A buttery zucchini sauce with the fresh bite of parsley couldn’t be easier to whip up for a quick and delicious pasta dinner.
Rigatoni With Zucchini Sauce
8 Tbs butter
2 pounds zucchini, chopped
3 cups chopped onions
1 tsp salt
1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley leaves
1 pound bowtie or rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Black pepper, to serve
1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add chopped zucchini, onions and salt. Cook over medium hear until the vegetables are very soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
2. Purée the zucchini mixture in batches along with the parsley leaves. Return the sauce to a clean skillet and place over very low heat.
3. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
4. Toss the pasta in the zucchini sauce, adding some of the cooking water if the sauce is too thick.
5. Top pasta with a sprinkling of Parmesan, black pepper and the shredded zucchini. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
There are comments out there that say the bird is being moved by his human, but I still think it’s all so cute.
There are also comments out there about this Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake. Lots and lots and lots of comments…and they are all very favorable.
All of those gushing reviews are for a good reason, because this cheesecake is amazing. The bourbon laced pumpkin filling has the ideal blend of spices and bakes up to creamy perfection. The sour cream topping and nutty graham crust provide fabulous contrast from above and below.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ingredients for crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup (45 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Ingredients for filling:
1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
1 tablespoon (15 ml) bourbon
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until well combined.
3. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of prepared pan. Chill crust at least 20 minutes. (Gourmet recommends 1 hour).
Directions to make filling:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and bourbon in a bowl until combined.
3. Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
4. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then stir in cornstarch mixture and beat until smooth. Add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
5. Pour filling into crust. Put springform pan on a shallow baking sheet (to catch any spills in case the pan leaks) and place in the oven.
6. Bake until center is just set, about 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
Directions to make topping:
1. Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and bourbon in a bowl. Spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 more minutes.
2. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
3. Remove side of pan and garnish with the pecans. Bring cheesecake to room temperature before serving.
Make ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 1 week.
An ISITK fave, Steve Mahoney & The Milkshakes have a new album, ‘The Second Wave’, released September 25th. It’s packed with pop treasures as well as infusing some topical 2020 commentary into the music.
It was hard to choose one song to share as so many spoke to my soul. I have already shared a single from the album in this post out ahead of the record’s release. (Have a listen…it’s a slower tempo burn and so good). But today’s choice of ‘Danger Zone 2’ was decided by the combination of Steve’s catchy vocals over that irresistible throw back instrumentation.
“All around us we are losing the fight”
Check out Steve Mahoney & The Milkshakes on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.
Enjoy this cozy soup on a chilly day. It only takes about a half hour from start to finish.
Meatball-Mushroom Parmesan Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup sliced baby-cut carrots
8 (1-inch) frozen Italian-style meatballs
1/2 cup rotini pasta
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
2. Add broth and carrots; bring to a boil. Add meatballs and pasta; return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender and meatballs are cooked through. Stir in spinach then sprinkle with cheese to serve.
This mock toffee is so much fun. Buttery biscuits covered with a buttery caramel and crunchy pecans taste amazing. They are super easy to make, too.
Butter Pecan Toffee
4 oz butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
40 tea biscuits
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1. Combine butter, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and 305°F on a candy thermometer. (If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can follow the technique on this page).
2. Arrange tea biscuits side by side on a large baking sheet lined with non-stick foil (or grease some regular foil).
3. Pour the sugar mixture on top of the biscuits and sprinkle with pecans. Chill until firm then break apart to serve.
Even as things open up, I spend most of my time at home…and I live in Vermont where we are blessedly seeing very few cases of the virus. It’s just the way I find myself coping best.
So….lots of TV.
I strongly recommend Better Things, a scene from which is in the YouTube video above. It’s a smart comedy-drama with remarkable acting and a very strong soundtrack. The music placement is genius.
Other shows I finally got around to and loved: Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Ozark, Dead To Me, Never Have I Ever, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Big Mouth, and The Good Place. If you like reality TV, I recommend Love Is Blind, The Circle, Dating Around and Love On The Spectrum.
I also recommend these easy Pizza Burgers that are packed with flavor and taste like summer.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt or garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 hamburger buns, toasted if you like
Pizza sauce, warmed
Sliced mozzarella cheese
1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef and spices then shape into 4 patties.
3. Place burgers on the grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. (A covered grill helps reduce flare-ups and allows for more even cooking)
4. When burgers are almost done, top each with a slice of mozzarella and cook until cheese melts.
5. Serve burgers in buns with a spoonful of pizza sauce and a sprig of basil.
I always have Shazam open when I watch Better Things as there is usually a few banger tunes per episode that I am unfamiliar with.
One such is this blissful song by Jason Nutter & Jesika von Rabbit.
“Joshua Tree” closes out the second episode in season 4 of Better Things. The song, which I had never heard before, gave me instant chills and could not have been more beautifully paired with the moment in the show. I wish I had that video clip to share.
Check out Jason Nutter & Jesika von Rabbit here and here. You can buy the music here.
“This Livens Up The Day” is new from Las Vegas-based band Rhythm Affair. I love lead singer Kevin Deon’s deep, comforting delivery woven with the beautiful back up vocals that emphasize the song title.
“You didn’t care about me yesterday
when all my hope was just slipping away”
I saw this recipe all around my social media feeds in March when everyone started staying at home and baking a lot.
Two ingredient bagels! No yeast! No boiling!
I finally got a chance to try the recipe out for myself. I started making the bagels at 6:30 am and just after 7 am my family got to dig in. So quick, so easy and so good.
My kids remarked that it took a few bites to get used to a subtle sweetness in the bagels (no doubt from the yogurt), but we all gave them a thumbs up.
Two Ingredient Bagels
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup self rising flour
1 large egg
pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon water
Everything bagel seasoning mix, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc
1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and yogurt. Knead the dough until it is smooth.
3. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Shape each portion of dough into a ball. Use your thumbs to make a hole in the center of each ball. (I rolled my dough into a log and then joined into a bagel shape so they are kind of misshapen. Forming the ball and then poking a hole will make a more traditional looking bagel.)
4. Arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Mix together an egg wash by whisking the egg, salt, and water in a small bowl until smooth. Brush the egg wash over the bagels. Sprinkle desired toppings over bagels.
Today I’m referring to the song “Happier” from Paula Sedlacek’s new EP ‘Stars Get Brighter’. Paula just graduated from my town’s high school and is an amazing singer/songwriter. I’ve been mesmerized with her voice since I first saw her perform at a school concert.
I adore “Happier”, but do go and have a listen to the other 3 tracks on the EP. Every song is incredible.
Normally, to get inspiration to start this post, I would type something like “funny graduation” into a search engine and scroll through the images, gifs and videos.
I have a fabulous sense of humor, but I cannot find anything funny about all of the students around the world who have missed out on the traditional events in their senior year. Their parents are hurting, too.
That’s why there’s that video of a bird getting his dance groove on. Funny.
I am heartened to see so many schools coming up with unique ways to celebrate graduation and make it special for the seniors. Definitely a challenge in these weird times.
If you have a senior in your life, here is a cheerful cupcake you can make to salute them.
Graduation Cap Cupcakes
1 (16.25 oz.) box cake mix prepared (I used red velvet)
24 cupcake liners (your school colors)
2 (16 oz) tubs vanilla icing
1 cup chocolate chips to melt and use as “glue”
24 Ghirardelli squares (I used dark chocolate raspberry)
24 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
24 red M&M’s candies
1 bag Cherry Twizzlers pull ‘n’ peel candy
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Prepare cake mix and bake as directed on the box for cupcakes. Set aside to cool completely.
3. Using a piping bag fitted with a 2A round tip, pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes.
4. Pull Twizzlers apart into individual ropes. Cut each rope into 2-inch long pieces. You will need 48 pieces (two for each cap).
5. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on high for 1 minute then stir until melted. Pour into a small re-sealable plastic bag. Cut a tiny hole in corner of the bag.
6. Unwrap the chocolate squares and peanut butter cups. Place all the peanut butter cups upside-down on two trays. Squeeze a little melted chocolate on top of each peanut butter cup and place a chocolate square on top to create the “cap.”
7. Use a dab of the melted chocolate to attach the M&M candies and Twizzler “tassels” to the top of each “cap”. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate has set.
8. Top each frosted cupcake with a graduation cap.
Note: If transporting the cupcakes, do not place chocolate caps on top of cupcakes until you arrive as they may slide off while being moved. Instead assemble at your destination.
These songs are up for listening purposes and only for a short period of time. Like what you hear? Then please support the artist and buy the music. If you're an artist or label who wants the song taken down, please let me know.