Buttery Cavatelli with Radishes & Walnuts

Ohh the allure of a shiny new Martha Stewart Living magazine, those were my most beloved early Saturday or sometimes Sunday mornings. I would wake up early before the house was up and grab a coffee and look through those glossy food-filled pages. And although I can’t recall the month or year, it was a spring issue. I remember the surprise of seeing an appetizer recipe involving spring radishes plated with bread or crackers, unsalted butter and salt. It looked inviting but it was beyond my taste buds at the time. That simple recipe burned a hole in my memory. Many moons later, I made it and it was different, beautiful, these fresh, bright radishes combined with creamy, rich butter and large flecks of sea salt. I was hooked in its’ beauty. Although spring is far from here, I needed that spring feeling and made a dish to match. It was snowing outside today but inside it felt like tulips were blooming. Enjoy!

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  • 1 13oz. bag cavatelli
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 2 tablespoons walnut pieces
  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • shredded Manchego cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, prepare the radishes, leaving an inch of greens on the radishes, quarter and rinse well, using a brush if necessary to remove any dirt. Once the water comes to a boil, toss in the cavatelli, salt generously and finish cooking, as directed on the package. (I used frozen cavatelli.) In a pan, melt the butter on low heat, add in the radishes and saute for 8 minutes. Drain the cavatelli, reserving some of the pasta water. Add the cavatelli and walnuts to the radishes, saute for about 2 minutes, adding a little bit of the pasta water for a little creaminess.Top with the Manchego cheese. Serves about 2.

DSC05561Just look at that cute little radish and all of that melted cheese…

Sweet Cherry & Black Pepper Butter

My husband loves butter and he’s made some creative sandwiches using butter. Sometimes, I watch him in the corner of my eye as he smears a piece of bread with butter and then tops it with what I will call an assortment of “toppings.” But I have to admit, most of the time, they are good. The best being, butter followed by a slice of ripe tomato and a basil leaf? Why didn’t I ever think of that? But it also brings me back to my childhood. Whenever my mom had company over, she would make these stacks of “sandwiches.” I put sandwiches in quotations because they never had a top to them, just like my husbands’ sandwiches. She would take a rye-type, slice of bread and cut it in half, spread a thin layer of butter, sometimes margarine (this is the 80′s), then top with a thin slice of ham, followed by dotting each one with a slice of dill pickle or two. She would arrange them in a tower and it always made me happy because it meant company was coming over, which was always a nice change of pace for a Sunday afternoon. I’ll never forget those sandwiches, the butter always strangely stood out, yet now it’s something that brings me home. This butter will also bring you home. It’s the nicest blend of sweet and spicy. Enjoy!

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  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup frozen cherries, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

As your cherries thaw out, there will be some liquid accumulated in the bottom of the bowl, reserve it for another use, like maybe adding a splash to a glass of seltzer. (Or just drinking it straight, lol. I love cherry juice.) Dry them out a bit, giving them a little squeeze. Chop them and add them to the butter, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Using a fork, whip everything together, adjusting the flavor as needed. Serve with some crusty bread or on top of pancakes.

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Rib Eye Steak with Anchovy Butter

Halloween is around the corner and it’s a time of fright. And for some reason, it reminded me of the few foods that frightened me as a little kid, those being bloody steaks, anchovies and  raw egg yolks. Bloody steaks always made me squirm in my seat, so much, that I gave up eating meat for a while, altogether. And when I found out what anchovies actually were, I thought to myself, ”How can you put fish on a pizza pie?” But now, I appreciate anchovies and I’ve even topped my pizza with them and added blue cheese on top of that, lol. Now that’s scary. (Now that I think about it, blue cheese freaked me out too, those moldy looking blue veins deeply embedded in a creamy white cheese, frightening.)  And my last fright being, over easy eggs. Mainly they grossed me out, almost as much as a gory horror film. But now, I enjoy over easy eggs and think they can make almost everything taste better. So in honor of the foods that once frightened me, they are gathered together in one dish. Once you break that yolk and it melts into the steaks’ juices and it blends with the anchovy butter, it’s not that scary anymore, lol. ;)

  • 1 14 oz. rib eye steak, bone in
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste, you can always use more
  • lots of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 raw egg yolk, reserve the egg white for another use
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Begin “churning” your heavy cream with a hand held immersion blender for about 10 minutes, until the liquid separates from the butter. I used a paper towel to strain the liquid from the butter, squeezing gently. Take your butter left in the towel and transfer it to a small bowl. Add in the anchovy paste and pepper, mixing with a fork. Place your anchovy butter onto a small piece of parchment paper, forming it with a spatula into a small log. Roll up your butter with the parchment paper. You can place it seam down on a small plate or tie it with kitchen twine. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set it and then into the fridge, while you grill your steak. Alternatively you can use 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and mix in the anchovy paste and pepper, followed by the freezer. Rub a little olive oil on both sides of your steak and season with sea salt. Grill your steak to your liking and let it rest for 5 minutes. Top with a pat of anchovy butter and the raw egg yolk. If you want a little more saltiness, you can top with a few salt packed capers.
Enjoy and please take extra caution whenever eating foods raw. Start with a nice Cesar salad and crusty bread. Have the extra anchovy butter on the side, for your bread. This serves 2. It’s a nice steak to share.

Open-Faced Tomato & Sorrel Sandwich

Finally a red tomato! (Surrounded by seven green ones, but that’s okay. Who’s counting? lol) I am looking at this, with a glass-full-type-of-attitude and relishing my sweet success, by enjoying every bite of this tomato, on a ciabatta roll with good unsalted butter. As I looked out the window, I saw this red jewel, revealling its’ beauty, as she stood out among the green of the leaves and the unripe tomatoes. I knew I had to pick my first and probably last red tomato quickly, before a squirrel came along and swiped my prized treasure. And I didn’t want to have to break out the karate moves and wrestle my victorious tomato away from a squirrel. ;) Happy weekend everyone!

  • 1 good tomato
  • 1 ciabatta roll, whole wheat or white
  • 2 tablespoons good unsalted butter, like Plugra
  • crunchy sea salt, like Maldon
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 sorrel leaf, cut into strips *optional

Cut your roll in half and butter both sides with unsalted butter. Cut your tomato into thin slices and overlap them on the buttered roll halves. Salt your tomatoes and top with the sorrel strips. Top with fresh ground pepper and enjoy! (I caught the squirrel peeking into the window, while I was eating my sandwich, all I had to do was a karate chop motion in the air, and he was gone.)

Tomato & Butter Gigli with Ricotta Salata Crumbs

Julia Child would have celebrated her 100th birthday today and I have a feeling, if she can see all of us celebrating her life, she would be a happy lady. I should have made a coq au vin or a French onion soup today in her honor but I used enough butter that I think it would have made her smile. ;) I loved watching her cook on Sunday afternoons, I think she was on at 3pm. I got lost as I watched her cook and fell in love with her passion, charm and humor. And she loved butter as much as I did, lol. This dish celebrates that love, combining butter with garden ripe tomatoes and gigli pasta. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 pound gigli pasta or any pasta with ridges, cooked al dente
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, smashed and halved
  • 1 shallot, cut in half lengthwise, sliced thin and divided
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 ciabatta roll, broken up into crumbs
  • a few purple & green basil leaves, ripped up
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a handful ricotta salata cheese, crumbled, (about a half a cup)
  • sea salt 
  • fresh ground pepper

In a pan, combine 2 tablespoons of the butter and half of the shallot slices. Let this cook for about three to four minutes until the shallot is softened and begins to brown. Once it begins to brown, add in the ciabatta crumbs, a little salt and a little basil. Let the crumbs get crisp and brown a little bit. Once they are almost done, add in the crumbled ricotta salada until warmed through, stirring often. Into a dutch oven, combine 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter, olive oil, the remaining shallot and the garlic on low heat. Let it cook until the shallot and garlic are softened, about five minutes. Add in the tomatoes and let them cook on low heat for about ten minutes. If there is still alot of liquid in your pan, increase the heat to high until the liquids have reduced, add in the basil leaves, sea salt and ground pepper. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve with the ricotta salata crumbs. This serves 3-4.

Grilled Poundcake with Blueberry Chamomile Butter

My favorite part of any holiday including the fourth of July is the morning of. I love the quietness of it and just taking it nice and easy. And this grilled pound cake with blueberry butter that has a hint of chamomile and vanilla is just the thing to enjoy in the calm of the morning. Enjoy and I hope you have a great 4th of July!

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 bags of chamomile tea or loose tea about about 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 pound cake, cut into thick slices
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • raspberries on the side

Bring the whipping cream and the chamomile tea bags to a light boil. Remove and let it cool. Once cool, let it sit in the fridge overnight. Use bags that don’t have metal staples in them. Once you bring it out of the fridge, this gets a little messy but it’s worth it, remove the tea bags scraping any cream that has surrounded them. Squeeze the tea bags well, you want all of the chamomile essence in the cream. I ended up breaking one of the bags and left some of the chamomile leaves in the cream. Stir in the blueberries, vanilla extract and the confectioners sugar in and with a hand blender combine well until it begins separating. Once you see that the cream has come together into a consistency of butter, you want to strain it in a cheesecloth, (I used a paper towel) to get all of the liquids out. Once all you have is butter, you can use it right away or form it. You can put it into a decorative bowl and cover or form it into a log and roll in parchment paper. Fire up the grill and spray your poundcake slices and grill them until you get some nice marks. They grill up quickly. Spread your butter on them and it’s a yummy start to a day of celebrating independence. :)

Homemade Butter

 Homemade butter is so easy to make! All you need is heavy cream and a hand held mixer. I chose to keep mine simple and unsalted. Besides “churning” butter (shaking it for a long time in baby food jars) in third grade and spreading it on saltines, (the best day EVER, that school year) this is a new first for me! I started out using a whisk lol, and tired myself out, asking my husband to help me, lol. He calmly brought out the hand held mixer, and I was in business. Butter was being made, quickly, deliciously, almost effortlessly, in front of my eyes. The recipe is simple, I used a small amount of heavy cream, about a 3/4 cup. And “churned” it, until it formed a thick cream. The thick cream turning into a separation of creamy colored butter and liquid, which I later learned was buttermilk. I lined a colander with a paper towel, and squeezed the buttermilk out. And turned the butter out onto wax paper, formed it, wrapped it up, labeled it and added a bow. Going to pasta night at a friends’ house? It’s a great little hostess gift! And who doesn’t love fresh homemade butter on their bread?