Tag Archives: pasta

Restaurant Review: Masseria dei Vini Fine Italian Dining

pasta duo cover photo by gail worley
Pasta to Die For (All Photos By Gail)

Do you like Italian food? I sure do.  Since my favorite neighborhood  place closed before Covid, and Arthur Avenue is a long haul if you’re not already in the area,  I’ve been looking for a restaurant that strikes the perfect balance of location, service, atmosphere and, of course, delicious food, to steal my heart away. Little did I suspect that I would discover a new favorite Italian place in the excellent Masseria dei Vini, conveniently located around the corner from my office. Win win! Continue reading Restaurant Review: Masseria dei Vini Fine Italian Dining

New Plant-Based Pastas from Explore Cuisine!

Explore Cuisine Packages Display
All Photos By Gail

There is no denying that Pasta is a popular go-to ingredient for creating quick, versatile and delicious meals to please any palate. For Pasta Lovers who may have had to eliminate this tasty staple from their diets due to a gluten intolerance, there are now many gluten-free pasta options on the market that make it possible for everyone to indulge. Explore Cuisine has a line of organic pastas made from beans and other plants that are a great place to start when you want to prepare a tasty, healthy meal for yourself or your family. Take a  look at a few of the super quick and easy dinners that I’ve recently prepared for myself with Explore Cuisine Pastas and absolutely no advanced planning!

Edamame Spaghetti Package

I bet that you had no idea that Edamame, familiar to most as the little green soybeans that everyone likes to nosh on before the meal at Japanese restaurants, can be use to make some of the most delicious pasta you will ever taste. Explore Cuisine makes a few different varieties of Edamame pasta, including everyone’s favorite; spaghetti.

Edamame Spaghetti Package

Edamame Spaghetti can be used in all of your favorite recipes as a substitute for wheat-based pasta. You might find that you like it even better, and it’s good to know that Explore Cuisine’s Edamame Spaghetti contains nearly half of your daily protein and fiber requirements in just one serving!

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

I made an easy and scrumptious Primavera by adding frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand, and tossing the pasta in butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Edamame Spaghetti Serving Suggestion

Then I covered it with cheese, which is how I like my pasta!

Chickpea Fusillii Package

Explore Cuisine also specializes in a line of Pulse Pastas; a term that may be unfamiliar to you. Pulses are part of the legume family, and the term ‘pulse’ refers to the dried seed. Dried peas, dried beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, antioxidants, and low in fat! This where Explore Cuisine’s Organic Chickpea Fusilli comes in.

Chickpea Fusilli

Chickpea Fusilli is a healthy and delicious mealtime choice that contains only four organic, whole food ingredients. This pasta also contains 11g of protein and nearly 20% of your daily dietary fiber requirement per serving. With its soft and supple texture, and mild taste, Chickpea fans will be in Heaven!

Chickpea Fusilli Serving Suggestion

Since this pasta is a bit more sturdy than the spaghetti, I topped it with Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs and jarred sauce. Delicious and satisfying!

Red Lentil Penne Package

Red Lentil Penne is also a pulse pasta. With the smooth texture of flour pasta and the benefits of lentils, the Red Lentil Penne is a fantastic choice for any penne based pasta dish. Comprised of only two ingredients, Red Lentil Penne pasta is  protein rich  and a good source of fiber. Organic, gluten-free and free of GMOs, it’s pasta reinvented!

Red Penne Pasta Serving Suggestion

Here is the penne topped with a light tomato vodka sauce and a dollop of creamy cottage cheese (you could also use Ricotta, if you had that on hand). Out of this world delish!

Explore Cuisine Packages Display

Explore Cuisine’s Italian style pastas were created in the Apulia region of Italy, which is famed for being the home of pasta. Explore Cuisine worked side by side with pasta masters and professional chefs to deliver the authentic taste and texture of the best Italian pasta but made with the goodness of chickpeas and lentils.

Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods, and get recipes, at This Link!

Product Review: Explore Cuisine Pasta

Explore Cuisine Pasta Boxes
All Photos By Gail

Do you like pasta? I sure do. One exciting thing about being a pasta fan is how innovative foodies and culinary experts alike are continually coming up with new recipes to make pasta a healthier, better-for-you meal choice, especially if you happen to be on a gluten free diet. At the recent Summer Fancy Food Show, I was introduced to Explore Cuisine pastas, which are made from variety of different kinds of organic beans. The folks at Explore Cuisine were kind enough to send me a couple of varieties to try at home, and happy to say that these pastas are fantastic!

Red Lentil Penne Pasta Box

Founded by Joe Spronz, Explore Cuisine products are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and kosher, ensuring your health and igniting your taste buds! These delicious bean pastas contain nearly 20-25 grams of protein per serving and are low in carbs and sodium while simultaneously containing a high fiber content. With Explore Cuisine, you’ll experience the incomparable taste of pasta with all the benefits of nutritious beans! I tried the Red Lentil Penne for dinner earlier this week, and it exceeded my expectations.

Red Lentil Penne Drained

A friend of mine who is an excellent Italian chef once advised me that pasta cannot be held to strict boiling times when cooking, and experience has shown her advice to be right on. But with this pasta, the suggested cooking time (8-10 minutes) on the back of the box is a pretty accurate if you don’t want the pasta to get overdone (and I like my pasta on the tender side). Just keep an eye on the clock, is all I’m saying.

Red Lentil Penne with Sauce

Here it is, all plated and topped with Trader Joe’s Bolognese Sauce and a grating of cheddar cheese, which I love on my pasta as a change-up from the traditional hard Italian cheeses. Explore Cuisine Red Lentil Pasta has a distinctive and very satisfying flavor of lentils.  And, unlike many gluten free pastas I’ve tasted, it maintains an appealing bite and mouth feel. This pasta is an excellent quality product that anyone should be proud and excited to serve to their family.

Red Lentil Penne with Sauce

Here is close-up of my quick and delicious meal! So yummy!

Learn more about Explore Cuisine foods (they also make rice-based pasta, and soups, among other items) and get recipes at This Link!

Easy Pasta Carbonara Featuring Jones Dairy Farm Cherrywood Smoked Bacon!

Jones Diary Farm Bacon
All Photos By Gail

Hello and welcome back to another enlightening episode of Cooking With Gail, a post where I make a delicious dinner from stuff I already have in my house. Today we are making a super easy Pasta Carbonara featuring Jones Dairy Farm Cherrywood Smoked Bacon. Bacon is something I like to keep on hand when possible, and recently I was sent an assortment off tasty meats from Jones Dairy Farm, including several types of Sausage, Ham Steaks, Canadian Bacon and, of course, the Cherrywood Smoked Bacon pictured above. What I am trying to do is use these meats in ways that differ from the standard manner of just cooking them up for breakfast with a side of eggs. While Pasta Carbonara does include both Bacon and Eggs, you will be surprised at how fancy these ingredients can taste. Fancy!

Raw Bacon

What you will need to make Pasta Carbonara ala Gail for one is:

Three or more strips of raw bacon (I like to cut it in half for easier cooking)

One egg (beaten)

Margarine or butter

Pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)

Cheese (optional)

Beaten Egg

While the pasta cooks in boiling salted water, cut the bacon in half, if desired, and fry it up until crispy. Beat the egg well and set aside. Lay the cooked bacon on paper towels and then, when cool, break it up into smaller pieces.

Crumbled Bacon

You may be thinking that Bacon is Bacon, and that all Bacon is created equally delicious. I am here to tell you that this is not necessarily the case. Jones Diary Farm Cherrywood Smoked Bacon cooks up quickly and gets very crisp, because it has an excellent balance of fat to meat on each strip. I do not know if that is owed to their superior butchering technique, or if they have magic pigs, or what. I just know that when I say I like my bacon cooked until it is “stiff, like little boards,” this is what I am talking about.

Another stand out quality of Jones Dairy Farm Cherrywood Smoked Bacon is the slightly sweet taste that is infused in the meat from the mild Cherrywood smoke. The flavor is distinct and noticeable immediately on your fist bite. I really love it.

But let’s get back to the Carbonara Prep!

Hot Pasta and Butter

Return the cooked, drained pasta to the pan and add butter or margarine to taste, to add flavor and keep the noodles from sticking together. Next, add the beaten egg a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to blend and let the hot pasta cook the egg into a smooth, sauce-like consistency. In this case, it’s all in the wrist. At this point, you can add some grated Parmesan cheese, if you like. You are almost done, and ready to eat a delicious, home cooked meal!

Pasta Carbonara Finished Dish

Plate the Pasta and add crumbled Bacon on top! So easy, so quick and so darn good! Make sure you have a glass of your favorite red wind on hand to accompany this fine dinner!

Get more information about Jones Dairy Farm meats, get recipes and find out where to purchase them in your neighborhood, at This Link!

Roth Introduces New Flavored Raclette Cheeses!

Roth Mediterranean and 5 Peppercorn Raclettte
All Photos By Gail

Do you like melty cheese? I sure do. You might recall that back in February I attended the Winter Food Fete, where I was introduced to Roth Raclette cheese, and thus began a new love affair with most delicious melty cheese I have ever tasted.

In addition to their original, Montanella Raclette, Roth has introduced three new flavors this Spring, including Mediterranean – with garlic, black olives & sundried tomatoes – Five Peppercorn, and Roasted Garlic. Holy Cows Milk!

Here’s a bit of insight as to why Raclette is such exceptionally delicious cheese: by combining Swiss traditions and the finest Wisconsin milk, Roth creates each flavor variety of Raclette cheese – which is characterized by a firm texture, pale-yellow color and scattered small openings.

Roth Raclette Melting

Roth Raclette has a mildly nutty and distinctive, aromatic flavor that intensifies when heated – which makes Raclette ideal for melting. At Food Fete, Roth Cheese Representatives served samples of the Raclette is its meltiest state, on small rounds of bread after heating it briefly in tiny iron skillets. Seriously, it was cheese heaven.

Roth Mediterranean Raclettte

Obviously, I asked to receive samples to review for the blog, and they were happy to oblige. Over the past weeks I have been especially enjoying the Mediterranean variety, as I find that the addition of Olives and Sundried Tomatoes enhances some of my favorite foods on which I enjoy eating melted l cheese.

Raclette Cheese on English Muffin with Sausage

On a chilly Saturday afternoon I made this lunch of melted Raclette on a toasted English muffin, served alongside a grilled chicken apple sausage. It was the most delicious lunch. You almost cannot do better than this. It follows that Raclette makes insane grilled cheese sandwiches.

Roth Raclette on Pasta

I enjoy eating pasta and it is easy to make at home. Raclette is an ideal substitute for the standard go-to pasta toppers such as mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

Raclette Cheese on Meatballs

Raclette crumbles very well; good to know if you do not feel like washing your cheese grater (hereon.biz electric cheese graters guide can be a useful one). Here are some meatballs I made with sauce and Raclette cheese crumbled on top. Delish!

The bottom line is that Raclette is simply delicious cheese and you surely will be thrilled with its taste and texture should you choose, like me, to just be a cheese purist. If you care to be a bit more adventurous, however, Roth’s website has lots of delicious recipes for cooking with Raclette cheese that you can explore at This Link! Buy Roth Raclette Cheeses online or find a retailer in your are Right Here.