Tag Archives: Basil

Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

When I was a single girl, living in a single world, I did my grocery shopping whenever I needed to. If I felt like cooking I’d pick up necessities on my way home from work because if I did weekly shopping then things went to waste (you know, because of those nights when you’re like, hmm this chocolate cake and red wine looks like dinner to me). But now that I am living with a S.O. (that’s significant other for you laypeople) we do our grocery shopping once a week. Not only does that mean that I have to plan nightly meals for a whole week, but it means that when single-Lauren would’ve eaten red wine and cake because she lacked the energy to grocery shop, S.O.’ed-Lauren tries to make due with what’s in the cupboard.

This is a sauce that you can put on pasta, pour over roasted vegetables, or even use as a pizza sauce beneath toppings like prosciutto or zucchini, and it’s a sauce that can be made with things you probably already have in your cupboard. As long as you’re a nice Italian girl, that is.

On the menu:
Garlic parmesan cream sauce
Serves 2

3 medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped)

In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and saute for 2 – 3 minutes or until aromatic. Add the flour and stir into a paste. Add milk and cream and cook for around 5 – 6 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the parmesan cheese and the basil and cook until desired thickness, around 5 – 6 more minutes. Toss with pasta and serve.

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Vegetarian Week: Appetizer

Hello friends! Welcome to vegetarian week on Food E. I know it doesn’t really fall within the traditional parameters I’ve set for myself here on my “eat butter and beef and don’t apologize for it” food blog, but this past weekend I challenged myself to make an all-vegetarian meal in honor of my mother’s first visit to my new-ish apartment. She’s a vegetarian and is often relegated to pasta with peas or platters of roasted vegetables when we go out to dinner. My goal for the meal was to create a full spread that not only she would enjoy, but also The BF and my father, both proud carnivores, would love, as well.

Each day this week I’ll share a recipe from this meal and by Friday you’ll have a stack of recipes that you can use to create a complete and filling vegetarian meal yourself. No boring pastas included.

On the menu:
Caprese crostini
Serves 4

1/2 baguette
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves plucked from the stems
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar*

Slice baguette into 1/2 inch rounds with a sharp bread knife. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and distribute olive oil evenly over the tops (I used a spoon but if you have a basting brush, use that). Bake rounds at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or until the rounds are stiff to the touch. DO NOT wait until they are brown! They will be too crispy by the time you serve them if you wait for them to brown up in the oven.

Top each round with a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf, and a slice of tomato. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top, plate, and serve.

*I’ve been meaning to highlight an incredible store I visited in Virginia called Savor the Olive where I purchased an espresso balsamic vinegar, which I served in place of your standard balsamic. The espresso balsamic has a smoother finish than traditional balsamic and just a hint of espresso flavor. Savor the Olive offers dark and white balsamics (imagine a white apricot balsamic drizzled over vanilla ice cream…), and every olive oil under the sun. If you’re ever fortunate enough to be in the area of Norfolk, Virginia you should definitely swing by.

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Just Chill and Lay Back Cause It’s…

Oh hey! Remember me? I missed you guys. So I’m back. With a couple basic recipes, but stuff you’ll want to make over and over again. And ain’t it pretty?

On the menu:
Cranberry, almond chicken salad
BTM Salad
Serves 4 

Chicken salad

2 chicken breasts
1 sprig fresh dill
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in a medium sized pot and cover with water for poaching. Turn heat to high and let water come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let chicken sit in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes. Once chicken is cool, shred with fingers and toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

BTM Salad

1 medium sized tomato, sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1 ball of mozzarella (approximately the same size as the tomato), sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 cup of fresh corn, boiled on the cob and then sliced off the cob

Dressing:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Plate slices of tomato alternately with mozzarella. Mix corn together with balsamic/oil dressing. Top slices of tomato and mozzarella with corn mixture.

This meal is so basic, is best served cold, and is super light and refreshing for summer. The subtle change in the classic BTM salad is really unexpected and delicious… and led this “meal for 4” to turn into a “meal for 2” when The BF had seconds. And then thirds. I thought I’d have leftovers but the “This is SO GOOD!”s were way more gratifying.

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Crunch

I’m a texture girl myself. If a dish is somehow simultaneously soft, crunchy, and smooth, I will probably love it. So when a craving for sweet corn entered my psyche, I found myself immediately drawn to this salad. And truth be told, I will eat anything with onions in it. It’s my weakness. Who knew.

On the menu:
Sweet corn, tomato, onion, and basil salad

3 ears of corn
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil a large pot of salted water. Once water is boiling, add corn and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, let corn cool, and slice kernels off with sharp knife. Break up large chunks of kernels with a spoon until most kernels have separated.

Mix together onion, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, and olive oil until incorporated. Add the corn. Add plenty salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve this salad immediately or let refrigerate overnight to serve the next day. The oil and vinegar dressing will soak into the salad and marinate it nicely. It pairs really nicely with a simply grilled steak, or as a bed for grilled fish.

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