A Little Pasta, A Little Pesto…

Today was a very productive day. I edited two weeks worth of lecture notes and their corresponding power point presentations. The syllabus is almost complete, just waiting on the new edition of the book to make sure the assigned chapters are still correct. And Paul (our visitor for a few weeks) ran 8.75 miles with me. (On a side note, having a running buddy for the past few weeks has been so awesome! We’ve run four or five runs together and having someone with you makes the miles and the time fly by!) Oh and we took the pups to the beach. Gus LOVES the beach! So as a reward to a productive day, homemade pasta & pesto was on tonight’s menu!

I love homemade pesto! I love it more when it comes from my basil plant. To whip up this tasty pasta sauce, I used the following recipe. No pine nuts this time, saved a little cash and the pesto tastes almost as yummy without!

Basil Pesto (modified from Food Network recipe)
2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic (mine was from Gilroy, yay for local!)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (not to be confused with the just plain old virgin stuff!)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Put the basil and garlic in the food processor. Once all chopped up add the olive oil. I also just mix the cheese right in there but feel free to add it in by stirring by hand. On a special note, I used the salad spinner and food processor I got as shower gifts in this preparation (thanks Sarah & Susan!).

Well, I had to have something to put the pesto on, right? Oh yeah! So of course I opted for fresh, homemade pasta. I really don’t know if I can go back to the box stuff, so spoiled :) Here’s the recipe I used.

Egg Pasta (modified from Kitchen Aid recipe)
3 1/2 cups flour (you should sift, but I find it doesn’t make that much of a difference)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon water
a pinch of salt
several pinches of dried Italian herbs (for a little extra something, something)
Mix all the ingredients (I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer). Then use a kneading hook in your stand mixer for 2 minutes on speed 2. Hand knead for a few minutes and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Separate into four sections and flatten. Then use your handy-dandy pasta cutter to flatten out and then cut into your preferred pasta style (I chose traditional spaghetti). If you don’t dry your pasta, it takes about 2-3 minutes to completely cook. Another special note, I used my new 5.5 quart Le Creuset French oven from the wedding registry to boil up the pasta  (thanks mom!).

I save some of the boiling water to mix with the pasta and pesto sauce (thanks Barefoot Contessa for the tip!). Then I serve with some freshly grated Parmesan.

I drank a glass of Yellowtail Merlot and found the meal to be a perfect end to the day. The boys chose to pair beer with their pasta feast, to each their own.

And now for an episode of the Misfits (if you don’t know about this show, you should!) Perfect day!

Summer Recap

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger.

It’s been a long, long time since my last post. I’ve logged in and started to write posts but didn’t know where to start. Well, I figure no time like the present to get caught up on my blog. I thought about doing a separate post for all the events/things we have been doing, but instead here’s a bit of what we’ve been doing since May (yep it’s a long entry).

Wedding Planning
Not surprisingly since I’ve been out of my course work for the summer I have been focusing on the wedding. We finally have a DJ (yay!) but still have lots to do. I had my first dress fitting a few weeks back (and will have another one on Friday) as well as talked flowers and decorations. My mom, Susan, Olivia, and Tara have some AMAZING ideas!

Engagement Photos
In June, my amazing friend and mom-to-be Punam took engagement photos of Kevin & me. They are great. Here’s a teaser shot, but you can see her blog post on them here.

Bachelorette Weekend
The weekend after the engagement photo shoot, four of my close friends and I went to Sonoma County for my bachelorette weekend. It was perfect, complete with beautiful views, hiking, dogs (you know I love dogs!), delicious food, and wine… lots of wine! One of my best friends, Tawny, planned the whole thing and I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better time.

We’ve Been Here, There, & Everywhere (yeah, I totally used one of my favorite Beatle songs here)
Kevin & I have been traveling all over the place this summer. I think one or both of us was gone every weekend beginning in mid-June until, well, now. As mentioned earlier, I was in Sonoma County in June, Kevin’s sister and his niece and nephews visited the following few days, then we flew off to Texas (more about that later), then we drove up to Washington (with a pit stop in Oregon to see one of my best friends), Kevin’s uncle visited for a week or so, then I went home to wedding stuff, Kevin went off to Taiwan for work… and now we’re laying low. Of course, we’ll be traveling here and there again soon :) During that time, Kevin also celebrated the big 3-0!!

Showers
While we were in Washington, Kevin’s family threw us a wedding shower. And when I was in So Cal my best friend threw me a bridal shower. Both parties were so much fun and it was great seeing everyone. We really appreciate that everyone came out and celebrated with us. Plus, my mom brought an old high school photo album that my girlfriends and I had a good laugh at!

                                 

Dan & Juliana’s Wedding
As I mentioned earlier, Kevin & I went to Texas this summer. Why? To attend Dan and Juliana’s wedding of course! I love this couple, they are fun and sweet and a perfect match for each other. I also got to catch up with some of my old high school friends, as well as visit some of the best that San Antonio has to offer: Alamo, River Walk (ok we barely did this), San Jose Mission, Cavender’s Boot store, and some serious BBQ (the boys ate it, I just stared in amazement).

The newlyweds

Outside the cathedral

The boys & me outside of the Alamo

BBQ!

Summer School
In addition to traveling, planning, and partying, I also worked as a teaching assistant for the first session of summer school at UCSC. I had the pleasure of working with an amazing teacher and fellow grad student who I definitely look up to. This was a class I had TAed for before, but I learned a great deal from above-mentioned-instructor and her great teaching style.

Cooking/Baking
As usual, I’ve spent a great deal of time cooking and baking. I made a yummy batch of cookies-n-cream/cookie dough ice cream (yes together, in one delicious, sugary bowl!). I failed at my first scone making attempt (that’s what I get for last-minute recipe modifications). And I made homemade pasta for the first time, yum!

Drying pasta

Running
I’ve still been running with a few races here and there. Since my last post, I ran 4 races (see my results here). I did take 1st in my age group for one of them, always a nice feeling! And tomorrow, I’ll be running the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon. Since running the Big Sur Marathon I’ve been pretty slow on my long runs, so I’m not expecting to be very speedy tomorrow but I think it will be a lot of fun. And I have to admit I’m pretty darn excited about getting an Irish Coffee after the race, now that’s a treat I can look forward to post-run (the run is early, like 5:45am early, so I’ll ready for that warm beverage!). Here are some photos from my recent races.

Silly me, throwing my hands in the hair! Crossing the finish line at She.Is.Beautiful 10k on May 22

Post race at Nisene Marks 5k, very rainy race :)

Coming up to the finish line in the San Lorenzo Train Run 10k

Pre-Race Wharf to Wharf 6 mile (surrounded by 15,000 other runners!)

Well, I think we’re all caught up. I will try to get back into my normal blog routine in August.

My First Foray into Ice Cream Making

First, if it is possible to dedicate blog posts, I dedicate this one to Gidget. Her adventures in ice cream making through last year made me want to make homemade ice cream so badly. Well, for Christmas my fiancé got me an ice cream maker and yesterday I made my first batch! I chose one of my all time favorite ice cream flavors: cookies ‘n’ cream! Below is my photo essay of the adventure, complete with the tasty reward.

Some of my tasty ingredients

Crumbled Joe Joe's from Trader Joe's

Cooking the half & half, sugar, and egg yolks.

Everything all mixed together (minus the cookie crumbs)... smells like melted vanilla ice cream, yum!

Letting the mix chill.

After chilling for 8 hours, I finally got to start mixing!

Adding the cookies

Yum!

It made about a 1 3/4 quarts

Bowls for Kevin & I

I think he likes it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those interested, I used the recipe for Vanilla ice cream that came with the ice cream attachment.

French Vanilla Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped Joe Joe’s
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.
Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add half-and-half; mix until blended. Return half-and-half mixture to medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
With ice cream attachment assembled and attached, turn to STIR (Speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR (Speed 1) for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired consistency. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes, or freeze in an airtight container.
Add cookie bits during last 1-2 minutes of freeze time.