Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pass the Pasta Please - Sun-dried tomato corkscrew pasta

If you are looking for a great, cold summer pasta salad, this is the one for you.  It's Ina Garten's recipe for Pasta with Sun-dried tomatoes. You can find the recipe at: 

It tastes even better refridgerated overnight.  Ina says to use spirals, but the best pasta for this are "Corkscrews." (Mueller's makes them). The huge pasta shapes make your pasta salad look and taste that much better. Also, salt your water fairly heavily so your pasta is very tasty. Because I salt the water, (which makes the pasta taste good, not salty), and I use the capers in the dressing, and all the parmesan cheese, I do not add additional salt which she calls for.  Believe me, it will be salty enough if you do this.

Be careful - her recipe only calls for 8 oz of dried pasta, which is HALF a 16 oz box.  If you make the whole box, you will have an enormous amount, and you will need to double all the other ingredients.

I get great reviews for this pasta salad. I made it on Mother's Day this year, and I'm bringing to a BBQ tonight.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything - You'll won't need any help to remember this Banana Bread Cobbler

Banana Bread Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

I got the "Kindle Version" of this book, and I read it at Folly Beach, SC over Memorial Day Weekend

Can you remember your grocery list perfectly, without writing it down? I can. Can you remember the names of everyone you meet at a party? I can. I recently read, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer, which was a thought provoking book about the history of Memory, and the lost art of memorization.  The book is less of a "self help" type book, but rather the fascinating true story of an average man who sets out to win the US Memory Championship, and his journey along the way. 

I really enjoyed this book, and it brought back memorization techniques I had learned in 9th grade in Mrs. Taafe's psychology course.  The author proposes that all of us have untapped potential in our brains, and "we all have remarkable capacities asleep inside of us. If only we bothered ourselves to awaken them."  While one can become a master of these techniques, I'm not sure how useful it is in the world of blackberries, outlook calendars and i-phones.  In fact, I try to get everything out of my head into one of these "memory aids" so I do not have to remember anything.  The book was incredibly interesting, but in the last few pages of the book, I learned the most from Foer's comments: "Remembering can only happen if you decide to take notice."  Sometimes, you just have to pay attention!

Since this was a book about Memory, I thought about cooking something with one of the top foods to enhance your memory. There are lots of site's which provide this type of information such as:

However, I decided to think of a "food memory" from when I was younger.  The smell of a ripe banana will usually bring back this memory. No over-freckled banana was ever safe in my house growing up.  As soon as a few slightly overripe bananas had accumulated, but mom made them into Banana Bread...she never used a recipe so each banana bread was unique...some better than others with a new pinch of this, or that, added in.  This seemed to happen at least twice per month!

So, I decided to make a Banana Bread Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream from my Southern Living Magazine - Best Recipes of 2010

1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 medium-size ripe bananas, sliced
Streusel Topping - recipe below
Vanilla Ice Cream

Streusel Topping Ingredients:
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup uncooked regular oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1) Make the Streusel Topping and set aside. To make it, follow these steps:
  • Stir together the 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup self-rising flour, and 1/2 cup butter, softened until crumbly using a fork or your hands. Then mix in the oats and pecan
2) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk just until blended; whisk in melted 1/2 cup butter.  Then pour batter into a lightly greased 11x7 inch baking dish. Top with the banana slices, and sprinkle with the Streusel Topping.

3) Once the Banana Bread Cobbler cools slightly, scoop the vanilla ice cream into bowls and top with big spoonfuls of the cobbler.

Surely, a memory you won't forget!