Is this thing on?
Peers through bright proscenium lights.
Why hello there! Welcome back. You thought I’d left forever, I’m sure. Sometimes I questioned it myself. But there are too many good ideas rolling around in this gal’s head for me to stay away for that long. So here I am.
Oh, you’d like to know where I’ve been? What’s happened since that lonely little post earlier this month? A lot actually. Some fun things, some foodie things, some big scary what the crap am I doing decision type things. And I promise to share. November is a new month, and I’m absolutely planning to be back.
Why November? Why not now, you ask? Well, not now because today is a very special day.
Halloween? Oh, why I suppose it is Halloween. But no, that’s not it. You see, around here on the 31st of October, we celebrate Chris’ birthday. So, while many of you are drinking punch and eating candy while dressed as vampires or ghouls or slutty versions of basically any and everything, we will be spending a quiet evening at home and enjoying Chris’ traditional birthday dinner.
“Gourmet macahoni and cheese and chocolate pie.”
This is what I made for Chris on the first of his birthdays that we spent together, and he’s asked for it every year since. Really, he doesn’t even need to ask anymore, I already know. And for those of you wondering, I should also explain that Chris does not have a speech impediment; “macahoni” is what his adorable little cousin (quickly becoming a gorgeous young girl, I might add) used to call pasta and it just seems to have stuck.
Unfortunately I cannot take credit for either of these recipes, but both are delicious and I will share them with you in case meatloaf hands, bleeding cupcakes, and spooky candy apples aren’t already on your menu for tonight.
Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago & Thyme
(aka Gourmet Macahoni and Cheese)
From Giada de Laurentiis
Please Note: this recipe is too simple and too tasty to not make. If you don’t try it now, try it soon. Seriously.
1 pound fettuccine (I like Tinkyada brand)
2 cups grated Asiago, plus 1/4 cup
2 8-ounce containers creme fraiche
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
In a large bowl combine the 2 cups Aiago cheese, creme fraiche, Parmesan, thyme, salt, pepper, cooked pasta, and pasta cooking liquid. Gently toss until all the ingredients are combined and the pasta is coated. Place the pasta in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes and serve.
Emeril’s Chocolate Cream Pie
From Emeril Lagasse
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus 1 3/4 cups
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 egg yolks
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 (9-inch) crust, blind baked (I’m still perfecting my gluten-free pie crust recipe, but in the meantime you can try the always-reliable Gluten Free Girl’s recipe)
In a small saucepan combine sugar, 3/4 cup heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and pinch of salt, and whisk until smooth. Place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, whisking from time to time for the sugar and cornstarch to dissolve and the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking at a low boil for an additional 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Pour 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk over the heat until thoroughly combined and very thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and whisk in the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until thoroughly combined (mixture will be very thick). Cover the mixture with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface and refrigerate until cooled to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Place 1 3/4 cups heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl and add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cool chocolate pudding mixture, then spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared pie crust and refrigerate until firm and cool, at least 4 hours. Refrigerate the remaining whipped cream until you are ready to serve the pie.
When ready to serve, top the pie with the remaining sweetened whipped cream and serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy whatever you indulge in today–even if it’s just a big ol’ bag of candy. A very Happy Halloween to you all, and a special Happy Birthday to my love.