Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Dinner - Melody's in town!

My good friend Melody is in town working for a couple weeks and we were thrilled to have her over for dinner last night! She is the most creative person I know and incredibly talented and artistic. She's painting elaborate murals in four different children's rooms of this enormous church that will be opening soon here in Kirksville. It's going to be gorgeous. I went over to help her paint on Saturday and I'm not sure I was any kind of help at all. She asked me to paint a couple of angel fish on her "Under the Sea" mural and right away I realized I had no clue what I was doing and called out, "Melody, help!!"

I wanted to make her a delicious meal so I went searching for newrecipes and here's what I came up with:

The pumpkin pasta was a risk, I have to admit, but it turned out pretty good. I had warned Bobby that there was going to be pumpkin on his pasta on the way home from church and he told me not to worry. He forgave me in advance for making a disgusting dinner. P-shah! Whatever, Mr. "Can I have another helping of that delicious pasta?" :) I couldn't decide between the two desserts so I made them both. I love two desserts with Sunday dinner. Skip the salad, add a dessert. That's my Sunday dinner mantra.

Only I kind of blew it on the grape tart. I found the recipe in this month's copy of Martha Stewart Living, and I guess they don't add those to the website right away. I'd rather not take the time to scan the picture of how it's really supposed to look. It tasted amazing, though. I may try it again to get the presentation right. I had the wrong-sized tart pan and tried to pull it off with a pie plate and the top crust fell apart. Which wouldn't have really mattered except I had punched little holes in the top with the underside of two pastry tips to look like a bunch of grapes, hence the whole reason I wanted to try the recipe in the first place!

The other dessert was The Pioneer Woman's Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce. Wow. WOW. That was so good that apparently it has rendered me speechless. I have no words.

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

1 cup flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (one stick) butter, cut into bits
5-6 cups, peeled, sliced fresh peaches
Juice and grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
2 T. maple syrup
*Maple cream Sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in
medium bowl. Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture is the
consistency of coarse meal. Place peaches in 9-inch square baking pan or smaller
baking dish. Gently mix in lemon juice, rind and maple syrup. Top with crumb
mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake
20 to 30 minutes more or until top is crisp and brown. You might want to broil for
a couple of minutes to ensure good color. Serve warm with maple cream sauce.

*Maple Cream Sauce

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
5 T. maple syrup
3 T. light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in heavy sauce pan; cook over moderate heat, stirring
constantly until thickened and reduced by 1/3, approximately 20 minutes. Chill.
Drizzle generously over Peach Crisp.

Penne with Pumpkin Rosemary Cream Sauce (I added grilled chicken to this dish)


Serves 4.

* 12 ounces penne rigate (ridged), or other short pasta
* Coarse salt
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
* 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 cup half-and-half
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
* 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)
3 chicken breasts, seasoned and coated with olive oil, then grilled and sliced across the grain


1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
3. Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add pasta and chicken to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.

When Julia, Annie, and I ate at that Greek restaurant on my birthday, Julia and I could not get over the asparagus they brought out. It was scrumptious. This was my attempt to recreate that. It wasn't quite the same, but still a big hit.


Sara said...

Your meal looks great - I always stock up on pumpkin this time of the year and then end up looking for new recipes to use it all up!

Mandi said...

How do you guys not weigh 300 pounds?! As good and as much as you cook! That's so fun Melody came! We miss you guys!

Jillyboo said...

how do you do it? And why cant we live by each other so that I can invite ourselves to dinner?

Kristen said...

Happy Birthday! Your night out at Wicked sounds like a perfect way to celebrate.

Heidi said...

You are way too good of a cook! I wish I would experiment more. but my husband likes the same things every week... NOT FUN! Everything looks so so YUMMY!!!

Holly Moore said...

Seriously, please adopt me into your home. Please. I promise I will help with the cooking. (=

Erin said...

No way - I made this peach crisp from the Pioneer Woman tonight! It was FANTASTIC! I loved it!! Now I want to go take another bite....

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