Showing posts with label IMBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IMBA. Show all posts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pasta Primavera

I've talked about my youngest daughter being vegetarian. Most of the time this doesn't present a challenge for us because she loves veggies (as do we all) and can make a meal of all the side dishes I come up with. In fact, we've discovered some new favorites along the way.

Pasta Primavera is one of these favorites. I swear I never make it exactly the same way twice, but I had to come up with a big batch for Thanksgiving - my contribution to the dinner. My brother-in-law, Mitch, made some fabulous, fabulous vegetarian stuffing and I really must get that recipe from him! But... here below is our newest attempt at Pasta Primavera. So far, this is everyone's favorite version.

If you skim the instructions below, it's going to sound like a lot of work. But it isn't really. Plus, I tend to add ingredients until things feel right, you know? Don't feel pressured to follow this exactly. Have fun with it!

Pasta Primavera

Olive oil
Italian seasoning - example: McCormick's
1 lb bag of frozen broccoli florets, steamed to al dente
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 or so cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag frozen green peas
1 each, yellow, green, and red peppers, cut up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 purple onion cut up into bite-sized pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
fresh basil
heavy cream
fresh Parmagiano cheese
1 box mostaccioli - prepared al dente (I like the mostaccioli noodles with lines on them)

Combine prepared (al dente) broccoli with other vegetables - peppers, peas, purple onion (not tomatoes. Hold those out for now). Toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Place in pan and roast in oven, about 20 minutes. You want the veggies to still be a little crispy because you'll be cooking them again and you don't want them to be too floppy.

The roasting gives them a really nice flavor that adds a lot to this dish, I think.

While they're roasting, prepare your sauce. Here's where I play and I really liked how this one came out. Heat olive oil in a large saute/frying pan. I probably used a half cup of olive oil (maybe more). As soon as it shimmers, add chopped yellow onion. Add garlic. When garlic and onion have completely softened and have begun to turn yellow/brown, add heavy cream. How much? I think I used about a cup. Stir until well combined and until the cream starts to thicken. If it gets too thick too quickly, just add a little more olive oil.

Once the mixture is hot, add halved cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, snipped into small pieces (you'll use more basil later, too).

Before you add your sauce to your prepared (al dente) noodles, eye the mixtures. If you need a bit more sauce, this is the time to make it.

Combine the noodles and sauce. Allow to sit so that the flavors infuse the noodles.

By now the veggies should be done in the oven. Test them to make sure they're cooked well enough.

Add cooked veggies to sauce/noodle mixture. Stir well.

Heat oven to 350, and butter a baking dish. Pour pasta mixture into prepared pan, grate some Parmagiano cheese over the top, snip more fresh basil over the top, cover with foil and bake until hot. About 30 minutes.

Very fresh, very delicious.
Very vegetarian!

Have fun!

Just a reminder: Christmas is coming and books make wonderful gifts!

Make someone happy with a book they'll love and help support independent booksellers at the same time. A two-fer!

* * * * * * * * *

Krista's Christmas
Cookie Contest

Krista Davis is celebrating the upcoming release
of her new holiday mystery, The Diva Cooks a Goose.

She's holding a delicious contest!
Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!

Find out more
clicking here

Monday, March 22, 2010

Avery's Fifteen Minute Appetizer

Rush, rush, rush.
Make time.
Fit it all in.

Are these words NOT music to your ears?

Mine, either. But life seems to run away from us sometimes.

"Big wheel keeps on turning!"

So, to honor our busy lives, and waking up this morning realizing I had a post to fix for Monday before I could get on a plane to visit my nephew -- my husband will stay home and take care of our buddy Max --

I threw together a quick recipe [15 minutes or less] that I love to serve when I, at the last minute, realize I've got guests coming and need an appetizer A.S.A.P., and I've decided NOT to go with a cheese platter (which is always a great appetizer).

These are what I call "cheese wheels on a stick", for lack of a more elegant title.

I keep these items in my kitchen at all times for just such an occasion: mozzarella cheese (which comes in roll-able strips by Bel Gioso), tomatoes, fresh basil (a live plant, bought at the local grocery), herbs, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, TOOTHPICKS.

Cheese Wheels On A Stick

[amount depends on # of guests - 1 package of Bel Gioso cheese will make about 24]
Mozzarella cheese strips
Roma tomato, sliced thin [really, really thin!]
Fresh basil [full leaves]
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Dried: Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Parsley, Paprika

Place Mozzarella strips on a working surface
Drizzel with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs
Layer with basil and thinly-sliced tomatoes
Roll into a "roll"
Hold fast with toothpicks
Sprinkle with paprika
Slice in 1/2" slices [re-secure with toothpicks if necessary]

That's it!

Serve on your prettiest plate and enjoy! These little morsels melt in your mouth.

And NOTE: they keep well for another day if you made too many!

Congrats to our very own Krista Davis! Her new Domestic Diva mystery, The Diva Paints the Town, is now a best seller with the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Don't forget about our contest! We’re celebrating cupcakes now that Jenn McKinlay’s SPRINKLE WITH MURDER is out in bookstores near you! If you’d like to win cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop, send us an e-mail at or leave a comment with your idea of the wackiest cupcake ingredients you can think of. Tofu, anyone?

To celebrate the April release of CUT TO THE CORPSE, Jenn is giving away an autographed copy of the book. All you have to do is visit the contest section on her web page ( and cast your vote for Team Nate or Team Dom. For those of you who read the first book in the series STUCK ON MURDER, you know that
her heroine Brenna is going to have to make a choice! Help her out and cast your vote today!

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST [at least I hope not least...]
My latest newsletter came out on St. Patrick's Day, and I'm having a contest as well. Win eight ounces of a delicious gourmet cheese. The contest is for all who sign up for the newsletter using the link above. Send me an email about YOUR favorite cheese and you're entered to win.

And now...

Sorry to make this post so brief, but I really do have to run to catch the airplane.

coming this July from Berkley Prime Crime

Monday, November 16, 2009

Say Cheese! Say Fromage Fort!

Dear Readers, our latest contest might be completed, and we'll be using the special ingredient suggested by our winner Molly Ebert in December, but we'll be having another Iron Chef contest in December, with the special ingredient to be announced in January, so continue to sign up and drop us suggestions! Someone will be a lucky winner close to the holidays! And the prize is a Junior's Cheesecake! Remember, one entry per person, per day, and you must be a follower of the blog.
Also...I've just got to brag...about one of my blog pals. Cleo Coyle is now officially on TWO national bestseller lists. Holiday Grind hit the #6 position on the National Bookscan Hardcover Mystery Bestseller List and #9 on Barnes and Nobel's Hardcover Mystery List for the Chain Nationwide and Espresso Shot, which was just released in paperback last month, came in as the #2 ranked paperback bestseller for the month of October by the Independent Mystery Bookseller's Association. Wahooooo!

Now, on to the regular portion of this blog. If you are a fan of Krista Davis’s Domestic Diva Series (and you should be!!!) , prior to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, you might have checked out her solo blog, The Diva Dishes. On that blog, I shared the recipe below , so I apologize for any duplication, but heck, I promised this fabulous find to our MLK fans, and I try never to break a promise. [I didn't have any great pictures then, that's a plus now.]

When I started writing The Cheese Shop Mysteries, I knew I liked cheese, but I didn’t realize there was so much to learn about cheese. For instance, did you know that you could sample a different cheese every day of the year? Did you know that cheese and wine are considered soul mates? Why? Because they both come from the earth. How does cheese come from the earth, you ask? Well, you probably know that cheese is made from the milk of cows, goats, and sheep. Did you know that what the animals eat affects the flavor of the cheese? That’s right. The grasses of a season affect the flavors of the milk, and therefore, the cheese. And... cheese made from milk drawn in the early summer differs from one made late in the summer because of the maturity of the grass. Makes sense, right?

Well, put wine and cheese together in one dish and, voila! Major yum!

For a budget-wise treat, here is a great way to use up all that cheese that you bought when you went cheese tasting, but know you can’t finish right away. [I do that when I go to a cheese shop. Buy too much. It all looks, and tastes, so good!] [Also, cheese left over after a holiday bash...a party...any reason.]

Anyway, never discard those little leftover pieces. The French call this concoction fromage fort or strong cheese.


Ingredients & directions:

Gather one pound of leftover cheese, three kinds is enough but five to six kinds would be superb!!! Trim off any mold or rind or dried parts. Cut the cheese into cubes. Put the cheese in a food processor.

Toss in three to four cloves of garlic smashed up. Chop for a few seconds.

Add one half cup of dry white wine and one teaspoon ground pepper.

Puree until creamy, about thirty seconds.

Remove and transfer into a crock or bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Let warm to room temperature to serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Note: I’d probably pair this with my favorite every-day sauvignon blanc, St. Supery. It’s always consistent.


If you want to check out more about me, check out my website: Avery Aames. And don't forget to signup for my newsletter, filled with facts and, well, news!!
Better yet, become one of the first to buy The Long Quiche Goodbye. It's now available on Amazon, Borders and Books a Million for pre-order!! The publishing date is July 6! No cover art yet, but that's coming soon!