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Milk and Cookies Ice Cream
9

Milk and Cookies Ice Cream

Little did I tell you that when we spent Labor Day weekend in Ogunquit, Maine last year, we hit up the Ben & Jerry’s shop every single day…and ummm…I think there was a day (or two?) when we were there twice.  It was the only ice cream shop in town that we knew of and it was in keeping with our daily tradition when we’re in Lake George as well.  I figure that all the walking (and sweating) we do when we’re on summer vacation more than makes up for the daily ice cream romps.  As do the salads we eat for days on end when we get home.

Milk and Cookies Ice Cream

And it was in Ogunquit that I first tasted Ben & Jerry’s Milk & Cookies ice cream flavor.  I was dying for cookies and cream but this was my closest option and man, did this flavor knock my socks off.  It’s no more than a simple vanilla ice cream with a cookie swirl, chocolate chips, and chocolate chip cookies – not cookie dough – cookies!

Milk and Cookies Ice Cream

The chocolate chip cookies make this ice cream insanely addictive and I’ve been holding off until this summer to make my own version.  I mixed in chunks of my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies and chopped Oreos into vanilla ice cream and Kyle and I proceeded to stand over the container with spoons even before the ice cream was fully frozen.  It was so worth the wait.

Milk and Cookies Ice Cream

Yield: about 1 ½ quarts

You'll need about ¼ of the chocolate chip cookie recipe I've listed below (or about 4-6 cookies). I made the whole recipe - because, why not?? - and baked off a few extra cookies while freezing a bunch of dough balls as well. Nobody complained about having extra homemade cookies.

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4-6 Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (or your favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup chopped Oreo cookies (about 8-10 cookies)

Instructions

  1. Set a mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Fill a larger bowl about halfway full with ice and water.
  2. Add the egg yolks to a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk in ¼ cup sugar until the sugar dissolves; set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk the remaining ¼ cup sugar, heavy cream, milk, and salt together. Once the mixture starts to steam, remove it from the heat. Using a ladle, scoop out some of the milk mixture from the pan and slowly stream it into the egg mixture, whisking quickly to ensure the eggs don't cook. (Tip: it helps tremendously here to set the bowl on a non-slip oven mitt or Silpat to keep the bowl from sliding around while you're whisking.) Repeat this two more times then whisk the egg mixture into the milk mixture in the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of a spoon, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture through the mesh strainer, pressing out all of the liquid and catching any cooked egg bits that remain. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Set the bowl inside the larger bowl on top of the ice bath and allow the mixture to cool while stirring occasionally. Once the ice cream base has cooled, cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Freeze the ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the soft ice cream to a resealable container and stir in the chopped cookies. Seal the container and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.

Source

source: inspired by Ben & Jerry's | ice cream adapted from this cookies and cream ice cream

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Light and Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes
8

Light and Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

We had pancakes for dinner last night and that meal?  So, so satisfying.  We had some big storms rumble through and even though I’m cooped up in a windowless office M-F 9-5 (which suuuucks, btw), I always get the same feelings when it rains.  Mainly, my sinuses kill me.  And I crave homey food, like these blueberry pancakes.  So I scratched last night’s planned dinner off the menu, made these pancakes, and curled up with some sinus meds and a good book.

Light and Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

It’s a recipe I made once last year, fell in love with it, then forgot where I found it, rediscovered the recipe, made the pancakes again a few weeks ago for Sunday breakfast, fell in love again, and here I am.  Whew!  I know I’ve got quite a few pancake recipes already happening here, but none quite like these (and actually, this is the first blueberry pancake recipe!).  They are light and fluffy without needing to whip up egg whites and have a bit of underlying brightness from a little lemon zest.  Basically, they are perfect blueberry pancakes in every way and if I could work brinner into my menu plans every week, this is what we’d be having.

Light and Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: about 8-10 large pancakes

To keep the pancakes warm while you cook all of them, heat the oven to 250° F with a large platter inside. Transfer the cooked pancakes to the platter as you take them off the griddle.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.
  2. Pour the buttermilk into a 4 cup liquid measuring cup and warm it in the microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk the egg, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla into the buttermilk until well-combined.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. With a rubber spatula, stir everything together until combined, leaving the batter slightly lumpy. Do not overmix.
  4. Heat a 12-inch skillet or an electric griddle to medium heat. Brush a little oil onto the hot surface and with a large ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop the batter out onto the surface. Add a few blueberries to the top of each of the batter spots. Cook the pancakes until they start to bubble and the bottoms are golden brown and spotty, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes then flip them over with a wide, heatproof spatula; cook for another 1 ½ to 2 minutes - the pancakes should start to feel soft rather than crispy when lightly touched. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot with butter, syrup, and extra blueberries, if desired.

Source

source: adapted from The New Best Recipe by the editor's of Cook's Illustrated

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Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
3

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto has never been a big thing in our house.  Sure, I make this lighter version once or twice each summer but because Kyle has a tree nut allergy, I’m sort of prohibited from trying most new recipes that I come across and hence, making recipes that contain pesto as well.  But I recently came across a nut-free sun-dried tomato pesto recipe and it sounded amazing.  With only 5 ingredients that I already had in the house, I all but jumped up and made it as soon as I saw the recipe.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

And yes, after the 5 minutes it took to make this pesto, we polished off about a quarter of it on crackers with sharp provolone…and then used some more of it on our burgers for dinner that night.  I’m really looking forward to sharing that one with you next week – gourmet burgers with sun-dried tomato pesto?  Yes, please!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Yield: about 2 cups

If you use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for this recipe, you can use the oil from the jar. If they are not packed in oil, you'll need to soak them for 30 minutes in water that has been boiled. Use immediately - just the tomatoes, not the water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (if packed in oil, just slightly drained)
  • ¼ + 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, oregano, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Through the feeder tube and with the machine on, drizzle in ¼ cup olive oil. Add up to another ¼ cup oil to achieve your desired consistency; the pesto should be spreadable but not liquidy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source

source: adapted from Bake Your Day

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Grilled Bacon
2

Grilled Bacon

I’d like to put it out there right up front that ordinarily, I would never write a post on how to cook bacon.  Most people are all set with that aspect of cooking.  However, when you throw out a new technique on how to cook something, the story changes.  Or am I the last one on Earth to consider grilling bacon?

Grilled Bacon

It’s a technique I’ve been contemplating for the past few weeks.  Will grilled bacon actually work?  Will it completely stick to the grill?  Will I set myself on fire?  I was willing to test it out at the expense of a) not having to clean up bacon grease off the stove, counter, floor, and my shirt and b) not having to turn the oven on when it’s 95° outside.  And then I saw this grilled bacon salad fly through my radar and I knew it was definitely possible.

Grilled Bacon

And you guys! It’s so easy and so quick, you almost wouldn’t believe it!  Some thick-cut bacon and 5 minutes on a medium heat grill is all you need.  There’s no oiling the grill grates prior to and no clean-up afterwards whatsoever.  To sweeten the deal even more, you’re able to grill a large amount of bacon at a time rather than just a few strips in multiple batches in a messy and spittingf pan of grease.  You’re left with strips of smoky grilled bacon that will just blow you away.  I don’t think I’ve been so excited about a new cooking technique in years!  Try it for yourselves and let me know how it works for you!

Grilled Bacon

Total Time: 5 minutes

You will definitely need to keep a close eye once you flip the bacon and prepare yourself for some flames - the bacon will cook super fast and there's a lot of drippings involved here. Alternatively, you can grill the bacon in a grill pan on the stove top.

Ingredients

  • Thick-cut or "butcher's cut" bacon (regular bacon will be too thin and flimsy to withstand the heat of the grill)

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium. Lay the bacon slices out on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn the grill to low heat and flip the bacon with long tongs; cook for another 1-2 minutes. Take note: If the grill is too hot, there will be flare-ups from the bacon drippings. Keeping the heat low once you flip the bacon or turning at least one of the burners off will help reduce flare-ups. Make sure you watch the bacon carefully after you flip it as it will cook quickly at this point and will burn easily.
  2. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and use as desired.

Source

source: inspired by Smitten Kitchen

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Tiramisu Ice Cream
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Tiramisu Ice Cream

It’s taken me at least a month to finally gather my thoughts for this particular post.  And I’m sorry about that because this tiramisu ice cream is rather outstanding and you really should try it soon, especially if you’re up for a little boozy kick at the end of a long, super hot day.  You see, from the moment I made this ice cream, all I could think about was my grandma.  I put down some thoughts about her last year, about my grief at the end of her life; she passed away just a few hours after I published that post.  It’s been a long year and I’ve done a lot of reflecting, remembering…and there’s still a good amount of guilt happening, but moreso, so many great memories I’ve pulled up from the recesses of my brain.

Tiramisu Ice Cream

She would have loved this ice cream, both for the simple fact that it was ice cream, but also because of the booze.  Gramma was a notorious baker in that she put booze in nearly every.single dessert she made and in turn, ruined nearly every.single dessert she made.  I swear she thought she was Julia Child.  As a kid, it wasn’t so funny when you stuffed a forkful of chocolate cake with cherry filling into your mouth and were all but knocked over with the flavor of brandy.  An inedible slice of cake.  Talk about a cruel joke.  As an teenager, it got to be a running joke amongst my brother, cousins and I: which liqueur would Gramma wreck her dessert with tonight?  This was all in good fun, of course, though we later found out that she even added brandy to the onion soup mix dip she used to make, which was understandably pretty terrible as well.  Who does that??

Tiramisu Ice Cream

Gramma also always had ice cream in the freezer and Magic Shell in the cabinet.  I suspect my mom’s ice cream sweet tooth is a result of this.  They both had/have a purposeful habit of leaving the ice cream on the counter for a few minutes after returning from the grocery store so that they could spoon off the softened edges around the carton – it was the best part.  Now, I didn’t grow up in a very Italian family, though my dad is 100%, and Gramma wasn’t Italian at all.  And I don’t actually remember her ever making tiramisu but she would have flipped over this tiramisu ice cream.

Tiramisu Ice Cream

Even right from the freezer, its texture is smooth and rich, almost as if it were softened from sitting on the counter.  An espresso-mascarpone base with a noticeable bit of Kahula and brandy whipped up in a food processor replaces an egg yolk custard base in this recipe and amazingly, none of the creaminess of a custard ice cream is lost here.  So it’s a quick, no-cook ice cream base that will last a couple of days in the fridge if you’re not ready to churn right away.  There is a layer of mocha fudge ripple that you’ll swirl around the freshly churned ice cream which kind of sets off the whole experience.  Needless to say, Kyle and I both adored this ice cream.  The booze adds a little oomph and left me feeling like we should have been having dessert at an outdoor café under the stars.  Or better yet, on the screened-in porch at Gramma’s where we could always find her reading or napping on a hot summer afternoon with the bay breeze blowing in.  The greatest memories never fade.

Tiramisu Ice Cream

Yield: about 1 ¼ quarts

If you want to skip the booze, increase the espresso powder to 1 teaspoon or use ¼ cup cold strongly brewed coffee or espresso. The ice cream will be a bit on the harder side because alcohol doesn't freeze solid and therefore it helps to keep the ice cream on the softer side.

Ingredients

    For the ice cream:
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup Kahula or other coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 3 tbsp brandy or dark rum
  • Mocha Fudge Ripple (recipe follows)
  • For the mocha fudge ripple:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup strongly brewed coffee or 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 6 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the ice cream: Add the mascarpone, half-and-half, sugar, espresso powder, salt, Kahula, and brandy or rum to a food processor. Puree until well-combined, smooth, and the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a resealable container and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 6 hours. Freeze the ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. To make the mocha fudge ripple: Whisk the sugar, corn syrup, coffee, and cocoa powder together gently in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool completely then transfer the ripple to a resealable container and chill thoroughly - at least 6 hours.
  3. To assemble: Layer the freshly churned ice cream with half of the mocha fudge ripple in two layers in a 2 quart container. The remainder of the ripple can be saved for another ice cream (like tin roof) or used as an ice cream topping. Swirl a knife quickly around the ice cream. Freeze the ice cream completely before serving - it will need at least 4 hours.

Source

source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

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BLT Panzanella Salad
1

BLT Panzanella Salad

I get to a point every summer where I’m just about bursting at the seams with anticipation of our homegrown summer tomatoes.  It’s bad.  And it’s especially bad this year since my tomato plants are only now just starting to flower.  We started them from seed months ago, put the seedlings in the ground, and they about died.  I about died.  I figured that we fertilized them waaay too early because the poor little leaves started spotting, almost as if they were burned.  But alas, with plenty of water and heat (lord knows we’re set in that department this summer), they are flourishing now.  16 Brandywine plants in the back yard and 12 Bonny Best in the front yard (we literally ran out of garden space in the back yard)…I suspect August and September will be delicious months for us!

BLT Panzanella Salad

Which will be a perfect problem to have, as far as I’m concerned.  It means plenty of these pesto-bacon-tomato sandwiches, tarts like this one with a basil garlic crust, fresh tomato pizza, frozen sauce, and more of this BLT panzanella salad.  Because adding bacon to a crouton-y salad?  I’m all over it.  And to simplify things a little, I baked the bacon at the same time the croutons were baking, making clean-up easy and to help justify using the oven in the middle of the summer.  I also added a little shredded cheddar to the salad because I love a slice of  sharp cheese on my BLT.  To top the salad, I drizzled on a little ranch dressing – Kyle used balsamic vinaigrette – mostly because it was already made but also because I’m running out of room on the fridge door (in the designated dressing area) with all of the dressings I’ve been making.  I knew I’d love this salad from the start (and I did) and the slightly skeptical Kyle also scarfed it down (plus seconds) once he realized what a silly boy he was for judging a salad by its cover.  Stick with me, kid, stick with me.

BLT Panzanella Salad

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 small baguette
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 6 oz bacon
  • 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 2-3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Cut the baguette up into 1-inch cubes and scatter the pieces out on a baking sheet. Drizzle the butter over the bread cubes, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and toss them around with your fingers to evenly coat with the butter, salt, and pepper. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the bacon out on the parchment paper.
  2. Transfer both baking sheets to the oven. Bake the bread cubes for 6-8 minutes, tossing once or twice during that time, until the cubes are starting to brown and turn crispy. Remove them from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack. Continue to bake the bacon for another 5-7 minutes, or until it reaches your desired level of crispness. Carefully remove the pan from the oven (the bacon fat will slosh around in the pan and could splatter) and transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cool enough to handle, break the bacon up into ½-inch or so pieces.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, bacon, and cheese together. Serve in individual bowls or family style with your choice of dressing on the side.

Source

source: adapted from Annie's Eats

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Korean Country Spare Ribs
3

Korean Country Spare Ribs

Every summer roles around and we go through the same conversation:

Me: “What should we make for the bbq/party/cook-out?”
Him: “Chicken?”
Me: “Cutlets or on the bone?”
Him: “On the bone with bbq sauce.”
Me: “Ugh.”

There’s almost nothing I dislike more than eating bbq chicken off the bone.  Fried chicken?  Sure – love it!  But goopy bbq sauce dripping off rubbery chicken legs?  Nope.

So I changed things up a few years ago and started making these Korean country spare ribs.  Kyle has the inability to turn down pork in any form so swaying him from his traditional bbq bone-in chicken was like giving candy to a baby.  The ribs are coated in brown sugar then marinated in a mix of soy sauce, mirin (rice wine – not rice wine vinegar), toasted sesame oil, garlic and onions for at least 6 hours, leaving them soaked through with flavor.  They taste a bit like the boneless spare ribs you get from a really good Chinese restaurant…but you know what’s in them and how they’re made.  So there’s that.  And there’s definitely a reason why we’ve made these ribs no less than 2 or 3 times each summer for the past few years: they are outstanding and now truly one of our favorite summer meals.

Korean Country Spare Ribs

Prep Time: 6 hours

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

We've made this recipe both with pork ribs and beef short ribs but considering I'm not able to find Korean beef short ribs in my area, I once used regular beef short ribs (cut to 1" wide). Grilled, the beef ribs were pretty terrible and I assume that's because beef short ribs need to be cooked low and slow, not quickly on a grill. That sealed the deal to go back to using country pork ribs. We've also made this recipe with and without the shredded pear and I honestly don't feel the pear really adds much, so I leave it out now.

Ingredients

  • 6 lbs country spare ribs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch of chives, chopped, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. If the ribs are really fatty, trim off some (not all) of the fat before laying them out in two large, deep baking dishes (I use disposable aluminum pans). Rub the ribs with the brown sugar; set aside while you make the marinade.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce, water, mirin, onion, garlic, sesame oil, and black pepper together. Pour the marinade over the ribs, evenly dividing it between the two baking dishes/pans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 12. Allow the ribs to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before grilling.
  3. Preheat a gas grill high for 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-high and grill the ribs for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the size and thickness of the ribs (i.e., large ribs need more time). Transfer the finished ribs to a large platter, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the chopped chives over the ribs as you serve them.

Source

source: adapted from Judianne Woo and Bobby Flay

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Dill Pickle Dip
2

Dill Pickle Dip

It’s beyond me how today is a full week since the 4th of July.  A full week since the start of 4 glorious days off from work.  A full week since an evening dip in the pool, with water warmer than the air temperature, listening to fireworks booming in all directions from our house, swatting buzzing mosquitoes from our ears, watching fireflies flickering in the woods.  It’s summer and I love it (minus the mosquitoes).

Dill Pickle Dip

I also love this dill pickle dip and it’s certainly a perfect dip for summer.  A quick mix of cream cheese, sour cream, tart dill pickles and a little pickle juice for good measure, you’ll have this unusual dip ready for any type of party in minutes.  And it will be gone almost as quickly as it took for you to make it.  Seriously.  I’m only just coming around to enjoying pickles and I ended up making this dip twice over the holiday weekend because I fell for it hard.  If you’re around these parts this summer, expect this dill pickle dip – I want to share it with everyone!

Dill Pickle Dip

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 cups

Homemade dill pickles would work great in this recipe but jarred pickles work just fine too. You'll need about half of a 16 oz jar for this recipe. Feel free to add some chopped fresh dill if you've got it too.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature or softened slightly in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
  • ½ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped dill or garlic dill pickles
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Pickle juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese sour cream, pickles, and Worcestershire sauce together. Add a couple tablespoons of pickle juice if the dip is too thick and continue to add a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Source

source: adapted from Buns in My Oven

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Warm Pasta Salad with Ricotta and Peas
2

Warm Pasta Salad with Ricotta and Peas

I could go on and on about how miserably hot it’s been here in the northeast recently but you guys don’t want to hear about that, do you?  Especially those of you who also melt into puddles when you step outside, I’m sure.  So let’s talk about this warm pasta salad with ricotta and peas instead.  When it’s this hot in the summer, I don’t want to cook.  I want dinner delivered to my door.

Homegrown Garden Peas

Buuuut, since that’s not practical nor smart to do on a regular basis, I can boil a pot of water to cook some pasta and blanch some peas.  I can dollop some ricotta cheese on top of said pasta and pea along with a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes and fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.  And I can certainly enjoy a 15 minute dinner on the early evening shady deck, in my bathing suit, right before I throw the “you have to wait 30 minutes after eating before going swimming” rule out the window and jump immediately in the pool.  It is summer, after all, isn’t it?  Cooking should almost be optional and this meal, with all of its melty ricotta goodness, certainly fits the bill.

Warm Pasta Salad with Ricotta and Peas

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings (dinner) | 6-8 servings (side dish)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry pasta shapes
  • 1 lb sugar snap peas, "strings" removed
  • 1 oz finely grated pecorino romano or Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
  • Red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • A handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons (about ½ cup)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, toss in the peas. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and peas together. Add both back to the original and still-warm pot.
  2. Stir in ½ cup of the pasta water, cheese, and glug or two of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a few grinds of black pepper. Return the pot to the stove and over high heat, stir up the pasta along with some extra pasta water if it seems too dry. Cook for about 1 minute then turn off the heat and dollop the ricotta cheese over the top of the pasta. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter. Sprinkle the basil over the top and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Serve just slightly warmed or at room temperature.

Source

source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Obsessed: Early Summer 2013
6

Is it just me or does it seem like summer is almost over once the 4th of July passes?  Adult summers feel nothing like the endless kid summers I used to have!  Either way, here’s what I’ve been obsessing over recently…

Gone with the Wind

Books!  I’m not joking when I say that the library was where I hung out every summer as a kid.  I was obsessed with reading: Nancy Drew, The Babysitters’ Club, Anne of Green Gables (the entire series), Encyclopedia Brown, and Superfudge (and anything else written by Judy Blume), Sweet Valley Twins and eventually Sweet Valley High were some of my favorites.  I took part in my town library’s summer reading club every year until I technically outgrew it after 6th  grade (which I really didn’t think was fair) and after that my friend, Jen, and I used to meet there on our bikes.  We didn’t have pools or A/C and it was the coolest spot in town so we’d hang there for at least a few hours almost every day, sometimes after grabbing a slice down Main St. at Geno’s.

These days, I’m trying to go back and read a few of the classics I somehow missed reading years ago.  I’m in the middle of Gone with the Wind (my mom’s book, printed in 1964 – vintage!) and am going back and forth between that and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (to keep things light and modern) depending on which book is closer.  Last summer I devoured Gone Girl and I’m looking for some new ideas this summer for must-reads.  What’s on your summer must-read list? And, what were your favorite books as a kid?

Land's End tankini suit

Land’s End tankini suits.  I can honestly say that I have been exclusively wearing bathing suits from Land’s End since the mid-90s.  They have never, ever let me down.  For a plus size woman, their selection is awesome and the modest coverage for those ahem, trouble areas (i.e. back fat), is amazing.  Since we put our pool in this year (guys, I should buy stock in sunscreen at this point!), I’ve picked up a few new tankini pieces that I can mix-and-match, a couple swim shirts with built-in UPF 50, and a gorgeous cover-up – all on sale!  And for the guys, Kyle is loving their Volley Swim Shorts, which in and of itself is amazing since this man is the pickiest bathing suit shopper and wearer ever…so of course I bought him three pair in various colors/styles.  They have another huge swim sale going on right now – 45-65% off all swimwear!!  (And shipping over $50 in purchases is free!)

llbean towels

L.L. Bean beach towels.  While we’re still on the topic of beach and pool necessities, there’s also these Seaside Beach Towels from one of my all-time stores.  I went back and forth for a couple of months between these towels and the ones from Land’s End (who takes months to decide on beach towels??) and based on the reviews and past experience with L.L. Bean towels, I decided these were the better buy even if they were slightly more expensive.  Turns out they are sooo worth the price!  Plush, soft, and enormous (36″ x 68″), I know we’ll have these towels for years to come.  My mom has had two L.L. Bean towels like these for about 15 years (she has them in her regular towel rotation) and they are the only towels I reach for when I’m visiting.  Seriously, the best.  L.L. Bean also has a sale going on until July 8th – 10% your entire order – and shipping is always free – no minimum purchase!

The Killing on AMC

The Killing.  AMC puts out some of the greatest series these days, don’t they?  We haven’t gotten into Mad Men or The Walking Dead yet but we got hooked on Breaking Bad on Netflix last year and before that, we found The Killing on Netflix as well.  Neither of us had heard of it before but it sucked us in from the start and after just two seasons, we were shocked to hear it had been cancelled.  However…AMC brought the show back with a new plot line (a new homicide case) for at least a third season with the same main characters (homicide detectives).  If you love shows like SUV or suspenseful psychological thriller-type movies, you’ll love this show!  Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Netflix and Amazon and new episodes air on Sundays at 9 ET.

Erin Condren planner

Erin Condren Life Planner.  Who would have ever thought that in the digital age I would have returned to using a paper-and-pencil planner?  Actually, it seems that a ton of people are too because these planners are hot right now.  I first heard about the Erin Condren Life Planner from Kristen at Dine & Dish last summer and finally pulled the trigger on one of them during a sale in January.  I loooove this planner!!  First off, I was able to customize it to my favorite color scheme (lemon and gray) but for those not so picky, there are a ton of gorgeous designs available and you can upload your Instagram photos to integrate into many of the designs as well!

Without kids we don’t have much of a hurry-hurry activity-filled life but in addition to my keeping my personal schedule (and not in any way linked to my work Outlook calendar like my iPhone calendar was doing), my gardening journal, and my workout journal there, I’ve been using it for all of my blog planning: creating and [mostly] sticking to a posting schedule, keeping track of advertising and income, jotting down quick to-do lists and ideas for new meals.  It’s been a great addition to my life and it allows me to [mostly] de-clutter my brain from all these things I was trying to mentally organize.  Coupons are available relatively frequently, so keep your eye out for a great deal.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these companies.  I just love their stuff and want to tell you about it.

The End [of Google Reader] is Near!
8

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Pardon me if I’ve blown up your Pinterest feeds these past couple of days.  I’m working on a last-ditch effort to save my “Starred” Google Reader posts in a place that I’ll actually use rather than downloading a file that I’ll probably never go back to.  (Why have I never made all that stuff??)

If you have never used Google Reader before and/or have no idea what an RSS feed is, no worries.  Nothing is changing here at Smells Like Home!  Email subscription emails will still be sent on the days I post here and you can still follow along and connect with me via my favorite social media hubs: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

And if you’re not already signed up for email subscriptions, all you need to do is enter your email address in the box under “Subscribe” towards the left of the page and hit the Enter/Return key.  Easy peasy!

fudgy chocolate peanut butter cake

If you’ve been using Google Reader to follow your favorite blogs over the past 6ish years, you’ll know that today is the last day it will be running.  I’m super sad about this…but, the new alternative I’m using is pretty cool!  I started using Flipboard as an app on my iPad last fall to follow my fave blogs in a sleek magazine-style format but Flipboard is only compatible (from what I understand – correct me if I’m wrong) with pulling blog feeds from Google Reader, not just via RSS.  Feedly, the RSS reader service I chose to use going forward, will do this and in a gorgeous magazine-style format much like Flipboard on mobile devices and desktops.  Transferring your blogs from Google Reader to Feedly literally takes about 10 seconds!

NY-Style Crumb Cake

Let’s be real here.  You wouldn’t want to miss out on things like those red velvet brownies with white chocolate buttercream, would you?  Or fudgy chocolate peanut butter birthday cake?  Or classic New York Crumb Cake?  I didn’t think so.