Sunday, January 30, 2011

It was bound to happen!

On Saturday, I am tooling around the house after running a few errands in the morning. I was doing wash and some light cleaning. I decided I needed to start prepping my roast chicken for dinner so I headed into the kitchen.

Our kitchen has a fantastic view out to the mountains and river. While cutting some potatoes, I noticed a State Trooper car about 1/4 of the mile down the road on the curve that leads to the road in the front of the house. The road runs parallel to the river down this stretch.

It's not a bad curve but when it rains or snows, I always fear that someone will drive off of it and right into the river. Anyway, I see the state trooper car with its lights on. I keep looking out because I only see the trooper and 2 people milling around. There was another car parked on the shoulder so I figured that he/she got stopped and was getting a ticket.

I keep watching as I am cooking and I wonder if a car went into the river but I am not seeing an ambulance or other police so I continue prepping. When I come back from folding laundry in the bedroom, I see a tow truck. By this time, I am sure a car went into the river.

I keep watching as people come and go. Cars stop. One of the neighbors who lives across the street where it happened came out. There were looky-loos across the river as well. I finally saw some guy walk by our house and walk down to the commotion. About 30 minutes later he comes walking back. I was on the front porch taking pictures figuring I would blog about the incident.
Yes, I am hardcore that way.

So, he is walking across our lawn, which is fine, because otherwise he has to walk on the road. I say hello and then ask him what went on. He tells me that the lady driving the car started choking on a cough drop, lost control and went into the river. He said she was able to get out but the car is trashed.

At this point, I figure that the car went into the water. I was glad the river was low and glad she got out. A little later, Tom shows up and tells me otherwise. I had sent him a text and so he decided to drive on the other side of the road coming home. He checked it out. He was probably one of those annoying looky-loos. He said the car did in fact go off the road onto the banks of the river but hit a tree. That tree prevented the car from actually going into the water.

It took about two attempts to get the car out but they did. Boy that lady lucked out because she could have gone straight intot he water and drowned. That was my Saturday excitement. Of course, I didn't walk down with my camera to take pictures because that would have been rude. I prefer sneaking pictures from afar. My camera rocks for that.

I am just glad that no one got hurt.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spaghetti ala Carbonara Recipe

The other day I was at the grocery store and noticed they had pancetta. I love pancetta. Of course, I bought some. I had no idea what I was going to use it for but I bought it anyway. Okay, for those who might not know about pancetta, it is like an Italian bacon. Not as good as bacon but pretty darn good.

One the way home I started thinking what I could make. It hit me. Spaghetti Carbonara. Now I made Spaghetti Carbonara a few years ago and it was okay. I think it's because I had seen Rachel Ray make it one day and I tried to recreate it. Of course, I missed half the show, so that didn't help.

I willy-nilly made it and it probably wasn't that good since I never made it again. So this time I did the unthinkable. I actually followed a recipe. I grabbed Tom's iPad and used my Food Network app and found a great recipe by Tyler Florence. The Food Network app rocks the freaking house. If you have an iPad, I highly recommend it.

Okay it is super duper hard for me to follow any recipe but luckily this was easy. Here it is:

Tyler Florence's Spaghetti ala Carbonara

1 pound dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente.") Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. 

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.

Okay, I didn't follow the recipe exactly but close enough to make it work. This was a fantastic recipe. It is easy and very delicious. I thought it might be even tastier if I had used regular bacon. Of course, that would add calories but it would be delish nonetheless.

I recommend it if you are tired of the same old pasta dish. Tom loved it and I know I will be making this again.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

As Nervous as a Whore in Church

Okay, this is NOT my saying but I am so adopting it. I actually learned this last night from the one and only First Lady of Southern Cooking: Paula Deen.

Saturday night, the Salzman's went out for a night on the town. We rarely go out but Paula Deen has opened a new restaurant at the Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC. She was going to having a cooking demo and I figured I should go. Because y'all know I love my Food Netowrk chefs and anything about cooking and food! And, I love Paula Deen.

Now we had tickets in the nosebleed section but they were still pretty good. She was hilarious and I am thinking that wasn't water she was sipping throughout the whole show. She is a charmer. And I tell you, people came from all over the South to see her. People were there from Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and all over. It was amazing. She came out and talked to audience a while and made some off color jokes. I found out that Paula Deen is sort of a potty mouth. Since I am a potty mouth too, I loved it.

She had her hubby, Capt. Mike there. Jamie wasn't there but Bobby was. She also had her brother and aunt there was well. She did NO cooking. She had a sous chef do it all. But overall, it was fun. I love her and I cannot wait to eat at her restaurant. I am probably going to make Tom take me for my birthday! Yummo.

After the show, we went our separate ways and did a little gambling. Tom does poker, I love the slots. I won and lost, won and lost but spent about 2 hours playing on my original money and ended up winning a total of $21. Any day I get out of a casino breaking even or with extra money, is a good day. I am glad I don't live in Vegas because I swear, I would be either really rich or on the streets!

We finally got hungry and left. Of course, everything in Cherokee was closed. We live about 30 minutes from the casino. So we headed home and everything but our favorite Mexican restaurant was closed. Folks, while I love living in a small town, it sucks when you want to eat after 9 p.m. Luckily, our restaurant was open and we ate, then came home.

Don't judge me for the title of the post. But it tickled me. I know once I move from the South and live elsewhere, I will get funny looks when I am "bless your heart" here and there. And when I saw things like, "I am as nervous as a whore in church." Love it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick Update

Some are probably wondering where I have been hiding. Well, I have just been working and trying to catch up. The other reason I haven't been blogging is because there is NOTHING going on around here. After weeks of snow and cold, we got a reprieve this week and actually got some sun.

It is still cold but at least there is no snow. Tomorrow, I am headed off to the Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Resort! I snagged some tickets to see Paula Deen do a cooking demo. She is opening a new restaurant there. You all know I love my Food Network chefs, so I had to go.

Should be a good time. And after, I am hoping to get some slot time in! WOO. I love the bells and whistles! And who knows, maybe I will walk out of the casino with some money. Okay, who am I kidding? LOL

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Yes, I have been a bad, bad girl and I am ignoring my blog. Sorry. With my back out and returning to work, I have been too busy or too tired to do a thing. But I still cook.

This week, it's Eggplant Parmigiana. I was watching the Food Network, shock oh shock. Yes, I am a Food Network addict! I was watching Alex Guarnaschelli's show: My Day Off. She was making Eggplant Parmesan. I never ever think to make Eggplant Parmesan although it's quite delish. I made it like once in my life and I think it turned out pretty well but it has been a long time.

I really like watching Alex, she cooks really good food and I have found her recipes are pretty easy. This one was easy and it was perfect for my willy nilly style of cooking.

I started with 2 large onions. Now I wasn't sure about this because I hate eating big chunks of cooked onions. I love love love raw onions but cooked onions turn me off. Don't get me wrong, almost everything I cook has onions but I usually chop them up pretty small so they disappear. But her recipe called for chunky onions so I went ahead and cut them pretty big.

After sauteing them with 6 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and dried oregano. I added 2 cans of whole tomatoes. I let all this reduce down. I had run out of dried basil, which I consider a crime and I should be sent to jail for letting my spice cabinet go without! But oh well.

I was always told when using eggplant to cut it and then salt it so it drains some of its salt. Alex didn't roll that way. She just cut up her eggplant and fried it so I followed her lead. I took 2 medium sized eggplants and cut them up into about 1/2 inch slices.

She coated the eggplant slices with flour. I added some salt and pepper to my flour. Then she had an egg wash with milk and then bread crumbs. I had some Italian bread crumbs so I used those. Grab the eggplant and dip into the flour, then put it into the egg wash and then the bread crumbs. Make sure to coat it completely.

Once coated, you fry them up. Yes, I know frying isn't healthy but it has to be done. Once you have all the eggplant fried you start putting together the dish by making an almost eggplant lasagna.

Sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, eggplant on top, add provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese and then some grated Parmesan. You can actually add any cheeses you like as well. This isn't rocket science peeps. Just keep layering it until you run out.

Because I left the room to make lunch, I didn't catch the back end of Alex's show. So I had to willy nilly guess how long to put the eggplant into the oven. If I have no idea, I always go with a 350 degree oven and leave it in until it is bubbly and browned.

I decided to serve it with a side of spaghetti with some leftover sauce. It was freaking delicious! I forgot how much I really like Eggplant Parmesan. It is a meatless meal and it can be made lighter than how I made it. You can probably get away with not frying the eggplant and using less cheese. But overall, it was an easy dish to make and it is filling. The leftovers were also really good!!

Remember, to pop on over to Latina on a Mission and check out all the other yummy Sabroso Saturday recipes! Delish!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

We are snowed in again

The snow never seems to end. I so want to move somewhere that there is no snow. To top it off, I started making a fire and threw out my back. BOO! It hurts like hell! Luckily, I have some meds from the last time I threw out my back. Sweet relief! WOO!