Angel Hair Pasta w/ Fresh Tomato Sauce

These beautiful tomatoes are courtesy of the garden Mr. Foodie started on our deck this Spring. Yes. You read that right. On our deck. Which has been taken over by tomatoes, bell peppers, squash (that unfortunately hasn't produced anything) and various herbs. All those large garden pots, coupled with the grill and small bistro table & chair set, has made for a cramped little area.

I'm not complaining though. No, really. I'm not. Because the sacrifice of space on the deck for a few months is overlooked when I can say I cooked something using fresh, homegrown vegetables...like these tomatoes.

As the tomatoes began to ripen, I started thinking what I could make with them. I wanted a recipe that would not "cook" the tomatoes but preferably keep them in their raw, freshest form. I considered a pico de gallo salsa, but thought I'd save that for the roma tomatoes we're growing. Then I stumbled upon this recipe for Cappelinni (the fancy term for angel hair pasta) with Fresh Tomato Sauce. I thought this would be perfect because then I could also use some of the basil we are growing.

This recipe was very simple and quick to make. I was initially thrown off because it instructed me to grate the tomato using a box grater, like shredding a block of cheese. I mean, I had never heard of that before, yet alone used this technique. But it was quite simple and produced a nice, simple sauce of tomato juice and pulp. The sauce was surprisingly flavorful with the addition of garlic, salt and lemon juice. After topping the finished pasta dish with a handful of cilantro, a sprinkling of salt and extra virgin olive oil, you end up with this wonderfully light summer supper. It definitely highlighted the raw, fresh flavor of the tomatoes. Just what I was looking for to embody the "summer vegetables"
Angel Hair Pasta w/ Fresh Tomato Sauce
serves 4
Printable Recipe

1 clove of garlic
3 lb ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt (you can use regular table salt if that's all you have)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional but I encourage it. It adds another dimension to the sauce)
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 lb anger hair pasta
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
extra virgin olive oil for dressing

Mince the garlic (using a microplane or the smallest holes in the box grater). Mash it into a paste using a pinch of salt. Set aside
Core and chop two thirds of the tomatoes. Set aside. Halve the remaining tomatoes, then rub the sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of the box grater. Grate tomatoes into a large bowl, reserving pulp but

discarding the skin.

Toss the pulp with the chopped tomatoes. Add the garlic salt paste, lemon juice, sea salt, sugar and black pepper. Let the sauce stand until ready to toss with pasta, at least 10 minutes. This will allow the flavors to blend.

While the tomato sauce is standing, boil salted water to cook pasta in. Remember to boil enough water so the pasta will not stick together. Add the pasta when the water is rapidly boiling and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Angel hair pasta is thin and does not take a long time to cook.

Drain pasta in a colander and immediately add to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine. Sprinkle with basil and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt before serving.

recipe adapted by Gourmet magazine


Sour Cream Waffles

You can't tell me this doesn't look appetizing. Can you only imagine waking up to a weekend breakfast in bed and this is in front of you with a nice cup of coffee. Well Mr. Foodie was the recipient of this waffle one very recent Saturday morning. I tell he has it soo good. He is one lucky guy (but I'm also one lucky gal too).
I stumbled upon this recipe a while back on 101 cookbooks which she found in one of her cookbooks by Art Smith (previous personal chef to Oprah). I had been reading recipes and noticed how much sour cream was used in baking. Apparently using sour cream makes the baked goods lighter and less dense, as well as providing additional moisture. So naturally I thought this waffle would be delicious and light. I was initially very eager to make this. Unfortunately it remained in my recipe folder for quite some time before I even tested it.
You see, the only reason there is a waffle maker in my kitchen is because Mr. Foodie had it before we started living together. Having a waffle maker was never on my radar. I was never going to actually make waffles. Waffles was something I occasionally ate when I went out to brunch. Yet being in this "I can make anything frame of mind"...and of course wanting to upstage Mr. Foodie as he is the self-proclaimed "King of Breakfast"... this waffle was added to the "must try" recipe list. After making lemon ricotta pancakes and french toast, I knew said waffle maker would have to be put to good use...by me...to show Mr. Foodie I was the "Queen of Breakfast". We can share, right?

Well I cranked out a beautifully, golden brown waffle that was just as satisfying as one I could've ordered at a restaurant. Although the addition of sour cream doesn't do anything to enhance the flavor of the waffle, it did help create a "lighter" waffle which tasted Yummy. Even with all the delicious additions (powdered sugar, syrup and cool whip) this waffle didn't sit heavy in my stomach, which I am particularly pleased about. So this breakfast item will now be added to the weekend rotation. Next time, maybe with some fresh berries or fruit compote.

* I cut the recipe in half and got 2 1/2 waffles. I didn't want to have leftover waffles and this amount was perfect for two people. If you want more waffles, just double the recipe below.

Sour Cream Waffle
(You will need a waffle iron for this recipe)
serves 2
Printable Recipe

3/4 cup of flour, plus 4 tablespoons
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 large eggs
powdered sugar, cool whip and syrup to serve

1. Heat the waffle iron as instructed in the manual. Lightly spray the grids with cooking spray.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the ingredients
3. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, sour cream and eggs until well combined
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of dry ingredients. Whisk the batter until smooth. Do not over mix
5. When waffle iron is ready, pour 1/4 cup of batter into each section of the waffle iron and close waffle iron to cook. Cook until waffle is golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes.
6. Remove the waffle from waffle iron and serve immediately with powdered sugar, cool whip and syrup (or whatever else you like to serve with waffles)

adapted by Art Smith by 101cookbooks.com



I love chips. Better yet, I love chips and dip. And guacamole has to be my favorite dip.

I am very partial to the fresh, homemade variety. The guacamole "sauce" they sell in the vegetable section of the grocery store doesn't quite do it for me. So I always get excited when I'm at the store and see they have ripe, ready to eat avocados. My patience just isn't the best when I have to wait days on end for the avocados to ripen.

Guacamole is so simple to make and can be made to suite your particular needs. You can make something very simple with only avocados, cilantro and a little onion. Or you can add more fresh ingredients like I have done above...with roma tomatoes, jalapenos and lime juice.

I just love the creamy texture of the mashed avocados and the spicy kick from the jalapeno peppers. Yuummmyyy. This is definitely a great dip to take to a party or just a Sunday afternoon snack. Mr. Foodie loves to munch on it as he watches sports or while he is waiting for dinner to be ready.

The only dilemma with making guacamole is wanting to eat it all in one day before the color turns on you. The avocado has a tendency to turn brown when it has been exposed to air. I have tried all the tricks I've read about (leaving the avocado pit in the center of the guacamole, putting saran wrap directly on top of the guacamole to prevent the air from touching it, squeezing fresh lime juice on top) and none of them work.

It is not the prettiest looking dip the next day but trust me, it is totally edible. I just give it a good mix and viola'...you have green guacamole again.

Guacamole (serves 2)
Printable Recipe

2 ripe avocados (halved, stoned, peeled and diced)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (seeds discarded if you want to cut down on the heat)
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 lime
salt to taste

1. Mash the avocados in a bowl, using the back of the fork or a potato masher
2. Add the onion, tomato, jalapeno pepper and cilantro. Mix together well.
3. Squeeze the juice from the lime. Season with salt to taste
4. Serve with tortilla chips and Enjoy!!


Take-Out Chicken

In addition to my addiction to food blogs, I also check out some of the gossip sites...frequently. It is such a guilty pleasure that I am sometimes ashamed. But it is so hard to stop. Of course, Mr. Foodie doesn't always approve. He just doesn't understand why I care. I try and explain I am from Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, I can't help it. But really, I'm just nosey.

Well a coupe of weeks ago, it paid off for him, big time. I ran across this posting highlighting an easy chicken recipe that Nicole Richie makes, which she apparently got from Gwyneth Paltrow's website goop. It's this really cute weekly newsletter where she shares recipes, advice, places to go, etc. You should check it out, really cute.

She shares this truly, simple recipe for Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken (which was originally from Food and Wine magazine). It is so easy and so delicious, I can see why Nicole Richie is a fan. Mr. Foodie LOVED it so much, he barely saved himself enough for his lunch the next day. I served it with jasmine rice and have now changed the name to Take-Out Chicken. It really tastes like good take-out food...and so much better than those samples of chicken they pass out at the mall. Gywneth Paltrow suggested using chicken breast but the original recipe call for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I suggest using the chicken thighs which provide such tender, juicy bite-sized pieces of chicken. Cutting the chicken will be the most time consuming part and that only takes 10 minutes. I then season the chicken with a little salt and pepper before cooking it. The sweet and savory flavors of the sauce is just right with the thai chiles adding a slight bit of heat.

Now there was clearly a delay in providing you this recipe but please don't delay in trying it. It is so quick, so simple and so, so good

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken
serves 4
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce (can be found on the Asian food aisle)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon pepper
2 fresh Thai chiles
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
handful of chopped cilantro

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and chiles. Set aside

2. Heat canola oil in large skillet. Add the shallot and cook over medium heat until softened, approximately 5 minutes. When shallot has softened, add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken. Simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. The sauce will begin to thicken and the chicken turns this nice caramel brown color.

3. When chicken is done, transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

adapted by Food & Wine