Had company over for dinner tonight, and served a nice and easy meal. Made Bruschetta to start, a modified version of Barefoot Contessa’s Shrimp Salad and a Spaghetti dish with Artichokes, Sage and Bacon. All very yummy, and better yet, simple to pull together, taking maybe an hour or so from start to finish. Perfect for weeknight entertaining.
Watching American Idol? Finale is on tonight. For this one, I think they’re pretty well matched in terms of talent, just coming at it from different angles. Although they’re both good, neither of them give me goosebumps like Fantasia and Kelly Clarkson (previous winners) did when they sang. Whatever the outcome, both Bo and Carrie will do fine in terms of success, I’m sure. Look at how well Clay Aiken (a previous season’s second place finalist) did, as compared to Ruben Studdard (the winner).
Bought a few cookbooks from Amazon today. I really like cookbooks that have recipes with history, where they tell you a bit of the background of the recipe, where it came from, why it was made, etc. I’m also making my way into starting to cook some Southern and low-country recipes, just for a challenge. Cooking “outside of the box,” if you will. Along those lines, I ordered Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Cookbook and Mama Dip’s Cookbook, both of them fitting the bill as books with plenty of history, and the Southern flair. Rounded those out by picking up Jack Daniels’ Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook. I’ve seen and made some great recipes with Jack Daniels as an ingredient, and didn’t know they had their own cookbooks (there’s at least one other), so I’m looking forward to this one as well. Gotta love Amazon!
Today was my turn to bring in lunch to the office. I made BLTs (only 2 points for WW followers) with a side of Roasted Asparagus. I love, love, love (triple love!) Roasted Asparagus, and it could not be simpler to make. Break off the tough ends of your asparagus and lay them flat in a baking sheet. Heat the oven to 375. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over the asparagus and bake for about 30 minutes. When they come out, sprinkle a bit of Kosher or sea salt on them and devour. My absolute favorite way to eat asparagus.
Tomorrow night is Date Night … tune in to find out what we’re up to.
Fettuccine With Sage Butter, Bacon and Artichokes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup very coarsely chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup cooked bacon, cut in thin strips
1-1/2 cups (18-1/2 ounces) drained jarred artichoke hearts (non-marinated kind), cut in large cubes
1 lb dried fettuccine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh ground pepper — to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add sage leaves and cook, stirring often, until butter begins to brown very slightly and sage begins to crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add bacon and artichoke hearts and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Boil fettuccine until tender but still firm. Drain and add to sauce in skillet. Sprinkle in cheese and a generous grinding of black pepper, and toss with tongs. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Tilt pasta out onto a large warm platter, or divide it between individual pasta bowls.
Shrimp Salad (original recipe is from Barefoot Contessa; recipe below is modified to include my changes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds medium or large shrimp, cooked, peeled and tails removed
1 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon good white wine or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine, salt, the pepper, lemon juice and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and check the seasonings. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for a few hours.