Friday, November 28, 2008

Pasta, pasta, pasta

As I was helping to prepare lunch today of linguine with a delicious homemade meat sauce, I began mulling over how much I love pasta. I love how it comes in multiple shapes and sizes, so many that the chef is certain to find the perfect pasta for each and every occasion. I love the various textures and how they differ from ridged to smooth, to round to long, to firm and stuffed. And the recipes that accompany pasta...ah, the possibilities are endless.

I started doing a little research and was honestly shocked at how many different types of pasta exist. I had no idea the list was so extensive. Here are a couple of web sites I found particularly helpful:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cornbread crusted pork chops with Spicy Peach and Corn Salsa

Today's recipe comes from the end of the lovely Rochester summer. It took me this long to upload the photos! I adapted the recipe from's Gourmet section. Earlier that week, I had made cornbread that I didn't turn out so well, but hating to throw food away, I wanted a recipe that would use it in a creative way. This certainly fit the bill! I was quite impressed with the flavors, textures, and colors of this dish. Too bad fresh peaches are pretty much gone here in Rochester!

Notes: I hate to share a recipe that I didn't like, so I'll just say that my cornbread was made with buttermilk and without flour. I recommend any non-sweet, simple cornbread for this. I highly recommend the Fatali pepper: its citrus undertones pair perfectly with the peaches. If you can't find them, use a habanero. If you can't handle the heat, use chipotle. I found a bunch of fatali peppers at the farmer's market and have been storing them in the freezer. :)


  • 4 8-ounce Pork Chops
  • 3 Cups Cornbread Crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Peaches, peeled, pit removed, and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup Corn, cooked and cooled
  • 1 Minced Fatali Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the milk into a shallow dish and add the pork chops. Let soak for 30 minutes.

Add the vegetable oil to a large saute pan and heat to medium high.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornbread crumbs, thyme, and black pepper. Place the pork chops in the cornbread mixture and turn to coat. Press the mixture lightly onto the pork.

Put the pork chops into the hot saute pan. Cook until golden brown and turn over, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer the pork chops to a cookie sheet or rack and place into the preheated oven. Bake in oven until the pork chops are completely cooked through with no pink in the center, approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on how thick your chops are. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the diced peaches, corn, fatali, salt, and pepper. Mix well. The salsa can be made one day ahead if needed.

To serve, place pork chops on plates and spoon salsa over the top.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Zabaglione with shortbread cookies

Tonight I opened my first bottle of Marsala wine to make chicken marsala. The dish tasted fabulous, but I was left with a whole lot more Marsala than I needed. So I decided to make zabaglione and shortbread cookies. All the ingredients, except the marsala, are common kitchen items! It turned out beautifully and was quite easy to do. :)

Note: it can be nice to have two people do this together (yay Peter!)

Zabaglione (for 2)
adapted from Joy of Cooking

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Marsala wine
2 egg whites (optional)

In a double boiler (or in my case in a small sauce pan over a larger one), whisk together all ingredients over boiling water. Do not immerse pan in boiling water. Whisking constantly, slowly bring mixture to 160 degrees (will become lighter and thicker). Meanwhile (this is where helps comes in), beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into finished custard. Serve immediately!

Shortbread cookies (for 2 or 3)

2 oz butter, softened
1 oz granulated sugar
3 oz flour
pinch of salt
turbinado sugar (or other large-crystal sugar), or just white sugar

Mix together first four ingredients, form into cookies by hand, and then bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. Sprinkle with sugar. I actually did this in the toaster oven since it was such a small batch.

Enjoy together!

ps: Peter's comment on the zabaglione: "it was good--interesting, but good." :)