Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's about the journey, not the end, sez my son

It's the eve before my birthday, and my son and I decided to celebrate by cooking dinner together at home. We live within a block of a grocery store, yet laziness got the best of both of us and we forged ahead on two recipes even though we were lacking essential ingredients. Now that's what I call slack!

As I was mildly fretting about the outcome, Marco said "it's about the journey, mom, not the end"...naturally he said it tongue in cheek, but it was good for a laugh and on we went about our culinary hijinks.

The entree was so delicious, and it got a thumbs up from both of us! Marco generally find my pasta favorites too bland. I contend that they are simply flavored in a more subtle way than he is accustomed to. While leafing through Silver Palate Cookbook I came across a recipe for creamy pasta sauce with fresh herbs...I had to try it! The herbs I used were basil and mint, and I substituted heavy cream for nonfat milk (!) because I didn't have any heavy cream on hand. It was delicious, but the next time I'd get my shoes on and make the trip for the heavy cream, because the sauce never thickened properly (even though I increased the butter to a whole stick!).

Without further ado, the correct way to make creamy pasta sauce with fresh herbs:

1.5 C heavy cream
4 T sweet butter
1/2t salt
1/8t nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1 C finely chopped fresh herbs (suggested: basil, mint, watercress, parsley, chives)

1. Combine cream, butter, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne in a heavy saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened.

2. Whisk in parmesan and herbs and simmer for another 5 mins. Taste and correct seasoning as needed.

Serve immediately - ideal with angel hair pasta!

For dessert, we made dark chocolate brownies from a box, but we only had one egg! Now, I know enough to remember that baking has more chemistry involved than other forms of cooking, and that being off a little bit can have dramatic results, usually for the worse. Fret not, dear reader, because 55 minutes later we had the BEST brownie pudding - sure, we had to eat it with a spoon, but it was so rich and yummy...happy birthday to me!

The journey AND the end were perfect.

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