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Starting The Year Off Right

Happy New Year everyone! I have a good feeling about 2013!

I have a tendency to think I'm not worth the trouble when it comes to cooking nice meals for myself. There's also the element of cooking for one that seems to make good meals less appealing. I decided to change that and celebrate New Year's Eve with a good meal. I had some shrimp in the freezer so I set out to find a recipe that called for shrimp and linguine. I found one on Martha Stewart's website that was for one person. Perfect! I started my meal with some dill harvati and crackers and ended it with some chocolate bread pudding. My recipe for bread pudding is perfect for one person - it makes two individual cups and the second one saves for another day very easily. I've also tripled the recipe to feed six.

I wanted to share the recipes with you all and I thought photos would be nice to go with them. Please excuse the amateur quality of the photos - I'm still getting the hang of this blog thing.

Here is the brand of dill harvati I had. I love this cheese, it is so buttery with just the right hint of dill.






The Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine was wonderful! It was so simple that I could make it on a weeknight and I think the pasta would be good without the shrimp.






Ingredients
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 ounces linguine (about a 1/2-inch-wide handful)
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Red-pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet, melt half the butter over medium. Add garlic and pinch of red-pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high; add wine. Cook until reduced by 1/3, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; swirl in lemon juice and remaining butter. Add pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with parsley.
     

    If you'd like to see the original recipe, it can be found at http://www.marthastewart.com/312760/linguine-with-shrimp-and-white-wine


     
The chocolate bread pudding recipe is one a friend made for me years ago. The recipe came out of Cooking Light. Here is a link to the recipe online, where the photo is much better than the one below. It is does taste better than it photographs. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-chunk-bread-puddings-10000000421669/



Here's the recipe.

Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding

Serves 2

1 3/4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Hawaiian sweet bread
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp. Kahlua
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted.

Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes up to 4 hours.

Divide 1/2 mixture between two 6 oz. ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray, sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of chocolate. Divide remaining mixture; top with remaining chocolate.

Place cups in 8-in. square baking pan; add 1-inch of hot water. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.



So there you have it - my wonderful New Year's Eve meal. I typically spend the evening with a group of friends but we didn't gather together this year. Spoiling myself with an awesome meal was just what I needed to ring in the new year on my own. It was a great way to start off 2013.

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