Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad




I know I can’t be alone when I say that being in the kitchen in the summer is a drag. It’s hot outside, I don’t need it to be hot inside, too. And since it’s Utah, where central air is not especially common inside homes – they favor swamp coolers here – it is frequently already hot inside anyway so the last thing I want to do is make it hotter. I prefer to flavor my food with kosher salt, not beads of sweat.


Anyway, like most people we move to a great deal of low-maintenance cooking in this wretched heat, like grilling or things that cook quickly, and especially things that can be served cold, like this fantastic pasta salad from the June/July 2010 issue of Cooking Light. It is everything you could want in a summer dish – bright, sunny notes from the fresh dill, the tang of lemon, the smooth, silky bite of cold orzo and the crunch of crisp red bell pepper and cucumber. And the best part? I listed nearly all of the ingredients right there. The full recipe is, as usual, behind the cut.

I know, too, that it’s been a long time since I’ve updated. I won’t apologize for it, since I was using that time well, or promise that I will update more frequently, because you can see that’s worked out so well in the past, so instead I will encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed so that you’ll get the updates whenever I do get around to posting them.

And you don’t want to miss the chocolate peanut-butter cookies coming soon!

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Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake


Let me start by trying to describe my unholy, unhealthy obsession with custards. I love custards. I love them with a passion equal only to pork, and we have already discussed my love of the pig. Whenever I pick up a dessert menu, the first thing I look for is a custard. I have no idea what it is about them – there are certainly desserts that taste as good and in some ways better – but the combination of the taste and the texture just really work for me. Zabaglione, crème brulee, flan, you just can’t go wrong.

I could get into the history of it – custard has been around since the Middle Ages (which, by the way, happens to be the coolest period of time in history) and possibly longer – but the truth of it is, panna cotta isn’t really a custard. At least, not technically. It has more in common with Jell-O in terms of chemical structure, and there’s not a drop of egg involved. But, when made right, it has a texture and flavor to rival any crème anglaise.

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Mediterranean Stew

aka What To Do With The Pound of Leftover Pork Loin In The Fridge


Since I post so many pork recipes I felt perhaps it was time to show what you can do with the leftovers. This may not be tricky for you, but it frequently is for me. No doubt you can do Asian stir-fry, or pot pie, but if your pork has a distinct flavor it can be difficult to find the right dish for it.

This was the situation at our house two days after I made the pork roulade. The day before that I had made a huge pot of chicken and shrimp etouffee, and a soup for lunch, so the fridge was full and I was loathe to throw something else in there. It almost worked, too, except that I had leftovers of this. It is inconvenient to cook for 4 when only two actually eat any reasonable portion.

Anyway, I needed something quick, easy and used pork, and a Google search led me to the always reliable Chowhound, and this post in particular. I grabbed an eggplant from the store and went with it, and now I share it with you.

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Roasted Garlic and Parsley Pork Roulade

A rare Kitchenista original!


You may say to yourself, wait, hasn’t she made something like this before? And yes, I have – matambre is a roulade as well. Roulade (from the French word “rouler”) just means “to roll” and can apply to anything from a jelly roll to sushi. In this case, it’s a butterflied slab of pork loin slathered in a paste made of Italian parsley, a bulb of roasted garlic and lemon juice, seared and chucked in the oven. Couldn’t be easier. Let me show you.

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Garganelli with Prosciutto and Peas



Wasn’t there a Smurf with a name like garganelli? Anyway. Hello, internet friends! I apologize for the long delay in posting. You’d think with the holidays and all I would have a multitude of food-related posts to make, and I did make a lot of food, but I just couldn’t get the words out. This is why no matter how much I’d like to be a successful author it’s just not meant to be – no discipline. What can you do, you know?

My first two issues of Saveur hit my mailbox this month and I am positively giddy about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the artistry behind the recipes that come from Gourmet and Bon Appétit, but the authenticity of what Saveur has to offer strikes the deepest chord in me. Fancy food is terrific, and it’s created with the whole palette taste has to offer in mind, but recipes from home kitchens, from outdoor kitchens, from remote locations designed simply to eat well with what your homeland has to offer appeals so much. The culture of food at its most basic, at its most honest, fascinates me. From dusty camps in India to farmhouses in Pennsylvania, whatever you’re having is what I want to have, too.

I started simple this time around, picking a recipe from December 2009’s issue of Saveur, which happens to be loaded chock full of my favorite animal, the pig. Of couse, it’s also the least interesting of the many interesting recipes I could have chosen, with little of that anthropological spirit I mentioned in the paragraph above. However, getting my toddler to eat Terrine de Jambon seemed perhaps a little too ambitious.

Garganelli with Prosciutto and Peas
from Saveur

You will need:
1lb garganelli or penne
2 cups heavy cream (and arteries of steel)
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, Serrano or country ham, torn into strips
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Garganelli is a pasta that’s shaped like a calla lily, and I have to tell you, I am not a huge fan of it. I find where the sides overlap never really gets done enough for my tastes, though it is really pretty. I first tried it in an Amatriciana sauce with the now-infamous guanciale (that, I have to tell you, I am tempted to try again!) and had the same reaction then as I did now. I think if I make it again I’ll go the penne route since penne is delicious and cooks evenly. Mine, by the way, is spinach garganelli because that’s what was available at the time. It has no bearing at all on the taste.

OK, on to the bones of it. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Remember, if it tastes like an ocean you’re on the right track! Unsalted pasta water makes everyone sad. Unless you have arterial issues and then unsalted pasta water makes everyone happy! I believe in fairness, after all.  Add the pasta and cook to your desired level of doneness – if you’re using the garganelli, you’ll want to take a piece out and bite through the center to check the overlap. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, with all its starchy deliciousness. 

While all that’s happening, bring  the cream to a boil over high heat in a large skillet, 12” is the recommended. Let it reduce by half, which’ll take about 8 minutes or so. Add the pasta and the peas and cook, stirring every now and then, until the cream starts to coat the pasta. Add the parmesan and season to taste. If it looks too thick, add the pasta water in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency. Gently stir in your prosciutto and chopped mint, and enjoy.