Still Feeling Beachy

Madeline’s heart
It never fails:  We go to the beach and wind up bringing home half the ocean.  I am not talking sand & seashells (although we brought home enough of that to form our own beach), but coolers of fresh, Atlantic seafood.
 Shrimp, scallops, red snapper…. all waiting for me to turn into something spectacular.  I can assure you nothing will be as good as some of the meals we enjoyed in Florida, but I can pretend can’t I?
Before I separated everything into freezer bags and I did prepare a nice supper for the family.  I wanted something different, and based on the ingredients I decided to use, it was.  Audley was nervous because not all of my flavor experiments turn out the best.  Believe it or not, the flavors all mesh and it is quite delicious!
Shrimp Au Gratin over Linguine
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (uncooked), peeled, and deveined
1/2 cup white wine ~ I used a chenin blanc

1 1/2 sticks butter ~ channeling Paula Dean here
3 Tablespoons hot sauce
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
3 T. chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, loosely chopped 
1 1/2 cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), unseasoned

Prepare your shrimp, leaving uncooked, rinse in cold water and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, combine the remainder of the ingredients except the Panko, mixing well.
Arrange your shrimp in a casserole dish that has been sprayed with just a little Pam.  Pour all but about 1/4 cup of the wine & butter mixture over the shrimp.  Take the remainder of the liquid and mix it with the Panko, then sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the shrimp.


Pop into the oven and bake at 350 degrees until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
While the shrimp is cooking, prepare your pasta according to pasta directions.  I did try something a little different for our pasta; I used a flavored linguine that we purchased at the Fernandina Beach Farmers market.  One of the venders there makes it and sells each Saturday.
When you can pronounce all five of the ingredients you know it is going to be good.
To serve your shrimp, arrange your pasta and top with the Gratin.  Spoon some of the wine & butter mixture over the pasta as well.  Garnish with a slice of lemon.  I also sprinkled a few fresh chopped chives over mine.


Who would have ever thought it would look so pretty?!  Add a little garlic bread and enjoy!
Participating in Foodie Friday this week.  Stop over at Designs By Gollum and see what everyone else is up to as well!
Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Rainy Day Comfort

The weather has been absolutely crazy the last several weeks!  From an early spring to tornado spawning storms on a weekly basis and now an over-abundance of rain, I am feeling just as soggy and drenched as our overly saturated yard which is beginning to look like a pond!  The rain is such a blessing remembering back to last summer’s severe heat and drought, but I do wish it were spread out a little bit more!  The kids are getting cabin fever from not being able to play soccer, ride their bikes, or cut through the field to see their great-grandparents, and I would like to clean my house, not just the living room over and over.
When it’s rainy and dreary outside, comfort food is going to be on my menu.  I like to think of the things that remind me of childhood.  Pasta is just one of those dishes.  Mother used to make the absolute best mac & cheese, spaghetti, tuna-noodle casserole, or her homemade version of “Hamburger Helper”.  The kids love pasta as much as I always did, but it is not a dish that Audley enjoys so much.  He happens to be in Phoenix this week for work, so our menu needed a good dose of comfort to get us through the next five days of rain.
Tomato based sauces are the most common topping for pasta dishes, but searching around for ideas I came up with a recipe that utilizes some fresh spring ingredients right here on our little farm.  I have never had spaghetti carbonara before, but looking at different variations of the dish, I decided to attempt it for us.
Give a try, we loved it!
Spaghetti Carbonara
*Olive oil
*Prosciutto, chopped
*2 cloves of garlic, minced
*1/2 cup Riesling
*3 (room temperature) eggs, beaten
*3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
*Kosher Salt & fresh ground Pepper
*1 pound Angel hair pasta
*12 stalks fresh asparagus
*fresh parsley, finely chopped
Prepare your water for your pasta according to package directions.  At the same time, bring a saucepan of salted water to boil for  your asparagus.
I gathered this from our garden!  Isn’t it gorgeous?!
In a skillet, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and the prosciutto.  Let the prosciutto a minute or two, then add the garlic along with another tablespoon of oil and cook until the prosciutto is browned.  Stir in the wine and cook until the liquid begins to reduce, about a minute or so.
Cook your pasta in it’s prepared pot, and add your asparagus to the small saucepan of boiling water you should have ready.  Let the asparagus cook about a minute and immediately add to cold water to stop the cooking process.  Trim the asparagus so that you can use the tender tips.  Drain your pasta, reserving about a 1/4 -1/2 cup of the cooking water.


I love the variety of eggs our hens lay!



In a large serving bowl, take the beaten eggs and mix well with the shredded Parmesan cheese.  Add a teaspoon of kosher salt to this mixture.
Shred your own cheese, it tastes so much better!
Even mixed with Parmesan cheese you can see how bright the yolks of fresh eggs are!


Moving fast, add your hot pasta to the egg mixture and toss to combine.  Add as much of the reserved water from the pasta to the mixture to help create a nice sauce for the pasta.


Add the prosciutto and freshly ground pepper to the pasta, mixing well.





Serve the pasta and top it with your fresh asparagus and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley.


This dish was so easy to make, and was enjoyed by all of us.  I loved the fact that I was able to use a few  of the fresh things that are from our farm: eggs, parsley, and asparagus.  It makes me really look forward to planting our garden in a few weeks!
What is comfort food for you?


Stuffed Pasta

Of all the things that I never fixed for meals in my nearly sixteen years as a wife, I have never stuffed cabbage and I have never stuffed pasta.  I don’t know why, it guess it intimidated me because of all the things that could possibly mess up the dish.  With Audley out of town for Valentine’s day, it seemed like a really good time to fix pasta since he doesn’t like it and the kids adore it!

I didn’t want to just do noodles and sauce and we had lasagna last time he was gone, so I decided to try my hand at stuffing shells.  It was something different and kind of nice for the holiday.  If you are watching your weight, this is NOT the recipe for you!

I cooked my shells according to package directions.  You don’t want them cooked too soft or you won’t be able to work with them.  While the pasta is cooking you can begin making the filling for your shells.

For the filling I used:

16 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 pound of cooked shrimp (peeled & deveined)
12 ounces shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lightly beaten egg
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

First, combine the cheeses, with a parsley & egg, mixing well.  Then loosely chop your cooked shrimp, adding it to the mixture.

After you pasta is cooked, drain the water off and let it cool a few minutes so that you can handle it without burning yourself.  While it cools, mix up your marinara sauce.

For the sauce I used:
16 ounces tomato sauce
10 ounces diced tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sweet onion, chopped
10 basil leaves, loosely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 pound shrimp

Mix all of the ingredients except the shrimp together.

Spread a thin layer of the marinara in a pan sprayed with olive oil.  This will keep your shells from sticking to the bottom of the pan.


Arrange you pasta, opened to the top in the dish.

Add filling to each shell.  I put mine in a cake decorating bag without the tip, but you can used a ziplock bag and cut the corner off to aid in filling the shells.


When all of the shells are filled, take another 4 ounces of parmesan cheese and sprinkle over the pasta.

Top with the marinara sauce and arrange the remaining shrimp over the sauce.



Top with more parmesan cheese ( I used another 8 ounces) and sprinkle a little fresh basil over the top.

Bake at 400 degrees until it is nicely and bubbly (25-30 minutes), the cheese should turn golden on top.



Serve it up for a unique twist on traditional shells.  We enjoyed a salad and crusty, French bread with ours.  This will serve 6 nicely.




This dish makes great comfort food, but dress your table up and it makes a great company dish as well!

I am off to Auburn University for the rest of the week with Kenzie-Grace for a state honor band clinic.  I am sure we will have some grand culinary adventures as our college campuses have some of the best food in the south!  I can’t wait to share these with you.