You can’t be a Chef without a Community

DSC_0089

Food and the community go together like peanut butter and jelly, like rice and beans, like chicken and dumplings (which was on the menu last night).  And at the first Guest Chef Event at Downtown Pasta, that sense of community was alive and kicking.

DSC_0083

The winning recipe, submitted by Patti Creghan-Ciuffetelli of Unionville, PA was a sweet and savory combination of  blueberries and gorgonzola that photographed beautifully and tasted even better.  It reminded me that we are right on the heels of summer and all of it’s fresh fruit and culinary beauty.  It is an understatement to say that Patti worked some serious magic at Downtown Pasta last night.  When we selected the winning recipe, we looked for something that stood out from the others, something that was fresh and vibrant with exceptional flavors.  Little did we know that the chef was going to mirror those specifications precisely.

DSC_0106

Patti works passionately in Southern Chester County with both the Chester County Intermediate Unit as a vocation specialist and with Chester County Futures as a 9th grade coordinator at Oxford High School.  Most of the students within the Futures program are first generation college students and with the assistance of Patti, students like Omar Gonzalez pursue an academic career outside of high school.  It was magnificent (and unplanned!) to see Omar, a recent culinary school graduate and chef at Downtown Pasta, work side by side with Patti prepping her winning appetizer.

photo-20

“Food makes people happy and brings family and friends together,” said Patti.  And let me tell you, her happiness filled the entire restaurant last night.  She worked the room throughout service, saying hello to her supporters and serving those whom she was meeting for the first time.  It was the true definition of bringing the community together through food.

DSC_0110

And while the community enjoyed the signature Lazy Susan appetizer spreads in the dining room, I had the pleasure of quietly observing the back of the house and the community that exists there.  It never fails to amaze me how rhythmic and harmonious a professional kitchen can run.  I have found that most great chefs have an inherent ability to precisely orchestrate dinner service to achieve said rhythm.  The calculated timeliness and perfectionism that keeps people coming back is mesmerizing when you are a spectator.  I have not found, however, that most successful chefs are supportive of having a guest (or several) in the kitchen with the potential to interrupt that rhythm and perfection. And yet, there was not a second of frustration, a single eye roll, or even skip in the culinary music.  Not to mention, the noticeable and encouraging smiles, and plentitude of “Woo-hoo’s”, and “Go get em-s”.  Hats off to the entire staff for welcoming Patti with open arms and unending support.  I really can’t express how impressive that was to witness.

DSC_0099

Congratulations to Guest Chef Patti and to the entire staff at Downtown Pasta. You are, without a doubt, doing it right.

If you missed out on all of the fun last night, you can make Patti’s Blue and Blue Bruschetta (named for her love of blueberries and her love for Penn State) at home!  And make sure you stop by Downtown Pasta to let them know what you think!  Have an idea for an event of Bring It Home profile?  Let me know!  Email me at BakeVintage@gmail.com or send me a note on Facebook or Tweet Me!

DSC_0094

 

Blue and Blue Bruschetta

Serves 10

40 ½ inch thick baguette bread about 1 loaf
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 ounces Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
1/3 cup Chopped Pecans
¼ cup Chopped Green Onions
1/3 cup Dried Blueberries
¼ cup Honey

Preparation: Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F
Place the sliced baguettes on a baking sheet. Brush with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and bake about 9 minutes until the bread is lightly toasted.
Toss the cheese, pecans, green onions and blueberries and spread evenly on the 40 baguettes pieces.
Bake an additional 3 minutes until cheese is melted.
Remove immediately from baking sheet and place on serving platter and drizzle honey over the warm cheese.

Downtown Pasta Wants You in the Kitchen!

l

Introducing the Downtown Pasta Celebrity Chef competition!  Do you have an appetizer that friends and family rave over?  Have you always thought it to be “menu-worthy”?  Now is your chance to shine!  Submit your recipe between 5/1/14 and 5/20/14 and one lucky chef will prep and serve their appetizer at the restaurant on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.  Your dish will be featured on the Special Board and you have some other surprises in store as well.  Rules and restrictions apply.

l

You must be 18 years of age to participate.  Your recipe must be an original and must be submitted with measurements to prep for 10 people.  You MUST be available on 5/28/14 from 4pm until 9pm for dinner service to be selected.

Downtown Pasta and BakeVintage.com reserve the right to publish your recipe, photos, and/or video on any related sites or publications.

Click HERE to submit your recipe!

The Table and The Garden

 

photo 1-9

 

There’s a reason you will find two framed Talulah’s Table menus hanging in my kitchen.  I have dined there several times both in the kitchen and at the farm table, and each time is exquisite yet casual perfection.  When you are one of the 12 lucky people dining at the single nightly seating, you know it.  And if you are seated in the kitchen, you not only experience the food, but you experience it’s preparation and play-by-play from Chef Scott Megill, who welcomes you to stand next to him and ask questions if you’d like.  And we did. 🙂

And while I didn’t expect the same 3-hour dining experience when walking through the doors of Talulah’s Garden, I was excited to see what the Table’s sister had in store.

The entrance was found just beyond the door to the garden, if it wasn’t for the chilly temps, we would have grabbed an outside seat.  Without a reservation, there were no tables available in the restaurant, but my husband and I are always giddy to take a seat at the bar when we are sans kids.  It’s like taking a step back into our pre-children days when we took bar seats for granted.

photo 3-9

We were greeted by a delightful bartender as we took our seats and I immediately started soaking in the atmosphere before deciding on my morning cocktail.  I’m going to coin my own descriptive phrase and label the decor as sophisticated whimsy.  Colored glass and  clever details create a calculated simplicity.  It’s the stuff that the Anthropologie buyers are inspired by.

photo 1-9

We started with Bloody’s and I went with the spicy “butcher” (seen in the photo above).  Instead of just adding extra horseradish, it’s extra spice comes from house-infused serrano vodka.  It will make your eyes water in the best way possible, so go traditional if you can’t handle the heat.

Next, I ordered the fried duck pie.  If there is anything on a menu that includes duck, I’m probably going to order it, and I’m so glad I stuck with tradition on this one.  This duck confit turnover was sweet and savory at its finest.   And I don’t care what anyone says about foie gras and it’s level of pretention, when a tiny dish of foie gras maple syrup is placed in front you, you’ll be hard pressed not to lick every last drop out of said teeny bowl.  The aforementioned syrup is not pictured here because I was drinking it as I was taking the pic.  (Just kidding, but I wanted to.  For real.)

photo 2-9

I decided on the savory breakfast strudel for my main dish.  The portion was really large so half of it went home with me.   I always love  a restaurant that sources local ingredients and the Talulah’s is infamous for doing just that.  I’m a veggy lover and this dish did a great job of combining fresh and earthy and hearty and savory and cheese, yummy, melty fontina cheese.

photo 4-7

In true Amy Olexy fashion, the Garden, like the Table, showcases food that is filled with lots of delicious ingredients and lots of love.  Next time, I plan to sit in the garden when it’s just a few degrees warmer.  Look at the pictures and you’ll know why.

photo 5-2

 

Pictured below is an actual working fountain. So fun.

 

photo-18

While we did see Amy in the restaurant while we were dining (always refreshing to see that presence), I wasn’t able to talk with her about sharing a recipe.  I was able to find a video for mushroom bruschetta that I shared below.  I live 20 miles away from The Mushroom Capitol of The World!!!!  You have no idea how big of a deal that is unless you live in Chester County, PA.  I will share with you, in the fall, a post about the world of mushroom magic and glory also known as Kennett Square Mushroom Festival.  Kennett is where Talulah’s Table is located and it only seemed appropriate that something mushroom themed be included here.

 

 

 

Ship It! Ship It Good!

photo 1-7

Shipping any kind of food is stressful, but shipping a cake is downright anxiety-attack-worthy.  My first stop for anything cake related is Cake Central.  It’s a fabulous forum full of fabulous bakers that love to share their secrets.  I have to say that the baking world, from what I have experienced, is a world of happy people who love to support other happy bakers!  At Cake Central, you will find tutorials, links to video, classes, supplies and forums.  It’s really amazing.

After some research, I learned that the secret to shipping a cake is lots of padding and sensible construction.

My cake was an 8″ round vanilla/vanilla swiss buttercream filling and frosting/fondant covered and decorated.  The Eagles logo was handmade and done with Fondarific fondant.  I can’t tell you how much I love Fondarific, it suits cake designers from beginner to professional and you can do so much more with it than the stuff you will find at the store.  AND it tastes good.  There are so many people that cringe at the mention of fondant because it always tastes so terrible.  Fondarific has changed that completely with buttercream flavored fondant along with specialty flavors like cinnamon bun…CRAZY YUMMY!!!  Not to mention the customer service is nothing short of spectacular.  Laura and Lois love cake and love everyone in the Fondarific family.  They take the time to post your cake pics and respond to questions personally.  It’s part of the bake-love family I was talking about earlier!

In this pic, my cake looks a little wet because I had just steamed it.

photo 1-7

When decorating this cake, I needed to keep in mind that it might move around a bit and there would be pressure from packing,  so I decided to use a clay extruder to create the lettering.  I didn’t love it, but it worked and I needed what would work.

First, I covered the cake with a layer of plastic wrap.  I draped it, didn’t press it on the cake.

photo 3-7

Next, the cake went into a 10″ cake box and was covered with bubble wrap to fill in the gaps between the cake and the box.  This is probably the most crucial step.  With the cake padded, the box can move around with minimal impact to the cake itself.

photo 4-5

Now, the cake went into a cooler.  This is a $10 soft-sided cooler from Wal-Mart.  Ideally, I would have used a hard-sided styrofoam cooler, but couldn’t find one and I was in a time crunch, so this one had to do.  It took me a lot of wiggling to get this box into this cooler since their measurements were almost identical.  Measure before you buy.  Planning is the key to anything cake related!

photo 1-8

Now the cooler went into the cardboard box and I depleted my grocery bag stash to pad the cake box.

photo 2-8

I also depleted my bubble wrap to pad the top and ran out of soft packing material!  Lesson learned for next time, buy a smaller cardboard box!  That gap in the top remained since I literally ran out of everything soft with the exception of a blanket!

photo 3-8

Here, you’ll see that I wrote on the side of the box to indicate all of the important directions for the mail carrier.  Then, I said a little prayer that the mail carrier would actually read them 🙂

photo 4-6

Next, I took it to the local post office and paid for overnight priority mail.  I let the clerk know that it was a cake and she was almost 100% sure it would get there right side up.  I’ll take 99%. Shipping was about $32 from PA to DC (yes, there is an Eagles fan in DC!!!).  My cousin, whom the cake was for (perfect experiment subject) said it took him longer to get to the cake than to eat it, but it got there in perfect shape and it was delicious!!!  Mission accomplished!

I don’t recommend trying to do this unless you have the patience and funds to cover it from start to finish.  There is not a frugal way to ship a cake if you want it there in one piece (no pun intended).  Although I will tell you that I could have taken the commuter train from Aberdeen to DC for $20 round trip and hand delivered it!  Next time 🙂

Have you ever shipped a cake?  Have any tips to share?  Comment or send them to me at bakevintage@gmail.com!  Happy caking!

Want to know more about Steph Tomko?  Head to www.StephTomko.com!  Thanks for reading!

 

 

Bring It Home – The Secret to a Successful Oxford Restaurant May Not Be the Food

Wait, WHAT?

Of course you need great food to have a successful eatery, but is it the number one priority?  Matthew Schlott, general manager of the Nottingham Inn LLC says no.  Matthew has been responsible for the operations and the development of the two local Herr’s restaurants and hotel for over 2 years and he clearly knows what he’s doing.  With 40 years of restaurant experience, of course he is able to create a beautifully crafted plate of food, but success doesn’t ride solely on your taste buds, in his opinion.

DSC_1802

“The Herr family’s mission is to be a blessing to the community”, says Schlott.  And the secret to their success is just that.  “We make it a point that service and to be of service is our highest priority.” For Matthew and his staff, connecting with every person that walks through the door is the most important part of every meal.  That connection starts with their first visit and grows with every visit.  Their loyalty program has over 4000 participants and it’s continuing to grow.  The program awards 1 point for every $1 spent (with occasional promotional extras like double points on Mondays and Tuesdays) and a $10 discount for every 200 points redeemed.

During a busy Friday breakfast service, these girls are all smiles

During a busy Friday breakfast service, these girls are all smiles

The Herr family has been an Oxford fixture for years.  When I stepped out of my car to head into the restaurant I could smell the fresh chips coming from the factory just steps away (they give free tours Monday-Friday).  However, the family name goes much further than those delicious chips (which I highly recommend you put ON your sandwich).  The family’s ever-present community support can be seen both at the kitchen and at countless community events like Bike Night and the annual holiday light display, and they also contribute financially to over 1000 charitable organizations.

While the community connection always remains top priority, don’t be fooled, the food is a delicious and refined version of the comfort food that warms your bones.  As for Matthew’s favorite dish on the menu, “They’re like my kids!  I can’t pick a favorite!” he said with a smile.  He did admit to his love for the slow-cook and braising process.  The Short Rib Ragu is served with Kennett mushrooms over stone ground grits entree for $16.75 (literally the most expensive thing on the menu if you are wondering about price point) and it will not disappoint.  “We want to offer simple approachable food that is understandable so guests can sit down and just enjoy dinner.” My favorite on the menu is the hummus trio.  Here is my trio of reasons that I love it so.  It’s house made, the flavors are always a magical threesome of surprise deliciousness,and it’s served with a combo of warm pita bread triangles, veges and feta.  Not to mention, there’s always enough to take home left-overs if you are able to resist licking the bowl clean before you are ready to leave.   What’s next for the Herr family?  The recently opened Downtown Pasta (located in the borough of Oxford) is doing well and follows the same structure as Nottingham with an Italian bistro style menu.  “Barring any additional natural disasters (the snow levels in Oxford were the 2nd highest in history this winter, which prevented the restaurant from opening on time and caused parking complications), we will be great!”

Want to further your connection with this Nottingham gem?  Of course you do. Why not give one of their dishes a go in your own kitchen?  I talked Matthew into sharing The Inn’s hummus recipe with me.  Your challenge if you choose to accept it – is to Bring It Home – make it at home, make it your own, and send me your pics!  Or better yet, why not stop in the restaurant and share your success and secrets with Matthew himself.

kitchencreamery

Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chick peas /garbanzo beans

juice from 1/2 lemon

1tsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp fresh parsley

1 clove crushed garlic

1 whole roasted pepper sliced (click here to see how to roast a pepper)

Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preparation: In a food processor, blend parsley, garlic, red pepper, garlic, and onion until smooth.

Add beans, lemon juice and olive oil

Process until smooth and serve with warm pita triangles

This recipe can be made up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Bring It Home

IMG_4573

We all have our sweet spots.  The places we’ve been 100 times or sometimes just once for dinner.  We love them because of the food but we also love them because of the feeling.  The above picture was taken outside of the Oregon Club in Ashland, MA.  It was opened in 1922 as the Briasco Inn and also functioned as a speakeasy.  The interior has not been updated since and the outside seating is a collection of mismatched patio furniture and blankets for after the sun goes down.  The steaks are perfection.  We spent hours at that patio table reminiscing, enjoying spectacular food and draped in wool blankets as the chill of the New England evening air started to bite.  Food has an emotional connection.  A connection sparked by a familiar smile or a history being preserved or the laughter shared at a table with one of your oldest friends.  It’s being a part of something that you long for over and over again.

I want to recognize those places that create those emotions.  I want to recognize the people who pour their heart and soul onto your plate shortly after you place your order.  Those who work weekends and nights to put their passion on that same plate, so you feel at home.  Those who preserve the memories and the history that needs to be preserved.  Then, I want you to be able to re-create that magic in your own kitchen in some small way.  A way to stay connected even when you aren’t at table 6.  A way to test your culinary skill and compare notes the next time you are in for dinner service.

Sound good?  Well, then, welcome to Bring It Home.  I’m going to profile local spots (and maybe some remote) and share a secret or two.  My hope is to further connect our community with food!  Have a suggestion?  Send it to me at bakevintage@gmail.com, or tweet it @bakevintage OR hit me on Facebook!  Bon Apetit!

 

The Start of A Gluten-Free Adventure!

I have to say that gluten-free baking is no small feat.

Challenge #1 Cupcakes!

I’m happy to report that today’s creation was not a terrible disaster!  Gotta start somewhere, right?  I was happy with the flavor, I was ok with with the texture.  They need to be a little lighter and less dense and I could taste a little bit of the infamous grit that you can find in gluten-free baked goods.

HERE is the recipe I used to get started and I’ve detailed my progress and some anticipated changes for next time.

There are quite a few ingredients that are necessary for gluten-free baking as you can see.  This was my first time working with potato starch, white rice flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.

DSC_1818

You’ll see in the recipe that you need to whip your egg whites to soft peaks.

DSC_1819

After you add the sugar, you need to whip to stiff (not dry) peaks.

DSC_1820

There was a lot of whipping in my kitchen today.  Like, over 30 minutes of whipping.  Eggs were taking their sweet old time, kids were getting annoyed with loud mixer noises, and after adding butter I ended up with a bit of a cottage cheese texture that I was hoping would fluff up but it didn’t.

DSC_1821

Next time, I think I will just make a version of swiss meringue buttercream and then mix everything else into it.

I’m also going to try mixing dry and wet ingredients and letting them sit for awhile next time.  I’ve heard this helps reduce the grit factor.  And it’s always a good idea to decrease your grit factor, in my opinion.

After all ingredients were added (including a tsp of vanilla that was not in the original recipe), this is what the batter looked like and it smelled good, which is always a good thing 🙂

DSC_1822

Into the 350F oven for 15 minutes (probably should have left them in for additional 3-5 more.

DSC_1823

Now I just need to decide how to frost them.  Given the extra sweet flavor, I’m going to get creative with this one.

And the adventure continues!

 

Say I Love You with a Pop!

photo 2-3

Cake pops have never been on my list of “to-do’s” because I never felt like the mess.  But, let’s face it, they are adorable and kids love them, so I knew that I would eventually break out the popsicle sticks and make them happen.

Instead of selling them though, I’ve decided to share my process so you can make them at home and impress your little lollipop lovers!

When I bake custom cakes, I always chop (it’s more of a delicate sawing) the rounded top of each cake off to create a level and clean tier.  I’m always left with a significant amount of cake that I religiously place in a Ziploc bag with the intention to create an adorable cake offspring.  Said Ziploc bag inevitably ends up in the trash and I’m disappointed with my lack of commitment to the lost crumbs.

Until today!  Or really, last night.  With the tops of 3 cakes on my counter and a tiny bit of frosting left in the mixing bowl, I went for it.  I crumbled the cake into the mixing bowl and squished it all together with my hands.  I wasn’t sure if I had enough frosting, but it turned out perfectly.  You don’t want to have much at all since the cake is already relatively moist.  I don’t have a picture of what my bowl looked like but think about the last time you scraped frosting out of the bowl and whatever the scraper didn’t get is about what you need.

I used vanilla cake from this recipe and my own vanilla buttercream recipe.  You can find a great buttercream recipe here.

Next, you need to mold your batter mush into nice little round balls.  They don’t have to be perfect and you can us a mini ice cream scoop if you choose.  I just used my hands.

Not perfect!  That's ok!

 

After you finish molding or scooping, you need to put your balls in the freezer.  Yup, I said it. I put mine in a shallow plastic container and left them in for about an hour.

For the chocolate outer coating, I used dark chocolate Wilton Candy Melts.  They come in tons of different flavors and colors and make things very easy.

This next tip is important.  Melt your chocolate in a tall container.  This container should allow you to dip your cake pop all the way in without having to twist, turn or spoon chocolate over it.  I used a pint glass.  We have about a billion of them and they are made of glass, so perfect for the microwave.  Heat your candy melts for 30 seconds at a time stirring in between.  I used a fondue fork to stir and it worked perfectly!

Make sure you dip your stick into the chocolate before shoving it into your cake ball.  I’ve really just given up on making this cute 🙂  You can also see my pint glass full of chocolate in this photo.  It will later be full of beer.

photo 3-3

Next, take your cake balls out of the freezer one at a time so the remainder stay cold.

Place your stick into the cake ball carefully so as not to break the cake up.

photo 4-2

One more not about the picture above.  That circular piece of material under the pop is re-usable parchment paper.  It’s one of my most favorite baking finds.  They last a really long time and clean up so easily and can be used for everything, but are especially helpful in keeping cake from sticking to your pan!  They can be found on Amazon.  Moving on…

After your stick in in the cake pop it will only take a second for that chocolate to set so you are ready to dip!

Dip your cake pop straight into the chocolate and do not twirl, twist or wiggle.  A pint glass should be big enough for you to completely submerge the cake into the chocolate and pull it out.  If your chocolate gets lumpy, it needs to be heated up again.

photo 1-4

photo 2-4

 

If you are planning on decorating with sprinkles, do it now before you chocolate sets.  Don’t roll your cake pops in the sprinkles though.  The chocolate may stick on your sprinkles and you’ll have a mess.  If you are going to pipe decor onto the cake pop, you will need to wait until the chocolate sets completely.  Sprinkles are definitely the easiest route.

photo 4-3

 

Occasionally, you may find that you have too much chocolate on your cake pop and it will blob off.  Just pick up the pop and place it back on the parchment paper in a new spot.  The blob will stay behind and you can re-sprinkle any bare spots if necessary.  You can see a couple of my blobs in the photo below.

photo 3-4

 

Once your cake pops are completely set, you can wrap them individually and decorate with ribbon or place in a block of foam for display.  Check out Pinterest for cake pop display ideas.

Another great thing about cake pops is that they can be made gluten free!  You just need to purchase gluten free cake mix and make a scratch frosting to mix in.  Gluten free dark chocolate can be used to cover the pops too.  My next test is a lower sugar version of these pops as well, but need to work on one thing at at time.

photo 2-3

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

 

May the cake be with you…

DSC_1314

I decided to post this cake because of how much I love this birthday boy.  His mom, who is also a dear friend, asked for a science cake and given the fact that I’m not experienced with making cakes do things like smoke and explode, I could not find anything within my ability that was exciting enough for my standards.

But I did find R2D2 and I couldn’t resist.  I got the approval to do a Star Wars cake from mom and off I went.  It’s always fun doing cakes for friends.  Little do they know, they are serving as my guinea pigs of creativity.  I get to take chances and try things knowing that my friends love me no matter what their cake looks like.  Those creative chances sometimes end up in the garbage and sometimes end up being amazing.

Meet R2D2…cake style.  This guy was so much fun to make, I just wish I could have made him talk!

DSC_1313

I used several online pictures to capture as much detail as I could within the time frame I had to make the cake.  I would have loved to avoid using the pan underneath for support, but I that damn time thing got me again and constructing a base was just not in the cards.  Once again thankful that this cake was for a friend who was thrilled.  Cake pan or not.  I also have to give props to my husband for this accomplishment.  He is often the one who saves me from the panic button.  This is the point at which the clock is running out and I realize that there is a potential flaw that could result in a huge waste of time and money.  The panic button is usually engaged due to complete exhaustion due to lack of sleep on my part and a level of brain blank that is miles beyond mommy brain.  His wheels start turning as I look at him with desperation and he snaps into problem-solving mode and just fixes stuff.  Because of him, I look like this delivering a cake.  Smile, hair up, and happy!

1174812_10201836931835117_1276246467_n

The only thing better than the cake was this birthday face!  Makes me happy, it does…

DSC_1333

 

I’m off to blog about diabetes and running now…I  have a lot of cards in my deck, people.  Check out T1andRunning.com if you want to see how I work off the buttercream!

Savory Sunday…it’s back!

DSC_0712

I love to bake and I think I’m pretty good at it but cooking is a whole different monster.  I love the thought of cooking great food.  There’s so much technique and skill and great chefs seem to have this 6th sense for seamlessly matching ingredients that complement one another.  I was not born with that sense.  I have an extraordinary sense of hearing, though.  So, I’ve got that going for me.

Despite my lack of culinary super powers, I continue to put my best foot forward in the quest to feed my family good food. I have no expectations of conquering said quest entirely but I’m not giving up!

My 7 year-old has a remarkably refined pallet for her age.  She loves sushi and foods rich in flavor and I’ll often hear her recommending that a dish needs a little acid or something to give it “a kick!” So, PB & J doesn’t fly with this kid.  So, yesterday I took a stab at a pasta dish with cream sauce.  I get really bored with pasta.  A giant bowl of noodles does nothing for me unless it packs some kind of interesting punch.

I started with gemelli pasta, a fun twirly pasta that is a little more substantial than the common bow tie and something new and exciting for the kiddos.

For the sauce, I started with about a 1/4 C cream and 1tbs. of butter and added dry white wine.  I shredded fresh parmesan straight into the pan, probably 1/4C. I added lemon for acid and salt and pepper and that’s it!  If you are concerned about the fat content in these ingredients, keep in mind that the sauce should be thin.  Don’t go overboard on the cheese and cream.  I made the sauce to lightly drizzle, that is why there’s not much of it.  Also, keep in mind that I”m using fresh ingredients, not from a jar, not from the freezer.  FRESH.

In a separate pan, I sautéed 3 chicken sausage links (the small breakfast size).  Boca vegetarian sausage is also super yummy and low in calories and fat and very high in protein.  I eat it almost every day on a breakfast sandwich.  Make sure you find a really well-seasoned sausage, this way you don’t need to worry about adding extra spices and herbs.  It’s the quick way to flavor for those who are looking to get something fresh on the table in a jiffy.

Lastly, I added halved cherry tomatoes and done!

My point of sharing this recipe is not because it’s a gourmet masterpiece, but to show you that you don’t have to be a professional chef nor do you need a ton of time to serve good food to your kids.  This is a dish that the kids can easily help with too!  Keep it simple.  Kids like simple.  So do I.

Have a great week!

xo-Steph