Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Night Recipes

Tonight, as Terry continues his adventure scuba diving in Catalina, I'm drinking a spectacular glass (or two) of wine and watching Julie & Julia, one of my very favorite movies. I suppose it's no surprise, considering it involves Julia Child, cooking, blogging, the 1940s, Paris, two love stories, and lots of butter.

This movie gets me so fired up. If you haven't seen it and are even remotely interested in any of the topics above, I highly recommend it! If you're in LA, I'll invite you over for a watching party and we can devour some chocolate mousse pie together. It always makes me excited to cook or bake (hence tonight's blackberry buttermilk cake, below) and, of course, to blog.

Julie Powell, the modern day character in the movie, says a lot about her blog that I've caught myself saying. When she gets her first comment, it's from her mom, so her excitement diminishes. Not to say that I don't love when my parents comment, of course. :-) One day she gets 12 comments and high-fives a coworker. If I ever get 12 comments on one post, I'll be high-fiving strangers. I'd love to be a little more like Julia Child, though (at least her persona in the movie): energetic, optimistic, charming, open to absorbing everything she can to learn as much as possible about cooking. But I have the same Le Creuset dutch oven as she does, and my mom gave me a Julia Child cookbook, so I'm getting there, right?

Prior to my mellow night, I tackled a pretty mellow workout. I did 40 minutes on the bike and these ab and bicep exercises.

Note: I keep my shoulder exercises very light due to an old neck injury, but feel free to pump it up!

Tonight, I made a new recipe! I wanted lots of vegetables with my pasta. I created a pizza-inspired pasta dish with loads of vegetables.

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta
Serves 2
Pepperoni Pasta
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3-4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 12-16 slices of pepperoni
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella
Set a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium pan while you roughly chop the onion. Add the onion to the pan with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the bell peppers, add them to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach, oregano, and garlic powder, and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the marinara and red wine, and cook under reduced by about half. 

Chop the pepperoni and mozzarella and add to the sauce, cooking just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add to the pasta and serve hot.

Lots of vegetables, as ordered 

Spicy pepperoni adds tons of flavor 

And gooey mozzarella to top it all

And finally, tonight's schedule finally allowed me to bake a cake I found in Bon Appetit magazine last year (yeah, I'm old school like that). It's technically a summer cake, but who's counting?

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake
Requires a springform pan.

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the pan with cooking spray and dust lightly with flour. Layer the bottom of the pan with 10-12 ounces of blackberries.
Blackberry layer

Step 2.
Beat 3/4 cup of room temperature butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 90 seconds.

Step 3.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Step 4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and the zest from one lemon.
Professional tip: Try to avoid dropping the lemon into the batter. 
Excellent chance to taste the batter.
And make a creepy face for the camera.
 Step 5: In a separate bowl, measure out 2 1/3 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture.
Adding the flour mixture.
 Step 6: Measure out 1 cup of buttermilk. [Note: If you want to lighten up this recipe, substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 cup milk.] Add half the buttermilk and beat again. Add another third of the flour mixture, beat, then the rest of the buttermilk, then the last third of the flour mixture.

Action shot

Step 7: Pour the batter over the blackberries and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.



Step 8: Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake to cool completely.
Blackberry buttermilk wonderland

Gorgeous cake!

Moist and light

This cake would be perfect for a spring bridal or baby shower

Definitely an easy cake and a great way to greet Terry when he gets home tomorrow!

What's your go-to movie for at-home Saturday nights?

If you could be a character in a movie, who would you be?
I would choose Julia Child in this movie or something where I get to be a superhero. Like Mrs. Incredible.


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