Blue cheese, affectionately referred to as bleu at my house, is the starring ingredient in what has become a mainstay in our dinner repoirtoire: Fettuccine with gorgonzola.
The recipe that I have been using comes from this fabulous cookbook, a gift from my sister a couple of Christmases ago. It’s ridiculously easy to prepare and even ridiculously easier to eat. It’s a great meal for this crazy and hectic period in our lives between Christmas and New Year’s, the winter solstice and Boxing Day, cocktail parties, yoga classes, coffee dates and drinks at the bar… If you catch yourself at home and needing to fix dinner, give this one a try. I like to serve it with a salad of mixed greens, spinach and arugula with a simple vinagrette of stone ground mustard, freshly squeezed lemon and olive oil, and a baguette or hearty loaf from Madison Sourdough Co. Yum.
_________________________________________________This receipe comes from Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”
Fettuccine with Gorgonzola
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
8 ounces Gorgonzola, broken into chunks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or milk
Salt and freshly milled pepper
12 ounces fettuccine
Start heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile, set a large bowl with the garlic, cheese, butter and cream over the pot. As the water heats, the butter and cheese will soften. Don’t worry about lumps of cheese- the heat of the pasta will smooth everything out. When the water comes to a boil, remove the bowl and salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until done. Drain, add it to the cheese, and toss everything with a fork and sppon until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Taste for salt, season with pepper and serve on warmed pasta plates.
*Or two, if you are anything like Dan and me (hungry)
If you are a pork eater, you can find Dan’s list for Madison’s best meals featuring pork here. We’ve been invited to Merchant tonight so that Dan can try the pork pozole (I will be indulging in the golden beet borscht, thank you) so there may be an update to that list coming soon. I also discovered what surely will be my dad’s new favorite blog, a beautifully-photographed celebration of the day’s most important meal, breakfast.
I fully intend to indulge in a healthy breakfast tomorrow morning before my yoga class and coffee date, but only after my evening run, visit to Merchant and beers with my sister at Natt Spil. It’s a fun time of year.
On a recent rainy (football) Saturday, Dan and I ventured right into the belly of the beast; the eye of the storm. I had a hankering for miso soup and cupcakes and no crazed badger fans nor a lack of parking for a 3-mile radius was going to stop me. We negotiated the sea of red and white with my station wagon as our trusty vessel and headed straight for Monroe Street. Our destination? Macha Teahouse. We miraculously found a parking spot and sloshed our way (opposite the crowd) through the puddles and into the dry and warm tea lounge.
Despite what you may have heard,* Macha Teahouse is not owned and operated by the black belt and civil engineer-former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, Ken Macha. But it is run by these friendly folks. We were greeted immediately upon entering and directed to take a look at the chalk board menu of teas. The selection may seem a little overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. Dan prefers his tea coffee-flavored, but I like to embrace my Scottish roots and drink tea occasionally, especially in the afternoon (it’s tea time!). We ordered a variety of black tea, two cups of miso soup and a dark chocolate and zucchini cupcake. Our host inquired if it was our first visit to Macha, which it was Dan’s- I had once ordered an iced tea to go a couple of years prior which I felt validated my comment, ‘Oh no, I have been here before’ (after living in a tourist destination for several years I have a heightened sensitivity to coming off as a gaper). But because it was Dan’s, we also had a few tea cookies thrown in with our order to sweeten Dan’s first visit.
The atmosphere at Macha is serene…
I love manatees.
We took our tray upstairs to a room painted pink where we sat at a low wooden table with pillows as our seats.
Our tray came with a sand-timer hourglass that kept track of the minutes that our tea was to steep in its shiny ceramic black pot. I recommend that you feel free to use this time to discuss your favorite storyline from ‘Days of our Lives,’ which leads me to the first-ever poll featured on Wisconsin Fun Next Exit.
Thank you for participating.
As soon as our tea was ready to drink, our timely host arrived with our miso soup. I opted for a scoop of rice in mine, and it also featured shiitake mushrooms and bok choy.
The soup was hot, healthy and it hit the spot. It was just what I was looking for after a few nights of holiday weekend indulgence. The tea warmed the soul and the chocolate cupcake was nothing short of divine. The thai basil lemon tea cookies were also a welcome addition.
I look forward to returning to Macha and sampling more teas and cupcakes. That Saturday it was a much-needed rejuvenating late lunch that gave me just the boost of energy that I needed for sticker shopping at Orange Tree Imports (a rare but favorite pasttime of mine).
Happy tea drinking.
*Okay, so that was the rumor that Dan and I tried to start.