Squid Ink Pasta

Food & Nostalgia 

 

squid ink pastaA relationship with a grandparent is very unique. They’re allowed to impart life lessons, without having to carry all of the burden or responsibilities of a parent, unless of course you were raised by your grandparent.  Both of my parents worked full time during my younger years, so my grandmother took on full parental responsibilities. As a result we have a very close relationship. I spent many summers living with her, sharing a room, and stories. She was my roommate, my best friend, my inspiration, my mom, and my grandma. She was stern with me growing up, but I am who I am today for fear of ever disappointing her.  Parents, want to know how you can get your kids to refrain from drugs and alcohol? Guilt! My grandmother has friends EVERYWHERE!! I never behaved badly, for fear of her ever finding out, and tarnishing how she thought of me.  While kids picked on me at school for being over weight, my grandmother always made me feel special, to her I was always #1.  She is a great cook, and it is because of her that I love to cook so much. Every time I cook, I think of her and our summers together.

My boyfriend often speaks of his grandfather, who sadly passed away a few years ago.  While his grandfather was a tough Italian man, my boyfriend’s fondest memories of him were made in the kitchen.  He loved his Italian cooking, and advice about food.  To take my boyfriend back to that special time, I prepared a dish his grandfather was known for, squid ink pasta.  While he used a squid ink sauce, I used fresh squid ink pasta.  The squid ink gives the pasta it’s dark color and unique shine.  This dish is simple to make, because most of the work has already been done for you.  I found the squid ink pasta at my local Italian market, Marios in Glendale, CA.  Many Italian markets carry specialty pastas with unique flavors.  The squid ink gives the pasta a seafood flavor, so you do not need to add much to the dish.  I added good quality olive oil, graded parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and capers.  I topped the dish with fresh parmiginao-reggiano and plated with prossciutto.  I surprised him when he got home, and he was taken back immediately to times with his grandfather.

Ingredients:

Parmigiano-reginao

Graded parmesan

Jarred capers

Squid ink pasta

Red Pepper Flakes

Olive Oil

Instructions:

Boil water. Add salt, and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water.  Add pasta, and cook for 8 minutes or until pasta is aldente (has a bite to it)

Drain pasta. Add back to pot. Add olive oil, red pepper flakes, graded parmesan, and mix.

Add pasta to dish. Top with capers, and graded parmigiano.

Enjoy!

Food means many different things to different people, but for most it’s comforting.  Food can work as a time machine, taking you back to a time with loved ones.  I hope you enjoy this dish with your loved ones.

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Pork Chops & Pasta? It Happened

pork chops and pasta

What’s for Dinner?

Sometimes you have to force someone to take a chance, even if it’s just to experiment with food.  We can get so set in our ways when it comes to what we eat.  Visiting the same restaurants, ordering the same dishes, cooking the same meal night after night.  We grow up on certain types of food depending on our cultural backgrounds, then grow up and find other types of foods intimidating.  While the foods you grew up on were amazing, you’ll miss out on some great meals If you never try new things.

My boyfriend’s sister was kind enough to send us a giant package of meat from Omaha steaks for his birthday.  Among the amazing steaks were a few pork chops.  I knew my boyfriend would love them, despite his hate of pork. My mission would be to cook the pork chops in a way where he couldn’t deny their amazing flavor.

I chose to apply my fail-safe marinade to the pork chops, and fix a side of pasta to go with them.  The recipe for these bomb.com pork chops is below.

Ingredients:

Pork Chops (Amount depends on who you’re cooking for. My boyfriend was able to eat 3 in one meal)

Pasta (I used regular spaghetti noodles, you can use any type of noodle you prefer)

Marinade:

Balsamic Vinegar

2 tablespoon Oregano

1 tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 tablespoon Pepper

1 tablespoon Garlic Salt

Olive Oil

Pre-Cooking Instructions:

The night before I coated the pork chops in olive oil.  Take a tablespoon of olive oil and rub it into the meat.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl: garlic salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and pepper.

Sprinkle the mixture over the pork chops and pat down compacting the dry ingredients.

put the pork chops into a plastic Ziplock bag, and add the balsamic vinegar.

Put into the refrigerator, and let sit over night.

Cooking Instructions:

Heat your oven to 200 F

Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a sauce pan, and add your pork chops

Place the pork chops into the oven without a lid.

Let cook for 10 minutes then flip the pork chops, and let them cook for another 10 minutes

Take the pan out of the oven and put it on the stove top over high heat.

Cook the pork chops on either side for 1 to five minutes depending how brown you want the outside.

Take a piece of aluminum foil and loosely tent the pan letting the pork sit for 10 minutes

This will save the pork juices, preventing drying.

pork chops in pan

Pasta:

Boil Water

Add salt and teaspoon of olive oil

Add pasta when water comes to a boil

Cook aldente and drain

Remove pork chops from the cooking pan

Do not clean the pan.

Place pan over medium heat, and add pasta.

Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and tablespoon of olive oil

Mix the pasta with the drippings from the pork chops

Cook for five minutes or until mixed.

Plate with pork chops and serve!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe.  Come visit us here at Meeshme.com again soon!

Seafood Pasta the Remix

meeshme.com

 

I love seafood! Luckily I grew up in California where I have access to fresh seafood whenever I like.  My boyfriend on the other hand wasn’t the biggest fan of seafood when we first met.  Little by little I started incorporating seafood into his diet.  The trick was adding bold flavors, and a component of each dish had to be something he loved.

A hobby of mine is to mimic recipes I experience while dining out.  Over the weekend we had a late lunch at Bravo in Santa Monica.  I ordered a seafood dish, which my boyfriend loved.  I decided to mimic the dish for dinner last night, but remixed it by adding my own twist.  It’s very important to put your own spin on recipes.  Take what you love about a dish, and make it your own.

The dish I had ordered was tilapia served with risotto and steamed vegetables.  I decided to swap the risotto for pasta.  I had never tried whole wheat pasta before, so I thought I would give it a try.  I picked up two large pieces of tilapia from the market.  My boyfriend loves capers, so I thought I would add them to the dish as well.

I drizzled olive oil over the fish, and then seasoned the fillets with Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt.  I cooked the fish in a mix of olive and vegetable oil.  While the fish was cooking, I boiled water and cooked the whole wheat pasta.  When the pasta was cooked I added olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes then mixed.  I plated the pasta, added the capers, and placed the fish off to the side.

The dish was a success with my boyfriend, who would have never ordered seafood in his life.  You can get anyone to eat anything if you incorporate things they love into a dish.  Remember leave out the red pepper flakes if you or your guests can’t handle spice.

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.

Stuffed Me~shells

stuffed shells

Stuffed me~shells

Stuffed shells is a popular Italian dish.  The traditional stuffed shell is pretty simple, and easy to make.  Traditionally restaurants are home cooks, stuff cooked pasta shells with a ricotta (cheese) mixture, top them with marinara sauce, and serve.  Stuffed Me~shells are different.  I recently had the opportunity to serve a true Italian my version of the classic, my boy friend’s father in New Jersey.  He questioned my methods at first, but after tasting them quickly became a fan.  I have had the opportunity to serve these shells to a variety of guests, all who preferred them over the original recipe.  Here is how my recipe differs:

Ingredients:

1 package large pasta shells

1 package lean ground meat

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 bunch fresh spinach

1 small carton ricotta cheese

1 package shredded mozzarella

Parmesan Cheese

1 onion

salt, pepper, garlic salt

1 jar marinara sauce or make your own

Directions:

I always start by boiling the water.  Add salt to the water to add flavor to the pasta.  When the water comes to a boil, throw in the package of shells.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is aldente.  You will be backing the pasta later, so it’s better that the pasta be a little on the firm side.

While the pasta is cooking, empty the package of ground meat to a sauce pan.  You can add a small amount of oil to the ban, so that the meat doesn’t stick.  Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic salt or powder.  Chop one white onion, and the bell peppers.  Add the onions and bell peppers to the meat mixture.  Brown. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the marinara sauce.  Mix.

Take the bunch of spinach, and remove the leaves from the stems.  Rinse. In a separate pan, throw in the spinach with a bit of salt.  Let cook until the leaves wilt.  Take the spinach and drain.  Mix the spinach with the carton of ricotta cheese, a few handfuls of mozzarella cheese, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Take a deep baking pan, and layer the bottom with the marinara sauce.  Take a pasta shell and fill it partially with the meet mixture.  Then add half a spoon full of the spinach and cheese mixture. Place the shell into the pan, and repeat.  Once you have finished stuffing all of your shells, top the shells with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Set the oven to 325, and let the shells bake.  If you don’t want the top of the shells to get crunchy, put a piece of foil over the top of the pan while baking.

When the cheese has melted on the top your me~shells are ready.  Serve them with garlic bread, caesar salad, and wine.  Enjoy!