I'm really excited to finally join in on some Cooking Light Night fun. Clara, a really fun and talented blogger from I Heart Food for Thought, put together this cool avatar:
and has graciously allowed those of us who are interested to use it when blogging about our own cooking light nights. Just link back to Clara when you use it! Thanks, Clara!
Despite what you may think given the decidedly non-light nature of the Dorie Greenspan and Barefoot Contessa recipes that I enjoy blogging about on a weekly basis, the vast majority of the cooking that I do myself would be considered "light" cooking. I've been a Cooking Light subscriber for years. I love the philosophy of this magazine. It believes, first and foremost, that food should be a pleasure, and that it should taste good. It never compromises on flavor. It preaches moderation -- I don't think there is a food in the world that Cooking Light would consider verboten. If a particular ingredient is a stereotypically "unhealthy" one, such as bacon or cream, Cooking Light finds ways to use small amounts of it in high-impact ways. I'm rarely disappointed by a Cooking Light recipe. It is really hard to go back to "saute onion in stick of butter"-type cooking after making enough Cooking Light recipes to realize that healthy preparation methods can turn out equally good (and in many cases, better) food. So when I saw that Clara was doing a Cooking Light Night, and had kindly welcomed others to join her? Sign me up!
Speaking of Cooking Light, do you mind if I digress for a moment and show you my own personal prison? Here is an end shot of our island, which holds some of my cookbooks:
Let's zoom in closer:
Oh, I can hear your collective gasp of horror from here. Yes I did. I started collecting the Annual Recipes cookbooks. And now I can never stop. This is the problem with collecting in general, but PARTICULARLY with collecting items that are part of an annual series. Christmas ornaments. Lenox plates. Cooking Light cookbooks. If they decide to retire the series, you are off the hook. But what if they don't? Well, then you have some tough choices to make. There is the obvious "keep collecting until you die" option. That way, your children and grandchildren are left to figure out what to do with your 73 Cooking Light cookbooks, and maybe as they tag them for the yard sale they can laugh about what a crazy old bird you were, and how you refused to stop getting those damn cookbooks, even though you hadn't cooked a blessed thing in thirty years. Or, you can just decide RIGHT NOW to stop the insanity, and declare 2008 your final year. Does that make you as uncomfortable as it makes me? Yeah, who just abruptly stops an annual series collection in 2008? That completely offends any sense of order and symmetry. I may consider stopping in 2010 -- that's a nice round number, and I will then have the cookbooks from 2000 to 2010, nice round numbers all around (well, that's actually 11 cookbooks, not 10. Hmmm. I can't think about that too much. See why it's easier to just keep getting them?). If for whatever reason I don't stop in 2010, then I'm committed until 2015 at the earliest. I'm open to suggestions for dealing with this quag. I do enjoy these cookbooks, but I don't want to have to build an addition to house them.
Okay, on to my first Cooking Light Night dinner! Nancy, a really great food blogger and one of my favorite daily reads, is doing her own Cooking Light Nights, and she made a really fabulous dish last week - Pasta with Proscuitto and Parmesan. Well, after reading Nancy's post I was suddenly really in the mood for pasta with prosciutto and parmesan, go figure! -- so I was thrilled when I saw a very similar dish in the October 2008 issue, Pasta with Prosciutto and Spinach.
This is a very simple weeknight meal. Boil up some tortellini. Toast some pine nuts. Saute some garlic. Wilt a little spinach.
Am I the only one who finds wilting spinach to be oddly relaxing? When I am wilting spinach, I think of nothing else except how cool it is that spinach does that. My mind is rarely so focused on one thing. If you've had a stressful day, go wilt some spinach -- you won't regret it! It's better than yoga!
Not a whole lot more to say about this one. Once your spinach has wilted, you just mix it all up in a big bowl -- pasta, pine nuts, spinach/garlic, parmesan and prosciutto. It was a great dinner -- score another one for Cooking Light!
My only issues: I sorta kinda overdid the garlic, like I often do. I should know by now that even though all the recipes say brown garlic in oil on medium, I need to do it on medium low or I'll burn it. It's just what I do. But the meal was still good. Also, I might throw some raisins in there next time. Call me crazy, but one of my favorite sides is wilted spinach/olive oil/garlic/salt/raisins. I think a handful of golden raisins would provide a nice sweet element to this dish. Don't worry, if the very thought of that makes you cringe, and you're coming over for dinner anytime soon, I'll leave the raisins out of yours. I promise.
Here's the recipe:
Pasta with Prosciutto and Spinach, from Cooking Light, October 2008
1 (9-ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini (such as DiGiorno)
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup (1 ounce) preshredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
1. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Add nuts to bowl.
3. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Add spinach mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients to bowl; toss well.
Calories:292 (28% from fat)
Fat:9.2g (sat 3.2g,mono 2.3g,poly 1.1g)
Alyson Haynes, Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2008
Now, switching gears. I started blogging on a whim, because my friend Amanda said that TWD was fun, and because I wanted an excuse to start baking more. I could never have predicted how much that I would love it. The best part, hands down, has been getting to "know" fabulous cooks, writers, and photographers from all over the world.
Prudence Pennywise was one of the first non-family members to visit my blog when I first started. I remember jumping over to Prudy's blog at the time and being blown-and-I-mean-BLOWN away by her blog. Her writing is so sharp, crisp, and just plain fun. Her recipes are inventive, beautiful, and healthy. But I think what sets Prudy apart is not only the quality of her blog, but her generosity as a member of the blogging community. Even though Prudy already has her own large daily readership (just read her blog one time, and you'll become a daily reader, too!) and is well-established and well-respected in the food blogging world, she consistently finds the time to support her fellow bloggers (including many new bloggers) by visiting their blogs and commenting on them.
Matt of Matt's Kitchen is a newer blogger, like I am. The first time I read Matt's blog, I knew right away that I'd become a regular reader. I feel a little bit smarter by association every time I read Matt's blog. His posts are always fun, interesting and honest, and I always find myself eagerly awaiting Matt's next post.
Prudy and Matt tagged me for this award:
and given the respect that I have for their talents, I'm flattered, to say the least. Thank you, Prudy and Matt!
There is a "meme" (i.e., chain letter of sorts) attached to this award, in the form of lists of sevens. Heck, I'm game! But if I "tag" you below, and you don't feel like playing along, that's fine by me. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog!
7 things I did before
1. Small town grocery store cashier in the days before scanners
2. Ice cream scooper on Martha's Vineyard, where I served Billy Joel a frozen yogurt cone and uttered the highly forgettable "you should see our large!" in response to his "that's a small?" comment
3. Waitressed and then bartended (despite not knowing how to mix drinks) at a fun restaurant in Westport, CT -- I just prayed every day that the townspeople would order beer or wine. Never did see Martha.
4. Research assistant for renowned legal historian
5. Spent three glorious years in Charlottesville, VA, where I met my hubs. Hope we retire there someday!
6. Clerked at a law firm in Manhattan, and then practiced law in same firm's Washington, D.C. office before getting married and moving South.
7. Slept 8 hours a night
7 things I do now
1. Laundry, and lots of it!
2. Drive around town in my Odyssey, picking up and dropping off people.
3. Serve as a den leader (along with hubs) for my son's cub scout den
4. Work part time as a bankruptcy lawyer in a large corporate law firm
5. Set up the DVR to "record series" of Jon & Kate Plus 8
6. Pick up toys, even though I know that they'll just get dumped out again immediately.
7. Read the following periodicals online daily: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Slate and Pop Sugar.
7 things I want to do
1. Learn to sew
2. Create beautiful scrapbooks/babybooks for each of my children
3. Run a half marathon in February (I'd better get on that!)
4. Become a better money saver
5. Learn how to accessorize
6. Get organized.
7. Travel with my family someday, once we are done with diapers, pack 'n plays and the need for naps.
7 things that attract me about the opposite sex
1. A great sense of humor
3. Loves, and is loved by, children
4. Loves, and is loved by, the elderly
5. Intellectual curiosity
7 Favorite Foods
1. Brick Oven Pizza
3. Mashed potatoes
4. Macaroni and cheese
6. Chocolate chip cookies warm out of the oven
7. Parmaggiano Reggiano
7 things I Say Most Often:
2. I wish that I could help, sweetie, but I don't speak whine.
3. Do I need to start counting to five?
4. This is like trying to herd cattle.
5. Just try one bite.
6. This place is a complete wreck.
7. I hope that Santa Claus didn't see that.
7 Tags (and award too; pick one up)
1. Kelly at Baking with the Boys -- for being laugh-out-loud funny every week
2. Flourchild -- for the cool blog name, the sweet story behind the blog name, and for always doing creative and wonderful things with recipes!
3. Mary Ann of Meet Me In the Kitchen -- for sharing a smorgasbord of mouthwatering recipes that help me figure out what to make for dinner every week!
4. Bridgett of La Bella Cook, for always wowing me with her recipes. Her passion for cooking really shines through in her posts!
5. Deb of Kahakai Kitchen --for an all-around great blog that allows us to live vicariously through her as she cooks, eats and lives in paradise.
6. Caitlin of Engineer Baker --just good old fashioned fun reading, week in and week out. And Caitlin(mostly) does not even taste her creations -- she just gives them all away! I think that puts her on the short-track to sainthood!
7.Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes -- a baker and cake decorator, and wonderful at all of it. Check out these adorable mummy cookies!
HELLO? Is anyone still there? Thanks for making it to the end. I'm really trying to be less long-winded with my posts, but when you add seven lists of sevens to my usual long-windedness, well, it's like being on long-winded steroids. Sorry!
3 days ago