Tag Archives: pasta

Visiting Wine Country

26 Jul

I haven’t posted in over a week! I apologize for that but I’ve been keeping busy and having fun with life rather than updating the blog. I’ve also been slightly stressing about having to return home because I’ll have to deal with school and the real world again. I keep my mind off it by reading the great books I find at the library.

grapes soaking up the sun, upper house in the distance

One of the highlights of this trip was when I got to visit a private estate vineyard in Calistoga, CA, which is in the Napa Valley. Brian’s friend’s family owns this vineyard and we got to visit them for a relaxing weekend. They were really kind to host us and we had a beautiful weekend there. The dogs and cats had free range of the property and were adorable. We got to swim in the man made pond, relax on the hammocks, have a picnic by the pond, grill up some delicious steaks, catus, veggie kabobs, enjoy wine, be with good company and simply take in the views. There’s nothing like looking out your window to see mountain tops, looking down the hills to see fields of green grapes, or star gazing in pitch darkness.

I’m posting these pictures without naming the vineyard because it is a friend’s home so I want to respect their privacy. It’s so beautiful that I had to share.

part of their wine cave

the gorgeous pond we went swimming in

I made and brought hummingbird muffins so we would have breakfast/snacks. Hummingbird muffins have banana, coconut flakes, pineapple and walnuts. I used this recipe and substituted the oil for a cup of apple sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil. The only thing we had to make was a big pot of coffee. On Sunday, we did make whole wheat buttermilk waffles for breakfast. They were so satisfying.

hummingbird muffins

We didn’t do much touristy stuff like go on wine tastings or eat at fancy restaurants so I’ll have to go back another time for all that. On the way home we stopped at Pizzeria Tra Vigne in St. Helena, Ca for a casual linner (lunch-dinner). We ordered a Ducati pizza (mozzarella, marinara, capicola, mushrooms, spicy Italian sausage and sun dried tomatoes) and Fettuccini alla Bolognese. Both were good but I’ve had better pizza. We also had a mandarin orange Italian soda, which was so good we stopped at BevMo to get the Torani syrup and seltzer water to make our own.

We also stopped in Yountville, CA to walk around the main strip. They had amazing art exhibits. When I get a nice big house I will come back here to get paintings to decorate. We grabbed a snack of French macarons at Bouchon Bakery. They were the biggest macarons I’ve ever seen. Really freaking good.

vanilla and hazelnut macarons

New Things (CSA Week 2)

4 Jun

We’re trying really hard to cook and eat in during the week and so far it’s going well. I was tempted to go have sushi for dinner tonight but ended up making noodles in peanut sauce. I sort of followed the recipe from here but subbed in water + dashi powder for the chicken stock, used less garlic, left out the ginger, and added a splash of sesame oil. Really simple and delicious. I served it with a mix of udon and yakisoba noodles because that’s all we had left. We tossed in some carrots and zucchini sauted with the scallions. The strawberries were gifted to us from my cousin and her husband because they managed to get a flat of strawberries for $5 somewhere along the road! Half flats were selling for $15 at the Ferry market!! They scored a major deal and the strawberries were sweet too. These are the last of them and we had to eat them because they were getting too ripe. The red romaine in the background are the last of the huge bag we got in CSA share 1 last week.

Yesterday I found an excuse to use the slow cooker I got from the thrift store for $10. I made slow cooked Bolognese sauce using this recipe. I left out the carrots, celery and nutmeg because I didn’t have any on hand and used a large onion instead. I also didn’t use any wine because Brian didn’t have a wine bottle opener even though he has wine. Erfs. The only thing I added was a small can of tomato paste for a rich tomato flavor. The sauce was so good. Make sure you leave the lid off for the last half hour or so for it to reduce and thicken up. Yum. I froze about two quarts of it for future noms.

We went back to Walmart and got our bikes and the bike carrier. We hooked up the carrier to the trunk of the car and loaded the bikes on. Luckily, they both fit! We were scared that they wouldn’t due to their shock absorbing frame design.  I was really scared the whole way home that they were going to fall off the care but the carrier held up surprisingly well. Mine’s the purple (24″ wheels) and Brian’s is the same in red (26″ wheels). Mine is considered a “youth” bike but hey, I’m short.

aww, they match.. kind of. (ignore the mess)

We used the bikes to pick up our veggies!

CSA share of veggies

Here’s our share of CSA (2nd week) produce. Doesn’t look like much but it’s actually a LOT of stuff volume wise. I forgot to include the box of strawberries in the picture because I already put it in the fridge. I’m not too happy with our share this week because it’s mostly all green stuff, which are sometimes bitter (like last week’s red romaine). Hopefully we’ll get better stuff as the summer progresses.

Here’s what we got (click on pic for notes):
– 1 box strawberries
– Chantenay carrots
– baby summer squash
– huge bag of spinach
– bigger red romaine lettuce (probably bitter)
– red butter lettuce (slightly bitter with buttery notes)
– arugula (bitter + spicy notes)
– agretti (totally new veggie for us, no idea what it is but supposed to be like sour grass??)
– bunch of cilantro (hidden)

Any ideas on how to eat all this besides raw? Here are some ideas I have so far.. lettuces + arugula salads, cilantro + last week’s parsley walnut pesto, squash pesto pasta salad, agretti sesame salad (like the Japanese seaweed salad), agretti parathas..

I really need a spinach recipe guys!! Please help me out. I want something that will cook up that whole bag so I don’t have to deal with it. Or at least half the bag so I can blanch the rest and freeze it. I like palek paneer but don’t have the ingredients to make it and I don’t love creamed spinach. Thanks!

Bento 30 and 31

16 Apr

Bento #30:

pasta with sausage, beef, green beans

Bento #31:

Leftover chili, carrots, hummus, salad

Homemade hummus is so good. To bad the picture got washed out. Don’t those carrots look like cheetos? I promise you they were carrots!

Both these meals left me hungry in a few hours. I need to work on packing more carbs to keep me full.

Hearty Pasta Lunch

13 Apr

I was in the mood for pasta so I whipped up a dish using what I had on hand. It turned out pretty good so I’m sharing with you. It’s simple so a beginner cook can make it, feel free to approximate everything. It’s a very did friendly dish to eat as well.

Simple and satisfying lunch.

Pasta Shells Bowl


1 3/4 cup dry conchiglie (small shell pasta)
2 uncooked sausage links (I used sweet and spicy)
3/4 cup yellow, or orange bell peppers, chopped (I used 5 mini sweet peppers)
2 large shallots, diced
1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
~1 cup pasta sauce of choice (I used jarred ‘mushroom, onion, pepper’ flavor)
~1/3 cup mozzarella cheese (I chopped up a chunk but you can use shredded)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Put a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt water before adding pasta. Cook pasta until al dente.
2. Heat nonstick pan. Remove sausage from casing and add to hot pan. Break into bite sized pieces while frying. Place a paper towel over the sausage while cooking and use to soak up fat from the pan.
3. When sausage is browned and cooked, add peppers and shallots. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cheese. Cook until bubbly and stir to incorporate the cheese. It’s fine if the cheese doesn’t mix in completely. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Mix sauce with drained shells and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.

Lobster Pasta and Bento 12

17 Feb

Lobster pasta was tasty. Just don’t over cook the angel hair like we did. All we did was take the leftover lobster dish from new years and added more cream, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.
lobster pasta 2

The lobster was so sweet and the meat was perfectly cooked. Some of the best lobster I’ve ever eaten.
lobster pasta

Bento 12 was for dinner at work. Mainly all leftovers except for the fruits and veggies. I didn’t have time to prepare anything new and my fridge was full of leftovers anyway.
bento 12