Friday, April 9, 2010

FOOD FRIDAY: The One where I plug my favorite brands

Hey there friends,

Back again for a Food Friday.  I am working on a few other weekly posts outside of Friday posts that hopefully should crop up in the next few weeks as they are fine-tuned, but until then, I am going to post another favorite food experience and hope that you enjoy.

This week the Hub and I made it to the Boulder County Farmers' Market (the first of this year) and scored some great food finds.  The most lovely of these finds, I must say, are the fresh eggs from Abbondanza Farms.  They were a bit pricier than the eggs you find at the grocery store, but they were MUCH fresher and as such, they were tastier. I think my favorite thing about the fresh eggs was the fact that they were blue, brown and white - no need to add colors over this Easter weekend.

In addition to our delectable eggs, we discovered that Udi's makes a sourdough that echos the sourdoughs of San Francisco (my home and native land?) and some funky Tomato and Cracked Pepper pappardelle pasta from Denver's own Peppardelle's Pasta. These were the inspiration for this week's best meal.

Enter: Creamy Zucchini and Herb Pappardelle Pasta (a Lovely Splendid Original)

2 medium zucchini, cut into thin half moons
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2-3 tbs olive oil
5 oz. goat cheese
1/2 lb Tomato and Cracked Pepper pappardelle
a couple sprigs of dill, basil, and parsley (fresh makes this dish a spring-y pasta)
salt and pepper to taste

To start, boil a large pot full of salted water.  In a skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and garlic to saute until the zucchini is tender, and garlic is fragrant.  Cook by sight and smell, and just don't let the garlic burn.  If the zucchini starts to brown, it is really tasty, but the pan might be too hot for the garlic. (If you have onion, or shallot, that would be a good addition to the veggie saute).  When cooked, cover the zucchini and remove from heat.  

Once the water is at a good rolling boil, add the pasta. We broke our pasta in half, so that it would cook more evenly, but you'll need to follow your heart on this one.  The pasta cooked for about 6-7 minutes, but be sure to give it a taste test to make sure it is al dente (bite it, if it's too chewy, or still opaque in the middle, give it a few more minutes- don't burn your tongue, as you will need it to taste your creation). Drain all but 1 cup of the water from the pasta, and return the cooked pasta to the pot. 

Slowly add the goat cheese (in chunks) to the pasta and reserved pasta water, stirring to make sure the cheese melts evenly over the pasta.  When the cheese begins to look like a creamy alfredo-like sauce you can add the veggies. Mix in the chopped fresh herbs to the garlic and zucchini while still in the skillet.  When that looks evenly incorporated, add the veggies to the cheese and pasta in the pot.  Toss the veggies and the pasta until thoroughly coated, and serve with a crusty (SOURDOUGH!) bread.

This pasta was a great perk for our mid-week.  Being in Colorado, the weather really toys with your emotions.  It's sunny, but the wind is blowing 90 mph.  It's 60, but it's snowing.  The pasta was the perfect dinner to remind us that spring is coming up soon, and the fresh flavors were so different than our standby winter nosh.  I don't mean to toot my own horn, but y'all, I Hank Aaron'd this dish right out of the park.  My husband thinks I'm a culinary genius.  I'm not, but I'll definitely wear that title around the house (like Crocs, or a bathrobe).

To complete the meal, I had a glass of Cupcake wine's Dry Riesling, which is really worth a shot.  I'm generally a Sauv Blanc drinker, and Riesling is reserved for bridal showers or mid-July (due to the sweetness).  However, the dryness of this wine really balanced the typical sweet flavor, and was a great pairing with the herbs and vegetables of this dish.

Finally, I know I mentioned the Udi's sourdough already, but it is worth another plug.  My family hails from San Fran and the bay area, the motherland of sourdough bread (Boudin bread bowl anyone?) and I find I can be rather judgmental of any bread that tries to call itself sourdough.  Though nothing can quite capture the pure joy of some sourdough, dry salami, and red wine while taking in the salty air of Chrissy Field, this loaf reminds me of how much I love it.  Udi's. Write that down.

Happy eating friends!

*Remember, it's April, that means the farmers will be out there tomorrow. Will you?