Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

The last year was full of great experiences:

  • Orlando

  • Colorado

  • Running

  • Eating

  • Laughing

My goals (or should I say intentions?) for 2014 are to have more of the same, with regards to exercise, food and laughter, with a little travel thrown in for spice. There's no telling how the year will ultimately end up, but really, the journey is what's important.

So far, we've been enjoying the journey with great music courtesy of our new Sonos music system. It's a wireless speaker system that is controllable via an iOS app, and can play music from various sources. Our current favorite is Dave Brubeck radio via Pandora. This, coupled with a good book (at this moment mine is Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin and his is Stewart O'Nan's The Odds) and comfortable living room furniture makes for an incredibly relaxing way to spend an evening.

We're also enjoying some great food, like a new recipe we tried for dinner last night, a dish inspired by the crab trofie pasta from Bluestem:


Bluestem-inspired Crab Pasta
Servings: 4
Weight Watchers Points+: 15 per serving

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c. white wine
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 c. half and half
1/2 c. 1% milk
12 oz trofie pasta
6 oz fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, fennel, and garlic and cook until the shallots begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and tarragon. Continue cooking until the liquid has been reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the half and half and milk and turn the head down to medium-low. Continue to cook until the cream sauce is reduced by half, 10-12 minutes. Strain the cream sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the aromatics. Return the cream sauce to the stove in a small saucepan and bring it back to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the sauce to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender. Drain the pasta well.

Add the pasta, crab, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan to the cream sauce, stirring until the cheese has melted evenly. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the pasta among four bowls. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon of panko crumbs and more grated Parmesan.

We cut some fat by replacing what was heavy cream with half and half, and whole milk with 1%. We also eliminated prosciutto from the dish, but seasoned with salt and pepper throughout cooking. The end result was decadent without being too heavy. We served it with roasted broccoli, which has become a favorite side dish in recent months.

This weekend we will be doing our best to stay warm, but will still get out and about for culinary adventures and exercise at the gym. We're running our first 5K of the year at the end of this month (the Children's TLC Groundhog Run) and we're both hoping for good times, in more ways than one!

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