Posted in Fast food, Food and Cooking

$10 dinner : Swordfish & Lobster


Today was I can’t catch my breath  rushed, so on my way home from Natick I flew into Whole Foods for anything quick for dinner.  Grilled fish, which can be on the table in twenty minutes, was my first thought.  It’s healthy and especially easy as  my  husband is a grill genius  and we can divide and conquer the cooking.

I’m thinking “fast food” while scanning the fish counter and I found  both swordfish ($16.99/ lb) and big beautiful lobster tails ($7) on sale .  I was good and waited my turn then had the Swordfish cut into one 1.2 lb piece and snagged a tail.   Once home the fish was cut  into three healthy 4 Oz portions and dusted with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

The raw lobster tail was cut in half to more easily pull the meat, which was diced into 1/4 ” pieces.  I melted  butter in a saute pan, lots of butter,  added the  lobster and cooked until white and firm ( less then 4 minutes over medium heat),  then threw in a handful of parsley for just another minute .

I prefer a rustic look on our everyday service (picture above) but once plated this good looking meal tasted better then it looked. The guys even called it gourmet!

As I was cleaning up the bags and dishes I realized our meal  was less then ten dollars a plate.  Which is pretty darn good considering each bite of fish had buttery rich and  slightly sweet lobster with the meaty swordfish.  The polenta was under a quarter (with  cornmeal from the pantry)  and the small green salad was about two dollars.  I didn’t even realize what a good deal this was at first, I was just rushing to get dinner on the table.  So I shared this menu to encourage you to  look for the sales and enjoy some gourmet meals of your own, even on the rushed days,

Posted in Food and Cooking, Uncategorized

Fresh Homemade Pasta on a Weeknight

1471445382711-2046569584Hello Friends and Family,

Today I want to share how we do homemade pasta in our home.   First, for us it’s a family project. Not only because we enjoy creating  a great meal together, but because its difficult rolling and cutting the delicate noodles on our old hand crank machine alone.  Yes, I admit I’m challanged in shaping the pasta.   Second, we ‘ll make a batch anytime, even on the weekdays.  I love it too much  to have it only on weekends or special occasions.  So I needed  a way to reduce the hands on time before dinner when life can get crazy with family errands  or homework.  Here’s how  I do it.

My dough recipe is based on one from ” Lidia’s Italy”, an awesome cookbook by Lidia Bastianich, which also shares  local color from all across the regions of Italy (I love it). I replaced the 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks in the recipe with 4 extra large eggs and 1 yolk. Also I added a pinch of salt to the recipe for flavor.

1471442066436184048261.jpgNow here’s the trick that lets me pull together fresh pasta on a weeknight. In the morning the dough is mixed,  kneaded and shaped in a ball, then it can be wrapped in plastic and rest all day in the fridge.  This cuts down on time in the evening and makes the dough silkier and even more elastic to work.  It’s wonderful. You could also make several batches of dough on a Sunday and freeze the disks double wrapped first in plastic  then tin foil to stay fresh for the week.   Just bring it to room temperature before shaping your pasta.


My pasta roller is a very basic machine,  a low end unit bought years ago, but it keeps rolling and cutting the basic fettuccine we enjoy.  If you’ve never made pasta and don’t have a machine I encourage you to still try the recipe.  I’ve seen the dough shaped with a rolling pin (or even a wine bottle) and cut with a knife.  There are tons videos on YouTube for inspiration.  Try making fresh pasta once to compare, it’s an amazing flavor and so much better when you know what’s in your food.


Recipe for Fresh Pasta Dough for Fettuccine

3 cups “OO” flour ( or all purpose)

4 extra large eggs

1 egg yolk

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil ( any one with a taste you enjoy)

Pinch salt

Ice water as needed

Pulse flour and salt once or twice in food processor .  Mix eggs and olive oil together then pour through the food tube with the processor running. If the dough doesn’t gather together add ice water a teaspoon at a time until it does. If the dough smears against the side of the bowl add a smalll amount of flour.

Knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes on a floured surface, again if it’s sticky dust with more flour.  When it’s silky and smooth wrap then leave to rest un-refrigerated for 1/2 hour, for a day in the fridge,  or for a week in the freezer.  Once it’s back at room temperature, roll and cut with the instructions for your pasta machine.  I roll my dough twice through every setting down to number 4, where I can see my hand through the dough. For this thickness I cook the pasta in boiling water for 4 or 5 minutes,  drain and sauce.

When I started making pasta it helped me to take a cooking class (Draeger’s in Danville, Ca.) to see and feel the dough.  It might help you to watch an on-line video to know how the dough should look.   Or just jump in and have fun.  Either way I encourage you to try, it will taste great!






Posted in Food and Cooking

Real Food

This week I would encourage you to stop by  a farm stand or market and enjoy how wonderful real food tastes with little effort.   I recently found fresh corn and greens at the Outpost Farm in Holliston (managing to ignore the yummy looking pies) and had dinner on the table in 22 minutes.   I simply threw the greens in a pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper then  microwaved the fresh corn while the boneless chicken thighs grilled.  If your market sells pre-cooked turkey or chicken all the better for a fast meal.   The wonderful thing is not that it is healthy or supporting local farmers, IT JUST TASTES SO GOOD.  The sweet corn was the star of the meal but it was all so delicious.

Now if over the weekend you have some extra time for cooking,   I noticed  the Allrecipes website has a farm to table section with recipes that look amazing. I have to try the fresh tomato salad recipe and will post a picture before we eat.  It’s back to Outpost Farm for me.

Now I would laugh when someone disparages the job of cooking healthy meals for our families  (whether cooked by Mom or Dad ) if it weren’t for all the  food related diseases.  Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis have all been linked to diet,  but with all the conflicting reports of the “best food plan” it’s easy to be discouraged.  Here I would encourage you to stand strong. What you cook or bring home for your family with love will be a blessing to them.  No one knows them better then you and you don’t have to be perfect.  Remember neither a little junk food or a little health food will hurt them in moderation.