Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara and Rosemary bread

A yummy new recipe for dinner...

 While we were living in Japan we would eat at a great Italian restaurant (strange I know) that served a menu set that included enough food for 2 people. You had salad and dessert bar (amazing) and then a thin crust pizza and a giant bowl of spaghetti carbonara to share. I had never eaten spaghetti carbonara before so I didn't even know what it was until I came across a recipe that sounded like what I had been eating in Japan. I don't recall what it was called on the menu, something generic like large pasta bowl with cheese sauce most likely.

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 box of spaghetti (16 oz.)
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 strips of bacon, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 grated Parmesan cheese (or more if wanted)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (if desired)
Parmesan grated for garnish if desired

1. Bring a large pot of water with salt added, to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta well and place in bowl tossing with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a large skillet cook the bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain on paper towel lined plate. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease; add the other Tbsp of olive oil and heat. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

3. Return bacon to the skillet, add spaghetti and toss to combine until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Beat eggs well, stir in the Parmesan cheese and pepper if desired. Pour over the hot pasta and toss together. The eggs will cook from the heat of the pasta and the cheese will melt creating a creamy sauce.

5. Serve immediately garnished with parsley if desired and more grated Parmesan.

For the rosemary bread...
If you don't already have the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day,  I highly recommend it. I made the bread using the basic boule recipe from the book but substituted some of the all purpose flour for wheat. Before baking I added rosemary (you can use fresh or dried) to the top of the loaf along with some coarse salt. This tastes a lot like the bread you get at Macaroni Grill if you have ever eaten there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tea Time Ruffled Bib

This is the year of babies for many of our friends. We have a few expecting little bundles of pink so I have been sewing up some gifts.

This fabric is Japanese and has a great dessert theme, perfect for a bib. It makes me crave sweets when I look at it!
I added a barely gathered ruffled edge and I think it could have been gathered more. I took mental notes for next time. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dog "Jail"

Our dogs are well behaved (well most of the time) but I still like to contain them when we are out of the house or they are trying to join the dinner party. We have a spacious laundry room and had 2 wire crates against the wall in there for the last 9 months. Although the crates worked fine they were not very attractive and took up floor space that I would like to put a farmhouse style table for folding laundry. 

So what to do? I first looked at buying tall gates but read mixed reviews and they were quite expensive and not very sturdy and the walkway openings were no bigger than 22 ". Since I am always itching to build I decided to give it a try. I took measurements and spent time drawing the plans. Once I had hubby on board it was time to head to the big blue store to buy supplies. We built the gate and side supports out of select pine so it did add up. Our gate is 42" tall and the opening is 27" wide. 

 On the back side of the gate and on the top it is secured with metal brackets. The gate is secured with 2 slide bolt latches when it is in use.
                             Most of the time the gate is left open and is not in the way at all. 

There is no jumping over this!