Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shrimp, Sundried Tomato and Asparagus Pasta

Pasta is one of my favorite weeknight dishes. It's quick, easy and nearly always turns out delicious. Lucky for me, I'm not the only one who thinks this, as evidenced by the plethora of easy, yet tasty recipes scattered across the net.

Lucky for me, I cruised across this perfect springtime pasta dish from Cookin' Canuck earlier this week. Many aspects of this recipe appealed to me: lightness, ease of preparation, and fresh ingredients to name a few. I was able to whip this up in less than 30 minutes, and Gabe and I both went back for seconds. Try it tonight - you won't be disappointed.

12 oz. spaghetti or linguine
12 oz. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 c. white wine
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. (packed) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Add asparagus during last minute of cooking. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add white wine and let simmer rapidly for 2 minutes. Add butter and shrimp, simmering until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Combine pasta, asparagus, shrimp and sauce. Add Parmesan cheese and parsley and toss until combined. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional parsley and/or Parmesan if desired.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Maple-Oatmeal Scones

At year's end, Gabe and I head up to the Northeast for vacation. He's from Vermont originally, so we spend a few weeks visiting family and friends, as well as trying to fit in as much snowboarding as possible. It's usually a busy vacation, but we look forward to it every year.

It's also at this time of year that we replenish our yearly stock of maple syrup. Nothing beats pure maple syrup, purchased from a roadside farm in the heart of New Hampshire (and yes, New Hampshire maple syrup is as good or better than the Vermont counterpart). For the past several years, we've purchased a gallon or more from Sunday Mountain Maple Farm each year in Orford, New Hampshire, and we've never been disappointed.

(Sunday River Maple Farm; Orford, NH. Photo courtesy New Hampshire Farms Network)

So when Ina Garten profiled an amazing Maple-Oatmeal scone recipe on her Barefoot Contessa show earlier this week, I knew they would be perfect made with our lovely maple syrup. Surprise, surprise - I was right! These delicious scones were a perfect weekend breakfast with steaming hot coffee, enjoyed in the company of my one and only.

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced
1/4 c. cold buttermilk
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg, beaten (egg wash)

1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine both flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk to incorporate. Add diced butter and crumble into flour mixture until butter is in pea-sized pieces. In a separate small bowl, combine buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs. Add quickly to flour mixture and mix until just blended.

Dump dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour hands and rolling pin, and roll dough to a 3/4 to 1-inch thickness (there should be lumps of butter in the dough). Cut into 3-inch rounds and place on baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash (Note: I forgot to do this). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

To make the glaze, combine confectioner's sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk until incorporated. Drizzle over scones after they have cooled for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with additional quick oats for garnish, if desired.