What to serve for dessert was one of those topics during wedding planning that we put off dealing with purely because we just didn’t have the answer. The scene of a bride and groom tightly holding a knife with all four hands and looking into each other’s eyes as they gently push down to cut into their all-white wedding cake is incredibly lovely, especially when they then take pieces from said cake, feed them to each other and miss, but laugh about it. Awwww – it’s an incredible moment! But that was just so not us.
Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than finding, and then perfectly executing, an easy recipe that not only impresses with its good looks but also tastes delicious. The first time I made this recipe I thought I got lucky – it was so easy to make it taste so good. On my second try, I made this recipe quicker than the first time and accused myself of cheating. By the third go, I knew this recipe was one for the books!
In fact, pronouncing the word “orecchiette” was the only hard part about this dish.
Also, can we just talk about frozen peas? Before this recipe, I wouldn’t touch the things. But now I’m obsessed. I add them to everything because they are so convenient and easy. I love easy, can you tell?
Pesto Orecchiette Lamb Sausage
Adapted from Real Simple, by Charlyne Mattox
1) I almost didn’t make this because I had never heard of “orecchiette”. I found it at The Vegetable Connection on Brunswick Street but now I spot it in every single supermarket. 2) With recipes, 88% of the time I change a thing or five in the steps and/or ingredients section. With this recipe, I only changed quantities to make enough for two. 3) Charlyne’s original recipe is made with chicken sausage but I had lamb sausage sitting willing and able in the fridge.
1/2 bag (225g) of Orecchiette
10 green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch piece
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces fully cooked Italian-style lamb sausage links, thinly sliced
Pesto, to taste/preference
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or as much as you like!)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and vegetable and return them to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the sausage, pesto, parmesan and some of reserve cooking water to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine (ass more cooking as needed to loosen the sauce).
I have to admit that I am not one those people who like you based solely on your health benefits. I love you for you, and I have for a long time. I was that weird girl middle school, with terrible curly bleached hair, politely answering back to her mom, “Yes, mama. I will have the wild atlantic salmon tonight and I will have the skin extra crispy. Please and thank you.”
See, I’ve always loved the way you taste. You are strong and poignant, in a class of your own. I even like the way my house smells of you for at least 24 hours after I’ve pan-fried you to perfection. The thing is though, I’ve only ever made you two ways: pan fried or oven baked, always with salt and pepper.
It’s my own fault, but I’m afraid our relationship has gotten, dare I say it, a bit boring. I began wasting minutes in the fish section of my grocery store looking down at you, sitting there next to the dull colored trout, trying to come up with exciting ways to reignite sparks in our relationship. So I did what any woman would do in my position: I went on Pinterest. Within three minutes I came across a recipe to caramelize you. I didn’t read the recipe the whole way through. I was too excited. As soon as I read that there were only three ingredients, all of which already took up residence in my cupboard, I closed my laptop and got to work.
You don’t need to be scared, you only have to keep being yourself. I’m only adding one additional ingredient to spice up our relationship: Brown sugar. And that’s only because you’re so sweet. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be flirting. I have a husband now.
No, Salmon. I’m not trying to change you. Just think of the brown sugar as self tanning lotion. Everyone looks better with a little of a tan and Summer is just around the corner.
How To Caramelize Salmon
This is too easy! So easy that I’m probably doing something wrong, but! it tastes so good that I don’t care. I’ve always wanted to experiment with my cooking but end up talking myself into sticking with what I already know because recipes seem to hard or too involved. This is such an easy way to change things up!
What you’ll need:
2 fillets of Salmon, skin on is my preference
A simple side salad
Lay the salmon flat and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Then, rub brown sugar into both sides of the salmon with your hands.Let the salmon sit for a bit until the sugar starts to melt and create a dark coating. Place your pan over medium heat with a little oil on it. Rub the coating into the salmon a little more and you’re ready. Then, pan fry the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side, twice. (I like my salmon well-done.)
The sugar coating will begin to bubble on the pan. That’s totally normal. I like to run the salmon through the coating on the pan for extra deliciousness.
And that’s it!
I know what I want for Christmas.
No, that doesn’t mean that I think Christmas is all about presents. It just means I KNOW it’s a tiny, little bit about that. I so enjoy buying a present for someone that totally and completely excites them. And who am I to stand there, arms crossed, looking all grinch-y and say that getting a present for myself is silly? This is Australia’s silly season after all.
Now that I’ve completely justified it to myself – I’d like to ask for another cooking class at The Social Kitchen, please. And thank you.
This past Saturday was my first.
Parking at Queen Victoria Market is easy at 9:30am and finding your way to the all-black, pop up cooking school is even easier – head towards the corner of Peel and Victoria Street and you’ll spot it. Make your way through the sliding glass doors and you’ll be greeted with a smile, a name tag and a request for a coffee order.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the room is beautiful. Straight out of the set of a cooking show, except better because there are no cameras, lights, or audiences crowding the room. It’s just you, your new friends (“I swear I’m not looking at you boobs, I’m just trying to read your name tag”), the fresh food from Queen Victoria Market, the kick-ass Fisher and Paykel appliances and your chef.
Half the fun of the class is the chef. The Social Kitchen offers a full range of classes and a full range of chefs to choose from. We’re not talking any old chefs, we’re talking the heads of the most delicious restaurants in Melbourne. Our chef was Keith Jackson. He is a hands on, do it to taste, do-what-you-want-as-long-as-it-tastes-good type of chef and I absolutely loved it. Keith danced from cooking station to cooking station making sure we were heading in the right direction with our recipes. He didn’t even get angry when I burnt the meringues courtesy of the white wine I couldn’t stop consuming. It was about 10:30am.
What I loved most is that we didn’t just have fun trying to follow recipes, we learned valuable things. For example:
- The correct way to chop onions (I went home and tried it that very night and did not cry one tear. Jack was very impressed.)
- Simply chopping a garlic will not do a thing, you must smash it to pieces and then do what you will with it.
- MSG is not all bad, it’s the fake MSG that gets you because, okay, there is MSG is parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce, and anchovies.
- We cannot taste salt past a certain level in the air.
- Scones are actually the perfect meal.
- I desperately need a new kitchen with all Fisher and Paykel appliances.
I’m sorry I’m bombarding you with information, but I just had SO MUCH FUN that I needed to share. In the end we made strawberry bruschettas, pan seared Duck in shiraz with garlic spinach and raspberries, and a deconstructed smashed pavlova. YUM!
I wish there was some sort of monthly membership to The Social Kitchen. It would be such a better gift to give myself than only one class. Oh well, I just really hope I like it.
Pan seared Duck, Shiraz and Raspberries recipe after the jump!