Friday, September 30, 2011

Simple Cherry Tomato Pasta

Yesterday was one of those days I didn't feel like doing anything.  I didn't want to go to work, commute, walk my dog, nothing.... it was just one of those days.  However, I still had to eat something and make sure that there was something to eat when my husband came home from work so I made this very fast.  As soon as you are done boiling the pasta, toss with the ingredients, and you are done.  I used the thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta so it cooks extra fast.  It took me about 15 minutes.

Makes about 3 to 4 servings

6 to 8 ounces thin whole wheat spaghetti (about 1/2 a box)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 c cherry tomatoes
1/2 c grated Parmesan Reggiano
2 tbs preserved meyer lemons minced (I linked a recipe for the preserved lemons here)
6 to 7 basil leaves julienned
Pasta water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil salted water in a medium saucepan.  Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta is cooking, put olive oil and cherry tomatoes in a separate saucepan over medium heat and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Smash the cherry tomatoes down with a spatula or potato masher.  Cook the cherry tomatoes for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta directly into the cherry tomatoes. Grate the Parmesan Reggiano directly on top of the pasta and toss.  Then, add the preserved meyer lemons (you can just add lemon zest too if you do not have this easily available), basil, and a few tablespoons of the pasta water.  Season with salt and pepper.

I usually work with the pots side by side so I can just add the pasta directly into the saucepan with tongs.  Also, preserved lemons are awesome.  I think they are magic.  They make any dish taste delicious with the perk of lemon.

G, if you are reading this, do you recognize your potato masher?  I will return it back to you.... I promise!

I tossed the Parmesan Reggiano in the pasta first because I wanted the cheese to stick to the pasta.

Add the other ingredients and toss.


Add grilled chicken in here if you like and/or an extra grating of cheese for serving.  I converted my husband into eating vegetarian most days so he doesn't mind the absence of meat for dinner.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Our last stop in Greece was the island of Zakynthos.  It's a quiet island where a lot of Italians and Spaniards come to vacation.  


There isn't as much history here compared to the other places that we visited but there was one story that I do remember that the tour guide told us.  During World War II, the mayor and bishop of Zakynthos refused to obey Nazi orders to surrender the couple hundred Jews who were living there and hid them throughout the hills and villages of the island.   The mayor and the bishop were the only 2 people killed at the time and they saved the lives of the innocent Jewish people.  It must have been a completely different world.  I can't even imagine that in modern day. 

We visited a little village more inland and I bought some local olive oil and honey.

They sold red wine in plastic bottles.  That is a new one for me.

All the houses had potted herbs sitting outside.

There are donkeys everywhere in Greece.  This one was happily eating some bread.

If you ever go to Greece, you have to try tzatziki and a frappe.  It was a good little afternoon snack.


There wasn't that much to do so we headed back to the cruise ship early for some relaxing by the pool and a nice dinner to end the evening.  The food on the ship was really, really good cruise food.  I know that I drank my monies worth of wine and Mat ate his monies worth of food.  Mat reminded me of a pregnant lady in her 2nd trimester with all the food he consumed. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I don't have much to say about Santorini besides the fact that it is the most idyllic place I have ever been to.  This was my second time coming here and it was just as beautiful as I remember it.   Everywhere we walked and every corner we turned, the view was just gorgeous..... and looking at these pictures again makes me want to watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

When we arrived in Santorini in the morning, this was our view!  You can see the different layers of volcanic rock on the island with the different colors.

I miss waking up to the fresh ocean air and room service.  My normal day-to-day isn't nearly as interesting....not in the slightest.

This is a viewpoint on the island.

Most of these pictures are going to look really similar but like I said, it was gorgeous.

These are shots from Oia which is the northern most tip of the island and the most beautiful.  It's where you see the white churches with the blue domes. 

I didn't know you could sell capers in water bottles!  The rocks in the basket is pumice just in case you are curious.  Looking at my feet, I should have bought one to scrub them with the pumice.

We tried traditional Greek snacks.... tomato fritters, fish paste, tzatziki, sausages, crackers, pita, etc.


I wish I were laying out right there right now.  This is the perfect place to go to relax and enjoy life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Hazelnuts

I got this fabulous ice cream recipe from here and it is from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home.  The recipe puzzled me at first because it did not contain eggs but it is by far the creamiest ice cream ever.  Instead of using eggs, this recipe calls for corn starch to bind the mixture together and create the creamy texture.  I put my own twist on the recipe and used arrowroot instead of corn starch because it is a natural thickener.  I always hesitate using artificial stuff in my food which in this case is corn starch.  I also used 1% milk instead of whole milk to lighten it up.  The ice cream texture is already very creamy so you can't really tell that I lessened the fat.

Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home
Makes 1 quart

1 c 1% milk
4 tsp arrowroot
1 c heavy cream
1 c evaporated milk (unsweetened condensed milk)
2/3 c white sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup (look for the label that says, "no high fructose corn syrup")
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Sift cocoa powder to take out the little lumps.

Whisk together a few tablespoons of milk with arrowroot.  Set aside (you will add this in later). 

In a medium saucepan, add rest of milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup.  When the mixture comes to a moderate boil, whisk in cocoa powder, then let it come to a moderate boil for 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, whisk in the arrowroot milk mixture and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a spatula, until slightly thickened. 

Remove from the heat and add chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Place the hot saucepan in an ice bath.  See picture below.  Let the mixture cool for 30 minutes and add more ice if needed.

In the meantime, toast the hazelnuts on a saucepan over medium heat.  This should take a few minutes and the hazelnuts should toast quickly.  Cool the nuts completely. 

Pour the mixture into the ice cream canister and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  When the mixture is about 90% frozen, add the cooled nuts to the mixture. 

Ice cream is very easy to make so do not be intimidated.  This recipe is especially easy because you do not have to make a custard with the eggs. 

I used cocoa powder and 60% bittersweet chocolate.

The consistency of the mixture reminded me exactly of pudding!  I could have eaten this just chilled.


To cool down the mixture, I put the metal saucepan in a bigger plastic container filled with ice and water.  Do not put a hot mixture in your ice cream maker.  You need the canister to be cold as possible to make the ice cream.  I usually put the canister in the freezer the night before I am planning to use it so it has enough time to completely freeze.

When the ice cream is just about done churning, add the toasted hazelnuts.

I already want to try the vanilla bean ice cream recipe next!
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