Friday, September 28, 2007

Pappardelle with Hot Italian Sausage, Butternut Squash, Sage, and Taleggio Cheese

1 package hot Italian sausage (around 5 sausages), removed from casings
2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
5 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
1 lb pappardelle pasta
4 oz taleggio cheese
Salt and pepper

Start a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, usually around 10 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Add pasta back to its cooking pot with around 1/4 cup of the water it was cooked in.

Crumble and brown the sausage in a pan. Set aside. Add the butternut squash and stock and cook over medium high heat until the squash is soft and the broth is bright orange. Add the sausage back to the pan with the soft squash and sage. Season to taste. Toss the mixture in with the pasta. Split the pasta and sauce evenly into four pasta bowls and top with 1 oz of taleggio cheese each.

Serves 4

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dinner with Darren and the Scots

Dinner tonight was a trip. We had three meat eaters, one vegetarian, and one vegan. The meat eaters were not willing to go veg, so I cooked both ways!

I found the most amazing produce at the farmers' market, so the menu features some of those exciting finds.

Sourdough Crostini with Muhamara (vegan)
Figs wrapped in Prosciutto

Vegan tartlets of Roasted Beet and Rye Groats in a Merlot Reduction Sauce served with Salad of Wild Arugula and Jujubees

Prime Rib au Jus, Fingerling Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts
Pappardelle Noodles with Oyster and Lobster Mushrooms, Foraged Red Spinach, and Sea Beans in a Saffron Cashew Cream (vegan)

Vegan Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wild Mushrooms with Bacon and Orecchiette Pasta

This dish was created to show off some beautiful mushrooms I got at the farmer's market. I used Yellowfoot and Lobster mushrooms, but other wild mushrooms could be substitued. I wouldn't use button mushrooms from the supermaket for this dish though, the flavor will not be intense enough to carry the dish.

2 1/2 cups wild mushrooms brushed clean of dirt and ripped into uniform pieces
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2c)
4 slices bacon cut into small pieces
3 ounces cream cheese
1 lb orecchiette pasta (farfalle will do if orecchiette cannot be found)
salt and pepper
8T chives, chopped

Set a large pot of water on to boil and boil the pasta for the recommended time on the package (until al dente). Strain (do not rinse) and reserve 1/4c of the pasta water. Place the hot pasta back into the pot with the reserved pasta water.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until mostly crisp in a medium sautee pan. Set the bacon aside, pouring off all but 2T of the grease. Sautee the onion in the bacon grease. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the mushrooms and sautee until soft. Add the crisp bacon and set aside

Add the cream cheese to the hot, strained pasta and stir until melted. Add the mushroom and bacon mixture and stir until combined. Season to taste, pour into four bowls and garnish with 2T of chives per bowl.

Serves 4

Bridal Shower Cake

This is an 11"x15" chocolate cake layered with whipped ganache, coated with buttercream, and topped with chocolate covered strawberries.

Vegan Cupcakes

Several years ago, I worked as the pastry chef for a well-known vegan restaurant in San Francisco. Imagine my surprise at how far vegan baking has come since then! There are countless products and resources for you now - it's just fantastic!

I tried this recipe that I got off It's from the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World."

Of course the buttercream is not as good as real butter (I mean, come on, is anything?) but if you're a vegan craving a old fashioned cupcake, look no further!

Late Summer Dinner Party

Papaya and Avocado salad with Baby Spinach, Pickled Onions, and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds in Lime Dressing

Masa Cakes with Refried Beans, Chorizo and Potatoes, Cotija Cheese, Casa Crema, and Cilantro

Salmon Sashimi with Cilantro Pesto and Brunoise of Salsa Fresca

Mole Poblano with Green Rice and Refried Beans (no photo)

Homemade Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream with Cinnamon Cookies (no photo)