An interesting tip

“Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow they may make it illegal.”

You may have noticed that when I’m trying out a new dish, I like to read a handful of recipes from different sources.  I feel like this gives me sort of a “baseline” for a recipe.  In addition, when I’m looking at recipes on websites like Epicurious, I like to read the reviews that the bevy of home cooks who have given the recipe a try.

Granted, you have to account for a certain amount of user error on recipes  (ie. the critical distinction between kosher salt and table salt), but the tips are usually pretty helpful.  Notes on ingredients,  timing, and tweaks always come in handy.

But I had to share the most hilarious review I’ve seen to date, from a registered user on the website.  Who knew Eggplant Parmesan could induce such delirium?!

“I made food good. added 2 hershey bars at the end. I melted funny, so i laughed. Sat up on roof while i eated it. Ha. fun. Plants.”

I haven’t decided how I’m going to incorporate the “Plants.”  in eggplant parmesan, but I’m totally game.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

Raw Eggs and La Dolce Vita

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – director Federico Fellini

If life is a combination of pasta and magic, then Pasta Carbonara is la dolce vita itself.   Using a little cooking magic and mound of cheese, it was a guaranteed winner in the Flyover House.

I started with a recipe from this little book, which I picked up 5 years ago at a sale at Barnes and Noble; which means that book has been moved to 4 different addresses.  But I digress….

Carbonara is relatively simple.   Hot pasta is tossed with bacon and an egg/cheese mixture.  The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs and turns everything into an otherworldly mix of creamy saltiness.   And unlike most magic,  you can do this without any slight of hand or even a lovely assistant.

Start by bringing the water to boiling for your pasta.  Also, heat your oven to 200° and place an ovenproof bowl in there to warm.  This will be the bowl the pasta gets tossed in.

Cook the chopped bacon and then the garlic.  I added some asparagus, thinking that it would at least make the pasta a little “healthy”.  However, I cooked that asparagus in bacon fat.  Which I’m pretty sure negates any positive impact.

Pasta Carbonara

Cheese, garlic, asparagus....

As the bacon and asparagus were cooking, I mixed the Parmesan, mozzarella, and two eggs together in a separate bowl and set aside.

Pasta Carbonara

Egg and cheese mixture

I know your getting all nervous about those eggs.  No, they haven’t been cooked.  No, we’re not going to cook them.  Don’t worry, you’ll be fine…’s part of the magic.

Once the pasta is done, drain it, and place it in your oven warmed bowl.  Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and toss thoroughly.

pasta carbonara

If you look closely, you can see the magic happening!

The magic here is in the timing.  The hot pasta gets drained and then immediately gets tossed with the eggs and cheese.  The heat of the bowl and the heat of the pasta cook the eggs.  PRESTO!  No magic words needed….just good kitchen timing.

Now add in the bacon/garlic/asparagus mixture and toss again.  I also added a dash of heavy cream, but mostly because it was leftover from another recipe and I was getting in the nasty habit of putting it in my morning coffee.  Seriously…that stuff is dangerous.

pasta carbonara

That asparagus really lightens it up....

And presto chango….the eggs and cheese heat and make the most decadent sauce for the pasta.  It’s not as heavy as you might think because a lot of the creamy quality comes from the eggs, not from actual cream.  Actually, most traditional carbonara recipes use no cream at all.

UNFORESEEN BONUS: From start to finish this whole recipe probably took about 25 minutes.  And it was delicious.  Rachel Ray, you’ve been served.

pasta carbonara

As beautiful as an Italian art film!

Plus, it has crispy flecks of salty bacon.  Which honestly, makes anything just a little bit magical.  Dished out in big bowls with a couple glasses of a cool, crisp white wine, our kitchen was dangerously close to a Fellini film….

pasta carbonara and Ferderico Fellini

La Dolce Vita

Or as close to a Fellini film as a German/Irish girl in the Midwest can get.

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. Thanks for the patience.  This is the busy season at work, which I promise will be followed by a busy blogging season.  The latter containing noticeably more butter.

The Next List (finally!)

“Ask not what you can do for your country.  Ask what’s for lunch.” – Orson Welles

I have once again been thwarted by distraction:  I had a cold, then I was busy at work, then one night I was sidetracked by “Gossip Girl” (I know…shameful.)  But, I have stalled long enough.

But I'm so distracted by the antics of Upper East Siders on the CW....

Last week I figured out that I was 31 weeks from my 31st birthday.  Being Type-A, I work well with even artificial deadlines, so it seemed fortuitous.  So here goes nothing (cracks knuckles).  Time to conquer another list of quintessential recipes….all of which are new to me.

Strap on your aprons, sharpen those spatulas….we’ve got one ambitious/delicious list in front of us.  Here they are, in the order God intended:

1. Saltimbocca- it means “jump in your mouth”.  Sold.

2. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic- to keep the vampires at bay

3. Egg Drop Soup

4. Baked Alaska – I literally have no idea what this is

5. Calzones

6. Perogies – especially for my mom

7. Baba Au Rhum- “Rhum” = rum so it should be good

8. Pommes Annas- I think this is pretty much layer cake made out of potatoes and butter

9. Pasta Carbonara

10. Rack of Lamb- Valentine’s day dinner?

11. Beer- no really, I’m brewing beer.

12. Gnocchi- pasta made of clouds

13. Plum Pudding- suggested by my London-loving friend

14. Weiner Schnitzel- for the German in all of us

15. Croque Monsieur – or the egg-tastic Croque Madam

16. Homemade Sausage – I didn’t get a sausage stuffer for Christmas for nothing!

17. Eggplant Parmesan

18. Boef Bourguignon – per a request from a Francophile friend

19. English Muffins – my favorite

20. Steak Au Poivre – the Handsome Husband’s favorite

21. Ceviche – hopefully I will not poison anyone.

22. Pickles – totally trendy

23. Something “en flambé”- gather round while I light things on fire!

24. Pheasant- hunted and donated by a friend!

25. Classic Fish and Chips

26. Baklava – from another friend’s family recipe!

27. Crepes

28. Quail with Rose Petal Sauce – from the book “Like Water for Chocolate” 

29. Real macaroni and Cheese – the good stuff!

30. Summer Rolls- fresh and delicious

31. Chicken Kiev – for a “Mad Men” themed night, perhaps?!

Quite the list, huh?  I’m so excited to start cooking/burning/stuffing/eating.  In factI’ve already started!  Thanks for helping with all the ideas….now hit the gym, there is butter ahead.

xoxo The Flyover Foodie

Working on the next list….

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – food writer Adelle Davis

This blog started off as a happy distraction to turning 30.  In that regard it was HIGHLY successful as 30 came and went in a swirl of champagne and lobster.  It was also successful by measure of total butter consumption, increased dinner parties, and a spike in the use of puff pastry.

So, as I get ready to launch the NEXT LIST I need your help.  I had been brainstorming a “theme” for my list, when I realized we’re 31 weeks from my 31st birthday.  As we say in the flyover house it was “MTB” (Meant To Be).   So, the next list created itself:  31 Before 31.

There are so many classic recipes and quintessential dishes out there….time for me to conquer 31 more that I’ve never before attempted.  Here’s where you come in: I need help filling up the remainder of the list.  I’m stuck at number 22.

So tell me, what are you “quintessential” dishes?  Are they things your grandmother made from scratch?  Or a favorite item you always order at restaurants? Or just things you’ve heard of again and again?

I have a couple of each category on the list so far:  rack of lamb (classic); Baked Alaska (heard of it…no idea what it is); gnocchi (ordered again and again); and I have perogies on the list, mostly to win points with my mom.

Also, I added a type of bread to the list at the request of a friend who thinks its “funny when you get frustrated”.  See what a good sport I am!?

Ok, so give me your ideas.  I still need 8 or 9 mores to round out this list of mine.  Send me your classics….help!

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. I’m so excited to get cooking again! I’ve missed you.

p.p.s. Confession: I already started the first item on the new list!!!

Me vs. The Wings

A long overdue recap of the fourth annual showdown of Me vs. the Chicken Wings:

As you might remember, I was pretty nervous before my annual foray into overeating.  Eating like a cave man in front of a couple hundred people is weirdly intimidating.  Who knew?  But I told those wings what’s what.

Let’s take a look at some of the photographic evidence:

chicken wings

A few of my competitors....I'm the one on the right. Note the giant mountains of wings. Also notice that I may actually be partially asphyxiating in this picture.

Another "action" photo.

We’re going to need a close up of that one….

chicken wings

Not now chief, I'm in the zone....

I think, if you look close enough, you can actually see my sodium levels rising.  So how did it turn out?  My goal was to eat one more wing than last year…which would have brought me to 48 wings in 15 minutes.  Did I make it?!

You bet your ass I did.  And then some.

Fifty. One.


Please note my face is plastered with both sauce and a smile.  At one point I actually had to eat blindfolded….psssh.  It didn’t even slow me down.

My wing eating efforts raised over $1,000 for the I-CARE charity founded by my friends.  So proud to work with them!

I was happy my nervous butterflies moved over and made some room for all those wings! Thanks for the emails and texts cheering me on.  Only 9 months until I weigh the pro’s and con’s of eating in 2011’s event.

xoxo The Flyover Foodie

p.s. I’m the worst blogger ever.  This weekend I was TOTALLY committed to writing several new posts.  And no joke, our internet was down.   I’m hoping that’s not an omen….