February 22, 2009

Straw & Hay Pasta

One of my husband’s and my favorite things to do is cook together – although he’s been the one cooking more than I lately. I’ve been running around the state like a mad woman recently for work – and thank goodness for a great husband that can cook. I always say food taste better when you don’t have to cook it!

This recipe has become my husband’s “staple” meal. He can have it ready in no time and it taste so very good! He found this recipe on Food Network and decided to give it a try because it reminded him of a pasta dish from one of his favorite restaurants in Springfield, Zio’s.

Straw and Hay Pasta
From Wolfgang Puck, courtesy of Food Network

Photo from Food Network

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely minced onion
4 ounces prosciutto, julienne
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh peas, or frozen
6 ounces fresh egg fettuccine
6 ounces fresh spinach fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

In a large stockpot, bring salted water to a rapid boil.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the onions and saute until translucent, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the prosciutto and cook 1 more minute, stirring. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is just thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Add the peas and remove from the heat.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Return the sauce to the heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Finish with parmesan and more cracked black pepper.

February 15, 2009

Photos From Savannah

My trip to Savannah was a wonderful opportunity to indulge in life's little pleasures (homemade chocolates from Wright Square Cafe, Shrimp & Grits from Mom and Nikki's Soul Food, from scratch cupcakes from Back in the Day Bakery (you may have seen Cheryl's appearance on Paula Deen's show) she also has a wonderful blog : Buttercream & Roses I would suggest everyone check out.

But, the best part of my trip to Savannah had to be meeting Jamie and Bobby Deen! It would have been ever better if Paula her self had been there- but I doubt she's in Savannah much with all the publicity tours and events I've seen her at recently. The price you pay to be well-known I guess. But, I did have the opportunity to eat dinner at the Lady & Sons Restaurant - and was very impressed with the food. Plus, I did some shopping at the Paula Deen Store - how touristy of me I know - but hey - "when in Rome..."

One of the neat aspects of eating at the Lady & Sons is the southern charm of the staff and that each night an old fashioned dinner bell is rang! (Makes me feel like I'm back on the farm again) The night we ate dinner our waitress even sang a little jazz tune for the dinner guests!

Besides the 10 extra pounds I brought back with me from Savannah (totally kidding, well sorta) I brought back a new respect for "real cookin'."

Real cookin' to me is food made with real ingredients, by real people, in real kitchens that takes real time - not 30 minutes to prepare! (Yes, you that know me understand where I'm coming from on the 30 minute meals idea.)

So, on this real cookin' post I'm going to pull something special out of the recipe archives: Dec 5, 2007 Post "Cream of Crab Soup to warm Your Heart." This is one of my favorite soups that can be made up in a hurry and is perfect to warm you up on a chilly night! Enjoy!

February 3, 2009

Met the Deen Boys in Savannah

Still in Georgia for work- but boy is this trip turning out to be something special!

Today, was a workshop day at the convention and I took part in a Culinary Tourism education training. Little did I know that meant I would be touring around Savannah all day eating local flavors from some of the best local establishments on what is called a “Foodie Tour!” So fitting for me, isn’t it.

Read more about culinary tourism on my farmers’ market blog.

On the tour we visited:

Lady and Sons: Side note- I met Paula's Deen sons (Jamie and Bobby Dean) at the restaurant
and had them sign a cookbook
Kitchens on the Square for cooking demonstrations

And yes I was back at the Lady & Sons Restaurant for a stop on the Foodie Tour. While I was shopping in the Paula Deen gift shop (next to the restaurant) I was walking to go and pay for the copy of The Deen Bros Cookbook and I saw both of Paula’s sons (Jamie and Bobby Deen). Surprised and shock was my reaction. I asked Bobby if they would sign my cookbook and if I could get a photo with them and they were kind enough to do both. I told them I liked their cookbook because it had visits they had made to Missouri at a few of the local food businesses that I’ve worked with including Swiss Meats and The Blue Owl.

So, that has been my highlight of the trip, but the rest of the day was incredible. I was able to sample food at every stop including cupcakes, low-country boil, honey tasting, shrimp and grits, chocolate, fried chicken, ice cream and much more!

I think I could make Savannah has stolen a piece of my heart! How do they say "...a way to the heart is through soul food.”

February 2, 2009

Lady & Sons Resturant Review

Whew. What a day…I awoke this morning to a beautiful sight- a sunrise over the Savannah River. Yes, I may be here in this beautiful and historic city for a work trip- BUT I’m making the best of it.

This morning the convention participants (all 400 + of them) took a riverboat breakfast cruise up the Savannah River (which btw is the 2nd busiest port in the nation). I enjoyed networking with farmers from around the nation and Canada and seeing so many familiar Missouri faces.

The breakfast- nothing to brag about. Wish it would have been, but it wasn’t. I mean I’m in the “home” of grits, pecans, pralines, sweet tea, seafood galore and the breakfast really wasn’t that great.

But, the day got much better. My co-worker and I then headed over to the Lady & Sons (Paula Deen’s restaurant) to make our in-person reservations. There was already a line forming at 9:30 am of around 30 folks. BUT- we got a reservation for dinner! You can imagine my excitement. Sarah (my co-worker) has had to listen to me for the past two days talk all about Ms. Paula and how wonderful she is. But, Sarah is such a sweetie! She stood in the line with me, we made our reservation, then did some shopping next to the restaurant in Paula Deen’s gift store. (Yes- you can imagine my delight.)

I came out of the store with a nice hefty bag of goodies that I plan on sharing with some of my friends when I return home.

The rest of the day I spent at the hotel for the convention activities and later took a trolley ride around downtown Savannah to explore the historical aspects of this charming city. Sarah and I then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Lady & Sons at 5:00 pm. The restaurant was charming, the staff was friendly and so hospitable, and the food was fantastic! Sarah had a grilled tilapia on a bed of wild rice and side of steamed asparagus (which she said was very tasty) and I choose the stuffed flounder (shrimp and crab stuffing) with a lemon-dill sauce and sides of wild rice and steamed asparagus. We also enjoyed a side of hoecakes and cheddar biscuits which is passed around by the wait staff.

Our waitress (Morgan) was a delight and a mighty fine singer. She performed a little jazz number for us and was a terrific singer. All and all I would give the entire experience a 8 out of 10.

I have photos from the day, but unfortunately I forgot to bring my USB cord to download the photos onto my laptop. So, you will have to wait to see my Savannah photos until next week.

February 1, 2009

Savannah Georgia I Have Arrived

What could be better than being in Georgia for a week in February? Nothing!

I’m blogging from Savannah, GA…yes that’s right…home of you know who. And for you reading buffs- setting of the novel (which is one of my favorites) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ( or you might know this as the wonderfully director movie from Clint Eastwood).

Although I’m on a work trip for a NAFDMA Conference, I’ve got some downtime to do some sightseeing and begging for a reservation at the Lady and Sons Restaurant. Yes – begging. Apparently, the Lady and Sons doesn’t take reservations unless you are a party of ten, but you can go to the restaurant (in person) early in the morning to “beg” for a reservation for lunch or dinner. So, tomorrow morning my co-worker Sarah and I have a Breakfast Cruise on the Savannah River, then we are planning on walking to part of the Historic District of Savannah to the Lady and Sons to try and get a reservation. Wish us luck!

Savannah looks to be a beautiful city – charming and warm – just like the south should feel. I haven’t had the chance to do much sightseeing, but hope to do some tomorrow.

One part of the NAFDMA Conference that I’m looking forward to is the three day bus tour. I’m participating in the “Foodie Tour” which will travel for three days around Georgia visiting local food producers – how fitting right! Take a look at the schedule.

I’ll have lots to blog about this week…so stay tuned!

How fitting today to highlight one of Ms. Paula’s recipes – Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding (yes only Paula would put together Krispy Kremes into a bread pudding). Enjoy and “ya’ll take care and check back soon!”

Bill Nicholson’s Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding
1 pinch salt
1 9 ounce box raisins
2 Eggs, beaten
2 4.5-oz cans fruit cocktail (undrained)
1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated)
2 dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts
1 or 2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cube donuts into a large bowl. Pour other ingredients on top of donuts and let soak for a few minutes. Mix all ingredients together until donuts have soaked up the liquid as much as possible.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until center has jelled. Top with Butter Rum Sauce.

Butter Rum Sauce:
1 stick butter
1 pound box confectioner’s sugar
Rum to taste

Melt butter and slowly stir in confectioner’s sugar. Add Rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.