Coming back from a private cooking class last night, the wind was howling. It was bitter cold. I realized that I wanted to crawl into my warm bed and stay under the covers until the chill I felt in my bones went away.
It is winter. The end of January. Cold, bitter and bare. The trees outside my window are stark against the sky. Not a leaf in sight! Even in my house with the heat on, I am cold. I look for warmth everywhere.
Where do I find myself keeping warm? Well~ in front of my stove, cooking! With the burners on simmer and the pots bubbling & boiling , warmth is there. I am finally happy. Cooking makes me happy. Cooking makes me warm. Cooking is a satisfying & rewarding experience for me each & every time.
Stew, soups, oven- roasted meats, pasta sauces, comforting desserts. I have my little hands in everything, whipping and whisking away. I call my family for dinner. I send quarts of soup to my friends. I pack my fridge with a variety of foods. I am content in front of my stove.
It is a well worn stove, twenty four years old and wearing the memories of each meal, my stove gives me comfort. My stove keeps me warm. My stove is a haven for me.
I find myself in my kitchen even if I do not have a catering job or a cooking class. It is where I am happy, busy creating, busy cooking , busy stirring with the wonderful aromas all around me. I know I can make something taste good. Feed someone who will appreciate my food. This is what keeps me warm during these cold winter months.
Here are some recipes to keep you warm and well fed.
PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS & SUN DRIED TOMATOES
2 tbs melted butter 3 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chopped garlic 1 chopped onion 1 cup sliced sun dried tomato 3 cups sliced mushrooms 1/2 cup white wine 1/2 cup chicken broth (or more) 1/2 cup grated locatelli cheese 1/2 cup pasta water 1 lb cooked pasta ~in saute pan cook garlic & onion in butter & oil until translucent, add sun dried tomato & mushrooms , cook until golden brown, add wine. Let wine evaporate for a few minutes and then add chicken broth & pasta water. Bring to a simmer and then toss with pasta & cheese.
PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS & SHRIMP IN A BLUSH SAUCE
1 lb asparagus cut in small diagonal pieces & cooked in water until tender 1 lb shrimp split in 1/2 2 tbs melted butter & 3 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chopped garlic 1 tsp old bay dash hot sauce 1 quart marinara sauce 1/3 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup pasta water 1/2 cup grated locatelliromano cheese 1 lb cooked pasta ~in oil & butter cook garlic, add old bay & hot sauce, cook shrimp in this mixture until done , add asparagus, marinara, pasta water & cream. toss with cooked pasta , top with cheese.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP 1 cup chopped carrot~~~~~~~~~~~ 2 lb butternut squash,peeled, cubed 1 cup chopped celery ~~~~~~~~~~~~~& tossed with 3 tbs olive oil,roast 1 cup chopped onion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ uncovered @ 350 for 45 minutes 3 tbs melted butter 2 tbs olive oil~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2~46 oz can chicken broth salt & pepper
~saute carrot, celery, onion in butter & oil until soft , can add chicken broth to speed the cooking process. Combine with roasted squash and puree in batches in a food processor until thick , add broth as you go. Heat in soup pan for 20 minutes
PASTA WITH CHICKEN & SPINACH IN A CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE
3 tbs melted butter & 2 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chopped garlic 1 lb boneless chicken breast cut into small strips Salt & pepper 4 cups fresh baby spinach 1 cup pasta water 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup grated locatelliromano cheese 1 lb cooked pasta
~in butter & oil, saute chicken strips until brown & cooked , add garlic and cook until fragrant ~put spinach in big bowl and toss with drained , hot pasta. Mix until spinach wilts. add cooked chicken, pasta water, cream & cheese.
BOLOGNESE MEAT SAUCE
3 tbs melted butter 2 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chopped garlic 1 small onion chopped 1/2 cup diced carrots 1 1/2 lb ground mix ( beef, pork, veal) 1/2 cup red or white wine 1/2 cup chicken broth 1 quart marinara sauce 1/2 cup pasta water 1 lb cooked pasta ~in oil & butter saute garlic, onion, carrot until caramelized add meat and brown well~ add wine & broth and cook until it evaporates. Add marinara sauce and pasta water , toss with cooked pasta.( hot pepper flakes optional)
I am an optimistic and happy person.. I would rather see life as exciting and challenging and enjoy every minute than dwell on the negative .. I love to cook and have my family around .. big family dinners and celebrations are always held in my home.. I have a huge table 10 feet long ..filled with food and family.. I have learned many of my mom's old recipes and try to recreate many of the dishes I grew up with .. I am teaching my grandsons to cook .. they love it! I have a wonderful,happy, loving relationship with my husband. He supports me in everything I do and is my biggest fan and taste tester.. he loves all things Italian too!
I love to cook, write, eat and laugh .. I wrote a cookbook in 2004.. the title? LIVE,LAUGH,COOK! what else!