Guests are gone and the kitchen is back to normal. One more load to go in the dishwasher, and I am done. I feel like it’s been awhile since I spent so much time cooking, and I definitely made up for it this weekend. Two dinner parties, and six new recipes. Not too shabby.
For tonight’s menu, I stuck with tried-and-trues, with a lean towards comfort food. Only one new recipe, the rest were long favorites.
One of of my favorite go-to salads, which is perfect for entertaining but super simple to make, is Barefoot Contessa’s Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with Balsamic Onions. The most time consuming part is the onions part, but other than that, it’s quick work and presents nicely. For the main course, I went with John Zaccaro’s Penne with Vodka Sauce and Stuffed Garlic Bread. Dessert? Creme Brulee, which I haven’t made in awhile, and a batch of Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. The cookies were a new recipe and while the yield may be off, the name does not lie. I got about 18 cookies out of the batch, but because they were called “big,” I used an ice cream scoop when doling them out onto the cookie sheet. They were slightly crispy on the outside, and slightly chewy on the inside, delicious and definitely will be a repeater. The recipe comes from a new food blog I stumbled on last week, Technicolor in English.
All in all, a simple but satisfying meal, and a nice close to an incredibly busy weekend. It’s almost going to be more relaxing to have Monday and work roll around again, but it was a good kind of busy.
Before I forget, tonight’s pasta is perfect for Ruth’s weekly Presto Pasta Round-Up, since I keep forgetting to join in. Check out her site for weekly round-ups of pasta inspiration.
And now for the pups. Not many this week, but all adorable. Until tomorrow…
First up this weekend is newcomer Peanut and Goldie from Ash Lane Farm:
Bessy from Pulau Yue-Li is back, and things are finally on the upswing:
Two more newcomers this week, it’s the very adorable twosome, Beefeater Maximus and Sequoia, from Plants and Animals. How cute are they?
And even more newcomers, this time it’s a pair of snow-covered pups from Shrike and Whozat:
The trio from Rob Wonton enjoy some fresh sunshine and clear, blue skies:
And lastly, our own Eli. Only in New Jersey can we have this kind of crazy weather, and even for us, it’s a little odd. Wednesday, it hit 80 degrees, and I was seriously contemplating putting the air conditioners in the windows. But a mere two days later, this is what it looked like … seven inches of snow. Eli and Nicholas sure were happy though.
Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Technicolor in English blog
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 165ºC/325ºF. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 7cm apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes 38-40 cookies
Red Leaf Lettuce Salad with Balsamic Onions
Recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa
3 small red onions
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1 cup good olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons minced shallots (about 2 large)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
2 heads red-leaf lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn into pieces
Crumbled blue cheese, for topping
Preheat oven to 375. Cut onions in 1/2 and slice 1/4-inch thick, place on a baking sheet and toss with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until onions are tender. Remove from oven and toss with 2 more tablespoons balsamic vinegar and cool to room temperature. Whisk together shallots, mustard, red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper in small bowl. While whisking, add 3/4 cup olive oil until emulsified. To assemble, toss enough lettuce for 6 people with dressing, to taste. Place the lettuce on 6 plates and arrange onions on top. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and crumbled blue cheese. Serve.