganoff”? True story: I was raised in a household where my mom didn’t really make many American-style dinners. There were maybe two on the roaster. One was broccoli cheese casserole, which my mom learned how to make from the side of a soup can, and still ’til this day holds a very tender spot in my heart. The second American-style dish was beef stroganoff. Oh man, we didn’t have it all the time but whenever we did I was soooo pumped that I barely wanted to eat lunch just to be sure I’d have enough room to eat a lot of it.
Beef stroganoff is not something I’d normally make at home, if I’m being honest. It’s a bit too heavy for me, but this mushroom iteration—with crème fraîche, a splash of balsamic vinegar served over egg noodles—is perfect for when you want a bowl of warm awesomeness to hug you, but you want to skimp on the beef. It’s also the ideal dinner you can make in 16 minutes or less.
For the full recipe and more pictures, jump over to PBS!
Next week is Valentine’s Day. Will I make more pink food? Will I make dinner for one?
Who knows! Check in next week to find out. I’m excited.
I was first attracted to this restaurant by its name, specifically the “snack” part. The child in me has always been obsessed with snacks. Superba does have a selection of snacks on the menu, but this restaurant does so many things well, specifically pasta.
Italian classics are given new, adventurous twists. The smoked bucatini carbonara is mind blowing. Honestly, when I had smoked pasta for the first time my mind was a bit blown. Superba’s cold smoked carbonara might be my favorite preparation of the dish to date. And their friend chicken is hand down my number one fried chicken in all of Los Angeles. If you’re familiar with Korean fried chicken (my fav out of all the fried chicken genres), then you’ll love this. It’s crispy, sweet and a little spicy. I could write an entire dissertation on my love of Korean fried chicken, which I won’t because were here to talk about chocolate pasta, which is equally as exciting.
Last year I went to Superba with a group of friends and the dish that caught my dessert-loving eye was the chocolate pasta. I suggested it and everyone had a bit of a brattitude about it. The pasta sounded “too weird,” “too strange,” but when it arrived at the table, it became the instant favorite.
While chocolate pasta might sound a bit brand new, perhaps even a bit weird, Chef Nerroni explained that it’s actually very traditional. Chocolate pasta first originated in Sicily after the Moors occupied the island. They had in their arsenal culinary gold: chocolate.
As many of you know, Marcella Hazan passed away last week. One of the first cookbooks I ever owned was her Essentials of Italian Cooking. I’m pretty sure I was around 11 or so when my uncle gifted it to me, but I didn’t cook from it until years later.
It was Christmas and I thought it was a genius idea to throw a Feast of the Seven Fishes, and cook every.single.dish myself. I was an ambitious and totally naive party-thrower. To no surprise, I was a dang hot mess. There was cursing, there was a burn or two, there was lots of sweating and when I ended up with gummy, overcooked risotto, there were tears.
Last week was the first time I tried her recipe since I was a teenager and to no surprise it totally worked. I followed her words, her ratios and stirred. And then stirred some more. About 30 minutes later, I was met with creamy perfection.
This recipe is the perfect base recipe for risotto. Puree some butternut squash and throw it in it. Add some meat or fish or vegetables. Or you can add more cheese and call it a day.
This is a story about a girl and dinner…and how she never cooks it.
This may come as a shock but after cooking for this space and doing my freelance stuff, the last place I want to be (usually) is in the kitchen washing dishes. Cooking is never really the deterrent, but the dishes keep me away. And plus, it’s so nice to go out and about sometimes. But recently, all I’ve wanted to do is cook dinner. It also helps that Josh does the dishes. Teamwork is pretty chill.
A few weeks ago I went to my neighborhood grocery store and picked up a few ingredients for an impromptu bolognese with some ground lamb I already had in the fridge. I kind of thought nothing of it, in fact I actually fell asleep midway through because I was coming down with a cold. I came this close to burning it AND the house down, but luckily I didn’t and I’m alive to share this recipe with you, because it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve made in quite some time, so said Josh.