Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lately, in the kitchen

I've tried a fair share of new recipes lately, and thanks to pictures of food never looking nearly as appetizing as I'd like them to, I end up not posting about them. But I've had enough of not sharing some new favorites, so here they are!!! (In some cases, I've swiped the image from the website I found the recipe at, so that's all good and credited.)

First up - Noble Pig's Banana Snickerdoodles, which were just perfect. I made these for a little tailgate party we had here at work last week, and they were a big hit. They had just the right amount of banana flavor, and the cinnamon sugar was a perfect complimentary flavor. I often end up with one or two over-ripe bananas and have to throw them in the freezer until I have enough to make banana bread, but I think from now on if I have a loner I'll throw together a batch of these cookies.

(Photo from Noble Pig)

Next up is a super simple recipe I've already made twice, and will definitely make again and again. I can't find a real link to it, but it's (supposedly) the infamous Giada De Laurentiis' Pesto, and it is To. Die. For. Thanks to my flourishing herb garden basil plant, and my newfound love for real parmesan reggiano, the toughest part of this recipe is finding somewhere that sells pine nuts for a decent price. I'm thinking I'll have to check out Trader Joe's and buy a big bulk bag, as I'd love to make a bunch of this to freeze for the winter months.

Here's the recipe:
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pulse everything except the olive oil together in a food processor. Slowly add in oil and blend to consistency. That's it!

We had this with cavatappi pasta, and the first time I also threw in some chicken. It was incredible, and blew the store bought pesto we've had in the past out of the water. I'd like to try it with veggies or on a grilled chicken sandwich, but I think my favorite will continue to be over simple pasta. This will definitely be added to the Top 10 Easy Recipes List I've been compiling for our household.

Next... Truffled Lobster Risotto. Another crazy insanely delicious dish. While out of town for our anniversary, I picked up some lobster tails at the Milwaukee Public Market, and I used a Groupon for Fox & Obel to treat myself to a teeny bottle of truffle oil... so I knew I had to go all out and make something amazing with these ingredients, seeing as we certainly don't eat such expensive meals all the time! Although I will likely only make this again for special occasions, it did teach me that risotto - something I've been hesitant to try in the past - is really not as difficult to cook as I thought. Possible variations are endless, and I'm excited to find some less overboard versions to try in the future. (For the record, I only used about half of the suggested truffle oil in my recipe, as I just couldn't bring myself to use up so much of my precious little bottle, and Dan is not as big of a truffle-flavor fan as I am. It still turned out perfect.)

Finally, Manda and I had a great success last night with a knockoff of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, courtesy of Annie's Eats. I bought kale for the first time over the weekend after reading about it constantly, and a friend at work brought me a bag of homegrown potatoes from her dad's garden in Wisconsin, so I was excited to combine the two. The recipe made a big pot with lots of leftovers, and even Dan ate the greens!

(Photo from Annie's Eats)

So, lots of successes in the kitchen lately, and I'm loving that I'm getting more and more comfortable - not to mention adventurous - with cooking!

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