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pasta with basil sauce

pasta with basil sauceAfter three weeks overseas, I am happy to be back home.  Mr. S and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy being in our humble abode.  When away, I encounter (stumble upon) new ways to dress up old dishes.  Stumble upon; another word perhaps for getting lost.  Not that we are frequently lost when walking around new cities or neighbourhoods, it’s just that what seems to be a logical route turns out to be a completely different area.  Not to fret, though, as these missteps can deliver a sense of jubilation when one sees something unique.  For us, it’s finding an enchanting historic building or a hole-in-the-wall cafe.  I don’t go out of my way looking for clothing shops, instead, I hunt down historical spots with places to eat and drink injected along the way.  In doing so we have discovered many hidden treasures and were able to eat like a local. Continue Reading →

tuna noodle casserole

ultimate comfort food, tuna noodle casseroleI don’t know why, but of late I am drawn to nostalgia and in particular food.  This nostalgic feeling is all good and although I am not one to dwell in the past, there’s something so familiar about comfort food that pulls me back to my childhood.  In the 1950s and well into the ’70s casseroles were all the rage.  The classic all-time favourite casserole of the ’70s was tuna noodle.  Continue Reading →

sorrel with pasta and pork

sorrel with pastaAs a regular reader, you know how much I love our local farmers’ markets.  There’s always something new and interesting.  I have my favorite vendors I like to visit and one, in particular, is Offbeat Farm.  Sarah and Jamie are an energetic and enthusiastic couple and they love what they do – farm on less than one-half acre!  Last Saturday I picked up a bunch of their sorrel.  Jamie’s eyes lit up when I asked him what’s his favorite way to prepare it; on its own, in a salad, blanched where some of his recommendations.  I took a quick nibble from a leaf and because it’s a young crop, the taste was an explosion of a citrusy-tangy-sour mouthfeel.  I grabbed their last bag! Continue Reading →

sautéed purple cabbage with pasta

purple cabbage with pastaDo you ever wish you could turn back time?  I do, not to alter events but to be more inquisitive with my elders thus being able to pass the story-telling torch onto my children.  My great, great paternal grandmother, Anna Marie Schmeltzer (Nanny Kent), died when I was 11 – she was 86.  My memories of her are limited but what I do recall most was her caring and loving way, the food she cooked was heavenly, and she always seemed happy even though her life wasn’t easy.  Continue Reading →

macaroni and cheese – with a slight twist

macaroni and cheeseI grew up on macaroni and cheese both in the homemade version and the boxed one. Both are comfort foods but it’s been years since I had the boxed one.  Every cook has their own version but is it possible to improve on a classic dish?  At first thought, no way, but after considering the additions I am about to share with you, you might think otherwise.  Continue Reading →

pasta salad with roasted chickpeas

pasta saladI’ve had this package of multicolor farfalle (Italian for butterfly) pasta for weeks now and every time I open the pantry door, there it is, waiting for me to do something with it.  The colors of the butterfly pasta are all natural using beetroot, spinach, turmeric, paprika and black squid ink.  I wanted something special to salute this gorgeous pasta with and wasn’t quite sure what.  The can of chickpeas in my pantry sparked an idea.  I have, for longest time, wanted to try roasting chickpeas and somehow the two would come together.  Continue Reading →

pasta with haddock

pasta with haddockI am the first to admit that we don’t enough fish (mea culpa).  The Mayo Clinic recommends two servings a week.  Some weeks we eat that and some weeks we don’t…especially when we’re on a vegetarian kick or the carnivore in me takes over.  The fish balance is a thin line for me.  I need a craving for fish otherwise it just isn’t going to make it to the table.  We have been watching a mini series, Italy Unpacked, with art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli.  The series focuses on different regions of Italy where they both share their knowledge of Italy’s culture and cuisine.  The episode featuring Sicily caught my attention.  Continue Reading →

Pasta e Patate (pasta and potato)

Pasta e Patate - a quick midweek mealPasta e Patate is a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  I met Francesca in Singapore back in 2001.  I had heard glowing accounts of her Italian cooking classes and was eager to meet this culinary wizard.  Francesca did not disappoint.  Her kitchen was light and airy and her cheery disposition made all who attended her class very welcome.  Continue Reading →

Smoked Salmon Spaghetti

smoked salmon spaghettiSmoked salmon is well loved in our house.  It’s so versatile and delicious on scrambled eggs, as a creamy pâté, in sushi rolls, tarts, chowder or soups, blinis, quesadillas and so forth.  Some enjoy smoked salmon in spaghetti carbonnara which I was almost tempted to make but felt I wanted the salmon to be center stage and leave the creaminess (ahem calories) behind.  This dish can be ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta…I kid you not!  Continue Reading →

Crab Pasta with Lemon

budget friendly crab pastaPasta is one of my go-to dishes when I am either pressed for time or not in the mood to cook. There are oodles of dried pasta varieties available, including a good selection of gluten-free, making it a versatile staple most cooks have in their cupboards.  I had a package of cooked imitation crab meat which kept staring me in the face each time I opened the freezer drawer.  I kept thinking I’ll make something with it…someday.  Crab pasta is a cinch to make and you can whip it up in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  Continue Reading →