2014 October

    Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto Zucchini Pasta With Homemade Pesto

Does anyone else have a meal that they think of as their “Birthday Meal”?? Yes, I capitalize “Birthday Meal” because it was always such a big deal to my family. Why is it that what we eat on our birthday matters so much? To be honest, I’m not sure but what I do know is that each and every year I have a happy belly. Although it is nowhere near my birthday I couldn’t kick the craving of wanting my mom’s pesto sauce, and being that I don’t live with her anymore it was up to me to try and re-create it. This time there was a little bit of fun, because I put the sauce on zucchini noodles– another one of my attempts to go healthy. Lucky for me making these noodles are fun!

You really start to know you are getting older when can pass up your favorite clothing store, but the minute you walk by a William Sonoma or Sur La Table you stop and stare with your jaw dropped at the window. When you find yourself spending your shopping time watching the live demonstrations by the William Sonoma employees, rather than trying on fun, fabulous clothing… let’s just say you know things are changing. To no surprise folks, this is the sad story of my life… I can really see my age creeping up on me and it’s a scary thing. Very scary, except when watching one of those live demonstrations turned me on to my new favorite kitchen toy: Paderno Spiralizer. Being healthy just got crunchy, tasty, and fun!

Ingredients:

2 Zucchini’s per Person
1 Package Cherry Tomatoes
1 Bushel of Basil
1 Small Jar Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic
2 Cups of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Pine Nuts
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

How to Make the Pesto Sauce: Use a food processor. I have to admit that making this sauce is really a balancing act. I did not use direct measurements, nor does my mom when she cooks. Taste along the way and make it an adventure!

– In the food processor add about 5 cloves of garlic
– Pulse
– Add small jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
– Pulse
– Add basil– you can use entire bunch, it will help even out the taste of the garlic
– Pulse
– Add a few shakes of salt, more pepper than salt and a hand-full of pine nuts
– Pulse
– Add olive oil to give it the consistency you would like! I typically like mine thicker and less runny, but that’s up to you! Usually around 1 cup of olive oil.
– Pulse
– Add 2 cups of parmesan cheese
– Pulse– you may add more olive oil after this and pulse again to make thinner.

How to Make Zucchini Pasta: Use your William Sonoma Paderno Spiralizer to create the most perfect spiral zucchini noodles you have ever seen. Put noodles into a large non-stick sauce pan on medium heat. These usually take 10 mins or less on the stove.

– Add cherry tomatoes diced in half to the pan of zucchini noodles right away
– Sprinkle with olive oil– be sure to not add too much. Zucchini tends to shed a lot of water when being cooked
– Add salt and pepper to the noodles, only use a dash of salt because the sauce has a decent amount in it already
– After the noodles have been on the stove for about 8 minutes add the pesto sauce and let the noodles cook for 2-3 minutes longer.
– Take noodles off heat and serve!

Super easy, super healthy, and super delicious. I know many of you may think that you are sacrificing major taste when you give up pasta noodles and substitute it with zucchini, but you really aren’t. The zucchini noodle gives you the same satisfaction and in some ways I like them better than regular noodles. The crunch makes them more fun, the zucchini adds great flavor to any type of sauce you dress it with and lets face it… we all get satisfaction out of feeling like we are using the healthy alternative. I hope you give my mom’s pesto sauce a try and check out this great spiralizer (William Sonoma should be paying me for this or something…). I have had so much fun with it. Wow, really I should be getting paid…. Most importantly don’t forget to drink a nice glass of red with your meal!

Let me remind you, all food tastes better with wine and company. 

Cheers,

Aly

    Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo

I have a new favorite street in the city– well a section of a street at least. A street lined with cable car tracks, wine bars and itty-bitty restaurants just waiting to be discovered. Yes, my favorite streets in the city revolve around food and drinks; what can I say, I’m a hungry girl. Hyde street in Russian Hill has pleasantly surprised me over and over again with some of my favorite places– don’t worry many of those treasures will soon be shared on this blog– so you can only imagine my curiosity when a new wine bar opened up.  As I sat in a window seat of this establishment it was clear to me that I wasn’t the only person in the neighborhood curious about the new open doors. I felt like a fish in a glass bowl as I was looking out at the dozens– upon dozens– of eyes that stared back through the glass just wondering what was inside. I’m excited to let all these curious eyes know, I can solve the mystery about what was inside the windows on Hyde, just keep reading.

The ambiance was cool and urban with a seductive mood in the dim lighting, all of this only enhanced by the open atmosphere. The menu is short yet full of great cheese, meat, wine pairings, appetizers, and small sandwiches. As simple as many of the dishes may look, they offer complex preparation and great flavors. Union Larder may just have to be my new hangout spot. Not to mention, they have a nice upscale grocery section, what more could we ask for? What will my other favorite Hyde street hangouts think when they see me always in here? I encourage you to go with friends or with a handsome date like I did and enjoy the night. Start here, end here, it’s up to you.. just make sure you GO here. Here’s a few must-haves I picked off the menu:

What We Ate:

Oysters- with Fresno-chil mignonette
Best sauce to marinate an oyster with, I couldn’t get enough of it. Matter of fact… I didn’t, I’m going back for more ASAP.

Burrata- cream filled mozzarella, basil oil, acme crustini
Simplistic. Perfect. Delicious. Best part: they are not scarce on the cheese, not that you can have more than you need but you get a lot.

Raclette-melted Rolf Beerler Swiss Raclette cheese, market potatoes, Cornichions, fresh herbs
Cheesy goodness. The pickles offers an exciting zing to your taste buds.

What We Drank:

Brouhaha-Pinot Gris- Paso Robles
Light, crisp, refreshing with subtle citrus flavors.

Poco E Poco- Pinot Noir- Russian River Valley
A deep pinot with a level of boldness, rather than a light fruity pinot. Aka, much better.

Infrared by POE-Cabernet Sauvignon- Napa
D E L I C I O U S. Big bad red. Can’t get enough.

 

If I haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again: get over to Union Larder before everyone ends up there. You can say you “discovered” it, like I know you all will– who wouldn’t? If you do one thing, get that Infrared, a few glasses to be safe.

 

Cheers,

Aly

 

For more info here’s an article about Union Larder on Eater SF

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