The day before we went up to the Grand Canyon, we volunteered at our downtown walk, Meet Me at Maynards. It’s a lot of fun, and we really like helping out, because it encourages people to get out and see downtown Tucson. When we volunteer, we like to bring just a little something for our fellow volunteers. We know we don’t have to, by any means, but we think it’s a nice thing to do, and it gets us to try new recipes.
Since we liked the Lemon Dill Risotto with Peas so much, we decided that we’d try doing something similar with pasta. Specifically, a Lemon Dill Fettuccine that we had the other night along with some peas and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. It made for an easy, flavorful dinner that took only a few minutes to whip up. You can make it, too; it’s not difficult to make pasta dough.
If you make risotto as often as we do, you’ll know exactly what to do from the title alone. You’ll know the basic ingredients, and all the steps to make a Lemon Dill Risotto. Even so, we suggest that you continue reading, because we have a small culinary trick that you might not know about. We don’t normally use this particular trick, because we almost always have some sort of broth on hand, or at least the vegetables to make some quickly. This time, when we decided on risotto, we’d just had some soup, using all our vegetable stock. What did we do?
Since Thanksgiving is coming up and we know we’ll be having some nice crusty bread, we decided to make a compound butter — basically, butter with other ingredients incorporated. What better to mix in for T-day than cranberries? Plus, perhaps some walnuts. So, we looked around, with the goal of finding the proportions of each ingredient.
Eggplant puzzles us. When we pick up one (or two) as part of our CSA share, we just place it in the crisper bin, and spend several days trying to figure out what to make. We always think of something; depending on the season, it might be Ratatouille, or perhaps, Eggplant Gnocchi, or even Crispy Eggplant Strips. It seems to grow well enough that there’s always more eggplant to use, someway, somehow.
When we were on vacation last month, we planned part of it to allow us to stop in at Hell’s Backbone Grill (HBG) for lunch one day. This isn’t a place you think of 15 minutes or so before you want to eat, because it’s not just around the corner (well, for the people of Boulder, UT, population about 225, it might be, but, for pretty much everyone else, you really have to think about getting there). It’s pretty much out in the middle of nowhere in southern Utah, with only stunning landscapes nearby. We selected it as a stop because, the way they make and source their food is the way we believe everyone should try to do: local, sustainable, seasonably, and with care, thought, and passion. We weren’t disappointed. While waiting for our meal, we noticed HBG has a cookbook coming out, and, the card seemed to indicate that they’d published one prior. When we got home, we checked our library, and, sure enough, the book was in the collection! We checked it out immediately.
We call these Betterfingers because we think anything you make at home is bound to be better. For one thing, it’s fresher; for another, you control the quality of the ingredients and choose the best you can afford, while manufacturers choose the cheapest they can get away with. So, how exactly do you make these Betterfingers? Read on.