Monday, February 15, 2010

February foods.

Who's excited about February!? Dark, cold and dreary with no signs of springtime in sight, awesome. But really, at least we've got the Superbowl and Valentines Day. Two good reasons to eat well.

I love the Superbowl. It is always a fun time to get together with friends, test out great finger foods, and the audience of boys I provide for are always game. BLT's with avocado aioli, nachos grande, lamb chop lollipops, puled pork sliders and risotto spoons are just a small bite of the Superbowl repertoire that grows over the years.

My MVR (Most Valuable Recipe) award this year goes to the very simple & delicious parmesan crusted chicken fingers with marinara sauce. I make them quite often for casual parties and get togethers, and everyone always loves them. Here's the recipe, as promised!

Lately I've been experimenting with mind altering kettle corn. You can pop homestyle popcorn in a pot on your stovetop as fast as you can make it in the microwave - and it's actually pretty exciting when the kernels start bouncing around the pot. I have finally perfected the amount of sugar per cup of kernels to create a sweet but fluffy popcorn, that I then drizzle melted valrhona chocolate over, with touch of fine salt. It's an instant hit. I made it for the Superbowl and then again as Valentines Day drop offs for some clients & friends. Check out the recipe and instructions here.

While I'm not much of a Valentine's Day gal, this year I did have a low key but very memorable day. Usually, we do Chrysantheme chinese take out, some good wine, and chocolate fondu for dessert - but since they closed their doors a year and half or so ago, casual at home Vday plans have never been as easy. The general idea is that I don't cook, we avoid being out with the masses (living room couch is way more romantic), but still eat something delicious. We decided to cook together this year, since no takeout we could think of could top a good home cooked meal. On the way to the market, we worked out the menu: A pasta duo of Cappeletti pasta with olive oil, "burnt" broccoli, garlic, a few sauteed cherry tomatoes, spicy sausage & bread crumbs, and fettucini with sauteed mini portobello mushroom and a light cream and parmesan sauce. Dessert was going to be an apple filo tart (a recipe that I was trying for the first time).

We popped a bottle of Tuscan wine, put on some tunes, and we were off. Eric did most of the actual cooking for the sausage and broccoli pasta, and I stayed close with my wine in hand, giving pointers and explanations, and prepping his next ingredient. The fettucini sauce only needed to be thrown together at the last second, so I prepped Eric for what he was going to have to do to complete the pasta. I took care of the cream sauce, I needed it to be barely creamy and have the perfect consistency, so I kept that job for me. He opened and cooked the sausage perfectly, then handled the broccoli frying with ease, and impressed me with sauteeing the cherry tomatoes and putting it all together to finish the job. wow ,wow, wow. He only briefly smoked up the kitchen, and melted less than three spatulas.

Dessert was fun to make. The apple filling cooks on the stovetop for a quick ten minutes, and set aside to cool. Then begins a delicate assembly of filo sheets brushed and lightly coated with sugar, gently lowered into a spring form to eventually form a pie-like shape complete with a crust and top. A very simple but delicate job, that requires complete yogi frame of mind to take on.

The meal was completely outstanding. Perfect in every way, neither of those pastas have ever been better in our house - a real labour of love. Sounds so cheesy, but it was.

Some outtakes of the most delicious pasta throwdown in the history of our kitchen (that's a serious statement coming from a pasta freak like me). Poor Eric didn't always know when my camera was on video mode.


  1. Can't wait to try your delicious recipes at home. It's go time!

  2. you make me sooo hungry!
    I might just replicate your Valentine's meal for tomorrow night...