Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Greens

I recently took a pasta cooking class with Chef Paige Vandegrift at A Thyme for Everything in Lee's Summit, Missouri. Chef Paige recommended tossing cooked, drained pasta with olive oil if you're not immediately adding a sauce. This will help keep the noodles from sticking together. I'm looking forward to the opening of our local farmer's market and the fresh veggies that will be offered there, but in the meantime we enjoyed a taste of spring in Creamy Spring Pasta, from this month's Cooking Light magazine.

3 quarts water
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 1/2 cups of 2 inch diagonally cut asparagus
1 cup frozen green peas
6 oz uncooked fettuccine
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1 cup 1% milk
3 oz Neufch√Ętel cream cheese
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1.  Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
2.  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 garlic clove to pan; saute 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs; saute 3 minutes or until golden brown and toasted. Remove breadcrumb mixture from pan; wipe pan clean with paper towels. 
3. Add asparagus and peas to boiling water; cook for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.  Rinse under cold water; drain. 
4.  Add pasta to boiling water; cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
5.  Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and the remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Place flour in a small bowl; gradually whisk in water.  Add water and milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook 1 minute or until thickened.  Remove from heat; add cheese, salt, and pepper, stirrng until cheeses melt.  Add pasta, asparagus, and peas; toss well.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and tarragon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sprucing & Springing - Display Chain

This is my first time joining Misi's or any display chain although I've followed several and always enjoy everyone's photos and comments. Here's what's springing on Cottonwood Lane...

Beautiful redbuds
Oh no!

Pansies are thriving

Lovely lopsided crabapple

I collect reproduction chalkware and usually spring sprucing includes displaying these. I didn't get my collection out before my accident so I don't think the whole gang will make their appearance this year.
 Still working on sprucing up the master bath. The good news is the cabinets arrived! The bad news is the short ones are the wrong size and will have to be remade.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Scenes from Washington-Ouch!

Son's college trumpet ensemble competed in the National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University last week, so we spent several enjoyable days listening to a lot of talented trumpet players and touring nearby Washington DC. including Alexandria
Gadsby's Tavern, Alexandria
Several Smithsonian museums
The National Cathedral
The Space Window

Kneeler and stoll handstitched by Cathedral sewing guild
Seeing the beautiful monuments and the cherry trees about to burst into bloom

and Fair Oaks Hospital
As we hurried to catch a train on Saturday morning to visit Georgetown (home of Georgetown cupcakes!) I tripped over a hose at the Metro station. Thought I could walk it off and actually boarded the train, only to realize the pain was pretty bad. Apparently I fractured the kneecap. This is actually our fourth vacation that has included a trip to an emergency room. Does your family have these kinds of vacation experiences too?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Still Here and Still Remodeling!

 Even though Easter is fast approaching
flowers are blooming

and the signs of spring are all around
I've been in somewhat of a funk. The bathroom remodeling project that was supposed to take six weeks has now gone on for eight and will last another two to three. I know all this dust and disorganization will be worth it when it's done

but right now I don't think we'll be tackling another project any time soon!