Monthly Archives: February 2014

Monday Magazine Pick – Butternut Squash Carbonara


There are few things as rich and comforting as pasta carbonara.

Depending upon the tradition you believe, real carbonara contains no cream, and I am of that camp. Many call this the chef’s post-work snack. It’s easy to whip and contains just a few ingredients that everyone always has on hand. The dish gets it’s lusciousness from eggs – and for me egg yolks, no watery whites allowed! I have lots of other uses for those.

So when I spotted this egg-less version in Bon Appetit, I knew I wanted to give it go. It was actually posted on the BA facebook page before I had a chance to peruse the magazine and the only words I needed to see were carbonara and butternut squash…hmmmmm…

The recipe called for kambocha or butternut squash, I used butternut because it is so easy to find and I love it.

As I noted in the recipe details below, I actually roasted the squash ahead of time, mainly because the oven was hot and I hadn’t read the recipe yet! In all honesty, I would probably do it that way again. Butternut squashes are thick tough suckers and can be a pain to cube when raw, even with a terrifically sharp knife! I cut it half, removed the seeds, drizzled some olive oil on a sheet pan and roasted it until soft.

Also feel free to sub bacon for pancetta. I don’t always have pancetta around, but I always have some uncured bacon in the freezer!

One other note, I made a new gluten free pasta discovery!

Other than my own homemade pasta, I tend to prefer the quinoa and corn pastas over the rice ones because of the texture. And, when I make my homemade pasta, I use quinoa flour as a key ingredient. I tend to find the rice ones gummy, even if you are meticulous about monitoring it during the cooking process. And one of the unexpected bummers to not eating regular pasta, is the lack of shape selection. I know, sounds weird, but I love tagliatelli and orechietti…anyway I was at a local organic food store and saw a new brand I had never tried. Jovial tagliatelli. It is brown rice pasta, but it is wonderful! Although I think the width of the noodles is more fettucine than tagliatelli, I like the super wide tagliatelli, the flavor and texture were great in this dish!


Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage
Bon Appetit, February 2014
page 38

2 TB olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped
1 TB fresh sage, chopped
1 2lb kabocha or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups low sodium, gluten free, chicken broth
12 oz gluten free fettucine or other long pasta
1/4 cup grated Pecorino, plus more shaved for serving

Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add pancetta, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Add sage, toss to coat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to small bowl and set aside.

Add squash*, onion and garlic to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add broth, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced, 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then puree in blender, season with salt and pepper as desired.

Set skillet aside.

Cook pasta in salted water to al dente.

Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta.

Add puree, pasta and 1/4 cup pasta water to skillet and heat over medium, adding more pasta water to get desired sauce consistency. You want a thick sauce coating the pasta well. Mix in grated Pecorino.

Serve with pancetta, sage and shaved Pecorino.

Puree can be made up to 3 days ahead.

*I know I promised to do these recipes to the letter…but I ended up roasting the butternut squash ahead of time. I actually had not read this recipe yet, just knew the ingredients it called for, I had the oven hot the other night roasting potatoes, so I thought I’d get ahead of the game and roast the butternut squash! So if you do the same thing, the only change in the cooking process above is that I cooked the onions and garlic until transparent and added the cooked squash at the same time as the broth. I also didn’t cook as long, only about 10-12 minutes after adding the broth.


Spicy Beans and Wilted Greens Stew

Monday Magazine Pick

Yes, another soup!

It seems I make a lot of soup. I never really noticed it until I started blogging. But hey, it’s been a chilly winter and what goes better with winter than soup?

Soup is easy. It’s easy to make ahead, and usually improves with time. It freezes well, reheats well, is easy to grab to take to the office for lunch and can pack a huge nutritional punch…or cure a cold! I have no doubt the impromptu miso I whipped up on Saturday helped me feel better yesterday!

So here you go, the Monday Magazine Pick is a bean soup loaded with greens. As promised I stuck to the recipe as written, except, I made this in a slow cooker. It was just easier that way given the way my week was going last week, plus I really love my slow cooker.


This soup is called Spicy bean soup…well, it was spicy, until I added the greens and then all hints of heat disappeared…not sure at all why that happened.

You will notice anchovies are called for in this recipe…DO NOT eliminate them! I cook with anchovies a lot, they simply add a briney, salty depth of flavor you cannot get elsewhere. Often you will never notice if they are in a recipe, but I promise you will notice if they aren’t.

Also the parmesan rind. I always have a rind in the freezer for occasions just like this. So next time you get to the end of that parmesan or Romano cheese, wrap the rind up and toss it in the freezer to add to soups.

Spicy Beans and Wilted Greens

Bon Appetit
February 2014, pg 74

1/2 cup, plus 1 TB olive oil
4 anchovy filets packed in oil, drained
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinky sliced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 large sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper
1 Parmesan rind
1 lb dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 bunch mustard greens or kale
1 large bunch spinach
4 cups arugula, separated
lemon, Parmesan cheese, olive oil for topping.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large Dutch oven over med heat. Cook anchovies, chilie flakes and garlic until garlic is soft andanchovies have disolved, about 4 minutes.

Add onion, celery and rosemary. Season generously with salt and pepper. In crease heat to med-high and cook until very soft and just golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Add parmesan rind and beans and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans begin to fall apart, 3-4 hours. Add more water if necessary.

Lightly crush some of the beans to add to the creaminess. Mix in kale, spinach and 3 cups of the arugula. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until greens are wilted.

Toss remaining arugula with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve soup with arugula, shaved Parmesan and drizzle of olive oil.

If using a slow cooker, follow all steps above, when it comes time to simmer, set cooker on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6.

Gluten Free Nutella Brownies


I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in a while…don’t think it’s be cause I haven’t been baking though!

In recent years I sort of became the unofficial dessert queen when invited over to someone’s house for a dinner or an event. I tend to always bring a sweet treat, even if not asked to. Some of this stems from the fact that since going gluten free, if I want dessert I need to bring it myself and I really do love to bake!

So when I had a sweet tooth coming on last month, and I was in the mood to fire up the oven, or at least attempt to – that’s a whole other story. Anyway, I scoured the pantry to try to decide what I wanted to play around with when I spied the large jar of Nutella – two of them actually. The use-by date was a month away and I hate wasting food, so something with the creamy hazelnut spread was in order.

Certainly no good could come of this!!

Certainly no good could come of this!!

The 3-ingredient Nutella brownies are all over the internet – just Nutella, eggs and flour and voila! you have brownies.

I altered the recipe slightly. I made it gluten free, I added toasted hazelnuts on top because I had some in the freezer and I added dark chocolate chips because, well, why would you not?!

If you are a salty-sweet person like me, go ahead and add some Maldon sea salt flakes right when the brownies come out the oven. Don’t be afraid of adding salt to your sweet baking. Salt really is a flavor enhancer and in the right ratio it really adds to sweet treats bring out the flavors and it usually isn’t even noticeable. Sweets can be, yes, too sweet and actually sort of one dimensional in flavor, just a bit of salt can help add depth and enhance the chocolate, vanilla, caramel, whatever flavor you have used. Just a sprinkling of the flakes on these brownies just bring out the richness of the dark chocolate and Nutella!

I’ve made these brownies four times now, taken them to friends, devoured them myself, and with and without the salt. I have to admit I like the with salt version the best!


1 cup Nutella

10 TB gluten free flour (I used King Arthur)

2 eggs

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix Nutella, eggs and flour with mixer until blended. The batter will be very thick. Add chocolate chips, reserve a handful for the top if you want. Stir with a spoon.

Spread batter into prepared 8×8 pan.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting.


Monday Magazine Pick


I am a magazine junkie, always have been. Even when I was a little kid I loved looking at the magazine rack at the store, all the bright colored photos of beautiful people, homes and FOOD!

I still stop and stare at the magazine rack at the grocery store and oh my gosh at Barnes and Noble, I can hardly contain myself! Most of my subscriptions arrive on my tablet now, but I confess I get most of my food magazines in the mail and my ipad. With apologies to the trees, holding an actual magazine or a book, well, there is nothing like it.

I also still flip through the magazines the day they arrive and immediately dog-ear the pages with all the recipes I want to try. You know you do the same thing! But how often do you go back and make those great dishes? There are so many food blogs, web sites, TV shows, seemingly endless sources of recipes out there, people rarely turn to cookbooks or magazines any more.

So I have decided that every Monday I will feature a recipe from a food magazine. I promise to stick to the recipe as written. Those who know me, know that hardly ever happens. A recipe is little more than a guide to me, an inspiration. I usually just look at the list of ingredients, a photo of the dish if available and then put my spin on it, substitute items as needed and so on. That’s just what I do! One caveat to this stick-to-the-recipe plan. I will alter it to be gluten free as needed. I’ll let you know if the recipe failed or succeeded and where I think alterations might be helpful if necessary.

So welcome to the first installment of Monday’s Magazine Pick…


Butter Lettuce Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

 Food and Wine, February 2014, pg 84

2 plum tomatoes, halved

2 medium shallots, quartered lengthwise

1/3 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing

1 TB plus 2 teas sherry vinegar

2 teas dijon mustard

2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (2.5 ounces)

1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 TB for pumpkin seeds

salt and pepper

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 teas chili powder

1/4 lb (4 slices) thick cut bacon, diced

2 heads butter lettuce, cut into wedges

thinly sliced red onion

diced tomato


Preheat oven to 425.

Brush tomatoes and shallots with canola oil. Roast on baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until soft and slightly browned in spots.

Transfer to a blender and cool completely. Then add vinegar and mustard Puree until smooth. Add blue cheese. Puree. With machine running add canola and olive oil until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil and chili powder. Place in single layer on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Cool.

In a skillet, cook diced bacon over moderate heat until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Arrange wedge of lettuce on plate, top with pumpkin seeds, bacon, onions and tomatoes. Drizzle with tomato vinaigrette.

A few notes. This may seem a like a lot of steps for a salad, but it comes together quite quickly. Bake the pumpkin seeds while the tomatoes and shallots are cooling and while the oven is still hot.

The dressing offers a unique change of pace from the average mustard vinaigrette. I look forward to making it with some more flavorful local tomatoes this summer.

If you have never used sherry vinegar I encourage you to get some. It has great tang combined with a slight sweetness that no other acid can match. The blue cheese adds a richness to this dressing, but doesn’t scream blue cheese at you with the first bite. In fact you might not be able to place just what that extra something is if you didn’t already know it. If you have leftover cheese, I would crumble it over the salad.

All in all I would make this one again, the dressing itself is one I will repeat, probably often!


Pimento Cheese


Reposting this one in time for Game Day – while this is a great addition to your summer cookout – it also pairs well with wings and all other Super Sunday snack foods. Plus I just had a craving and plan to whip some up to enjoy while cheering for my Broncos!!


In honor of the “last” big cookout weekend of the year, I thought I’d finally post my pimento cheese recipe.

This is one of those no-recipe recipes. I have included measurements below, but was reluctant to do so. I work more in ratios here, a 3-1 white to yellow cheddar. I eyeball the mayo until I get the consistency I desire and I start in the low end of the spices adding more if I want more heat or more smokiness.

So play around with it, find the ratio you like.

A couple of things I think are key. Use the sharpest cheddar cheese you can find!! When it comes to store-bought mayo, there are really only two options – Dukes or Hellmans. Miracle Whip is NOT mayo! I’ll spare you my very strong opinion about that product and the people who think it is OK to hand you a jar of it when you asked for mayo!

We spread this pimento cheese on a grilled gluten free baguette, returned it to the grill to melt a bit more, topped with crumbled bacon and served it alongside gazpacho.


I got a request to make more the very next weekend and we used that batch to top burgers.

It also makes a terrific grilled cheese sandwich!

I’ve even be known to eat it with a spoon….

Pimento Cheese

white cheddar – extra sharp, 3/4 lb, coarsely grated

yellow cheddar – sharp, 1/4 lb, coarsely grated

roasted red peppers, 1 jar or 3-4 large peppers, diced and drained

mayo, heaping cup

cayenne pepper, 1/4 teas-1/2 teas

smoked paprika, 1/4-1/2 teas

Combine cheese, peppers and mayo in large bowl. Add spices, taste add more as desired.

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