Cabin Fever Epidemic

If you live in the mid-Atlantic. you simply cannot believe your eyes when you look outside - SNOW EVERYWHERE! We had about two feet of snow this past weekend, and today, in the blizzard of 2010, we had another two feet or more. I was outside helping my husband shovel today when I met this lovely snow lady all bundled up in a quilt. I expect she is enjoying this weather.

I did make forward progress on Olivia's quilt today - I have now finished quilting all of the geometric shapes. This is a big quilt, queen size, and I think I need to surrender it to a long arm quilter to complete the background. You can get a taste for the design in this photo - the inspiration for the design was a mobile the shapes have a very 3-dimensional appearance.

Dinner - I like nothing better than spending time in the kitchen when trapped by a winter storm. Thing is, after the snow melts I am going to need some serious time working off all of the extra calories I've eaten. I actually think I am going to focus on healthy eating next week - a recipe a day for a low calorie meal - I hope to have the menu together soon, complete with a shopping list. For tonight, I'll let you guess what I'm cooking up --- if you guessed Linguine with clam sauce --- you're right.

Not just any linguine, home-made linguine. I use the recipe from Marc Vetri's cookbook, il Viaggio, it is the best pasta recipe I have ever used - calls for 9 egg yolks! The recipes in the book are based on the menu from his restaurant Vetri ( in Philadelphia. I had the pleasure of having dinner at Vetri - an unforgettable experience! I've tried many recipes in Marc's cookbook, every one has been exceptional!

Making pasta is so easy. One hint - always weigh your ingredients to achieve the best results. I use my Kitchen-Aid mixer to combine the ingredients and then knead the dough by hand. I have an Impreza pasta roller / cutter which makes quick work of handling the dough - no motor for me - I need some physical exercise - cranking the pasta cutter is the least I can do!

I dry the pasta on one of our wine racks - works better than the pasta rack I have. When I double the recipe I use my laundry drying rack to dry the pasta.

This was the finished dish - linguine with a simple pantry clam sauce. I added mustard greens to the sauce - I love the flavor of mustard greens in soups and sauces - it is the most flavorful of the "greens".

I also sauteed some fresh baby artichokes with shallots, garlic and grape tomatoes for a quick side dish. You can see below how I process the artichokes - simply remove the tough outer leaves, trim the tip, slice in half length-wise and scoop out the choke. After processing be certain to place artichokes in acidulated water (water with lemon juice added) to prevent browning.

Enjoy the blizzard!