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>> October 20, 2010


I can not even begin to explain the depths of my love for this dish. I really can’t. So I won’t.

I’ve been making this dish for several years, and have had the pleasure of sampling assorted versions at acclaimed establishments around the country and even in the motherland. And guess what – I’ve loved it every single time. It goes without saying that the version I devoured in Italy was the best pasta dish on the face of this ever loving planet – but we won’t delve into that because I’ll start to get depressed and spend far too much money on a last minute flight to Rome.


I mean, there are few better things in life besides carbonara. Right? It’s the best marriage of supremely fantastic ingredients, ie: pasta (duh), bacon, egg, and cheese…oh and let’s not forget the wine.


This recipe originally came from food network, but I have since tweaked it as I’ve discovered variations of how to combine the ingredients and have ended on a version that tickles my fancy.

CarbonaraAdapted liberally from the Food Network

1 lb Pasta (I like Rigatoni)
1/3 lb pancetta, chopped
2 Tbs Olive Oil
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
½ dry white wine
3 large eggs: 1 whole, and 2 yolks
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, cook the chopped pancetta and olive oil until the pancetta is crispy 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper Рsaut̩ for two minutes or until garlic is browned. Add wine to the pan and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook and allow the wine to reduce by half.

Mix together the two egg yolks, whole egg, cheese (for the love of all things sacred, please don’t use the white saw dust in the green can), and freshly cracked black pepper into a paste and set aside.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the pancetta/garlic mixture to the pasta and toss until combined. Once combined, add the egg paste and toss quickly to combine. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, but you’ll need to toss rapidly in order to keep the egg from coagulating. The pasta should be coated in a creamy/cheese like sauce.

buon appetito!


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

>> October 11, 2010

Whoopie Pie

I swear it will never come (let’s all forget what I said last week). Fall is trying to elude us all…at least here in the South. Fall evokes different feelings for everyone. Some linger in the excitement of college football, some watch for changing colors and falling leaves, people like myself anticipate the new bounty that awaits us at the markets every week. The common ground that we all share is the enthusiasm for cooler temperatures! Georgia weather has been taunting its inhabitants for going on two weeks. It’s hot, then it’s cold, it’s hot, then it’s cold. Sheesh! Can I say enough already?


I wasn’t about to let the too high temperature, and by too high I mean 85 (which relative to the 100+ heat we saw this summer isn’t too bad) keep me away from the mountains of North Georgia and the masses of pumpkins that were ripe for the picking.


I love these little seasonal daytrips that we take. There’s nothing like scooting away to what seems like an entirely different state for a few hours to stretch our legs and breathe in the open air. The bonus for me is that I get to be the passenger and gaze at all of the foliage and the old vintage houses that sit along the state road the leads us up into the mountains.


Of course the very first thing one must do upon returning from such a trip is to immediately begin preparing the loot for the first delicacy of the season. Ok – I guess second after arranging the soon-to-be jack-o-lantern’s at the front door for all to be envious.

Whoopie Pie

My first pumpkin adventure of the season was to be pumpkin whoopie pies (actually made from store bought pumpkin bc we were home bound last week) because I could think of no better way to usher in the new season than with a cookie, that’s really a sandwich, that tastes like cake. It all makes perfect sense.

Whoopie Pie

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Martha Stewart

For the cookies
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp coarse salt
1 tbs unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ cup canned solid pack pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.


Hearty Chicken + Rice Soup

>> October 3, 2010

Hearty Chicken + Rice Soup

It’s finally fall! I’ve been dreaming of the beginnings of my favorite season when we began suffering 100+ degree weather combined with 100% humidity. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here!

Autumn is my favorite season because of all of the beautiful foliage, hearty and warming meals, turtleneck sweaters, and let’s not forget…pumpkins! I’m so excited to decorate with fall colors, visit my favorite
pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin, and drive through the apple orchards of North Georgia in search for the best candy apples ever invented!

With less than a week of lower temperatures under our belt, Josh has already succumbed to this year’s first flu and has been lying around the house for the past four days like a sad little mushroom. Unfortunately this has put a damper on our original plans to tromp through the North Georgia mountains – but not to worry, it’s already back on the calendar for next weekend!

Hearty Chicken + Rice Soup

Since Josh’s diet has consisted of jello cups and sprite for the past several days, I decided that it was high time for some real nutrition. After scouring the interwebs for a soothing soup, I settled on this chicken and rice soup. It’s simple enough, and I was actually surprised at how quickly it came together. I altered the original recipe slightly – and in my opinion for the better, but you judge for yourself!

Hearty Chicken + Rice Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit circa 2000 via

6 cups of Chicken Broth
2 cups of Water
2 split Chicken Breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
2 whole Chicken Leg quarters (skin-on)
1 ½ Tbs Olive Oil
3 Carrots, sliced on the diagonal into ½ inch pieces (scrubbed, not peeled)
3 Celery Stalks, sliced on the diagonal into ½ inch pieces
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Bay Leaf

1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain white rice, rinsed*

Heat the Olive Oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat, and brown the chicken breasts (skin side down first) for three to four minutes on each side and set aside. Follow with browning the leg quarters (skin side down first) for three to four minutes on each side and set aside with the breasts.

While the chicken is browning, slice the Carrots, Celery, and Onion. After you’ve browned the chicken, add in the vegetables and cook over medium high heat for four to five minutes or until the onions are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, remove the skin and any excess fat from the chicken.

Once the Onions have softened, add the chicken back to the pot along with the Chicken Broth, Water, and Bay Leaf. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Every so often, check the soup and skim any foam that has accumulated on the top. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove and set aside to cool.

**This step can be skipped if you’re on a time crunch:
After the chicken has cooked through, turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool at room temperature. Place the entire pot into the refrigerator and cool the soup to the point that the fat solidifies on the top, remove the fat from the top of the soup and place over medium heat and bring back to a simmer.

Remove two cups of the stock and place in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. When at a boil, add in the rice and turn the heat down to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook the rice until tender (approx 15 – 20 min) and add back to the soup.

While the rice is cooking, pull the chicken from the bones and shred or slice into chunks according to your preference.

After the rice has cooked through, add the chicken and the rice back to the main pot with the vegetables.

Serve. And Enjoy!

**I suppose that you could use any rice, I used short grain because it’s what I had on hand.


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