Monthly Archives: May 2010

pasta love

I really wish that I could control my love for pasta. I am in such a comfort zone, when I cook and eat pasta. It’s my go-to dinner.

Let’s start with the side-salad that I made to pair with my pasta dinner last night. I pulled a “let’s see what is in the fridge” with this creation. I found:

salad greens    carrots    beets    strawberries    sundried tomatoes   Trader Joe’s corn salsa

I mixed the randomness above and topped with extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic dressing. Surprisingly tasty I must say.

For the pasta, I sautéed mushrooms, peas and sun-dried tomatoes in 1/4 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil (add more or less to taste). I didn’t add garlic, but feel free to saute a couple of cloves before adding the vegetables. While cooking, I added some water from my boiling whole wheat pasta to the vegetables to keep them from drying out.

Once the vegetables were almost finished, I threw in some fresh herbs (parsley and basil on hand) and salt/pepper to taste. Then turned off the heat and added about 1/2 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese and al dente whole wheat linguine. I might try marscapone instead of the ricotta next time for a creamier sauce.

Side note: Is it OK to cook an entire box of pasta for 2 people? Perry has been a bit bitter lately about my larger than life portions. I guess he thinks I’m trying to fatten him up for bathing suit season.

– jess

What’s your favorite pasta dish?


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Filed under Cooking, Vegetarian

ciao bella

The Italian name drew me in when browsing the  frozen aisle of my grocery store. And then, I saw that they offered a Blood Orange sorbet. Sold!

After some research, I learned that the company started in the 1980s in Little Italy, NY. They use natural, global ingredients, such as Valrhona French chocolate and Alphonse mango.

The company offers a page search for local distributors in your area, as well as a link to order.  I have a feeling my friends will be receiving shipments of this ice cream on their birthdays 🙂

So far, I have tried the Blood Orange and Key Lime Graham. The Blood Orange flavor has the crystalized sugar at the bottom (for any of you who know what I’m talking about it’s the stuff you find at the bottom of an Italian Ice that you get the urge to flip it over so that you can get to it sooner). The Key Lime is so incredibly creamy. I was more than satisfied with both flavors. Next on my list is Blackberry Cabernet.

Here’s their site…take a look 🙂 Ciao Bella.


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Filed under Gelato, Sweets

NY bagels and Portalli’s

I took a quick road-trip over the weekend from Baltimore to NY to meet some girlfriends from college. And when I say quick I mean it. I was up and back in less than 24 hours.

For brunch on Saturday, my girlfriends and I stopped in a crowded NY bagel shop. I admit that I was a little intimidated walking in. There were many options and you had to know exactly what you wanted when you reached the counter. My friend, Ashley, being overwhelmed too, went for the safe choice, a bagel with cream cheese. I decided on the “Veggie Delight” bagel with a “Health” salad on the side.

Talk about an over-stuffed bagel.

On Sunday, I was back home celebrating my Dad’s birthday with dinner at Portalli’s, located in Historic Ellicott City. The restaurant opened recently and it was our first time visiting. Being relatively late on a Sunday night, we had almost the entire upstairs to ourselves.

My sister, Steph, ordered the Portallian Flatbread Pizza with crumbled goat cheese, peppadew (I learned peppadew is a type of pickled, sweet pepper. The name makes you want to say it more than once, doesn’t it.), jumbo lump crab and parsley pesto. Steph was happy with her flatbread, despite it being a bit fishy.

My father had the Duck Confit Manicotti house made with duck confit, ricotta, goat cheese, carmelized onions and wild mushrooms. He struggled to find the duck meat in this dish. But besides this fact, he said it was very rich and enjoyed every bite.

I went with the pasta special, Pasta Diablo, containing shrimp, scallops and crab meat. For me, there was the perfect amount of heat in the dish. It was a simple and not far from the traditional dish. I have no complaints; I cleaned my plate.

Some would say that the portions in general at Portalli’s are small. I imagine they are sized for a 4 course dinner and not intended to be ordered exclusively. I can imagine that people complain about the small size, being accustomed to incredibly large servings at restaurants.

– jess

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Filed under Restuarants, Uncategorized

Asian salad

I’ve been horrible with packing breakfast and lunch this week. I have not been to the grocery store in over a week (long time for me). I finally felt the need to not spend money on lunch today, so I have a can of Progresso Vegetable Soup for lunch.

Yesterday, I went to my company’s cafe to grab a quick lunch. My eyes lit up when I saw the salad special

Marinated Asian vegetable, Edamame and tofu salad with a wasabi vinaigrette.

I’ll have to mimic this Asian salad at home soon. Adding baby corn, water chesnuts and  mushrooms.

What’s your favorite salad combination?

– jess

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Filed under Vegetarian

cooking light Mediterranean

Check out these Mediterranean recipes from Cooking Light! Mmhmm I could go for the Linguine with Garlicky Clams and Peas right now… and it is only 10:25AM.

Linguine with Garlicky Clams and Peas

I signed up for their email list a couple of years ago to receive daily recipe emails. They’re a great inspiration for weekly dinners!

– jess

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Yesterday AM, I was watching Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey and the restaurant that he was attempting to save was Sushi Ko. During lunch, my company had sushi, as their special. By dinnertime, I was craving sushi. I called Perry and he says, “No way, I almost got sushi for lunch, I’ll definitely go with you for dinner, I’ve been craving it too.” And then to top it all off…I called my sister, Steph, to get directions to Sushi King in Columbia and she tells me she just picked up sushi for dinner. Coincidence or fate? 🙂

On arrival, I realized I had been to Sushi King before and should have known where it was located.

Perry was excited about the Zagat Rated signs on the door.

We were seated quickly (it was going on 9pm). With neither of us being in much of an adventurous mood, we ordered 4 of the “more typical” rolls: California Roll, Tempura Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll and Boston Roll.

I can stomach raw tuna, but get a little skeevy about raw fish in general. I try my best to like it, but in the end I think it’s the texture that I can’t get past.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed the freshness of the sushi and to quote Perry, “Best sushi I have ever had.”

What’s you’re favorite type of sushi?



Filed under Restuarants


This weekend was the much anticipated wine festival, Wine in the Woods. Much anticipated on my part, mostly since it is located at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is walking distance from my apartment.

I invited friends over beforehand. We had some champagne mixed with raspberry lemonade to start off the day.

I set out some snacks to buffer the all day of wine drinking to come.

Saturday was so gorgeous out, making for a crowded festival. A little tired of waiting in line for samples, we started purchasing bottles of wine to drink. By far, our favorite Maryland wine is the Gollywobbler, by St. Michael’s Winery. It comes in white, pink or red and literally tastes like fresh grape juice- so dangerous! Needless to say, by the end of the festival, we were ready for a trip to Cheesecake Factory to get some bread in our stomach.

Some of our group at the festival.

Sunday AM, I rose early for the Baltimore Farmers Market under the 83 overpass. I made a weekly ritual of going here on Sunday AM’s last summer and plan to do the same this year.

The market is amazing…fresh veggies, fruit, artisans, falafel, fried mushrooms, fruit smoothies, kettle corn, fresh seafood– I can go on and on. I love the local flare! I’ll make sure to take some photos next time I go.

– jess


Filed under Market, Wine