That’s a spicy..

April 10th, 2008

No, there are no meatballs in this post just a spicy pasta sauce. I used to hate spicy food…I would avoid it as much as possible. But as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to let go of my childhood food prejudices…I make lemon cake, eat cheesecake, love peanut butter and explore spicy recipes. One of my favorite new things is to add some crushed red pepper to the olive oil when sautéing pretty much everything (unless I am cooking for my roommates because they are still not into the spicy). It adds such a great kick to a dish.

This pasta sauce was created tonight by throwing things from the pantry together, as I am trying my best to stay within my food budget. Recently, there was an article in the New York Times entitled “5 Cooks, $40, 5 Dishes, 3 Desserts” in which the famous Chef Eric Ripert and his crew of chefs were asked to make a meal with a limited budget and items from a dollar store. I would be very interested to see what yall think about what they made. I was not blown away with their ideas although the nougat intrigued me. Many of us often find ourselves limited by a budget and I think we could come up with some great ideas to rival Chef Ripet. I have been playing with the idea of turning this into a blogging event, even though I am such an infant blogger, because I think it would be fun to challenge oneself in this way. I have been trying to think of the parameters so any advice would be welcome.

I’m sending this Spicy Quick Pasta Sauce over to Ruth’s Presto Pasta Night. Check it out for some great new ideas!.

Ginny’s Spicy Quick Pasta Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a frying pan.
2. Cooking red pepper until sizzling.
3. Sauté onion and garlic until onions are translucent. If garlic starts to burn, turn down the heat.
4. Add the tomatoes and Italian seasoning.
5. Cook for about 10 minutes until liquid has evaporated.

P.S. Want to jazz up the sauce? You may notice many of my meals have no meat. When you cook for yourself, it is often easier to go the vegetarian route. Some chicken or shrimp would go very well with this recipe so feel free to add to it. Also, add other vegetables if you would like…mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant…just sauté them with the onions. Yummy quick sauce!

I’m going to Carolina…

March 20th, 2008


In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
It hit me from behind
Yes I’m gone to Carolina in my mind
-James Taylor

Tomorrow morning, I’m heading down to the good ole’ Carolina to spend Easter with my family. After college, I never moved back. Regardless, I am still a Carolina girl. I love my Heels (and they will be winning the tournament)! I crave real southern sweet tea, biscuits and Carolina BBQ! I sometimes slip into a southern accent! My roommate gets a kick out of the way I say, “I am going to be a laaaw-yer”, drawling out those last few syllables. I’m looking forward to going home tomorrow, watching the Heels’ game with my family and basking in the sunshine!

This recipe has nothing to do with Carolina but I’ll get one up here soon. Instead this one hearkens back to my Italian roots. This week I did not do much cooking, as I knew I was going out of town for the weekend and had some dinner plans. I threw these bruschetta together with leftovers from the fridge. My roommate loved them and she even took a bite to show you.


Ginny’s Leftover Bruschetta

4 slices French bread
1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan
4 tablespoon Mozzarella

1. Toast the slices of bread in the toaster oven (or under the broiler) until slightly brown.
2. Rub the toast with the garlic clove.
3. In a frying pan over medium, heat the olive oil.
4. Add the mushrooms, red pepper and green onions. Cook until softened.
5. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and add the tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Cook for a minute or two longer until the vinegar evaporates off.
7. Spread the vegetable mix among the toast and sprinkle with the cheeses.
8. Put back into the toaster oven (or under the broiler) until the cheese is melted.

P.S. The key to making good bruschetta (and I learned this from an Italian friend) is to rub the bread with a garlic clove when it is first toasted. This makes the bruschetta all evenly garlicky and you do not have to worry about chopping the garlic super fine.