Thursday, September 29, 2011

Caprese Risotto

The latest issue of Chatelaine had an article on various kinds of risotto and the caprese version definitely appealed to me, until I saw that they had made it with tomato juice. And I hate tomato juice. The thought of a tomato-soupy, blood-red risotto wasn't grabbing me, although the combo of summer-fresh caprese ingredients with fall comfort food wouldn't let me go. After a quick search, I found this version that kept all the ingredients separate (which also meant that the kiddies could choose a plainer version if they wanted... and they did).
I initially added some chopped pancetta to the sauteed onions but immediately realized by the smell, in fact the stench, that the pancetta was horribly and terribly past its due date. So I had to start over again, with better results the second time around. Since Maddie and Austin chose the non-caprese version, it was a pretty bleak, monotone, unimaginative presentation on their plates and Austin accused me of serving him "the kind of food you get in jailhouses." Jailhouses. Hmmm. Gruel a la Oliver Twist is what he had in mind. Kind of like Little Shack accusing Carole of serving him prison food when she made homemade granola a few months ago. Not sure if Parmigiano-Reggiano is served by Her Majesty's Finest but he could be right, even though not a single grain of rice was left on his plate at the end of the meal. Q pointed out that something was missing in terms of overall taste and satisfaction, and I really do think the pancetta would have added some meaty ompf... just unfortunately not the rotten pancetta that we had on hand.

serves 4

1 small onion, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/4 cups arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups chicken broth, warmed

handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

handful of basil, chopped

six bocconcini balls, quartered

some grated parmesan

In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil and butter until translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another two minutes, and then add the arborio rice. Cook for a few minutes to toast up the rice and then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. When the wine is absorbed, add a ladleful of broth to the rice and stir until absorbed. Continue to add a ladleful at a time until all the broth has been added, stirring constantly. It's time-consuming but a labour of love. When the rice is finished, stir in some grated parmesan and Carole's secret ingredient of a final pat of butter, and lastly fold in the caprese ingredients of tomatoes, basil and bocconcini. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Rest of the week

Sept 27 Turkey, avocado and cheese paninis with salad

Sept 28 Omelettes with red peppers and onions

Sept 29 Caprese risotto with salad

Sept 27-28 Braised Pork Chops

Sept 27     Braised Pork Chops with mashed potatoes
Sept 28     Wing night with The Neighbours

You know, we had a few cold days and I started to crave mashed potatoes and stew and sauce and gravy and all of those great comfort foods of winter. I put away my short skirts and shorts and started wearing pants and cute little sweaters and jackets and jaunty scarves. Well, I am sitting here, sweating my butt off because it is muggy and humid and I really should be wearing shorts and flip flops and grilling squid but all I can think of are those comfort foods so hot September weather be damned!
We picked up a couple of marinated big, boneless pork chops from Shack's favourite butcher (there are only a couple of places where I will buy pre marinated meat and to be honest, I don't even know what the marinade was) but this dish would work with plain pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper or any savoury spices you choose to use. Actually, the best thing about braising meat this way is that you can pretty much use your imagination. You can sub in part or all of the stock for beer, or white wine, or do half stock, half port. You can use heavy cream or evaporated milk like I did. You can add whatever herb you have laying around that you like. It's a no reEater's dream dish because I could make it every week from now until the end of the year and change it every single time.

Braised Pork Chops

Serves 2-3

2 tbls olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 boneless centre cut pork chops, about 2" thick
kosher salt and pepper (mine were pre marinated so I skipped this step)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tbls grainy mustard
1 tbls chimichurri compound butter (or just plain old butter )
chopped italian parsley for garnish if you like

heat pan over med heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the shallots for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Saute for another minute or so. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and add to the pan, browning well on both sides. Add the chicken stock and cover the pan, lower the heat just a bit and  cook for about 20-25  minutes.
After that time (don't get too stressed about it because the pork is cooking in liquid you can't really overcook it or dry it out so an extra 5 or 10 minutes won't hurt), take off the lid and remove the chops and set aside. Add the evaporated milk, grainy mustard and bring to a light simmer for a minute. Right before you are going to serve it, whisk in the cold butter and plate it up. Put a pork chop on top of some nice, delicious mashed potatoes and spoon a bunch of that lovely, creamy sauce over top.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meat Stuffed Tomatoes

This is a first.  I am going to post a recipe this morning, that I plan to make tonight.  The funny thing is I planned to make it Sunday night, Monday night and last night.  I have all of the ingredients on hand and am now concerned that the ground pork I bought might not be so good.  But we'll see when I get home tonight.

I know the whole idea here is keeping it real, so stay tuned for an update to this post with a photo OR with me saying I didn't make it.  Regardless it's a tasty sounding recipe that I so want to make and am hoping it happens tonight.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Southern Unfried Chicken

Over the years I've thumbed through Art Smith's cookbooks but have always found them too "southern comfort foody" for me. You know... lots of fried stuff and biscuits and gravy, with all the fixin's piled on top to boot. Don't get me wrong: I love comfort food just like the next girl but my body doesn't need to be hanging onto the remnants of it for months to come. So when the latest issue of Runner's World arrived in the mail last week, I was surprised to see Art profiled inside--and proudly showing off his recent 120-pound weight loss as well. After being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, he revamped his diet, took up walking and then running, and is now a marathoner. Totally impressive. He also insists that his new eating plan doesn't mean salads every night, but instead he's found ways to rework his old faves into healthier options.

Sept 26 Salad with Beets, Walnut Vinaigrette and Steak

Sept 26  Steak Salad with bread

This is the week that I often dread - it's the week where I take the Sunday which means that I have to make something worth sharing with you two days in a row which sounds like it wouldn't be a big deal. Before I started this challenge I clearly didn't think it would be a big deal either but not only do I have to come up with something new, it has to be pretty and I have to photograph it too.
Yesterday, we had delicious grilled strip loins with the chimichurri compound butter and we had a half a steak left over. I knew that I would be finding a use for that steak. I also had roasted beets leftover so I wanted to use those too.
I had bought some really good walnut oil from D'Avolio on the weekend and nothing goes better with roasted beets than walnut oil. It was all starting to come together. A salad with the beets, a nutty walnut vinaigrette and steak with some nice, crumbled feta. Throw in some warm, homemade bread with walnuts and you have yourself a pretty nice Monday supper. I am always happy to turn leftovers into something that would be worth making on another day with freshly made ingredients.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sept 22-24 Chimichurri Compound Butter

Sept 22     half price apps at a pub
Sept 23     BBQ beef from the freezer on homemade rolls with coleslaw
Sept 24     impromptu road trip to Niagara and Buffalo, late lunch at The Anchor bar
Sept 25     Grilled Strip Loins with Chimichurri Compound Butter

We have been eating out a ton because Shack is finally done his movie and has been making it home in time to eat and he wants to go out all the time, so we have been out and about and not eating at home a ton. This Sunday was a beautiful, warm, sunny September day and seeing that we have barely used the bbq all summer, I demanded that we stay home and grill. He has been jonesing for steak and baked potatoes but I wanted to do something a little special. I LOVE chimichurri but thought it might be fun to make a compound butter using all the ingredients but substituting butter for the olive oil as the fat medium. Nobody wants to admit it, but nothing finishes off a great steak better than a pat of butter and the way the fat from the butter mingles with the meat juices to make a velvety little sauce the puddles around the meat on your plate

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eggplant with Bechemel and Cheese

September 22 - a couple slices of pizza at work
September 23 - BBQ from Smokin' Hicks
September 24 - Eggplant with bechemel and cheese and a green salad with carrots from our garden

My week started in a pretty amazing way, at least for a foodie.  I walked into to work to find to gorgeously round Sicilian eggplants sitting on my desk.  They were courtesy of a co-worker who grew them in his backyard garden.  Amazing, right?  There are few ingredients I like to cook with more than those that come fresh from someones garden.

Unfortunately these beauties had to wait until today to be cooked.  Before I go there though I want to tell you why else Monday started as a foodie's dream.  When one of my bosses rolled into work she handed me a gift from her parents, who I had hooked up with some great tickets to a baseball game and a TIFF premiere while they were in town.  As I held the gift, I could tell it was a book and a large one at that.  When I teared away the paper I saw the words "The Food of Spain." I couldn't have been more excited to received a new cookbook and one from Spain made it even better.  I have nothing like it so it's an ideal addition to my collection.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Macaroni Cupcakes

Spaghetti pie a couple of weeks ago and now macaroni cupcakes today--it must be September and back-to-school month because the food pickin's around here are definitely low-brow nursery basics. Maddie was asking for macaroni and cheese this week and as we were looking at some photos online for new options, we stumbled across some interesting variations of mac 'n' cheese muffins or cupcakes. These instantly struck a chord with Maddie since the only thing better than a warm bowl 'o' pasta to a kid would be individual, fancied-up, prepackaged, eat-in-your-hands ones. She then went on to sell me on their portability possibilities and the fact that the leftovers could be easily thrown into the lunchboxes for school the next day ('cept that I ended up making them on a Friday... the sentiment was there although the opportunity was lost).
So I found my fanciest, sweetest, most saccharine cupcake holders that should have been destined for some pastel-coloured, buttercreamy, icing-topped sweet fantasy and used them for this peasanty savoury dish instead. It's all about the presentation, especially for a 10-year-old, and I knew she'd be tickled by the pretty look. I also tried a new recipe for mac-and-cheese that included sour cream--a nice tangy change from the usual.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sept 19-21 Red Lentil Curry

Sept 19     Red Lentil Curry and Basmati Rice
Sept 20     no dinner for me and The Kid made himself a sandwich
Sept 21     bbq pork buns and sticky rice and a moon cake

Another busy week with more scheduling upsets and work so there was not much opportunity for planning ahead or shopping. Monday I had about 20 minutes to whip something up from pantry items and fridge scraps or I knew I would break down and order out. Little Shack has really been warming up to curries so I thought I would make a nice, simple curry using red lentils because they don't require any pre soaking and they cook so fast. I can't tell you how happy I am that the Kid is finally coming around to foods with a bit of heat so that I don't have to make two versions of everything or make my food mild and then be forced to add hot sauce or chill flakes to my own bowl.
It basically cooked in the time it took to wash and cook the rice making it a really great dinner to make on nights when I get home late and don't want to order out but I also don't want to put dinner on the table at 9pm. Well, it WILL be a great go to dinner in 2012.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chili Nachos

September 19 - worked late
September 20 - worked late again
September 21 - chili nachos

I turned to Facebook earlier in the week to get some ideas for what to do with some leftover chili from Sunday night.  The dish was a hit with the Boy and I had a ton leftover.  My friends were chock full of suggestions from nachos to sloppy joes to pizza to stuffed peppers to baked pasta.  It was enough to make me happy that I have another few cups in the freezer for yet another use.  But I needed something for tonight and had a bunch of avocados that I intended to turn into guacamole when we ate the chili the first time.  Well what else does guac go with?  Why nachos of course! Plus I had all I needed on hand, save for a quick stop to pick up some multigrain tortillas, so nachos it was for tonight.  Plus nachos are good TV watching food and we are parked in front of the season premier of Modren Family as I type, one of our favorite shows.  How I love when the new TV season starts!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yukon Gold Potato Soup

I had originally planned to post last night's dinner, which was salmon with a yogurt-dill sauce, but we were so "underwhelmed" as Q put it (code for "tastes like crap") that I decided to spare myself reliving the experience by sharing the recipe. A total yuck. So today I threw together a totally creamy but chunky, rich and hearty potato soup/chowder. I loved the fact that you don't puree this one but can actually see what you're eating and I was also pretty sure the kiddies would like all the ingredients and wouldn't be trying to separate the celery from the onion, and so on. I plan to serve it with some slabs of fresh ciabatta... and if they're really good chil'uns tonight, I might even make it into garlic cheese bread to go alongside. Time will tell. A nice fall evening dinner.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept 15-18 Stinky Sock Pizza

Sept 15     Wing night with The Neighbours
Sept 16     Rescued restaurant ribs from wing night and more corn chowder
Sept 17     Pizza with vidalia marmalade, blue cheese and arugula
Sept 18

I made this awesome vidalia onion marmalade this week spent the first few days eating it with blue cheese on crackers, but it wasn't until Saturday that I finally fashioned a dish to showcase it. Pizza was the perfect vehicle for this jammy, sweet onion condiment. It was either that or a nice panini with porchetta and arugula and the onion jam but I wanted pizza and I didn't want to deal with a pork roast so pizza was the final call. I whipped up some yummy little pies with garlic olive oil, rosemary, the jam, some mushrooms and yellow zucchini and a bit of arugula topped with some sharp blue cheese.

It was perfection. The sweet onion jam with the peppery bite of the arugula and that nice hit of sharpness from the blue cheese. Hank didn't love this as much as I did (he doesn't share his mother's love of what the boys call "stinky sock" cheeses) but I appreciate the fact that he humours me and he tries everything I cook for him. I, on the other hand, could eat this often. I shouldn't but I could.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chili con Carne

September 17 - dinner out with my SIL at Queen Margherita Pizza
September 18 - chili con carne

With it finally beginning to feel like fall, I couldn't think of anything better to make on Football Sunday than chili.  I have a couple chili recipes that I've come up with on my own that are tasty but I haven't found that one go to recipe yet.  So I thumbed through my cookbooks and came upon Jamie Oliver's recipe in my Food Revolution cookbook.  The recipes in this book are so simple, that I'm a bit addicted to it when I don't feel like having to spend a ton of time cooking.  Since I went overboard today at the farmer's market and had a ridiculous amount of produce to put up for the winter, an easy chili recipe was just want I needed. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spicy Steamed Mussels with Garlic & Herbs

September 14 - take out pizza
September 15 - egg sammies with homemade tomato jam
September 16 - Spicy Steamed Mussels with Garlic & Herbs

I was flying solo for dinner on Friday.  They Boy took off for the cottage to help his dad out with some chores around the house.  So it was me and the pups all weekend long.  I have been craving mussels like crazy lately.  While the Boy likes them and will eat them I always feel like they are more my kind of thing than his.  I originally saw this recipe over at Joy the Baker and knew I had to make it.  Having a night to myself seemed the perfect opportunity to get after it.  I happily made it to the grocery store when they still had the fish counter open, snatched up a delicious and cheapie bag of mussels, half of a baguette and rushed home to make this delicious sounding dinner.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Braised Chicken with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

As I was heading out the door for groceries the other day, I noticed the latest edition of Martha Stewart's Everyday Meals in my mailbox and the magazine opened to a one-pot recipe for braised chicken. It must have been meant to be because after reading Jen's description of braising earlier this week, I'd been meaning to try something braised in the very near future. A few easy prep steps and before I knew it I had a fragrant pan of chicken and veggies bubbly away on top of the stove. I had to add extra cooking time to this recipe because at first the chicken wasn't cooked through in the 20 to 25 minutes that they called for, although the veggies were perfectly done. Austin and I enjoyed the freshest version of this because he came home five minutes after I texted him that dinner was on the table and we both loved every bite; when Maddie arrived a half-hour later, she was slightly less enthused with the result; and by the time it was reheated for Q two hours after that, he was viewing it more as a bit of a soggy stew and it had definitely lost its shine. Fresh is best in this case.

Braised Chicken with Butternut Squash and Cranberries
serves 4

from Martha Stewart, Everyday Food

1/2 large butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken leg quarters, split into drumsticks and thighs
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
4 tsp all purpose flour
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, in two batches, skin side down, until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 min per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate and pour off fat from pot.

Add 1 tbsp oil, squash, and onion to pot and cook until veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sage, flour, coriander and nutmeg, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon, 1 minute. Nestle chicken, skin side up, in squash mixture, add cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. (I added some Brussels sprouts about 15 minutes through the process because I didn't want them overcooked.)

Rest of the week

Sept 14 Nobody home for dinner
Sept 15 Braised chicken

Sept 12-14 Corn Chowder for Little Shack

Sept 12     TIFF = no dinner
Sept 13     TIFF = another night of no dinner but I did have a giant glass of red wine
Sept 14     Fresh Sun dried tomato pesto bread and corn chowder

During most of the film festival I don't eat dinner, Shack is at working eating catered dinner and The Kid is being fed by The Neighbours if he can muster up a pathetic enough face. Nobody really eats well for that ten days but luckily, I got a day off mid festival so I went hog wild. I made peach jam, bread and a big pot of a classic corn chowder, one of Little Shack's favourite soups. To make it a bit more hearty, I added a bit of chicken and used evaporated milk in place of heavy cream to change it up a bit but I made enough to freeze so the poor little bugger can have it again at a later date. He has been so patient about this whole crazy no repeating any dinners for a year but he is starting to really crave some of his comfort foods.
Every week he asks "so, how much longer is this thing going to last?"
every week i give the same answer.
"until new year's eve."
poor little bugger.

Little Shack's Favourite Corn Chowder

3 cobs of corn
1 litre of chicken stock
3 strips of bacon
1 tbls olive oil
1/4 red onion, chopped finely
1 unpeeled red potato , chopped into about 1/2" dice
1 white potato, chopped into about 1/2" dice (I used a jamaican yam - you can also sub in a sweet potato for one of the potatoes)
1 chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
fresh thyme
1 370 ml can of evaporated milk
1 scallion sliced finely
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

First off, cut the kernels off the cobs and set the kernels aside. Put the naked cobs in a pot with the 1 litre of chicken stock, bring to a boil and then lower to a really gentle simmer for about ten minutes and turn to low and just let it steep on the back burner until you are ready to use it in the soup. Let it sit and get good and corny.

Chop up your bacon and cook it off in the olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. When it has rendered all of it's fat and is nice and crispy, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Add the onion to the fat and sauté them over med heat for about 5 minutes.
Strain the chicken stock and discard the cobs and add the strained stock to the onions. Bring to a simmer and then add the potatoes,chicken and salt and pepper.
Let it cook until the potatoes are cooked, about 15 minutes. At this point, you can add the corn kernels and then the can of evaporated milk and the thyme. Taste and adjust the thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes.
To serve, put soup in a bowl and crumble up some crisp bacon and sprinkle that over the top.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs & Roasted Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

9/11 - Thai take-out
9/12 - Mexican Quiche
9/13 - Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

So I've been a super bad blogger.  Unless you work in TV or Film production I don't know that you can understand how all-consuming it can be.  Not only is our house a disaster but I really haven't been cooking at all.  I do have a couple things to back post on the most recent days I missed posting, one because I have a delicious and simple sandwich to share and the other because I made a super easy small batch jam that goes wonderfully with cheese.

But you actually really want to hear about what I made last night for dinner.  That's what today's post should be about, right?  And this is so worth posting, if not the most photogenic of meals.  Yesterday was the Boy's birthday and he is a lover of all things braised, specifically short ribs.  When he asked for short ribs as his birthday dinner it started as a joke, with his punchline being "we can eat at 2am." But when I stopped to think about it I realized I might be able to pull of a delicious birthday meal with a bit of prep and my handy dandy slow cooker.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Arugula and Proscuitto

We needed a speedy meal for Tuesday night since both kiddies were going to be flying in from school and right back out again for various activities. Since I had a head of cauliflower sitting in the fridge, I figured we'd try to work the meal around that. Roasted it up, golden brown, for less than half an hour and then pulled together this quick sage/garlic/prosciutto mixture in the food processor to toss with the pasta and veggies. Also found a totally cute pasta resembling either a crown or a chef's hat, depending on who was examining it on their fork, that camouflaged itself among the cauliflower florets so Maddie said she was finding it extra-hard to pick out the veggies. Perfect... she might have even eaten a few accidentally. Not a raving success in terms of overall flavour and would try to figure out a way to punch it up a bit if we repeat in the future.

one-half medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 3/4-inch florets

1 pint grape tomatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

9 large fresh sage leaves

4 large cloves garlic, peeled

6 thin slices prosciutto

12 oz dried pasta

5 cups lightly packed arugula

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Toss the cauliflower, tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the cauliflower begins to turn golden and tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the sage and garlic in a food processor until minced. Add the prosciutto and pulse until coarsely chopped. Once the cauliflower is golden, toss the herb mixture into the vegetables and continue to roast until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Boil the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir in the roasted cauliflower mixture, arugular, cheese and enough pasta water to moisten. Season with salt and pepper.

Rest of the week

Sept 12 Quesadillas

Sept 13 Pasta with roasted cauliflower

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept 8-11 Chicken Parmesan

Sept 8 Chicken Parmesan
Sept 9
Sept 10
Sept 11

I have been dying to make that Milanese Chicken that Dianne made the other day but, clearly if I want to use at one of my official posts, i have to change it up a bit. Her fennel sauce sounded amazing but I didn't have any fennel so, instead, I am going to just use up the last of my fresh tomato sauce and turn it into chicken parmesan.
This is the last supper for us for the next week to ten days as I leave to work at TIFF (the toronto film festival or as it's known in this house, Mommy's Gravy Train).

Chicken Parmesan

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cups panko
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tbls chopped, fresh basil2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
1/3 cup olive oil

Tomato sauce

1/2 ball of mozzarella, sliced into slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using three wide shallow bowls, add the flour to one, the eggs to another and the panko, cheese, basil and thyme to the third. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs, and then coat with the panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

In a large, nonstick saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chicken to the oil and cook until light golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes. After about 10 minutes, add a couple of mozzarella slices to the top of each breast.

If the mozzarella doesn't look melty enough to you after the 15 minutes of cooking time, you can turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to help it along.
To serve, put the chicken on the plate and cover with the tomato sauce. I served it with a side of linguine tossed in the sauce as well and roasted cauliflower.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sweet Corn Polenta with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

Austin spent several hours Sunday afternoon helping his Aunt Karen to shuck 174 cobs of corn so we all knew we were destined to eat something corn related (and delicious) that evening. Her kitchen and back porch were a hive of activity and a well-oiled assembly line of productivity... huge bags full of discarded husks and threads; bushels overflowing with shucked corn; kitchen sink, backsplash and kitchen floor splattered with creamy corn milk, and all four burners of her stove occupied with huge pots of gently bubbling buttery corn. Before we knew it, over 16 dozen cobs had been stripped bare and were ready to be jarred or bagged, then frozen and stored for the winter. I'm grateful that she had kindly embraced the messy part of the process and we simply got to walk away with a huge pot of the finished product... the fruits of Austin's labour.

This recipe grabbed me because it called for the corn kernels themselves, instead of cornmeal, for the polenta. We simply scooped up a few cupfuls of the fresh corn, sauteed it with shallotsand some garlic, added just a wee bit of cream since the corn was uber-creamy itself, and threw together the vinaigrette in the food processor while it was on the stove. The zippiness of the vinaigrette and the slight tang of the goat cheese were the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the corn. A really nice light meal for a fall evening.

serves 4

For the polenta

6 ears of sweet corn

2 tbsp butter

1 shallot, finely minced

1 garlic clove, crushed into a paste

2 to 3 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

For the vinaigrette

1 large tomato, cored and chopped into three or four large pieces

a handful of basil leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

For garnish

any crumbly, salty cheese (I used goat cheese)

fresh basil

Using a box grater, grate the corn kernels from the corn cob. Make sure you keep the milky liquid that comes along with the kernels.

In a skillet, heat the butter until melted. Add the shallot and garlic, and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the corn, cream (if using), a pinch of salt, and stir. Cook over medium heat until the corn liquid and cream clink to the corn mixture and the polenta is the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the vinaigrette, whirl all the ingredients in a food processor, adding salt and seasoning to taste.

Top each serving of the polenta with a swirl of the vinaigrette and some goat cheese.

Rest of the week

Sept 9 Diner food at 50s dinner/dance at golf club

Sept 10 Friend's 50th birthday celebration at Amuse

Sept 11 Sweet corn polenta

Friday, September 9, 2011

Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup

I initially chose to try this recipe because the word "caramelized" spoke to me. Caramelized anything is generally good in this house but more specifically, I was drawing on memories of Ruth's Chris' sweet potato casserole that I had made last Thanksgiving or Christmas, topped with a caramelized pecan topping, and somehow this recipe gave me the impression that the soup would simply be a liquid version of that dessertlike side dish. And, with the addition of the key ingredient--maple syrup--it almost was.
Although I was expecting to roast the sweet potatoes to caramelize them, instead you do it right in the saucepan, along with the onions and the syrup. And that's the moment when you want everyone at home along with you because the kitchen is filled with the sweetest, most delicious smell and the promise of a great fall dinner. Even though I was prepared to spend some time and effort to make it, the soup ended up being essentially an easy five-ingredient, one-pot, simple-cleanup endeavour and took less than half an hour from start to finish. The icing on the cake was a dollop of creme fraiche on top as I slid the bowls on the kitchen table, adding just the right touch of rich creaminess to round it all out. Kiddies loved it (even Maddie, who reminded me she didn't like sweet potatoes) and so did the mom and pop, with pop ultimately being chastised not to eat it all since it would work well for leftovers. Sometimes simple is best, and all you really need. I loved this soup.

makes 6 servings

1/4 cup butter

1 large onion, diced

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice

1/4 cup maple syrup

4 to 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warmed

creme fraiche

chives for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sweat the onion until translucent. Stir in sweet potatoes and maple syrup; saute until golden and caramelized. add 4 cups stock and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Use hand blender to puree mixture (I left in some chunks of sweet potato for texture). Add more stock if needed for desired consistency. Season to taste. Ladle into bowl, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and sprinkle with chives.

Rest of the week

Sept 7 Nobody home for dinner

Sept 8 Sweet potato soup with chunks of foccacia

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept 6-7 Cheese and Arugula Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

Sept 6     Cheese and Arugula Ravioli with Tomato Sauce
Sept 7

I was lucky enough to be invited to do tomatoes with the family of one of my son's classmates last Friday and I am now the proud owner of 42 large jars of Nona's beautiful tomato sauce (and a blister from hours of scraping the extractor thingy on the food mill). It's a beautiful, unadulterated sauce - nothing but the best, ripe plum tomatoes, lovingly skinned, pureed and boiled with nothing other than a few big pieces of basil thrown into the huge vat at the very end for good measure.

While the other 41 jars are sitting in the back of my truck, upside down in boxes, insulated with one of Nona's old quilted bed covers, I have had one lone jar sitting on my counter all weekend, waiting to be turned into something delicious. I had every intention of making my own pasta for ravioli but I couldn't find my ravioli mold anywhere and seeing that it is was Labour Day Monday, my chances of running out and getting a new one were pretty slim. If I needed some bok choy or a bamboo steamer, I would be in luck but a ravioli was not going to happen. I might not need bok choy, but won ton wrappers make a great ravioli wrapper so the fact that all of our asian markets are open 365 days a year was working for me.

Fresh sheep ricotta from St Lawrence market and arugula provided a subtle enough filling to allow the simple tomato sauce shine.

An apology in advance: The Toronto Film Festival starts this Thursday and I am slated to work right through until mid week the next week so I will apologize now for whatever I manage to throw together for my next post or two. I promise to make it up to you in some good festival stories.

Cheese Ravioli with Arugula and Tomato Sauce

this makes a ton of filling so feel free to cut it in half for a batch just big enough for dinner but I wanted to freeze a bunch of them

500 g sheep milk ricotta (about 2 cups)
about 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 egg yolks
1 or 2 tbls olive oil
1 bunch arugula, well washed and chopped up
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
about 5 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
won ton wrappers (I used two 400g packs for about 60 ravioli)

about 1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1litre of tomato puree (about 4 cups)
kosher salt
1 small bunch basil

To make filling, heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic for about five minutes over med to med low. Add the sun dried tomatoes and sauté another five minutes.
Add the arugula and stir it around for  about 30 seconds until it starts to wilt and take the pan off the heat. Put that mixture into a bowl and let it cool down to room temp before adding it in to the cheeses in a large bowl. After you give it a good stir, taste and add salt and pepper if needed and then add in the two yolks, mix well and set aside.

You can do the sauce earlier in the day or even the day before but if you leave it to the last minute, do it now and let the sauce cook while you assemble the ravioli.
Heat a pot over med heat with about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion softens. Add in the tomato puree and let it come to a light simmer, turn down the heat so that it is just softly simmering away while you put the ravioli together. You will have to taste for salt and adjust to your taste - it will depend greatly on the tomatoes you use. I used my homemade puree which contained no salt at all so I had to add more than I would if I had use canned tomatoes or jarred puree.

Assemble the ravioli:

Have a little bowl of water handy.
lay one wonton wrapper on the cutting board and using a tsp measure, scoop out a heaping tsp of cheese mixture and place it in the centre of the wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and wet all around the edges. Place a second wrapper on top and gently press down so that all the edges meet up and go around with a fork, pressing the tines in to seal the edges.

As you make them put them on a cookie tray lined with parchment and keep them covered with a tea towel until you are done all of them.

To cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil. You don't want a vigourous boil or the ravioli might burst open and make a mess so keep the water just simmering lightly. Cook a few at a time so they aren't crowded - my pot lets me do about 8-10 at time. Cook them for between 4 to 5 minutes, until they are all floating on top of the water and then remove with a big slotted spoon and place them in each, individual bowl.

At this point, turn the heat off under the sauce and throw the bunch of basil into the sauce and just let it sit for a few minutes while you finish cooking the pasta.

After all the pasta is cooked and in everyone's shallow bowl, ladle some sauce over each and serve. You can also put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the place and then place the ravioli on top of the sauce too - it's up to you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oka & Apple Butter Grilled Cheese with pickled carrots & beans

This post has been posted here a week late but this sammie was so delicious and simple I had to share.

When I'm able to create something so tasty almost exclusively from things I generally keep on hand, I'm a happy girl.  Oka cheese is a semi-soft cheese out of Quebec that has been made by monks for years.  I'd love to be able to give the history of it, but I'm rushing to get this written up right now, while the bosses are in a meeting. But google Oka cheese and try to find it from your local cheesemonger.  I promise you won't regret it.  It goes amazingly well with fruit and melts perfectly on a grilled cheese.  It's a definite fave in our house and something I pick up whenever we run out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Maddie's Back-to-School Spaghetti Pie

Woohoo... the kids are back at school and yes, they're all as happy about it as I am. And since it seems like the entire world seems to be in back-to-school mode today, it only made sense to make a kid-focused meal for the end of their big day. Dropped the eldest off to university on Saturday (how can it possibly be that almost 18 years have passed since we first drove home from the hospital with our tiny 20-plus-1-inch-long baby and now we're suddenly driving our 6-foot-plus-one-inch-tall teen off to university?). Could someone please explain how that happens because it feels like just yesterday to me. But since the other two kiddies spent short days at their schools, Maddie was up for helping with dinner prep in the afternoon. We found this child-friendly spaghetti pie and since it was just going to be the kids eatin' coz Dad was at some work function, we decided to give it a try.
The fact that the dish looked something like a deep-dish pizza appealed to Maddie as well as the realization that the spaghetti would bake together, get extra crispy and have to be cut into slices to be served. And totally fun to make a pie base out of the cooked pasta strands, layer on a spinach-cheese mixture, add some of Carole's exquisite homemade tomato sauce (which she'd generously donated to me as we left yoga earlier in the day... only Carole would just happen to have over 40 jars of tomato sauce in the back of her car), and top with grated cheese. A weird pie/lasagna combo that got good reviews from both critics. Maybe not the highest-brow meal we've ever made but it fit the bill for our day.

serves 6 to 8

8 oz spaghetti

2 large eggs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 cups homemade marinara sacue

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained well

1 15-oz container part skim ricotta

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put water on to boil. Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate.

In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil and cook onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and oregano, and heat through.

Place ricotta in a bowl and combine with the spinach.

Cook spaghetti until al dente, drain and toss in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with 1/3 cup shredded parmesan. Toss with the spaghetti and then transfer to the pie place. Shape into crust shape by flattening centre and pressing up the sides of the pan. Layer spinach-ricotta mixture, followed by the tomato sauce and bake for 25 minutes. Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining parmesan, and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool for 10 minutes and then slice into wedges and serve.

Rest of the week

Sept 2 Takeout Greek souvlakis and salad

Sept 3 Linguine with pesto sauce and tossed salad

Sept 4 Burritos from Chino Locos

Sept 5 Dinner at sister's house... yummy pulled pork and coconut cream pie

Sept 6 Spaghetti pie with salad

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sept 5 Chorizo Sloppy Joe Tacos or Slopos

I was all ready to make something completely different but life intervened, as it tends to do, and by 5pm I had eaten a late brunch with the The Neighbours, Shack had just grabbed a Lick's burger because he hadn't eaten all day and I brought The Kid home from his friends. Only Little Shack was interested in eating and he asked if there was any slop left over from last night's sloppy joes. Although I normally take offence to the word "slop" being used to describe a dish that I have served my family, I let it slide this time.

So, a small batch of masa harina to make 4 tortillas, some shredded cabbage, some guacamole and the kid is fed and happy. We called them Slopos.

Hank's Slopos
makes 4 good sized tacos

1/5 cup of chorizo sloppy joes
2/3 cup masa harina
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 tomato, diced
1 1/2 key lime (you can just use one plain old lime - I had key limes)
pinch kosher salt
1 avocado
1 tbls onion diced fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 hot chill, seeded and minced

Mix the masa harina with the warm water and knead for a few minutes, wrap in plastic or cover with a tea towel and set aside while you prep the rest.

mix half of the tomato with the juice of half of a key lime and a pinch of kosher salt and set aside.
Halve the avocado, take out the seed and scoop out the flesh into a shallow bowl. Mash it with a fork, squeeze in the rest of the lime juice and mix well. Stir in the rest of the tomato, the onion, garlic and hot chill and stir together. Set aside.
Put the cabbage in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a heavy, dry griddle over med high heat. Divide the masa into four equal portions and roll them into balls. You can either roll them out into circles OR use a tortilla press OR you can flatten the balls out, one at a time, using a heavy pot as your weight. Just make sure that you do it between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap so that you can peel the pressed flat tortilla off to put it in the griddle.

Cook the tortillas on your hot, ungreased griddle (I use my cast iron frying pan) about a minute per side and when it's cooked, put it in a tea towel lined basket and keep them well covered by the towel. This will keep them soft, pliable and warm.
Of course you can skip all of this and just buy corn tortillas and just warm them up on the dry griddle.

To assemble, warm up your chorizo sloppy joe meat in the microwave for a minute until it's just really warm and divide the meat amongst the four tacos. Put a good sized dollop of guacamole, some of the salted tomato and shredded cabbage on all four, roll them up and eat them.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sept 2-4 Chorizo Sloppy Joes

Sept 2     The Kid ate a tuna sandwich while I was at work eating gummy worms and smart food
Sept 3     Mexican food at Rebozos
Sept 4     Chorizo Sloppy Joes and Cardamom Fruit Crisp

The neighbours and I watched Top Chef Canada pretty religiously and there were a number of dishes that we keep meaning to make from that show. One of them was the chorizo sloppy joes that Rob Rossi made because all of the judges wouldn't shut up about how it was the most delectable thing they had ever eaten in their entire lives. Even on subsequent episodes, Mark McEwan kept saying that he wished that he was eating Rob's sloppy joe instead of eating whatever culinary delight sat in front of him.

The weather has been kind of dodgy this weekend so it seemed a perfect time to haul out my giant Le Creuset birthday pot and whip up a big batch of these mind blowing sloppy joes. For once, I followed the recipe almost to a T (i didn't add the chill flakes) except that I think that he used some sort of magical dried chorizo sausage that I couldn't find anywhere. I ended up using a couple of nice, fat, mild mexican chorizo sausages but other than that, I did not deviate. At first I was disappointed and thought it was kind of bland but I added quite a good pinch of kosher salt and some mexican chill powder and it was much better.

I was still not totally sold on it so I made up a sandwich to photograph and took it next door for The Neighbours to taste and they loved it. I took a bite and realized that it is actually much better than I had originally thought but it still isn't the orgasmic ambrosia that made Mark McEwan weak in the knees.

The leftovers will make a good taco filling for The Kid and, again, it tastes really good after it sits for a while and if you like sloppy joes, you will like this too. It just didn't knock my socks off you know?

Chorizo Sloppy Joes
adapted from Food Network Canada

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tbls smoky mexican chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 2 fat links of fresh mexican chorizo
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1x 660 ml bottle of pureed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water, plus a few tablespoons more if needed
  • kosher salt to taste

  • 20 small small soft dinner rolls
  • Chorizo Sloppy Joe
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Manchego Cheese, grated

  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Le Creuset French Oven over medium high heat.

  • Add onions to pot, cook until tender and translucent, approximately 3 minutes.

  • Add garlic, bay leaves, smoked paprika, black pepper and cumin. Stir.

  • Add chorizo and break up with a wooden spoon. Sauté until golden and fat has rendered, approximately 10 minutes.

  • Add ground beef, sauté until meat is cooked, approximately 10 minutes. Drain excess fat.

  • Add tomato paste, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add pureed tomatoes and water. Cook for approximately 30-45 minutes, skimming fat occasionally. Add more water, if necessary.

  • Keep warm before serving.    

  •  To serve, spoon the sloppy joes into a bun, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and top with manchego cheese                                                                                                                                

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Greek Pizza

    August 31 - date night at Rodney's Oyster House with delish oysters and fatty lobsters.
    September 1 - Greek Pizza
    Septe,mber 2 - road trip to the cottage

    So here it is Saturday night and I all but forgot to write-up my post.  After rushing up to the cottage last night after a long day at work, helping the in-laws out with a garage sale today and spending the rest of the afternoon making custards for the vanilla bean and mint chip ice creams that will go in our homemade ice cream sandwiches tomorrow, plus helping with dinner, I was more than happy to crawl into bed with my book and pass out.

    But then with a start I remembered it was Saturday and despite my best intentions to prep the post yesterday, work was far to busy to even sneak a sentence here and there.  So here I am in bed, ready to pass out but after a delinquent weekend last week, I feel it's the least I can do.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce

    When I started out on this challenge, I figured that by the end of the year I'd have at least a dozen new tried-and-tested chicken recipes, and another dozen or so pasta ones, salads, sides, etc., that I'd be able to turn to with confidence instead of relying on all our old faithfuls. So this week I turned back to finding a quick chicken dinner option that hopefully expanded our weeknight choices. I like the idea of making a delicious pan sauce while the chicken is cooking and thought this tomato and fennel sauce would be a nice accompaniment... unfortunately, lesson learned: I loved it (tasty, rich and mellow) and definitely good for adult fare or easy company dinner, but not a hit with either of the kids who were at the table that night. Maddie wouldn't even give it a try and Austin took a bite and then passed. All was not lost since they both loved the crispiness of the panko-crusted chicken but neither wanted to complicate things with some fancy, and apparently unneeded, sauce.

    This week actually marks the end of the full 365-day cycle of this challenge for us since I began it as the kids went back to school last September. At the time, Corbin had tried to convince me to postpone it until January so he would only have to suffer through eight months of it before leaving for university in August, but I knew myself well enough to know that I'm way more goal oriented, energetic and focused in September than I ever am in January (seems like such a cliche for the entire world to have resolutions en masse) so I couldn't be talked out of it. But January is when Jen, Carole and I actually started blogging about our adventures so I still have another four months to go before we really reach the finish line together. It hasn't quite unfolded the way I expected. When I started out, I thought that by the end of the year all my cookbooks would be sauce-splattered, sticky and covered with handwritten notes and reviews in the margins, but technology intervened. When my iPad arrived unexpectedly on Christmas Day, all of my attention turned online instead. Talk about making my life easier. And, ever since, it's been my lifesaver and trusty companion, propped on the kitchen counter and providing never-ending inspiration. Thanks to Q for knowing I needed one when even I didn't.

    Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel Sauce
    serves 4

    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 1/4 cups panko
    2/3 cup grated parmesan
    2 tsp dried basil
    1 tsp dried thyme
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
    1/3 cup vegetable oil

    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
    2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 clove garlic
    1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
    1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using three wide shallow bowls, add the flour to one, the eggs to another and the panko, cheese, basil and thyme to the third. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs, and then coat with the panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

    In a large, nonstick saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add two pieces of the chicken to the oil and cook until light golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

    For the sauce: using the same saucepan, add the olive oil to the reserved cooking juices and heat over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mascarpone and stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Rest of the week

    Aug 30 Assorted paninis
    Aug 31 Chicken milanese with tossed salad
    Sept 1 Farewell family dinner at The Keg for Corbin before he leaves for university. Sob.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Aug 29- Aug 31 Spaghetti with Green Beans and Arugula

    Aug 29     Dinner out with Dianne and the girls at Table 17
    Aug 30     Pasta with green beans and arugula
    Aug 31     salad with a grilled chicken breast

    The Kid and I took The Neighbour to see The Help late on Tuesday afternoon (that's a lot of The's) and didn't get home from the movie until almost 6:30. I had not eaten anything all day and was starving (thankfully, Little Shack lunched on a bag of swedish berries so he wasn't as bad off as I was). I am still recovering from the Big Fat Hindu Wedding followed by dinner out at Table 17 and just couldn't even look at food all day. You know I am in a bad way when I didn't even have popcorn because anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE movie popcorn with a fiery, hot passion. I love movie popcorn so much that I have seen Shark Boy and Lava Girl just for the popcorn. That's love.

    Because I have been away and the boys ate sushi the entire weekend, the cupboards were pretty bare. There was a bunch of dried pasta, a handful of green beans, one tomato, garlic and another handful of baby arugula. I thought there was some chicken stock but there wasn't and I was NOT going to open a bottle of white wine because I am never drinking again and an open bottle of wine would need drinking. I was just going to do olive oil and the veggies and then I spotted the evaporated milk. I have used it a few times in creamy sauce type things so I grabbed that and it was perfect.
    Simple, not even a recipe really but surprisingly tasty and we were both pretty happy to eat it. Some of my favourite dishes have been born out of pure desperation, a bare fridge and rumbly belly.

    Spaghetti with Green Beans and Arugula
    serves 2-3

    about 90g pasta per person
    olive oil
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 onion, diced
    a big handful of green beans
    a big handful of baby arugula
    1/2 large tomato, diced 
    about 1/4 cup of EVAPORATED 2% milk
    freshly grated parmesan
    freshly ground black pepper

    Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. While that is happening, wash your beans and snap the ends off. Give the arugula a rinse and set that aside as well.
    Dice your onion, chop your garlic and then chop your tomato.
    Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
    Once the water boils, add your pasta, pour a good glug of olive oil into the sauté pan and throw in the onion and the garlic. Cook until the onion softens and just starts to colour a bit. Add the green beans and stir that around for another couple of minutes. At this point, your pasta is getting close to being done so add the tomatoes to the sauté pan and let that all cook until the tomatoes start to melt and the green beans are pretty much cooked (I like them to stay pretty crunchy - if you need your green beans to be soft, you can always parboil them). 
    At this point, your pasta is only a minute or two from being done. Add about 1/4 cup evaporated milk to the sauté pan, give it a good stir and add the drained spaghetti to the pan so it can finish cooking in the sauce.
    It will only take a minute or two for that to happen. Add the arugula and give it another good stir and remove from heat. Let it side for the time it takes you to grab a couple of shallow bowls and get the chunk of cheese. Serve up the pasta, grate some fresh parmesan over the top and add a good grind of black pepper.

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