Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leftovers or Pork Chops?

4:00 pm

Hmmm.  What's for dinner tonight?  Leftovers or pork chops.  Those are the choices.

Last night I was inspired by the recipe on the cover of the current Food and Wine Magazine.  It's Penne Pasta with Asparagus and Peas - it looked fresh and healthy.  And I had just bought asparagus and penne.  

The recipe was good. A little heavy on the peas. I'll use half as much if I make it again.  So the decision is do we eat this again or make pork chops?


So here's what has transpired this evening.  Before making dinner (leftovers) I decided to bake a cake to take to the office tomorrow.  Elli and I stopped at the store to buy the ingredients.  It's my sister's chocolate cake recipe.  It's super easy.  It involves a cake mix, box of pudding, chocolate chips and a few other things.  You drop it all in the kitchen mixer - you can't mess it up. 

While at the store I also bought a box of brownie mix for the school bake sale on Friday.  Guess which box I opened and mixed up for the cake?   Yup.  The brownie mix.  I only figured out something was wrong when I went to mix in the chocolate chips and noticed there were already chips in batter.  "That's weird."  I thought.  So I looked on the box and "OH NO!!!"  I used the brownie mix not the cake mix.  Crap. Oh well.  We're baking it anyway.  

So I poured it in the bundt pan.  But before I pour it all in the pan Elli asked if we could bake a mini bundt cake with her little pans.  Sure, that's fine.  So we pour some in her cute little pan.  

Now comes the easy part.  Put the pans in the oven and turn on the timer.  Except no, I somehow drop the mini pan upside down and the cake batter goes everywhere in the oven, dripping into the pots and pans stored beneath it.  "Shit!" 

I mopped up the batter with wet paper towels.  I caught one paper towel on fire when it touched the oven heating element.  Nice.  Finally I shoved the big cake in the oven.  It better come out.


Cake's out of the oven.  It actually looks like a cake!  Let's hope it tastes good.


So, I forgot to report on dinner tonight. We usually eat together.  But the whole cake thing threw everything off.  Elli decided to have the leftovers with an egg.  Long story.  But we had a discussion about protein in the car on the way home from school.  Hence the egg.   Don poured marinara sauce over the pasta and seems content.  He's eating it right now.  I haven't eaten yet.  I'm not really hungry. 

Tonight's Wine:

2007, Shiloh Road Chardonnay, Sonoma County - very crisp and refreshing.  Not oakey.  I like it. And it only costs about $8 bucks a bottle.  Here's what my friend Wilfred Wong, the Cellarmaster at BevMo, thinks about it:

89 PTS WILFRED WONG.  Another solid performance from one of our (BevMo) favorite brands, the bold and ripe-fruited '07 Chard shows up with seriously fine flavors on the palate; zesty finish.


Brownie/cake update:  It's rich, moist and tastes good.  It's a little heavy.  The cake is only  2" high. It's definitely more of a brownie density.  I'm safe to bring it in to the office.  They won't care.

Here is the adapted recipe from Food and Wine.

Penne Pasta with Asparagus and Peas

1/2 pound penne
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound thick asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and boil over high heat until reduced by half and the asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the peas and cream to the skillet and boil over high heat until the sauce has thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the penne and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, sage and the 1/2 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper.