Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Updates, Plans and Issues, Oh my!

My husband (The Babe) was nagging me about my lack of posting the other day. Although I don't know why, since my readership at this point consists entirely of him and my mother-in-law. However, to placate the clamoring crowds, here I am.

I really haven't been in the kitchen much the last couple of weeks. Life has been keeping us very busy, running hither and yon. Just where is yon, by the way? North of hither? South? Wonder where that particular phrase came from...but I digress. The last meal we actually cooked was last Saturday, when we had MIL(mother-in-law) over for a slightly belated birthday dinner. It was very simple, some balsamic BBQ chicken (recipe I will plagiarize, er, post further down), some roasted potato wedges and a nice green salad. I did bake some cheesecake brownies for dessert, the recipe for which I won't foist upon you, because they were singularly unspectacular. If I'd had a working set of frontal lobes, I would have used the recipe I'd seen over on Smitten Kitchen.

Sad to say most of our meals have come from a restaurant of late. A result of our sometimes too hectic lives. That and let's face it: we're lazy. But an attempt will be made tonight to remedy some of that, as I am planning a dinner of my old favorite stand by, Garlic and Oil Pasta. I found this recipe many many years ago in a cookbook by Nick Stellino, and although slightly adapted by me over the years, it has become a favorite and a quick go to meal on a busy weeknight.

This weekend we are off to the coast for some much needed R&R, so it seems there won't be much cooking in the near future either. When we get back, hopefully I will be motivated to get off my lazy bottom to cook......or maybe I'll just be in a salt water fueled coma.

Balsamic BBQ Sauce
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes. Baste on to chicken at the end when chicken is almost done. I think if you put it on too early, all the sugar will just burn. Blackened chicken is yummy, but this ain't the way to make it.

I had to cook this on very low heat on my stove to keep it from burning. Also, this makes a LOT of sauce. If you are cooking for 2 or 3 people, I'd say cut this in half.

Garlic and Oil Pasta
(Please note, all measurements here are approximate)

1 80z box of pasta ( you can use spaghetti, angel hair or vermicelli - nothing too wide)

1/2 cup olive oil

3-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine ( use your own judgement on this depending on the size of your cloves, but remember this is GARLIC and oil pasta - you want to taste the garlic)

1/4 cup fresh parsely or 2 tablespoons dried

Salt, to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese (the good stuff--nothing from a green can in this one)

Boil water, cook pasta until al dente( not completely tender-should still have a little resistance), drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a good sized pan, and add the garlic. Cook until the garlic starts to sizzle - be careful not to let it brown or burn. You will have to start over. Take off of heat, toss in salt, parsley and red pepper flakes, if using( I usually make this without the red pepper, but that is just a personal thing on my part). Then add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Top off with freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!

* You could also add some fresh lemon juice to this for a nice twist.