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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-05-02

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Taste and Create - Join Us!

Recently, I participated in a really fun blogging event called Taste and Create.  It's a place for food lovers to get together and learn more about different types and styles of cuisine.  The participants are randomly paired with another blogger and given the task of trying a recipe from their blog.  I can tell you, there's little chance of me trying a recipe from a blogger in the Netherlands, but that's just what I did last month! And I really, really enjoyed it.

You can read more about it here - further explanation and how to contact Min, who is heading up this little party.  You'll need to contact Min by the end of the day tomorrow, May 9th in order to have your name included in the list of bloggers.
I'm throwing my hat in the ring once again - will you join us?


Giveaway WINNER!

Today's the day! The day to announce the winner of the $60 CSN gift card giveaway!

Using good ol'

Which matches up to this comment:

ham1299 said...
I like you on Facebook! :-) ramblings.more(at)gmail(dot)com


Thursday, May 6, 2010

P is for Pasta!

If it's Thursday, it must be time for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday! I can't believe we're already on the letter P.  Time flies! I'm also sharing this with Michael & friends over at Designs by Gollum.  Pay us a visit - it's always a good time!

I've known for a week what this post would center around.


I absolutely cannot believe this.

Here I am, a pasta lover.  Addict.  Fiend, even.

And I hardly have any pictures of it.

You'd think...YOU'D THINK...that seeing as how I have posted about bolognese, finger-licking meatballs and sauce, and bolognese AGAIN, I'd have pictures of the pasta they went over.

You'd think.  But you'd be wrong.

I had to scour my collection for even a small handful of pasta pictures.

I am ashamed.

Okay, now that the self-flagellation is over:

I love pasta.  It is my favorite, favorite food.  I would eat it every day, and have in the past. 

I don't know what it is about it.  My mom instilled within me a great love for pasta when I was young.  But honestly, I think you have to have a certain predisposition towards something for it to become a part of who you are.  I mean, making me noodles or macaroni for lunch was hardly enough to make me the mad pasta lover I am today.

I think it was born in me, that's what I think.

Red sauce, white sauce, pink sauce, oil and garlic, cold in salad, baked with cheese...I'll eat it all.

Here's a favorite recipe of mine which I've used many times over the years.  I came up with it at least 15 years ago and it's still my favorite.  It's "to my own taste", meaning you could change it up however you want to.

Generous swirl of olive oil
2 tbs butter or margarine
1 pressed garlic clove (or more if you like it! I know I do!)
Dried basil and parsley
Handful of chopped tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes (fresh of course!)
Handful of thinly sliced mushrooms
Large handful of fresh spinach, or 1/4 cup drained canned spinach (I love canned spinach!)
Lemon juice

Heat olive oil and butter in large pan.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add dried herbs (crush them between your fingers as you sprinkle them - it releases their flavor!).  Toss in mushrooms and allow to soften and begin to brown.  Add tomatoes and allow to cook down a bit and make the whole pan juicy.  Add spinach and lemon juice and cook for another minute or so.  Pour over cooked pasta, add lots of cheese and enjoy the heck out of it!

I'll take the base recipe there and switch out all sorts of things - I'll take out the spinach and add olives at the end, or just use the tomatoes and maybe some capers, or just spinach and lots of garlic, or just mushrooms and a splash of red wine instead of lemon juice.  Whatever mood I'm in and whatever I have on hand.

No matter how I toss it, pasta is home to me.  I love nothing more than settling in with a big bowl of it.  Maybe it takes me back to my childhood - who knows?

Tell me: How do YOU like your pasta?

And by the giveaway ends tomorrow night! It's for a $60 CSN Stores giftcard! Between 200+ stores, you're bound to find something you love! So check it out!

Jenny Matlock


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The First Time I Ate A Lobster

Well here's a post that's been a long time in the making!

Welcome to the first in a series of posts revolving around our last trip to Walt Disney World and the food we savored while we were there.

This trip took place in September of 2009.  It was in honor of our 1st anniversary.  Our honeymoon was also spent at, you guessed it, WDW.

Before I show you a sample of our (thousands of) pictures, I want to share a story to illustrate just why we love it there so much:

We booked a room at the Polynesian, which was the same place we spent our honeymoon.  Only unlike a year prior, we couldn't afford to reeeeally go all out and spent the extra $100 a night for a special "lagoon view" room, which looks out over the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and Cinderella Castle.  Oh, well.

Upon our arrival, the lovely woman at the concierge desk explained that they had a room booked for us, but that another room was ready earlier than expected and we could go right up to that room immediately.  What a lucky break! She also remarked on the fact that we didn't have the same type of room as we did the year before, and we told her that we were well aware of that.  We were only too well aware!

We were shown to our room, but Rob was immediately disappointed.  A huge tree was right smack dab in front of our balcony, blocking all sunlight and giving us no view whatsoever.  Now as for me, I'm a pretty laid back person and I didn't want to rock the boat.  Rob on the other hand called the concierge desk and very sweetly and apologetically asked if the room which was originally supposed to be ours was still available and offered to wait for it, then explained our complaint.  He was put on hold...and waited...and waited.  I'm pacing around, thinking that they must hate us and were cursing us out down there.  But when she got back on the line, the lady downstairs told Rob to meet the bellhop in the hallway, he would have our bags at the door to our room.

We went to the hallway...and saw the bellhop waaaay down at the other end, on the other side of the building and across the hall.  We knew immediately what had happened but didn't want to overplay our hand so we took our time walking down the hall, even though we were shrieking inside - that side of the hallway had rooms that faced the lagoon, not the courtyard as we had booked.  When the door opened, we got the best present we could have received - not only had we been upgraded to a lagoon view for free, but we had been given the room we spent our honeymoon in!

How neat is that??

After freaking out for a while, we ran downstairs to thank the concierge staff profusely.  It's lovely and generous touches like that which made our vacation so special - it's why we love WDW in the first place!

Immediately we went to eat...and I got my favorite breakfast food in the world...Tonga Toast.

For those of you who don't know what Tonga Toast is...well, firstly, I'm sorry.  Secondly, Tonga Toast consists of a thick piece of sourdough bread which has a slit cut into it and is then stuffed with bananas.  This huge piece of heaven then gets dipped in egg batter, deep fried and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  They serve it with a strawberry compote on the side which perfectly complements it and actually make it feel a bit more refreshing.  It is...pretty die for.

And, um, can we talk about the size of those sausages? Unreal.

Then we went to Magic Kingdom and I ran for It's a Small World! I love that ride!!! Seriously, I know it consists of dolls and poster board and glitter...but it enchants me every time.

Dinner that first night was @ Narcoossee's, in The Grand Floridian.

Narcoossee's is a seafood restaurant which sits right on the water of Seven Seas Lagoon.  It's a cute place, for sure, and they serve yummy food.  The mussels appetizer I started with...well, I mean, look at it! Plus a nice crostini for dipping the flavorful, rich broth.  It was heavenly!

Rob enjoyed a lobster bisque, the memory of which to this day invokes a glazed, faraway look in his eyes.

I decided from the get-go that I was going to try lobster for the first time when we had dinner there.  I mean, what the heck, right? I was so happy to see that they took the trouble to clean it for me - I had no point of referrence so I wasn't sure if I'd have to do it myself! Of course I studied up in advance, but no worries.

The lobster was delicious, and it came with a potato gratin which was so good I wanted to cry.  A really, really fine meal.

Sorry, Mr. Lobster.  You were delicious.

Sadly, we couldn't get a decent picture of the dessert without using flash.  It was getting dark at that point.  But let me tell you, for anyone considering a Disney vacation and considering dinner @ Narcoossee's - the almond-crusted cheesecake is THE BEST DESSERT on property.  Hands down, bar none.  Off the hook.  And we are not the only people who think so - we had done a little research of the restaurant in advance on the Disney message boards, and the verdict is virtually unanimous.

Our first dinner, as you can see, was a smashing success and set the stage for a wonderful vacation full of gluttony.  I love you, Disney Meal Plan.

Come to think of it, the view of The Grand Floridian from our balcony didn't hurt things, either... looks even closer in person...

Why am I waxing rhapsodic over Disney this many months after the fact? I'll tell you! It's all in honor of our upcoming return! Yes, folks, Rob and I will be spending our 2nd anniversary at the place where we've spent late September for the past two years.  Thank you, Lord.

We hadn't planned on going back until a few days ago, when the conclusion was reached that we need this.  We really do.  So we're going and we can't wait! Narcoossee's...we'll be back!

No, really, it's already booked.

Stay tuned for my next post, filled with even more pictures!

PS! The $60 CSN giftcard giveaway ends Friday @ midnight! Jump in and take a chance - what do you have to lose? I know I could definitely use a giftcard to one of their 200 stores!!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bolognese Redux: Part II

Several days ago, I told you about my exploits with bolognese sauce, which is like my favorite sauce ever.  I would highly, highly recommend this sauce to anyone because it happens to be just about the richest, most flavorful sauce I've ever encountered.

As we were eating pasta with sauce last weekend, Rob looked at me with a mouth full of food and a shirt full of sauce stains and said, "This sauce would make great lasagna".

Okay, maybe his mouth wasn't full.  Maybe I made that part up.  But he did say that, and I did agree with him wholeheartedly.

On Tuesday, my wonderful wonderful husband made that lasagna.  That lovely, cheesy, delicious, happy groan-inducing lasagna.  And he happened to take wonderful pictures of his work, just for this blog! Isn't he a sweetheart?

Two things you need to know about this picture:

1) To get an idea of scale, that is the bowl I serve pasta in.

2) He texted me this picture while I was at work.  So, so cruel.

It's ricotta cheese and a 5 Italian cheese blend mixed together, in case you wanted to know!

Meanwhile, my bolognese was being heated up on the stove a bit.

Just look at that.  Look at that and wish you were eating it.

He even laid out the cooked noodles and separated them with waxed paper - isn't he clever?

And the layering begins, friends.  Sauce then noodles...

...then sauce and cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.  Oh my goodness gracious.

It's probably a good thing I wasn't around when this was going down.

Finally, layer after layer was laid down and the finished product was topped with tomato sauce, ricotta and the 5 cheese blend.

Check.  That.  Out.

And let me repeat: Good thing I wasn't home at the time.  Good thing.

This went into a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  He stuck toothpicks in it before covering it in foil to make sure the foil rested on top of the toothpicks and didn't get all stuck to the cheese.  He's brilliant! He then took the foil and toothpicks off and let it sit uncovered in the oven for another 10 minutes.


You can tell who did the first set of shots versus the one above.  I wanted to show you the delicious layers but my hands were probably shaking with some sort of emotional strain brought on by intense cheese and pasta delight.

So there you go.  The man can make some lasagna happen, let me tell you.

He's also pretty darn good on the grill, but that's a whole other story.

So tell me: Do YOU like lasagna?

Before I let you go: Have you entered my first-ever giveaway? It's for a $60 gift card to CSN Stores and it ends on Friday - so hop to it!