Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ham-sta (Peppery lemony creamy ham pasta)

This is my favorite week day pasta recipe. Really easy, quick, and tasty for when you can't think of anything else, and might want some leftovers the next day. I learned it from one of my roommates during my junior year abroad in Exeter and have been making it at least once a month since. Mess around with the recipe as you please. I now add a lot of the spice at the end (on my plate) instead of the beginning 'cause Eeva didn't like it burning her mouth. Ingredients: 2 thick cut ham steaks, 1 cup cream, 1 lemon, 1 lb fusilli, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt (for the pasta water).  Salt and set pasta water to boil. Cube ham. Put olive oil in skillet and heat. Add pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Cook for a minute and add cubed ham. Cook the ham 'til nicely brown. Then squeeze half the lemon over the ham. Cook until the liquid has disappeared then add cream. About this time the water should be coming to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook until al dente. When cream has started to thicken squeeze on the other half o' lemon. Leave on a minute more so sauce will re-thicken. Mix sauce with pasta and spice up with pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

My Go To Brownie Recipe

This was the brownie recipe my mother always used and she got it from a Hershey's baking chocolate box. It is fast and easy and seems to make the perfect number of brownies for a smallish group of people. That way stale brownies are not a problem at all. They disappear completely in a couple of days. These days I use Sharffen Berger chocolate rather than Hershey's and unsalted butter rather than the margarine my mom always used. The most time consuming part of making these brownies is melting and cooling the chocolate mixture.

2 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt (use a bit more if you use unsalted butter)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Butter an 8" square pan. Melt the butter (cut in pieces) and chocolate (chopped) over hot water, in a microwave, or over an extremely low flame if your cook top goes that low. Cool the chocolate and butter and add the vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients (except the sugar) together. Beat the eggs, continue beating as you add the sugar in a stream. Stir in the chocolate mixture and then add the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the sides pull away from the pan.