Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

Ready for the shock of your (and my) life. The boy really liked this. He ate all of it. Why is this shocking? Let me count the ways:
1- red peppers. They are a vegetable. They are also the PRIMARY ingredient here. The boy doesn't eat many vegetables, including bell peppers. He picks around the tiny pepper bits in the Chicken Caesar Casserole. Yet he ate these
2- Feta. Turns out he loves the stuff. He who thought my Greek salad was weird (because it wasn't Caesar with Parmesan) loves feta now. This makes life- and Greek salad making- much easier
3- It was fettuccine. The boy likes angel hair/cappellini. I love fettuccine and hate angel hair. Yet again, the boy still liked this.
Clearly this was some good stuff. And, not terribly bad for you, even with the cheese. Mmmmm, feta cheese....
Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock stock (can also use vegetable)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
  • 1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2-4 tablespoons of the feta (recipe says 2, but I really like having more feta on top, so omit more now). Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce (or as much sauce as you want. I don't think I added all the sauce), adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

You know it is finals time when: I randomly decide to poke my head out of my study hole and post.

This summer some friends and I initiated a dinner club. Each month 1 of us would host a dinner, come up with a theme and assign menu items. This was the dessert for out Mexican themed night (more Cal-Mex, but I certainly did not mind!). I was terrified it wouldn't work out and I would be left with a 9x13 pan of ick and no dessert to bring.
Thankfully I was TERRIBLY wrong, and I had a 9x13 pan of deliciousness and a great dessert for my dinner club.Sadly, my dear friend and dinner club peer, Sam, is leaving for the Big Apple, so dinner club will likely fall to the way-side. If anyone in the No.VA area wants in to take her spot, let me know ;)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
from laughingduckgardens.com
  • canola oil to grease the pan
  • 12 tablespoons (i.e. 1.5 sticks) of unsalted butter (not margarine), soften to room temperature, and divided into 9 T for the caramel/topping and 3 T for the batter
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 12pineapple rings - about 1-2 15-oz cans pineapple rings in juice (not in syrup)
  • 4oz (1/2 of 8 oz jar) jar maraschino cherries, pitted and stemmed
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoons of whole milk
  • Skimpy 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoons strong vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups + 3 tablespoon of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Heaping 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs


1. Turn oven on to a temperature of 350 F

2. Oil the pan with a pastry brush (or your fingers) using up to 2 tablespoons of the canola oil. Make sure to get the corners and sides well. Do not be stingy as you want the cake to unmold easily. Roughly chop 9 tablespoons of butter and scatter at the bottom of pan. Put pan in oven while it’s preheating. Keep an eye on it, and take it out of the oven as soon as butter is melted. It should do so before the oven reaches 350 F. Put the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a very large bowl on the stove where it’s warm to help it soften.

3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the brown sugar evenly, again making sure to reach all sides and corner. Lift the pineapple slices from the juice (reserve the juice) and arrange them in a grid pattern. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the pineapple juice over. Sprinkle 1TBSP of maraschino liquid from the jar over the pineapple. You could push one cherry in the center of each ring now, if you want, but they’ll look better if you do this after the cake has been baked.

4. In a bowl, combine milk, the skimpy 1/2 cup canola oil and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

5. In the very large bowl where you set it to soften, beat together the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter (which should be very soft by now) and the sugar until light and pale lemon colored. It will look “mealy”. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then add the milk mixture, and the flour mixture (1 cup at a time) beating well after each addition. Pour batter over the pineapple rings, smoothing it out as necessary. It may looks like there is no enough batter: there is!

6. Bake in the preheated oven until cake is golden and a toothpick or skewer comes out clean. I am not sure how long exactly, I believe about 40 min-1 hour ( I did not keep good track of time). It Will be about this color:

Remove from oven, let cool until you feel comfortable handling the pan.

7. Now comes the tricky part: inverting the cake. Position the cake inside a rimmed cookie sheet (rim facing up). Put another rimmed cookie sheet on top of the cake (rim facing down). The cake is now sandwiched between two rimmed cookie sheet. Clamp the two cookie sheets together and invert the cake quickly and decisively but carefully. Remove the pan from the cake carefully. If necessary, use a spatula to remove any stuck ring and put it back on the cake. Scrape any caramel from the pan and put it on the cake.

8. Push one cherry in the center of each ring.

9. Let cool and cut into squares, one for each ring