Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CEiMB -- Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

I am a former feta hater. I hated the texture of it, the smell, and definitely the taste. That is, until I went to Greece in June for a few days and realized that feta can be good! Rich, creamy, and very much NOT like chalk. Since then, I've made more of an effort to try out different fetas to find some here that I like. So for this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly, I decided to try out her Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce.

The recipe was easier than I expected. While I chopped up the onion and garlic, I managed to convince my husband to drain and cut up the roasted red pepper and portion out the feta.

I quickly realized that my mini food processor was not going to cut it, so I decided to be "adventurous" and use handhold blender I usurped (okay, asked for and was given) from my parents. It was very easy to use and I didn't make a huge mess of my kitchen. Of course, I have no pictures of my blended success since at that point, the pasta was done and it was ready to serve!

I should mention that while the sauce was blending, I heated up some sundried tomato chicken sausage on the stove to throw into the pasta. Despite the unappetizing color of the sauce, it was a definite success. We had enough leftover to have for lunch at work the next day which is always a good thing.

I hope you all enjoyed this recipe as much as I did. I would definitely make this again, possibly exchanging the sausage for shrimp--not that it needed either.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Cook pasta according to package directions.Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide amongpasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CEiMB -- Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars

Hello again! After quite a long absence, I am back. Not that I really went anywhere. Things were hectic at work and with the holidays, and I let the blog fall to the way side. But I am back and ready to cook, though I am considering a move to Word Press from Blogger. Stay tuned for more info.

This week's recipe for CEiMB, Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars is from Heide of Chez Zero. Like all of Ellie's recipes, this one fits in great with the whole "Eat better" resolution so many of us have. The ingredient list appeared intimidating at first, but the recipe was incredibly simple. I used my mini food processor to chop up my walnuts, which was fantastic. My grocery store only had untoasted wheat germ and I didn't feel like toasting it so I used it as is. I also didn't have dried cherries, but I did have cherry flavored Craisins so I used those.

The ingredient mixture is baked in a square baking dish, as seen below. The oats make it look like I just took a giant bowl of oatmeal and dumped it in a dish.

While the bars baked, I did dishes--by far, the most difficult part of the whole thing. When the baking time wound down, I cooked up the apricot preserves. I didn't realize that my "all fruit" jelly had actual fruit pieces. No matter, I still brushed the melted preserves on top of the hot baked energy bars.

I didn't snap a pic of the cut bars, but I am eating one as part of lunch right now--delicious! I will definitely be eating more of these, and will make them again with different dried fruit and preserves.