Hello to all! I wanted to say to you all how much your kind comments mean! It’s great to hear from you and I am so happy that you are enjoying the Haley Powell Food and Cocktail Mysteries. Just a note “Death of A Country Fried Redneck” is scheduled for release this Nov. 13 so mark your calendars for another wild adventure with Haley and don’t forget to enjoy a cocktail and recipe found below! xo Lee Hollis
White vs. Wheat
I love pasta in every shape and texture, with any type of sauce – olive oil, garlic, red sauce, white sauce, everything. But as hard as I’ve tried, I’m having a hard time making the switch from what I call “regular” pasta to whole wheat.
I went out quite awhile back and bought a few different shapes of whole wheat pasta with all the good intentions of turning over a new leaf and switching everyone over to the healthier way of eating pasta. But with my kids I have to trick, conceal, beg, cajole and actually resort to the (when they were younger) just-try-one-bite method.
My youngest is one of those who does not like to try anything new at all. He grew up on chicken, applesauce, oatmeal, peanutbutter toast and lots plain pasta shells. Also, to my absolute horror, while the other two and I will try any kind of homemade macaroni and cheese – because nothing is better than throwing every kind of cheese into them, the more the better – he only like the boxed generic brand of mac and cheese from the grocery store, and still does.
So with whole wheat pasta, I knew my hardest challenge would be finding pasta recipes that would at least get tasted. I started out with fettuccine and made my homemade fettuccine sauce. I was actually giving myself a pat on the back for this one because I figured the white cheese sauce would cover the pasta pretty well. It would be a done deal! I had everything worked out.
Number one: I asked if he minded watching a movie while he ate – that was so he wouldn’t be paying attention to what was on his plate. He’d glance and see it was fettuccine; and to ensure he didn’t look closely, I implemented number two – I dimmed the lights. OK, I actually turned them off. What better way to watch a movie? And number three: I completely lulled him with a loaf of his favorite bread that I make.
So all was in place and I got everything together with a little extra sauce to cover any brown showing on the whole wheat pasta. I gave him his plate and all was going well as I pretended not to be watching him eat. He twirled the fettuccine on his fork was bringing it up to his mouth (I actually was holding my breath) … and then it happened
My daughter burst into the kitchen, apparently looked at the pasta in the pan, and bellowed (why she can’t just ask in an indoor voice, I don’t know) “Why is the pasta brown?!”
Well, you can see where this is going. My son stopped, stared at the pasta, scraped at the sauce, put the fork down, and asked, “What is this?” At that moment I just gave up, stalked into the kitchen, threw my daughter a glare, and started to concoct a cocktail for this week – which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I’m sure you will too!
1.5 ounces blueberry-flavored vodka
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 ounce tonic or soda
Squeeze of lime
Shake and strain all ingredients into a chilled martini glass. For summer guests throw 3 or 4 fresh blueberries in for fun.
Here’s a pasta recipe that I love.
Gemelli Pasta with Asparagus and Pancetta
1 pound thin asparagus trimmed & cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound gemelli pasta
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, sliced into thin strips (make sure they’re separated)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and blanche for one minute, or until bright green. Scoop asparagus from water with handheld strainer and refresh under cold water.
Bring water back to boil add and cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
While your pasta cooks, heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and most of the fat has been rendered – about 7 minutes.
Add asparagus and bell pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Tossing everything until asparagus and pepper is crisp and tender. Remove from the heat.
Drain pasta and reserve one-half cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with freshly ground pepper. Mix until combined. Add water and cheese.
Serve immediately with extra cheese. I love this.