Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Paczki Day

(Image from Emily's Bakery)

So, have you heard of Paczkis? I had never heard of them until a couple of my friends talked about them on Facebook. Well, today is the day, kids. It's Paczki Day! I ate my first Paczki at Emily's Bakery in Hastings, MN. Here's a bit of the history of Paczkis straight from Emily's website:

"These round, sugar-coated, fruit-filled Polish pastries were served up annually on the day before Lent, a period of abstinence observed by Roman Catholics."

"The New World version, like the old, begins as an extra large doughball, rich in egg yolks and deep fried, just like a donut. Each is then overfilled with raspberry, strawberry, custard, lemon, peach, creamcheese or the traditional filling of prune. Then they are topped with a smooth sugar glaze or rolled in fine granulated sugar."

My son also enjoyed his very own chocolate cream filled paczki.  Needless to say, the kid loved it. (thankfully he wasn't able to finish it).  :)  I hope to make this an annual tradition.  I hope you will too!  After all, it is Fat Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli

Mmmm...warm soup on a cold day, nothin' better.  Ya know what makes it even better, this recipe is easy and fairly good for you.  It doesn't call for meat of any kind, but you could definitely add some pancetta or regular bacon.  A sprinkle of parmesan cheese and you have a wonderful bowl of soup.  And believe it or not, the Self Professed Nerd liked it and asked me to make it again (miracle of all miracles).

This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart Everyday Food and as it states in the description, this is more of a stew than a soup.  I adapted it to my taste and for the ingredients I had on hand.  I would recommend using a higher quality pasta, it just tastes better.

Here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 celery stalks, diced medium
2 carrots, diced medium
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup small pasta, such as Mezzi Tubetti
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
4 strips bacon, fried and crumbled

In a medium heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 9 minutes. Add oregano, tomatoes, and broth. Increase heat to high and simmer rapidly until liquid thickens slightly, 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook, partially covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add beans and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bacon.

For the recipe as originally written:
 Pasta e Fagioli - Martha Stewart Recipes