Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pinterest strikes again!

I really like checking out the Pinterest boards to find new recipes and ideas for decorating the house for the upcoming holidays. One day I stumbled up a recipe featuring orzo and feta. Looking closer I saw that it also had shrimp, one of my kids favorite treats. My little picky eater won't eat grilled cheese or make a regular sandwich or bring his lucnh to school(kinda like his mother), but he loves to go get a sub at Subway, loves calamari and other seafoods that you might not think kids would try. My daughter on the other hand will try anything, like her father.

Well, I pinned this recipe to my "looks yummy have to try" board to test out one day. Then last week I was showing some of these pins to my husband and he says "well, get the stuff and make it". And that is just what I did last night. Now I have a new board "Tried it, loved it" where the pin now resides.

 Athenian Orzo (Slightly Adapted from: Eating Well)
 Serves 4

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large tomatoes, chopped (canned diced tomatoes would work here as well, but fresh tastes so much better!)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, (30-40 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or other 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Heat oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Drop in shrimp and cook, stirring, until barely pink, about 2 1/2 minutes. Cook orzo in the boiling water until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Toss with the tomato-shrimp sauce. Sprinkle with feta and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley. Bake, uncovered, until the feta is bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who Knew?

Who knew the wineries in Canada would be so beautiful and have some really nice wines?  Call me a wine snob, but I only thought NYS and California could produce such good wines in North America. 

Picture taken at Jackson Triggs Winery during our private tour

We went up to Niagara on the Lake for the weekend with our very close friends (High School Sweethearts on Left, Me and my Valley Boy on right).  This is something we have done for the last 21 years- take a wine trip together every fall.  It was a bit earlier this year because of the kids schedules and trying to find someone to keep an eye on them for the weekend.  Plus, our High School Sweethearts are heading to Italy in September for their 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip.  (We get to babysit their dog, Brady!)

We arrived in Niagara and heading straight to Jackson Triggs for our tasting appointment.  Had a wonderful tour with Sheba and tasted several wines throught the time there.  After the visit we heading to our Inn, The Harbour House Hotel.  Great location off the main street and very quiet.  Your room includes breakfast and a wine and cheese reception each afternoon.

Late that afternoon we explored this quaint little village and had a wonderful meal at Epicurean.  I had a lovely Caesar Salad and veal bolognese.  I followed the menu suggestion and had a merlot 2007 from Pillitteri Estate.  This was a shock to our friends because I always have a white wine.  Valley Boy and I ended our meal with a piece of pecan pie.

Our Saturday adventure started at 9:30 following breakfast at the Inn.  We rented bicycles to ride along the wine trail.  This is something new for hubby and me, but we were game.  We headed first to the local farmers market and picked up a loaf of olive bread and fresh cheese curds while our friends picked up pickled asparagus, asparagus chips and other assorted goodies.  Then off on our bikes again to stop at a few wineries.  We each picked up a bottle of wine at Inniskillan for our lunch and around 1 p.m. we stopped along the trail for a picnic. 

One of the highlights was a Steakhouse Onion cheese from Yancey's Fancy!  Delicious!  We have to get more of this!  Bread, Cheese, Asparagus, wine and great friends! Music played from the ipod I brought along and the sunny was shining and nice a warm. It was a wonderful picnic lunch.

We estimated that we rode for about 20 miles, but later found out that it was more like 12 once our friends mapped out the rpute we took.  I like the 20 mile estimate myself.  What a great trip.

What's for Dinner Tonight?

What to make for dinner?  Seems to be the nightly question.  Well I was wandering around Pinterest one day and found this delightful recipe that look like it had ingredients in it that I have on hand.

Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake1 pound penne rigate
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoonground coriander

2 tablespoons chili powder
Coarse black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalepeño
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound cheddar cheese, mexican blend preferred(about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves , chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)  (I am not a big fan of parsley
1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked--a little chewy at the center.

While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger.  When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent.  Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.  Take off the heat or turn heat down low.

In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you're browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it to make a rue.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon.  When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot.  Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to brown slightly.