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RECIPES

Zucchini, Garlic and Pasta AKA Spring Joy

zuckes

Spring, for some reason, makes us desperate for green food. Maybe because back in THE DAY green food was only plentiful in the spring. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s the reason, but – no matter, this pasta will make you dance with joy! And you will sing, “spring is here!” or not. But really try this pasta. Loosely based on Marcella Hazan’s recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds zucchini ends trimmed, cut into sticks 2½” long by ¼” thick

Salt

8 or so fresh basil leaves, washed, paper towel dried, rolled and chopped

½-cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

3 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled (or garlic infused oil)

4-tablespoon butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus cheese for serving at table

1-pound of fresh pasta like fettuccine

 

Soak zucchini in cold water for a half an hour after scrubbing off the dirt residue. Trim ends cut into sticks (matchstick sized). Toss with salt a few times. Put in the colander, salt, and place in sink and let the liquid drain for a minimum of two hours. Mostly I let it drain for two hours and then I take four or five paper towels, drop all of the zucchini sticks on the towel, wrap it up and let the towels soak the rest of the juice out of the zucchini. This is essential for the zucchini to fry correctly. Then pat dry with more paper towels. Drop zucchini back in the colander and sprinkle with flour. Shake off excess. Pour vegetable oil in frying pan up to at least ¼” and fry the garlic. Once it browns, remove, add in zucchini and fry until golden brown. Try really hard not to eat all of the crispy zucchini as it comes out of the pan. Save some for the pasta. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Cook and drain pasta. Toss with butter. Add zucchini, basil, cheese, toss thoroughly.

This is the perfect spring food. You will eat ALL OF IT and then groan. But it will be worth it. Have I ever steered you wrong? I mean except that one time in college?

RECIPES

Beer Beef Stew

irish-stew-tf2
Photo credit: tastefoodblog.com

Sundays are meant for writing, not sweating over a pot. Enter…beef stew, the yummiest, easiest dinner for happy bellies.

Beer Beef Stew

SERVINGS: 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 pounds Stew Meat
  • 1 whole large sweet Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (12 Oz. Size) of dark Beer
  • 4 cups Beef Stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 whole Carrots, Washed, Unpeeled, And Roughly Sliced

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. (Keep that yummy juice for later!) Cut pieces in half. Set aside.
Add diced onions to the pot. Add a pinch of salt, stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened. Add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Add carrots, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes. Or if serving with noodles, add 4 whole new baby potatoes with the carrots!
RECIPES

Bethany’s Cream Scones

fnk_cream-scones-with-currants_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960Bethany makes these scones in the book during a snow storm. They are so good. I thought I’d share the recipe! ~Katie B

Makes 8 or 12 mini scones

The easiest way to mix the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with a steel blade. But the more old fashioned way (Bethany’s method) is to blend flour and butter with your fingers.  Mix the ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times. (Again, if using Bethany’s method, use your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Stir in currants. Transfer dough to large bowl.
  4. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Cut scones into 8 wedges. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet. I use a mini scone pan – I love it! If using the mini-scone pan bake for 12 minutes. Remove from pan and reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. If you molded the scones yourself, bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature
BOOKS

Writing A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON

a-kiss-heading

Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a celebrity crush (current crush: David Giuntoli from Grimm.) See his yumminess here: David looking serious.

When I was a child, Gene Kelly was my dream man. When I was a teenager, it was Matt Dillon. For a while, I switched over to musicians like the oh-so-yummy ’80s icon  John Taylor from Duran Duran. But leading men were like magnets to me, and eventually I fell for the brilliant but fairly rude and brooding, Russell Crowe quite early in his career. Meaning before LA Confidential and Gladiator. He blew me away with his riveting performance in The Sum of Us followed by Romper Stomper.  I’ve always written little short stories and played around with a variety of genres, but it was after reading Judith McNaught’s Whitney, My Love (which almost killed me the romantic tension was so brutal) that I realized romance was my genre of choice. So I played around with a story and used Russell as my inspiration.

What happened, as it often does in writing, is that my character took over and didn’t want to be Australian or rude or impulsively violent. So I went with it, and Aidan was born! An Irishman with a gentle if somewhat wounded soul. Coming up with Bethany – the complete opposite of a movie starlet – was fun. She also took over her story adding things – like her love of baking – that I never had in her character bio or my outline.

As I await, proudly, for A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON to become available to you, I am editing one book and writing another. One is a ghost story, the other story about two very wounded people that find each other. I believe both of them will be a lot of fun to read.  I’d better get back to work so I can finish the book I’m currently reading, later on, tonight. It’s a good one! Karen Rose: Did You Miss Me?