Seeing as you usually start your day with breakfast, I'll start this post with muffins-my favorite breakfast food. I definitely enjoyed eating nutella croissants and charcuterie+cheeses+breads for breakfast in Italy, but there's something about good old carb-y American pastries that I can't get enough of (hence, my constant visits to LA's hot brunch spots on the weekends). One of my favorite muffin flavors is lemon poppyseed, but I decided to be oh-so-daring by making lime poppyseed muffins. Honestly, I can't say there's a huge difference, but if you focus on the flavor long enough, you almost feel naughty for eating them early in the morning because they kind of have a hint of margarita :)
I made risotto for the first time ever!! I've always been intimidated by it because it takes.so.long. I have no patience for things you have to attend to for 45 minutes (vs. muffins which take 25 minutes to bake but at least you don't have to babysit them for those 25 minutes, you can go do other fun chores!). But I decided to overcome my disdain for waiting because 1. I love risotto 2. I wanted to challenge the core of my ever-impatient character.
Doesn't it look so warm and gooey and delicious?! And it was: this Roasted Red Pepper Risotto (click on the name "Roasted Red Pepper Risotto" to access the full recipe) was a nice departure from regular, white wine, mushroom risotto but it wasn't a crazy, wacko cousin (I've seen mexican risotto's and sweet risotto's and fried risotto balls and something about those just make me cringe). The best part was the lemon--the tang of the lemons suited the spicy red peppers very well. I would add more cheese the next time I make it, but I am a self-professed cheese addict.
The next recipe was *another* challenge for myself. I originally wanted to make a béchamel sauce, which is one of the 4 (or is it 5?) basic sauces that most all other sauces are based on. But, alas, Nick accidentally drank the white wine so I moved on to a similar concept: basil cream sauce. Ok, so it's not so similar but it is the idea of a from-scratch pasta sauce that attracted me.
And it was a hit. Even Nick liked it, and he does not like pasta, pasta sauces, etc. They get too repetitive, similar, heavy, and unexciting for him. Here, I just plopped a bunch of sauce onto some fresh pasta and it was simple, tasty, fresh, and light.
The last dish is an instant classic. It's been a while since I've had one of those (every thing I try seems great but nothing creates orgasmic noises at the dining table) and it was a welcome delight. This Buffalo Chicken panini comes from a blog I love (paninihappy!). Since I love a website called paninihappy, you can intuit that I love panini. I also love buffalo sauce (buffalo chicken pizza is one of my favorite pizzas) or anything spicy for that matter, and red onions. So it's almost a given I would love this recipe as long as it generally stuck to the basics.
You could almost say this blog DOES have a theme since the three entrees are italian-ish. That's a big ISH, but whatever, I do what I can to make myself feel smart and organized. :)
To make me look like a real, pro-blogger who actually plans her blogs ahead of time, I'll even go and add symmetry to this post by ending with American breakfast food: scones!
I LOVE my scones. They're less sweet than muffins, generally more dense, and somehow feel healthier (even though they're definitely not...they're on the same level in terms of high sugar, high carb, high energy, high ML-fever). Maple Oat scones are possibly my favorite flavor after Orange Cranberry. These are NOT Ina Garten's scones, which are probably my next challenge (one I've been saving because I'm pretty sure I'll have some sort of life epiphany when I try hers...she's a miracle maker), but a pretty darn good one nonetheless.
These might actually be semi-healthy because they're full of wheat bran, oats, and whole wheat flour! And you could tell-they tasted nice and hearty. Remember to use pure maple syrup--that makes the glaze amazing!
I love super close-up photos of food. The texture of the oat-y scone and the oozing maple glaze. Sigh!
On a completely unrelated but very happy note, this ad makes me crack up every single time. Something about it speaks to my undeniably giggly and childish soul.
Enjoy! I am going to Disneyland for a wedding with my good Yale architecture friend Garrett this weekend! I can't wait!!! I wonder what the food will be like...will it be Disney-themed?