Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Introduce N: My Self Care Blog

Well I have been out of the kitchen the past few weeks, but cooking up some new ideas just the same!

I have been busy exploring social media marketing tools . Increasing my knowledge of twitter, facebook and blogger, then learning how to link these.

One of my experiments has been a new blog dedicated to Women's Self Care: My Self Care Blog. The blog is an exploration in taking good care of oneself. Please check it out!

I have been on facebook for less than a week now and have had a fairly good response to my self care page so far. If you would like to become a "fan" you can find the page under the username of "Self Care Girl".
If you like to tweet- you can find me on twitter as well. I haven't quite got this one figured out yet, but I haven't given up yet!

If you get on these pages and like what you see, please drop me and line and do tell your friends. It is my aim to get discussions, ideas, and input from other women about little (and big!) things that you do to take care of yourself. I would love to hear from you!

Take Good Care!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Celebrate N: Happy Easter!

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives. -Dalai Lama

Happy Easter to all my friends and family!

Simon and I are taking it easy today, so there will be no serious holiday cook' n in the Cook home this afternoon. We have a 4:30 reservation at Palisade Restaurant in Seattle with Grandma Elaine. We are also celebrating her 80-something birthday.

We have been doing this fine dining thing for holidays recently, mostly because we don't have a lot of family close by. I like not having to clean up and I like a gourmet meal, but I have to admit that I miss having my family gathered, an easter egg hunt, and a good home cooked meal that once defined our Easter holiday. Making new traditions is necessary, but not easy.

At any rate, we have a beautiful day today- after a fairly stormy week. We are planning a walk and you never know...we might spy a rabbit..or score an easter egg if we are lucky.

Happy Easter to you!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cook N Comfort Food: 4 Cheese Penne with Proscuitto and Peas

I have been craving homemade mac n cheese for weeks now, so when I came across this recipe I knew it would be on our menu this week.

Not sure what the fat and calorie count is for this recipe, but I served it up with a nice green salad and I ran on the treadmill earlier in the day, so I think the indulgence was justifiable.

The recipe is from Cook's Illustrated. The goal was to create a cheesy pasta dish that actually tasted cheesy and creamy. This recipe achieved that goal, and Simon really liked it, so we are both going to keep working out and have it again soon!

We added Proscuitto and Peas (and a little leftover pancetta too). This summer I will definately try the tomato basil version, using fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden.


(1/2 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
•¼-teaspoon salt
•1/8-teaspoon ground black pepper
•Pasta and Cheese
•4-ounces Italian Fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
•3-ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)
•½-cup (1 ounce) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
•¼-cup (1/2 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
•1-pound penne
•1-tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
•2-teaspoons unsalted butter
•2-teaspoons all-purpose flour
•1-1/2 cups heavy cream
•¼-teaspoon ground black pepper

1.For the topping: Pulse bread in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses (you should have about 11/2 cups). Transfer to small bowl; stir in Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Set mixture aside.
2.For the pasta: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
3.Bring 4-quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Combine cheeses in large bowl; set aside. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water; stir to separate pasta. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk flour into butter until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in cream, increase heat to medium, and bring to boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1 minute to ensure that flour cooks. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; cover cream mixture to keep hot and set aside. When pasta is very al dente (when bitten into, pasta should be opaque and slightly underdone at very center), drain about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Add pasta to bowl with cheeses; immediately pour cream mixture over, then cover bowl with foil or large plate and let stand 3 minutes. Uncover bowl and stir with rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl, until cheeses are melted and mixture is thoroughly combined.
4.Transfer pasta to a baking dish, then sprinkle evenly with reserved bread crumbs, pressing down lightly. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 7 minutes. Serve immediately.
6.Baked Four-Cheese Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil
7.Follow recipe for Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, adding one 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, to pasta along with cream mixture and stirring in ¼-cup coarsely chopped basil leaves just before transferring pasta to baking dish.
8.Baked Four-Cheese Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas
9.Follow recipe for Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, omitting salt from cream mixture and adding 4-ounces prosciutto, chopped, and 1 cup frozen peas to pasta along with cream mixture.