{recipe} homemade basil fettuccine with cherry tomatoes + lobster.

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making your own pasta is undoubtedly one of those labor of love things, and if you have the time and interest to devote to it, it is beyond worth it. i tried it for the first time, a while back, before my kitchen aid mixer days, and it was basically a disaster. (yes, i still ate it). but since then, i’ve procured a trusty stand mixer and the pasta roller attachment, tried (and failed) a few more times, found a recipe that works for me, figured out how to troubleshoot a few common pasta issues, and even learned how to make it by hand a little better, too. (but don’t do that if you have a mixer and/or aren’t an italian grandma). i’d even say that i’ve officially moved out of the “i will suffer through making this because i know it will taste so good” phase and into the “i actually enjoy doing this let’s pour wine and turn on the record player too” phase.

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so a couple weekends ago after just having lamented that we hadn’t made homemade pasta in a while, and that we should sometime soon, we found ourselves in whole foods, where there was a convenient one-day-only sale on lobster tails. we snatched two right up, had them butterflied in the store, picked up a few other ingredients, and started dreaming up that night’s dinner.

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we don’t really cook a lot of meat/seafood and it’s not something i consider myself good at, so when i say that cooking lobster was pretty easy and you can do it without royally messing it up, i mean it. so the next time you find yourself in the grocery store and there’s a sale on lobster tails, you should a) not be afraid, b) get some, and c) have them butterfly them for you in the store because i don’t know how to tell you how to do that.

this is such a great summer dish for a saturday night where you want to do something kind of fancy but you want to do it in your pajamas. in other words, it’s a dish for all the saturday nights. anyways, the fresh pasta with basil mixed in, colorful cherry tomatoes, and buttery lobster, all topped off with parsley and parmesan, is such an awesome combo. hope you’ll try it!

suggested beer pairing: boulevard saison-brett.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

½ lb. fresh pasta (preferably homemade)
handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
2 lobster tails, butterflied
1 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
parmesan, shredded
sea salt
pepper

directions

1. If making pasta from scratch, follow this recipe, using 3 eggs (instead of 2) if dough is dry. Mix finely chopped basil into the dough. (you’ll only need half of the dough for the recipe (to serve 2), so before the rolling step, you can put the other half in the fridge and use within a couple days).

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet. Mix 1 tbsp. butter with 1 garlic clove, and spread over both lobster tails. Bake for about 10 minutes, until meat is white. Remove meat from tail and cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add salt to the water (more than you think – I’ve read that you should be able to taste it if you were to drink the water). Carefully place cut fettuccine noodles into the boiling water, using tongs to separate noodles if they begin to stick together. Boil until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving a cupful of pasta water.

4. While lobster and pasta are cooking, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add halved tomatoes and continue sautéing, 2-3 minutes (if you do this concurrently with your pasta, add tomatoes at about the same time as you add pasta to boiling water).

5. Add lobster meat, drained pasta, shredded parmesan, and chopped parsley to the skillet. Add a bit of pasta water if needed. Use tongs to mix all ingredients together and continue cooking on medium-low until everything is warmed through.

6. Divide between two plates, garnish with additional parsley and parmesan, if desired, and season with sea salt and pepper. Bon appetit!

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{cocktails} the aviation.

before reading about it on food52 a few months ago, i’d never heard of an aviation cocktail, but right away i knew i wanted to try it. i mean, come on, it’s purple! i love gin cocktails, especially in the summer, and this one is particularly easy. the hardest part is probably going to be convincing yourself that you should buy the bottle of creme de violette and maraschino liqueur that you’ll need to make it, but i promise you’ll use them in enough other drinks to make it worth the splurge. we’ve been making these on saturday evenings while we cook dinner, and it’s the only cocktail i’ve made myself that i would also pay $10 for in a restaurant. see below for instructions, and hope you’ll give it a try!

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Ingredients (serves 2)

4 oz gin
1.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz maraschino liqueur
.75 oz creme de violette

directions

shake all ingredients with plenty of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
garnish with maraschino cherry.

cheers!
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twenty-seven.

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my twenty-seventh birthday celebrations began with oysters and spiked lemonades at one of our favorite restaurants, plank; transitioned to cake and champagne on our patio and the discovery of the timercam app, launching a full-on photo shoot complete with outtakes; and ended with watching this week’s episode of the bachelorette, even though we read the spoilers earlier this week. in other words, it was perfect. so much to be thankful for this past year, and so much to look forward to in this year to come.
cheers to 27!

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{recipe} grilled pizza, three ways.

if you follow along on instagram, you may have caught notice of our latest obsession: grilled pizzas. my general belief in the summertime is that all good things can become even better things by being grilled, and pizza is no exception. grilled pizzas, especially with pre-made crusts, make for awesome weeknight dinners because they’re so quick and because you can put virtually anything on them and call it a meal. we’ve done grilled pizza with fresh dough, too, and it was great, but in my opinion, more trouble than it was worth unless it’s a weekend and you’ve got time for things like strategizing how to physically get a doughy fully-assembled pizza directly onto the grill. (not ready to talk about it). anyways, we’re partial to pre-made whole wheat crusts, which we’ve found in 3-packs at hy-vee as well as from a local bakery (le quartier for omaha friends) at the farmer’s market. these both freeze really well and unfreeze really fast so they’re ready to go when you need them. oh! and we really like pre-heating our pizza stone on the grill for 10ish minutes before cooking the pizza, but if you don’t go that route, just add a couple minutes of cooking time to the recipes listed below. here are three versions that we’ve cooked up so far, and more to come!

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this grilled zucchini version was our most recent endeavor and might be my favorite one yet. i love the sweetness of cooked zucchini, and it tastes even better from the grill! plus, zucchini and feta were basically made for each other. 

to make: first, place thin zucchini slices on a grill plate and cook for a few minutes on each side, until softened and grill marks appear. to assemble pizza, spread a small amount of olive oil all over crust, and sprinkle with garlic salt. add mozzarella, then grilled zucchini slices, then crumbled feta. grill on pre-heated pizza stone until cheese is melted and crust is crisp, about 5-8 minutes. garnish with thinly-sliced sweet thai basil, black pepper, and sea salt.

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we’re not big super-saucy pizza people, so we usually opt for pesto or even just olive oil and garlic instead. i picked up some sundried tomato pesto recently, and made this margherita-with-a-twist version. 

to make: spread sundried tomato pesto all over crust. then, top with mozzarella and black cherry heirlooms (or other cherry tomato – but this variety is to die for). grill on a pre-heated pizza stone until cheese is melted and crust is crisp, about 5-8 minutes. garnish with thinly-sliced fresh basil, baby arugula, and pink sea salt that looks really fancy but is really like $2.99 at trader joe’s.

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this was one of our first attempts at grilled pizza and is still one of my favorites. i mean, it has burrata, which is basically cheese inside cheese, so what’s not to love?

to make: spread traditional basil pesto all over crust. top with mozzarella, slices of burrata, and yellow cherry tomatoes (like sun golds). grill on a pre-heated pizza stone until cheese is melted and crust is crisp, about 5-8 minutes. garnish with a drizzle of chili oil and sea salt.

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