Sunday, November 21, 2010

Big Sur

Due to life, I've been absent from posting. I confess, I've hardly cooked at all lately, and when I have, it's been a bit of a disaster.

So I haven't been cooking. But...I did go here:

and here:

and here:


And thought I should share.

In lieu of a recipe, I'll instead recommend this cookbook as a gift for the holidays.

I knew I had to have it when I opened it up to a recipe for rhubarb bars. Big Sur has amazing restaurants, but Big Sur Bakery was our favorite. All the recipes in here look fantastic.

And if you're looking for a place to stay, I recommend Glen Oaks. It's a cozy place, with heated floors, a fireplace in each room, an outdoor fire pit and wild turkeys roaming the grounds. All in all, it was a beautiful first trip to Big Sur.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Visit with Beth - Pasta with Arugula, Pine Nuts & Lemon Sesame Vinaigrette

I have a serious love of hotel rooms. Sparkling clean, crisp white sheets, giant beds, mini-toiletries, mountains of pillows, and of course, mini-bars. I can't get enough of hotel rooms. If I could move into one, I probably would. Depending on the hotel, of course...

This weekend my dear friend Beth invited me to stay over in the hotel room she'd booked while she was at a conference in Sacramento. I was happy to join her and we reveled in lounging about, catching up, drinking champagne and splurging on dinner. It's not often that we get to see each other as we live on opposite coasts now, she in Georgetown and me in the Bay, but we've done pretty well this year as far as the visits go, 3 times now in the last 6 months. A record since college.

There's nothing quite like staying up till all hours of the night, chatting away with a best friend in a hotel suite in another city. Far from all responsibilities and reminders of being back at work on Monday. We had a lovely dinner at Grange in Sacramento, where we both got our fill of house-made pasta. Thanks to Les for the suggestion!

Which reminds me of a dish I started to throw together in college. One I still make fairly often. It combines fresh Arugula with pine nuts, a lemony-garlic vinaigrette and sesame oil. It's delicious, and every time I make it, it seems I can't get enough. It's a great week night dinner.

Pasta with Arugula, Pine Nuts and Lemon Sesame Vinaigrette

Your choice of pasta, enough for 4 people. I recommend bowtie or penne.
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
6 cups arugula or baby arugula
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine lemon juice, sesame oil, garlic and a pinch of salt. Whisk together. Toast pine nuts in toaster oven or over the stove in a skillet. Place Arugula in a bowl, add cooked pasta and let sit for about a minute so that the arugula wilts from the heat of the pasta. Toss together with pine nuts and vinaigrette, top with Parmesan and salt & pepper to taste.