In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seventy-fourth Post ~ Cheesy, Savory Spaghetti with Mushrooms

This meal is so simple and yet sooooo satisfying... And this post contains a confession from The Accidental Chef.

Here goes.

You know I have a soft spot for my imported goat cheese buttons from Portugal. You know I love my shredded Parmesan from Italy. You know all about my love affair with Dutch vintage gouda, and you know I'm a sucker for the snowy, white rind of a French brie.

But here's something you may not know about me. For melting into gooey, cheesy, soul-pleasing bliss between two slices of grilled buttered bread, or swirling beautifully into savory, delectable spaghetti, I really think that nothing beats...


You heard it here first. Way back in my cheese drawer, behind the intense brie and the herb-crusted chevre, sits a happy orange block of this processed American cheese. It waits in there for rainy afternoons when I'm craving grilled cheese and tomato soup. And it sits in there for nights like tonight - when I'm in need of some cheesy spaghetti.

So here's what you'll need for this wonderful dish:

~ Spaghetti (cooked as per usual in salted water)
~ Ready-made spaghetti sauce (I have some tomato basil by Wegmans in my freezer at the ready)
~ Mushrooms (chopped)
~ Fresh herb of choice (I heart thyme)
~ Splash of wine
~ And... Velveeta

Make your pasta and while it's cooking, chop up some mushrooms. Start them sautéing in a pan with some EVOO and salt. Add the fresh thyme and a splash of wine. Once they're done, add some spaghetti sauce and ample slices of Velveeta. Watch as the color fades from bright red to a soft, autumnal orange. Add another splash of wine.

When the pasta is cooked, strain it then toss it right into the pan of sauce and turn the heat off almost immediately. Stir it around, then twirl and serve right onto a plate.

I paired tonight's dinner with a French red table wine by Vieux Papes. It is fruity enough to contrast beautifully to the salty sauce on this pasta, and was dry enough to cut the richness so that my palate felt cleansed between bites, keeping the meal from ever being overwhelming. Well - I was overwhelmed - by the wonderful cheesiness of it all, but that's not a bad thing.

Yours in the love of good food and wine (and guilty pleasures),

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seventy-third Post ~ Turkey with Pear and Cherry Dressing with Spiced Acorn Squash

Autumn is my favorite time of year for so many reasons: the colors, the crispness of winter on the air, the scent and sound of leaves crunching under my feet - and the foot. Let us not forget the food. This is the time to celebrate savory, spicey, home-inspired comfort foods - and I decided to make turkey tonight - turkey tenderloins, that is!

Here's what you'll need for this simple turkey preparation:

~ Turkey tenderloins
~ Chopped piece of shallot
~ Garlic
~ Sage
~ Bosc pear
~ Dried Cherries
~ White wine

For the acorn squash (so easy and yummy - makes a good lunch when you want to say you were good and "only had vegetables" for lunch!)

~ Halved acorn squash
~ Brown sugar
~ Butter
~ Spices of choice - I always choose cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves

Here's how I make the squash, which can sit and wait after cooking until the meal is ready:

Pierce the squash and microwave it for about 30 seconds on high. This makes it far easier to cut. Slice in half. If you're only cooking one half, saran the other and save it for a lunch later on in the week. Scoop out the seeds and fill the middle with a tab of butter, ample sugar and lots of spices. Place it in a small bowl and put a tiny amount of water in. Saran and microwave for 3-5 minutes. Let it sit until the rest of the meal is done.

Slice the pear and mince some onion. In a stick-free pan, begin sauteeing the onion, garlic, white wine and sage. Add the turkey tenderloins, a little pepper and some salt. Just when they've browned nicely, add the pear slices and cherries. You may need to add a bit more wine. Cover the pan and let it cook until the juices from the turkey run clear. Serve with the squash.

I enjoyed tonight's meal with a Chardonnay by Tall Poppy. It was fruity and oaky, reminiscent of late-harvest pears and apples. It was the perfect compliment to this meal!

Yours in the love of good food and wine (and autumn!)