Monday, October 21, 2013

Wine, Bacon, and Pasta...A Food-Centered Weekend!

We had the BEST weekend this weekend.  It started with dinner and a movie with my sweet god-daughter and niece on Friday night.  Gravity is a fun thriller (even if it is a bit far-fetched!).

Saturday was all about fall and farm and vine with a farm tour and wine tasting at a local vineyard. 

My hubby and me enjoying the beautiful fall foliage with a glass of wine!

The tour included a barrel tasting.  It was so interesting to taste the difference in the wines as they matured!

The highlight of the day, though, had to be the bacon on a stick.  Yep!  That is thick sliced bacon with a sweet/spicy rib rub slathered over it that was just delicious.  Who knew that bacon went so well with wine???

Since we are on a wine theme and just to make sure that Monday wasn't too jealous of the weekend...I made my husband's favorite pasta dish -
Wine Poached Salmon, Pasta and Snowpeas.

I started making this dish way back in the '80's after I picked up a recipe card in the grocery store by a Robert Mondavi wine display.  It has morphed a bit over the years - more veggies - less butter, but my husband pronounced it still a winner tonight at dinner.  

So here's to Monday! Enjoy a nice glass of wine - in a glass or in a sauce over pasta.  Happy Monday!  :-)

Wine-Poached Salmon Pasta with Snowpeas
  • 8 oz pappardelle pasta
  • 1 lb Salmon file, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 4 cups sugar snap peas cut diagonally into pieces
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped (I always use 2!)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup White Zinfandel or Rose wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish
1.  Prepare dry pasta per package directions.  Add snap peas to water when pasta is nearly done - just until snap peas are bright green.  
2.  Save 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water.
3.  While pasta is boiling, in a small saucepan bring wine and water to a boil.  Add Salmon strips and reduce to a simmer.  Poach about 2 minutes.
4.  Remove Salmon and reduce stock to 1/3 cup.  Add lemon juice, ginger, and garlic.  Remove pan from heat and stir in butter until sauce thickens.
5.  Toss in pasta, snap peas and Salmon.  Add a bit of the starchy water if pasta is a bit dry.  
6.  Sprinkle with chives, lemon zest and a frosting of Parmesan.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Styling Lunch Tote

Last year I bought the cutest fabric at Hobby Lobby to make a new lunch tote to replace my raggedy looking old one.  Yesterday, it was finally complete!
Vera Bradley move over - There's a new lunch tote in town!
I don't know why, but I agonized over the construction of this simple bag.  I googled, I pinterested, I pondered.  And then I made it in an afternoon. 

It is just a 14 x 15 inch rectangle with two 2.5 inch squares cut in the bottom so that I could make the bottom of the bag.  I lined it with insulbright and a wipeable, waterproof lining.  

The draw string top was sewn together - side seams, casing, and then sewn to the bag top - right sides together.  Lastly, I pushed the drawstring part to the inside of the bag, pressed the top seam and then top stitched at about 1/2 inch all around.  Easy.

...And did I mention that I think it's pretty cute!

It is a bit different then I originally envisioned, but it does what I wanted it to do:

  • It is cute (vitally important!) - and shows off the coordinating fabrics that I fell in love with. 
  • It is big.  Big enough for my mega-clean-eating salads and snacks.
  • It is lined with a wipe-able, waterproof fabric (ordered from Fabrics dot com)
  • It has long enough straps to sling over my shoulder on the way to work.

I bought a zipper for the top (one of the reasons I was pondering and stalling I think) but then a slight miscalculation with bag width made it just too skinny an opening for my mega-lunches so it turned into a drawstring top.  

I actually like the drawstring, though.  It gave me a chance to showcase the striped fabric.  

So happy with the way the pattern lined up on the sides!
Groovy, right?

Even though I lined the bag with insulbright lining, with the drawstring top, I'm not sure it would really insulate too much.  

I keep my lunch in the fridge anyway.

Things I'll do better next time:

 - Treat the main fabric, insulbright and water proof lining as one and seam with a french seam.  (I lined it like a traditional bag and the lining is a bit floppy inside)

- Make the bag a bit shorter and a bit wider 

- Don't let the zipper intimidate me!  Next bag will have a zipper.  I swear!
Ok zipper...You're going here next time!

So, after a year, the pondering is over and the lunch bag is born!  Almost makes packing a lunch for my return to work after the weekend a bit less painful!  Almost.

How about you all...Has anyone else ever spent tons of time pondering a project and then found that it was not nearly the challenge that you thought it would be?  
Share your happy ending - leave a comment.  :-)