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So you think you can cook?

Apr 19, 2011

I may be a culinary genius.

Or I may not.

This weekend I went grocery shopping for food for about eight people. 

The weather will be so pretty! I thought. I should do something summery.

Standing in the produce section, I had my first genius moment of the day: PASTA!

(The perfect warm weather meal. See? Culinary Genius.)

I made my way around the apples and berries islands and perused all the vegetables, unsure of where this would go.  I ended up with 2 bunches of asparagus, 1 package of baby bella mushrooms and two cartons of cherry tomatoes.  I continued my journey through the store and also picked up 2 cans of artichoke hearts, 1 jar of kalamata olives, 1 jar of green olives, 2 packages of whole wheat penne pasta, 2 bags of frozen shrimp, and 2 packages of sun-dried tomato feta cheese.

Then I realized I had no sauce.  Tomato sauce didn't seem right, and a white sauce would be too heavy.  I had made a circle and was near the produce section again, so I walked through to make sure I had everything I needed.  Then I saw it, the herb section.  BASIL! I thought, geniusly.  They were out of fresh, so I bought a tube of it.  I'll add lots of olive oil...and maybe some parmesan cheese! I thought as I put the tube in my cart giddily.

The next night, after I peeled the shrimp, roasted the asparagus, sauteed the mushrooms, and drained the artichoke hearts and olives, I poured Spanish olive oil all over everything, sprinkled on the parmesan, and squeezed a big glop of basil on top.  And that's when it hit me.

I invented pesto.  Congratulations idiot.

What-ev, everyone loved it and the word "gourmet" was used more than once to describe my amazing cooking skillz.

Obviously am also Photog Genius.

If you'd like to amaze your friends as well, here's my recipe for success (I don't suggest buying the portions listed above unless you want to feed 16 people or have leftover lunch for the next week.  It shouldn't surprise you that I'm a food hoarder, remember my Canned Food Challenge?)

You'll need:

1 package whole wheat penne (or pay the extra 50 cents and go organic, even more impressive!)
2 cans artichoke hearts, sliced (I just use scissors because it's way easier)
1 jar kalamata olives
1 jar green olives
1 bunch asparagus, cut up
1 package cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 package sun-dried tomato feta cheese
1 package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 bag of frozen shrimp
1 tube of basil/grated parmesan cheese/olive oil...or you could just get a carton of pesto ;)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill large bowl with hot water and add frozen shrimp; let thaw for about 10 minutes.
2. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan and sautee mushrooms; put aside in large serving bowl.
4. Arrange asparagus on baking sheet; drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over asparagus then toss with tongs to coat each piece. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Add to bowl when finished.
5. Heat 2 tbsp butter (the real stuff, we don't use margarine here) in pan and, after peeling shrimp, add to the pan.  Sautee for about 5 minutes, or until shrimp is pink.  Add to bowl when finished.
6. Cook pasta to your liking (I prefer al dente).  Drain and add to bowl when finished.
7. Add all other ingredients and toss.

Voila!  I served it with French bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar and parmesan sprinkled on top.  

And I'll be eating it the rest of this week.


  1. Fun read! I love pasta...and roasted asparagus, artichokes, olives...I'm totally going to try this! I'll let you know if it's a hit or not. :)

  2. Let me know how it goes! But you can't really go wrong with pasta, can you?