Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Anchovy-Garlic Butter, and Burrata

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter

The first tomatoes are becoming available at farmers’markets. These may not be perfect mid & late season tomatoes, but they are still delicious. I couldn’t help getting a few gorgeous and perfectly ripe orange and yellow tomatoes which I planned on eating with just flakes of sea salt & olive oil.

That plan changed when I found this recipe, while reading through the June issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. It is a super simple recipe for Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Butter that perfectly showcases tomatoes. Can’t wait to make this one again!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Anchovy Garlic Butter for Two
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

Ingredients:
• 4 ounces spaghetti
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 anchovy fillets, chopped down to a paste
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1 pound tomatoes, cut into wedges
• ¼ cup tarragon and basil, chopped
• 4 ounce ball of burrata
• Salt and pepper
• Olive oil

Procedure:
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Make sure to save about ¼ cup of pasta water before you drain your pasta.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over medium heat, heat butter, anchovy fillets, and garlic. Cook for 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook for about 8 minutes, until the tomatoes start falling apart.
3. Add pasta to the skillet, along with the ¼ cup reserved pasta water. Toss well, and simmer for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the herbs.
4. Plate the pasta in bowls. Tear pieces off the burrata and place on top. Sprinkle burrata with salt and pepper, and a few drops of olive oil.

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Nutty Crunch Hazelnut Butter Cookies

BA Nutty Crunch Chookies-3

Sometimes I feel like making a quick batch of cookies with ingredients I have on hand. This recipe is just the thing to make. These cookies are nutty and crunchy and buttery. They also keep remarkably well for about a week.

Nutty Crunch Cookies
(Slightly Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2014)

1 cup blanched hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter cut into 1 inch pieces
flaky sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. In a food processor, combine the almonds, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts, and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Pulse until finely ground. Add in flour, and pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the dough comes together. At this point, I like to put the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes for it to firm up.
4. Coarsely chop the remaining hazelnuts and set a side.
5. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop balls of dough and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Space cookies 2 inch apart. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts, and press them gently on to the cookies. Sprinkle the cookies with flaky sea salt.
6. Bake 15-18 minutes, rotating cookie sheets half way through baking time. Let them cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an air tight container for about a week.

BA Nutty Crunch Chookies-2

Travel Tuesday: Ammoudi in Oia–Santorini

I never dreamed of going to Santorini. It was always one of those places that I thought was surreally beautiful and unreachable. A place that did not exist other than in photoshopped postcards. The truth is that Santorini is even more beautiful than the most stunning photograph on any postcard that depicts it. The sky, and the Aegan sea are a deep shade of blue. The sun is so bright that it makes all the colors pop. Oia, a small and picturesque town in Santorini, is one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been to.

Oia Santorini

Oia Santorini

Oia is perched high, stunning cliffs surrounding it. You will find Ammoudi bay some 220 treacherous steps below Oia . The only sign you will find to guide you is this one:

Steps down to Ammoudi

Steps down to Ammoudi

Those are 220 slanted, uneven, and misshapen steps that you will have to climb back up. Ammoudi Bay is a small harbor with a pebble beach and many tavernas with fresh seafood. Fishermen tie their boats to poles in the water and then jump on the restaurants’ platforms to deliver their catch of the day.

Ammoudi is also one of the places where you can see the famous Santorini donkeys. Did I mention you have to share your path with them? Of course, you can always choose to ride a donkey down to and back up from Ammoudi, I just didn’t have the heart to do it.

Santorini Donkeys

Santorini Donkeys

Although it’s a gorgeous spot, the reason for my trek down to Ammoudi was to have a meal at Katina. You can’t mistake it, the cheerful orange chairs stand out before you complete your descent down the 220 steps.

View from Oia down to Ammoudi

View from Oia down to Ammoudi

Once my boyfriend and I arrived at Katina, we were offered drinks and then we were led inside to choose from their fresh seafood display. We ordered a Greek salad, chargrilled octopus, and grilled seabream. Our server recommended that we try a fried red mullet, as it is considered a Mediterranean delicacy. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon lunch, and savored every bite of food and every sip of our drinks without being rushed.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

Chargrilled Octopus

Chargrilled Octopus

Red Mullet

Red Mullet

Sea bream at Katina

Sea bream at Katina

At the end we were stuffed.

Lunch at Katina

Lunch at Katina

Sailboat in Ammoudi

Sailboat in Ammoudi

I don’t know how I made it up those steps and back to my hotel. Needless to say, once back at the hotel I only had energy to end the day on a chair by the pool.

Relaxing by the pool after climbing 220 steps in the bright afternoon sun

Relaxing by the pool after climbing 220 steps in the bright afternoon sun

A shout out to Robyn Webb, who gave me fabulous recommendations for Santorini when I was absolutely clueless about where to stay, what to see, and where to eat. Katina was Robyn’s recommendation, and it was simply fantastic.

Travel Tuesday: Bougatsa at Bougatsadiko in Athens

Bougatsa1

Today’s Travel Tuesday post is all about Bougatsa. Bougatsa is a Greek breakfast pastry made with crispy phyllo dough. The dough encases a rich custard filling. Bougatsadiko in Athens specializes in this type of pastry. The dough is stretched out in the air, and it is quite impressing to watch. The whole process takes only a few minutes.

Here are the rounds of dough ready to be stretched
Bougatsa2

I don’t think I will try to make this dough anytime soon
Bougatsa3

Dots of butter are placed throughout the dough, then filled with the custard and folded
Bougatsa4

Filled dough, ready to be baked
Bougatsa5

Click here to watch a video: Making Bougatsa at Bougatsadiko in Athens

Bougatsadiko is definitely worth seeking out if you are in Athens.

Bougatsadiko
Iroon 1 Square
Psirri 10554
Athens, Greece

Bougatsadiko

Travel Tuesday: Perivolas in Oia, Santorini–Greece

Drinks at Perivolas

I have so many photographs from my travels that it can be overwhelming to figure out how to post them on the blog. I though it’d be fun to do a Travel Tuesday post every once in a while to share them with you. I’d love to hear what you think.

This first Travel Tuesday post is from Perivolas Hotel in Santorini. Perivolas is a luxurious and intimate hotel in Oia, with one of the most stunning views of the caldera. It is also well-known for its gorgeous infinity pool. Staying there was out of the question, since it’s quite an expensive hotel. Instead, in the planning stages of my trip to Santorini, I scheduled one evening to watch the sunset from the poolside terrace. The boyfriend and I headed there on the scheduled day, but it turned out to be a cold, rainy, and cloudy day. The weather was not cooperating with my plans for the spectacular sunset I envisioned.

We sat there, staring at our drinks. Suddenly, the clouds parted, and we got a glimpse of the sun setting for a few short minutes. It quickly got darker and colder, so we moved inside the hotel’s quaint restaurant which is located in a converted wine cellar.

Although it was not the stunning sunset that I had expected, it still was a magical evening.

A brief glimpse of the sunset
Perivolas Sunset

The view from Perivolas’ restaurant
Inside Perivolas Restaurant

Perivolas’ infinity pool
Perivolas Infinity Pool