Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hunkering Down Cuisine

Now that the entire eastern coast of the US is being blitzed with the worst blizzard ever (thank you, global warming) it's time to hunker down  and eat. Being indoors during a white out means sitting out the storm and chowing down . A lot.It also means cooking  and baking a lot too. Basically a blizzard is a  a free pass to make your favorite foods and eat as much as you want of them.

Pasta is always at the top of the list for snowy days foods to cook. One of my favorites is a family recipe - one pot pasta.

As you can see I've made it with farfalle -butterfly or bowtie pasta. It's any easy enough dish to cook, using only one pot instead of the usual two. It's mixing chicken, beef or vegetable broth - in my case - vegetable thanks to having a vegan family.with plain tomato sauce.This creates a soup that will then cook up the pasta. The last should be a chunky kind. I usually use a kitty one, (it has pasta in the shape of paw prints and cat faces) but went for the bowties for a change.It cooks up in twenty minutes  and then is served in soup bowls. I also sauteed vegan Italian sausages with a blend of forest mushrooms to round it out.This was a nice side, good on its' own with sliced Italian bread . Many others probably made scratch lasagna or spaghetti.These are loaded with good carbs, the ones we need to tackle snow shoveling or digging out our cars from ten feet of snow.If the usual pasta dishes sound boring. then fry ravioli.It's a simple process of taking already made ravioli, dipping them first in buttermilk and then dredging them in bread or panko crumbs. Fry until crisp and golden in olive oil and serve with cooked pizza sauce.

Grilled cheese is both an American and snowy day classic.I'm sure a few thousand kids got to  chow down on it , accompanied by Campbell's tomato soup sometime today.Grilled cheese is an easy cook in the oven or toaster oven. What makes it so much fun is that the recipe can be tweaked and tinkered with to make a better sandwich. My way is turning it into a croque monsieur, I love this recipe .It's buttering two slices of bread, then adding sliced Gruyere and ham. The whole thing is then fried in butter.Yes, it's everything wrong but the taste is so right. There is also the somewhat healthier diner style grilled cheese that has cheddar on toast , baked in a toaster oven for ten minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Add sliced tomatoes and bacon for a Happy Waitress. Hunkering down cuisine also means using the crockpot to make yummy chilis and stews. These are also staples for cold blustery weather eating. Some home chefs add hot sauce to turn up the heat a notch for the first while gourmands add a generous slug of good red wine to the last to amp it up.Either ways, these are good dinners to eat from a bowl as you're watching yet another round of  weather updates.Any snowy day meal ends with a hot chocolate followed by about five more cups of it to get through a night of Netflix binging.

The weather outside is frightful, the food inside delightful. Settle in with a hearty plate of pasta, grilled cheese or chili and watch that snow pile up. It's the perfect night for hunkering down with favorite foods.

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