Sunday, December 16, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas Break

As I am sure everyone else is, I am disgusted by the horrific school shootings in Connecticut. When I heard the news, I had just dropped off my students at the buses to go home for the day. I always hug each one of my little ones before I put them on the bus, whether they like it or not. But when I heard this news, I wished I had hugged each one a little tighter for a little longer. 

I am awe of the courageous stories I am hearing of the teachers who were so brave in protecting the lives of their students. All I keep picturing is my little babies with frightened faces looking to me for answers. I know my babies are going to have so many questions on Monday morning, and I pray that I have the courage to answer them. I do not want this tragedy to cause them to be scared or feel unsafe at school, a place where they should feel the safest. It breaks my heart to think of this. 

I am going to hug my little ones constantly tomorrow.
All teachers know that the week before Christmas break is one of the craziest and most exhausting. However, it is also one of the most fun and exciting. Especially in elementary school, as they still have the excitement of Santa and the love of Christmas. 

I wrote this poem with the help of my kiddos last week. I've assigned each child a line, and I will record them reciting the poem to show to the parents at our Christmas party on Thursday. I have to say, this poem is pretty hilarious and they LOVE it.

All you teachers out there can certainly relate...

2C's Twas the Night Before Christmas Break

Twas the night before Christmas break,
And all through 2C,
Not a student was quiet,
Especially not sweet Kassidy.

The homework was turned in to the basket by the door,
In hopes that Mrs. D wouldn't assign anymore.
The children were restless, not listening to Mrs. D,
Not even quiet Patricia or sweet Pressley.

Arguments were starting: "I was here first," shouted Sandra Gail,
"No, I was!" replied Mason, "I'm going to tell!"

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Everyone jumped out of their seats to see what was the matter.
And what do you think their sweet little eyes did see?
Mrs. D throwing a tantrum screaming, "These kids are driving me CRAZY!"

Her eyes--how they bulged. Her face grew so red,
Makena declared, "I think Mrs. D has lost her head!"
"What should we do?" asked May, "Our teacher is sad."
"You're right," said Colby, "She really has gone quite mad."

Mrs. D's tantrum continued as she started to sigh,
"Oh Gavin! Oh Tripp! Oh Madison and Eli!
Why won't you listen and do as I say?
Why won't Samuel and Gracie simply obey?"

"I know what to do," said Reagan while Mrs. D's eyes continued to bug,
"What Mrs. D really needs is a big, giant hug."
Will agreed, and so did Gabby,
Then Caleigh said, "I know something else that will make her extra happy."
"We all need to listen and do what we should."
"Yeah," agreed Serenity, "That will make Mrs. D feel really good."

So they all marched outside, with Sam leading the way,
"Excuse us Mrs. D, but we have something to say.
We've been kind of naughty, we know this is true,
But we promise to listen and do what you ask us to do.
We'll be good at home, and listen to mom and dad,
We know on Christmas day, that will make them really glad.

Mrs. D's face brightened, and her eyes started to clear,
Her students had told her exactly what she needed to hear.

And they heard her proclaim, as her eyes filled with tears,
"Merry Christmas, my sweet students, and a happy new year!"

Sunday, October 28, 2012


If you watched the Carolina vs. Tennessee game yesterday, then you saw the terrible injury received by our beloved Marcus Lattimore. 

Marcus is a wonderful person, a great role model, an inspiration to us all...and he just happens to be one of the greatest running backs in all of college football.
After suffering a terrible knee injury last season, there was speculation that it was career-ending and he would not be returning. And if he did return, he wouldn't be the same player as before.
He proved everyone wrong by his incredible work ethic and his undying faith in the Lord. He came back just as strong.
He's had a great season so far, and then this happened. I was at the game so I didn't see the slow-mo, up close of the hit that caused his injury. And I cannot bring myself to watch it, even though we have the game recorded. My friend and I cried in Williams-Brice Stadium yesterday. We cried for Lattimore's pain and we cried as we watched one of the most amazing examples of true sportsmanship displayed for Lattimore on the field.

I am praying so hard for Marcus, his family, and his teammates. This isn't even about football, this is about a great guy who deserves all the best in life and in his career. Please pray that he recovers and is able to continue his career. No matter what the outcome, God will continue to use Marcus in ways we can't even imagine. 

We love you, #21.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall means pumpkin bread and football

Well, hello there.
I'm back. 

If you're a long-time reader(and by "long-time" I mean about a year since I'm still pretty new at this) you know how much I love Fall. If you're a new reader, well, I love Fall. 

And, finally, the temps here in Charleston are lowering and it's starting to feel like Fall. And I'm loving every bit of it. Even standing at the door of my trailer learning cottage every morning greeting my kiddos in the crisp 50* chill is amazing. As long as I have my Pumpkin Spice coffee in hand, I'm one happy teach. Speaking of "learning cottage", I still owe you a "finished product" picture of my room. I'm actually pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's small and isn't perfect, but it's cozy and welcoming which is all I hoped for. I'll get on that picture after I clean my desk :).

Well, speaking of teaching and Fall, a few weeks ago I was completely burnt out and grouchy. I love my job, but you teachers out there know how stressful it can be with all the "extra" stuff that gets piled on our plate. So, what did I do to regroup and recuperate? Took a personal day and baked. What did I bake, you ask? Pumpkin Bread for my wonderful second grade team.

I was so excited to get in the kitchen and bake up some mini-loaves when I realized I didn't have eggs. Simple solution: Drive the 5 minutes to the store to buy some eggs. 
Lazy solution/my solution: Look up a recipe that does not require eggs.

And I stumbled upon this recipe from Joy the Baker. Her version is vegan, mine is not. She uses oil, I used Greek yogurt (hence the "non vegan" change).  Everyone said how much they loved it!

makes 2 loaves, or 4 mini-loaves

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree
1 regular size Chobani apple-cinnamon Greek yogurt 
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour loaf pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a medium bowl, carefully whisk together pumpkin puree, yogurt, maple syrup and water.
Add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold all ingredients together. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well. 
Divide the dough between the 2 loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (30-35 minutes if using mini-loaf pans), or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. 

I hope you all are enjoying Fall as much as I am! 

And, I leave you with some images of my favorite thing about Fall...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Senegalese Chicken Soup

It's finally a Tasty Tuesday post! And this one might be one of the best ever. 

I had a craving for Thai and this soup did not fail. Please don't let my terrible photo deter you from making this amazing soup!

Senegalese Chicken Soup
adapted from

1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup curry powder
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 quart chicken stock
1 quarte diced tomatoes with juice
1 deli rotisserie chicken (or 4 cups cooked chicken), shredded
3/4 teaspoon red chili paste (found in the Asian foods section in your grocery store)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 (14 ounce) can lite coconut milk
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
lemon juice, to taste (I used to juice of one small lemon)

1. Saute onion, garlic, and cayenne in oil until onion is translucent in a large stockpot.
2. Stir in curry powder and curry paste; saute 1 minute.
3. Add chicken stock and tomatoes in juice; bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add cooked chicken and red chili paste; simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Whisk in peanut butter a little at a time until incorporated; add coconut milk and stir to incorporate.
6. Turn soup to low and add cilantro and lemon juice; check seasoning.

I am telling you...this soup is restaurant quality!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prayer Requests Needed

A family member of mine was diagnosed with leukemia in the spring. He is a sweet 12 year old boy who likes to go deer, dove, and duck hunting and bass fishing with his dad. He has a family who loves him and friends who miss him. He had a normal life of a typical middle-school boy until his diagnosis. Since then, he's been through ups and downs. He's had rounds of chemo, made it to remission, only to be re-diagnosed.

He keeps running fevers and his white blood cell counts are very low. His chemo treatments cannot be given until his blood cell counts get higher. 

Please keep him in your prayers. 
I don't usually post such personal information on here, but I believe in the power of prayer. So, if you're reading this post, please take a few minutes in your day to send up a prayer for Dylan.

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
Mark 11:22-24

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I am alive...

sort of.

I mean, I am breathing, so I am alive in that way. 

But, I. Am. Dead. Tired.

Teaching a new grade level, implementing new common core standards, walking 3 miles every day at work (literally...I've clocked it. that's how far my trailer is from everything), and waking up at 4:45 every morning after going to bed at 11:30 every night has completely worn me out! I'm just waiting for it all to slow down. But who am I kidding...we all know that it NEVER slows down!

I will say that I am LOVING second grade. I would say the biggest adjustment for me right now is the difference in the maturity level from third grade, but I start each morning with my Joyce Meyer devotional and I swear, it reminds me take deep breaths and show patience and love with some particularly challenging/whiney little ones through out  the day...well at least until dismissal which is crazy every day. We'll get there. WE WILL GET THERE.

I promise I will do a real post one day. I am not even going to say it will be soon, but it will happen again one day. 

Today, however, I slept until 9:00 (4 1/2 hours later than a typical week day), I am enjoying my coffee in my PJ's with College Game Day playing on the T.V. And I plan on staying on this couch, in my PJ's, with something other than coffee in my hand, while I pull on my Gamecocks and 12:20! And I will love every minute of my laziness! Even if I am working on SmartBoards while watching. 

And tonight, I get to do this...
Can't wait to celebrate with Megan!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Teaching runs in my family. My great-aunt ran and owned a Kindergarten/preschool for 30+ years on Park Circle in North Charleston back when my dad and all of his cousins were growing up. My great-grandmother was a high school English, Latin, and Algebra teacher, and later wa an assistant principal. My aunt taught school as her first job, my mom is a Pre-K teacher and has been my whole life (she even created part of the Pre-K curriculum at her private school!), and my brother is a high school teacher. 
I guess you could say it's in my blood!

I remember the DAY I decided I wanted to be a teacher. It was after the first day of school my second grade year. Why second grade? I loved my teacher, Mrs. Cole, from day one. She epitomized what an elementary school teacher should be: she was strict, but also let you know how much she loved you. She was funny. She was a great story-teller. She gave the best hugs. She let you know when you were wrong, but also encouraged you when you were right. 
She made learning fun. 

So, ever since Mrs. Cole, I've not only wanted to be a teacher, but I have always wanted to teach second grade. I've done the Kindergarten thing, and quickly realized I didn't have the patience for the little ones, although I do miss their precious little faces sometimes. More power to you Kindergarten teachers! I've taught third grade for the past 4 years now, and I've loved it, but it still didn't feel like my best fit. Well, this year one of our fabulous second grade teachers was hired to teach a reading recovery program at the high school level, leaving an opening. As soon as I heard this, I was on the phone with my principal expressing my interest in the position. And....2 weeks later...I got the job! I could not be more excited for this new adventure and experience in my teaching career! 

Of course, with the grade level change, more changes are coming my way. Common core standards, new reading program, and a new (well kinda new) classroom! That's right...I'm moving from my shiny, white, lovely, and quite large room inside the building into a "learning cottage" (a nice way of saying trailer). Actually, I am not upset with this. It is the exact trailer I taught in my first year at my school, so it almost feels like coming home. 

However, I am going from this...

to this.

Quite the change. I am having to be really creative in the set-up in order to incorporate all of my favorite displays in the smaller space. There are some things that I am just NOT willing to give up! I know it will come along just fine, even if I'm still putting on the finishing touches 10 minutes before "Meet the Teacher" night! 

Wish me luck, and stay tuned for the finished product!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tasty Tues--Sauteed Okra {& Bachelorette Recovery}

I am very lucky to have some wonderful cooks in my family, and my Aunt Nita is definitely one of them. 
Aunt Nita and me at my rehearsal dinner
She made this okra for dinner last week when we were visiting Tybee Island, and I loved it so much I called her up for the recipe/method to make it for dinner last night. 
Andy had 3 servings. 
What I love so much about this recipe is you still get the crispiness like you do in fried okra, but you actually taste the okra instead of fried batter. Plus, it's so much healthier. Have any of you tried oven-fried okra? Well, I have and did NOT like it. I love fried okra, and I might even go so far as saying that I like this version even better. You must try it! These measurements are more like "guess-daments"so just play it by ear when you make it.

1 lb. okra, rinsed and cut in pieces 
(not that I am accusing any of you of not washing your veggies, but you canNOT skip this step because the wetness from the rinsing is what will make your "batter" stick)
*Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1.  After rinsing your okra, cut it into about 1/4 inch pieces, discarding stems, and place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a small bowl. Add to okra and stir to coat. I only used about half of the mixture. You only need enough to lightly coat the don't want it to be too battered.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it smokes. Add the okra and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

*I used about 1 teaspoon or 1 1/2 teaspoons of Paula Deen's "House Seasoning", which is good on everything! 
Here is the recipe for it: 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder.
 I keep it in an airtight container in the spice drawer and use it on just about everything...especially good on roasted potatoes!

On a side note, I am still recovering from a fun weekend in Wrightsville Beach, NC celebrating this girl's bachelorette. We had waaaay too much fun!
A few of us decked out in our neon to celebrate with Megan!
Poolside! The bride-to-be is the one in the ginormous sombrero! And notice her blow-up groom-to-be chillin' in her lap!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--"Back in the Day Bakery"

Yes, I am indeed alive and well. I have about 2.5 minutes to sit down and blog! I am almost out the door for a few days with my family on Tybee Island! This will be my first trip to Tybee and I am so excited!

To make up for lost time, this Tasty Tuesday post will include 2 recipes from my new favorite cookbook, Back in the Day Bakery.

Oooh, I just had an idea. Maybe I can swing by the actual Back in the day Bakery on my way back from Tybee since its right in Savannah! Yes, yes that will happen. Here are the two recipes I've made from the cookbook so far, and both were so good.

1.  Lovely Lemon Loaf
you will need a crazy amount of lemons for this---like around 15-20. I'm not usually even a fan of lemon cake, but this just looked too good to pass up. And it is amazing--so moist and tart and sweet at the same time.
For the Loaves
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1/3 cup grated lemon juice (from 6-8 lemons)
1 cup fresh lemon juice

For the Lemon Soaking Syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
lemon zest for sprinkling (optional)

1. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter and flour 2 9x5 in. loaf pans.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (5-7 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
4. Divide batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the loaf pans firmly on the countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool the loaves in the pans for about 10 minutes before unmolding.
5. Meanwhile, to make the lemon soaking syrup: Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often. Once the sugar dissolves, continue cooking the syrup until it turns a deep golden yellow, about 5 minutes.
6. When the loaves are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Poke holes in the cakes with a skewer and pour lemon soaking syrup generously over each cake. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
7.  To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until smooth and  creamy. Pour the glaze over the tops of the loaves and allow the glaze to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with lemon zest. 
Cakes will keep at room temp for 4 days wrapped in plastic wrap.

2.  Chocolate Chip Cookies
I made these when my family was visiting a few weeks ago and they lasted half a day--all 24 huge cookies were gone. I've made a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes, and this one beats them all.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
Fleur de sel for sprinkling (or just coarse sea salt)

1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, vanilla, and both sugars on medium sped until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs and mix for no more than 1 minute; the eggs will not be fully incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chunks, beating until just combined, abut 1 minute.
5. Use a large ice-cream scoop of a 1/4-cup measuring cup to form the cookies and pace on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Lightly tap each cookie with the palm of your hand and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt. (To me, this is what makes these cookies so good!)
6. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges but till light in the centers. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I have so much to tell you guys about what's been going on around here over the last few weeks, including a big teaching announcement, but it will have to wait until after my Tybee trip! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer-Style Shrimp & Grits and Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Here is the recipe I promised for the lightened shrimp and grits. This is the meal we watched at the Charleston Cooks demonstration class. This is actually 3 recipes in one: Shrimp and Grits, Shrimp Stock, and Creamy Stone Ground Grits. You probably want to get started on the shrimp stock and grits first (finish the grits up to step 4, then just before serving complete step 5).

Shrimp and Grits
Serves 6

2-3 bacon slices, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons blackening seasoning
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells for shrimp stock recipe)
1 ear corn, shucked and kernels cut off cob
6-8 okra, sliced into rounds
8-12 grape tomatoes, halved
1 recipe shrimp stock (see below)
2 tablespoons butter

1.  Place bacon in a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until light golden brown. Add the garlic and onion to the pan and saute until onion is translucent.
2. Add the blackening seasoning to the pan and saute in the bacon fat until aromatic. Next add the shrimp (in one layer if possible) and allow them to sit in the pan untouched for one minute. Do no stir.
3. Add the corn, okra, and tomatoes to the pan and stir to incorporate. Add enough shrimp stock to cover shrimp about halfway.
4. Bring the stock to a boil, and reduce sauce slightly. Turn off heat and fold in the butter to finish.

*The okra is still crispy in the recipe. If you prefer your okra cooked longer, add it with the blackening seasoning.

Shrimp Stock
Makes about 2 quarts stock

2 tablespoons butter
shells from 1-2 pounds shrimp
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sprigs of parsley
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
5 whole coriander seeds
7 black peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine
about 1-2 quarts water (just enough to cover)

1. Place butter in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add shrimp shells, and cook until the shells are pink and just starting to turn golden brown.
2. Add tomato paste through peppercorns to the pot and continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the white wine to the pot (mixture will boil up vigorously), and cook until wine is reduced to almost a syrupy consistency.
4. Add enough water to the pot to barely cover the shells, and bring water to a simmer.
5. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, and strain through a fine strainer. Throw away shells and vegetables, reserve stock (do this over the sink!)

Creamy Stone Ground Grits
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup stone ground grits
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Hot sauce, to taste

1.  Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Add the grits and stir until the grits are light brown and toasted.
3. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring or whisking often, until grits are thick, about 20-25 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to low and add the cream. Cook, stirring or whisking often, until grits are thick again, about 10-15 more minutes.
5. Remove the grits from the heat. Add the cheese and hot sauce. Stir to combine. Season with salt and more hot sauce to taste.

I hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July today! We decided not to brave the crowds at the beach, and are having a low-key day at the pool instead.

My fingers and toes are ready to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beat the Heat!

Tasty Tuesday is postponed until tomorrow, but I promise the recipe I'm sharing with you will not disappoint: Summer-Style Shrimp and Grits. Go ahead and make sure you have fresh corn, okra, and cherry tomatoes on hand for this yummy recipe!

Instead, here are some of the ways my family beat the staggering Charleston heat this weekend. Andy's parents and brother, Matt, were in town visiting during the HOTTEST weekend in Charleston, yet. Matt has been in Rome, Italy for the last 2 years studying to become a Catholic priest, and we haven't seen him at all in those 2 years. Needless to say, it was a great reunion and was so good to see him!

Here are some of our tips to beat the heat...

Take a cooking class at Charleston Cooks!
Summer-Style Shrimp & Grits

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Go antiquing and purchase a lovely new hutch for your dining room

Pick out paint colors for the house
Dining Room color is the one on the top: Restoration Hardware "Stone"
Sea Salt: Living Room and all "open areas"
Oyster Bay: Kitchen

Drink lots of these
Perfect Margraitas: 1 can frozen limeade, 12 oz. tequila, 24 oz. diet sprite, 1 beer

Eat lots of these

Chocolate Face!

Run through a sprinkler

Drink some Sambuca straight from Italy. 

Take some guitar lessons

Go see a movie

Or just snuggle on the couch with a sweet pup

That's how we beat the heat this weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and, hopefully, an extended holiday weekend!

Remember, come back tomorrow for the recipe for the shrimp and grits!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tasty Tuesday--Pasta with Baked Cherry Tomatoes

This pasta was so light and tasty. The perfect pasta side dish, or main course, for summer. The recipe is from the Food and Wine, Best of the Best Vol. 13 cookbook. Chef: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot
1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 pound spaghetti, gemelli, or penne
10 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 ounces ricotta or ricotta salata

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350. Toss the cherry tomato halves in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle over tomatoes the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper flakes; toss well to coat evenly. Pour the tomatoes onto the parchment-lined sheet, and spread them apart in a single layer. Bake until the tomatoes are shriveled and lightly caramelized (but not dried out), about 25 minutes in all.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with salted water, and heat to a rolling boil. When the tomatoes are nearly done, drop the pasta into the pot, stir, and return the water to a boil.
As soon as the pasta is cooking, our the remaining olive oil into a big skillet, set it over medium-high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic. Cook for a minute or two, until it is sizzling and lightly colored, then ladle in about 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, and bring to a vigorous boil, stirring up the garlic. Let half the water evaporate, then lower the heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and keep the sauce barely simmering.
As soon as the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven.
When the pasta is al dente, lift if from the water, drain for a moment, and drop it into the skillet, still over low heat. Toss pasta quickly with the garlic and parsley sauce in the pan, then slide the baked tomatoes on top of the pasta. Scatter the basil shreds all over, and toss everything together well, until the pasta is evenly dressed and the tomatoes are distributed throughout. Turn off the heat, sprinkle on the grated cheese, toss once more.
Serve the the shredded ricotta all over the top.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

I've been pretty lazy about posting. I mean, one recipe a week and nothing else? Pretty bad considering it's summer and I'm not working. So, I'm going to do my best to play catch-up and fill you in on what's been going on around here for the last two weeks, or weekends, actually. 

Last weekend we had a wedding in Greenville. It was absolutely beautiful. The bride, Erin, was a friend of mine from college, and we spent our first year teaching together. The groom, Bullet (there's a great story behind this nickname but I won't get into it), has been a friend of Andy's since little league soccer. 
They actually met at our wedding 3 years ago!

Cocky was at the Rehearsal Dinner! 
The Tiger was, too, as Bullet is a Clemson grad, but we won't talk about that.

You may kiss your bride!

Tri Deltas

With Andy's parents

Father's Day was that Sunday after the wedding, so before heading back to Charleston, we had a yummy and relaxing brunch on the river in downtown Greenville to celebrate with Andy's dad.

And then we stopped in Summerville to grill out at my parents' house to celebrate Dad's day a little more with my daddio and brother.

And of course cutie-pie Lucy

So, that was last weekend. Let's move on to this weekend. Friday night we enjoyed dinner at our favorite place, Zia, with our friends Rob and Abby, and then they came over to our house to watch the Gamecocks beat Arkansas to advance to the College World Series finals! 
I love this picture!

And Saturday was the most fun day of all! We spent the day at the Kiawah dog beach with Megan & Cameron, Emily & David, and all the doggies--Birdie, Brady, Gracie, and Bennett. Once we hauled all of our stuff a mile to the beach, we had a great time! 




Where Bennett spent most of the day...chillin' on a chair.
Megan & Brady, Emily & Gracie, Me & Birdie

Emily, Birdie, and me on the way home after a long day in the sun!

So that's me playing catch-up. 
I hope you all enjoy your week! 

P.S. Go Gamecocks!