Tag Archives: fire and wine

Fire & Wine: On a diet, but not diet food

I’m so over diet food.

Ok, sure I just wolfed down a burrito made of meatless meat, but I didn’t consider it “cooking.” It was just something I ate for dinner so that I could justify the tater tots I stole off my friend, Jimmy’s plate at lunch. But when it comes to food and real cooking, I don’t think you have to sacrifice to eat well. And I decided to prove it this week.

When I saw Elise at Simply Recipes Sea Scallops with Asparagus Sauce, I knew it would be the perfect Fire & Wine on-a-diet meal. Served with crusty whole wheat bread and a fresh  salad, it satisfied every craving — creamy, rich, decadent, crunchy, savory and tangy (salad dressing with fresh lemon.)

But the key to this dish is finding good scallops. Now here in the Midwest, that’s easier said than done. But I knew I could count on my friends at Hen House Market to find some good ones.

So I tweeted http://twitter.com/henhousemarket and within a few hours, I was deciding between U10 (10 scallops per pound) and U12 (12scallops per pound.) I went with the larger variety, because larger is always better.

[Insert “That’s What She Said” joke here.]

But seriously, just look at these scallops.

Another secret: my fabulous cast iron skillet. Getting it hot enough to create a crunchy sear gave these even more texture and body.

(Wow, that burrito I just ate seems really lame right now.)

I’m sorry, but I just had to throw in another picture of the scallops.

So the final secret is not crowding the pan. I cooked these in two batches and we each had three (and trust me, that was plenty.)

We had an extra special guest this week, so there were four of us total.

Now, I will admit, the asparagus sauce is very….green.

I think as a culture we are a little leery of green mushy foods.

But I know that anything Elise makes can’t be anything short of awesome.  But I did add a clove of garlic to it, because I love garlic and I just thought it would enhance the sauce.

I also subtracted a tablespoon of butter. So we could have a glass of wine with it. (duh.)

But that sauce was fantastic. And the crusty bread was put to use as a vessel for the sauce. All in all, a fantastic meal. Special thanks to DD Girl for footing the bill this time. She decided Fire & Wine would be her treat. I think it was a wise investment…


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F&W Night: Comfort food Italian Style

There was a lovely chill in the air last night which was great because it totally justified my rustic Italian comfort food menu for Fire & Wine night.

As always, it was a chance for me to push myself to try something new – in this case, something baked. (gasp!)  I’ve said it before (#52 in things about me) I don’t bake. I think most of that stems from the fact that baking requires you to actually measure, oh and it’s usually sweet stuff, right?

Well, I absolutely couldn’t resist this savory  Crisp Rosemary Flatbread as posted by uber food blogger, Smitten Kitchen who got the recipe out of an issue of Gourmet. It looked just good enough to lift my baking ban and go for it. I’m so glad I did. They were wonderful. I actually made two batches – I left a little bit of salt out on the second batch. (Also, I managed to get flour all over my cute black button-up shirt, yet another reason why baking is so not me.)

IMG_0954I served the bread with baby arugula dressed with a simple mix of olive oil and juice from 1.5 lemons (next time, I’d just use one.) And of course, salt and pepper. (No pepper for DD Girl. She’s strange and doesn’t like it. While it pains me, I keep pepper out of her food.)

The pasta carbonara was from Giada’s Everyday Pasta. It was pretty simple:

 6 ounces of pancetta

2 ounces of bacon

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

18 ounces of fresh linguine

2 cups of cream

1.5 cups of parm

6 egg yolks

salt and pepper

I just chopped all the meat and put it in a pan and let it cook until crispy. Then I added the cinnamon(ok, I told DD girl to do that b/c I was fussing with my lemon dressing.) Then I whisked together the cream, eggs and parm. Only, I didn’t have enough cream (just a little more than a cup), so I added some pasta water to it and it seemed to work fine and poured all of that in the same pan as the bacon. Once the fresh linguine was finished (so fast!  3 minutes.), I tossed it into the sauce.


 Giada said to top it with chives, but I didn’t have any, so I used fresh basil. 

Also, the cinnamon added a whole new complexity to this dish. I highly recommend it. DD Girl and Roomie both really enjoyed it. The fiance (who amused me by sitting by himself in the dining room while the three of us girls sat on the couch) liked it too, but not so much the overly lemoned arugula salad.

C‘est la vie.

Wait. Why am I accesorizing this post with French? It was an Italian meal.  Oh crap.


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