Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My new favorite comfort food

I don't post pictures of food - even though I am something of a photographer. Why, you ask?  The short answer is my house is "vintage" but not "antique".  No big windows or bright interiors.  The peeps and I withstood seven months of interior renovations which did, indeed, brighten the inside. The small windows and many trees, however, inhibit indoor photography.

For my Etsy shops, I set-up my own make-shift light box, but that doesn't work out so well with food.  I take pictures, but don't like them and don't use them.  I've thought about shooting outside, but since it gets dark so early that isn't really an option these days, and I'd have to fed off cats and chickens on the picnic table.  And it's not level. Which is why we don't eat outside.  Viscous cycle.

For the time being, you'll have to rely on my taste buds and truthful love of food to convince you whatever I'm suggesting is good.  And tonight, the Night Before Thanksgiving I give you Baked Brie w/ Pasta.  If you can afford it, buy the best brie available - it's worth it. If you're like me, a foodie on a super tight budget, go to your local supermarket and buy the only brie they have (I think I might just be the only person to buy brie at my local supermarket, judging by the dryness when I opened the package). Adding EVOO, garlic, and herbs is like magic and will make it more than palatable - it will make it difficult to stop from eating the whole wheel! Trust me.

This is a Ministry of Food recipe from Jamie Oliver that is meant to be shared. The original calls for the delectable Camembert, but you can not find it at the Food Liar in Hillsborough, NC. I omitted the spinach simply because I didn't have any on hand.  I am a big fan of greens and think they should definitely be added if you have them - or are planning ahead.


(serves 4-6)
- a box of Camembert Cheese (250g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
- 400g dried rigatoni
- 150g fresh spinach
1. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back to the wooden container (Note: mine did not come in a wooden container so I placed it in a oven safe dish like what you see in the photo).
2. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.
3. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.
4. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.
5. Bake the cheese in a preheated oven of 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until golden and melted.
6. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.
7. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan – it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.
8. Drain the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt.
9. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.
10. Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted Camembert on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.

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