Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Houdini Trick

Since returning from a dog heaven vacation Bella has had a few adjustments to life back in the suburbs. She spends a great deal of her time gazing out the window checking for passing by wildlife and pond activity. Believe me this past week there has been a lot to see.
One morning within a time span of just half hour 3 deer pranced by, an otter carried a dead rabbit across the the pond's waters and in front of the house a turkey strutted by the driveway's edge. I can assure you Bella did not miss a single one of these sights and began to plot her escape.
The next day I hooked her up out back on a tether to do her business. I left my window post for only just enough time to get a cup of coffee. Upon return I was aghast! She had simply vanished. But how could this be? She had been secured tightly with her collar to the tether chain. And there lying on the ground was her orange collar with tags still secured to the chain. Now this seemed like some Houdini type of trick to me. She must have just slipped out of the collar (which I thought was tight enough) and off she went in search of something that she really wanted to catch.
Fortunately this mishap had a happy ending. I stocked myself with dog treats and began my search in the neighborhood for a collarless dog. Bella showed up after awhile several blocks away and seemed totally unfazed by all the fuss. To her this was just one more excellent adventure!

PS. Houdini was a magician, escapologist, stunt performer and actor. He died in 1926 from a ruptured appendix. I posted a picture of his ostentatious grave site.

Primavera means "spring" in Italian. The name refers to the crunchy and colorful melange of vegetables in a creamy pasta dish. There are many variations of this pasta but I found this one easy to follow and quite good. If you are vegetarian substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. Also I choose to roast the vegetables first rather than cooking them in boiling water. Roasting gives a more intense flavor. A variety of pasta can be used when making this dish. I used penne.
Check out the May issue of bon appetit. They have made some major changes in their format/design and type of articles which give you advice, tips and the stories behind the recipes. The entire issue is devoted to Italy.

  • 1 package of mushrooms
  • 1 small container of cherry tomatoes or four large tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil 0r 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 TB. lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 TB. herbes de Provence
  • 2 cups green beans cut in half
  • 1 cup bias sliced carrots
  • 1-1/2 cup fresh asparagus cut in 2 inch long pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli or cauliflower
  • 12 oz. fettuccine, linguine, vermicelli or spaghetti
  • 1 small red or yellow pepper
  • 1 small zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 TB. Balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 TB. flour
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat oven to 450 and line a cookie sheet with foil
  • Lightly grease foil with olive oil
  • Toss cut up vegetables except mushrooms with 3 TB. olive oil and 1/2 TB. lemon juice
  • Roast 15-20 minutes until tender (al dente)
  • Cook pasta- drain and add vegetables to hot pot with drained pasta- cover both to keep warm
  • Saute in 2 TB. olive oil and 1 TB. butter minced garlic, mushrooms and onion about 5 minutes
  • Add herbs. vinegar and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat.
  • In a small bowl add flour to whipping cream and then add it to broth/herb mixture
  • Cook and low heat till thick adding 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese at a time to blend in
  • Pour sauce over vegetables and pasta-toss gently to coat
  • Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts

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