Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

Posted by Becca On January - 25 - 20113 COMMENTS

As I’ve mentioned before, I love mushrooms and could eat them every day.  I also love pasta dishes.  So when I found this recipe that combined both of my loves, I had to try it.  The original recipe called for a packaged mix of pre-sliced mushrooms called the “exotic mushroom blend” (shiitake, cremini, & oyster mushrooms).  The only thing my grocery store had that came close to this was the freeze-dried mushrooms that needed to be reconstituted, but they did have fresh baby bellas (also known as cremini) and fresh shiitake mushrooms.  I decided to go with the fresh mushrooms and, of course, was very happy with the results.


  • 1 lb. uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups  thinly sliced fresh shiitake & cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper.  Cook 12 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Combine the mushroom mixture, pasta, whipping cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Garnish with minced fresh parsley, if desired.


This dish is is best described as “creamy goodness.”  To balance out the whipping cream and cheese combined with the earthiness of the fresh mushrooms, you need a wine that is subtle and sweet.  I like to turn to Master Plan Vineyard’s Chardonnay for this balance.  It has just a hint of oak that complements the fresh mushrooms beautifully and a moderate sweetness that reminds me of fresh apples or pears.


I think that a creamy pasta dish should be a staple meal in every household across the country.  It’s something that is comforting and familiar.  This one adds a little twist to the standard by incorporating a variety of fresh mushrooms that are not always found in this type of dish.  Since it is something that I view as a staple with a twist, I like to put on an album that is, in my mind, a staple of the rock world: U2’s The Joshua Tree. It is one of the highest selling albums of all time, making it something familiar and comforting.  At the same time, though, I never fail to discover new and surprising things every time I hear it.

Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

Posted by Becca On January - 18 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Mac & Cheese is an American classic that goes with everything.  Until I found this recipe, I had never made home-made mac & cheese.  I have avoided the preservative filled boxed mac & cheese for years & many of the recipes I had found for home-made either didn’t appeal to me or seemed to take too long.  This recipe, though, is perfect; it’s easy, takes very little prep-time, and is tasty beyond all reason.


  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded provolone (I like to use smoked provolone for added depth)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz. sour cream


Combine the cheddar, provolone, milk, cream, salt, pepper, and mustard in a 4-6 qt. slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 1 hour.

Stir in macaroni and sour cream.

Cover and cook on low-heat for an additional hour.

Chickpea Patties

Posted by Becca On January - 11 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

I discovered this recipe several years ago while visiting my sister.  I met a friend for coffee and she had a Martha Stewart magazine with her.  I was still relatively early in my cooking experience and was looking for new and interesting things to make; I needed to get out of the rut I had found myself in so I started flipping through her magazine.  I stumbled upon this and couldn’t wait to get home to test it out.  It was a huge success and has been in my repertoire ever since.


  • 15 oz. can chickpeas (drained; reserve juice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cp. low-fat plain yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice


Chickpea Patty

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, parsley, garlic, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, and pepper until coarsely chopped and mixture comes together when gently squeezed.  If mixture is too course, very slowly add some of the reserved chickpea juice until desired consistency is reached.

Patting between your hands, make 1/2 inch patties out of the mixture.  Coat with flour.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the patties in the skillet until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes per side)

Dressing Preparation

In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Place chickpea patties on warmed flatbread and drizzle with yogurt dressing.

Serve with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese.


This is a very light, refreshing dish that can easily be overwhelmed by many pairings.  It needs something that is equally light and refreshing.  Indaba wineries makes the perfect Chardonnay for this dish.  It has the crisp flavors of fresh fruits and a hint of citrus that goes very well with the yogurt dressing on the dish.  It also has a nice balance of creaminess to it that blends with and complements the chickpea patty.


The perfect album for this fresh, light meal is on that is fun, eclectic, and created by hippies.  For that, there is no album more perfect than Rusted Root’s When I Woke.  This band is the definition of the modern-day hippy and the album is full of tracks that just make you want to dance, sing, & laugh.

Hot Artichoke Dip

Posted by Becca On January - 4 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

I got a new crock-pot for Christmas from my mother-in-law and, as an added bonus, it came with this wonderful little crock-pot called the “Little Dipper Warmer.”  It’s entire purpose is to cook and keep warm things like dips and sauces.  It also melts chocolate for dipping.  It is really cool.  I am a huge fan of artichoke dips so, when I found this recipe, I decided to try it out in my new toy and it was delicious!  This can also be done in a regular crock-pot or on the stove top.


  • 1 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon diced pimento (optional)


Combine all ingredients in the warmer.  Cover and heat 30 to 60 minutes or until hot.

Serve with tortilla chips or crostini.