Dec 22, 2009

Noms Sweet Noms

So…I moved into my place last May and I still haven't fully unpacked or decorated. For a couple months I chalked it up to deluded myself that it was due to being busy, but the truth of the matter is that I’m just tired of moving.

“Why bother – you’re just going to have to take it down, pack it all up and haul it somewhere else”

Well, after a couple of months it was not only embarrassing, it was uncomfortable. Even more so when company came over.

“I’ll tell why – because this is home now and I want to be comfortable. So you better get busy with those boxes Bitch”

So now I’m almost done – just have to hang artwork/pictures and get some kind seating for the living room.

“They call it a couch Dumbass”

“Okay…that’s about enough with the interjections. I’ll never get this finished if you all don’t shut the hell up.”

Where was I? Oh yeah, since the living room isn’t full of boxes anymore, I jumped at the chance when my dear friend, Lorri, offered to come over and cook me dinner. Lorri is one of the best cooks I’ve ever known and I’ll take a meal cooked by her over eating out in a restaurant anytime. She has also taught me an awful lot through the years – from tips and tricks to killer meals on a serious budget.

Last Tuesday she took the ferry over and I picked her (and shopping bags) up after work. While we chatted and drank wine, she deftly prepared this delicious dinner:

Bread and Balsamic Vinegar/Olive Oil for dipping

Salad - Mixed Greens with Pear, caramelized Pecans and Roquefort Cheese with Basalmic Dressing.

Easy as pie and one of the best salads I've ever had.  Here's how you do the
Carmelized Pecans: This is the tricky part. You place the pecans in a hot pan on high heat and you have to stay with it, constantly turning them around. Once you start to smell the pecans (you are going to love this smell), then you add the 1/4 cup sugar. Constantly stirring once again. Watch the sugar turn to a liquid state and toss the pecans all around in the syrupy goodness, until they are all coated. Then remove them from the hot pan and let them cool. Keep them at room temp and then add them in at the very end, just right before tossing.

Main Dish - Spaghetti with Spicy Garlic Shrimp in an Arrabiata Sauce

Here's the recipe:

6 ounces fresh linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt; add shrimp to pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Transfer shrimp to a bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan. Add onion, minced garlic, basil, and crushed red pepper to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or just until sauce begins to thicken. Return shrimp to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add parsley to the pan, stirring well to combine. Serve over pasta.

Dessert - the best damn Chocolate Eclairs in town from Beard Papa's
I cannot describe how good these eclairs are - you must try and get one yourself.  Check the page for locations near you....OMG!  I'm still in heaven thinking about them.

After a marvelous dinner (with a couple of bottles of wine), Lorri was safely on her way back to Seattle on the ferry.  I returned home to do a little clean up and while doing the dishes I realized that for the first time my house felt like home.    I guess it really needed a good dinner and friends to truly complete the housebreaking.
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