So, Friday night I had Kim over for dinner - felt like cooking from my new Blanchard's cookbook (Blanchards is a restaurant in the Caribbean http://www.blanchardsrestaurant.com/ ). I made this awesome awesome pasta dish with all this fresh veggies and cheese. Here's the recipe - you HAVE to try it and its actually pretty easy.
Fusilli With Spinach, Tomatoes and Mozzarella
1 LB fusilli pasta
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 Lg. yellow onions, chopped
1 14 oz. can whole plum tomatoes with their juice -- OR -- I used FRESH tomatos, I did about 4 or 5 whole vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1 LB spinach leaves, stems removed
3/4 cup chopped fresh basic
1/2 LB fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- I also added 2 chicken breasts in cubes although the recipe didn't call for it -
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fusilli and cook until tender. Dreain well and return to the pot ( I actually did this towards the end so the pasta was really hot)
While the fusilli is cooking, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cut them into smaller pieces with a spoon. Simmer until heated through.
Once the fusilli is back in the pasta pot, turn the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, olives, spinach, chicken and basil and toss well. As soon as the spinach leaves are slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes, toss the mozzarella with the pasta and remove from the heat. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
I also made this basil lemonade that I found on a blog that I follow....
DELICIOUS! Have to use up all that basil I have in the garden so I also did caprese salad and bruschetta... BASIL BASIL BASIL --- YUM YUM YUM!
Kim and I ate and then we watched Valkyrie, with Kim leaving around 10ish as she had a morning appt in WI.
And then, because I'm crazy, Kim left and I was like - its Friday and its 10 - I'm not going to bed! I'm making CUPCAKES!
I was going to do my faves again - the dark chocolate with the choc mint ganache and mint buttercream icing. But then, I decided to go a little different. I went summery...
I kind of took a recipe and then made it my own.
STRAWBERRY LEMONADE CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 325F
Mix together in blender until white and fluffy - about 4 or 5 minutes
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
Mix together in a separate bowl and set aside
3 cups CAKE flour (has to be so its lighter)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
After the butter and sugar are mixed until light and fluffy - add one at a time
5 large eggs
Slowly beat in
2 tsp vanilla
4 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons (zest the lemons and then squeeze them)
Add, alternating the liquid and dry ingredients
Sifted flour mixture
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 TBS sour cream
Put 2 spoonfuls of mix into muffin cups and bake for 20 - 25 minutes
1/2 cup strawberries - cut and pureed, about 8 TBS of strawberry puree
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
Pinch of coarse salt
7 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Beat butter and salt until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to slow and add confectioners sugar. Add vanilla and 3 TBS strawberry puree.
This is a doubled recipe for the frosting as the cupcake recipe actually will make about 24 - 26 cupcakes. The frosting as it is in a recipe will only cover about 12 so the recipe I gave above is doubled so it will cover the 24+ cupcakes.
I was up until about 12:30 finishing these little yummies and boxing them and then I ended up texting my BFF who promptly called me and we were on the phone until almost 2 a.m. Ah! But, it was worth it! Even though Saturday morning I had to get up to go to a Mission Committee meeting at church and then leave to meet up with someone to exchange some things.
I took the doggies in the car in the afternoon and brought some cucumbers (which are totally invading my garden and the yard) and some cupcakes, which had invaded the kitchen, over to my Uncle Raine and my cousin Debbie. Calvin was happy to get in the car and feel the breeze in his hair :)
Oh, here's an event that I didn't mention before. On Wednesday night I picked up my sister's dog and brought her home with me around 9:30 at night. I let both Cal and her out of the car and they jumped out and ran right into the woods, coming back about 4 minutes later foaming at the mouth and smelling like skunk.... EEEKKKK - I was SO SO SO mad! Bailey definitely had the major spray and I think Cal was behind her, but they both got it in the face. I spent until almost midnight trying to bathe them in - don't laugh - pasta sauce (its all I had) and other things. The next day I ended up picking up some Skunk Be Gone or something like that from Petsmart and gave them their 3rd baths. 6 baths between the two of them - I was so exhausted and I can't even think of giving them another bath even though Bailey is lying next to me right now after a romp at the dog park in which she rolled around in stinky muddy water. She can stink up the room but I'm not giving her another bath for a while....
The picture at the very top is what my Saturday evening was. Kim and I met with Laurie and Kate (from my sailing adventure) for dinner. Kate had us over to her place in Wauconda which is on Bangs Lake and we sat on her deck and enjoyed an awesome meal and watched the sun set. It was so wonderful. We stayed until about midnight just talking and laughing and I was so glad that Kim got to meet Kate and Laurie and that she loved them as much as I do.
So, right now, its Sunday afternoon. Sunday School, church, lunch with Kim, dogs to dog park, home to blog and now, as I close, I'm psyching myself up to make two batches of my Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes for a International Workers Outreach that is tomorrow night at church. We'll be having about 30 Chinese student workers from Six Flags, plus people from some area churches who are coming to help out with dinner and then the movie.
So - I'm going to close and start zesting lemons and pureeing strawberries.... Happy Sunday!